HEALTH AND SAFETY FAQ
PRIOR TO RETURN TO CAMPUS
Does Milton Academy require the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Milton Academy requires that all students and adults who are eligible receive the COVID-19 vaccine unless the individual was approved in advance for a medical or religious exemption. Unvaccinated students and adults eligible for the vaccine who do not have an exemption will not participate in Milton’s program. Unvaccinated students and adults with an approved exemption will participate in Milton’s program but will need to wear masks indoors, participate in surveillance testing weekly through Milton’s pool testing program, and follow any other COVID protocols set by the School and guided by the CDC and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Should students be tested for COVID-19 before arriving on campus?
Milton Academy will provide on-campus onboard testing for students in grades K–6 and for any student exempted by the School from being vaccinated for COVID-19. As part of their return-to-dormitories process, all boarding students must obtain a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus. Milton Academy will then test boarding students weekly through October 8.
Milton Academy has partnered with the Broad Institute to administer RT-PCR pool tests using a nasal swab. 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. Milton Academy is coordinating and paying for COVID-19 testing requested by the School.
What if a student tests positive before returning to campus?
If a student’s onboard test is positive and the student is asymptomatic, the student will be asked to isolate at home for 10 days. If a student becomes symptomatic after a positive test, isolation is at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. Isolation will be extended beyond 10 days if need be until symptoms are improving and the student has been fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. Medical clearance by the student’s healthcare provider will be required to return to campus. The Health Center team will help coordinate the student’s safe return to campus.
Will students be required to quarantine before coming to campus?
All students need to comply with travel guidance provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Quarantine is currently required for unvaccinated individuals traveling internationally and recommended for unvaccinated individuals traveling domestically.
RETURN TO CAMPUS
Will students, faculty, and staff need to be tested for COVID-19 upon return to campus?
Students and adults in Grades K–6 and any students and adults exempted from Milton’s COVID-19 vaccination policy will need to participate in Milton Academy’s onboard testing program. As part of their return-to-dormitories process, all boarding students must obtain a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to their arrival on campus.
What kind of test are you administering?
Milton Academy has partnered with the Broad Institute to administer pooled testing using a nasal swab.
How will test results be shared with parents?
Milton will notify parents directly as soon as possible if a student has tested positive through the School’s testing program.
How often will students be tested?
Students in grades K–6 and students who are exempted from Milton’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement and who feel well and are asymptomatic will be tested weekly for COVID-19. Boarding students will be tested weekly for COVID-19 at least through October 8. Tests may be conducted more frequently if dictated by the prevalence of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, on Milton’s campus, or recommended by public health, government, and medical experts. 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.
What about students who have been in close contact with a student who has tested positive for COVID-19?
Unvaccinated students and vaccinated students who are symptomatic who have been in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 will be asked to quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines and guidance from our local board of health.
If students are at school when news of a positive case for which they are a close contact arrives, students will be quarantined in spaces designated for this purpose until they are able to leave campus with a caregiver. Health Center staff (practicing physical distancing and wearing appropriate protective equipment) will remain with a student until the caregiver arrives. Families of any student considered a close contact will be notified directly as soon as possible when there is a positive case that affects their student. Students who have been identified as close contacts by Milton Academy will be asked to quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines and guidance from our local board of health.
How does Milton Academy define close contact?
Close contact at Milton is defined in accordance with regulations set forth by the CDC. Any unvaccinated person who is within six feet of someone who tests positive for COVID-19 for a cumulative period of 15 minutes over a 24-hour period of time is considered to be a close contact. The CDC has made an exception in the K–12 indoor classroom setting. Close contact excludes any unvaccinated students if they were at least three feet away from an infected student where both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks and other K–12 school prevention strategies (such as masking, distancing, and increased ventilation).
ON-CAMPUS PREVENTION AND MITIGATION
How will students learn about health and safety protocols and what’s expected of them on campus during the pandemic?
Parents and students will receive COVID-19 policies before the start of the school year. Parents and students will be 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 Milton’s programs.
Are masks required on campus?
Yes. In accordance with CDC recommendations, all Milton Academy community members and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks indoors except when eating or alone in a room.
Will social distancing be enforced?
Social distancing will be enforced as recommended by the CDC and Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Students in grades K–6 will be masked and will be required to maintain a distance of at least three feet while indoors. Students participating in assemblies in grades K–8 will wear masks and be distanced by at least three feet. Students in grades K–6 will eat in pre-assigned locations at six feet apart and/or outdoors. Buses have introduced new protocols to meet all requirements issued by the Commonwealth.
How will COVID-19 symptom monitoring work?
Students, faculty, and staff will self-monitor COVID-19 symptoms and are asked not to come to school or work if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. They should also not come to school or work if they have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive with COVID-19. COVID-19 signs and symptoms are:
- Fever, chills, or shaking chills
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
What plans are in place if a student becomes ill once on campus?
Students who test positive for COVID-19 or show 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. Caregivers of day students are expected to pick their children up immediately after they are contacted by Milton. Caregivers of boarders will be notified of illness by the School and will together determine the appropriate care for the student.
What can I do to protect myself from catching the virus?
Every member of our community has a responsibility to do their part to prevent the spread of this virus whether they are at or away from Milton. If unvaccinated, wear your mask at all times when outside of your home. If vaccinated, wear your mask when in large crowds, whether indoors or outdoors. Maintain distance as much as possible. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. If you are not able to wash your hands using soap and water, use hand sanitizer. Clean and disinfect high touch areas, such as desks and tables, as requested.
What is the School doing to make sure campus buildings are safe?
Milton Academy continues to respond to recommendations from public health, government, medical, and environmental experts and makes program changes as necessary to help ensure the health and safety of our community. Please see the Campus Buildings & Operations section for more information.