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Health Protocols 2020-2021


Health and Safety Procedures for Families and Students During COVID-19

This school year is different from any we have ever experienced, and we need to help one another keep our students, teachers, and staff safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is essential that you take the precautions described below to protect our school community, and the community beyond our schools. We’re counting on you to follow these essential steps for safety.

How Are You Feeling?

Parents and guardians must ensure that their student is healthy before coming to school. Students with symptoms as indicated below will not be permitted into a school building. Symptoms include:

At least two of the following symptoms: chills, rigors (shivers), myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion or runny nose or at least one of the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new inability to smell, new inability to taste or fever.

No student should attend school if they have a known exposure to COVID-19, if they have been instructed to quarantine or isolate by any health authority, or have traveled in the past 14 days to any area with high incidence of COVID-19.

Daily Health Screening

Update 10/25: For students in Cohorts A and B: Please continue to report daily on each student’s health status, even for days when the student’s cohort is remote.  For days when the student is in school, complete the survey by 7:30 a.m.; for days when the student is learning remotely, complete the survey by 10 a.m.  These procedures will enable us to track the status of symptoms proactively. For students in Cohort C (all-remote students): As these students won’t be attending school in person for the foreseeable future, we’ll no longer require daily health-status reports.

Before your child goes to school parents must fill out a form online using the PowerSchool Parent Portal. This must be done for each child every day your child goes to a PPS school building.

Before Coming to School

All families must complete a form each morning for each child and submit it via PowerSchool by 7:30 AM. Students who have symptoms listed on the form may not enter the school. If a symptom is reported, the nurse will reach out to the parents/guardians to discuss recommendations, which could include (1) student may proceed to school; (2) student should stay home and monitor symptoms, until a follow up conversation and determination is made by the school nurse; or (3) the student should seek medical care for further evaluation and will need clearance by a medical provider before returning to school.

All students will have their temperature checked as they enter school each morning. Students who have a temperature of 100.4 or higher are not to ride a bus or enter a school building. If a student has an elevated temperature, they will be rechecked by the school nurse. If the temperature of 100.4 or above is confirmed, the student will be placed in an isolation room, in accordance with CDC guidelines, and the parent/guardian must pick the student up within 30 minutes. The nurse will keep in touch with the student awaiting pickup to make sure they are comfortable and not in distress.

The student will not be able to return to school until they have been evaluated by their medical provider and the Medical Evaluation for COVID-19 Concern Form, certifying that the student is well enough to return to school, has been submitted. The form is available by clicking on Health Procedures for 2020-2021 School Year on the district and individual school web page. You can also request a form from the school nurse.

The same procedures apply to staff members.

Face Masks

All students must wear a face covering. Vented masks and neck gaiters are not permitted.

Extra cloth face coverings will be available for those who do not have one; extra disposable face coverings will be available for those who forget to bring theirs or if the mask gets damaged, lost, or soiled during the school day. In some cases, cloth face coverings worn by teachers may impede the education process for certain students, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing or receiving speech/language services;  young students in early education programs; and English-language learners. The district will provide products (e.g., face coverings with clear panels in the front) in these cases.

To increase compliance, a teaching protocol will be developed to support students who struggle with wearing a face mask.

Students who cannot comply with wearing a face mask, despite efforts to support the student to increase compliance, the student may be required to be place in an all virtual learning environment.

If a student is medically compromised by wearing a mask, the parent/guardian must reach out to the school nurse to provide medical documentation and help develop a plan. It should be noted that there are very few medical conditions with which a child is able to attend school but unable to tolerate wearing as mask.

All elementary students will be allowed mask breaks during the 30-minute period for snack/recess.

Princeton Unified Middle School students will be presented with opportunities to take mask breaks as they travel between classes and at other select times, with teacher permission and administrators’ discretion.

PHS students will be able to take a mask break outside between classes.

During the School Day

If a student is found to have symptoms during the school day, he or she will be sent home. Parents and guardians must be able to pick up the child within 30 minutes of being called. If this is not possible, then they must provide an emergency contact who can get to school within 30 minutes. The person picking up the child must be listed as an emergency contact. Emergency contacts can be added via PowerSchool.

Students with symptoms will be referred to a healthcare provider for evaluation to determine if a COVID-19 test is required. Testing is recommended for everyone with COVID-19 symptoms.

Parents/guardians must follow through when COVID-19 testing is recommended for their child and must keep the school nurse informed. Students will not be readmitted to school until the Medical Evaluation for COVID-19 Concern form, certifying that the student is COVID-19-free, has been completed by a medical provider and submitted to the school.

It is critical that families and medical providers are diligent in ensuring that COVID-19 has been ruled out prior to readmittance.

Handwashing and Social Distance

Hand sanitizer is available as students enter the building; they are expected to wash and sanitize their hands frequently during the day. Additional soap and hand sanitizer is available in all elementary classrooms; hand sanitizer is available in all PUMS and PHS classrooms.

  • The number of students allowed in bathrooms will be limited to ensure physical distancing.
  • Student cohorts will be kept consistent, as much as possible, in the elementary schools.
  • Class-changing times in middle and high school will be staggered to limit the number of students in the halls.
  • Signage in school buildings will remind students and staff of health and safety protocols.

Staff and students will maintain 6 feet of physical distance to the degree possible given the needs of individual students. When a student requires additional assistance, such as a physical prompt (pointing to an item on a page), the staff member will stay in close proximity to the student for the least amount of time possible. Staff will work with individual students to build skills of independence.

Exposure to COVID-19

If a student has symptoms or has had an illness, then, before he or she may return to school, the school nurse will ask the student (if appropriate, given the student's age), and the parents/guardian about potential exposure to COVID-19 in the previous 14 days. This could include close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 10 minutes) with a person with confirmed COVID-19.

If a member of a student's household has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the student must quarantine for 14 days or longer, following the guidance of the Princeton or Cranbury Health Department regarding the length of the quarantine.

The nurse will also ask about travel to an area with a high level of COVID-19 transmission. The

NJ travel advisory list can be found here. The international travel advisory list can be found here. It includes a map that shows countries of highest risk.

As per the New Jersey Department of Health Guidance for Schools, if a student has traveled to a state or a country of high risk, they should remain at home for 14 days from the date of return to New Jersey. Contact your child’s healthcare provider or your local health department for further guidance.  

School nurses will notify local health officials of both suspected cases and positive cases. Princeton Health Department officials will help administrators determine a course of action.

When it is determined that there is high risk of an infection due to COVID-19 exposure, or there is an increase in the number of people with symptoms, the school nurse and administration will provide the following information when consulting with the Princeton Health Department:

  • Contact information for the ill person(s)
  • The date the ill person(s) developed symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19 (if known), and was last in the building
  • Types of interactions (close contacts, length of contact) the person may have had with other persons in the building or in other locations
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers for ill person’s close contacts in the school
  • Any other information to assist with the determination of next steps

Local health officials’ recommendations for the scope (e.g., a single school, multiple schools, the full district) and duration of school closure will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community. The Superintendent of Schools will coordinate with local health officials to communicate dismissal decisions and possible COVID-19 exposure to staff, students, and community. Confidentiality regarding the student or staff member will be maintained, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Staff will close off areas used by the individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and wait 24 hours before thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the area. Cleaning staff will clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

COVID-19 Illness and Test Result Scenarios as per NJ Department of Health Guidelines

Standard exclusion criteria: If ill individuals have been given an alternate diagnosis by a healthcare provider, they should follow the NJ Department of Health School Exclusion List.

COVID-19 exclusion criteria: Ill individuals with suspected or known COVID-19 should stay home until at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset and at least 24 hours have passed after resolution of fever without fever reducing medications and improvement in symptoms. Persons who test positive for COVID-19, but who are asymptomatic should stay home for 10 days from the positive test result.