Background & Scope
A Health & Safety working group comprised of Mastery staff and administrators collaborated to develop the policies found in this document. All policies 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.
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:
Facilities Preparation & Supplies
- Each school’s front desk must have a plastic barrier in place. (Schools have discretion on assigning the number of staff at the desk based on social distancing protocols).
- The front desk shall have a hand sanitizer station.
- The front desk shall have a computer dedicated for guest sign-in.
Hand Sanitizer Stations
- Every school will have at least one hand sanitizer station near every entrance door into the school.
The following signage will be posted in every school to remind students, staff, and families about safety protocols and practices:
- Visitor Entry Requirements
- Student Admission Procedures
- Masks Required in Hallways
- Social Distancing Reminders
- School Quarantine Designated Area
- Handwashing Procedures
- Floor tape (Social Distancing cues)
- 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.
Desk Spacing & Positioning
- All desks must be 6 feet apart and face the front of the room.
- 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.
- Teachers can also request an additional fan be placed in a window.
NOTE: classrooms that do NOT have means to circulate fresh air into the classroom
shall NOT be used as a classroom space.
- Staff members are asked to limit all sharing of resources, books and manipulatives.
- Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (e.g., textbooks, art supplies, equipment etc.) or
- Limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of students at a time and clean and disinfect between use.
- Students’ belongings should be separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies or other areas.
- Staff members are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting shared items between uses
(or assigning such cleaning to their students).
K-3 Visual Social Distancing
- To maintain social distancing guidelines at 6 feet apart, taped outlines for boxes or squares should be used as visual guidelines when applicable, particularly in K-3.
- Schools should order a three month (13 weeks) supply of mask, gloves, plastic face barriers,
hand sanitizer, and disinfectant supplies.
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
- 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
Masks / Face Coverings
All students, staff and guests must wear a mask to enter the building and throughout the day except for breaks (i.e., eating, drinking, where proper social distance is maintained, or if a person is alone in a space). Please use a common sense approach to managing masks and breaks.
- All students, staff and guests must wear a mask to enter the building.
- The front desk will provide a mask to guest if they do not have one.
- Parents are asked to send students to school with a mask.
- A “Mask or “Face covering” means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the
head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face.
- A “face covering” can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton,
silk, or linen, a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth.
- Teachers are encouraged to provide face coverings/masks breaks at least once per classroom period. This assumes students are placed 6’ distance.
- Face covering breaks shall be less than 10 minutes; unless while eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart.
Student Non-Compliance with Social Distancing/Mask Use
- Schools should devote time at the beginning of the school year to ensuring students
understand the science behind why mask wearing and 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 or wearing a mask, staff should remind the student of the safety expectation and rationale.
- Staff should model what it looks like to meet expectations (Ex.: demonstrate proper mask
wearing and/or outreached arms to show what appropriate social distancing looks like).
- If a student is not wearing a mask, the student should be provided with a mask.
- 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 and/or mask wearing,
despite all of the above steps taking place, should be referred to the dean.
- Field trips are suspended for the time being.
- Assemblies or large gatherings are suspended for the time being.
Extra-Curricular Activities: Sports
- No sports shall be scheduled – pending further direction from local authorities.
Extra-Curricular Activities: Non-Sports
- Extra-curricular activities may be scheduled dependent on the supervising staff person
follows our health and safety guidelines on social distancing.
- 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.
- Front desk will request guests put on their mask, or if not available, supply a mask.
- Guest will use the hand sanitizer station placed at the front desk.
- Guests/visitor temperatures will be scanned by staff upon entry.
- If guest/visitor has a temperature at 100.5 they will be asked to leave. Individuals displaying symptoms of dry cough, troubled breathing, a sore throat, and/or chills will be advised to not enter our school buildings or offices.
- Visitors/Guests will register on a computer placed at the front desk.
- The front desk staff shall wipe down the computer with disinfectant wipes after each use.
- 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).
- If staff members have recently traveled or will travel to any locations (including airport layovers or cruises), we will follow the state of PA, NJ’s and CDC’s travel restriction guidance:
- Inform supervisor and [email protected] immediately.
- Self-quarantine for 14 calendar days after the return date.
- Mark your absence as “Coronavirus” in Workday.
- Provide a copy of a ticket or other proof of travel location bearing your name and the
travel dates to [email protected] in lieu of obtaining a doctor’s note if necessary.
Employees should please reconsider any non-essential, non-work related travel in the coming months.
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
- 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.
- 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.
Student Return to School
- A student who was had COVID or was presumed to have COVID will be required to present
documentation from a doctor clearing the student for return to school.
- HIPPA confidentiality requirements apply and the contents of student’s doctor’s notes are not to be distributed and are to be stored in a secure location.
- Students who have medical conditions can still attend school in person, or can select to attend
the fully virtual program. Families will make the most appropriate decision for their student.
- Parents with students with a medical condition are strongly encouraged to contact the school,
notify them of their child’s condition, and send a note to the school nurse with instructions.
Staff Members Presumed to be Sick
If staff members are sick or have family members presenting symptoms of feeling ill, including
cough, sore throat, troubled breathing, body aches, etc., you must stay home and not come to
school until you or the family member are free of fever (oral temperature below 99.5°F) for at
least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
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 (cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing, body aches, etc.)
or a temperature of 100.5 (or higher), they must stay home.
Multiple Entries for Students
- Schools should utilize multiple entrances to the school to limit the overcrowding of students
and comply with social distancing guidelines.
Student Temperature Scanning
- The school shall take students temperature upon their arrival.
- Schools shall station at least one staff person for every student entrance
- Staff shall use the non-contact temperature scanner on each students’ forehead and register the students’ temperature.
- If a student has no temperature, the student should utilize the hand sanitizer station near the entrance and report directly to their first period class.
- If a student shows a temperature above 100.5F, the school nurse will assess the student and
make a determination if the student needs to be sent home.
- Recess may be scheduled.
- Students shall be instructed to play while following social distancing guidelines and remaining six feet apart.
- No more than (25) persons maximum.
- Equipment should be wiped down after use.
Physical Education Guidelines
- Physical Education classes may be scheduled.
- The PE teachers shall ensure that students maintain 6 feet apart per social distancing
guidelines during activity.
- Masks usage during physical activity (socially distant) is at the discretion of the PE teacher.
In cases where masks may interfere with students’ ability to breath, the PE teacher will not
require mask usage.
- To accommodate 6 feet distance, the maximum number of people will be 36 sq ft per
person up to the room capacity not to exceed more than 25 persons maximum.
Transitions Between Classes
- Schools should minimize any student movement or transitions between classrooms and student spaces; when possible, teachers instead of students are recommended to transition to their assigned classes and spaces.
NOTE: Middle schools and high schools will likely not be able to organize their student cohorts to minimize transitions. Schools shall organize transitions as best circumstances allow.
- 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.
- The goal is to limit bathroom usage and schools should develop plans that focus
on their specific environment.
Bathroom Passes & Procedure
- Schools are expected to develop a disposable or touchless hall passes system to
- Lockers cannot be used by students.
- Schools should develop a plan that supports storing student belongings.
- 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 CDC guidelines.
- Riders of the same household are permitted to sit together.
- All students, aids, and drivers must wear masks while on the bus, at all times. Students will not be permitted to board or ride the bus without a mask covering both nose and mouth.
- AM route: students must be wearing a mask before being permitted to board bus.
- PM route: the school is responsible for ensuring all student riders are provided with a mask, if needed, prior to boarding the school bus.
Food & Drink
- Consumption of food or beverages is prohibited on bus.
- 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, remaining 6 feet apart at all times.
- All students should have assigned seats. Seat assignments should be in order of pick up/drop off order (i.e.: board the bus back to front), when possible.
- Windows should be down (open), weather permitting, to allow for air circulation.
- 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.
- 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 must maintain 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 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.When Mastery reopens our school buildings for hybrid instruction, we will be offering free, weekly testing to all students and staff.
Mastery’s COVID tests will be a shallow, gentle nasal swab (not deep). Staff or parents will be able to access individual test results directly. 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]
Mastery follows the Department of Health requirements for determining when students and staff can return to school in person if they test positive for COVID-19 or are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
If a staff member or student tests positive:
- Staff member or student guardian will receive a call to share the result and identify anyone outside of the classroom who may have been exposed.
- Everyone in the same classroom is considered exposed as well as anyone who was within six feet for 15 minutes or more over the course of a 24-hour period.
- Mastery will not share any identifying information with the community.
Return to School Policy after testing positive:
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:
- It has been at least 10 days since the individual first had symptoms; AND
- It has been at least three days since the individual has had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND
- It has been at least three days since the individual’s symptoms improved, including cough and shortness of breath.
In summary, any individual who tests positive will need to quarantine for 10 days and can return to school once it has been 72 hours since their symptoms have resolved and they are fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
If staff or students are exposed to someone who tests positive:
- Families will receive a call and supports from the school
- Staff will receive a call from their direct supervisor or another Mastery leader.
Return to school policy after exposure:
We will consider someone to have been exposed if they spent at least 15 minutes over a 24-hour period within six feet of someone who has tested positive.
Mastery staff and students must quarantine in PA:
- 10 days and then have a negative COVID test
- 14 days before returning to school and can return if symptom-free at the end of that period.
In NJ only, the state requires that quarantine period varies based on the level of community transmission (which is Orange as of 1/11/21):
- High (orange), exposed close contacts should be excluded from school for 14 days.
- Moderate or Low (yellow or green), exposed close contacts should be excluded from school for 10 days (or 7 days with negative test results collected at 5-7 days).
Vaccines will be available in group 1b for all student-facing staff (including food service workers, front desk teams and other service providers) and are strongly recommended. Those who work in a Philadelphia school but live outside Philadelphia county must get vaccinated in the county of residence. Camden staff can receive a vaccine through the Camden Department of Health.
Staff should refer to information for instructions on attaining a vaccine.
Live OR work in Camden County
- Vaccinations for group 1b are scheduled to start 1/20 and may even start earlier! Please register to schedule your appointment for vaccinations here and here.
- No ID or verification of employment will be required, and after vaccination, you will not be required to quarantine after exposure.
Live AND work in Philadelphia
- Vaccinations for student-facing school staff are scheduled to start in late January/early February. They will likely require ID and/or verification of employment. Click “sign up” here to get email alerts.
Work in Philadelphia and live in Chester or Delaware County
- You will need to get vaccinated through the county where you live. Please complete this VACCINE INTEREST SURVEY and select your residence for the “county in which you primarily operate” question. No specific timetable has been announced yet.
Work in Philadelphia and live in Montgomery County
- You will need to get vaccinated through the county where you live. While Montco does not yet have a registration site you can monitor information on timing here. No specific timetable has been announced yet but officials hope it will start in late January/early February.
Work in Philadelphia and live in Bucks County
- You will need to get vaccinated through the county where you live. While Bucks County does not yet have a registration site you can monitor information on timing here. No specific timetable has been announced yet.
Work in Philadelphia and live elsewhere
- If you live in NJ, please refer to the information above for Camden workers and residents.
- If you live in DE more info is here and group 1b is scheduled to start by the end of January.
- If you live in Lehigh County you may be able to schedule an appointment here.
- Based on our analysis of staff addresses, we know we have a handful of employees who live in counties with no local department of health and/or no published vaccination plan yet (e.g. Berks County, Dauphin County, Lancaster County, Luzerne County and Mercer County.) When PA comes out with a statewide registration site you should preregister through it (expected in the next 1-2 weeks.)