1. Will facemasks have to be worn?
Facemasks are optional in West Hartford Public Schools beginning Monday, February 28th, although mask-wearing is still recommended as an additional layer of protection. There are cases where masks are still required. It is still mandatory to wear a mask from day 6-10 when returning to school after a positive Covid case. If an ill student is in the health room waiting to be dismissed they will need to wear a mask until picked up. While masks on public transportation are no longer mandated, masks are still encouraged as an additional level of protection. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has online resources on the correct use and cleaning of masks here.
2. What are the options for having my student tested at school?
The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), along with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), is offering FREE weekly COVID-19 screening testing to ALL PK -12 public school students through the Project COVID DeteCT testing program. Weekly screening testing using individual PCR tests are conducted by a state-approved testing partner assigned to the district. The Project COVID DeteCT program is funded through federal ELC resources at no cost to families. Please contact your principal for more details and enrollment.
3. Are there travel restrictions or a mandate to have a negative test before returning to school after a trip?
Anyone traveling internationally has to provide a negative COVID-19 test before being allowed to fly back into the US. Governor Lamont's Executive Order regarding domestic travel was rescinded last March, and without a mandate or requirement, residents are urged to follow CDC guidance on testing both before and after domestic travel. While we cannot track travel or require proof of testing, we continue to encourage parents to follow the suggested guidance to keep their families and our community safe.
4. What are the guidelines for buses?
While masks on public transportation are no longer mandated, masks are still encouraged as an additional level of protection. Student transportation is one of the more challenging aspects of the return to school plan. For some children, the only way that they can get to school is by riding the bus. For others, it is a matter of convenience. We continue to strongly urge any parents that can drive their children to school to do so, or to create car pools within their cohort of students. This way, buses will have more room for those students who rely on them as their only mode of transportation to and from school, and more distancing can be practiced. Buses will be cleaned and wiped down, and masks will be required on buses. DPH continues to recommend running buses with open windows to increase ventilation.
5. What are the procedures if my child or someone in my household is ill?
It’s very important that we all take care of each other as we are one community. A large part of this is keeping your children home if they are sick or if anyone in your household is sick. Learn more about West Hartford Public School’ COVID-19 health protocols.
6. If my student is a close contact of a positive case, when do they or family members have to quarantine?
If your child is fully vaccinated they do not need to quarantine as long as they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms. CDC strongly recommends that they receive a COVID-19 test within 3-5 days after the last contact and monitor daily for symptoms for at least 14 days from the last contact.
If unvaccinated, your K-12 child will be directed to quarantine for 5 days from last date of exposure to a positive covid case. They can test on day 5 and if negative and no symptoms can return on day 6 wearing a mask for day 6-10. If you elect not to or can not wear a mask the quarantine is 10 days. For either quarantine period continue daily symptom monitoring through day 14 after last exposure. If any symptoms develop you should contact the school and your health provider. The ill or quarantining individual should isolate as much as possible and be masked around other family members to proactively prevent any potential virus spread.
7. Will we be provided the names of any children or staff that are sick?
No. The right to privacy of any individual cannot and will not be compromised. It is also important to explain to our children that anyone can get sick, it is not someone’s fault if they are, and we need to treat them with kindness, not ridicule. People over the years have wanted us to turn over the names of those who had lice; we did not then, and we will not now with COVID 19, as it would break the law. We will continue to update student and staff cases on our COVID-19 Dashboard.
8. What if there is an uptick in cases?
The Department of Public Health and the West Hartford/Bloomfield Health District will continue to monitor case prevalence and will make determinations, possibly on a local basis, about a prudent course of action.
9. What about after school activities?
Before/After school activities and sports will proceed normally, with some modifications for space and location at each school.
10. What about music concerts, and plays?
Our music programs continue to operate under the state’s recommendations and we are proceeding with the expectation that we will continue to have concerts and plays. If needed, our music departments will work with West Hartford Community Television and other providers on streaming options as we did last year.