Health and Safety
St. Mark’s is committed to providing the safest possible environment for all members of the community. The COVID-19 Task Force and other School administrators will continue to monitor local, state, national, and international public health guidelines and coordinate with peer schools. Following are some health and safety protocols and procedures that were implemented for the 2020-2021 academic year and remain in place. The four layers of protection we are focusing on are:
Face coverings (masks) Masks are to be worn at all times, barring specific exceptions. (Please Note: Guidelines regarding face covering are listed below.)
Hand washing Community members will be advised to wash their hands frequently. In addition, hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout campus, along with reminders to avoid touching one’s face after touching surfaces.
Physical distancing The School will be emphasizing physical distancing of six feet between individuals whenever possible. In addition, one-way pathways have been introduced throughout campus.
Personal health monitoring Evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, specifically the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, three to seven days prior to arrival on campus, is required. Students must have a functioning smartphone with the Boardingware app installed. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance obtaining a smartphone. Morning health checks are in place for both boarding and day students. All faculty and staff are also required to submit a daily health check.
Face Covering Guidelines
It is expected that everyone on campus wears a face covering when in School buildings, on School grounds, and on School transportation, even when social distancing is observed.
Since the primary route of transmission for COVID-19 is respiratory, masks or face coverings are among the most critical components of risk reduction. Wearing masks or face coverings, along with proper hand hygiene and social distancing, can help to mitigate transmission of COVID-19. Wearing a mask or face covering acts as a barrier and helps to prevent the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, shouts, or sings. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. To reduce the spread of COVID-19, CDC recommends that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings.
Specific Mask Guidelines
A face covering that covers the nose and mouth must be properly worn by all individuals in School buildings, on School grounds and on School transportation, even when social distancing is observed.
When you wear a cloth mask, it should:
- Cover your nose and mouth
- Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Be secured with ties or ear loops
- Include multiple layers of fabric
- Allow for breathing without restriction
- Be able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change to the shape
- Massachusetts recommendations can be found here
Face Coverings to Avoid
“Gaiters,” “buffs,” bandanas, face shields, and masks with valves do not provide the same level of protection to others and are not acceptable face coverings for campus use. A recent well-publicized study is found here and is the basis for the decision about these types of face coverings. Face shields may be worn in addition to a mask, but not in lieu of a mask. In addition, masks with one-way valves or vents allow exhaled air to be expelled out through holes in the material. This can allow exhaled respiratory droplets to reach others and potentially spread the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, these masks are not acceptable unless the exhalation valve or vent is filtered to a minimum 95 percent efficiency.
Other Mask Guidelines
Mask designs should follow guidelines around existing community standards (RUSH: Respect, Understanding, Safety, and Honesty), and dress code. The Office of the Dean of Students will provide additional guidance on this. If you have questions or concerns about the choice of a face mask to be worn on campus, please contact the Director of Health Services Adria Pavletic at email@example.com.
COVID-19 Testing, Quarantine, and Isolation
Please note: All plans are current as of August 31, 2020, and are subject to change.