Protocol for Ill Students or Staff at School

Mitigation strategies are required to maximize the health and safety of our students and staff at Needham Public Schools. It is not one mitigation strategy, but a combination of all measures taken together, that will provide the most protection for our community. These measures include: all students in grades Pre-K to 12 and all staff wearing face masks on the bus and at school, maintaining social/physical distancing of a minimum of 3 feet with masks on with a goal of 6 feet, and performing proper hand hygiene frequently throughout the day. In addition, staff are required to check for symptoms of COVID-19 before they leave for work each day and complete a daily Attestation, and families will be required to perform symptoms checks on their students each day before leaving for school and/or boarding the bus. Symptoms of COVID-19 include: fever over 100 degrees orally, cough/shortness of breath, new loss of taste/smell, sore throat, headache (in combination with other symptoms), muscle/body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue and nasal congestion (in combination with other symptoms).


In the event that a student or staff member becomes ill during the school day, the following steps will be taken:


Student is Ill (Symptomatic) on the Bus

- Symptomatic students should stay home.

- If a student becomes, or is symptomatic on the bus, they should remain masked and must adhere to strict physical distancing.

- The student should be sent directly to the school nurse for assessment and should be monitored in the Medical Waiting Room while they await dismissal; a surgical mask will be placed on student’s face (replace cloth face mask).

- Ill student should not ride the bus home.

- Parent/Guardian will be provided with illness exclusion guidelines and recommendation for consultation with healthcare provider and referral for PCR/molecular COVID-19 test.

- Parent/Guardian should notify school nurse of test results.


Individual is at School and Learns they are a Close Contact

- If an individual is at school when they learn they were in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19, they should be masked for the remainder of the day and adhere to strict physical distancing guidelines (all grade levels).

- Parent/guardian may pick student up during the day.

- If individual remains for the day, they must be picked up and cannot ride the bus.

- Individual needs to stay home, should get a PCR/molecular COVID-19 test, and is required to quarantine per public health guidelines.

- Individual or parent/guardian must notify school nurse.


Student Becomes Ill at School

- The teacher should call the school nurse in advance of sending the student, and notify the nurse that a student is experiencing symptoms and needs to be assessed.

- The nurse will assess the student in the designated Medical Waiting Room and will wear personal protective equipment (PPE), which may include an N95 mask, protective gown and gloves. The nurse will also place a surgical mask on the student.

- If the nurse determines that that the student is ill with potential symptoms of COVID-19, the nurse will call the parent/guardian for immediate dismissal (within 45 minutes).

- The nurse or a designated adult will monitor the student in the Medical Waiting Room until the student is dismissed.

- If student experiences symptoms that are severe in nature, emergency services will be called for transport to the closest emergency room and parents will be notified; the nurse will notify EMS that the student is experiencing symptoms suspicious of COVID-19.

- The nurse will provide the parent/guardian with instructions regarding: calling the student’s healthcare provider, getting a PCR/molecular COVID-19 test, and return to school parameters/requirements.

- The nurse will notify the Director of School Health Services.


**The length of exclusion from school will depend on symptoms, PCR/molecular COVID-19 test results, exposure of the individual, and recovery. If a student has a positive test, he/she/they will need to isolate for a minimum of 10 days and cannot return to school for 10 days AND 24 hours of no fever off of all fever reducing medication, AND has improvement of symptoms. If a student is a close contact of someone with COVID-19, he/she/they will need to quarantine at home per public health guidelines from the last date of exposure to the positive case and should call the healthcare provider for a PCR/molecular COVID-19 test. The nurse will consult with the Public Health Department, and the student will need to be cleared to return.



- A staff member who experiences symptoms of illness/COVID-19 during the day should immediately cease any further contact with students/staff.

- The staff member should consult their supervisor for coverage, maintain physical distancing, wear a mask, and leave the building.

- If a staff member is experiencing severe symptoms, emergency services will be called for transport to the closest emergency room and HR will be notified, first responders will be notified that the individual is experiencing symptoms suspicious of COVID-19, and staff member will be provided with a surgical mask.

- The staff member should contact their healthcare provider, get a PCR/molecular COVID-19 test, and should notify the school nurse, Director of School Health Services and HR.

- The staff member will be excluded from school depending on the COVID-19 test results, according to district illness guidelines, and should isolate until results are received.

- Staff should be cleared to return via the Public Health Department and HR.



revised March 2021



Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (July 2020 and revised December 2020). Protocols for responding to COVID-19 scenarios in school, on the bus, or in community settings.
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