A Healthy Return in the New Year
Reminders from the Department of Health & Wellness
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We hope that all of our families and students had an enjoyable winter break, full of connection with loved ones and friends. Due to the extended break, increase in travel, and gatherings with family and friends during this time, we would like to request that families please review the important information and resources included below.
It is everyone’s responsibility to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as well as common winter illnesses, such as influenza, stomach viruses, and colds in order to protect the health of our students, staff, and community members. In addition to COVID-19, Flu and RSV activity is much higher than usual for this time of year.
In order to keep students and staff as healthy as possible and minimize the spread of illness during this time of increased illness activity, we strongly encourage students and staff to consider masking through the next 9 school days (Tuesday January 3, through Friday January 13). While this is not a mandate, wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses. Schools will have extra masks on hand, for students and staff who want them.
The Department of Health and Wellness will continue to closely monitor illness activity among staff and students, and will maintain communication with the Framingham Department of Public Health in supporting and responding to the health needs of our community.
Staying Home When Sick
Sometimes it can be difficult for parents to decide whether to send their child to school when the student is experiencing symptoms of an illness.
Below are guidelines to help families decide when it is necessary to stay home. If an individual is experiencing any of the following symptoms, we ask parents to keep your child home, and for employees to stay home, for 24 hours after symptoms resolve:
Guidelines for Keeping Sick Children Home From School
Fever – Children should remain at home with a fever greater than 100 degrees. They can return to school after they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine such as Tylenol (Acetaminophen) and Motrin/Advil (Ibuprofen).
Diarrhea/Vomiting – Children with diarrhea and/or vomiting should stay at home and return to school only after being symptom-free for 24 hours.
Conjunctivitis – Following a diagnosis of conjunctivitis, children may return to school in 24 hours.
Rashes – Common infectious diseases with rashes are most contagious in the early stages. A child with a suspicious rash should return to school only after a healthcare provider has made a diagnosis and authorized the child’s return to school.
Colds – Consider keeping your child at home if they are experiencing discomfort from cold symptoms, such as nasal congestion and cough. A continuous green discharge from the nose may be a sign of infection. Consider having the child seen by your healthcare provider.
If you child becomes sick at school, it is a parent/caregiver's responsibility to pick up students in a timely manner. They may not remain at school and they cannot take the bus home. Please make sure to keep your cell phone charged and on and/or have your daytime contact information available to your child's school. Please also have a plan for picking up your child from school in cases of illness or an emergency.
A sick child cannot learn effectively and is unable to participate in class in a meaningful way. Keeping a sick child home prevents the spread of illness in the school community and allows the opportunity to rest and recover.
Monitor your child daily for symptoms of COVID-19 and test them when they are displaying symptoms.
Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are very similar to symptoms of the common cold or allergy symptoms, please do not assume these symptoms are not COVID-19, and test your child before sending them to school.
Keep your child home when they are not feeling well, and may be displaying symptoms.
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- Nasal congestion or runny nose
Fever of 100.0°F (37.7C) or higher or chills
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
New loss of taste or smell
Muscle aches or body aches
Nausea, or vomiting, or diarrhea
Protocol for Students Testing Positive for COVID-19
Protocol for students who test positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status)
If your child or children test positive for COVID-19:
- Please notify your school nurse
- Children who test positive must stay home for a minimum of 5 days
Students may return to school, work, extracurricular activities on day 6 or later if they are:
- Fever free for 24hrs without the use of fever-reducing medications.
- Are experiencing improvement in other symptoms (ie, no runny nose, improving cough, no body aches, no sore throat, no nausea or vomiting).
- Are able to wear a well-fitting mask for 5 additional days (masking for days 6-10)
- If unable to wear a mask for an additional 5 days, students will remain home for a full 10 days, or can return after having a negative test on day 5 or later and an improvement in symptoms.
Need COVID-19 Tests or Masks?
Each school will have masks and rapid antigen COVID-19 test kits available for students and staff should they need it.
Students who are symptomatic may also be provided with a COVID-19 test kit to take and use at home, should they need it.
The City of Framingham has test kits available for those that need them. They are available at the following public locations, while supplies last:
- Main Library: 49 Lexington Street, during hours of operation
- McAuliffe Library: 746 Water Street, during hours of operation
- Callahan Senior Center: 535 Union Ave., during hours of operation
- Public Health Department: 150 Concord Street, Suite 205, during hours of operation
Additionally, every household is now able to order 4 more free COVID-19 test kits from covid.gov. Click below to order test kits at no cost.
COVID.gov/tests - Free at-home COVID-19 tests
The tests available for order: Are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR Can be taken anywhere Give results within 30 minutes (no lab drop-off required) Work whether or not you have COVID-19 symptoms Work whether or not you are up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines Are also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) tests Read frequently asked questions You can voluntarily report COVID-19 test results through MakeMyTestsCount.org to help with public health efforts.
Letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics, DESE and DPH
The Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in collaboration with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), have written a letter to families in response to the increase in flu and COVID-19 activity in Massachusetts with reminders about the importance of vaccination against influenza and COVID-19. Please see the letters below to read more.
COVID-19 and Flu Vaccination Information
Getting your family vaccinated against COVID-19 and flu is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Massachusetts COVID-19 Mobile Vaccination Program
Learn more here: https://mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-in-home-vaccination-program…
To sign up for an in-home vaccination appointment, call (833) 983-0485.
COVID-19 In-Home Vaccination Program
By phone: Please call the In-Home Vaccination Central Intake Line at (833) 983-0485. Representatives from CDR Health, which is operating the call center, scheduling appointments, and delivering in-home vaccinations are available at this number Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.