New state guidance for schools details potential protocols, scenarios for dealing with coronavirus in the fall

New state guidance for schools details potential protocols, scenarios for dealing with coronavirus in the fall

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has released its protocols for how schools are expected to handle various COVID-19 scenarios in the coming school year.

The guidance is detailed in a 19-page document that plays out various scenarios related to dealing with a pandemic, including What school should do if someone becomes symptomatic at school or on the bus; what to do if someone in the greater school community tests positive for COVID-19; who should get tested and when; and in what circumstances and for how long would someone need to quarantine or isolate.

There are many permutations in the guidelines, but the common through-line is: Anyone who has contact with a COVID-19 positive person or anyone experiencing any of a long list of symptoms must go and/or stay home until they receive a test result.

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From there, state guidance plays out the scenarios of how long to stay home if the tests are negative or positive, if the person is symptomatic or asymptomatic.

The guidelines also recommend school and potentially district-wide closures for days or weeks at a time, depending on the spread in the schools or the community.

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