Health and Safety
Masking to Assure Safety of Students
Monomoy Regional School District is committed to providing a safe environment in schools during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining a safe environment is critical to the district’s ability to continue providing students with an in-person learning experience.
The guidance noted here expands on the MRSD Reopening Plan for 2021-2022, which calls for universal masking of all students and staff while inside MRSD buildings and on school buses to start the 2021-2022 school year. As more information is available on vaccination rates and COVID rates in our school community, these guidelines may be adjusted.
According to public health experts, one of the best ways to stop the spread of coronavirus and to keep members of our school community safe is the use of face masks or face coverings. On July 19, 2021, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), issued a face mask recommendation, given the prevalence of COVID and the lack of vaccines for all students. The AAP advised that all students over the age of 2 wear face masks when at school unless prohibited by a medical or developmental condition. The AAP guidance also strongly encourages all eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Therefore, using the guidance and recommendations from the AAP, Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the District may require students to wear masks indoors at school or on a school bus. Face coverings may also be required outside when social distancing cannot be observed.
Masks are expected to follow CDC recommendations, which include:
- Be at least two-ply and can be either disposable surgical style masks or reusable ones made of washable and breathable fabric
- Completely cover the student’s nose and mouth
- Fit snugly against the sides of the student’s face, without gaps
- Ideally have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.
If there is a question on the appropriateness of a mask, the principal will make final determination relative to a mask's appropriateness and, if necessary, will give the student an alternative mask to use.
Masks or face coverings will not be required for anyone who has a medical, behavioral, or other challenge making it unsafe to wear a face mask or face covering. A written note from a physician is required for a requested exemption. Parents may not excuse their child from the face mask requirement by signing a waiver.
Exceptions to this guideline under certain circumstances, such as for students with medical, behavioral or other challenges who are unable to wear masks, must be approved by the building principal in consultation with the school nurse or local Board of Health. Face shields or physical barriers may provide an alternative in some instances.
Additionally, face masks or face coverings will not be required when appropriate social distancing is enforced:
- during mask breaks
- while eating or drinking
- during physical education classes
- while outside
A student’s mask or face covering is to be provided by the student’s family; however, the district will supply disposable face coverings for individuals who arrive at a building, or board school transportation, without one, or if the student’s mask becomes unusable during the school day.
Students who are in violation of the masking rules will initially be given the option of properly using one of the school-provided masks or an appropriate mask of their own. The building principal will consult with the parent/guardians to determine whether an exception is appropriate. Further mask violations will involve progressive discipline, and ultimately a student’s repeated refusal to mask, deliberately ignoring the potential for COVID-19 transmission, will be considered to have a substantial detrimental effect on the general welfare of the school, and will result in suspension.
A student’s vaccination status may dictate whether the student needs to be masked in school, as determined by the district’s approach to minimizing COVID-19 transmission, following guidance of local Health Boards, the district physician, AAP, CDC, and DESE/DPH.
This masking handbook language largely follows the MASC recommended face coverings policy language (EBCFA).
Student Health Services
Monomoy Regional School District has a full time school nurse on staff at each school. The school nurse strengthens and facilitates the educational process by improving and protecting the health status of children. A major focus of school nursing services is the prevention of illness and injury, and the early detection of health problems. Please help the school nurse care for your child by:
- Updating the school nurse if there are any changes in your child’s health status throughout the school year
- Notifying the school nurse if your child has any chronic or acute illness/injury/hospitalization
- Communicating with the nurse directly if there are changes in medication, health needs, or exposure to communicable disease
- Informing the school nurse if there is an event at home or in the family that may impact your child at school (serious illness or death in the family)
- Keeping your child home from school if he/she has a temperature 100.4 F or above, has diarrhea, a strep infection, ringworm, or impetigo. Contagious infections must be treated with medication for at least 24 hours before returning to school. Students need to be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication prior to returning to school
- Keeping your child home if your child vomits within 24 hours prior to the start of the school day. If they are sent home from school because they have vomited, they must not be in school the next day - 24 hours must pass free of vomiting and without medication, before returning to school
- Contacting your child’s healthcare provider for a rash of unknown origin
Illness and First Aid
Assessment of student illness or injury occurring during school hours is a significant part of school health care services. Care is provided as needed in the health office of each school building. If a student becomes ill or injured during the school day, he or she should report to the nurse for assessment. Students should not be dismissed due to illness/injury without being assessed by the school nurse. If the nurse is not in the Health office, students should report to the main office.
The school will make every effort to reach the parent/guardian or emergency contact person listed in Aspen to notify them of any significant injuries or signs of illness that may require further intervention or follow-up with the student’s health care provider. In the event of a medical emergency, local Emergency Medical Services (EMS/911) may be activated. If a student is taken to the hospital, a school employee will stay with the student until the parent/guardian arrives.
Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) are available in public areas of every school building and are accessible to the general public in the event of a cardiac emergency in the building when school is not in session. Please look for them when you visit your child’s school (they are located in the front lobby and gymnasium lobby). You may help save a life!
Screenings are conducted by health services staff according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations. If screening results indicate the need for follow-up, the parent/guardian will be notified. Parents may choose to opt their child out of a specific screening by sending a letter in writing to their child’s school nurse.
Vision and Hearing Screenings - Screenings are performed annually in accordance with Commonwealth of Massachusetts regulations. Students may be screened at any time during the school year or upon request.
Growth Screening - Height and weight are measured in accordance with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regulations and are recorded in the students’ medical record.
We have a consulting physician for the Monomoy Regional School District. A physical exam is required upon entry for all students one year prior to school entrance or within 30 days after school entry. An updated physical exam is required again in grades 4, 7 and 10.
A current annual sports physical is required for participation in all school sponsored athletic activities.
Development of an Individualized Health Care Plan (IHCP)
Please talk with the school nurse if your student has a specialized medical need or diagnosis, which must be assessed, managed and monitored during school hours, such as asthma, a life threatening allergy, diabetes, or seizure disorder. The nurse will meet with the parent/guardian to review medical information, health care provider’s orders, and current evidence based practice. The IHCP is then reviewed and signed by the parent and physician (if necessary) and shared with appropriate school staff to ensure optimal integration of your child’s health needs into the school setting.
The school nurse will work with you and your child to ensure medications prescribed for administration during school hours are taken as directed. All prescription and over the counter medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil, eye drops) are administered during school hours only by the registered nurse and when a current physician order and the parent/guardian consents are on file in the nurse’s office. Medications are dispensed from the nurse’s office only. There are, however, special situations defined by state law when a student may carry and administer his/her own medication (self-administration) due to a specific medical need such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, and life-threatening allergy. Self-administration may also be determined by the school nurse and parent for other medications in accordance with the district’s medication policy.
It is necessary for parents/guardians to bring all medications (no more than a 30-day supply) into the health office to discuss medication administration specifics and complete consent forms. Once the consents have been completed, replacement medication may be delivered by the parent/guardian or other responsible adult. Do not send medications into school with your child. Medications must be in the original labeled pharmacy container, not a plastic bag. Always let the school nurse know if the doctor has added or changed a medication or the amount of medication the child is taking. All medication changes during the school day require a new order from the prescribing physician as well as parental consent.
Please ask your school nurse about medication administration and our policies; for more details, visit: Medication Forms.
Products Used in the Health Office
During the school day many students may require the use of common products to treat minor conditions such as dry/chapped skin, minor rash or irritation, itchy insect bites and sunburn. The products used in the School Health Office include: moisturizing lotion for dry skin, Caladryl for itchy rashes and bug bites, vaseline for chapped lips, and Bactine for cleaning minor cuts and scrapes.The school physician has reviewed the use of each of these products for the above conditions and has approved their use in the Health Office as safe and effective. If you have any questions or concerns about these products, or if your child is sensitive to anything on the list, please call the Health Office.
Immunizations and Communicable Disease Control
According to Massachusetts state law, students must be properly immunized before they enter school. Monomoy Regional School District requires that immunizations are up to date for entry into school and up to date as per Massachusetts Department of Public Health immunization standards. Parents/guardians are responsible for keeping immunizations current and informing the school nurse when their child has received additional immunizations. For a complete listing of immunization requirements for each grade, please ask your school nurse or visit: DPH Immunization Guidelines
Monitoring of infections and other diseases are important functions of the school nurse. The school nurse works with parents, administrators, school staff, and health care providers, local and regional Boards of Health, and other professionals to maintain a healthy environment. Upon recommendation by the school nurse to the building principal, students may be excluded from school if immunizations are not up to date or if a student has a communicable disease to prevent transmission of the disease in the school.
For example, if there is a chickenpox outbreak at school and your child does not have documentation of having had either chickenpox or the chickenpox vaccine, your child will not be allowed to go to school for a length of time specified by the MA Department of Public Health.
Although we encourage every child to have a health care provider, immunizations are offered by appointment at the following:
- Barnstable County Department of Health - 3195 Main Street/Old Jail Building, Barnstable, MA. Please call 508-375-6617 for more information and hours.
- VNA of Cape Cod Public Health & Wellness Department - Cranberry Plaza, 434 Route 134, South Dennis, MA. Please call 508-957-7423 for more information and hours.
A concussion is a type of brain injury that can change the way the brain normally works. Children and adolescents are at great risk for concussions. The potential for a concussion is high during activities where collisions can occur, such as during physical education class, playground time, or sports activities. Proper recognition and response to a concussion can help prevent further injury and promote recovery. Supporting a student who is returning to school after a concussion requires a collaborative approach among school and health care professionals, the student, and the family. Please notify the school nurse if your child has sustained any type of head injury.
Medical Excuse for Physical Education
All students well enough to attend school are expected to participate in physical education. Students unable to participate in physical education will need a medical excuse from a licensed medical provider. Documentation should include a date the student will return to the physical education class and what activities the student may participate in.
An individual health record (paper and computerized) is maintained for each student throughout his/her school career. The record contains medical information submitted to the nurse, such as physical exams, immunization records, and health history completed by the parent/guardian when the student entered the school system. Screening and visits to the health office during school hours are recorded. Parents/guardians are asked to communicate student health concerns and medical reports to the school nurse. Access to this record is restricted to school health office staff and other school staff on a need-to know basis only, as determined by the school nurse. Parents/guardians may have access to the health record upon request. The health record is transferred with the academic record when the student moves to another school or district. Graduating seniors are given their health record at the time of graduation, or the record may be picked up by the parent/guardian. Unclaimed health records are maintained at the school for a maximum of seven years after the student leaves the system.
Other Special Nursing Services
Services for Pregnant Students
A student’s marital, maternal or parental status shall not affect that student’s rights and privileges to receive a public education or to take part in any extracurricular activity offered by the school. Pregnant students are encouraged to continue in school in all instances. The rights and privileges of the expectant mother to receive a public education shall not be affected. Nor shall the student’s right to participate in any extracurricular activity offered by the school be affected unless said activity is deemed to be hazardous to the health of the expectant mother or unborn child.
Student Accident Insurance
The School Department provides school-time Student Accident Insurance coverage for all students attending Monomoy Regional Schools. Student Accident coverage compensates for covered accident expenses resulting from participation in school supervised and sponsored activities. The School Department coverage also includes those students who are participating in extracurricular activities, interscholastic sports and intramural athletic events. Parents/guardians may wish to consider purchasing additional 24/7 accident coverage available from the district’s insurance vendor. Applications are available each school year at the Main Office of each building. Information is available on the district's website www.monomy.edu under For Parents - Voluntary Insurance Coverage.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts now requires all residents to have health insurance. If your child is without health insurance, Massachusetts has several plans that will provide uninsured children and families with affordable health care (restrictions may apply). If your child is without a healthcare provider, the school nurse can assist you. Please see your school nurse for more details.
Food Allergy Information
Food allergies are on the rise among children in America. A significant number of students in our school have life threatening food allergies. In some instances the smallest trace of the allergen - even if not ingested - could cause a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). Anaphylaxis is a sudden, severe reaction that is potentially fatal. There are eight foods that are responsible for 90% of food allergies: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, soy and wheat. Other common allergens are insect stings, medications, and latex.
In order to create a safe school environment for all students, Monomoy school buildings and classrooms are designated as “Allergy Aware.” Allergy Aware indicates an effort on the part of the school to make the community (students, staff, families, etc) aware that there are students with food allergies in the classroom or building. We ask that they be respectful of those around them who might have allergies by refraining from bringing foods that contain allergens into school as much as possible. Food sharing of any kind while at school or on the bus is not permitted. Families of students with food allergies are asked to partner with our schools by teaching their child about their specific allergen(s), what foods should be avoided, how to read food labels, how to recognize symptoms of a reaction, how to self advocate in regards to their allergy, and what to do if a reaction occurs. Students should be reminded that food of any kind should not be shared at school or on the bus. Parents/guardians should inform the school nurse of any known allergies and provide a doctor’s order, allergy management plan, and any required medications to the nurse at the beginning of each school year.
If a student with food allergies chooses to buy food at school, parents/guardians should review menu choices at home and help to decide what is safe for their individual child. School menus can be found here. Allergy Aware tables will be available in the cafeteria (in Elementary and Middle Schools). Students with allergies can choose to sit at these tables along with non-allergic students whose lunch does not include allergens. Again, sharing/trading of food is not permitted.
Emergency cards are sent home every fall to update important information concerning each child.
All parents are asked to update the emergency cards fully and accurately, and return promptly to the child's teacher.
Day Care provisions must be in place by parents in the event that an emergency requires us to dismiss children prior to the end of the day.
Parents are asked to contact the Office with any changes that occur in telephone numbers (home or work), residential address, or person(s) to be contacted in the case of emergency. It is imperative that the school be able to reach a parent or guardian in case of an emergency.
Safety/Fire Drill Regulations
Under the direction of their teacher, students are to leave the building as quickly as possible following the exit plan posted in each room. Unless otherwise instructed, students are to stay with their teacher/class at all times throughout fire/emergency drills and situations. Fire drills occur four times a year or more upon the discretion of the fire department/administration.
Memorandum of Understanding Between MRSD and the Harwich Police Department and Chatham Police Departments
The purpose of this MOU is to develop a strong and consistent policy to continue the partnership that has been formulated between the Chatham and Harwich Police Departments and the Monomoy Regional School District. The goal of this partnership is the preservation of safety, order, and discipline within the schools. This policy must be one that can be constantly reviewed and modified as the needs of the Police Departments and District change, and can be viewed online.
The fact that this MOU exists among the above agencies shall be clearly stated in the Student Handbook for each school so that there will be no misunderstanding within the Monomoy School Community as to the cooperative atmosphere that exists between all involved Parties.
Security Camera Procedures
The Monomoy Regional School District is committed to ensuring a safe and secure learning environment for both students and staff. To assist in fulfilling this part of our mission, the school district has installed a digital video surveillance system which deploys a series of video cameras both inside and outside of our schools. In general, cameras are focused on the main entrances to our schools, parking lots, and in strategic areas within the schools.
The following procedural rules are in effect for the use of this video security system:
- All persons entering the premises will be informed of the presence of the cameras.
- The cameras provide a live image and record images which will be stored digitally for thirty days.
- The live feed from the cameras will not be monitored on a full-time basis.
- Each school office will have a video monitor which will display the front entrance and will be monitored as needed by office staff.
- Video and still images can be retrieved and may be used by school administrators or the police department to aide in any investigation of a school related incident.
- Video and still images may be used as evidence for purposes of discipline.
- In the case of violation of law, upon their request, the video evidence will be provided to the police department for possible prosecution.
- Under no circumstances will the video surveillance system be used to focus on the activities or behavior of any individual student or specific group of students.
- Access to the school’s surveillance system will be limited to the schools’ administrators, and the Harwich Police Department, unless otherwise required by Court order.