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Mars Area School District

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Health & Safety Protocols 2021-2022

As part of the 2021-2022 Mars Area School District Health & Safety Plan, the District has developed procedures to address the use of face coverings (masks or shields) as well as contact tracing/quarantine protocols in the event that a student and/or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

Face Coverings
  **UPDATED 12.13.21**
 

As per 2021-2022 Mars Area School District Health & Safety Plan, the District will not require that either students or staff wear face coverings (mask or shield) while in school. 

*IMPORTANT NOTICE As per a Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) mandate, all students and drivers must wear a face mask that completely covers their mouth and nose while on the school bus. Face shields do not meet this requirement. For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/face-masks-public-transportation.html

As stated in the District’s Health & Safety Plan, if at any point, the Pennsylvania Governor’s Office, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) and/or the CDC issues any mandate requiring the use of face coverings in schools, then the District will comply with that order.


Quarantines
**UPDATED 01.11.22**
 
On Dec. 27, 2021, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) updated its guidance in regards to the required isolation and quarantine periods for those individuals who test positive for COVID-19, as well as those, who have been exposed to COVID-19 and are identified as close contacts.
 
Therefore, as the 2021-2022 Mars Area School District Health & Safety Plan (adopted July 20, 2021) states that the District will adhere to local and state guidelines, the District is revising its health and safety procedures to address these changes:

Individuals Who Test Positive for COVID-19

As per the updated DOH guidelines, regardless of vaccination status, anyone, who tests positive for COVID-19, must isolate for five (5) days. (To isolate, as much as possible, a person should remain in a specific room away from others in the home, use a separate bathroom, and wear a mask around others in the home.)

If after five (5) days, no symptoms or resolving symptoms are present, then the isolation period may be ended. However, such individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask around others through Day 10.

Individuals Who Have Been Exposed to COVID-19

The following measures for those individuals, who are identified as close contacts, are based upon the updated DOH guidelines as well as current District health and safety protocols:

Fully Vaccinated Individuals and/or Individuals Wearing Face Coverings


Those, who are identified as close contacts and are fully vaccinated, were wearing an appropriate face covering at the time of initial exposure, or had COVID-19 within the last 90 days, do not need to quarantine, but are asked to wear a mask around others for 10 days. Such individual s

Non-Vaccinated Individuals and/or Individuals NOT Wearing Face Coverings

Those, who are identified as close contacts and who have NOT been fully vaccinated and/or were NOT wearing an appropriate face covering at the time of initial exposure to COVID-19, must quarantine at home for five (5) days and should wear a mask around others through Day 10. As per DOH guidelines, anyone, regardless of vaccination status, who has been exposed to a confirmed case of COVID-19, should test on Day 5, if possible.

Effective Jan. 12, Mars Area School District will permit students, who are identified as close contacts and who are not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, to remain in school for in-person learning.

The District will continue to conduct contact tracing and will notify all close contacts by phone and/or by e-mail. However, as long as they remain symptom free, close contacts will have the option to remain in school or to quarantine at home for five (5) days. Parents/guardians, who elect to have their child quarantined, even though they are symptom free, are asked to contact their child’s building principal.


The District will instruct all students, who are identified as close contacts, to monitor for any symptoms and to obtain a COVID-19 test with 5-7 days of the initial date of exposure. As per District procedures, anyone who is exhibiting any symptoms or who tests positive for COVID-19, will be required to stay home and quarantine. The following flowchart further illustrates these updated protocols.

MASD COVID-19 Quarantine Guidance Flowchart

Remote Learning
 
Any students, who are required to quarantine, will need to shift to Remote Learning, through which teachers will facilitate instruction on a period-by-period basis. Each teacher has established a "Remote Learning” link on his/her Schoology page, where each student will be able to access his/her assignments. Any student who is unable to access school remotely is asked to notify his/her building principal as soon as possible.


COVID-19 Testing

While individuals, who are exposed to COVID-19, are encouraged to obtain a test through their health care provider or a designated testing center, Mars Area School District acknowledges the current difficulty in scheduling and obtaining a timely COVID-19 test.

Therefore, on a temporary basis, the District will accept At-Home Test results, until such time that more tests become available. However, please note that anyone, who submits a positive result from an At-Home Test, must provide an image of the positive test result as well as the lot number and bar code printed on the At-Home Test box or container. This will ensure that the District is able to verify the validity of individual test results.


Social Distancing


As per the 2021-2022 Mars Area School District’s Health & Safety Plan, the District’s schools has, once again, opened for regular five-day “traditional” instruction. Signage and markings will remain in each building to serve as reminders for individuals to continue to maintain proper social distancing.