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COVID-19 Information Center

COVID Policies

The keys to our success have been and will continue to be trust, agility, and preparedness — from faculty, staff, and families, alike.

EMS adheres to the protocols and policies recommended by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The EMS Health and Safety Team and the Medical and Dental Advisory Committee are constantly evaluating and updating policies as our understanding of the disease evolves, and we will keep our community informed of changes as they are implemented.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Vaccination

It is vital that we provide a safe and healthy on-campus program for our students, faculty, and staff; COVID vaccination is now known to be the primary precautionary measure that we can all take to protect ourselves as well as the communities in which we live and work.

EMS has implemented a policy requiring all eligible faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. EMS employees are required to be “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, as defined in the policy, no later than February 15, 2022, or in accordance with the timing between the primary series and the booster as recommended by the CDC. Employees should consult their primary care physician for questions or detailed advice regarding the timing for receiving the COVID booster. If you believe you are eligible for an exemption, promptly contact School Nurse Desere Diaz.

Parents should upload their child(ren)’s COVID-19 vaccination card(s) through Magnus.

Uploading Student Vaccination Records in Magnus

We recommend that all eligible students receive the vaccine, with the approval of their primary care physician. Upload student COVID-19 vaccination records to Magnus.  

Employees: Submit a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination card to School Nurse Desere Diaz.

COVID-19 TESTING & CONTACT TRACING

COVID-19 Testing Strategy

Effective March 7, 2022, EMS is ending its weekly testing protocols on campus and will reinstate testing if and when it is appropriate.

We will continue to require testing for students, faculty, and staff who have symptoms, and faculty and staff who are not fully up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination, per our policies.

Please understand that we will need to adapt to changing conditions and may reinstate past policies and procedures if community levels necessitate stricter precautions. We will continue to monitor COVID numbers for our area, regional and national trends, and community health information.

All staff members have been vaccinated, per our protocol. Any student, parent, or employee who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately inform the school nurse, who will discuss next steps and appropriate protocols.

Contact Tracing and Self-Isolation

In the event that a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will determine if there is evidence of others’ close contact (as defined by the CDC) with the COVID+ individual.

The contact tracing team will interview the appropriate individuals and review current CDC and NJDOH regulations to determine if anyone will need to quarantine. EMS will send a community-wide notification when there is a COVID+ case on campus; however, we will continue to manage each division as a separate entity in evaluating COVID closure requirements.

Close Contacts (updated Jan. 11, 2022)

EMS follows the “test-to-stay” protocol, designed to minimize disruption to learning.

  • Unvaccinated individuals identified as close contacts in school are able to stay in school if 1) they remain asymptomatic and 2) receive negative COVID test results from a rapid antigen immediately after notification and then every other day for the quarantine period (at least 5 days) 
  • Fully vaccinated close contacts (adults who has received a booster / children ages 5–17 who are two+ weeks past receiving their second dose) do not need to quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic but must test 5 days following exposure.

COVID+ Individuals (Updated Jan. 11, 2022)

Quarantine & Isolation

Any symptomatic individual, regardless of vaccination status, should remain out of school, seek rapid antigen testing, and follow the appropriate protocol if their test results are positive. If their test results are negative, they must remain at home until symptoms resolve and receive a second negative test result before returning to school.

Test-to-Return Protocol

  • The community member(s) who tested positive are required to self-isolate for a minimum of 5 days. Note that “Day Zero” is considered either the day of the test or the first day that symptoms appear.
  • After 5 days of self-isolation, they may return to EMS (on Day 6) after receiving a negative result from a rapid antigen test as long as any symptoms have subsided.

Testing FAQs

What is a rapid COVID-19 test? Why is EMS changing its testing protocol?

A rapid antigen test detects proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19.  The rapid antigen test is superior to PCR for identifying what we actually care about — contagious virus. The test provides a much faster result than PCR and is unlikely to produce false positives (which could cause unnecessary self-isolation and possible school closures).

Is the rapid antigen test FDA-approved?

Yes. The FDA made this test available under Emergency Use Authorization. You can view the authorization information online.

What happens when a student has a COVID+ rapid test result?

When a student has a positive test result, it is very likely that they have COVID-19.  In any instance of a COVID+ result, please contact Nurse Desere. Per CDC guidance, COVID+ individuals are required to self-isolate.

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Masks

Effective March 7, 2022, EMS is implementing a Mask-Optional Policy* on campus. Masking is always an acceptable option for any student/family who prefers to remain masked while on campus. The EMS community will support and respect the choice of each family. EMS will monitor CDC data for Bergen County, and if community conditions rise to “high” (orange), may reinstate mask requirements. *EMS employees who are not “fully vaccinated” as defined by the EMS Revised Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policy must continue to wear a mask while indoors.

Masking on buses will also be optional, following CDC guidelines, as permitted by recent NJDOE guidance.

Please understand that we will need to adapt to changing conditions and may reinstate past policies and procedures if community levels necessitate stricter precautions. We will continue to monitor COVID numbers for our area, regional and national trends, and community health information.

Social Distancing

We have reviewed each classroom’s capacity and arrangement to ensure the appropriate amount of social distancing is in accordance with the latest guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education and the CDC.

Spaces outside the classroom, like the gym, are marked so students understand how to maintain their distance from each other. Moving between spaces, when necessary, will be done with appropriate distancing.

Daily Wellness Screening

All students, faculty, and staff are required to complete the Daily Wellness Screening prior to coming to campus, either through the SchoolPass app or web interface. Families, faculty, and staff will receive an automated email and app notification from SchoolPass prompting them to complete the screening each day that school is in session.

The Daily Wellness Screening is the first and best line of defense against the spread of COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and students who do not complete the required Daily Wellness Screening may not be permitted to enter the campus.

This quick screening enables parents to report the appearance of key symptoms, any recent travel, or exposure to symptomatic individuals who might present a risk. Everyone’s diligence in completing these checks each day before school, with the utmost honesty, is expected and required.

If a student or employee is not feeling well or if the results of their Daily Wellness Screening are flagged, we ask that they remain home and contact the school nurse. Symptoms of COVID-19 can mimic common medical conditions such as colds, allergies, influenza, tonsillitis, etc. Therefore, it is critical to report ANY symptoms, including fatigue, headache, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, muscle aches, and any change in smell or taste sensation to the school nurse.

Magnus Health Portal

Before attending school, each student must meet New Jersey requirements for physicals and immunizations, which are tracked in the school’s Magnus Health Portal (“Magnus”). Parents or guardians must sign the required permission and consent forms each year in Magnus, and all students must have a complete Vital Health Record. Applicable forms for allergy, asthma, or medications are not valid after the school year ends and must be newly submitted each year before school opens.

Magnus issues periodic email updates to remind families that they need to complete their child’s medical/health forms, and they may access Magnus from the provided links in these emails. Parents and guardians can also access Magnus from Magnus Health under Resources in myEMS. Please note that you must log in to myEMS to access Magnus Health. For myEMS login help, please contact School Registrar Andrea Hughes,  and for help accessing Magnus, please contact School Nurse Desere Diaz.

Filtration and Ventilation

As we did last year, we will maintain the highest quality filtration and airflow in all indoor spaces. Hospital-quality UltraHEPA IQAir filters are installed in every campus classroom and most program spaces. These units — in conjunction with operable windows, window fans, high-capacity negative air machines, and measurement and verification monitoring — are in place to ensure proper ventilation rates and the maximal level of air filtration possible with commercial filtration systems.

Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Our Facilities Department will maintain a robust program of thorough cleaning and disinfecting of common and high-touch areas. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be at all building entrances and throughout campus, along with disinfecting wipes. Handwashing is encouraged and, based on age, may be monitored.  All handwashing sinks are equipped with touchless devices — faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers.

Health Updates

Occasional health updates, sent via email, are issued as needed to alert the community to any important or new information.

CAMPUS LIFE

Remote Learning

EMS’ academic program will be conducted in person. Each division will have specific and age-appropriate strategies for remote learning in the event your child must quarantine after testing positive for COVID. 

Lunch

In Little School and Morrow House, students will eat lunch in their classroom at their desk. In Chilton House, each child will have their own tray.  When weather permits, students may sit outside while maintaining social distance. Prepackaged snacks will be delivered to every classroom by divisional staff.

Please label all lunches brought from home and continue to ensure they are free from tree nut and peanut products.  For lunch program participants, lunch will be delivered to the classroom and distributed by the divisional teaching staff.

Arrivals and Dismissals

Please reference the EMS handbook for times, locations, and procedures.

Bus Transportation

EMS has worked closely with our transportation provider to establish policies for EMS bussing.

Key components of this policy include confirmation that drivers and aides are vaccinated.  Bus drivers, bus aides, and students will wear masks aboard the bus at all times — prior to boarding the school bus, while on the bus, and until they are completely off the bus — regardless of vaccination status. Bus aides will supervise the children and ensure that they remain in compliance with the mandatory masking policy throughout the duration of the bus route.

Windows will remain open to the first position, regardless of weather, to maintain appropriate ventilation.  Buses will be cleaned and disinfected each day after the drivers complete their route, with a focus on high-touch areas.

Students will have assigned seating and will board the bus back-to-front and unload front-to-back.

Physical Education

EMS is committed to ensuring that all students exercise as part of their daily routine. The benefits of exercise go far beyond the physical; at EMS we promote social and emotional health and consider regular exercise a proven ingredient in fostering positive physical and mental health outcomes. Outdoor activities for PE and recess are stressed, weather and conditions permitting.

For days when students have PE, they should come to school dressed in EMS Teamwear.

Athletics Programs (outside of PE)

We are offering a full program of athletics and interschool sports and games, conditions permitting. Masks are required indoors at all times for players and spectators.

Parents Association Events and Gatherings

For events that are approved to take place on campus, attendees must abide by campus protocols, regardless of vaccination status. We will continue to assess local and regional conditions with the leadership team in consultation with our Medical and Dental Advisory Committee. As conditions allow, we are easing our policies in careful, incremental steps and are working to develop safe and healthy ways to have parent events on campus to build and maintain community.

TRAVEL

CDC Guidelines for Travel — International and Domestic

We ask that our school community members follow CDC guidelines for domestic and international travel. EMS’ health and safety protocols extend to off-campus events and trips.

Please read the current guidelines using the links below:

QUESTIONS

We are dedicated to maintaining a healthy and safe school environment and are grateful for your partnership. If you have any additional questions, please contact the following:

For general questions on COVID-19 policies and procedures, contact the EMS Health & Safety Team. For questions regarding individual students or to report or ask questions about exposure or possible exposure, contact the School Nurse Desere Diaz, 201-568-5566 ext. 7109.

For questions regarding student disciplinary infractions resulting from failure to follow policies in school, contact your division head:

For questions regarding the health of other family members in your household, please contact your primary care physician.

For questions regarding health and safety protocols in your area, including any travel and quarantine policies, please contact your local health department.

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