HEALTH & SAFETY
COVID-19 is an evolving virus that requires us to continually review our protocols and ensure they are consistent with the latest public health, governmental, and medical guidance. Our Health Center Team, led by Dr. Areej Hassan and Director of Nursing Peg Reardon, will periodically update this section with news about COVID-19 and Milton Academy and any changed protocols. Periodically, we will update this section with news about COVID-19 and Milton Academy.
All students need to comply with travel guidance provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Students who have recently traveled internationally or domestically to areas designated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and/or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as having a high prevalence of COVID-19 positive cases, will need to self-quarantine for 14 days or test negative for COVID-19 via PCR testing no earlier than 72 hours of arriving in Massachusetts.
Physical/social distancing is required. Each division has implemented age-appropriate modifications in accordance with state guidance, including the following:
- Masks are required. Milton has provided fabric masks for students, but students are welcome to bring their own masks from home.
- Physical distancing is required. Students will maintain at least six feet between one another in classroom settings and during group activities.
- Students are grouped to provide a dynamic learning environment while limiting potential exposure
- Classroom layouts, furniture, and technology is facilitating physical separation and support remote learning
- Large assemblies and events are conducted remotely
- Dining halls will not be used during lunch periods; students eat outdoors, in pre-assigned locations, and/or in classrooms with supervision
- Buses have protocols, including seat spacing, to meet all distancing requirements
Students receive frequent reminders to wash and sanitize their hands. Additional hand-sanitizing stations have been placed throughout campus, and students are being provided additional time to properly wash their hands during the school day.
Students, faculty and staff will monitor COVID-19 symptoms and complete a simple symptom and wellness check online each day to help screen for possible illness. The daily attestation, performed using the program Work Safe, will look slightly different for the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools, and can be completed on a smartphone, iPad, or computer.
Students or employees exhibiting symptoms will be required to obtain a test from their own medical provider. Students will not attend classes and adults will not come to work (or engage with students in person) if they are experiencing symptoms or have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing will be performed when any potential exposures occur.
Milton Academy provides onboard testing to screen members of the community prior to reopening the campus to students, including after school breaks of a week or more. All students, faculty, and staff who are on campus are required to follow the school’s COVID-19 testing protocol, including regular surveillance testing as recommended by public health, government, and medical experts. Milton Academy has partnered with the Broad Institute to administer RT-PCR tests using a nasal swab.
All on-campus students are tested regularly throughout the year. We will monitor the data from Massachusetts and alter our testing protocol in response to the prevalence of the illness in the Commonwealth and in conjunction with recommendations from public health, government, and medical experts
POSITIVE CASE PROTOCOL
If a student, faculty or staff member has a positive test for COVID-19, strict adherence to the protocols recommended by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be required. If symptomatic, students will need to isolate for at least 10 days and have no fever with clear improvement in symptoms for at least 3 days before being able to return to campus. If asymptomatic, students should isolate for 14 days, as currently recommended by the CDC. Medical clearance by a healthcare provider will be required prior to returning to campus.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 or exhibit any symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19 as defined by the CDC and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts will be isolated immediately—in a location designated by the School for this purpose, separate from students with routine health care needs—until they can be safely transported home or to a caregiver off campus. Students will have a Milton adult with them while they are waiting for the caregiver. Caregivers are expected to pick their children up immediately after they are contacted by Milton.
Symptomatic students will be required to be evaluated by their primary care physician as soon as possible. Contact tracing will be performed when any potential exposures occur.
COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS AND HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Parents and students received Milton’s COVID-19 policy manual, which includes policies on social distancing (masks and physical distance), hygiene, cleaning, testing, and attestation of health. Parents and students have been asked to sign that they understand and agree to comply with Milton’s policies before they return to campus. Those who do not agree to comply or who do not comply will not be permitted to participate in on-campus learning.
In addition, students received training about illness prevention, new routines and protocols on campus, and our community responsibility to follow established policies. Members of the Health Center team, faculty, and staff played a role in this training.
In addition to following all state guidance for schools, as well as from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH), Milton Academy partnered with other independent Boston-area day and regional boarding schools to commission independent-school specific guidance from outside experts in mitigating virus transmission. These independent reports, authored by Environmental Health & Engineering (EH&E), an environmental health and safety firm, have helped ensure that the school’s protocols meet best-practice COVID-19 standards. The reports cover general school operations, cleaning, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC).
We have also made modifications to campus buildings including one-way footpaths and hallways, one way staircases, and separate entrances and exits. In addition, we have posted COVID-19 related health and safety information throughout campus, including inside and outside of classrooms and on doors and windows.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
Cleaning and disinfecting occurs at the end of each school day and during the day in certain high-traffic areas on Milton Academy’s campus. The protocols are customized to each type of space, and were created by an external cleaning consultant in 2019. Due to COVID-19, Milton Academy is adding the following cleaning activities on top of existing protocols:
- Providing disinfecting wipes and/or disinfecting spray and paper towels for each classroom to allow the cleaning of classroom surfaces multiple times a day
- Increasing during-the-day professional cleaning of bathrooms and wiping down of common space high-touch areas (e.g., doorknobs, light switches)
- Sanitizing, as appropriate—using an electrostatic system—on top of regular cleaning based on area type and expert guidelines
The School also has adopted specific protocols for cleaning should a COVID case be identified on campus.
In addition to cleaning and replenishing bathroom consumables multiple times a day, the following changes have been made to bathrooms based on expert guidance:
- Reducing bathroom capacity to 50 percent
- Posting of handwashing and other COVID-19-related hygiene guidance
- Installing lids on all toilets, so that they can be closed during flushing
- Decommissioning electric hand dryers and replacing them with paper towels
- Placing trash cans near doors to facilitate use of paper towels to open doors
- Running any available ventilation fans throughout the day
AIR FLOW / HEATING, VENTILATION & AIR CONDITIONING (HVAC)
Understanding the importance of air flow for mitigating potential virus transmission, the School implemented all HVAC-related best-practice recommendations on air exchange and ventilation in the HSPH and EH&E reports prior to the fall. Specifically, the school has:
- Completed a full cleaning and disinfecting of all HVAC building systems to ensure optimal, clean air flow
- Purchased new, higher grade filters for all relevant building systems and standalone HEPA filters for any spaces which do not already have filtration
- Engaged Griffith & Vary, a firm expert in HVAC building design and engineering for education and health care, to evaluate each building’s HVAC system, recommend how to achieve the optimal balance of fresh air and filtration for each area, and test that the School’s building management system is programmed to achieve those results
FAULKNER HEALTH CENTER RENOVATIONS
During the summer and fall of 2020, the School completed a series of renovations of Faulkner Health Center in support of improving health services on campus, primarily for Upper School students. Specifically, the renovations:
Improve general usability, flow, and finishes in support of health center operations
- The first floor is now fully ADA accessible
- The second and third floors provide additional private rooms for students to rest
- The HVAC system has been revised to ensure that there is no air flow between any single rooms and that fresh air is consistently re-introduced.
Separate COVID-19 suspected or COVID-19 positive students from other students
- A separate COVID-19-designated entrance and examination room is located on the east side of the building
- Certain single rooms with private bathrooms on the second and third floors can be sectioned off from other rooms so that they may serve as isolation and quarantine spaces