Health Guidance and Medical Advisory Group Recommendations
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, has updated their isolation and quarantine guidance for positive cases and close contacts. You can review the new guidance here:
To view the district's most recent update on COVID health and safety protocols, please visit this link: January 2, 2022 COVID Update Newsletter
The NPS Medical Advisory Group met on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 to evaluate current data and provide recommendations on current health and safety protocols. The most recent recommendation document is here:
Medical Advisory Group Recommendation - November 9, 2021 (presented December 6, 2021)
The presentation to the School Committee is here: School Committee Health and Safety Update - December 2021
The updated health and safety plan is here: Back to School Health and Safety Plan - Updated December 2021
The NPS Medical Advisory Group met on Tuesday, September 28, 2021 to review, discuss, evaluate, and provide recommendations on health and safety protocols in our school buildings. Following the meeting, the group formulated an evaluation of current practices and ideas for moving forward. You can read the evaluation here:
Below please find the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Group to the Newton Public Schools for the start of the 2021-22 school year. You will also find a link to the School Committee presentation at which this recommendation was presented.
Key points from the recommendation include:
- Vaccination: All eligible faculty, staff and students should be vaccinated.
- Universal Masking: All school personnel, visitors and students, regardless of age or vaccination status, should wear masks covering their nose and mouth at all times while indoors and when riding on school buses.
- Routine COVID Screening Testing: Weekly testing should be offered to asymptomatic unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals.
Medical Advisory Group
The Superintendent convened the Ad Hoc Medical Advisory Group to advise and make recommendations on issues of health and safety as NPS actively plans for a full return to in person learning this fall. The Superintendent brings relevant questions to the Advisory Group, which meets to discuss these questions, come to consensus, and create a set of recommendations for the Superintendent. These recommendations, as well as meeting minutes, are shared with the NPS planning teams, the School Committee, NPS staff, parents/guardians, and the community at large.Medical Advisory Group Members:Dr. Brenda Anders Pring, Pediatrician, HHS Advisory Board, NPS parentDr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice
Dr. Jodi Larson, Internal Medicine, Chief Quality and Experience Officer, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, NPS parent
Dr. Sandra Nelson, Infectious Disease Specialist, Mass General Hospital
Dr. Eric Rubin, Adjunct Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthDr. Karen Sadler, Pediatrician, NPS School PhysicianDr. Oneeka Williams, Urologic Surgeon, Assistant Clinical Professor of Urology at Tufts University School of Medicine
Dr. Dori Zaleznik, Infectious Disease Specialist, former Chief Administrative Officer, HHS Commissioner and School Committee member
Protocols for Responding to COVID-19 in Schools
On December 28, 2021, the CDC updated its guidance on the isolation time period for those who have tested positive for COVID-19. This guidance has now been adopted by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH).
If you test positive for COVID-19:
- Stay home for 5 days.
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your home but you must continue to wear a well-fitting mask around others for 5 additional days.
A reminder that an isolated individual is one who has tested positive for COVID; a quarantined individual is one who has been identified as a close contact but has not tested positive for COVID.
You can review the updated DESE guidance for isolation and quarantine here: DESE Guidance for Isolation and Quarantine - Updated December 30, 2021.
Here is a flowchart that describes scenarios for positive cases, COVID testing, and close contacts in schools: DESE FLOWCHART for COVID Scenarios in Schools (updated January 2022.)
Data Dashboard - COVID-19 Testing and Positive Cases in Schools
We have recently relaunched our COVID Testing Data Dashboard. On the dashboard, you can review the percentage of students who have opted into testing, as well as the results of the weekly pooled testing. The data dashboard can be found here: COVID Testing Data Dashboard and on our website here: COVID Testing Webpage. For information on COVID cases and vaccination rates in the Newton Public Schools, please visit this page on the City of Newton Website: Newton HHS COVID Data
Communication Protocols for COVID-19 Cases
Please review this dcoument for detailed information on how the district will communicate about COVID-19 cases in school buildings and the larger NPS school community.
Health and Safety Information for the 2021-22 School Year
On Wednesday, August 25th, NPS held an information webinar to provide families with health and safety information for the 2021-22 school year.
The slides from the meeting are here: Family Webinar Google Slides with Health and Safety Information.
A recording of the meeting is linked here: Recording of Family Webinar on Health and Safety Information.