Health & Safety - Mastery Charter School

Update 3/8/22: Schools Transition to Mask Optional Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Update 1/14/22: Isolation/Quarantine Policy

Background & Scope

All policies below are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, Pennsylvania Department of Education, New Jersey Department of Education, and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for the 2021-2022 school year. Mastery will continue to update these policies as public health guidance evolves.

Where there has been any gray area identified in the aforementioned policies, the working group has elected to lean toward more rigorous policy in the best interest of safety. For more information call 215-866-9000.


This plan addresses seven primary areas:

  1. Testing Results
  2. Vaccinations
  3. Facilities Preparation & Supplies
  4. Cleaning Protocols
  5. Policies for Students, Staff, Parents & Visitors
  6. Policies for Dealing with Persons Presumed to be Sick
  7. Arrival, Dismissal, and Transition Policies
  8. Routine COVID Testing & Return to School Policies

Mastery is proud to be able to adopt state of the art safety measures – no other public school system in our region has yet made this investment in the health & safety of students, staff, and families. By testing weekly, we can find infections early, isolate them, prevent outbreaks and keep kids in school. In fact, recent research shows that once a week testing in schools can lead to a 60+% reduction in infection transmission.

In 2021-2022 we are proud to partner with the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ Operation Expanded Testing. Through this partnership our COVID tests for all ages will be a gentle shallow nasal swab – two will be taken from each individual in case retesting is needed. If there is a positive result, you will be contacted as soon as possible. We will not be billing your insurance or seeking payment from you. Of course, we will not test students without their parents’ consent. Staff members who are up to date on their vaccinations can be excluded from weekly screening per current CDC guidance. We also utilize rapid antigen tests for early returns from isolation or quarantine, a staff “test to stay” program, and for any individual in the school who has COVID-like symptoms.

Pooling—sometimes referred to as pool testing or pooled testing—means combining samples from several people and conducting one laboratory test on the combined pool of samples to detect SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Each individual will submit two samples. One sample is combined with others in a pool for testing. The second is held in reserve in case a positive result is found from a pool and individual retesting is needed.

If a pooled test result is negative, then all the samples can be presumed negative with the single test. In other words, all of the people who provided samples can be assumed to test negative for COVID-19.

If the pooled test result is positive, the second sample taken will be tested individually. Test results will be available within 24 hours of arrival at the lab.

The school administrator and nurse will have access to results from each pool about 48 hours after the test is administered.

Since we are utilizing pool testing, you will not receive an individualized report for your child unless a positive individual result is found. This is to respect the privacy of the others that are within your child’s pool. You will only be notified by a clinician if your child tests positive for COVID-19.


Everyone age 5 and up is now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. While Mastery is not requiring anyone to take the vaccine at this time, we do recommend that families consider it. The vaccine is free – just bring a single proof of residency (a utility bill is fine.) Pfizer requires 2 doses and when you come in for your first shot you can discuss when to get your second shot. We recommend using to find convenient vaccination locations.

Facilities Preparation & Supplies

Hand Sanitizer Stations

  • Every school will have at least one hand sanitizer station near every entrance door into the school.

Required Signage
The following signage will be posted in every school to remind students, staff, and families about safety protocols and practices:

  • Social Distancing Reminders
  • School Quarantine Designated Area
  • Handwashing Procedures
  • Floor tape (Social Distancing cues)

School Doors

  • Doors should be propped open as often as possible.
  • Stairwell doors cannot be propped due to fire safety compliance.
  • Schools should consider propping doors open in bathrooms where doing so won’t compromise student privacy.
  • Doors used for student entry and exit should be propped open during morning arrival and dismissal.
  • Classroom doors should remain open.

Cleaning Station

  • Each classroom should have disinfectant wipes or spray.
  • Teachers are not expected to deep clean their classroom, however, they are expected to disinfect using a spray bottle or wipes.
  • All classroom cleaning supplies must be kept locked and out of reach of students.

Hand Sanitizer Station

  • Each classroom shall have hand sanitizer available (bottle or wall mounted units).

Ventilation – Classrooms with Central Air Conditioning

  • CDC approved air filters will be used centrally (these filters help prevent COVID-19 transmission).
  • Air filters will be changed monthly.
  • The Building Engineer will run the HVAC system at maximum outside airflow for 1-2 hours before and after occupied times.

Ventilation – Non-central Air Classrooms

  • Increased fresh air ventilation helps prevent virus transmission.
  • Therefore, teachers shall run the air conditioner unit in their room to circulate fresh air into the classroom continuously.
    • The air conditioning unit should be placed in a mode that enables fresh air to be pumped into the room (rather than recirculated air).
    • If a teacher is uncertain how to do so, contact the building engineer.
  • Teachers can also open windows at their discretion.

Materials Management

  • The CDC’s current guidance is that surfaces are not a viable transmission route for covid. High traffic areas such as doorknobs will be cleaned on an accelerated cleaning schedule, but shared materials such as math manipulatives can be used.

Supplies Ordering

  • Schools should order a three month (13 weeks) supply of mask, gloves, plastic face barriers,
    hand sanitizer, and disinfectant supplies.

Cleaning Protocols

It is everyone’s responsibility to vigilantly maintain a clean and safe environment for each school.

  • Mastery has increased the size of cleaning crews at each of its schools.
  • Additional day porters will at least double the regular allocation.
  • High touch point spaces (bathrooms, doors, water fountains, front desk counter tops) will be disinfected frequently throughout the school day by the day porters.
  • Day porters will seek to clean high touch areas every 1-2 hours.
  • The cleaning crew shall conduct a thorough cleaning of the entire school building each evening.
  • The Building Engineer will utilize a check-off list of each area to review routine cleaning.
  • Each evening, the cleaning crew shall be directed to check-off each area that was
    cleaned thoroughly.
  • Busses should be disinfected prior to departing the bus yard at the start of route, to be completed by the bus vendor.
  • Busses should be disinfected immediately upon the end of the bus route, to be completed by the bus vendor.

Policies for Students, Staff, Parents, Visitors

Student Non-Compliance with Social Distancing

  • Schools should devote time at the beginning of the school year to ensuring students understand the science behind why social distancing is important.
  • Schools should establish a normed language for reminding members of the school community to follow safety guidelines.
  • If a student is not complying with social distancing, staff should remind the student of the safety expectation and rationale.
  • Staff should model what it looks like to meet expectations (Ex.: outreached arms to show what appropriate social distancing looks like).
  • Staff should provide positive reinforcement to student for accepting the redirection and complying with the health and safety guidance.
  • Students, who refuse to comply with social distancing despite all of the above steps taking place, should be referred to the dean.

Field Trips

  • Field trips, larger meetings and extracurriculars can be scheduled in line with current safety guidance from Mastery, NJDOH and Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Visitors/Guests Procedures

  • All visitors to our school offices are strongly encouraged to schedule an appointment.
  • Principals have the discretion to accept non-scheduled visitors or to request that those visitors return after making an appointment.
  • Visitors/guest should self-monitor themselves prior to coming into our schools and avoid visiting our buildings if they are sick or have a temperature of 100.5.
  • Guest will use the hand sanitizer station placed at the front desk.
  • All visitors will need to wear a visitor’s badge and should present identification to our front desk staff members.
  • All visitors to our school offices must remain in the front office or lobby area until your meeting time and the person that you are visiting escorts you to another location.
  • All visitors must practice social distancing. All in-person meetings must allow participants to socially distance themselves at least 6 feet from another person or person(s).

All external service providers will comply with all Mastery health and safety policies. Schools should
make every effort to limit or reduce the use of external providers in order to limit possible exposure.

Examples of external service providers include:

  • Substitute Services
  • TSS & STS Staff
  • Other External Staff

Policies for Persons Presumed to be Symptomatic

School Nurse

  • Schools will have full-time nurses present during the school day.
  • The school nurse shall wear full PPE.

Students Presenting Symptoms

  • A student presenting symptoms or who presents with a temperature shall be sent to the school nurse.
  • If the nurse is not immediately available to assess the student, the nurse may send to the student to wait in the School Quarantine Area.

School Quarantine Area (SQA)

  • Each school shall designate a School Quarantine Area.
  • SQA area should be labeled with signage.
  • Social distancing should be practiced in the SQA.
  • The aide and/or nurse shall wipe down the SQA the after each student has left the area.

Student Pick-up

  • When calling parents for pick up, nurse will follow the pickup policy listed in the Mastery Health Guide.
  • Child MUST be picked up ASAP, they should not travel home alone.
  • The student shall wait in the SQA while awaiting pick-up.

Non-compliant Parent Procedure (Refusal to pick up Sick Child)

  • Staff should contact the student’s family and/or emergency contact, reiterating the current school policy on sick student being picked up.
  • Sick student must be monitored by a nurse or other designated staff person until parent/emergency contact arrives.

Arrival, Dismissal,
and Transition Policies

Self-Monitoring at Home

  • Families must monitor their students daily before sending them to school.
  • If your child has symptoms of COVID they must stay home. They can return to school after a rapid or PCR test clears them.

Recess Guidelines

  • Students shall be instructed to play while following social distancing guidelines and remaining six feet apart.

Water Fountain

  • Students shall use the water hydration stations located on each floor.
  • Students shall use water bottles, rather than drink from the fountain individually.
    • Student shall be given a Mastery water bottle.

Students Self-Monitor

  • Parent must monitor their student daily before boarding the school bus. If the student has a temperature of 100.5 (or higher) or are feeling ill (sore throat, coughs, or troubled breathing) they must stay home.

Capacity & Seating

  • Bus seating & capacity will be set by the bus company following current public health guidelines.
    • Riders of the same household are permitted to sit together.


  • Masks are optional on buses

Food & Drink

  • Consumption of food or beverages is prohibited on bus.

Non-Student Riders

  • Parents and non-student bus riders are not permitted to board the bus for any reason.

Boarding & Seat Assignments

  • Student riders must board the bus one at a time with as much distancing as possible.


  • Windows should be down (open), weather permitting, to allow for air circulation.

Bus Cleaning

  • Busses should be disinfected prior to departing the bus yard at the start of route,
    to be completed by the bus vendor.
  • Busses should be disinfected immediately upon the end of the bus route, to be
    completed by the bus vendor.

Student Arrival

  • Staff member must be stationed outside to receive students off the bus.
  • Students must remain 6 feet apart to maintain social distancing when getting off the bus and walking into the building.

Student Dismissal & Boarding of Bus

  • Schools shall create a dismissal procedure where students remain in classrooms until their bus is called or wait in another suitable area (or outside) such that students are not in large groups and maintain social distancing.
  • Students shouldmaintain 6 feet distancing in halls.
  • Board bus from back to front.

Student SEPTA Riders

  • Student SEPTA riders must adhere to state guidance for riding public transportation.
  • Students will be encouraged to maintain social distancing and required to wear a mask while using SEPTA.

Routine COVID Testing & Return to School Policies

  • Research shows that once a week testing in schools can lead to a 60+% reduction in infection transmission. For school year 2021-22, we will continue to offer free, weekly testing to all students and staff.
  • If there is a positive result, staff or parents will be contacted by a clinician as soon as possible. Mastery will not bill insurance or seek payment.
  • Students may return to school in-person whether they opt-in for testing or not, but we strongly encourage all families to consider the benefits of having their student tested at school. By testing weekly, infections can be found early, patients can be isolated and we can prevent outbreaks and keep kids in school. Students will not be tested without their parents’ consent.
  • Questions regarding testing can be sent via email to [email protected]
  • Students and staff who are up to date on their vaccinations and are close contacts of a positive case do not need to quarantine. Please monitor for COVID symptoms.
  • Staff who are not up to date on their COVID vaccinations are close contacts (less than 6ft with any positive or presumed positive individual) will “test to stay” for 5 days, taking a rapid test on non-consecutive days.
  • Students who are not up to date on their COVID vaccinations are close contacts (less than 6ft with a positive staff member or less than 3ft with a positive student) will quarantine for at least 5 days and can return on day 6 if they fever free, have improving symptoms, and have a negative rapid test at school.
  • Those who choose to complete a 10 day or longer quarantine do not need to take a rapid test as they have completed the full quarantine.


Household contact Isolation and Quarantine


Up to date: No quarantine

Not Up to Date:

  • Step 1: Quarantine until the household positive case ends their isolation
  • Step 2: Add 10 days to the end of the positive case’s isolation period, return w/ no symptoms, no fever



Up to date: No quarantine

Not Up to Date:

  • Step 1: Quarantine until the household positive case ends their isolation
  • Step 2: Add 5 days to the end of the positive case’s isolation period, return on day 6-10 w/a negative rapid, no symptoms, no fever

*Note-If you return to school on day 6, you must wear a mask on days 6-10

Students or staff members who test positive for COVID-19, or are diagnosed with COVID-19 by a healthcare provider based on their symptoms, should stay at home until all of these criteria are met:

  • The student or staff member, regardless of vaccination status, can return to school after 5 days of isolation if they are asymptomatic.
  • As an extra layer of protection, individuals returning on days 6 through 10 will be required to take a rapid test upon their return, which must produce a negative result.
  • Those returning from isolation after 10 days do not need to take a rapid test as they have completed the full 10-day isolation.

*Note-If you return to school on day 6, you must wear a mask on days 6-10

  • Families will receive a call and supports from the school
  • Staff will receive a call from their direct supervisor or another Mastery leader.
  • No. Mastery offered a temporary virtual option in Philadelphia schools during semester one of the 2021-2022 school year. That program ended Friday January 14, 2022. All Mastery students are expected to attend in-person learning.

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