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Archived Blog Posts

Planning To Reopen - Updated MA Safety, Restaurants Part 1 of 3

10/7/2020 (Permalink)

As of this past Monday, October 5, lower risk Massachusetts communities will be permitted to move into Step II of Phase III of Governor Baker's reopening plan.

Lower-risk communities are defined as cities and towns that have not been designated in the “red” category in any of the last three weekly Department of Public Health weekly reports. Click here to see the list of communities not designated as lower-risk communities.

To assist business owners we will be sharing highlights of the State's Updated Safety Standards and Reopening Guidelines for impacted sectors.  

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Restaurants

The state of Massachusetts defines “Restaurant” as an establishment that provides seated food service that is prepared on-site and under a Food Service Establishment , for food service establishments that cook, prepare and serve food, intended for immediate consumption, as permitted and issued by a municipal authority pursuant to 105 CMR 590.000. Potato chips, pretzels, and other similar pre-packaged, shelf stable foods, or other food prepared off-site, do not constitute food “prepared on-site.”
Restaurants must comply with the following sector specific social distancing rules for providing dining services in all customer seating areas:
  1. Require face coverings for all customers and workers at all times, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to medical condition or disability
  2. Customers must wear face coverings unless seated at tables
  3. While indoor table service is permitted, restaurants are encouraged to structure operations to operate as much as possible through outdoor table service and to strictly limit indoor table service in order to assure effective compliance with social distancing requirements and to limit activities within confined spaces
  4. Restaurants must comply with the following sector specific social distancing rules for providing dining services in all customer seating areas:
    1. Tables must be positioned so to maintain at least a 6 foot distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas (e.g., routes to bathrooms, entrances, exits); tables may be positioned closer if separated by protective / non-porous barriers (e.g., structural walls or plexi-glass dividers) not less than 6 feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas
    2. The size of a party seated at a table cannot exceed 10 people 
  5. Bar seating is permitted provided that either: 
    1. There are no active work areas or working staff behind the bar at least 6 ft away; or 
    2. There is a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas) separating customers from the bar space that is at least 30 inches high and a gap/opening at the bottom of the barrier is allowed for food and drink service as long as the gap/opening is no more than 8 inches high 
    3. In addition, parties must be seated at bars (no standing customer service) and parties must be spaced at least 6 feet from other parties
    4. Subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be re-configured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards. Tables must not be placed within 6 feet of the staffed bartending area. 
  6. All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited
  7. Restaurants may provide carry-out or delivery service, but all safety standards for table separation, size of party, and hygiene must be maintained for any indoor or outdoor table seating that is available to carry-out patrons
  8. All other amenities and areas not employed for food and beverage service (e.g., dance floors, pool tables, playgrounds, etc.) must be closed or removed to prevent gathering of customers. 
  9. Recreation amenities which are allowed to open in Step 1 of Phase III (such as arcade games) may be open if adhering to all safety protocols in the Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Game & Recreation Businesses including the requirement that active use of pool tables and other games involving patrons not seated at tables is not permitted in areas where food service is provided. 
  10. Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between all individuals (workers, vendors, and customers) unless this creates a safety hazard due to the nature of the work or the configuration of the workspace 
  11. Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas) to allow 6 feet of physical distancing; redesign work stations to ensure physical distancing (e.g., separate tables, stagger workstations on either side of processing lines so workers are not face-to-face, use distance markers to assure spacing including in the kitchen area) 
  12. Establish directional hallways and passageways for foot traffic if possible, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to the restaurant). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies 
  13. Prohibit lingering in common areas (e.g., waiting areas, bathrooms) and ensure social distancing in common areas by marking 6 feet spacing with tape or paint on the floor and signage 
  14. All customer-facing workers (e.g., servers, bus staff) must minimize time spent within 6 feet of customers

Recommended Best Practices

  1. Designate assigned working areas to workers where possible to limit movement throughout the restaurant and limit contact between workers (e.g., assigning zones to servers)
  2. Stagger work schedules and staff meal and break times, regulating maximum number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  3. Minimize the use of confined spaces (e.g., elevators, vehicles) by more than one individual at a time
  4. Valet parking operations should be avoided unless necessary due to physical or geographic constraints or in order to accommodate individual guests with disabling conditions
  5. Valets must be provided with hand sanitizer and should use sanitizer before and after parking vehicles

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - DESE Vocational Education Guidance, Part 3

10/6/2020 (Permalink)

By now the vast majority of school districts have begun the 20-21 academic year and every reasonable precaution has been taken to ensure the safest possible environment for our students. Much of the discussion has focused on the traditional classroom setting, but how has the current COVID-19 pandemic affected Vocational schools were learning requires hands-on, in-person, group learning? The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has offered guidance for vocational technical schools and comprehensive schools offering vocational technical programs. The guidance includes appropriate safety measures to promote the safety of students, teachers, and staff. This guidance may also be used as a reference for other related programs, such as Innovation Pathways and Connecting Activities. The following highlights DESE guidance. For complete details click here.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Culinary Arts

Culinary arts programs should follow both the DESE reopening guidance and the Massachusetts Safety Standards and Checklist for Restaurants. In implementing these guidelines, culinary arts programs should:

  1. Limit customers. Culinary sites should only serve internal guests (e.g., staff and students) within a dine-in restaurant setting for the first two months.
  2. Setup online ordering for curbside pick-up for external customers. This will enable a broader customer base to buy food at the restaurant while limiting the number of external customers entering the building.
  3. Designate meal pick-up sites. In order to further limit interaction with customers, sites should identify a single area where meals will be picked up.
  4. Setup disinfecting stations. These should be available at the front and back of the house for students and staff.

Early Education And Care

Early education and care programs should follow both the DESE reopening guidance and the Massachusetts Child and Youth Serving Programs Reopen Approach. High school students in early childhood education and care programs may participate in practicums and cooperative education placements with the following safeguards:

  1. Sites follow guidelines issued by the Department of Early Education and Care,
  2. The high school student’s school district must be in the designated green/unshaded zone
  3. The childcare placement must be in the designated green/unshaded zone.

Cosmetology

Cosmetology programs must abide by both the DESE reopening guidance and the Massachusetts Safety Standards and Checklist for Close Contact Personal Services. In implementing these guidelines, cosmetology programs should:

  1. Limit customers. Cosmetology sites should only serve classmates and staff for the first two months of operations and not permit external customers. Use of mannequins should be prioritized as feasible.
  2. Limit services.Haircuts and other services are permitted if the individuals are not face-to-face for extended periods of time, so long as DESE and industry safety standards are followed. These standards include wearing masks, gloves, gowns or smocks, and prescription glasses, safety glasses, or goggles.

Automotive Technology And Automotive Collision

Automotive technology and automotive collision programs must abide by both the DESE reopening guidance and the Massachusetts Reopening Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces. In implementing these guidelines, automotive technology and automotive collision programs should:

  1. Provide appointment-based services only. For services provided to external customers (i.e., the public), service should be by appointment only to limit interaction.
  2. Minimize public entry to the building. Create drop-off and pick-up procedures that do not require personal interaction, such as key drop-boxes. If customer interactions are needed, they must occur outside of the building.
  3. Consider online payment systems. If feasible and to limit interaction with customers, consider using or creating online booking systems with automotive service signature and credit card payment options.

Graphic Communications And Marketing

Graphic communications and marketing programs must abide by boththe DESE reopening guidance and the Massachusetts Reopening Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces.In implementing these guidelines, graphic communications and marketing programs should:

  1. Limit external customers. For external customers, graphic communications and marketing programs should utilize virtual operations.
  2. Provide appointment-based services only. For services provided to external customers, service should be by appointment only to limit interaction.
  3. Minimize public entry to the building. Create pick-up procedures for graphic communications and marketing products that do not require personal interaction.

It is important to note that CVTE specific guidance from the Massachusetts DESE is intended to be in place ONLY for the first two months of the school year. This is consistent with the way many CVTE programs already operate, in which the initial months of the school year are dedicated to training and preparing students for work in program settings. The Department will provide additional guidance in the coming months based on updated state guidance and COVID-19 trends.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - DESE Vocational Education Guidance, Part 2

10/5/2020 (Permalink)

By now the vast majority of school districts have begun the 20-21 academic year and every reasonable precaution has been taken to ensure the safest possible environment for our students. Much of the discussion has focused on the traditional classroom setting, but how has the current COVID-19 pandemic affected Vocational schools were learning requires hands-on, in-person, group learning? The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has offered guidance for vocational technical schools and comprehensive schools offering vocational technical programs. The guidance includes appropriate safety measures to promote the safety of students, teachers, and staff. This guidance may also be used as a reference for other related programs, such as Innovation Pathways and Connecting Activities. The following highlights DESE guidance. For complete details click here.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

CVTE Program Specific Guidance

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has compiled program specific guidance for CVTE schools. This guidance provides additional considerations on how to effectively apply the guidance above to CVTE programs, including exploratory programs, cooperative education (co-ops), clinical placements, and internships.

Health And Safety Practices

In DESE’s initial fall school reopening guidance, the goal was to identify the safe return of as many students as possible to in-person school. This required the establishment of new health and safety recommendations to be followed in our schools this fall. DESE medical advisors have indicated that it is not one mitigation strategy, but a combination of several strategies that will substantially reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in school settings. These measures include staying home when sick, symptom screening, physical distancing, use of masks, frequent hand hygiene, creating student cohorts as feasible, and improving ventilation as feasible. 

Career/vocational technical education programs must adhere to DESE's and other agencies’ COVID-19 health and safety guidelines, BUT ALSO, adhere to the federal and state guidelines for safe workplaces, and industry-specific protocols when and where ever applicable.

Additionally, CVTE programs should follow the below guidance.

  1. Maintain safe student collaboration. Student collaboration, such as group projects, is a core part of vocational technical education. Student collaboration is permitted if modified to accommodate all applicable health and safety guidelines. Programs will need to modify projects so that students can work collaboratively while still wearing masks and maintaining 6 feet of distance when feasible; 3 feet being the minimum distance allowed.
  2. Use proper eye protection. When used, face shields do not replace eye protection. Industry-standard eye protection must still be used when required.
  3. Use proper hand coverings. Technical programs must follow industry guidelines on the use of protective hand coverings (gloves).
  4. Focus on safety training. Consider designating “Safety September” to focus on safety training, including establishing new protocols necessary to mitigate COVID-19 for each CVTE program, with regular updates.
  5. Prepare outdoor workspaces. When possible, it is preferable for students to work outdoors. Make sure any outdoor work sites are outfitted with the required safety equipment. For instance, a work site may require fire extinguishers, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protected outlets, and first aid kits, among other items.
  6. Provide safe transportation. Student transportation (by van, bus, or other approved vehicle) should follow the same capacity guidelines, health and safety guidelines, and cleaning and disinfecting guidelines outlined in DESE’s Fall Reopening Transportation Guidance.
  7. Maintain safe equipment and materials sharing practices. Sharing equipment and materials should be minimized when feasible, but it is permitted as outlined in DESE’s Guidance for Courses Requiring Additional Safety Considerations.
  8. Minimize personal belongings onsite. Students should come to their class/program/technical area prepared and in uniform each day. Programs should follow the locker guidance in the Fall Reopening Facilities and Operations Guidance.
  9. All customers or visitors must comply with DESE and industry health and safety standards, including wearing masks at all times.

It is important to note that CVTE specific guidance from the Massachusetts DESE is intended to be in place ONLY for the first two months of the school year. This is consistent with the way many CVTE programs already operate, in which the initial months of the school year are dedicated to training and preparing students for work in program settings. The Department will provide additional guidance in the coming months based on updated state guidance and COVID-19 trends.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - DESE Vocational Education Guidance

10/1/2020 (Permalink)

By now the vast majority of school districts have begun the 20-21 academic year and every reasonable precaution has been taken to ensure the safest possible environment for our students. Much of the discussion has focused on the traditional classroom setting, but how has the current COVID-19 pandemic affected Vocational schools were learning requires hands-on, in-person, group learning? The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has offered guidance for vocational technical schools and comprehensive schools offering vocational technical programs. The guidance includes appropriate safety measures to promote the safety of students, teachers, and staff. This guidance may also be used as a reference for other related programs, such as Innovation Pathways and Connecting Activities. The following highlights DESE guidance. For complete details click here.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Career/Vocational Technical Education (CVTE) Programs Health And Safety Requirements – ZERO Tolerance

For administrators, educators, staff and students there is a ZERO tolerance policy for entering school property if you are sick. 

Administrators, educators, and staff exhibiting any of the symptoms below once at school are required to report this to their supervisor and COVID-19 POC (via phone, text or email) right away, head home and follow the established protocols. Students exhibiting any of the symptoms below once at school are required to report this to their instructor and follow established protocols.

Anyone showing signs or complaining about such symptoms, should be directed to the school Nurse.

COVID-19 Typical Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Sore Throat

Self-certify Prior To Arriving On School Property

For administrators, educators, staff and students will self-certify that they:

  1. Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.3 degrees or greater, a cough or trouble breathing within the past 24 hours.
  2. Have not had "close contact" with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic.
  3. Have not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official.

Guidance To Prevent Exposure & Limit Transmission 

  1. No handshaking
  2. Wash hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol
  3. School Districts should develop cleaning and decontamination procedures that are posted and shared. These Procedures must cover all areas including tools, gates, equipment, vehicles, etc. and shall be visibly posted.
  4. Instructors and students must implement social distancing by maintaining a minimum distance of 6-feet f
  5. Avoid face to face meetings whenever possible
  6. All groups must be kept a minimum of 6’ apart at all times to eliminate the potential of cross contamination
  7. Each shop should have laminated COVID-19 safety guidelines and hand washing instructions
  8. All restroom facilities should be cleaned and handwashing stations must be provided with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels
  9. All surfaces should be regularly cleaned, including surfaces, door handles, tools, equipment, etc.
  10. All common areas are to be regularly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day but preferably twice a day
  11. Faculty and students must use their own water bottle, No Sharing
  12. Please maintain Social Distancing separation during breaks and lunch
  13. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands
  14. To avoid sharing germs, faculty and students are required to clean up after themselves. DO NOT make others responsible for moving, unpacking and packing up your personal belongings
  15. If you or a family member is feeling ill, stay home!

Wash Stations

All shop areas without ready access to an indoor bathroom MUST install Wash Stations.

  1. Install hand wash stations with hot water, if possible, and soap at fire hydrants or other water sources to be used for frequent handwashing for all faculty and students
  2. All faculty and students must help to maintain and keep stations clean
  3. Garbage barrels will be placed next to the hand wash station for disposal of tissues/towels

Where these guidance does not meet or exceed the standards put forth by local municipalities everyone shall abide by the most stringent procedure available.

All infractions must be reported to the appointed COVID-19 Officer to ensure appropriate protocols are followed.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Baker Announcement - Phase 3, Step 2

9/30/2020 (Permalink)

Governor Charlie Baker has announced that effective Monday, October 5th, lower risk communities will be permitted to move into Step 2 of Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. All other communities will remain in Phase 3, Step 1. Additionally, he issued a revised gatherings order.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Communities At Risk

The Baker administration defines lower risk communities as cities and towns that have not been a “red” community in any of the last three weekly Department of Public Health (DPH) weekly reports.

According to the most recent report there were 17 new coronavirus-related deaths reported, bringing the state’s death toll to 9,135 with 126,408 confirmed cases.

Based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each city or town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green) community. Communities with fewer than five cases are not given a designation.

Fifteen cities and towns now fall in the Department of Public Health’s highest-risk category for COVID-19 transmission;

  1. Chelsea
  2. Everett
  3. Framingham
  4. Holliston
  5. Lawrence
  6. Lynn
  7. Marlborough
  8. Nantucket
  9. New Bedford
  10. Revere
  11. Saugus
  12. Tyngsborough
  13. Winthrop
  14. Worcester
  15. Wrentham are

All considered to be in the red category. Dedham, Lynnfield, Monson, and Plainville were all in the red last week but have since been moved down to moderate risk.

To view the latest DPH weekly report click here.

Phase 3, Step 2 Update

Effective October 5, a limited number of sectors will be eligible to reopen, with restrictions, in Step II of Phase III for lower risk communities only:

  • Indoor performance venues will be permitted to open with 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people. 
  • Outdoor performance venue capacity will increase to 50% with a max of 250 people.
  • For arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, additional Step II activities like trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks and laser tag will also be permitted to open and capacity will increase to 50%.
  • Fitting rooms will be permitted to open in all types of retail stores.  
  • Gyms, museums, libraries and driving and flight schools will also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50%.

Revised Gatherings Order

  • The limit for indoor gatherings remains at a maximum of 25 people for all communities.
  • Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 50 people for all communities.
  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will have a limit of 50 people in Step I communities, and a limit of 100 people in lower risk, Step II communities.

We will be sharing the updates to the industry specific guidance and protocols for a range of Phase 1, 2, and 3 businesses as the administration issues them.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Family Fact Sheet, Part 3 of 3

9/29/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) continues to publish guidance for schools and districts. The following highlights the guidance for schools administrators and districts to use as they work with families to help students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) recover as much as possible from the school disruptions that occurred because of COVID-19. To view the documentation in full You can find the guidance here: Mass DESE COVID-19 Resources.

This Fact Sheet summarizes the main points in DESE’s guidance for families. DESE encourages families to keep in touch with your child’s educators and administrators, and to talk about what the new guidance means for you and your child. If you belong to your local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), you can also collaborate with your school and district to plan and put in place policies and practices that will help all students with IEPs, in addition to your own child.

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Your Child’s Right To Implementation Of Their IEP And A Free And Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

It is important for you to know that special education laws provide that every student with an IEP must have a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The U.S. Department of Education has made clear that students with IEPs must receive FAPE even during the pandemic. However, FAPE may look different because of COVID-19. For example, to protect the health and safety of students and their educators, when schools were closed in the spring your child probably received special education instruction and services by using a computer or phone, instead of being in a classroom.

You Wanted Your School To Conduct Special Needs Testing, But The Process Was Impacted By COVID-19

When school buildings unexpectedly closed because of the pandemic, schools were unable to assess students in person. This was true for students of any age, whether in pre-school or older. Going forward, districts must complete evaluations to determine the need for special education services as soon as possible, and talk with you about how best to meet the timelines for testing and holding IEP meetings so that you know whether your child is eligible, and so that students receive the services they need.

If the evaluation shows that your child is eligible for special education services, the IEP Team will develop an IEP for your child. As you and the other members of the IEP Team discuss your child’s needs during the IEP meeting, one decision you will make together is whether your child will need COVID-19 Compensatory Services because of the delays in testing and holding an IEP meeting. This is true for all students newly eligible for special education services whose eligibility determination was delayed due to the pandemic, including young children referred by Early Intervention.

Your Child Has Moved From One District To Another Or Is Attending A New Charter or Vocational/Technical School

If your child will attend a district, charter school, or vocational technical school in school year 2020-21 that is different from the district or school they attended in Spring 2020, then the new district or school is responsible for convening the IEP Team to decide whether your child needs COVID-19 Compensatory Services and/or New IEP Services. The new district or school might invite a representative from your former district or school to attend, because the former districts will pay for COVID-19 Compensatory Services.

Your Child Attends A Collaborative Or Approved Special Education School

If your child is in an out-of-district placement, the district responsible for your child’s special education program will convene an IEP meeting. The district will work with the collaborative or the approved special education school to make sure the Team has all the information it needs to consider whether your child needs COVID-19 Compensatory Services or New IEP Services.

Your district should include a representative of the collaborative or approved special education school in any planning conversations even if you decide not to convene an IEP meeting and instead discuss your child’s needs with an administrator.

Your Child Is Or Will Be 22 Years Old Between March 17 And December 23, 2020

If your child is turning 22 by December 23rd or turned 22 when school buildings were closed, you and the other members of the IEP team can work together to make your child’s transition to adult life as smooth as possible. DESE’s guidance indicates that it will be important to convene an IEP meeting, even if your child’s 22nd birthday has already passed, if:

  1. Your child was unable to access services during the unexpected suspension of in-person education.
  2. Your child regressed or failed to make effective progress during remote learning.
  3. Your child has significant difficulty with transitions and changes in routine, and there is concern that the suspension of in-person education will result in an unduly challenging move to adult agency services if no additional school services are provided.
  4. No connections, or minimal attempts at connections, have been made to relevant adult agencies such as the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Department of Developmental Services, or the Department of Mental Health.
  5. You and your child have been unable to follow through on identified transitional services with adult agencies because of COVID-19, or the adult agency(ies) have been unable to follow through with you because of COVID-19.
  6. Your child had been expected to fulfill the requirements for the competency determination by their 22nd birthday but was unable to do so because in-person education was suspended.

If your child is over age 14, your child will be invited to attend the IEP meeting as well. If they will be receiving services from an adult agency, the district will invite a representative from that agency to attend, too. It’s important that school staff and agency staff communicate and collaborate with you to help your child.

At the meeting, you, your child, and the other IEP Team members will keep your child’s transition needs and plans for adult life in mind when considering whether your child needs COVID-19 Compensatory Services.

Keep in mind that you also have the option to not request an IEP meeting, if you feel that your child’s needs can be met through an informal meeting as described above in this Fact Sheet, or if you feel that your child has already successfully transitioned to adult life and has no more need of school services.

Legal rights

If you are interested in learning more about your and your child’s rights, please see the Parent's Notice of Procedural Safeguards

Questions About DESE’s Guidance

For questions related to this Fact Sheet please contact DESE’s

Problem Resolution Office at 781-338-3700 or compliance@doe.mass.edu

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Family Fact Sheet, Part 2 of 3

9/28/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) continues to publish guidance for schools and districts. The following highlights the guidance for schools administrators and districts to use as they work with families to help students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) recover as much as possible from the school disruptions that occurred because of COVID-19. To view the documentation in full You can find the guidance here: Mass DESE COVID-19 Resources.

This Fact Sheet summarizes the main points in DESE’s guidance for families. DESE encourages families to keep in touch with your child’s educators and administrators, and to talk about what the new guidance means for you and your child. If you belong to your local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), you can also collaborate with your school and district to plan and put in place policies and practices that will help all students with IEPs, in addition to your own child.

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Your Child’s Right To Implementation Of Their IEP And A Free And Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

It is important for you to know that special education laws provide that every student with an IEP must have a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The U.S. Department of Education has made clear that students with IEPs must receive FAPE even during the pandemic. However, FAPE may look different because of COVID-19. For example, to protect the health and safety of students and their educators, when schools were closed in the spring your child probably received special education instruction and services by using a computer or phone, instead of being in a classroom.

Starting With Data

All decisions about the COVID-19 Compensatory Services your child may need must be individualized and based on information and data. Because your child has spent several months in your full-time company, schools and districts should prioritize collecting data and information from you. You can give your school partners important information about your child’s access to learning, engagement, attention, behavior, progress, skills, home experiences, and the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on them. The Team needs to learn from you whether your child had difficulty accessing services remotely because of their disability, because of problems with the Internet or computer devices, because your child needed to have an interpreter or materials translated, or for any other reason.

After your child’s IEP Team (which includes you)looks at all of the information and data on your child’s progress toward meeting IEP goals, the Team will determine whether your child needs these services and supports.

Deciding What Support Your Child Needs

DESE recommends that you and the other members of the IEP Team use questions like these to guide your conversations during the Team meeting. Not necessarily all of them will need to be asked and answered to decide whether your child needs COVID-19 Compensatory Services.

  1. Were some services on your child’s IEP not offered? Were there services on the IEP that your child did not access remotely when in-person education was suspended?
  2. Did your child lose any skills?
  3. Did your child fail to make effective progress toward achieving their IEP goals?
  4. Did your child fail to make effective progress in the general curriculum?
  5. Does your child need additional supports and/or services temporarily to help recover from the time they did not access services remotely?
  6. What kinds of General Education Recovery Supports will your school or district offer? Will the General Education Recovery Support be enough to help your child regain skills and knowledge that were affected when in-person education was postponed because of COVID-19?
  7. Will your child need COVID-19 Compensatory Services? What kinds? How much? It is important to note that these services may not be the exact same number of IEP service hours they missed; however, the services must address your child’s individual needs. The goal of COVID-19 Compensatory Services is to help your child recover from educational disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. You and the other members of the IEP team will discuss which services will be necessary to do that.
  8. Will your child need new IEP Services? What kinds? How much? You may decide with your school partners that your child needs a re-evaluation or a new testing if your child has not yet been tested in the new area of suspected disability.

Having An IEP Team Meeting Or Talking To The District Without Convening The IEP Team

There are two ways that you and the school district can discuss and decide whether your child needs COVID-19 Compensatory Services. The first is having an IEP meeting. The meeting can be with the full IEP Team, or if you decide that it’s not necessary to have an IEP meeting with everybody on the Team, you can meet with only some Team members. For example, you might feel that as long as you have your child’s written math assessment, you don’t need to speak with your child’s math teacher, even though that teacher would normally attend at Team meeting. The school needs to have your permission to have an IEP meeting without the usual members present.

Another option is for you and the school district together to choose not to convene an IEP meeting and discuss your child’s need for COVID-19 Compensatory Services with your school more informally. In this case, you may feel that your child’s needs can be met fully and efficiently by talking informally with your school. It is the parent’s choice whether to skip the IEP meeting and instead discuss their child’s need for COVID-19 Compensatory Services with an administrator. If you decide that an IEP meeting is unnecessary, your district will document this with you in writing. Any decision about services or supports will also be documented in writing by the district as is explained below.

Documenting The Support Your Child Needs

The different kinds of support your child needs can be documented in different ways.

  1. All children can use the General Education Recovery Support offered by their school. Schools and districts are not required to write down and give you a list of the general education recovery support your child will receive, but it is a good idea to talk about these services with your child’s IEP Team. If you have questions about general education recovery support, it is a good idea to reach out to your child’s teacher or the school principal to find out more about how the school is helping all students return to learning this fall.
  2. If you and the other members of your child’s IEP team agree at an IEP meeting or through an informal meeting that your child needs COVID-19 Compensatory Services, the district must write down the type and amount of service(s), how often the service(s) will happen and for how long, and how your child’s progress will be monitored, and whether transportation is needed in order to access those services. The district should use DESE’s form, Notice of Proposed School District Action/N1, or meeting notes, and give you a copy in your home language.

During the current school year, your child might receive COVID-19 Compensatory Services in person or remotely.

  1. Any New IEP Services needed because your child has new disability-related needs will be documented on the IEP form or IEP Amendment Form.

Included in Part 3 - Testing, Moving From Districts, Attending A Collaborative, and If Your Child Is The Age Of 22.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Family Fact Sheet, Part 1 of 3

9/25/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) continues to publish guidance for schools and districts. The following highlights the guidance for schools administrators and districts to use as they work with families to help students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) recover as much as possible from the school disruptions that occurred because of COVID-19. To view the documentation in full You can find the guidance here: Mass DESE COVID-19 Resources.

This Fact Sheet summarizes the main points in DESE’s guidance for families. DESE encourages families to keep in touch with your child’s educators and administrators, and to talk about what the new guidance means for you and your child. If you belong to your local Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC), you can also collaborate with your school and district to plan and put in place policies and practices that will help all students with IEPs, in addition to your own child.

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Your Child’s Right To Implementation Of Their IEP And A Free And Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

It is important for you to know that special education laws provide that every student with an IEP must have a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The U.S. Department of Education has made clear that students with IEPs must receive FAPE even during the pandemic. However, FAPE may look different because of COVID-19. For example, to protect the health and safety of students and their educators, when schools were closed in the spring your child probably received special education instruction and services by using a computer or phone, instead of being in a classroom.

Definitions

In its guidance to schools and districts, DESE defined three kinds of services to help students with IEPs recover from school disruptions caused by the pandemic when the Governor ordered that in-person education was stopped, beginning in March 2020:

General Education Recovery Support

This is support that schools and districts may give to all students, including students with IEPs, to help them regain the skills and knowledge they lost when in-person instruction was suspended in the spring because of the pandemic, and to help them be well emotionally and socially.

COVID-19 Compensatory Services

These are special education instruction and services provided in addition to your child’s ongoing IEP services. If your child regressed or did not make effective progress in meeting their IEP goals because of the pandemic, these services will specifically address the effects of delayed, interrupted, suspended, or inaccessible IEP services.

New IEP Services

Your child may need additional special education services to address new areas of disability-related need. If so, these are called “New IEP Services” and your child’s IEP Team will discuss and include these new services in your child’s IEP.

Prioritizing students

While all students’ education was affected by the sudden shift to remote instruction and service delivery, some students with IEPs experienced more significant challenges than others. DESE is asking schools and districts to prioritize specific students when determining the need for these services. These specific groups of students are:

  1. Students with complex and significant needs:
    1. students already identified as “high needs” through the IEP process on the form entitled “Primary Disability/Level of Need-PL 3.”What a student’s level of need is depends on (1) where the student receives services (in or out of the general education classroom); (2) whether services are provided by general educators, special educators, paraprofessionals, or related service providers; and (3) the percent of time during the school day that the student receives special education services.
    2. students who could not engage in remote learning due to their disability-related needs or lack of technology;
    3. students who primarily use aided and augmentative communication (AAC);
    4. students who are homeless;
    5. students in foster care or congregate care; and
    6. students dually identified as English Learners;
  2. Preschool-aged children whose eligibility evaluations or start of preschool special education services have been delayed or interrupted; and
  3. Students who turned 22 during the suspension of in-person education or who will turn 22 during the first three months of the 2020-21 school year, and whose transition programs were interrupted or suspended before they aged out.

The Department has recommended that parents and the IEP Team work together to make decisions about COVID-19 Compensatory Services for students in these high priority groups by December 15, 2020.

For students who are not in the high priority groups, school staff will take some time to observe your child to see how they are adjusting to the new educational environment this fall. They will also review data and communicate with you about your child’s learning and emotional needs.Schools and districts will work with you to make sure your child has the services and supports they need.

Included in Part 2 - Starting Data, Deciding Appropriate Support Level, How To Meet During COVID-19, and Supporting Documentation

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Guidance For Student Groups And Events

9/24/2020 (Permalink)

As the Commonwealth, School Districts and local communities continue to manage the ever-changing pandemic environment and create some semblance of normalcy for our children it is important to understand how the need for safety impacts student groups and events. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has issued guidance to help school districts and parents to navigate these uncharted waters. Below are excerpts from the DESE's recommendations. To view recommendations in their entirety click here.  

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Guidance For Student Groups and School Events For School Year 2020-2021

According to the Massachusetts DESE’s and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs the following guidance is intended to aid districts and schools in planning for the possible need to mixing of cohorts and school events that may require additional safety considerations.

Student activities provide important opportunities to develop leadership and teamwork skills, engage in new experiences, and serve their community. We strongly encourage schools and districts to continue providing these opportunities to students this fall. Adaptations to these activities, however, are necessary to support the safety of students and staff.

Specifically, this guidance covers:

  1. Student activities before and after school
    • Non-athletic student groups
    • Non-athletic interschool competitions
    • Volunteering
  2. Gatherings with outside participants
  3. Leaving school grounds

Note: As the DESE continues to monitor COVID-19 trends and the latest medical research the need to amend these guidelines may arise. Districts and schools should also reference the extensive reopening guidance issued by DESE for more information on core health and safety practices that schools must adopt this fall.

Specific guidance by type of activity

Non-Athletic Student Groups

Non-athletic student group meetings are likely to involve increased mixing between student cohorts. This may be more relevant for elementary students, who likely will have stricter cohorts. Whenever feasible and to the maximum extent possible, these meetings should be held virtually.

For in-person meetings, we recommend the following guidelines:

  1. Group meetings should be supervised by staff and must abide by DESE’s core health and safety guidelines (including masks, physical distance, frequent handwashing).
  2. Groups that work collaboratively (e.g., student newspaper, yearbook) should abide by the shared equipment guidance previously released in the Guidance for Courses Requiring Additional Safety Considerations During School Year 2020-2021.
  3. Group sizes should be reduced and work organized into cohorts to the extent feasible.

Non-Athletic Inter-school Competitions

Whenever feasible and to the maximum extent possible, inter-school competitions should be held virtually. There are online resources to support these virtual interactions. In-person interschool competitions are permitted if at least 6 feet of distance can be maintained between individuals and participants and attendees wear masks at all times.

  1. If an interschool competition is held in person, it must abide by the guidelines below for large gatherings and leaving school grounds.
  2. To the maximum extent feasible, interschool competitions should:
    • Not share equipment
    • Be held outdoors, if possible
    • Shorten events or reduce participants
    • Incorporate protective equipment in a safe manner to further reduce spread of respiratory particles

Volunteering

  1. Any volunteer activities must abide by DESE’s core health and safety guidelines (including masks, physical distance, frequent handwashing).
  2. Consider volunteer activities that are outdoors and do not require person-to-person interaction (e.g., planting flowers in a park).
  3. Consider virtual volunteer service (e.g., younger student mentor program, pen pals).

General guidance for gatherings with outside participants or leaving school grounds

Gatherings of 10 or More That Include Outside Participants

Whenever feasible and to the maximum extent possible, these gatherings should be moved online. Online events can be held where all participants are virtual, or where students and staff are in person, but audiences are virtual.

In-person gatherings (such as events and performances) should be discouraged and must abide by the following safety requirements. Only essential, student-centered events should be held in person, such as student group activities or inter-school competitions. 

Gatherings of 10 or more that include outside participants, such as in-person events, inter-school competitions, and field trips, typically involve families and others outside of the school community, including people who may be in higher risk groups. As a result, it is important to put in place additional safety considerations.

  1. Whenever feasible and to the maximum extent possible, hold all events or competitions outdoors.
  2. Masks are required except when unsafe due to age, medical condition, or disability.
  3. All participants must maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from every other participant in the gathering, aside from participants who are members of the same household. Additional physical distancing requirements for specific activities can be found in DESE’s Guidance for Courses Requiring Additional Safety Considerations During School Year 2020-2021.
  4. Limit attendees to the extent feasible:
    • Indoor gatherings are limited to 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible, indoor floor space and never more than 25 persons in a single, enclosed indoor space.
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 percent of the maximum permitted occupancy of the facility or space, or 8 persons per 1,000 square feet if no occupancy limitation is on record, and never more than 50 persons in a single outdoor space.
  5. For outdoor performances involving singing or brass or wind instruments, there must be at least 25 feet of distance between performers and the first row of the audience.
  6. Indoor performances, including theater, band, or orchestra, are not permitted at this time, but may be in the future in accordance with state guidelines.
  7. Attendees should be informed in the weeks leading up to and including the day of the event, and at the entrance to the event, that they must not attend if they are feeling unwell or showing any symptoms of COVID-19.
  8. Consider scheduling multiple events, if needed, to allow for physical distancing.
  9. If the event is ticketed, tickets should be sold online in advance, if possible. Consider touchless payment for in-person ticket sales,and use handwashing before and after transactions.
  10. Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic in order to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to shows, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies.
  11. Encourage the use of electronic versions or no-touch displays in place of commonly touched physical materials (such as programs or playbills) where possible. All commonly touched physical materials must be discarded or sanitized between use.
  12. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible, and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol may be used as an alternative.

Leaving School Grounds

Whenever feasible and to the maximum extent possible, consider virtual alternatives to leaving school grounds. Generally, it is not recommended to hold organized school trips leaving school grounds.

However, the risk level of leaving school grounds depends on the type of activity and transportation for the trip. All trips leaving school grounds must comply with all health and safety guidance, including physical distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and sanitation.

  1. If a school trip includes walking or a brief ride that abides by transportation guidelines, takes place where significant interaction with the public is not expected, and abides by the health and safety guidelines, it is permitted. For example, students may walk to a nearby park to observe plant and animal life during science class.
  2. If a school trip includes a long bus ride (more than three hours one way), results in close interaction with additional people (e.g., within 6 feet of outside chaperones or the public), or cannot abide by the health and safety guidelines, it is not permitted.
  3. Field trips can pose an additional risk due to the need to travel offsite and the need for additional chaperones. Ideally, all field trips should be held virtually.
  4. Out of state travel is not recommended. If an out of state trip occurs, it must abide by the state COVID-19 travel order.

Consider how to adjust open campus policies (i.e., when older students are permitted to leave school campus during the school day) to better support health and safety guidelines, such as ensuring students follow health and safety guidelines upon entering or re-entering school.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE - Update to the Child Nutrition Program Waiver

9/23/2020 (Permalink)

The following is an update which was released yesterday, September 22, 2020, by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education regarding the Child Nutrition Program. To view the update in its entirety click here.

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

On June 25, 2020 MA DESE Commissioner Jeffrey Riley announced school reopening guidance that created school opening options for MA school districts. Schools may start the year with full remote learning, hybrid remote and in person learning or full in person learning. School districts are required to submit to MA DESE a plan for all three options to be used at any point during the school year. The continuum of fall reopening models has created historic uncertainty for students, families, and schools. It is unclear how many schools will reopen in September with full remote learning and for how long.

Specific Program Requirements To Be Waived 

The State agency is requesting to waive the requirement that children must be present with parents or guardians in order for children to receive FFVP during COVID-19 that was included in the USDA FNS Q&A SP12-2020 under question 4 released on April 9, 2020.

Food Pick Up

Elementary schools offering FFVP foods in a non-congregate setting may not provide these foods to parents or guardians unless they are accompanied by their child(ren). Section 19(b) of the NSLA requires schools participating in the FFVP to make fresh fruits and vegetables available “to students.” Because the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127) did not include FFVP as a “qualified program,” the nationwide waiver allowing parents to pick up meals for children at non-congregate sites does not apply to FFVP.

Alternative Procedures And Anticipated Impact On Program Operations

If approved, the State agency will allow SFAs who are offering remote learning services to continue to utilize their FFVP grant funds by purchasing additional fruits and vegetables to be provided to children with the Child Nutrition Program meals. The funds will not be used to purchase components of the unitized meal. FFVP funds will continue to be used to purchase additional fresh fruits and vegetables to increase student exposure to these foods. SFAs will be instructed to follow the same food safety procedures they are currently using. 

The State agency will continue to monitor FFVP reimbursement requests to ensure that the purchases and administrative costs are appropriate to the Program.  There are no impacts on technology, State systems, or monitoring.

State Regulatory Barriers

There are currently no State level regulatory barriers related to this specific issue.

Anticipated Challenges 

MA DESE does not anticipate that the implementation of this waiver will pose any challenges at the State or sponsor level since the sponsoring organizations are currently distributing remote meals successfully to parents under SFSP/SSO. Alternatively, high needs children will continue to benefit from increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables and schools can use already encumbered resources.

Proposed Monitoring

MA DESE will continue to closely monitor program operators and sites during the application and administrative review process.  All aspects of operation will be reviewed according to regulations and guidance. MA DESE will require corrective action as necessary to ensure Program integrity. 

Proposed Reporting 

No later than September 30, 2021, the MA DESE will report to USDA the number of sponsors, sites and overall impact of this waiver.

Link to a copy of the notice of the waiver;

Waiver

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury today for a free consultation - (781) 769-9125.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Norwood/West Roxbury want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ From The Commissioner's Desk

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

As schools reopen, common questions continue to arise from district and school leaders on how to implement the guidance that the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education issued over the summer. The DESE will continue to issue an intermittent FAQ, developed in collaboration with the Department of Public Health, regarding these questions. The information below provides further clarifications on the following topics: when to consider suspending in-person instruction, whether alternative diagnoses can negate the need for a COVID test, guidance for safely hosting ACT or SAT tests, and mask usage. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How do we know if we need to suspend in-person learning for our school or district?

There is no one threshold or metric that indicates a school or district should suspend in-person learning. District and school leaders can work closely with DESE’s COVID Reporting Unit (781-338-3500) when there is a positive case in their district to determine the appropriate next steps. These next steps can include implementing existing DESE protocols to notify close contacts for testing and isolation, conferring with local public health and/or the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to determine if transmission is occurring in the class or school, or seeking advice on whether to suspend in-person learning for that class, grade, or school. It is important to note that these decisions need to be made based on local context, occur in collaboration with DESE and the local board of health, and may be based on the following factors:

  1. If there is a need for an extensive cleaning of the building or other facility mitigation
  2. If the mobile testing unit results, or other test results, suggest widespread transmission is occurring
  3. If there are widespread absences among students and staff due to illness
  4. If the school is in a district reported as “red” on the DPH health metric for the past three weeks, and risk of transmission to students and/or staff is increased

The school department and the local board of health may have other local factors that are important to consider when making this decision.

2) Does a symptomatic child with an alternative diagnosis, such as a strep throat, still need a COVID test before returning to school?

In order to protect schools from the introduction of COVID, testing of symptomatic individuals should be the default practice. Students with acute onset of new symptoms (especially respiratory symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) or fever should almost always receive a negative COVID test before returning to school. Health care providers have clinical discretion to consider chronic illnesses or symptoms such as headache and abdominal or gastrointestinal symptoms and use clinical judgment to defer testing when an alternative cause is firmly established.

3) Can schools host SAT and ACT tests?

Districts and school leaders have asked questions on how to safely administer SAT and ACT tests during the 2020-2021 school year, especially as many students were not able to take these tests as anticipated last spring. As long as the testing is sponsored by or administered by the school or district, this testing can occur in alignment if DESE health and safety guidelines for gatherings with outside participants (available hereare followed. Key health and safety requirements for gatherings with outside participants include maintaining at least six feet of distance between individuals, wearing masks at all times, proper hand hygiene, and a capacity limitation of 8 persons per 1,000 square feet and never more than 25 individuals in a single, enclosed indoor space.

4) What masks are recommended?

DESE has received a number of queries on the recommended types of masks from educators. Masks should cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face. Masks should be secured with ties or ear loops and include multiple layers of fabric. If students are not able to wear a mask due to medical, behavioral, or other challenges, they may consider wearing a face shield. Transparent masks may be the best option for both teachers and students in classes for deaf and hard of hearing students. They may also be useful for teachers and younger students who rely on visual or facial cues.

5) How can masks be safely removed?

When putting on and taking off a mask, do not touch the front of it. Only handle the ties or ear loops. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after removing a mask, and before putting on a mask. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing the mask. Masks should be placed on napkins or paper towels (with the inside face up) when removed for meals or mask breaks. Masks should be washed regularly. More information on how to wash masks can be found visiting the CDC website or clicking here.

6) How should mask breaks be conducted?

It is recommended that students have at least two mask breaks per day (e.g. mealtime and recess). As it is recommended that students younger than second grade wear masks, it is important to note that they may need additional mask breaks during the day. Mask breaks should be held outdoors, if feasible. Students must be at least 6 feet apart during mask breaks. Hand washing facilities or hand sanitizer must be available when entering and leaving this space. Students should remove masks as outlined above.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 40-44

9/18/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

Strategies for Engaging Families

40) In what ways is family engagement important to focus on at this time? 


Family engagement is crucial for the healthy growth of children and youth. Quality family engagement has a lasting effect on a child’s social-emotional health as well as school readiness and academic success.

Research shows that families want their children to do well and that they believe school is important. Partnering with families improves students’ grades and motivation, helps student academic achievement. Partnering with families also helps teachers learn more about students' needs, which is information they can apply toward better meeting those needs. Engaging families can be done through phone calls, emails, texts and web-based activities. 

41) What should we focus on to strengthen family engagement as schools reopen?

One of the first steps is to build partnerships with families. It will be important to continue to build and strengthen your relationships with families during the school reopening process. Building relationships encourages fundamental practices that include but are not limited to:

  1. Recognizing and respecting the uniqueness of each family,
  2. Keeping families and youth voices and perspectives at the center, and
  3. Planning and implementing activities with families and youth and not for families and youth.

42) How do we build a partnership with families?

  1. Talk with families using clear language.
  2. Communicate in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.
  3. Make sure to limit educational jargon and consider the translation needs of the family.
  4. Be honest in your conversation. If you do not know an answer to a question, you can let the family know that you will get back to them.
    • Be sure to follow up with the family.
  5. Discuss concerns and offer suggestions, supports and resources.
  6. Plan next steps together.

43) What are strategies we can use to build relationships with families during the school reopening process?

Schools and community organizations play a crucial role in establishing and strengthening shared connections with families. the Department has developed STRENGTHENING PARTNERSHIPS: A Framework for Prenatal through Young Adulthood Family Engagement in Massachusetts.  Five Guiding Principles form the basis of this Framework and provide a foundation for creating, within systems and organizations, a culture that values and thrives on family engagement.

  1. Each family is unique, and all families represent diverse structures.
  2. Acknowledging and accepting the need to engage all families is essential for successful engagement of diverse families and includes recognizing the strengths that come from their diverse backgrounds.
  3. Building a respectful, trusting, and reciprocal relationship is a shared responsibility of families, practitioners, organizations, and systems.
  4. Families are their child’s first and best advocate.
  5. Family engagement must be equitable.

The Flamboyan Foundation has developed strategies to build relationships and partnerships with families:

  1. Be Authentic
  2. Center on the student
  3. Learn and focus on what is important to the family
  4. Offer frequent and consistent communication
  5. Reach out to all families

44)  Are there resources available to help build relationships with families during the school reopening process?

There are many resources that provide ideas and strategies for building relationships with families. You can also work with your Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) to be part of the process of strengthening Family Engagement.When building relationships with families, please consider that some parents/guardians are limited English proficient and may need translations or interpretations to be able to effectively engage in this collaborative work.

You may find the following resources helpful now and in the future:

  1. The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN) provides resources and trainings for families and educators and has focused their work to address the school reopening process
  2. Massachusetts Prenatal through Young Adult Family Engagement Framework
  3. Massachusetts Family, School, and Community Partnership Fundamentals (the Fundamentals)
  4. Family and Community Engagement Requirements of ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act)

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 36-39

9/17/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

36) Will districts continue to receive referrals to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)? 

Yes, districts should continue to accept referrals from families, caregivers, and Early Intervention (EI) programs, in accordance with Child Find requirements. EI programs will refer all children who are potentially eligible for ECSE and who will be turning 3. EI regulations require the EI program to make referrals at least 90 days before the child’s third birthday.

37) Do districts need to complete the eligibility process for children referred from EI? 

Districts must accept and act on referrals from EI providers. This includes attending the virtual Transition Planning Conference (TPC), reviewing existing and EI assessments, and conducting an evaluation of the child to determine if the child is eligible for special education services.

For districts that were unable to complete the eligibility process without a face-to-face assessment, an extension of EI services was made available for children who turned 3 between March 15, 2020 and August 31, 2020. For those students, EI services can continue until special education eligibility determination can be completed and the child has transitioned to special education, or until October 15, 2020. Because many districts may have been unable to conduct evaluations, convene IEP meetings, and initiate services by the child’s third birthday, and children may have been supported through this extension of EI services, districts can expect an increased number of children for whom they need to complete the eligibility determination process and an increased number of children needing special education services. District leaders should be prepared to complete the transition process, have completed assessments, and an IEP signed for this group of students by October 15, 2020.

38) How can schools and districts complete the eligibility process for young children if they cannot complete a face-to-face assessment?

Schools and districts are encouraged to consider any and all evaluation information that is already available, and conduct additional assessments that are needed, as appropriate for the child under consideration.Schools and districts should make a decision regarding the feasibility of completing the eligibility determination process on an individual basis. Use the following guide for each child to determine if the eligibility process can be completed. See above for further guidance related to assessments.

For some young children, face-to-face assessments will be necessary to determine eligibility. If assessments cannot be completed, and the child has been identified as potentially eligible for ECSE by Early Intervention providers, the following special considerations should be discussed with families:

  1. Provide learning opportunities in general education preschool, if available.
  2. Consult with Regional Consultation Program (RCP) specialists to provide resources to families and/or schools and districts.
  3. Connect with Coordinated Family and Community Engagement (CFCE) grantees for families to receive supports and remote playgroup opportunities.
  4. Collaborate with local EI programs on how to support the transition. With concurrence from the family, EI programs may complete additional assessments that may facilitate the process for determining eligibility. The EI program may request a waiver from the DPH to support and prepare the family for the transition. The waiver is not intended for the continuation of Individuals Family Service Plan (IFSP) services after the child’s third birthday.

39) What are the service options for children who are transitioning from EI to ECSE?

After eligibility is determined, there are options for the provision of services.

  1. IEP teams can decide to:
    1. Continue the IFSP for one year after the child is found eligible for ECSE. Services are considered Part B services and are provided by local schools and districts.
    2. Contract with EI providers to provide services and to support EC transition.
  2. Write an IEP
    1. Your staff can provide services, or
    2. District, and EI staff can collaboratively provide services to support EC transition.
  3. Write a partial IEP and conduct an extended evaluation.

Additional resources are available from the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), including information about eligibility determinations and transitions.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 31-35

9/16/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) Information

31) How should schools and districts communicate with and send documents to the BSEA? 

During the COVID-19 crisis, the BSEA is maintaining minimal staff onsite. Therefore,administrative tasks that are not governed by timelines may take longer to fulfill (e.g., processing rejected IEPs). With regard to notice of rejected IEPs, if mailing or faxing documents is not feasible, notice of rejected IEPs can now be sent via email to BSEA at BSEArejectedIEPs@mass.gov. By contrast, hearing requests must still be faxed or sent via U.S. mail.

Consistent with BSEA Standing Order 20-02C, to ensure timely receipt of submissions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hearing Officers and Mediators may permit the submission of correspondence and documents electronically, in addition to paper filing (via fax or regular mail). Electronic submissions to BSEA must be simultaneously copied to all other parties. All hearing requests must be submitted via mail, fax, or hand delivery.

32) Can parties obtain an extension of due process hearing timelines?

While the IDEA provides that a final decision on a due process complaint must be issued not later than 45 days after the expiration of the 30-day resolution period, a hearing officer can grant an extension of time beyond the required timelines at the request of either party for good cause. The COVID-19 emergency does not per se constitute good cause; the hearing officer will make a case by case determination on requests for extension including considerations that may be COVID-19 related.

33) Are BSEA proceedings, including mediations, occurring remotely or in person?


Effective March 15, 2020, and consistent with BSEA Standing Order 20-01C, the BSEA is conducting all proceedings remotely/virtually until further notice. This includes mediations, facilitated IEP meetings, settlement conferences, pre-hearing conferences, and hearings.The BSEA will contact parties as the date of the scheduled proceeding approaches to make necessary arrangements. Any request for change of date, location, or medium for holding due process hearings will continue to be considered on a case by case basis by the hearing officer.

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

34) Do schools and districts need to complete developmental screenings as outlined in 603 CMR 28.03(1)(d)?


Yes. Schools and districts are required to complete Preschool Screenings for three and four-year-old children and for all children who are of age to enter kindergarten. Such screening shall be designed to review a child's development and to assist in identification of those children who should be referred for an evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services. The Department recognizes that schools and districts are conducting virtual interviews with families and caregivers to begin gathering information until in-person screening can occur, using current health and safety requirements.

35) Is there any specific guidance for submission of Child Outcome Summary (COS)/Indicator 7 data?

Data collection schedules and school or district cohort assignments are unchanged for Indicator 7/Early Childhood COS. Data for the COS will continue to be collected using the data collection schedule and cohort assignments. Schools and districts responsible for submitting COS data can expect to receive a letter by early October with information regarding data collection, timelines, and resources. 

As schools and districts are implementing their reopening plans, special education services and supports to students, ECSE programs can continue to report on each child’s outcomes for the COS. Meetings with team members to discuss progress and outcomes should be included in the planning process.

Additional resources for ECSE: 

Below are links to additional resources regarding special education and remote learning that may be helpful.

If you have concerns about the submission, please contact both;

Martha Daigle at Martha.S.Daigle@mass.gov  Carla Corina at corina.eval@outlook.com

to discuss individual circumstances.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 26-30

9/15/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

Out-of-District Placements and Approved Special Education Schools and Programs

26) How can residential programs for students with IEPs maintain health and safety during the COVID-19 outbreak? 

The health and safety of the students and employees in residential schools is of utmost concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.The Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) issued guidance, most recently updated on April 14, 2020, addressing the specific procedures and protocols for residential, congregate care, and shelter providers. This guidance includes background on COVID-19, protective measures, ways to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, cases and suspected cases in residents or employees, and information on testing, reporting COVID-19 cases, providing care to residents, personal protective equipment, deep cleaning, and monitoring the emotional health of employees. EOHHS will update this guidance as needed.

State and Federal Monitoring and Assistance

27) Will data submission timelines be enforced for Tiered Focused Monitoring activities and State Performance Plan/Annual Performance Report indicators?

Tiered Focused Monitoring

Due date for submission of the Public School Tiered Focused Monitoring self-assessments and Indicator data has been extended to October 30, 2020:

  • Special education self-assessment?
  • Civil rights self-assessment?
  • English learner education self-assessment?
  • Indicator data submission for Indicators 11, 12 & 13?

Contact Tim Gallagher at

Phone: 781-338-3717 Email: Timothy.Gallagher2@mass.gov 

with questions related to the special education self-assessment, civil rights self-assessment and Indicator data submission.

Contact Sibel Hughes at

Phone: 781-338-3569    Email: Sibel.Hughes@mass.gov

with questions related to the English learner education self-assessment.

Indicator 7

See section on Early Childhood Special Education Services section for more information.

Indicator 14

Deadlines for Indicator 14 data submission have changed this year. The submission date is November 16, 2020. Schools and districts in Cohort 2 will use an online survey to learn about the further education and employment outcomes of their former students with IEPs. In July, the Department emailed all Cohort 2 special education administrators with detailed instructions for this year’s Indicator 14 data collection. For additional information, please contact Amanda Green at 781-338-3368 or Amanda.C.Green@mass.gov.

28) Will data submission timelines be enforced for program and mid-cycle reviews for collaboratives and approved special education day and residential programs in WBMS? 

Self-assessments for the 2020-2021 WBMS data submission for collaboratives and approved special education day and residential programs are due on August 24, 2020. Please contact Jannelle Roberts at:

Jannelle.K.Roberts@mass.gov

with questions or to discuss the individual circumstances of your collaborative or approved special education school if an extension is necessary.

29) Given the COVID-19 situation, can the period of availability for IDEA Part B grant funds be extended?

The U.S. Department of Education has approved Massachusetts’ waiver request for the extension to obligate IDEA FY19 funds.This means that FY19 IDEA funds (fund codes 240 & 262) set to expire on September 30, 2020 can now be used until September 30, 2021. If a school or district has any unexpended FY19 fund code 240 &fund code 262 funds, the Department urges the school or district to continue to spend down these funds first. If the district still has unexpended FY19 funds and would like to continue to use the funds until September 30, 2021, the Department’s Grants Management Office will automatically handle the obligation period adjustments for the school or district. Schools and districts do not need to take any extra steps to secure this additional time. Schools and districts may contact the Federal Grant Programs office with any questions at 

federalgrantprograms@doe.mass.edu. 

30) With the extended period of availability of funds, can the district have a second year (until September 30, 2021) to carry over any unspent FY19 proportionate share funds?

The extended period of availability of FY19 funds does not change the spending requirements and time frame in IDEA regarding the expenditure of a proportionate share of a district’s IDEA Part B funds on equitable services for parentally placed private school students with disabilities attending a private school located in the district, or eligible homeschool students. The district’s equitable services obligation must be spent in the year in which funds were appropriated or obligated during a carry-over period of one additional year. See Electronic Code of Federal Regulations 

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 20-25

9/11/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

IEP Meetings, Timelines, and Other Procedural Requirements

20) Can the Department offer flexibility to schools and districts on meeting procedural timelines?

On April 27, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education DeVos issued a report to Congress, declining to recommend waivers to the core tenets of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This means that IDEA procedural timelines remain in effect. The Department has issued guidance to schools and districts on this topic. For more information, see COVID Special Education Technical Advisory 2020-2.

21) A student’s IEP expired during the period when in-person instruction was suspended. Will the IEP still be in effect?

Yes. The current IEP will remain in effect until a new IEP is developed and accepted, irrespective of the expired date reflected in the IEP form.

22) If the annual review of a student’s IEP is due, or if an IEP Team determines an IEP meeting is needed, how should the district hold the meeting if an in-person meeting is not possible?

IDEA regulations contemplate that IEP meetings may be held via telephone and/or video conference. Districts should continue to convene IEP Team meetings using these alternative means of meeting participation, if necessary. To convene an IEP meeting using telephone or video conferencing, districts must ensure that all IEP Team members, particularly those whose participation is required under IDEA, have access to necessary technology and accommodations to allow remote participation. Rather than using personal telephone lines or cell phones, school and district personnel may choose to use a third-party platform. For limited English proficient parents, districts must also ensure that interpreters are provided for IEP Team meetings and translate documents, when appropriate.

If required members of the IEP Team are unable to attend, IDEA regulations provide that Team members can be excused with agreement from the family, if:

  1. The district and the family agree, in writing, that the attendance of the Team member is not necessary because the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed; or
  2. The district and the family agree, in writing, to excuse a required Team member’s participation and the excused member provides written input into the development of the IEP to the family and the IEP Team prior to the meeting.

23) Should schools continue to issue student Progress Reports?

Yes. Schools, districts, collaborative programs, and approved special education schools must continue to issue student Progress Reports at least as often as report cards or progress reports are provided for students without disabilities in accordance with Special Education Laws.Progress Reports can be sent to families in multiple ways, e.g., U.S. mail, email, student information systems, or online communication platforms, and must be translated for families if necessary.

24) Should schools continue to maintain student health records?

Yes. Even though not all schools maintain electronic health records, schools should continue to maintain nursing documentation per the Department of Public Health (DPH). Records can be maintained through paper logs and/or by entering calls into the Student Information Management System (SIMS). DPH understands that it may not be possible for nurses to transfer all paper logs into electronic systems and encourages retaining all paper logs.

25) Should schools continue to submit Chapter 688 referrals for secondary students with severe disabilities?

Yes. Schools must continue to submit Chapter 688 referrals via the Virtual Gateway. These referrals are essential so that adult agencies (Department of Developmental Services, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commissioner, Department of Mental Health, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, Department of Children and Families, and Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard or Hearing) can request the appropriate amount of funding from the legislature to serve students with IEPs who will turn 22 and are eligible for adult agency services. 688 referrals should be completed by the district two years before the student’s anticipated date of exit, but even late referrals are useful.

Districts should submit with the referral form, at a minimum, the student’s most recent IEP and three-year evaluation. Parent consent during this emergency can be in the form of wet signature or e-signature, email, or verbal consent documented in district staff notes. Questions about 688 filing or referral should be sent to:                     

Kathy Stern

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 15-19

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

Monitoring Student Progress

15) How can student progress be monitored during hybrid or remote learning?

Educators, service providers, parents/guardians, and students should review a student’s IEP to review the goals and objectives and identify the types of data that can be collected from the student, the family, and the home environment and develop a plan to collect ongoing data. Using the basic tenets of progress monitoring, school staff can reimagine their roles in a remote context, e.g., by using a tracking sheet to collect data from student videos, by interviewing parents/guardians and students, or by using assessments.

There are many resources to aid in this work, for example:

  1. The Texas Education Agency Phase 4 Remote Learning Plan Monitoring
  2. Student Progress Monitoring Tool for Data Collection and Graphing
  3. Measuring and Reporting Progress Toward Mastery of Annual Goals
  4. Data Collection During Distance Learning

Using Google Drive to Collect Data for IEP Goals

If parents/guardians are asked to assist with progress monitoring, please consider that some parents/guardians are limited English proficient and may need translations or interpretations to be able to effectively learn how to collect and communicate monitoring data to their school or district liaison.

16) How does the cancellation of the Spring 2020 administration of the MCAS impact competency determination requirements for students with IEPs who are anticipated to remain in secondary school until their 22nd birthday?

For general guidance on graduation for students with IEPs, please see the Department’s 2018 advisory, Secondary Transition Services and Graduation with a High School Diploma. Grade 12 students who were enrolled or received a certificate of attainment in March or End-of-Year SIMS and grade SP students who earned a certificate of attainment in End-of-Year SIMS are eligible to be considered for the modified competency determination (CD) if they have not yet passed one or more of the high school MCAS tests. Districts must certify the successful completion of at least one qualifying course via the ‘Competency Determination’ application in the DESE Security Portal, per instructions that have been shared with school or district administrators. The Security Portal application will be available through Friday, August 21, 2020. For further information, schools and districts should contact data@doe.mass.edu or visit DESE’s related guidance.

Schools and districts should also keep in mind that the MCAS appeals process is still available.

17) How does the cancellation of the Spring 2020 administration of the MCAS impact competency requirements for students with IEPs who do not meet the criteria referenced in the previous question?

For general guidance on graduation for students with IEPs, please see the Department’s 2018 advisory, Secondary Transition Services and Graduation with a High School Diploma. Schools and districts should also keep in mind that the MCAS appeals process is still available.

IEP Meetings, Timelines, and Other Procedural Requirements

18) Do schools need to make changes to the student’s IEP in order to provide services during a hybrid or remote model during the 2020-2021 school year?

No. It is not necessary to convene an IEP Team before providing learning opportunities and services to students with IEPs if a school or district is using a hybrid or remote model at the beginning of the school year. Additionally, it is not necessary to amend the IEP for the purpose of delivering hybrid or remote services. Please download the Special Education, Related Services, and Models of Learning for the Department’s recommendation for written documentation of modified in-person, hybrid, or remote instruction.

19) What should schools and districts do if a family does not respond to outreach or refuses services?

Schools and districts should make repeated and varied attempts to reach out and engage families. In these cases, schools and districts should document all attempts to engage with families. All communication should be in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.

If a parent/guardian does not accept services for their son/daughter, the school or district should ask that the parent/guardian document this refusal in writing. If the parent/guardian does not submit anything in writing, the school or district should also document a summary of the conversation or issue a letter summarizing the conversation to ensure clear communication

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Minimize Flood Damage To Your Property

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

A flood will cause significant damage to your Newton, MA commercial or residential property. However, when a flood is the result of sewer water backup or overflow the resulting damage can be hazardous to both, your property and health! Sewage water is a Category 3 biohazard that and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic, or other harmful agents all of which can pose serious health risks. That is why it is necessary to proper precautions and prevent sewage backup before it occurs.

Investing in upgrades for your drainage system will significantly mitigate the risk of flooding and sewer cleaning. Following these tips will minimize the risk of sewer water damage damage. There are 4 main devices that may work. Choose the option that best meets your property's needs:

The Back-Flow Prevention Valve

Also known as a backwater valve, this handy device reverses the flow of sewage to prevent the black water from flowing up into your basement.

The Overhead Sewer

This device is going to be a bit more costly than the others on this list. It works by collecting excess sewage and redirecting it into the building's main sewer line.

The Floor Drain Plug

On the other side of the coin is this neat little contraption. Floor drain plugs are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. They're installed directly beneath the drain and function by floating up to plug the drain hole when excess water begins to build. Once the water levels decrease, the drain is automatically unplugged.

The Standpipe

A standpipe is another device that works to redirect water flow, as opposed to blocking it. The pipe is installed sticking up out of the floor, hence the name. Any backup water that rises out of the drain is redirected into the pipe instead of flooding out onto the basement floor. If the water rises above the top of the standpipe, then the contraption won't work.

We’re Here for You

Sewage backup should not be treated like ordinary water damage. While preventative methods will reduce your risk, disaster may still strike. The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley have specialized training and experience in sewer damage cleanup. When a sewer water damages your commercial or residential property call the experts at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley, (617) 332-9000. We will make it "Like it never even happened."

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 9-14

9/9/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

9) What must schools and districts do to fulfill their responsibilities under IDEA equitable services?

IDEA equitable services requirements have not changed.Schools and districts remain responsible for all IDEA equitable services requirements, irrespective of whether the school or district is implementing an in-person, remote, or hybrid model of instruction and service delivery. Schools and districts should continue to engage in meaningful consultation with approved special education private school representatives and parents/guardians of parentally-placed private school students with disabilities, including parents/guardians of homeschool students, and include as part of consultation what, if any, changes in service delivery may be implemented in the new school year based on the instructional and service delivery model(s) implemented by the school or district.Consultation with the parents/guardians should be in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.If changes are made to students’ service delivery, schools and districts must include those changes in the service plans developed in collaboration with students’ parents/guardians. As part of consultation, schools and districts should also discuss whether any unspent FY 20 funds will be carried over into FY 21.  

10) Should a school or district continue to provide in-person services to students with disabilities that have been prioritized for in-person instruction if their districts have received a designation of "red" based on cases per 100,000?

If a district receives a red designation for a high average daily case rate in the Department of Public Health’s weekly update, the decision to continue to provide in-person instruction to vulnerable students (including those with disabilities, English learners, and students who have not engaged with remote learning) needs to be made at the local level. Solely receiving a red designation does not in any way automatically mean that all in-person services have to be discontinued. In fact, DESE recommends that districts continue to provide as much in-person instruction as possible to vulnerable students using the key safety protocols outlined in our reopening guidance.

11) Will all students with IEPs be eligible for compensatory services because of the disruption of in-person instruction and service delivery from March 17 until the end of the 2020-2021 school year?

Whether a student is entitled to receive compensatory services because of the suspension of in-person instruction in the spring due to COVID-19, is a fact-specific and individualized determination to be made by the IEP Team. The Department has issued guidance on this topic. For more information, see COVID-19 Special Education Technical Assistance Advisory 2021-1.

12) If a student is presenting with behavior that requires them to be physically restrained and a staff member must restrain the student, should the student continue to wear a mask?

Schools and districts are required to implement preventive and proactive behavioral supports and interventions to prevent the need for a physical restraint. The Department maintains a commitment to the reduction of physical restraint in schools and reminds schools and districts that all relevant regulatory procedures, as outlined in 603 CMR 46.00, must be followed prior to, during, and subsequent to any physical restraint. If a student does need to be physically restrained, a mask should not be on the face of the student. If the student was wearing a mask prior to being placed in a physical restraint, the mask should be removed as soon as is practical and safe. Students in physical restraints should not wear masks, regardless of the behaviors they are exhibiting because masks may restrict airflow, preventing staff from effectively monitoring the student’s breathing, and the mask might be inhaled or swallowed by the student.

13) May homeschool students receive special education services delivered by the school or district, pursuant to the IEP?

Yes. Homeschool plans must be reviewed and approved in advance by the school or district, including the special education portion of the plan. Schools and districts are responsible for providing special education services to homeschool students pursuant to the IEP. Services may be provided in-person or through remote learning; communication with families is essential for understanding how services will be provided.This communication should be in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.

Educational Resources

14) How can educators and administrators find resources to support remote and hybrid learning?

The Department has created and is continuously updating a spreadsheet with resources for educators and administrators, to assist them in their work with students and families.This spreadsheet can be found on the COVID-19 resources page of the Office of Special Education Planning and Policy Development (SEPP).

In addition, the Department provides information regarding special education guidance on the special education webpage. Other guidance issued by the Department can be found on the COVID-19 Guidance/On the Desktop Messages webpage.Nationally, USED has designated the National Center for Systemic Instruction (NCSI) as a resource hub for remotely-provided special education services and supports. NCSI’s resource library has been specifically created to share instructional resources and service delivery solutions.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 5-8

9/8/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

5) How can schools and districts notify and document the implementation of a student’s IEP if the delivery of services is different than described in the student’s IEP(i.e.,in circumstances where the school or district is providing services through an in-person, remote, or hybrid learning model that may look different than traditionally delivered due to COVID-19)?

Teachers or IEP liaisons should contact students’ parents/guardians as soon as possible to discuss how a given student’s IEP service will be delivered if different than described in the student’s IEP, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Using input from that discussion, teachers or liaisons must provide parents/guardians with written documentation containing specific information about how IEP services will be delivered promptly at the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Examples of written documentation include the use of an N1,DESE’s sample “COVID-19 Special Education Learning Plan”, letter,or other means of written communication. Translations of this resource will be made available to schools and districts on DESE’s website.

This documentation should include how and where specialized services are being provided. If the remote model or remote portion of the hybrid model are being employed, this documentation should also include when the specialized services are being provided in remote. This documentation should be dated to reflect when services began. If plans change, revision dates should be added to the plan. This written documentation does not constitute an IEP amendment, and students retain stay-put rights through their IEP. Though parental consent is not required to implement the modified in-person, hybrid, or remote special education services plan, it is recommended for schools and districts to keep families informed of any changes in service delivery. Schools and districts can deliver written notification to families in multiple ways, e.g., U.S. mail, email, student information systems, or online communication platforms. Each communication should be in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.

6) What types of services can be provided remotely? 

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has stated that the IDEA does not mandate specific methodologies. Where technology itself imposes a barrier to access or where educational materials simply are not available in an accessible format, educators may still meet their legal obligations by providing children with IEPs equally effective alternate access to the curriculum or services provided to other students. For example, if a teacher who has a blind student in her class is working from home and cannot distribute a document accessible to that student, she can distribute to the rest of the class an inaccessible document and, if appropriate for the student, read the document over the phone to the blind student or provide the blind student with an audio recording of a reading of the document aloud. The Department encourages parents/guardians, educators, and administrators to collaborate creatively to continue to meet the needs of students with IEPs. Consider practices such as distance instruction, tele-therapy and tele-intervention, meetings held on digital platforms, online options for data tracking, and documentation. 

7) How can related services be provided during the suspension of in-person education? 

Related services can be provided remotely to students in accordance with the guidelines of their respective professional boards. Schools and districts should document the provision of related services in their written notification to parents.This communication should be in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.

8) If a school or district chooses a hybrid or remote model, how does this impact special education students who receive services in community-based settings and students who participate in inclusive concurrent enrollment programs at institutions of higher education?

Although in-person participation in community-based programs and inclusive concurrent enrollment programs at institutions of higher education may be limited at this time, schools and districts should make best efforts to develop plans collaboratively with community-based providers, colleges, parents/guardians, and students in order to allow students access to as much programming as possible during COVID-19. Current health and safety requirements must remain a priority when making decisions about the extent to which transition services may be provided in the community. However, it is highly recommended that in-person transition services resume as soon as it is safe to do so with the proper health and safety measures in place.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE FAQ Special Education Qs 1-4

9/4/2020 (Permalink)

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. Parents whose children require special education in the COVID-19 environment may be struggling with how these necessary changes may impact the ability of school districts to meet their children's needs.  The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has put together a FAQ to help parents navigate these uncharted waters. 

Please note supplemental information can be found on the Department's website at DESE COVID-19 Information and Resources.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, and subject areas.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Special Education Related Services, and Models of Learning

1: How will schools and districts provide special education and related services to students with IEPs as schools reopen during this period of public health crisis from COVID-19?

As schools reopen, schools and districts must continue to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students and staff. Students with IEPs must receive all services documented in their IEPs even if services are being delivered in a different service model (i.e.,modified in-person, hybrid or remote). The Department has recommended that certain categories of students be prioritized for in-person instruction even if schools and districts are operating in a hybrid or remote model. Specifically, preschool-age students with IEPs and students with disabilities who have been prioritized for in-person instruction should receive in-person instruction to the greatest extent feasible.

2: How will schools and districts provide special education and related services to students with IEPs during periods when a school or district is providing instruction a hybrid or remote model because of COVID-19?

Even if schools or districts are operating in a hybrid or remote model, educators and administrators must make every effort to continue to provide up to full-time in person instruction for students with disabilities, particularly preschool-aged students and those with who have been prioritized for in-person instruction.If in-person instruction cannot be provided, students must receive special education instruction and related services necessary to provide FAPE through an Instruction and Services model of delivery (e.g., structured lessons, tele-therapy, video-based lessons, etc.).

For school year 2020-2021, remote special education services must include the following components:

  1. A regular and consistent schedule of classes, interventions, services, and therapies as required by the student’s IEP, offered synchronously and/or asynchronously;
  2. Structured learning time designed so that the student can access state standards; and
  3. Frequent interactions with teachers and other staff members to ensure participation and engagement.

The consistent schedule of classes, interventions, services, and therapies must include time interacting directly with teachers and related service providers on a regular basis, as well as some independent work time, as appropriate, and opportunities for interacting with classmates. Synchronous remote lessons or tele-therapy sessions can be provided via telephone or video conferencing. Students might also benefit from asynchronous pre-recorded videos of lessons to follow at home. For students receiving the majority of their daily instruction through special education, teachers and therapists should assign supplemental work (beyond lessons taught synchronously or asynchronously) during the school day that can be accomplished independently with guidance from and accountability to the teacher or therapist.For more detailed information, please see the Comprehensive Guidance on Fall 2020 Special Education Services. For guidance and for specific resources on educating students with IEPs, please see Additional Resources for Supporting Students with Disabilities for All Educators and Providers.

3: How often should schools and districts communicate with parents/guardians during the 2020-2021 school year? 

The Department strongly recommends that schools and districts cultivate excellent two-way communication with families. Schools and districts should ensure that appropriate staff(e.g., classroom teacher, special education teacher, or other service provider) communicate regularly with parents/guardians.The frequency and type of communication will vary depending on the child’s individual needs, the availability of the Team member, and the mode of communication.

The Department recommends that school and district personnel document their communication with families.Communication can include direct conversations, office hours, emails, texts, and webinars for parents/guardians.The communication should be in the primary language of the home, using interpreters and translating documents, when appropriate.

4: How can schools and districts complete the special education initial eligibility process if they cannot complete a face-to-face assessment?

Schools and districts are encouraged to consider any and all evaluation information that is already available, and conduct additional assessments that are needed, as appropriate, for the child under consideration for special education eligibility.

Schools and districts should make a decision regarding the feasibility of completing the eligibility determination process on an individual basis. Professionals should use their best judgment in determining whether the existing data review provides sufficient information for some aspects of a student’s evaluation and, if not sufficient, developing a plan for completing all special education assessments in-person or remotely.

Based on professional judgment, it may be determined that a special education assessment or parts of an assessment may be conducted remotely. Factors involved in professional judgment and supporting a determination as to whether a special education assessment can be conducted remotely include:

  1. Referring to guidance of the relevant professional organization(s) of the particular evaluator conducting the assessment at the state or national level.
  2. Consulting the assessment’s publisher regarding technical/interpretive guidelines for remote administration.
  3. Relying on evaluators as to whether an entire assessment or parts of an assessment may be conducted remotely.
  4. Taking into consideration current knowledge and circumstances of the student and making individualized decisions.
  5. Consulting with the special education administrator.
  6. Considering the use of alternative assessment tools to assess all areas of suspected disability.
  7. Continuing to monitor for developments in the manner assessments can be conducted remotely and, as developments emerge, revisit earlier decisions not to assess, as appropriate.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Remote Learning Guidance

9/3/2020 (Permalink)

By now most parents of the Commonwealth know which of the three possible education models their school districts have chosen to begin the 2020-2021 academic year. The possibilities are:

  1. In-person - learning with new and enhanced safety requirements
  2. Hybrid - some combination of In-person (with new and enhanced safety requirements) and remote learning
  3. Remote - 100% remote learning environment

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. To ensure that our children's learning experience is not diminished by these significant changes to their leaning structure the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has offered the following guidance to be used when developing the curriculum for hybrid and remote learning models.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Massachusetts DESE recommends that districts and schools select high quality, comprehensive curriculum and instructional materials when developing the curriculum for remote based learning. There are many resources available that provide supplemental virtual content that educators can incorporate in a way that builds upon their current curriculum, enhances student engagement, voice, and choice, and that meets specific needs for delivering instruction remotely. Below is a list of vetted virtual content resources for various grade spans and subject areas.

Vetted Virtual Content Grades K-2 

  1. Reading Foundational Skills
    1. Flyleaf - Publishing
    2. EVERFI - Free Early Literacy Digital Lessons
    3. Heggerty - Phonemic Awareness Curriculum
  2. Engaging With Complex Text and Writing
    1. Core Knowledge - Language Arts
    2. EL Education - Literacy Education
    3. Great Minds - K-8
    4. In K-2, this should entail read-aloud with discussion and response to text
  3. Independent Reading or Listening
    1. Epic - Trackable Personalize Daily Reading
    2. Rivet - Rewards Based Reading App
    3. Stories Podcast - Audio Book Style Podcast
    4. Local libraries’ digital lending services
  4. Math
    1. Great Minds - K-8
    2. Khan Academy - K-12 Personalized Digital Learning
    3. ST Math - Early Learning through Middle School Math
    4. ZEARN Math - K-5 Digital Math Curriculum
  5. Science, Technology and Engineering
    or History and Social Science
    1. C3 Inquires - K-12 Inquiry Based Social Studies Curriculum
    2. KidCitizen - K-12 Interactive Government and Civil Engagement Curriculum
    3. Mystery Science - K-5 Science Video Lessons
    4. NSTA Daily Do - K-12 Remote Learning Curriculum
    5. Next Generation Science - K-12 Science Unit Lessons
  6. Arts and Physical Education
    1. BrainPop Jr. - Music
    2. Carle’s Art Studio - Visual Art
    3. PBS - Theatre
    4. PBS - Dance
  7. Exploration and Play
    1. Young children learn through exploration and play, such as building with blocks, exploring nature, pretend play, and games. Schools should support students in grades K-2 to learn through play at home and can provide resources such as:
      1. Family Reading Games - You Tube
      2. Boston Children’s Museum Play and Learning Activities

Vetted Virtual Content Grades 3-5

  1. Reading Foundational Skills
    1. Florida Center for Reading Research
  2. Engaging With Complex Text and Writing
    1. Core Knowledge - Language Arts
    2. EL Education - Literacy Education
    3. Great Minds - K-8
  3. Independent Reading or Listening
    1. Epic - Trackable Personalize Daily Reading
    2. Rivet - Rewards Based Reading App
    3. Local libraries’ digital lending services
  4. Math
    1. Great Minds - K-8
    2. Khan Academy - K-12 Personalized Digital Learning
    3. ST Math - Early Learning through Middle School Math
    4. ZEARN Math - K-5 Digital Math Curriculum
  5. Science, Technology and Engineering 
    1. Mystery Science - K-5 Science Video Lessons
    2. NSTA Daily Do - K-12 Remote Learning Curriculum
    3. Next Generation Science - K-12 Science Unit Lessons
  6. History and Social Science
    1. C3 Inquires - K-12 Inquiry Based Social Studies Curriculum
    2. KidCitizen - K-12 Interactive 
  7. Arts and Physical Education
    1. NAEA’s Remote Learning Toolkit - National Art Education Association for Visual Arts Educators - Visual Art
    2. PBS - Theatre 
    3. PBS - Dance
    4. Smithsonian Folkways - Music

Vetted Virtual Content Grades 6-8

  1. ELA/Literacy
    1. CommonLit - Free Digital Reading Curriculum
    2. EL Education - Literacy Education
    3. Great Minds - K-8
  2. Math
    1. Carnegie Learning - Continuous Digital Learning Resources
    2. Great Minds - K-8
    3. Khan Academy - K-12 Personalized Digital Learning
    4. Illustrative Math
      1. ST Math
      2. Kendall Hunt
      3. LearnZillion
      4. McGraw-Hill
  3. Science, Technology and Engineering 
    1. Concord Consortium - Interactive STEM Activities
    2. NSTA Daily Do - K-12 Remote Learning Curriculum
    3. Next Generation Science - K-12 Science Unit Lessons
  4. History and Social Science
    1. C3 Inquires - K-12 Inquiry Based Social Studies Curriculum
    2. Facing History - Helping Students Learn From Humanity's Past Mistakes
    3. iCivics - Delivers Engaging, and Equitable Civic Curriculum
    4. Stanford History Education Group - Investigative Historical Curriculum
  5. World Languages, Digital Literacy, Computer Science, and/or Electives
    1. Code.- Computer Science Learning Portal
    2. Digital Citizenship - Learn How To Navigate The Digital World
  6. Arts and Physical Education
    1. Citizen DJ - Music/Theatre/Media Arts 
    2. NAEA’s Remote Learning Toolkit - National Art Education Association for Visual Arts Educators - Visual Art
    3. PBS - Theatre 
    4. PBS - Dance
    5. Smithsonian Folkways - Music
  7. Independent Reading
    1. Project Gutenberg - Online Library of Free Books
    2. Local libraries’ digital lending services

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Available Resources, Materials and Considerations For High Schools

9/2/2020 (Permalink)

By now most parents of the Commonwealth know which of the three possible education models their school districts have chosen to begin the 2020-2021 academic year. The possibilities are:

  1. In-person - learning with new and enhanced safety requirements
  2. Hybrid - some combination of In-person (with new and enhanced safety requirements) and remote learning
  3. Remote - 100% remote learning environment

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. To ensure that our children's learning experience is not diminished by these significant changes to their leaning structure the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has offered the following resources, materials as well as guidance to consider when developing curriculum for high school students.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Resources Available To School Districts

Providing students and teachers with access to stronger curricular materials can be a powerful way to narrow opportunity gaps and accelerate student learning at scale. During these difficult times school and district leaders lack the time and information necessary to make well-informed decisions about curriculum. 

The CURATE project is DESE's response to this opportunity and need. The project's goal is to make it easier for schools and districts to lay a foundation of great curricular materials in every classroom, so that teachers can focus on making those materials work for the students they know best.

View quick reference guides on critical components of curriculum:

  1. Assessing your curriculum landscape
  2. Aligning curriculum to Massachusetts standards
  3. Ensuring curricular coherence

View the rubrics CURATE panels use to evaluate curricular materials (English Language Arts and Literacy; Mathematics; Science and Technology/Engineering)

  1. CURATE English Language Arts & Literacy Rubric
  2. CURATE Mathematics Rubric
  3. CURATE Science & Technology/Engineering Rubric

High-Quality Instructional Materials and Remote

It is paramount to ensure that every student in Massachusetts has access to a safe and supportive school environment that cultivates academic curiosity and confidence. Students have equitable access to an excellent education. Students read meaningful texts across content areas, work on complex real-world problems, participate in the arts, and share their ideas through speaking and writing using evidence, all in an effort to understand the world, their personal identities and their roles in the world.

Instruction is most powerful when educators have strong content knowledge and access to high-quality instructional materials and professional learning that promote inclusive practice accessible to all students, including English learners and students with disabilities; support authentic, engaging, and interdisciplinary student learning experiences; and invest families and students in their learning.

To support standards-based learning, we believe that every student should engage:

  • with grade-appropriate text every day
  • with meaningful real-world problems every day
  • in scientific conversations using data every week

DESE’s is offering a 5-Part online module series though its Center for Instructional SupportThis seriesreviews key instructional practices and provides tips and strategies for remote teaching aligned to the Standards and Indicators of Effective Practice and the MA Curriculum Frameworks for ELA/Literacy, Math, History/Social Science, and Science.

To inquire about registering for this series contact: 

Claire Abbott @ Claire.J.Abbott@mass.gov

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is sharing recommendations for high-quality materials that support all district contexts and include free resources (open education resources). CCSSO runs the High-Quality Instructional Materials and Professional Development (IMPD) Network that currently supports eight states
(Delaware, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin) to significantly increase the number of
districts selecting high-quality, standards aligned instructional materials and to increase the number of pre-service and in-service teachers
receiving professional development grounded in the use of those materials. To view their recommendations click here.

Special Considerations for Grades 9-12

High school schedules differ from those of younger students in that coursework completion and grading “fuels” a high school transcript that is used to provide information and give access to opportunity for post-secondary life in college and career. Also, in high school, courses are typically taken just once, and that content will not be repeated in their educational career. Thus, it is critical that high school students receive schedules based on their individual credit and course content needs.

Students should enroll in courses according to the school’s normal requirements and processes, with the goal of mastering grade-level skills and building college and career readiness. School officials, in counsel with the student and reflecting on that student’s skills and priorities, should design a full and appropriate schedule for each individual student. Then the student should receive remote instruction and coursework for each of those courses commensurate with what they would have received in person. While high school schedules are much more varied than schedules at other educational levels, schools should assure that students are accessing the skills and knowledge detailed in the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for their grade level. In cases where schools have limited teaching staff to support remote courses (such as for particular courses), districts may consider purchasing individual courses with certified educators provided, such as through a partnership with Commonwealth Virtual Schools. Click here to visit the website.

Schools and districts should also consider student agency throughout the scheduling process. High school students should have an opportunity to plan for their academic, personal/social, and career success through an individual planning process such as My Career and Academic Plan. This may include scheduled time with school counselors and other engaged educators to meet the needs of college and career planning in both a group and individual setting.  

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE 3 Critical Areas For Successful Remote Learning

9/1/2020 (Permalink)

By now most parents of the Commonwealth know which of the three possible education models their school districts have chosen to begin the 2020-2021 academic year. The possibilities are:

  1. In-person - learning with new and enhanced safety requirements
  2. Hybrid - some combination of In-person (with new and enhanced safety requirements) and remote learning
  3. Remote - 100% remote learning environment

The way in which our children learn and our educators teach to begin this school year will be will challenging for both to say the least. Regardless of the reopening model chosen by your school district, all schools will be providing remote learning to some extent. To ensure that our children's learning experience is not diminished by these significant changes to their leaning structure the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has identified three (3) critical areas to focus on when developing the upcoming educational curriculum.

  1. High-quality Curriculum And Instructional Materials
  2. Organizing Student Schedules For Structured Learning Time
  3. Organizing Educator Time To Maximize Time With Students

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

High-quality Curriculum And Instructional Materials

According to the DESE, more than ever, strong curricular materials are critical during this uncertain time.  Studies have shown that districts that have coherent, high-quality curriculum have been able to pivot more easily and have seen more coherence among teachers during the pandemic. They help teachers align their expectations to state standards designed to keep students on track for success while providing guidance on how to tailor instruction to individual students’ needs. They are engaging, challenging, and culturally-relevant. Additionally, compared to other popular interventions, simply upgrading learning materials is a more cost-effective option. 

The Department has compiled a number of resources to support districts in selecting and using high-quality curriculum and instructional materials and in supporting teachers to bring them to life, especially in hybrid or remote learning environments. Visit the DESE website to view these recommendations.

Organizing Student Schedules For Structured Learning Time

All students, including those learning remotely, must receive at least the minimum amount of required instruction for the 2020-2021 school year:

  1. 850 hours for elementary schools, or 5 hours per day over 170 days
  2. 935 hours for secondary schools, or 5.5 hours per day over 170 days

Throughout the school day and week, students learning remotely should experience a combination of instructional activities, such as:

  1. live, synchronous instruction
  2. small group or individual academic support
  3. asynchronous, independent work time

Students should also have access to teachers or staff members at a regularly scheduled time to monitor ongoing progress and needs. With family input, schools should create and adhere to a consistent schedule of synchronous and asynchronous learning time for each child.

During asynchronous periods, schools should provide clear expectations for what students should be working on, what they need to submit, and when any assignments are due. Schools should take into consideration student and family schedules and allow for flexibility for students to complete asynchronously assigned tasks based on family schedules (such as in the evenings, on the following day, or at the end of a week). Students and families should clearly understand how attendance will be taken, how they will receive feedback on work completed asynchronously, and how they will be evaluated (such as grades).

Whether they are engaging in synchronous or asynchronous work, students learning remotely should have access to rigorous, relevant content; spend time in a range of content areas, including specials and enrichment; and have opportunities to exercise their voice and choice in activities.

Organizing Educator Time To Maximize Time With Students

For districts and schools operating an in-person or hybrid learning model, educators and staff members may be stretched across multiple learning environments, limiting their ability to directly engage with all students at all times. In these cases, it may be necessary for a district or school to supplement live teacher instruction and support with asynchronous, student-directed content. In these scenarios, it is recommended that:

  1. Students have opportunities to connect with adults from school as often as possible but at least once a day, for both relationship-building and academic support.
  2. Schools provide as much synchronous instruction and/or direct support as possible.
  3. Teachers provide regular, targeted, individualized or small-group instruction to students who are not meeting grade-level standards or who need additional support.

Districts and schools that are operating fully remotely are not limited by the same staffing constraints that in-person and hybrid models may experience.In this model, it is recommended that:

  1. Educators provide direct services to students for a comparable amount of time as they would typically provide in person, with students receiving direct instruction, support, or having access to a teacher for the majority of the scheduled school day.
  2. Schools and districts maximize the use of all educators to support students, including teaching or co-teaching a class, working with students individually or in small groups, facilitating independent work time, hosting advisory or office hours, providing feedback on student work, meeting with students and families, etc.
  3. Educators incorporate a variety of instructional activities, including those that allow students to move away from or turn off their screens and those that include physical movement, reading, writing, and working with physical materials.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Protocol, A Staff Member Is Symptomatic

8/31/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has worked closely with Governor Baker's administration, public health officials, and community leaders to develop guidelines to follow should a specific COVID-19 scenario arise in a school district. As parents face the difficult decision about if and how their child will return to school this fall we believe it is critical for parents to understand the totality of any potential risks that exists and know in advance what the contingency plans are. The Massachusetts DESE has issued guidance for schools, districts, and individualized education program teams that identifies potential scenarios along with case specific protocols for responding to each specific COVID-19 scenarios.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Protocol: Staff Member Is Symptomatic At Home

Staff members should monitor themselves at home each morning for the most common symptoms of COVID-19 (see list, CDC Covid-19 symptom checker). According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a staff member determine that they are symptomatic at home.

  1. If the staff member determines that they DO NOT have any symptoms: 
    • They are cleared to go into work.
  2. If the staff member determines that they DO HAVE symptoms: 
    1. They should not go to work.
    2. They must contact the COVID-19 POC and/or other absence reporting mechanism established by the school.
    3. Current Massachusetts DPH guidance is that all symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested. An individual who does not wish to be tested may return to school ten (10) days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.
    4. The staff member should get tested at one of Massachusetts’s test sites. Sites may require pre-screening, a referral, and/or an appointment.
    5. Isolate at home until test results are returned.
    6. Proceed as follows according to test results:
      1. If test results are NEGATIVE:
        • Staff member may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
      2. If test results are POSITIVE:
        1. Staff member should remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Most people who have relatively mild illness will need to stay in self-isolation for at least ten (10) days and until at least three (3) days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms. FOLLOW STEPS UNDER:  “Protocol: Student or staff tests positive for COVID-19.”

Protocol: Staff Member Is Symptomatic At School

Staff members should monitor themselves at home each morning for the most common symptoms of COVID-19 (see list, CDC Covid-19 symptom checker). As noted above, staff should be encouraged not to come to school if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a staff member determine that they are symptomatic at home.

  1. If a staff member suspects any symptoms during the day, they should follow the school’s protocols for getting another adult to cover their class mid-day, if needed, and see the school nurse (or school medical point of contact) to be evaluated for symptoms.
  2. Upon evaluation if the staff member displays NO SIGNS of symptoms:
    • The staff member should follow the school’s standard protocols for being excused due to illness.
  3. Upon evaluation if the staff member displays ANY SIGNS of symptoms:
    1. Current Massachusetts DPH guidance is that all symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested. An individual who does not wish to be tested may return to school ten (10) days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.
    2. The staff member should get tested at one of Massachusetts’s test sites. Sites may require pre-screening, a referral, and/or appointment.
    3. Isolate at home until test results are returned.
    4. Proceed as follows according to test results:
      1. If the test results are NEGATIVE:
        • Staff member may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
      2. If the test results are POSITIVE:
        1. Staff member should remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Most people who have relatively mild illness will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days and until at least 3 days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms. FOLLOW STEPS UNDER: “Protocol: Student or staff tests positive for COVID-19.”

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Protocol, A Student Is Symptomatic At School

8/27/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has worked closely with Governor Baker's administration, public health officials, and community leaders to develop guidelines to follow should a specific COVID-19 scenario arise in a school district. As parents face the difficult decision about if and how their child will return to school this fall we believe it is critical for parents to understand the totality of any potential risks that exists and know in advance what the contingency plans are. The Massachusetts DESE has issued guidance for schools, districts, and individualized education program teams that identifies potential scenarios along with case specific protocols for responding to each specific COVID-19 scenarios.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Protocol: Student Is Symptomatic At School

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a student become symptomatic while at school.

Although families are the most important first line of defense for monitoring symptoms, teachers will play an important role in referring possible symptomatic students to the school nurse or other medical point of contact. (Note: This will require training for teachers.)

  1. Teacher must ensure the student is wearing a mask that fully covers nose and mouth at all times.
  2. Teacher calls the nurse or school medical point of contact to inform them that they have a possible case. Nurse or school medical point of contact comes to get the student from class.
  3. Nurse (or school medical point of contact) should evaluate the student for symptoms (see list, CDC Covid-19 symptom checker).
    1. If ANY Covid-19 symptoms exist:
      1. Place the student in the designated medical waiting room. This space must be supervised. If feasible, schools are encouraged to provide individual students with their own waiting room. If more than one student is in the same waiting room at a time, each student must be at least 6 feet apart (and should be spaced as far apart as possible) and wearing a surgical mask (non-N95 and non-cloth) while in the medical waiting room. If a student does not already have a surgical mask, the school should provide one. Schools must also be equipped with the PPE for the staff involved with supervision of the waiting room. Strict mask wearing covering the nose and mouth at all times for every person in the room must be enforced. Students can work on individual schoolwork or other activities while in the medical waiting room.
      2. Contact caregiver for pick-up.
        1. Caregiver can pick up the student during the day
          • Student waits to be picked up in the medical waiting room. Caregivers must wear a mask/face covering when picking up their student. Students should not ride the school bus to get home. Caregivers and students should wash their hands upon arriving at home and change their clothes as a precaution.
        2. Caregiver cannot pick up the student during the day:
          • The student should wait in the medical waiting room until the end of the day to be picked up by caregiver. The student should not go home on a school bus with other students.
      3. Current Massachusetts DPH guidance is that all symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested. An individual who does not wish to be tested may return to school ten (10) days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.
      4. Student should get tested at one of Massachusetts’s test sites. Sites may require pre-screening, a referral, and/or appointment.
      5. Isolate at home until test results are returned.
      6. Proceed as follows according to test results:
        1. IF NEGATIVE: Students may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
        2. IF POSITIVE: Student must remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Most people who have relatively mild illness will need to stay in self-isolation for at least ten (10) days and until at least three (3) days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms. FOLLOW STEPS UNDER: “Protocol: Student or staff tests positive for COVID-19.”
    2. If NO Covid-19 symptoms exist:
      • If the evaluation shows the student does not have any symptoms, send the student back to class.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Protocol, A Student Is Symptomatic On The Bus

8/26/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has worked closely with Governor Baker's administration, public health officials, and community leaders to develop guidelines to follow should a specific COVID-19 scenario arise in a school district. As parents face the difficult decision about if and how their child will return to school this fall we believe it is critical for parents to understand the totality of any potential risks that exists and know in advance what the contingency plans are. The Massachusetts DESE has issued guidance for schools, districts, and individualized education program teams that identifies potential scenarios along with case specific protocols for responding to each specific COVID-19 scenarios.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Protocol: Student Is Symptomatic On The Bus

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a student become symptomatic while on the bus.

Although families are the most important first line of defense for monitoring symptoms, bus drivers and bus monitors also play an important role in flagging possible symptomatic students. Note: This will require training for bus drivers (and bus monitors, if applicable).

  1. If symptoms are noticed as the student is getting on the bus and if there is a caregiver present, do not allow student to board the bus. The caregiver should then Follow: “Protocol: Student is symptomatic at home.”
  2. If student is already on the bus, ensure student is masked and the student keeps mask on covering nose and mouth at all times. If the student does not have a mask, the bus driver should be equipped to provide one. 
  3. Ensure other students keep their masks on covering their nose and mouth at all times. Ensure student keeps required physical distance from other students.
  4. If not already open, windows should be opened as fully as possible, weather permitting.
  5. Bus driver/monitor should call ahead to the bus service dispatch. The bus service dispatch should be equipped with appropriate cell phone numbers for school and district personnel (nurse or other medical personnel). The dispatch should contact the school to inform the school nurse (or school medical point of contact) ofa possible symptomatic child.
  6. School nurse (or school medical point of contact) should meet the bus as it arrives, wearing a mask. As practical, student with possible symptoms should exit the bus first.
  7. Bus should be cleaned / disinfected.
  8. Nurse (or school medical point of contact) should evaluate the student for symptoms (see list above: CDC list of common symptoms of COVID-19).
    1. If the student displays any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 the nurse should place the student in the designated medical waiting room. This space must be supervised.  If feasible schools are encouraged to provide individual students with their own waiting room. If more than one student is in the same waiting room at a time, each student must be at least 6 feet apart (and should be spaced as far apart as possible) and wearing a surgical mask (non-N95 and non-cloth) while in the medical waiting room. If a student does not already have a surgical mask, the school should provide one. Schools must also be equipped with the PPE for the staff involved with supervision of the waiting room. Strict mask wearing covering the nose and mouth at all times for every person in the room must be enforced. Students can work on individual schoolwork or other activities while in the medical waiting room.
      1. Contact caregiver for pick-up.
        1. If the caregiver CAN PICK UP the student during the day:
          • Student waits to be picked up in the medical waiting room. Caregivers must wear a mask/face covering when picking up their student. Students should not ride the school bus to get home. Caregivers and students should wash their hands upon arriving at home and change their clothes, as a precaution.
        2. If the caregiver CAN NOT PICK UP the student during the day:
          1. The student should wait in the medical waiting room until the end of the day to be picked up by caregiver. The student should not go home on a school bus with other students.
      2. Current Massachusetts DPH guidance is that all symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested. An individual who does not wish to be tested may return to school ten (10) days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medications.
      3. Student should get tested at one of Massachusetts’s test sites. Sites may require pre-screening, a referral, and/or an appointment.
      4. Isolate at home until test results are returned.
      5. Proceed as follows according to test results:
        1. IF NEGATIVE:Students may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
        2. IF POSITIVE:Student should remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Most people who have relatively mild illness will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days and until at least 3 days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms.FOLLOW: “Protocol: Student/staff tests positive for COVID-19.
    2. If the student DOES NOT display any of the common symptoms of COVID-19 the nurse should:
      • Send the student to class

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Protocol, A Student Is Symptomatic At Home

8/25/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has worked closely with Governor Baker's administration, public health officials, and community leaders to develop guidelines to follow should a specific COVID-19 scenario arise in a school district. As parents face the difficult decision about if and how their child will return to school this fall we believe it is critical for parents to understand the totality of any potential risks that exists and know in advance what the contingency plans are. The Massachusetts DESE has issued guidance for schools, districts, and individualized education program teams that identifies potential scenarios along with case specific protocols for responding to each specific COVID-19 scenarios.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Protocol: Student Is Symptomatic At Home

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a student become symptomatic at home.

  1. Family should monitor students at home each morning for the most common symptoms of COVID-19 (see CDC's list).
    1. If no the student shows no signs of symptoms  
      • Send student to school.
    2. If the student shows signs of symptoms
      1. Do not send the student to school.
      2. Call the school’s COVID-19 point of contact and inform them student is staying home due to symptoms.
      3. Current Massachusetts DPH guidance is that all symptomatic individuals in Massachusetts, even those with mild symptoms, should be tested. An individual who does not wish to be tested may return to school ten (10) days from start of symptoms, as long as their symptoms have improved and they have been without fever for at least 24 hours prior to their return to school without the use of fever reducing medication.
      4. The student should get tested at one of Massachusetts’s test sites. Sites may require pre-screening, a referral, and/or an appointment.
      5. Isolate at home until test results are returned.
      6. Proceed as follows according to test results:
        1. NEGATIVE: Students may return to school after they have tested negative for COVID-19, have improvement in symptoms, and have been without fever for at least 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications. If a provider makes an alternative diagnosis for the COVID-19-like symptoms, the individual may return to school based on the recommendations for that alternative diagnosis (e.g., influenza or strep pharyngitis).
        2. POSITIVE: Student should remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Most people who have relatively mild illness will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days and until at least 3 days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms.
        3. FOLLOW STEPS UNDER: “Protocol: Student / staff tests positive for COVID-19.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Protocol, Multiple Cases In School District

8/24/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has worked closely with Governor Baker's administration, public health officials, and community leaders to develop guidelines to follow should a specific COVID-19 scenario arise in a school district. As parents face the difficult decision about if and how their child will return to school this fall we believe it is critical for parents to understand the totality of any potential risks that exists and know in advance what the contingency plans are. The Massachusetts DESE has issued guidance for schools, districts, and individualized education program teams that identifies potential scenarios along with case specific protocols for responding to each specific COVID-19 scenarios.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Protocol: Presence OF Multiple Cases In The School or School District

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should multiple cases of COVID-19 arise within  a school system or school district.

  1. If there is more than one confirmed COVID-19 case (students or staff) in the school at one time, or if there is a series of single cases in a short time span, school leaders and the superintendent should work with the local board of health to determine if it is likely that there is transmission happening in school.
  2. For each individual case, FOLLOW STEPS UNDER: Protocol: Student or staff tests positive for COVID-19.” (see our previous blog) Note that when there is one isolated case, the student’s close contacts will need to stay home and be tested, not the whole school.
  3. When there is suspected in-school transmission beyond one cohort or a small number of cohorts, school and district leaders must consult with the local board of health as to proposed next steps. These steps should include a review of the specific COVID-19 public health metrics for the municipality and could lead to, for example:
    1. making a decision to close part of the school or the entire school for a short time (e.g. 1-3 days) for an extensive cleaning or other facility mitigation,or 
    2. OR - making a decision to close the school partially or fully for the longer duration of a 14-day quarantine period.
  4. Should there be circumstances where there are multiple cases in multiple schools, school and district leaders must consult with the local board of health as to proposed next steps. These steps should include a review of the specific COVID-19 public health metrics for the municipality and could lead to: 
    1. making a decision to a shut down the district for a short time (e.g. 1-3 days) for an extensive cleaning or other facility mitigation
    2. OR making a decision to shut down the district for the longer duration of a 14-day quarantine period.
  5. Before a final decision is made on a school or district closure, the superintendent must consult with DESE for further guidance.
    1. Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner, Russell.Johnston@mass.gov, 781-605-4958.
    2. Anne Marie Stronach, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner – Rapid Response, Anne.marie.stronach@mass.gov, 781-873-9514.
  6. If the decision is made to close for some number of days, the school and/or district should send clear information and instructions to families and staff:
    1. Informing them that it is possible COVID-19 is being transmitted in the school and/or district
    2. Noting that there may be more potential cases that are not yet symptomatic
    3. Recommending students quarantine and not have contact with others
    4. Reminding families of the importance of not having contact with higher-risk individuals (e.g., grandparents)
    5. Reminding families of the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which to monitor
    6. Ensuring that remote learning is immediately provided to all students
  7. Before bringing students back to school:
    1. Check inventory levels of needed supplies (e.g., disposable masks, soap, hand sanitizer, cleaning products); re-order replacement inventory
    2. Consider a school-wide refresher training on the importance of correct hygiene procedures (masks, physical distance, handwashing)
    3. Reiterate the critical nature of masks, physical distancing, and hand hygiene when students return to school

Protocol: Presence Of Significant Number Of New Cases In A Municipality

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a significant rise in the number of new cases of COVID-19 occur within municipality.

  1. In the case of significant municipal outbreak, as determined by the local board of health or DPH, the superintendent and school leaders must consult with the local board of health to determine whether it is appropriate to close a specific school, schools, or an entire district.
  2. Again, before a final decision is made on a school or district closure, the superintendent must consult with DESE for further guidance.
    1. Russell Johnston, Senior Associate Commissioner, Russell.Johnston@mass.gov, 781-605-4958.
    2. Anne Marie Stronach, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner – Rapid Response, Anne.marie.stronach@mass.gov, 781-873-9514.

Protocol: State-wide Changes To Reopening Phases

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should any change in the Commonwealth's Reopening Phase plan occur.

  1. Governor Baker has announced that the Commonwealth will remain in Phase 3 of Reopening Massachusetts in significant part to help support an overall environment for the safe return to our schools for as many students, staff and teachers as possible.
  2. If Massachusetts moves back into a prior phase, or further changes are made in Phase 3, DESE (in consultation with the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center) will communicate with school districts and schools to determine whether in-person school should continue. As the transmission of the virus can vary due to local circumstances and actions, these potential recommendations may be by locality, region or statewide.

NOTE: According to Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, DESE Protocol, Positive Test Result

8/21/2020 (Permalink)

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has worked closely with Governor Baker's administration, public health officials, and community leaders to develop guidelines to follow should a specific COVID-19 scenario arise in a school district. As parents face the difficult decision about if and how their child will return to school this fall we believe it is critical for parents to understand the totality of any potential risks that exists and know in advance what the contingency plans are. The Massachusetts DESE has issued guidance for schools, districts, and individualized education program teams that identifies potential scenarios along with case specific protocols for responding to each specific COVID-19 scenarios.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass DESE, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Protocol: Student or Staff Tests positive for COVID-19

According to the Massachusetts DESE the following protocols should be inplace and executed upon should a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.

  1. The student or staff member must remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. For most people who have relatively mild illness, they will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days and until at least 3 days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms.
  2. The student’s parent/caregiver or the staff member informs the proper school official (e.g. the COVID-19 school leader) that the individual has tested positive for COVID-19.
  3. The designated COVID-19 school leader should notify others as pre-determined by the school (e.g., school leadership, school nurse or school medical point of contact, building management, maintenance).
  4. Determine whether the student or staff member was on the premises during the time frame that started two days prior to symptom onset (or testing positive if not symptomatic) until the time of isolation.
    1. If so, promptly close off areas visited by the COVID-19 positive individual until such areas can be cleaned and disinfected, if they have not been cleaned and disinfected already.
    2. Promptly clean and disinfect the student’s or staff member’s classroom and any other facilities (e.g., extracurricular facilities) visited by the individual, if that has not been done already.
    3. Promptly clean and disinfect the bus(es) the student or staff member was on, if any, and if not already done.
  5. Communicate with families and staff of close contacts:
    1. The school should identify the student’s or staff member’s possible “close contacts” based on the assigned seating charts and proximity related to class activities. Close contacts are defined as only those who have been within 6 feet of distance of the individual for at least fifteen minutes, while the person was infectious. This definition is for students, teachers and other staff.  The infectious period begins two days before symptom onset (or two days prior to the date of the positive test if asymptomatic) and includes up until the time the student/staff/teacher was isolated. Consider students and staff members who were close contacts in class, other school spaces, on the school bus, or at extracurricular activities.
    2. Send a communication to the staff/teachers and families of students of close contacts that there has been a positive test without naming the individual student or staff member who tested positive.
    3. Communications sent to families/staff should:
      1. Inform them there was a positive test (without identifying the specific individual who tested positive) in the student’s class/bus or other activity.
      2. Explain that since the student/staff were within 6 feet of the person with a positive test for 15 minutes or more, they are considered a “close contact” and therefore should be tested. Having assigned seating and keeping up-to-date seating charts will help identify who should be instructed to be tested: specifically, those who were sitting next to the student, plus any others who also had close contact with the student.)
      3. Instruct close contacts to isolate prior to their test and while waiting for the results. In general, as the highest yield test will be a few days after the exposure, ideally, the test should occur no sooner than day 4 or 5 after the last exposure. (In other words, if an exposure lasted several days, the best time to test is 4 or 5 days after the end of the exposure period.)
      4. Close contacts should be tested for COVID-19 at one of Massachusetts’s test sites. Sites may require pre-screening, a referral, and/or an appointment.
      5. Close contacts are asked to communicate their test results to the school. They should not return to school until they have quarantined for 14 days. This includes close contacts who receive a negative test result or who choose not to be tested.
      6. Remind families and/or staff of the importance of not having contact with higher-risk individuals (e.g., grandparents and those with underlying medical conditions).
      7. Remind families and/or staff of the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which to monitor.
    4. If the school finds out about the original COVID-19 positive test in the middle of a school day:
      1. The school should quickly identify the individuals who may be “close contacts” of the student and notify students and their families.
      2. Make sure the students who could be considered close contacts are wearing masks, including students in pre-kindergarten through first grade. Extra masks as may be needed should be provided by the school. Enforce strict physical distancing. Require students to wash their hands.
      3. Caregivers of close contacts may pick students up prior to the end of the day. Caregivers must wear a mask/face covering when picking up their student. Students who are close contacts and students with any symptoms should not ride the school bus to get home. Caregivers and students, as well as staff, should wash their hands upon arriving at home and change their clothes as a precaution.
      4. Close contacts should not come back to school until they have quarantined for 14 days and are asked to communicate their test results to the school.
    5. As feasible, to assist with contact tracing, make a list including phone number and email of any other close contacts the student or staff member had, beginning two days before the onset of symptoms (or positive test if asymptomatic)until individual was isolated.
  6. If other in the school test positive: Perform all steps under this protocol for that person. Also follow: “Protocol: Presence of multiple cases in the school.” (next blog)
  7. If no others in the school test positive: Close contacts are asked to communicate their test results to the school. They should not return to school until they have quarantined for 14 days. This includes close contacts who receive a negative test result or who choose not to be tested.

NOTE: areas of the school visited by the COVID-19 positive individual must be closed off and/or cleaned and disinfected. The area can be used 12 hours after cleaning/disinfecting has occurred.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EECMass DESE, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, State Guidelines - Hygiene, Isolation, Testing, PPE, Communication

8/19/2020 (Permalink)

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

Governor Baker's administration provided the following guidance to help communities develop their individual plans which were submitted last Friday, August 14th.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing

Handwashing removes pathogens from the surface of the hands. While handwashing with soap and water is the best option, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent ethanol or at least 70 percent isopropanol) may be utilized when handwashing is not available. As has always been the case, handwashing should be used whenever hands are visibly soiled and after using the bathroom. The state's initial requirements and related guidance are as follows:

  1. Students and staff are required to exercise hand hygiene (handwashing or sanitizing) upon arrival to school, before eating, before putting on and taking off masks, and before dismissal. 
  2. Handwashing: When handwashing, individuals should use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly, and dry with an individual disposable towel.
  3. Hand sanitizing: If handwashing is not feasible, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or at least 70 percent isopropanol content can be used.
  4. Hand sanitizer should be applied to all surfaces of the hands and in sufficient quantity that it takes 20 seconds of rubbing hands together for the sanitizer to dry.
  5. Hand sanitizer should be placed at key locations (e.g., building entrances, cafeteria, classrooms).

COVID-19 Related Isolation Space

In order to minimize transmission of COVID-19, schools must ensure they have an isolated space available for students displaying COVID-19 symptoms. The state's initial requirements and related guidance are as follows:

  1. Schools are required to designate a COVID-19 related isolation space that is separate from the nurse’s office or other space where routine medical care is provided.
  2. A student who shows COVID-19 symptoms during the school day should be moved to the specific room pre-designated for medical-related isolation until they can be picked up by a family member.
  3. More information about steps to safely discharge students will be provided in future guidance.

COVID-19 Testing in Schools

At this time, the administration dose not recommend in-school testing. Rather, it is recommended that students’ families discuss testing with their health care provider. As the accuracy of point-of-care testing develops, this guidance may change.

Vaccines

Districts and schools should work with parents to ensure that students are current on all standard vaccinations before they return to in-person school. In addition, health providers strongly recommend all students and staff get their regular flu vaccine. Whereas for COVID-19 it appears children are less likely to be infected with and to transmit COVID-19, this is not the case for influenza, where children are frequent transmitters. Therefore, ensuring all students, teachers, and staff receive the seasonal flu vaccine is an extremely high priority. The Department of Public Health will be issuing updated guidance regarding vaccines for schools and parents.

Health and Safety/PPE Supplies

Per the initial supply guidance issued by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, schools should have an inventory of standard healthcare supplies (e.g., masks and gloves). Use of additional supplies may be optional based on type of tasks performed (e.g., teachers do not need to wear gloves while teaching but may need to during necessary contact with students, such as when providing physical support to students with disabilities). All districts are eligible for federal CARES Act funds to support these purchases.

Communication Structures

Each school district should identify a COVID-19 Response Leader Point of Contact (POC). The COVID-19 response leaders should coordinate with key district and school personnel on planning efforts over the summer and be a key part of the implementation as schools open. 

Establish planning and implementation teams with POC's for the following essential domains:

  1. Teaching and learning, including plans for in-person learning, hybrid learning, and remote learning, including technology needs and training.
  2. Student supports, including addressing mental health and trauma.
  3. Special education, English learners, and other special student populations. 
  4. Personnel and staffing, including managing staff assignments, supporting staff with high risk medical conditions, addressing the need for possible additional staff to assist with instruction, possible additional needs for tutors, and ways to provide additional support including recruitment of volunteers as needed.
  5. Facilities and operations, including cleaning and sanitation, classroom and building set-up and flow, and food services. 
  6. Transportation, including bus transportation capacity and safety protocols, management of increased traffic flow from families who decide to drop off/pick up their children, promotion of alternatives such as walking and biking.
  7. Additional domains appropriate to each school and district.

Communication Plans and Structures

Develop and begin implementing a plan for communicating more intensively with students, families, staff, and the community. This plan should include both two-way proactive communication (e.g., providing information and receiving feedback) and emergency communication. Consider creating and practicing communication systems with parents, students, all staff, facility and/or grounds management, and emergency medical services. Ensure translation of any information published by the school into the primary language spoken by the parent/guardian and make interpretation services available for two-way communication. 

Establish connections and a process to work with local boards of health so that all parties are up to date on various statewide and local guidance and plans (e.g., health and safety updates, COVID-19 testing availability, availability of flu vaccines, etc.). 

Family Survey

Develop a family survey to support school reopening planning and scheduling. Districts should consider surveying families multiple times throughout the summer and potentially into the school year. Districts and schools can use the survey to help determine:

  1. Children who will return to school in the fall in-person
  2. Children who will continue remote learning and for what reasons
  3. Children who need internet/technology access, and/or other technical support or one-on-one guidance 
  4. Children who will need bus transportation
  5. Families who are planning to use alternate transportation (e.g., drop off and pick up their children, have their children walk or bike)
  6. Families who will need food assistance and other essential services

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EEC and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EEC and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, State Guidelines - Distancing, Grouping, Screening

8/18/2020 (Permalink)

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new, (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

Governor Baker's administration provided the following guidance to help communities develop their individual plans which were submitted last Friday, August 14th.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is another important practice that helps mitigate transmission of the virus. While the U.S. federal CDC has recommended maintaining a physical distance of six feet between individuals, the World Health Organization’s (WHO)guidance states approximately three feet. There is no precise threshold for safety; indeed, studies suggest that physical distancing of three feet or more leads to reduced transmission, with additional distance providing additional protection. For instance, in a study of household transmission in China, keeping at least three feet of distance was associated with one-fourth the number of transmissions. It is important to note that six feet distancing is emphasized in public health advisories especially when no mask/face covering is worn.

Baker's administration encourages districts and schools to aim for six feet of distance between individuals where feasible. At the same time, a minimum physical distance of three feet has been established when combined with the other measures outlined in this list of safety requirements. Because of the reduced susceptibility in children and lower apparent rates of transmission, establishing a minimum physical distance of three feet is informed by evidence and balances the lower risk of COVID-19 transmission and the overarching benefits of in-person school.

The state's guidance is based on review of the physical distance guidance for many other states and countries. In addition to the WHO, several other countries including Denmark, France, China, and Hong Kong recommend one meter (approximately three feet) distance in schools. The United Kingdom is also changing its guidance to one meter of distance beginning July 4, replacing previous guidance of two meters.

Finally, this guidance is for fall reopening and is predicated on the Commonwealth continuing to progress through the phases of reopening with low COVID-19 public health metrics. It will be critical to continue to take into account the community context of COVID-19 prevalence into the fall and winter. Where the community prevalence of COVID-19 is of concern, increased distancing will need to be considered.

Initial Requirements and Related Guidance 

  1. As reviewed and advised by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center Medical Advisory Group, schools should aim for a physical distance of six feet when feasible, and three feet is the minimum distance allowed. Schools should 10 seek to maximize physical distance among individuals within their physical and operational constraints.
  2. To the extent possible, aim for desks to be spaced six feet apart (but no fewer than three feet apart) and facing the same direction. Again, schools should seek to maximize physical distance between desks within their physical and operational constraints.
  3. Alternative spaces in the school (e.g., cafeteria, library, and auditorium) should be repurposed to increase the amount of available space to accommodate the maximum distance possible.
    • In these larger spaces, establishing consistent cohorts/classes with separation between the cohorts/classes provides another option to maximize these spaces safely.
  4. Additional safety precautions are required for school nurses and/or any staff supporting students with disabilities in close proximity, when distance is not possible: These precautions must include eye protection (e.g., face shield or goggles) and a mask/face covering. Precautions may also include gloves and disposable gowns or washable outer layer of clothing depending on duration of contact and especially if the individual may come into close contact with bodily fluids.

Student Groups

To minimize the number of students who would potentially be exposed in the event of a COVID-19 event, to the extent feasible, elementary schools should aim to keep students in the same group throughout the day and middle and high schools are encouraged to minimize mixing student groups to the extent feasible.

  1. Cohorts: Schools should divide students into small groups that remain with each other throughout the day, with smaller cohort sizes preferred. Schools should look for ways to isolate cohorts of students and prevent inter-group contact to the extent feasible.
  2. Capacity: There are no required maximums on cohort or group sizes, so long as schools adhere to the physical distancing requirements above. (This guidance for the fall will replace previous summer guidance at the start of the school year, assuming positive health metrics hold.)

Screening Upon Entry:

Checking for symptoms each morning by families and caregivers is critical and will serve as the primary screening mechanism for COVID-19 symptoms. Schools should provide information to families in their primary language to support them in conducting this symptom check and families should not send their children to school if they exhibit COVID19 symptoms. We will be providing a checklist of symptoms and other guides to districts and schools to help families and students.

  1. Screening procedures are not required at the point of entry to the school. However, school staff (as well as bus drivers) should observe students throughout the day and refer students who may be symptomatic to the school healthcare point of contact.
  2. As noted in previous guidance, temperature checks are not recommended as screening for all students due to the high likelihood of potential false positive and false negative results.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EEC and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, State Guidelines - Background and Facial Coverings

8/17/2020 (Permalink)

This past Friday, August 14th, the State of Massachusetts required all School districts to submit their education plans for the coming academic school year. Each school district was required to submit plans that cover all three potential scenarios:

  1. In-school, traditional setting
  2. Hybrid, scaled down, in-school paired with remote learning
  3. 100% remote learning

Governor Baker's administration provided the following guidance to help communities develop their individual plans.

According to the administration both education and medical groups agree that we must keep in mind both the risks associated with COVID-19 for in-person school programs and the known challenges and consequences of keeping students out of school for extended periods of time. While remote learning has improved over the course of the school closures, there is no substitute for in-person instruction when it comes to the quality of students’ academic learning. In-person school plays an equally important role in our ability to support students’ social-emotional needs, including their mental and physical health.

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new, (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

The following highlights CDC's recommended goals and guiding principles to be considered when formulating our plans to reopen our schools.  

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The current state of the COVID-19 pandemic is continually evolving. What is true today may not be tomorrow. At this time, the evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children, particularly younger children, are less likely than adults to be infected with COVID-19.

Furthermore, if they become infected, it appears children may be less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. Based on these initial findings, the health and safety requirements throughout this guidance, as well as considering the key features of school programming at different grade spans, the current evidence supports a safe in-person return to school with implementation details varying for elementary schools (including pre-kindergarten programs), middle schools, and high schools.

Schools Do Not Appear To Have Played A Major Role In COVID-19 Transmission.

In a review of COVID clusters, only 4% (8 of 210) involved school transmission. In a case study from New South Wales Australia, after 18 cases were found in schools (12 in high schools and 6 in primary schools), only 0.3% of student contacts were infected (1 in 695 individuals in 10 high schools and 1 in 168 individuals in primary schools). No teachers or staff were infected.

In General, Rates Of COVID-19 Infection Are Lower For Children Than For Adults.

Based on an analysis of data from six countries, children under 20 are half as susceptible to COVID-19 infection than adults. Furthermore, although children under the age of 18 make up 22% of the U.S. population, they account for less than 2% of all cases of COVID-19. In Massachusetts, children under the age of 19 were about four times less likely than the population at large to be diagnosed with COVID-19. Children are more likely to be asymptomatic, however, which underscores the importance of health behaviors for everyone (masks/face coverings, distancing, handwashing, surface cleaning).

If Exposed, Children May Be Less Likely To Become Infected With COVID-19

A meta-analysis of studies from several countries found that children were only 44% as likely as adults to become infected after exposure (note: pre-print study). In China, in households with COVID-19 exposure, children under the age of 18 were infected at a rate of 4% compared with 17% for adults.

If Infected, It Appears Children May Be Less Likely To Infect Others

Most transmissions are from adults to children, rather than vice versa; this is different from some other respiratory viruses. In a U.S. study of 15 households, 73% of transmissions were from adult-to-child (the remaining were child-to-child or child-to-adult).

Health And Safety Requirements And Related Guidance For In-Person Learning

The health and safety of students and staff are everyone's top priority when making the decision to reopen schools for in-person learning this fall. The following health and safety requirements have been developed in collaboration with infectious disease physicians, pediatricians and public health experts from the Massachusetts General Brigham Health System and the Massachusetts chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics. Our process has included a thorough review of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), as well as available medical literature on COVID-19 related to children and school settings. Finally, the MA COVID-19 Command Center Medical Advisory Board, made up of physicians and other health experts, has carefully reviewed the health and safety requirements for in-person learning outlined in this section.

At this time, these are the health and safety practices that will enable the safe reopening of schools for in-person learning this fall. These requirements will be modified as needed. In addition to required practices, we have also included guidance on best practices where applicable.

As general background, COVID-19 spreads when people are in relatively close proximity, through respiratory droplets generated through coughing, sneezing, or talking to an infected person. Among the most effective preventive measures – when used consistently and in combination – are masks/face coverings, physical distancing, handwashing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.

Masks/face coverings

As the primary route of transmission for COVID-19 is respiratory, masks or face coverings are among the most critical components of risk reduction. Masks/face coverings protect the general public against COVID-19 infection, with a recent retrospective study estimating near 80% effectiveness in reducing COVID-19 transmission, especially when worn prior to symptom onset. In the United States, states advising face masks/face coverings be worn in public saw a decline in their COVID-19 growth rates, and community-wide mask/face covering usage contributed to control of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. At this time, our initial requirements and related guidance are as follows:

  1. Students in grade 2 and above are required to wear a mask/face covering that covers their nose and mouth. Students in kindergarten and grade 1 should be encouraged to wear a mask/face covering. Face shields may be an option for those students with medical, behavioral, or other challenges who are unable to wear masks/face coverings. Transparent masks may be the best option for both teachers and students in classes for deaf and hard of hearing students. They may also be useful for teachers and younger students who rely on visual / facial cues.
  2. Adults, including educators and staff, are required to wear masks/face coverings.
  3. Exceptions to mask/face covering requirements must be made for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors.
  4. Mask breaks should occur throughout the day. Breaks should occur when students can be six feet apart and ideally outside or at least with the windows open. Further guidance on mask breaks including duration and frequency will be forthcoming, as well as more information about properly removing and putting on masks.
  5. Masks/face coverings should be provided by the student/family, but extra disposable face masks should be made available by the school for students who need them. Reusable masks/face coverings provided by families should be washed by families daily. Districts and schools with families experiencing financial hardship and unable to afford masks/face coverings should endeavor to provide masks for students through grant funds described earlier in this document. 
  6. Masks/face coverings are required to be worn by everyone on the bus during school bus transportation.
  7. Transparent face coverings provide the opportunity for more visual cues and should be especially considered as an alternative for younger students, students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and their teachers.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EEC and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Reopening Plans Due Today

8/14/2020 (Permalink)

Today marks the state-imposed deadline for school districts across Massachusetts to submit their fall reopening plans. The state's education department directed school districts to prepare plans for three different reopening models: in-person, remote or a mix of the two. Several districts have already opted for online-only or hybrid versions of in-person and remote learning.

This comes at a time when the Commonwealth is seeing a rise COVID-19 case counts. The Department of Public Health confirmed 210 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and 273 more cases on Sunday, along with the announcement of 31 recent COVID-19 deaths between the two days. The number of daily new cases, which had generally settled at fewer than 200 a day earlier in the month, has been above 200 each of the last four days.

To find out your town's reopening plan click here.

There has been push back from unions and parents regarding any model with any form of in-person learning. Currently there are at least 31 districts in Massachusetts that have already decided against having kids return to class at all at this time. These districts will begin the new school year offering remote learning only. To 

To find out if your school district has decided to offer remote learning only click here.

The most challenging aspect of the coming school year is that, state wide, Massachusetts may have lost more than a quarter of the available space at child care centers. This is sure to complicate life for parents who will need child care services this coming school year. To help, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has created a geographic search tool to help you find licensed child care programs. You can search by both geographic area and child care program type. Unfortunately, some licensed programs choose to not be listed in EEC's searchable directory. If a program that you are looking for doesn't appear in your search results, you can call your local EEC office to confirm whether the program is licensed. 

NOTE: According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EEC, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEAMass EEC, and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Helping Children Cope with Change in School Routines

8/13/2020 (Permalink)

The COVID-19 pandemic can be stressful for most of us, especially our children. Fear and anxiety about what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, cancelation of school sports and remote learning can make children feel isolated and lonely leading to increased levels of stress and anxiety. Parents, however, understand that these actions are necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe.

As communities finalize their academic plans for the coming school year it is clear that, whatever the solution is, returning to a traditional school setting is not an option. Regardless of your child’s age, this realization can have traumatic effects on them. They may feel upset, depressed or have other strong emotions. Some children react right away, while others may show signs of difficulty much later.

According to the CDC, creating a support system and helping our children cope with the stresses resulting from the changes in our lifestyles caused by the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic is vital to their mental wellbeing. The following highlights influential factors to a child's emotional wellbeing, common reactions children exhibit, and how to help them cope. 

NOTE: According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Factors that Influence the Emotional Impact on Children During a Pandemic

The prolonged separation from school, family, and friends can create a great amount of stress and anxiety for children. The emotional impact of a pandemic on a child depends on a child’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the family and community, and the availability of local resources. Not all children respond in the same ways. Some might have more severe, longer-lasting reactions. The following specific factors may affect a child’s emotional response:

  1. Direct involvement with the pandemic (i.e. have they or someone they care about been infected)
  2. Previous traumatic or stressful event
  3. Belief that the they or a loved one may die
  4. Loss of a family member, close friend, or pet
  5. Separation from caregivers
  6. Physical illness
  7. How parents and caregivers respond
  8. Family resources
  9. Relationships and communication among family members
  10. Repeated exposure to mass media coverage of the pandemic
  11. Ongoing stress due to the change in familiar routines and living conditions
  12. Cultural differences
  13. Community resilience

Common Reactions

How a child reacts and the common signs of distress can vary according to the child’s age, previous experiences, and how the child typically copes with stress. The common reactions to distress will fade over time for most children. Children who were directly exposed to the effects of a pandemic can become upset again; behavior related to the event may return if they see or hear reminders of what happened. If children continue to be very upset or if their reactions hurt their schoolwork or relationships then parents may want to talk to a professional or have their children talk to someone who specializes in children’s emotional needs. Learn more about common reactions to distress:

  1. Infants to 2 Year Olds
    • Infants may become more cranky. They may cry more than usual or want to be held and cuddled more.
  2. 3 to 6 Year Olds
    • Preschool and kindergarten children may return to behaviors they have outgrown. For example, toileting accidents, bed-wetting, or being frightened about being separated from their parents/caregivers. They may also have tantrums or a hard time sleeping.
  3. 7 to 10 Year Olds
    • Older children may feel sad, mad, or afraid that the pandemic will never end. Peers may share false information with them, worsening their fears. Parents or caregivers must correct the misinformation as soon as possible. Older children may focus on details of the pandemic and want to talk about it all the time or not want to talk about it at all. Also, they may have trouble concentrating.
  4. Preteens and Teenagers
    • Some preteens and teenagers respond to stressful situations by acting out. This could include reckless driving, and alcohol or drug use. Others may become afraid to leave the home. They may resent the inability to spend time with their friends. They can feel overwhelmed by their intense emotions and feel unable to talk about them. Their emotions may lead to increased arguing and even fighting with siblings, parents/caregivers or other adults.
  5. Children with Special Needs
    • Children who need continuous use of a breathing machine or are confined to a wheelchair or bed or are at a higher risk of infection, may have stronger reactions to pandemic such as COVID-19. They might have more intense distress, worry or anger than children without special needs because they have less control over day-to-day well-being than other people. The same is true for children with other physical, emotional, or intellectual limitations. Children with special needs may need extra words of reassurance, more explanations about the event, and more comfort and other positive physical contact such as hugs from loved ones.

How to Help Children Cope with a Pandemic

While it is necessary for parents to stay informed about the effects of the pandemic to their local communities and the world around them it is equally important to understand that children can become more distressed if they see and hear constant, negative reminders of the current reality in the media. Parents should consider limiting the amount of exposure your children get to media coverage. 

Setting a good example for your children by managing your stress through healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and avoiding drugs and alcohol, is critical for parents and caregivers. When you are prepared, rested, and relaxed you can respond better to unexpected events and can make decisions in the best interest of your family and loved ones.

The following tips can help reduce stress before, during, and after a disaster or traumatic event such as a pandemic.

Before

  1. Talk to your children so that they know you are prepared to keep them safe.
  2. Review safety plans. Having a plan will increase your children’s confidence and help give them a sense of control.

During

  1. Stay calm and reassure your children often.
  2. Talk to children about what is happening in a way that they can understand.
  3. Keep it simple and appropriate for each child’s age.

After

  1. Provide children with opportunities to talk about what they went through or what they think about it.
  2. Encourage them to share concerns and ask questions.
  3. Encouraging them to take action directly related to the pandemic. For example, they could make masks or hand sanitizer. This will help your children feel a sense of control and enable them to better manage their feelings. 
  4. It is difficult to predict how some children will respond to traumatic events. Because parents, teachers, and other adults see children in different situations, it is important for them to work together to share information about how each child is coping after a traumatic event.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, How to Prepare for an Outbreak

8/12/2020 (Permalink)

As it becomes closer to the decision making point for local communities and parents regarding the 20-21 academic year it is important to note that no amount of preparation and mitigation will eliminate the risk of potential transmission of COVID-19 within our school systems. Therefore, it is important for communities to have a response plan in place and for parents to be aware of the plan. The following is CDC's guidance for school administrators and community leaders to follow when developing their response plans.

NOTE: According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

How to Develop a COVID-19 Response Plan

Schools should be prepared for COVID-19 outbreaks in their local communities and for individual exposure events to occur in their facilities, regardless of the level of community transmission, for example a case associated with recent travel to an area with sustained COVID-19 transmission. The pictured decision tree can be used to help schools determine which set of mitigation strategies may be most appropriate for their current situation.

When a Confirmed Case has Entered a School

Any school in any community might need to implement short-term closure procedures regardless of community spread if an infected person has been in a school building. If this happens, CDC recommends the following procedures regardless of the level of community spread:

Coordinate with Local Health Officials. 

Once learning of a COVID-19 case in someone who has been in the school, immediately notify local health officials. These officials will help administrators determine a course of action for their child care programs or schools.

Dismiss Students and Most Staff for 2-5 Days. 

This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the school and allows the local health officials to help the school determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19.

  1. Local health officials’ recommendations for the scope (e.g., a single school, multiple schools, the full district) and duration of school dismissals will be made on a case-by-case basis using the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and the specific cases in the community.
  2. During school dismissals, also cancel extracurricular group activities, school-based afterschool programs, and large events (e.g., assemblies, spirit nights, field trips, and sporting events).
  3. Discourage staff, students, and their families from gathering or socializing anywhere. This includes group child care arrangements, as well as gathering at places like a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant, or the local shopping mall.

Communicate with Staff, Parents, and Students

Coordinate with local health officials to communicate dismissal decisions and the possible COVID-19 exposure.

  1. This communication to the school community should align with the communication plan in the school’s emergency operations plan.
  2. Plan to include messages to counter potential stigma and discrimination.
  3. In such a circumstance, it is critical to maintain confidentiality of the student or staff member as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Clean and Disinfect Thoroughly

  1. Close off areas used by the individuals with COVID-19 and wait as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection to minimize potential for exposure to respiratory droplets. Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area. If possible, wait up to 24 hours before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  2. Cleaning staff should clean and disinfect all areas (e.g., offices, bathrooms, and common areas) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  3. If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  4. For disinfection most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
    1. A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products (e.g., concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
    2. Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.
    3. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.  
    4. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
      1. 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
      2. 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  5. Additional information on cleaning and disinfection of community facilities such as schools can be found on CDC’s website.

Make Decisions About Extending the School Dismissal. 

Temporarily dismissing child care programs and K-12 schools is a strategy to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19 in communities.

  1. During school dismissals (after cleaning and disinfection), child care programs and schools may stay open for staff members (unless ill) while students stay home. Keeping facilities open:
    1. Allows teachers to develop and deliver lessons and materials remotely, thus maintaining continuity of teaching and learning
    2. Allows other staff members to continue to provide services and help with additional response efforts.
  2. Decisions on which, if any, staff should be allowed in the school should be made in collaboration with local health officials.
  3. Child care and school administrators should work in close collaboration and coordination with local health officials to make dismissal and large event cancellation decisions. Schools should not be expected to make decisions about dismissal or canceling events on their own. School dismissals and event cancellations may be extended if advised by local health officials. The nature of these actions (e.g., geographic scope, duration) may change as the local outbreak situation evolves.
  4. Administrators should seek guidance from local health officials to determine when students and staff should return to schools and what additional steps are needed for the school community. In addition, students and staff who are well but are taking care of or share a home with someone with a case of COVID-19 should follow instructions from local health officials to determine when to return to school.

Implement Strategies to Continue Education and Related Supports for Students

  1. Ensure continuity of education.
    1. Review continuity plans, including plans for the continuity of teaching and learning. Implement e-learning plans, including digital and distance learning options as feasible and appropriate.
    2. Determine, in consultation with school district officials or other relevant state or local partners:
      1. If a waiver is needed for state requirements of a minimum number of in-person instructional hours or school days (seat time) as a condition for funding
      2. How to convert face-to-face lessons into online lessons and how to train teachers to do so
      3. How to triage technical issues if faced with limited IT support and staff
      4. How to encourage appropriate adult supervision while children are using distance learning approaches
      5. How to deal with the potential lack of students’ access to computers and the Internet at home.
  2. Ensure continuity of meal programs.
    1. Consider ways to distribute food to students.
    2. If there is community spread of COVID-19, design strategies to avoid distribution in settings where people might gather in a group or crowd. Consider options such as “grab-and-go” bagged lunches or meal delivery.
  3. Consider alternatives for providing essential medical and social services for students.
    1. Continue providing necessary services for children with special healthcare needs, or work with the state Title V Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Prevent Lightning Fires

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

Lightning strikes are rare, but when they hit, they can cause serious damage. Here are some tips to protect your Newton, MA commercial and residential property against a lightning fire.

Unplug All Electronics

If you know that a lightning storm is approaching your area, unplug all of your electronics. A power surge can severely damage the system of electrical wires throughout a property. It can also destroy the electronics themselves. like your TVs, computers and kitchen appliances.

Plan Ahead

If you are going on an extended vacation, it's a good idea to unplug your electronics to reduce the risk of a house fire.

Install a Voltage Surge Protector

There will be times when you are not able to unplug the electronics in your commercial or residential property. Installing surge protectors in the areas where electronics are positioned will limit the amount of voltage directed into the electronics. 

Consider a Structural Protection System

A structural protection system combines aluminum material and highly conductive copper to provide a path of low resistance, which will safely ground dangerous electricity. Professionally systems are 99% effective in protecting against a lightning fire. Some insurance policies will even offer a discount if you install a protection system. Generally, a protection system can include the following elements:

  • Lightning rods
  • Grounds
  • Bonds
  • Main Conductors

Check Your Insurance Policy

Make sure your insurance policy covers damages from electrical storms. Some states are more prone to electrical storms, so it's critical that you are covered if you live in a high probability zone.

We’re Here for You

Even if you take every precaution, a lightning fire may still damage your commercial or residential property. The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley has specialized training and experience in fire  damage cleanup. When a lightning fire damages your commercial or residential property call the experts at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley, (617) 332-9000. We will make it "Like it never even happened."

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Decision Making Tool

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

As schools begin to reopen across the nation, parents, guardians, and caregivers will be making decisions based on numerous factors, such as individual preferences, health concerns, work situations, and school considerations. When making decisions about school for your family, there are many things to think about beyond academics, such as access to school meal programs, social services, extended day childcare, extra-curricular activities, social-emotional support from peers and educators, and transportation. Parents, guardians, and caregivers will be thinking about numerous factors, such as individual preferences, health concerns, work situations, and school considerations.

Many schools are offering parents and guardians a choice between in-person and virtual modes of instruction. CDC's Decision-Making Tool for Parents and Guardians is designed to help you think through school re-entry and the choices that your child’s school is offering.

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Household and Community Risks for COVID-19

If you, your child, or a household member are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, you will need to weigh the benefits, risks, and feasibility of the educational options available. The table below will help you to assess your risk for COVID-19. If your response to any of the following 3 scenarios it true the risk of COVID infection is high. 

  1. My child has an underlying condition that increases the risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  2. I live with someone, or my child’s caregiver, is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 due to age or underlying medical conditions.
  3. The level of community spread in my area is high.

Decision-Making Tool 

Choosing whether or not to send your child back to school can be difficult. When weighing decisions about your child returning to school, it is important to consider your family’s unique needs and situation and your comfort level with the steps your school is taking to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Some considerations may include the specific risks to members of your household if a child were to become infected in school, as well as access to school meal programs, social services, extended day childcare services and extra-curricular activities, social-emotional support from peers and educators, and school transportation.

These questions address your views about how your school is preparing for school year 2020-2021 and are designed to help you weigh the risks and benefits of available educational options before you make decisions. If you answer “unsure” to any items regarding your school’s plan, consider reaching out to your school administrator for more information.

  1. I feel comfortable with my school’s reopening plans for reducing risk of spreading COVID-19.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  2. I believe my school has the resources needed to effectively implement their reopening plan (e.g., staffing, supplies, training).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  3. I feel comfortable with my school’s plan if a student or staff member test positive for COVID-19.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  4. I believe my school has a plan to provide an effective program of instruction every day of the regular school week (generally five days).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  5. I am satisfied with how my school communicates with families about the changes it is considering.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  6. I am satisfied with how my school is addressing parents’ or caregivers’ concerns and questions.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  7. My child knows how to properly wear a mask and understands the importance of doing so.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  8. My child can wear a mask for an extended period of time, if required by the school.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  9. My child has a reliable mode of transportation to and from school (e.g., school bus, carpool, walk/bike, public transit).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  10. I am comfortable with how my child’s mode of transportation to and from school is reducing the risk of spreading COVID-19 (e.g., decreased bus/transit capacity, wearing masks, increased cleaning and disinfecting practices).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree

Virtual/At-Home Learning Feasibility

These questions assess whether learning would be feasible for you and your child.

  1. I am able to work while my child is not in school (i.e., can still successfully do my job or I am able to telework).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  2. I have access to reliable internet and a device, such as a computer or tablet, which my child can use for virtual learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  3. I can supervise or identify someone who can supervise my child during periods of virtual/at home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  4. My child has a space where I live that is free of distractions during school hours.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  5. My school provides a virtual learning option that allows students to have real-time interactions with their teachers (e.g., have live instruction).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  6. My child’s learning style and needs are compatible with digital modes of learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree

Academic and Social-Emotional Wellbeing

These questions assess your belief in your child's ability to succeed, both academically and socially, in a remote learning environment.

  1. My child will be able to keep up academically through virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  2. My child will receive quality education through virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  3. My child will be sufficiently engaged during prolonged periods of virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  4. My child will be able to stay socially connected during prolonged periods of virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  5. My child will be able to keep up academically through virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  6. My child will receive quality education through virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  7. My child will be sufficiently engaged during prolonged periods of virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  8. My child will be able to stay socially connected during prolonged periods of virtual/at-home learning.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  9. If my child needs specialized adaptive communication devices, equipment, or learning aides, I am able to have them where I live.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree

School-Based Services


These questions review some school-based services that your family may be using. You may want to consider whether you have been able to access these services through a virtual/at home learning option, your satisfaction with the services to date, and whether you would prefer to receive these services in school. If your child is at higher risk for severe illness and relies on school-based services that are only available on site, you may want to have additional conversations with your school to address concerns you may have.

  1. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or other specialized learning or behavior plan…
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  2. My child is able to receive the required IEP learning accommodations through a virtual/at-home learning option that meets my family’s needs.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  3. If your child receives school-based learning services (e.g., tutoring before or after school) …
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  4. My child is able to receive needed school-based learning services through a virtual/at-home learning option that meets my family’s needs.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  5. If your child receives school-based nutrition services (e.g., school breakfast or lunch) …
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  6. My child has an alternative to the nutrition services provided in schools that adequately meets our family’s needs (Your school district’s child nutrition website may have this information).
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  7. If your child receives school-based behavioral services (e.g., social skills training, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy) …
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  8. My child is able to receive needed behavioral services through a virtual/at-home option that meets my family’s needs.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  9. If your child receives school-based emotional or mental health services…
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  10. My child is able to receive needed emotional or mental health services through a virtual/at-home option that meets my family’s needs.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  11. If your child attends after care (including after school clubs and activities) provided by the school…
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree
  12. My child has an alternative to the after-care services provided by schools that adequately meets my family’s needs.
    • Does not Apply
    • Disagree
    • Unsure
    • Agree

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Communication and Planning for Cases

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

As the state, local communities and families struggle to understand and plan for the best, safest, course of action to take regarding the reopening of our schools we will be doing our best to share with our communities the most up-to-date guidance regarding best practices to reopen our school systems in the most responsible and safe way possible.

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

The following highlights CDC's guidelines for regular communication between community leaders and parents as well as the anticipation of and planning for potential cases of COVID-19.

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Communicate with Families, Staff, and other Stakeholders

When preparing to go back to school, regular communication should be used to update students, families, teachers, and staff about academic standards, meal program services, and access to other school-based essential services that students and families rely on.

Regular communication with families, staff, and other partners should include:

  1. Updates about the status of COVID-19 in the school and community
  2. Notification when there are COVID-19 cases in the school (when communicating about the health status of students, schools should take care to avoid disclosing personally identifiable information and should follow all applicable privacy requirements, including those of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)
  3. Explanation of what parents, students, teachers, and staff can expect when returning to school; in particular, communicating about:
    1. The importance of staying home when sick and staying home to monitor symptoms if close contact occurred with a person who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.
    2. Considerations for COVID-19 symptom screenings
    3. Types of social distancing measures being implemented
    4. When students, teachers, staff and/or visitors will be expected to wear cloth face coverings and whether cloth face coverings will be available from the school.
    5. Everyday healthy hygiene practices that will be implemented upon reopening (e.g., students, teachers, staff staying home when sick, hand hygiene, cleaning frequently touched surfaces)
  4. Actions being taken to prevent SARS-Cov-2 transmission in buses, school buildings and facilities
  5. Actions that families and households can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19
  6. Actions families can take to manage anxiety about COVID-19
  7. Decisions about operational status, potential use of virtual learning if COVID-19 cases are identified among students, teachers, or staff, and
  8. Guidance on caring for someone who is sick and for parents, guardians, and caregivers who are sick
  9. Guidance on how to reduce stigma. Fear and anxiety about a disease can lead to social stigma, which is negative attitudes and beliefs toward people, places, or things

Families and students who had to make alternative arrangements with community providers to receive services (e.g., physical or occupational therapy, speech therapy, mental health services) during periods of school closures may need additional support and communication to establish a transition plan upon returning to school. Additionally, some families may have experienced significant hardship that now increases the number of students who need or qualify for some services, such as school meal programs. Schools can take actions to identify, support, and communicate with families who need to initiate new services as schools prepare to open.  Administrators can work with community partners to plan for additional school-based services and programs during the transition back to normal schedules in anticipation of an increased need for mental health services.

Expect, and Plan for, Cases of COVID-19 in Communities

International experiences have demonstrated that even when a school carefully coordinates, plans, and prepares, cases may still occur within the community and schools. Expecting and planning for the occurrence of cases of COVID-19 in communities can help everyone be prepared for when a case or multiple cases are identified.

Schools should be prepared for COVID-19 cases and exposure to occur in their facilities. Collaborating with local health officials will continue to be important once students are back to school, as they can provide regular updates about the status of COVID-19 in the community and help support and maintain the health and wellbeing of students, teachers, and staff. Having a plan in place for maintaining academic instruction and ensuring students have access to special services is also critical.

Making Decisions About School Operations

Administrators should make decisions in collaboration with local health officials based on a number of factors, including the level of community transmission, whether cases are identified among students, teachers, or staff, what other indicators local public health officials are using to assess the status of COVID-19, and whether student, teacher, and staff cohorts are being implemented within the school.

There are specific strategies schools can implement based on the level of community transmission reported by local health officials:

  1. If there is no to minimal community transmission, reinforcing everyday preventive actions, ensuring proper ventilation within school facilities, including buses, and maintaining cleaning and disinfection practices remain important. These actions can help minimize potential exposure. Schools should also monitor absenteeism among teachers, staff, and students to identify trends and determine if absences are due to COVID-19, symptoms that led to quarantine, concerns about being in the school environment and personal health and safety, or positive test results. Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should stay home and self-isolate for the timeframe recommended by public health officials. Anyone who has had close contact with someone who has tested positive or is symptomatic for COVID-19 should be tested and stay home until receiving a negative result, or stay home and monitor for symptoms.
  2. If there is minimal to moderate community transmission, schools should follow the actions listed above, and continue implementing mitigation strategies such as social distancing, use of cloth faced coverings, reinforcing everyday preventive actions, and maintaining cleaning and disinfection. This also can include ensuring that student and staff groupings/cohorts are as static as possible and that mixing groups of students and staff is limited.
  3. If there is substantial, controlled transmission, significant mitigation strategies are necessary. These include following all the actions listed above and also ensuring that student and staff groupings/cohorts are as static as possible with limited mixing of student and staff groups, field trips and large gatherings and events are canceled, and communal spaces (e.g., cafeterias, media centers) are closed.
  4. If there is substantial, uncontrolled transmission, schools should work closely with local health officials to make decisions on whether to maintain school operations. The health, safety, and wellbeing of students, teachers, staff and their families is the most important consideration in determining whether school closure is a necessary step.  Communities can support schools staying open by implementing strategies that decrease a community’s level of transmission. However, if community transmission levels cannot be decreased, school closure is an important consideration. Plans for virtual learning should be in place in the event of a school closure.

Reminder

Each community is unique. Appropriate mitigation strategies should be based on the best available data. Decision making will vary based on the level of community transmission and local circumstances.

  1. No one strategy is sufficient.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Mitigation Across Settings and Sectors

8/7/2020 (Permalink)

As the state, local communities and families struggle to understand and plan for the best, safest, course of action to take regarding the reopening of our schools we will be doing our best to share with our communities the most up-to-date guidance regarding best practices to reopen our school systems in the most responsible and safe way possible.

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

The following highlights CDC's recommended mitigation strategies to consider in communities with local COVID-19 transmission across settings and sectors when developing your communities' plan to responsibly and safely reopen school systems.  

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Mitigation Across Settings and Sectors

Cross-cutting community mitigation strategies can be organized into the following categories:

  1. Promoting behaviors that prevent spread
  2. Maintaining healthy environments
  3. Maintaining healthy operations
  4. Preparing for when someone gets sick

Presuming a community is not sheltering-in-place, cross-cutting strategies outlined below should be implemented to the extent possible, and in accordance with the amount of ongoing community transmission. 

Important NoteNot all bullets are relevant to each setting or sector.  The bullets are meant to be illustrative of community mitigation measures to consider. 

Promote Behaviors that Prevent Spread

  1. Educate people to stay home when sick or when they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
  2. Teach and reinforce practicing hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  3. Teach and reinforce the use of cloth face coverings to protect others (if appropriate)
  4. Ensure adequate supplies are easily available (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, paper towels) to support healthy hygiene behavior
  5. Post signs or posters and promote messaging about behaviors that prevent spread

Maintain Healthy Environments

  1. Intensify cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces
  2. Ensure ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air
  3. Ensure all water systems are safe to use
  4. Modify layouts to promote social distance of at least 6 feet between people – especially for persons who do not live together
  5. Install physical barriers and guides to support social distancing if appropriate
  6. Close communal spaces, or stagger use and clean and disinfect between use
  7. Limit sharing of objects, or clean and disinfect between use

Maintain Healthy Operations

  1. Protect people at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  2. To cope with stress, encourage people to take breaks from the news, take care of their bodies, take time to unwind and connect with others, particularly when they have concerns
  3. Maintain awareness of local or state regulations
  4. Stagger or rotate scheduling
  5. Create static groups or “cohorts” of individuals and avoid mixing between groups
  6. Pursue virtual events. Maintain social distancing at any in-person events, and limit group size as much as possible
  7. Limit non-essential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations, especially with those who are not from the local area
  8. Encourage telework and virtual meetings if possible
  9. Consider options for non-essential travel in accordance with state and local regulations
  10. Designate a COVID-19 point of contact
  11. Implement flexible and non-punitive leave policies
  12. Monitor absenteeism and create a back-up staffing plan
  13. Train staff on all safety protocols
  14. Consider conducting daily health checks such as temperature screening or symptom checking
  15. Encourage those who share the facilities to also adhere to mitigation strategies
  16. Put in place communication systems for:
    1. Individuals to self-report COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test for COVID-19, or exposure to someone with COVID-19
    2. Notifying local health authorities of COVID-19 cases
    3. Notifying individuals (employees, customers, students, etc.) of any COVID-19 exposures while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with privacy laws
  17. Notifying individuals (e.g, employees, customers, students) of any facility closures

Prepare for When Someone Gets Sick

  1. Prepare to isolate and safely transport those who are sick to their home or to a healthcare facility
  2. Encourage individuals who are sick to follow CDC guidance  for caring for oneself and others who are sick
  3. Notify local health officials of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  4. Notify those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and advise them to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms, and follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop
  5. Advise individuals who are sick when it would be safe for them to return based on CDC's criteria to discontinue home isolation
  6. Close off areas used by someone who is sick. Wait >24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting. Ensure safe and correct use and storage of EPA-approved disinfectants, including storing products securely away from children.

Reminder

Each community is unique. Appropriate mitigation strategies should be based on the best available data. Decision making will vary based on the level of community transmission and local circumstances.

  1. No one strategy is sufficient.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Mitigation Levels and Factors to Consider

8/6/2020 (Permalink)

Wile things have improved as emergency orders have loosened, the news cycle constantly reminds us that we are not in the clear. On the contrary, one slight miss step and a new COVID-19 "hot spot" emerges on the map. For the vast majority of our "Planning to Reopen" series of blogs our main focus has been on sifting through the tsunami of information and sharing that which would best help the business owners of Commonwealth protect themselves, their employees, and their customers. We feel, now, it is time to pivot. 

As the state, communities and families struggle to understand what this all means and the best, safest, course of action to take we will be doing our best to share with our communities the most up-to-date guidance regarding best practices to reopen our school systems in the most responsible and safe way possible.

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

The following highlights CDC's recommended levels of mitigation and factors to consider when developing your communities' plan pertaining to safely reopening our schools.  

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Level of Mitigation 

The goal of community mitigation is to slow the potential spread of COVID-19 and to protect all individuals, especially those at increased risk for severe illness, while minimizing the negative impacts of these strategies. We all know that every community presents unique challenges. The guidance below will help decision makers formulate the appropriate levels of mitigation based on their community specific transmission characteristics.

  1. Mitigation Level - Shelter In Place
    • Community Transmission Level
      • Substantial, uncontrolled transmission
    • Identifiable Community Characteristics
      • Large scale, uncontrolled community transmission, including communal settings 
  2. Mitigation Level - Significant mitigation
    • Community Transmission Level
      • Substantial, controlled transmission
    • Identifiable Community Characteristics
      • Large scale, controlled community transmission, including communal settings 
  3. Mitigation Level - Moderate mitigation
    • Community Transmission Level
      • Minimal to moderate community transmission
    • Identifiable Community Characteristics
      • Sustained transmission with high likelihood or confirmed exposure within communal settings and potential for rapid increase in cases
  4. Mitigation Level - Low mitigation
    • Community Transmission Level
      • No to minimal community transmission
    • Identifiable Community Characteristics
      • Evidence of isolated cases or limited community transmission, case investigations underway; no evidence of exposure in large communal setting

Factors to Consider

Decision making will vary based on the level of community transmission and local circumstances. The guidance below identify factors for decision makers to consider when formulating the appropriate levels of mitigation based on their community specific transmission characteristics.

  1. Epidemiology
    1. Level of community transmission: more extensive mitigation will be needed when there is greater community transmission
    2. Number and type of outbreaks in specific settings or with vulnerable populations, including, but not limited to nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, correctional facilities, meat and poultry processing plants, and the homeless population
    3. Severity of the disease
    4. Impact of the level of community transmission and any outbreaks on delivery of healthcare or other critical infrastructure or services
    5. Epidemiology in surrounding jurisdictions
  2. Community Characteristics
    1. Size of community and population density
    2. Level of community engagement and support
    3. Size and characteristics of vulnerable populations
    4. Access to healthcare
    5. Transportation infrastructure (e.g., availability and use of mass transit)
    6. Type of business or industry
    7. Congregate settings (e.g., correctional facilities, homeless shelters)
    8. Planned large events/gatherings, such as sporting events
    9. Relationship of community to other communities (e.g., transportation hub, tourist destination, volume of commuting, and other attributes)
  3. Healthcare Capacity
    1. Healthcare workforce
    2. Number of healthcare facilities (including ancillary healthcare facilities)
    3. Testing activity
    4. Intensive care capacity
    5. Availability of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  4. Public Health Capacity
    1. Public health workforce and availability of resources to implement strategies (e.g., resources to detect, test, track, and isolate cases)
    2. Available support from other state/local government agencies and partner organizations

Reminder

Each community is unique. Appropriate mitigation strategies should be based on the best available data. Decision making will vary based on the level of community transmission and local circumstances.

  1. No one strategy is sufficient.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools, Goals and Guiding Principals

8/5/2020 (Permalink)

This has been an unprecedented year. Wile things have improved as emergency orders have loosened, the news cycle constantly reminds us that we are not in the clear. On the contrary, one slight miss step and a new COVID-19 "hot spot" emerges on the map. For the vast majority of our "Planning to Reopen" series of blogs our main focus has been on sifting through the tsunami of information and sharing that which would best help the business owners of Commonwealth protect themselves, their employees, and their customers. We feel, now, it is time to pivot. 

As the state, communities and families struggle to understand what this all means and the best, safest, course of action to take we will be doing our best to share with our communities the most up-to-date guidance regarding best practices to reopen our school systems as safely as possible.

According to the CDC, in lieu of a vaccine or therapeutic drug, mitigation is the greatest weapon communities can wield to slow the spread of a virus with pandemic potential such as COVID-19. COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new, (and some data suggests evolving) coronavirus.

The following highlights CDC's recommended goals and guiding principles to be considered when formulating our plans to reopen our schools.  

NOTE: COVID-19 is highly transmissible. Individuals should follow these universal precautions regardless of the extent of mitigation needed:

  1. Follow healthy hygiene practices
  2. Stay at home when sick
  3. Practice social distancing 
  4. Use a cloth face covering (with some exceptions) in community settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Goals

The goal of community mitigation is to slow the potential spread of COVID-19 and to protect all individuals, especially those at increased risk for severe illness, while minimizing the negative impacts of these strategies. 

Implementation is based on:

  1. Emphasizing individual responsibility for implementing recommended personal-level actions
  2. Empowering businessesschools, and other settings to implement appropriate actions
  3. Prioritizing settings that provide critical infrastructure services
  4. Minimizing disruptions to daily life to the extent possible and ensuring access to health care and other essential services.

Guiding principles

Each community is unique. Appropriate mitigation strategies should be based on the best available data. Decision making will vary based on the level of community transmission and local circumstances.

  1. No one strategy is sufficient.
  2. Protecting the public’s health is paramount
  3. Until broad-scale testing is widely implemented or we have a more comprehensive and precise measure of disease burden, states and communities should assume some community transmission or spread is occurring
  4. Mitigation strategies should be feasible, practical, and acceptable; they should be tailored to the needs of each community and implemented in a manner that minimizes both morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 and does not create or exacerbate any health disparities.
  5. Community mitigation efforts must aim to reduce the rate at which someone infected comes in contact with someone not infected, or reduce the probability of infection if there is contact. 
  6. The characteristics of the community and its population, health system and public health capacity, and the local capacity to implement strategies are important when determining community mitigation strategies. 
  7. As communities adjust mitigation strategies, they should ensure that the healthcare system capacity will not be exceeded.
  8. Precautions should be taken to protect health care professionals and other critical infrastructure workers. Communities need to assure healthcare systems have adequate staffing, a surplus of inpatient and ICU beds, and critical medical equipment and supplies such as PPE.
  9. Public health system capacity relies on detecting, testingcontact tracing, and isolating those who are or might be sick, or have been exposed to known or suspected COVID-19 cases; it is important to stop broader community transmission and prevent communities from having to implement or strengthen further community mitigation efforts.
  10. Attention should be given to people who are at higher risk for severe illness when determining and adjusting community mitigation strategies.
  11. Certain settings and vulnerable populations in a community are at particularly high risk for transmission. This includes but is not limited to congregate settings such as nursing homes and other long-term care facilitiescorrectional facilities, and the homeless population.
  12. Progressively evaluate mitigation strategies to scaled up or down, depending on the evolving local situation, and what is feasible, practical, and legal in a jurisdiction.
  13. Any signs of a cluster of new cases or a reemergence of broader community transmission should result in a re-evaluation of community mitigation strategies and a decision on whether and how mitigation might need to change.
  14. Presuming a community is not sheltering-in-place cross-cutting community mitigation strategies can be organized into the following categories:
    1. promoting behaviors that prevent spread
    2. maintaining healthy environments
    3. maintaining healthy operations
    4. preparing for when someone gets sick. 
  15. Community mitigation strategies should be layered upon one another and used at the same time—with several layers of safeguards to reduce the spread of disease and lower the risk of another spike in cases and deaths.
  16. Communities need to decide the level of risk that is acceptable and make informed choices about implementing mitigation plans accordingly.
  17. Individuals make choices about following the behavioral practices that are recommended. Compliance (and NonCompliance) to community mitigation decisions must be monitored closely as they will have a direct impact the overall success of any mitigation plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  18. Travel patterns within and between jurisdictions will impact efforts to reduce community transmission. Coordination across state and local jurisdictions is critical – especially between jurisdictions with different levels of community transmission.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Our Schools

8/4/2020 (Permalink)

This has been an unprecedented year. Wile things have improved as emergency orders have loosened, the news cycle constantly reminds us that we are not in the clear. On the contrary, one slight miss step and a new COVID-19 "hot spot" emerges on the map. For the vast majority of our "Planning to Reopen" series of blogs our main focus has been on sifting through the tsunami of information and sharing that which would best help the business owners of Commonwealth protect themselves, their employees, and their customers. We feel, now, it is time to pivot. 

Six months ago we were forced to do the unthinkable, close our school systems with the hope that, come fall, we would be able to reopen them and return to our normal. We now know that is not a viable option. 

As the state, communities and families struggle to understand what this all means and the best, safest, course of action to take we will be doing our best to share with our communities the most up-to-date guidance regarding best practices to reopen our school systems as safely as possible.  

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

Below we have provided excerpts from the CDC's white paper weighing the importance of reopening our schools versus the risks of doing so. To view the complete paper, click here

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

According to the CDC, it is important to consider the full spectrum of benefits and risks of both in-person and virtual learning options. 

Known Physical Risks

The best available evidence indicates if children become infected:

  1. They are far less likely to suffer severe symptoms
  2. Death rates among school-aged children are much lower than among adults 

Known Non-Physical Risks

At the same time, the harms attributed to closed schools on the social, emotional, and behavioral health, economic well-being, and academic achievement of children, in both the short- and long-term, are well-known and significant. 

The in-person school environment does the following:

  1. Provides educational instruction
  2. Supports the development of social and emotional skills
  3. Creates a safe environment for learning
  4. Addresses nutritional needs
  5. Facilitates physical activity

Known Inequities

Further, the lack of in-person educational options disproportionately harms low-income and minority children and those living with disabilities. 

COVID-19 and Children

The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children.  Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults. 

As of July 17, 2020, the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18 years old account for:

  1. Less than 7 percent of COVID-19 cases
  2. Less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths

Current data collected from scientific studies and international studies suggests the rate of infection among younger school children, and from students to teachers, has been low, especially when proper precautions are followed.  Additionally, there have also been few reports of children being the primary source of COVID-19 transmission among family members which is consistent with data from both virus and antibody testing. This data suggesting that children are not the primary drivers of COVID-19 spread in schools or in the community.

Educational Instruction

Extended school closure can lead to severe learning loss, particularly for students with heightened behavioral needs. We know that, for many students, long breaks from in-person education are harmful to the learning process. Many studies document the adverse effects summer breaks have on students academic progress, this is known as “summer slide.”

The Unfortunate Reality of Remote Learning

Disparities in educational outcomes caused by school closures are a particular concern for low-income and minority students and students with disabilities.  Many low-income families do not have the capacity to facilitate distance learning (e.g. limited or no computer access, limited or no internet access), and may have to rely on school-based services that support their child’s academic success. Data showed that through late April, student progress in math decreased by about half, with the negative impact more pronounced in low-income communities. 

Furthermore remote learning makes absorbing information more difficult for students with disabilities, developmental delays, or other cognitive disabilities.  In particular, students who:

  1. Hard of hearing
  2. Deaf
  3. Have low vision
  4. Blind
  5. ADHD (and other learning disorders)
  6. As well as other physical and mental disabilities 

Social and Emotional Skill Development

In addition to a structure for learning, schools provide a stable and secure environment for developing social skills and peer relationships, particularly the development of language, communication, social, emotional, and interpersonal skills.

In an in-person school environment, children more easily learn how to develop and maintain friendships, how to behave in groups, and how to interact and form relationships with people outside of their family.  In school, students are also able to access support systems needed to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate others’ perspectives, and make responsible decisions. Such routine in-person contacts provide opportunities to facilitate social-emotional development that are difficult, if not impossible, to replicate through distance learning.  

Additionally, extended closures can be harmful to children’s mental health and can increase the likelihood of:

  1. Lower levels of depression
  2. Thoughts about suicide
  3. Social anxiety
  4. Sexual activity
  5. Lower levels of self-esteem
  6. Increased likelihood of substance use 

Negative Impacts of Prolonged Quarantine

Studies have conducted on pandemics around the world suggest a strong association between length of quarantine and:

  1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  2. Avoidance behavior
  3. Anger

Mental Health and Social Services

In-person schooling provides children with access to a variety of mental health and social services, including speech language therapy, and physical or occupational therapy to help the physical, psychological, and academic well-being of the child. School counselors are trained in the mental health needs of children and youth and can recognize signs of trauma that primary caregivers are less able to see because they themselves are experiencing the same family stresses.  

Without in-person schooling, many children can lose access to these important services. For those individuals who have a diagnosable mental, behavioral or emotional condition that substantially interferes with or limits their social functioning, schools play an integral role in linking them to care and necessary support services.

For children with intellectual or physical disabilities, nearly all therapies and services are received through schools.  These vital services are difficult to provide through distance learning models.  As a result, more children with disabilities have received few to no services while schools have been closed.

Safety

Extended school closures deprive children who live in unsafe homes and neighborhoods of an important layer of protection from neglect as well as physical, sexual, and emotional maltreatment and abuse. 

Nutrition

Schools are essential to meeting the nutritional needs of children with many consuming up to half their daily calories at school.  Nationwide more than 30 million children participate in the National School Lunch Program and nearly 15 million participate in the School Breakfast Program.  While schools have implemented strategies to continue meal services during this pandemic the sad reality is that these strategies are not sustainable in the long term. 

Physical Activity

Many children may not be sufficiently physically active outside of the context of in-school physical education (PE) and other school-based activities.  With schools closed, children may not have sufficient opportunities to participate in organized and safe physical activities such as those existing within the within our school systems, such as:

  1. Recess
  2. Classroom engagements
  3. Safe, organized sports
  4. After school programs

Conclusion

Schools provide safe, supportive learning environments and critical services for students and families that, studies have shown, can not be equitably duplicated with remote learning. The best available evidence from countries that have opened schools indicates that, in areas with low community transmission, COVID-19 poses low risks to school-aged children and suggests that children are unlikely to be major drivers of the spread of the virus. 

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols for reopening our schools we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for the new school year.

Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every community has access to the resources necessary to meet the strict cleaning guidelines to ensure a safe environment for our children. For those communities, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your schools, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Construction, Part 4

7/31/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining worker infection protocol, identification of exposure, notification, quarantine and sanitation requirements and returning to work for Construction Businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following guidance were updated based on the new COVID-19 Travel Order (July 24):

  1. Construction (below)
  2. Indoor and Outdoor Events
  3. Laboratories
  4. Lodging
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Office Space
  7. Theater & Performance Venues

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Construction Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Do all you can to maintain your good health by: getting adequate sleep; eating a balanced, healthy diet, avoid alcohol; and consume plenty of fluids. Please Note: This document is not intended to replace any formalized procedures currently in place with the General Contractor.

Where these guidance does not meet or exceed the standards put forth by the General Contractor, everyone shall abide by the most stringent procedure available.

A site-specific COVID-19 Officer (who may also be the Health and Safety Officer) shall be designated for every site. The Contractor’s site specific project COVID-19 Officer shall submit a written daily report to the Owner’s Representative. The COVID-19 Officer shall certify that the contractor and all subcontractors are in full compliance with these guidelines.

Any issue of non-compliance with these guidelines shall be a basis for the suspension of work. The contractor will be required to submit a corrective action plan detailing each issue of non-conformance and a plan to rectify the issue(s). The contractor will not be allowed to resume work until the plan is approved by the Owner. Any additional issues of non-conformance may be subject to action against the contractor's prequalification and certification status.

Worker Infection Protocol

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place and for staff and workers to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Zero tolerance for sick workers reporting to work.
  2. Employees should be instructed that even those with mild symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, shortness of breath, sore throat) or fever should stay off work.
  3. Contractors shall take immediate steps to limit infections at the job site in the event that a worker discovered to have tested positive for COVID-19 or has COVID-19 related symptoms.

Although it is understood that contractors are enforcing Work Site Risk Prevention Practices including social distancing rules and use of PPE, consistent with guidelines it is also recognized that there may be occasions where someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has COVID-19 symptoms has been present in a work area. Prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a critical step in protecting workers, vendors, visitors, and others at a worksite.

Identification of Exposure

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place and for staff and workers to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. The Business owner or Contractor shall direct workers with COVID-19 related symptoms to leave the jobsite immediately and contact their healthcare provider. The Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) or a local board 8 of health will make appropriate notifications to those who had direct prolonged contact with the COVID19 positive workers.
  2. The business owner or Contractor shall work with the local board of health to identify any potential job site exposures, including: 
    1. Other workers, vendors, inspectors, or visitors to the work site with close contact to the individual
    2. Work areas such as supply cabinets and designated work stations or rooms
    3. Work tools and equipment
    4. Common areas such as break rooms and tables, vending machines, and sanitary facilities

Notification and Quarantine Requirements

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place:

  1. As provided by law, the identity of the worker must be kept confidential
  2. Upon learning of an infection, the contractor must immediately notify the designated COVID-19 safety officer, the site safety officer, and the owner

Sanitation Requirements

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place:

  1. After a worker with COVID-19 related symptoms has been asked to leave the job site, the contractor shall take immediate steps to sanitize common areas and direct work places. This includes all on-site bathrooms facilities, any break facilities, and any other common areas on the job site that may have been in close contact with the infected worker.
  2. Sanitation will be conducted with personnel, equipment, and material approved for COVID-19 sanitization.
  3. Identified areas should remain isolated from workers until sanitation process has been completed and area is deemed safe for use.

Returning to Work

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place:

  1. All impacted workers should follow CDC and DPH recommended steps concerning return to work. Workers who are considered close contacts to a COVID-19 case by public health authorities should not return for 14 days and are subject quarantine by public health.
  2. Workers who leave during the work day due to COVID-19 symptoms and develop COVID-19 as confirmed by laboratory testing or diagnosis by a healthcare provider shall not return to the site until either released from isolation by healthcare provider or public health official.

In All Cases

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place:

  1. Keep all employee names confidential as required by law
  2. Other employees may be sent home while a workspace is being cleaned but will return to work after cleaning unless advised otherwise by a health care provider
  3. Other employees should be asked to contact their health provider if they have any questions
  4. Remind other employees to continue to practice proper sanitation and monitor for flu like symptoms

Additional Link;

Construction Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Construction, Part 3

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to wash stations, limiting exposure to COVID-19, and working in 1-3 family residences  for Construction Businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following guidance were updated based on the new COVID-19 Travel Order (July 24):

  1. Construction (below)
  2. Indoor and Outdoor Events
  3. Laboratories
  4. Lodging
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Office Space
  7. Theater & Performance Venues

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Construction Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Do all you can to maintain your good health by: getting adequate sleep; eating a balanced, healthy diet, avoid alcohol; and consume plenty of fluids. Please Note: This document is not intended to replace any formalized procedures currently in place with the General Contractor.

Where these guidance does not meet or exceed the standards put forth by the General Contractor, everyone shall abide by the most stringent procedure available.

A site-specific COVID-19 Officer (who may also be the Health and Safety Officer) shall be designated for every site. The Contractor’s site specific project COVID-19 Officer shall submit a written daily report to the Owner’s Representative. The COVID-19 Officer shall certify that the contractor and all subcontractors are in full compliance with these guidelines.

Any issue of non-compliance with these guidelines shall be a basis for the suspension of work. The contractor will be required to submit a corrective action plan detailing each issue of non-conformance and a plan to rectify the issue(s). The contractor will not be allowed to resume work until the plan is approved by the Owner. Any additional issues of non-conformance may be subject to action against the contractor's prequalification and certification status.

Wash Stations

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place and for staff and workers to adhere to the following at all times:

All site-specific projects with outside construction sites without ready access to an indoor bathroom MUST install Wash Stations. 

  1. Install hand wash stations with hot water, if possible, and soap at fire hydrants or other water sources to be used for frequent handwashing for all onsite employees
  2. All onsite workers must help to maintain and keep stations clean
  3. If a worker notices soap or towels are running low or out, immediately notify supervisors
  4. Garbage barrels will be placed next to the hand wash station for disposal of tissues / towels

Limiting Exposures

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners, and/or general contractors to have the following protocols in place and for staff and workers to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Workers should follow the General On-the-Job Guidance to Prevent Exposure & Limit the Transmission of the Virus of the COVID-19 Employee Health, protection, guidance and prevention guide.
  2. In addition, Contractors should advise workers of best practice to limit exposures off the construction site.
  3. When leaving a construction site for breaks, lunch, or other reasons are required to wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol before leaving the site and must maintain social distancing and wear face coverings if traveling to other locations off the construction site. Frequent use of handwashing or alcohol-based 8 hand sanitizers should be encouraged and handwashing facilities and / or alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be made readily available at work sites. 

Construction and Remodeling in 1-3 Family Residences

For construction and remodeling work in 1-3 family residential constructions, the following modifications apply:

  1. The contractor does not need to designate a site-specific COVID-19 Officer (who may also be the Health and Safety Officer) for every site if there are 5 or less workers at the site at any given time. Instead, the contractor may designate a COVID-19 Officer for all such small sites in a given city or town who shall be in daily contact with each of the sites to ensure that the contractor and all subcontractors are in full compliance with this safety guidance. This COVID-19 safety officer shall prepare a written daily report covering all the small sites in each city or town and make a copy of that report available to a municipal official and / or the owner of the residence upon request
  2. If the project has restroom facilities / porta-potties they must be cleaned and handwashing stations must be provided with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels. For outside construction sites without ready access to an indoor bathroom, the contractors must either install Wash Stations with hot water, if possible, and soap at fire hydrants or other water sources to be used for frequent handwashing for all onsite employees or provide each employee and subcontractor with a sufficient quantity of hand sanitizer to allow for frequent handwashing

Additional Link;

Construction Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Construction, Part 2

7/29/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to guidance to prevent exposure & limit the transmission of the COVID-19 and work site risk prevention practices for Construction Businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following guidance were updated based on the new COVID-19 Travel Order (July 24):

  1. Construction (below)
  2. Indoor and Outdoor Events
  3. Laboratories
  4. Lodging
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Office Space
  7. Theater & Performance Venues

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Construction Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Guidance to Prevent Exposure and Limit Transmission

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners to have the following protocols in place and for staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. No handshaking
  2. Wash hands often with soap for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol
  3. Contractor and State Agency Field Offices are locked down to all but authorized personnel
  4. Each jobsite should develop cleaning and decontamination procedures that are posted and shared. These Procedures must cover all areas including trailers, gates, equipment, vehicles, etc. and shall be posted at all entry points to the sites, and throughout the project site.
  5. A "No Congregation" policy is in effect, individuals must implement social distancing by maintaining a minimum distance of 6-feet from other individuals
  6. Avoid face to face meetings – critical situations requiring in-person discussion must follow social distancing 
  7. Conduct all meetings via conference calls, if possible.
  8. Do not convene meetings of more than 10 people. Recommend use of cell phones, texting, web meeting sites and conference calls for project discussion
  9. All individual work crew meetings / tailgate talks should be held outside and follow social distancing
  10. Please keep all crews a minimum of 6 feet apart at all times to eliminate the potential of cross contamination
  11. At each job briefing / tool box talk, employees are asked if they are experiencing any symptoms, and are sent home if they are
  12. Each jobsite should have laminated COVID-19 safety guidelines and handwashing instructions
  13. All restroom facilities / porta-potties should be cleaned and handwashing stations must be provided with soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels
  14. All surfaces should be regularly cleaned, including surfaces, door handles, laptops, etc.
  15. All common areas and meeting areas are to be regularly cleaned and disinfected at least once a day but preferably twice a day
  16. Be sure to use your own water bottle, and do not share
  17. To avoid external contamination, we recommend everyone bring food from home
  18. Please maintain Social Distancing separation during breaks and lunch
  19. Cover coughing or sneezing with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands, if no tissue is available then cough into your elbow
  20. Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with your hands
  21. To avoid sharing germs, please clean up after Yourself. DO NOT make others responsible for moving, unpacking and packing up your personal belongings
  22. For guidance on business-sponsored travel, refer to the Commonwealth's current out-of-state travel order.
  23. Employers are strongly discouraged from requiring or allowing business-related travel to destinations other than those appearing on the Department of Public Health’s list of COVID-19 lower risk States.
  24. Employers that permit employer-paid or - reimbursed travel to those States should take measures to ensure employees comply with this order.
  25. Employers are also urged to strongly discourage their employees from taking leisure travel to destinations not included on the list of COVID-19 lower-risk States
  26. If you or a family member is feeling ill, stay home!

Work Site Risk Prevention Practices

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners to have the following protocols in place and for staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. At the start of each shift, confirm with all employees that they are healthy
  2. We will have a 100% glove policy from today going forward.
  3. All construction workers will be required to wear cut-resistant gloves or the equivalent
  4. Use of eye protection (safety goggles / face shields) is recommended
  5. In work conditions where required social distancing is impossible to achieve affected employees shall be supplied PPE including as appropriate a standard face mask, gloves, and eye protection
  6. All employees should drive to work site / parking area in a single occupant vehicle. Contractors / State staff should not ride together in the same vehicle
  7. When entering a machine or vehicle which you are not sure you were the last person to enter, make sure that you wipe down the interior and door handles with disinfectant prior to entry
  8. In instances where it is possible, workers should maintain separation of 6 feet from each other per CDC guidelines
  9. Multi person activities will be limited where feasible (two person lifting activities)
  10. Large gathering places on the site such as shacks and break areas will be eliminated and instead small break areas will be used with seating limited to ensure social distancing.
  11. Contact the cleaning person for your office trailer or office space and ensure they have proper COVID- 19 sanitation processes.
  12. Increase their cleaning visits to daily
  13. Clean all high contact surfaces a minimum of twice a day in order to minimize the spread of germs in areas that people touch frequently. This includes but is not limited to desks, laptops and vehicles

Additional Link;

Construction Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Construction

7/28/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to The following workplace specific safety standards are organized around four distinct categories covering enforcement and oversight and employee health for Construction Businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The following guidance were updated based on the new COVID-19 Travel Order (July 24):

  1. Construction (below)
  2. Indoor and Outdoor Events
  3. Laboratories
  4. Lodging
  5. Manufacturing
  6. Office Space
  7. Theater & Performance Venues

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Construction Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Enforcement and Oversight

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners to have the following protocols in place and for staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. A site-specific COVID-19 Officer (who may also be the Health and Safety Officer) shall be designated for every site except as provided below for construction and remodeling in 1-3 family residences
  2. Except as provided below for construction and remodeling in 1-3 family residences, the Contractor’s site-specific project COVID-19 Officer shall submit a written daily report to the Owner's Representative. The COVID-19 Officer shall certify that the contractor and all subcontractors are in full compliance with sections B to D, inclusive (the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance)
  3. For large, complicated construction projects a city or town may additionally require the Owner to develop and submit a site-specific risk analysis and enhanced COVID-19 safety plan, which may include additional requirements to address risks specific to the project or type of project. The city or town shall review and approve such plan and may require such projects to pause construction until such a risk analysis and plan is submitted and approved. Once such an enhanced COVID-19 safety plan is approved, a violation of the plan shall be treated the same as a violation of the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance
  4. For all projects undertaken, managed or funded by a state agency or authority there shall be joint enforcement responsibility between the project’s public Owner and the city or town where the project is located. The Owner of a public project has the lead responsibility for compliance and enforcement including frequent on-site inspections by an employee or contractor of the state agency or authority who is familiar with the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance and is authorized to enforce that guidance and shut down work at the site if violations are found. The Owner of the project is required to notify the municipality where the work is taking place whenever a site is shut down or of any violations of the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance and the resulting corrective action plan, as well as to provide copies of the COVID-19 Officer’s written daily reports upon request. While the public Owner has the lead responsibility for enforcement, cities and towns retain the authority to take enforcement action against public projects found not in compliance with the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance, including the authority to order the project to shut down until a corrective action plan is developed, approved and implemented
  5. Cities and towns are authorized to enforce the COVID-19 Construction Safety Guidance using their public health staff, building inspectors or any other appropriate official or contractor
  6. Cities and towns may enforce the safety and distance protocols including, if multiple violations are found, requiring the Owner and / or Contractor to safely secure the site and pause construction activities until a corrective action plan is prepared, submitted and approved by the city or town 
  7. The city or town may require the Owner of a large, complicated private project to pay for an independent, third party inspector or inspection firm (or to pay into a pool to pay for such inspections). The third party inspector shall be accountable solely to the city or town and shall be responsible for enforcement on behalf of the city or town. A city or town may require private projects to pause construction until such a third-party inspector has been secured

Employee Health Protection – ZERO TOLERANCE

It is the responsibility of approved construction business owners and managing staff to implement a ZERO TOLERANCE FOR SICK WORKERS at all times.

  1. Owners and managing staff must make employees aware that if they have any signs of illness they must stay home
  2. Owners and managing staff must make employees aware that if they become ill or feel sick after arriving at work they must go home immediately
  3. Owners must mandate to ALL employees, IF YOU SEE SOMEONE SICK, SEND THEM HOME
  4. All employees, if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms below, you are to report this to your supervisor (via phone, text or email) right away, and head home from the job site or stay home if already there
  5. All employees, ff you notice a co-worker showing signs or complaining about such symptoms, he or she should be directed to their supervisor (via phone, text or email) and asked to leave the project site immediately COVID-19 Typical Symptoms:
    1. Fever 
    2. Cough
    3. Shortness of Breath
    4. Sore Throat

Self-certify Prior to Shift

Prior to starting a shift, it is the responsibility of all approved construction business employees to self-certify to their supervisor that they:

  1. Have no signs of a fever or a measured temperature above 100.3 degrees or greater, a cough or trouble breathing within the past 24 hours
  2. Have not had "close contact" with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for about 15 minutes, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic
  3. Have not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official

Employees exhibiting symptoms or unable to self-certify should be directed to leave the work site and seek medical attention and applicable testing by their health care provider. They are not to return to the work site until cleared by a medical professional.

Additional Link;

Construction Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Close Contact Personal Services, Part 2

7/27/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to The following workplace specific safety standards are organized around four distinct categories covering staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting for Close Contact Personal Services Businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Barber Shops and Hair Salons, originally authorized to open in Phase 1 of the Re-Opening Plan, are now subject to these workplace safety standards for Close Contact Personal Services. Also, Personal Trainers have their own category of guidelines to follow.

Close Contact Personal Services are defined as any personal service typically delivered through close physical contact with the customer, including but not limited to:

  1. hair salons and barber shops; as permitted to open in Phase 1 of the Re-Opening Plan 
  2. hair removal services; including laser services, depilatory salons, waxing services, threading, and electrolysis services 
  3. massage, body treatments, eastern treatment, energy therapies and other body work therapies
  4. skin care services; including peels, facials, serums, Botox and filler 
  5. nail care services; including nail salons
  6. other hair services; including hair replacement services, scalp treating services 
  7. makeup salons
  8. makeup application services
  9. tanning salons; including other businesses that provide spray tanning and tanning beds;
  10. tattoo, piercing, and body art services Indoor and outdoor event spaces

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Close Contact Personal Service Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Staffing and Operations

It is the responsibility of approved close contact personal services business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    1. Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    2. Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    3. Reinforcing that staff should not come to work if sick
    4. When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    5. Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  2. Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    1. Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    2. Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic
    3. Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    4. Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  3. Adjust workplace hours and shifts (working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion
  4. Require customers to make an appointment in advance to receive service
  5. Close waiting areas and ask customers to wait outside or in cars until it is time for their appointment
  6. Maintain a log of workers and customers to support potential contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information)
  7. Remove non-essential amenities (e.g., magazines, customer-facing water or coffee, coat rooms, etc.)
  8. Workers may not appear for work if feeling ill
  9. Workers who are who are at high risk from COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control should be encouraged to stay home or should have work assignments shifted to reduce contact with customers and co-workers 
  10. Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer 4
  11. Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the workplace employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing.
  12. If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  13. Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  14. Businesses should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning
  15. Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas
  16. Limit employee movement to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible 

Cleaning and Disinfecting 

It is the responsibility of approved close contact personal services business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines
  2. Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily, and more frequently if feasible)
  3. Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  4. Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavily transited areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, handrails, headrests, armrests, etc.)
  5. In the event of a positive case of a worker, patron or vendor shut down site and wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidelines
  6. Disinfect or replace tools, implements and surfaces between customers (e.g., tables, finger bowls, chairs and headrests, spatulas, clippers, spacers, styling tools)
  7. If tools cannot be disinfected (i.e., porous tools such as nail files, buffers, drill bits, etc.), they must be discarded after use
  8. Disinfect chair, table, and/or workstation between customers or use disposable plastic coverings for each customer, observing contact time on label for disinfectant to work properly
  9. Launder all linens, towel drapes and smocks in hot soapy water and dry completely regularly and between each use
  10. Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible

Additional Link;

Close Contact Personal Care Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Close Contact Personal Services

7/23/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing and hygiene protocols for Close Contact Personal Services Businesses.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Barber Shops and Hair Salons, originally authorized to open in Phase 1 of the Re-Opening Plan, are now subject to these workplace safety standards for Close Contact Personal Services. Also, Personal Trainers have their own category of guidelines to follow.

Close Contact Personal Services are defined as any personal service typically delivered through close physical contact with the customer, including but not limited to:

  1. hair salons and barber shops; as permitted to open in Phase 1 of the Re-Opening Plan 
  2. hair removal services; including laser services, depilatory salons, waxing services, threading, and electrolysis services 
  3. massage, body treatments, eastern treatment, energy therapies and other body work therapies
  4. skin care services; including peels, facials, serums, Botox and filler 
  5. nail care services; including nail salons
  6. other hair services; including hair replacement services, scalp treating services 
  7. makeup salons
  8. makeup application services
  9. tanning salons; including other businesses that provide spray tanning and tanning beds;
  10. tattoo, piercing, and body art services Indoor and outdoor event spaces

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Close Contact Personal Service Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Social Distancing

It is the responsibility of approved close contact personal services business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible: 
    1. Close or reconfigure common spaces and high density areas where workers and patrons are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms and eating areas for workers; lobbies and workstations for customers) to allow social distancing
    2. Arrange workstations so work areas are spaced out at least 6 feet apart
    3. Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height) 
    4. Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible, otherwise maintain 6 feet distance where not possible
    5. Install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., checkout lines, lines to use the restroom)
    6. Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation 
  2. Stagger lunch and break times for workers, regulate the maximum number of people in one place, and ensure at least 6 feet of physical distancing 
  3. Require face coverings for all customers and workers, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability
  4. Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms, one-way pathways)
  5. Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  6. Require workers to wear gloves, gowns or smocks, and prescription glasses, safety glasses or goggles
  7. Contactless payment methods are encouraged
  8. Encourage curbside pickup or delivery of any retail items purchased by customers not already on the premises for a service appointment, and follow the Retail Business guidance for customers seeking retail purchases instead of or in addition to personal services
  9. No guests should accompany the customer during the personal service except for persons serving as caretakers or guardians
  10. Caretakers or guardians should observe all other requirements of customers, including wearing a face covering and maintaining 6 feet of separation from other persons present

Hygiene Protocols 

It is the responsibility of approved close contact personal services business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow enough break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  2. Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, disinfectant)
  3. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances and throughout floor areas for both workers and customers
  4. Require glove changes and handwashing before and after each customer
  5. Do not permit sharing of tools and supplies between workers (e.g., clippers, spacers, brushes, needles, etc.)
  6. All tools must be cleaned between each customer
  7. Workers should change into a clean smock or gown between each customer
  8. Consider using disposable capes and smocks
  9. Reusable capes, towels, gowns should be laundered between each use
  10. Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers and customers of hygiene and safety protocols

Additional Link;

Close Contact Personal Care Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Protect Your Property From Runoff

7/22/2020 (Permalink)

Storm water runoff is absorbed by soil, evaporates into the atmosphere or flows into bodies of water, such as streams, lakes or rivers. But on your Newton, MA commercial or residential property, storm water runoff can quickly overwhelm natural and man-made systems, leading to flooding and property damage!

The good news is that there are ways to manage storm water runoff on your property include planting trees and other vegetation, building rain gardens and installing rain barrels or cisterns to collect roof water. Additional aspect to consider when managing runoff that can prevent expensive water damage after a storm.

Evaluate Your Property

During or right after a storm, go outside and observe how water flows on your property. Note the different grades and slopes and whether they divert the flowing water away from your home. Look for low spots where water pools and identify any steep slopes that show signs of surface erosion.

Add Permeable Surfaces

Rain that falls on roofs, driveways, patios, roads and other impervious areas moves at greater speeds and can pool, eventually flooding your home. Consider replacing impervious areas with water-absorbing surfaces, such as permeable paving stones or pavers.

Direct Water Away from Your Home

Your roof gutter downspouts, parking lots, driveways, walkways and patios should direct runoff away from your property to areas that can absorb or slow the surface flow, such as landscaped areas. If asphalt, cement, or other impervious surfaces have a negative pitch back toward the property, consider installing trench or area drains to divert water away from the property.

Keep Your Basement Dry

Basements that are prone to water intrusion should have a water collection system in place, such as a sump pump system with a battery backup. Consider elevating your property's mechanical systems or installing curbs around finished areas and storage areas.

Be Aware of High Water Tables

Have your sewer or septic system checked by a professional. If the groundwater rises too high, it can affect the efficiency and operation of the system, which may lead to a sewer backup or waste leaching above the ground or back into your property.

Seal Your Envelope

Make sure that your property’s exterior—its envelope—is maintained, including roofing, flashings, weather barriers, windows, doors and sealants.

We’re Here for You

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley has specialized training and experience in natural disaster and storm damage cleanup. When a storm damages your commercial or residential property call the experts at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley, (617) 332-9000. We will make it "Like it never even happened."

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Indoor/Outdoor Event Businesses

7/22/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to execute Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business it is paramount that we remain steadfast in our resolve to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 when and wherever possible. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting for Indoor or Outdoor Event businesses (such as a wedding, party, etc.) that do not have sector specific guidelines to follow.

Examples of such indoor and outdoor event businesses include but are not limited to events held at:

  1. Indoor and outdoor event spaces
  2. Ballrooms
  3. Private party rooms
  4. Public places (like parks)

Large capacity event venues and activities organized to draw together large crowds must continue to remain closed until Phase IV.

This includes venues used for group or spectator sports, entertainment, business, and cultural events including:

  1. Stadiums, arenas, and ballparks
  2. Dance floors
  3. Exhibition and convention halls 
  4. Street festivals and parades and agricultural festivals
  5. Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events

Any event that is held for the primary purpose of watching a performance must follow the Theaters and Performance Venues guidance.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Indoor and Outdoor Event Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Social Distancing

It is the responsibility of approved indoor and outdoor events business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible, indoor floor space, and no more than 25 persons
  2. Each operator of an outdoor event must monitor attendee entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to:
    1. 25% of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder, and no more than 100 persons
    2. Facilities for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible space, and no more than 100 persons 
  3. Occupancy counts in all cases must include all attendees, staff, or other workers
  4. Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible
    1. Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas) to allow social distancing
    2. Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be separated by 6 feet or more (partitions must extend to at least 6 feet in height)
    3. For customer facing enterprises, install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines to make payments, lines to use the restroom) and physical barriers for checkout stations where possible
    4. Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation
  5. Stagger lunch and break times for workers, regulate the maximum number of people in one place, and ensure at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  6. Require face coverings for all workers and attendees, except where an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability

Hygiene Protocols

It is the responsibility of approved indoor and outdoor events business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site for both event attendees and workers, including soap and running water, and allow sufficient break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  2. Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  3. Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers and event attendees of hygiene and safety protocols
  4. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances and throughout floor areas for workers and attendees
  5. Provide regular sanitation of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site

Staffing and Operations

It is the responsibility of approved indoor and outdoor events business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    1. Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    2. Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks 
    3. Importance of not coming to work if ill 
    4. When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe 
    5. Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  2. Adjust workplace hours and shifts (working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion
  3. Workers may not come in to work if feeling ill
  4. Encourage workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control to stay home or re-assign duties to reduce contact with other workers and attendees
  5. Encourage workers to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  6. Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the workplace employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing.
  7. If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine.
  8. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  9. Post notice to workers and attendees of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  10. Maintain a log of workers and attendees to support contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information) if needed 
  11. Whether seated or standing, attendees should not gather in groups of more than 6 people 
  12. Remove non-essential amenities (magazines, customer-facing water or coffee, close coat rooms, etc.) in waiting or other common areas 
  13. Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include: 
    1. Food services: Must follow the latest restaurant guidance, provided however that staffed buffets and passed food service is permitted. Self-serve, unattended buffets, topping bars, drink stations, and other communal serving areas must remain closed
    2. Bars: Must remain closed until Phase 4, provided however that drink service may be provided by servers 
    3. Musical and other performances: Must follow the latest theater and performance venue guidance, including distance between performers and between performers and attendees. Performances at indoor venues may not include singing or the playing of wind or brass instruments 
    4. Dance floors: Must remain closed until Phase 4

Cleaning and Disinfecting

It is the responsibility of approved indoor and outdoor events business owners and staff to adhere to the following at all times:

  1. Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily, and more frequently if feasible)
  2. Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning 
  3. Conduct frequent disinfecting of high traffic areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, rolling carts, bathrooms) 
  4. In the event of a positive case, shut down the site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with CDC guidance
  5. Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible

Additional Link;

Indoor and Outdoor Event Business MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Museums, Cultural and Historical Facilities and Guided Tours, Part 2

7/21/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting for Museums, Cultural and Historical Facilities and Guided Tours.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Theater and Performance Venues  Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Staffing and Operations

It is the responsibility of approved museums, cultural and historical facilities and guided tours business owners and staff to adhere to the greater of the following at all times:

  1. Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    1. Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    2. Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    3. Importance of not coming to work if ill
    4. When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    5. Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  2. Adjust workplace hours and shifts (leverage working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry points
  3. Facilities should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning
  4. Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas
  5. Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    1. Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea 
    2. Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means:
      1. living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
      2. Caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19
      3. Being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more
      4. Coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 while that person was symptomatic
    3. Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    4. Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  6. Maintain a log of workers and visitors to support potential contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information) 
  7. Workers must not appear for work if feeling ill
  8. Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  9. Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  10. Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the workplace employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing.
  11. If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise 4 likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  12. Post notice to workers and visitors of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces
  13. Interactive exhibits (i.e., touch and feel exhibits, play areas) should be closed or be configured with 6 feet of distancing clearly marked and receive frequent cleaning and disinfection.
  14. Hand hygiene station (soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer) should be accessible to promote safe use
  15. Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:
    1. Restaurants: Must follow the latest restaurant guidance
    2. Gift shops: Must follow the latest retail guidance
    3. Performance venues: Must follow the latest performance venue guidance
    4. Events: Must follow the latest indoor and outdoor events guidance

Cleaning and Disinfecting

It is the responsibility of approved museums, cultural and historical facilities and guided tours business owners and staff to adhere to the following cleaning and disinfecting guidelines:

  1. Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines
  2. Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)
  3. Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  4. Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, ticket counters, staff break rooms)
  5. In event of a positive case, shut down site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidelines
  6.  Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible

Additional Link;

Museums and Cultural Facilities and Guided Tours MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Museums, Cultural and Historical Facilities and Guided Tours

7/17/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing, guided tour group size and hygiene protocol for Museums, Cultural and Historical Facilities and Guided Tours.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Theater and Performance Venues  Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Social Distancing

It is the responsibility of approved museums, cultural and historical facilities and guided tours business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Each museum must monitor visitor entries and exits and limit occupancy for each building open to the public at all times to:
    1. 40% of the museum’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder
    2. Facilities for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons (including staff) per 1,000 square feet of accessible indoor or outdoor space
    3. In any case, no enclosed space within the facility may exceed occupancy of 8 persons per 1,000 square feet
    4. All occupant counts and calculations shall include customers, staff, and other workers
  2. Post clearly visible signage regarding the need to maintain 6 feet of social distancing and not to enter a room until that distancing can be maintained
  3. Museums are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high risk populations as defined by the CDC
  4. Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible:
    1. Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas) to allow social distancing
    2. Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)
    3. Install physical barriers for ticket counters, checkout stations, etc. where possible
    4. Install visual social distancing markers to encourage visitors to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines outside of the museum if applicable, lines to make payments, lines to use the restroom)
    5. Mark exhibit rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation 
  5. Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, if possible, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms / exhibits, one-way pathways).
  6. Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  7. Stagger lunch and break times, regulating max number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  8. Require face coverings for all workers and visitors, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability
  9. Encourage online ticket sales and contactless payment methods if possible
  10. Consider using timed entry tickets / reservations and imposing time limits for visits to ensure compliance with occupancy limits
  11. Encourage the use of electronic versions of guide materials (such as brochures and gallery guides) where possible.
  12. All physical guide materials (such as paper brochures, gallery guides, and audio guides) must be discarded or sanitized between use.
  13. Any self-serve racks must be removed, and all materials must be handed out individually

Group Size Limitations for Guided Tours 

It is the responsibility of approved museums, cultural and historical facilities and guided tours business owners and staff to monitor guided group tour sizes to the greater of the following:

  1. Each tour operator using a bus or other vehicle (such as a trolley, harbor cruise vessel, or duck boat) must limit occupancy at all times to 50% of the tour, vehicle or vessel’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the relevant municipal record holder
  2. Occupancy limitations for boat tours using vessels with open deck space that can be used to accommodate passengers shall be determined in accordance with the formula used to set charter boat occupancy limits, outlined in the Workplace Safety and Reopening Standards for For-Hire and Charter Vessels
  3. Tours of spaces for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record must limit occupancy based on the Indoor and Outdoor Event guidance on the Reopening Website
  4. All occupant counts and calculations shall include customers and workers
  5. Groups of passengers should be separated on the vehicle by empty seats. If that is not possible, vehicles should stagger open rows
  6. Tour operators must limit group size in walking tours to groups of no more than 10 persons (including guides).
  7. Recommend limiting tour parties to members of the same household only 
  8. Guides and guests should maintain 6 feet of distance and wear face coverings

Hygiene Protocols

It is the responsibility of approved museums, cultural and historical facilities and guided tours business owners and staff to monitor hygiene of guests and staff to the greater of the following:

  1. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  2. Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  3. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances, exits, and throughout floor areas for both workers and visitors
  4. Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers
  5. Disinfect shared equipment before use by another employee
  6. Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers of hygiene and safety protocols

Additional Link;

Museums and Cultural Facilities and Guided Tours MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Theaters and Performance Venues, Part 2

7/16/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing and hygiene protocol for Theaters and Performance Venues

In Step 1 of Phase 3, only outdoor Theater and Performance Venues and indoor movie theaters may reopen. Drive-in movie theaters may continue to operate under guidance issued for Drive-In Movie Theaters. Other indoor Theater and Performance Venues must remain closed until authorized to open at a later point in time. Large capacity event venues must continue to remain closed until Phase IV. This includes venues used for group or spectator sports, entertainment, business, and cultural events including:

  1. Stadiums, arenas, and ballparks
  2. Exhibition and convention halls 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Theater and Performance Venues  Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Staffing and Operations 

It is the responsibility of approved theaters and performance venues business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    1. Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    2. Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    3. Importance of not coming to work if ill
    4. When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe 
    5. Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  2. Venues must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    1. Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    2. Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in 4 direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic
    3. Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    4. Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  3. Adjust workplace hours and shifts (leverage working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry point
  4. Limit worker movement to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible
  5. Venues should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning
  6. Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas
  7. Maintain a log of workers and visitors to support potential contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information)
  8. Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  9. Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  10. Workers may not appear for work if feeling ill
  11. Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19, to disclose to the employer of the office for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing.
  12. If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  13. Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  14. Stagger event times (such as theater showings) to avoid congregation of customers in different groups and to allow for thorough cleaning of the activity space (e.g., seating areas or tables) before new customers arrive
  15. Encourage advanced reservations and digital ticketing where possible
  16. Workers should facilitate organized entrance and exit between events where audiences are arranged in rows or other large groups to prevent unnecessary congregation of customers
  17. Facilities should develop a seating plan for which customers can reserve spots ahead of time and which is adjustable to the size of the booking party allowing couples and small groups to sit together while maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from other individuals/groups
  18. Instruct customers to limit seating groups only to related or associated members of same party
  19. Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:
    1. Restaurants/food service: Must follow the latest restaurant guidelines
    2. Gift shops: Must follow the latest retail guidelines
    3. Performer hair and makeup: Must follow the latest close contact business guidance
  20. In Step 1, food service is only permitted at outdoor venues
  21. Intermissions should be avoided in order to limit time of performance and to prevent congregating and close contact with others
  22. Reconfigure lobbies to discourage congregation of customers before, during, or after shows

Cleaning and Disinfecting 

It is the responsibility of approved theaters and performance venues business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)
  2. Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  3. Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, seats, ticket counters, staff break rooms)
  4. In event of a positive case, shut down site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidance
  5. Open windows and doors to increase air flow where possible
  6. Disinfect seating areas and any other mutually-touched objects immediately after each use.
  7. At no point should customers come in contact with objects that others have touched without first being disinfected according to CDC guidelines

Additional Link;

Theater and Performance Venues MA COVID-19 Checklist

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Theaters and Performance Venues

7/15/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing and hygiene protocol for Theaters and Performance Venues

In Step 1 of Phase 3, only outdoor Theater and Performance Venues and indoor movie theaters may reopen. Drive-in movie theaters may continue to operate under guidance issued for Drive-In Movie Theaters. Other indoor Theater and Performance Venues must remain closed until authorized to open at a later point in time. Large capacity event venues must continue to remain closed until Phase IV. This includes venues used for group or spectator sports, entertainment, business, and cultural events including:

  1. Stadiums, arenas, and ballparks
  2. Exhibition and convention halls 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Theater and Performance Venues  Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Social Distancing

It is the responsibility of approved theaters and performance venues business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

Indoor movie theaters must monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to:

  1. 40% of each individual theater or screening room’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder, and never more than 25 persons in a single enclosed, indoor space
  2. Venues for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible space, and never more than 25 persons in a single enclosed, indoor space
  3. Each outdoor venue must monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to 25% of the venue’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder, but in no event may the venue admit or host more than 100 persons
  4. All occupant counts and calculations for indoor and outdoor venues must include customers, workers, and any other persons present
  5. Post clearly visible signage regarding the need to maintain 6 feet of social distancing and not to enter a room until that distancing can be maintained
  6. Venues must put markers outside of the building to ensure 6 feet of distance for customers who are waiting outside to enter
  7. Venues are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high-risk populations as defined by the CDC
  8. Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible:
    1. Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas, backstage areas) to allow social distancing
    2. Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)
    3. Install physical barriers for ticket stations where possible, otherwise maintain 6 feet distance where not possible
    4. Install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines for equipment if applicable, checkout lines, lines to use the restroom)
  9. Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to shows, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  10. Reconfigure seating areas to ensure 6 feet distancing between customers not in the same group
    1. Distance shall be measured from the closest boundary of one customer recreation or seating area to the closest boundary of another customer recreation or seating area
    2. This may require blocking every other row of seats and staggered seating within rows
  11. Limit group sizes to no more than 10 people for groups attending together
  12. Stagger lunch and break times for workers, regulating max number of people in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  13. Require face coverings for all workers and customers, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability
  14. Contactless payment methods and / or digital ticketing are encouraged
  15. Special protocols should be followed for close contact between live performers:
    1. Encourage performers to wear face coverings during performances if possible
    2. Performers should remain at least 6 feet apart. Any activity requiring performers to be closer than 6 feet must be as brief as possible
    3. Activities that require prolonged direct contact (e.g. intimate scenes, fight scenes) are discouraged
    4. Prohibit direct interaction between performers and audience before, during, or after performances (including backstage and post-performance meet and greets)
  16. For outdoor live performances, singing and the playing of brass and wind instruments is discouraged. For performances involving singing or brass or wind instruments, special distancing should be followed:
    1. At least 10 feet between performers
    2. At least 25 feet between performers and first row of the audience
  17. Encourage the use of electronic versions or no-touch displays in place of commonly touched physical materials (such as menus and playbills) where possible. All commonly touched physical materials must be discarded or sanitized between use
  18. Any self-serve racks or containers for these materials should be removed, and instead all materials must be handed out individually by workers

Hygiene Protocols

It is the responsibility of approved theaters and performance venues business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Disinfect shared equipment before use by another worker
  2. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  3. Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  4. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances, exits and throughout floor areas for workers, performers, and customers
  5. Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers including performers
  6. Post visible signage throughout the site to remind customers and workers of hygiene and safety protocols
  7. Prohibit any mutual touching of customer or worker equipment without sanitation between uses
  8. Audience members should wear face coverings while seated during the performance unless unsafe due to disability or medical condition

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Has A Storm Damaged Your Commercial Poperty

7/14/2020 (Permalink)

There are many instances when the weather poses a problem for your business. No matter what problem your commercial space is faced with, calling the professionals helps you to mitigate the damage to get your business back to normal sooner than later. SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley technicians understand the importance of prompt response whenever there is commercial water damage in Newton, Ma. Our process starts when you call us. When you call we will perform a quick, high level assessment of the situation to ensure that the right tools and equipment get dispatched with our Disaster Remediation Team. Once onsite, our certified technicians will perform a full, deep dive assessment to provide you with a detailed scope of the project. 

When dealing with water damage the first order of business to turn off the water supply to the impacted area of the building. We work quickly to eliminate any slip-and-fall or electrical hazards. Our technicians use high capacity water extraction tools to remove standing water, and all of the future gets a thorough wipe-down before relocation to a dry space. Any electronics or computers are disconnected before the surface is dry, then these items are taken to a dry location to receive an assessment by a computer specialist. 

If water still lingers, water extraction tools help remove any excess moisture before we strategically position state-of-the-art, industrial air movers throughout the affected area. Some situations call for the creation of negative pressure areas to bring dry air through the building to expel humidity in the air. We also have high-strength dehumidifiers to help ensure all materials and spaces are thoroughly dried.

SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley technicians understand the importance of returning your commercial property to it's preloss state. To improve your capability to conduct business while we are on the job we will work with you to set up temporary workspaces. Our Disaster Remediation Team will keep you informed throughout the entire project lifecycle.

When storm damage stikes your Newton, Ma commercial property call the experts at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley(617) 332-9000. We will make it, "Like it never even happened."

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Indoor Recreation Businesses, Part 2

7/14/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to hygiene protocol, staffing and operation, and cleaning and disinfecting Indoor Recreation Businesses approved for reopening during Phase 3.

Approved indoor recreational business are:

  • batting cages
  • driving ranges
  • go-carts
  • bowling alleys
  • rock–climbing walls

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Indoor Recreational Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Hygiene Protocols

It is the responsibility of approved indoor recreational activity business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, wherever possible and encourage frequent handwashing; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  2. Supply workers at workplace location with adequate cleaning products (e.g., sanitizer, disinfecting wipes)
  3. Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers of hygiene and safety protocols
  4. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol should be made available at entrances, exits and throughout floor areas for both workers and customers
  5. Avoid sharing equipment and supplies between workers
  6. Disinfect shared equipment between uses by customers or workers
  7. Prohibit any mutual touching of customer or worker equipment without sanitation between uses
  8. Require that any equipment that cannot be disinfected between use to be removed from service for 24 hours before it can be used by another customer

Staffing and Operations

It is the responsibility of approved indoor recreational activity business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including: 
    1. Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    2. Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    3. Importance of not coming to work if ill
    4. When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    5. Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus 
  2. Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    1. Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    2. Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic
    3. Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    4. Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  3. Adjust workplace hours and shifts (leverage working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion at entry point
  4. Maintain a log of workers and visitors to support potential contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information)
  5. Businesses are encouraged to offer exclusive hours or other accommodations for those in high risk populations as defined by the CDC
  6. Workers who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  7. Limit worker movement to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible
  8. Workers may not appear for work if feeling ill
  9. Workers are strongly encouraged to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  10. Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19, to disclose to the employer of the office for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing.
  11. If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  12. Post notice to workers and customers of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  13. Businesses should maintain operating hours that allow for on-going off-hour sanitation and cleaning
  14. Limit visitors and service providers on site; shipping and deliveries should be completed in designated areas
  15. Stagger activity / event times / encourage reservations (such as for bowling lanes) to avoid congregation of customers in different groups and to allow for thorough cleaning of the activity space (e.g., seating areas or tables) before new customers arrive 
  16. Encourage advanced reservations and digital ticketing where possible 
  17. For group activities, do not combine persons or small groups with other non-related or nonassociated persons or small groups
  18. Additional on-site amenities and services may only open and operate when those amenities or services would otherwise be authorized to operate under the Commonwealth’s Phased Reopening Plan and then must adhere to all sector-specific safety protocols, available on the Reopening Plan website, applicable to the amenity or service. Examples include:
    1. Restaurants: Must follow the latest restaurant guidelines
    2. Gift shops: Must follow the latest retail guidelines
    3. Pools: Must follow the latest pool guidelines  
    4. Arts and entertainment: Must follow the latest performance arts guidance
    5. Bars: Must remain closed until Phase 4

Cleaning and Disinfecting

It is the responsibility of approved indoor recreational activity business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines
  2. Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily and more frequently if feasible)
  3. Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  4. Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, bathrooms, table tops, ticket counters, staff break rooms)
  5. In event of a positive case, shut down site for a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidelines
  6. Open windows and doors to increase air flow where possible
  7. Disinfect all recreation equipment and other objects distributed to customers (e.g., golf putters, pool cues, etc.) immediately when returned after each use. Shared equipment provided to customers may not be re-distributed without first being disinfected according to CDC guidelines
  8. Disposable wipes should be place next to each piece of equipment that cannot be returned to staff (e.g., pool tables, dart boards) for disinfecting. Customers are encouraged to wipe down equipment before and after use in addition to frequent disinfection by staff
  9. If sanitation (or the monitoring thereof by employees) of any piece of equipment is not possible or practical, this equipment should be closed off

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Indoor Recreation Businesses

7/13/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing for Indoor Recreation Businesses approved for reopening during Phase 3.

Approved indoor recreational business are:

  • batting cages
  • driving ranges
  • go-carts
  • bowling alleys
  • rock–climbing walls

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Indoor Recreational Business owner to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Social Distancing

It is the responsibility of approved indoor recreational activity business owners and staff to monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy at all times to the greater of the following:

  1. 40% of the building’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder
  2. Buildings for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons (including staff) per 1,000 square feet of accessible, indoor space o In any case, no enclosed space within the building may exceed occupancy of 8 persons per 1,000 square feet
  3. All occupant counts and calculations shall include customers, staff, and other workers
  4. Post clearly visible signage regarding the need to maintain 6 feet of social distancing and not to enter a room until that distancing can be maintained
  5. Ensure separation of 6 feet or more between individuals where possible: 
    1. Close or reconfigure worker common spaces and high density areas where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms, eating areas) to allow social distancing o Physical partitions must separate workstations that cannot be spaced out (partitions must be at least 6 feet in height)
    2. Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible, otherwise maintain 6 feet distance where not possible
    3. Install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart (e.g., lines to enter the building, lines for equipment if applicable, checkout lines, lines to use the restroom)
    4. Mark rooms and hallways to indicate 6 feet separation
  6. Stagger lunch and break times, regulating max number of workers in one place and ensuring at least 6 feet of physical distancing
  7. Require face coverings for all workers and customers, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability
  8. Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms / recreation areas, one-way pathways).
  9. Post clearly visible signage regarding traffic policies
  10. Reconfigure seating / recreation areas to ensure 6 feet distancing between customers not in the same group 
  11. Distance shall be measured from the closest boundary of one customer recreation area to the closest boundary of another customer recreation area
  12. Limit group sizes for group activities or group bookings to no more than 10 people
  13. Contactless payment methods and / or digital ticketing are encouraged
  14. Encourage the use of electronic versions or no-touch displays in place of commonly touched physical materials (such as menus and pricing brochures) where possible.
  15. All commonly touched physical materials must be discarded or sanitized between use
  16. Any self-serve equipment or other physical materials should be removed, and instead all materials must be handed out individually by employees

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Fitness Centers and Health Clubs Part 2

7/10/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to staffing, operations, cleaning and disinfecting for Fitness Centers and Health Clubs.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Fitness Centers and Health Club to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Staffing and Operations 

Managers and staff of Fitness Centers and Health Clubs must adhere to the following:

  1. Encourage outdoor exercise, classes, sessions, etc. where possible, so long as appropriate physical distancing is maintained at all times and any equipment used is sanitized after each use
  2. Personal trainers should maintain six feet of distance from clients to the extent possible and should minimize any prolonged close contact. Personal trainers must wear face coverings.
  3. Any equipment used during the personal training session must be sanitized after each use, or at the end of the session if the client was the only person who used the equipment during the session
  4. Provide training to workers on up-to-date safety information and precautions including hygiene and other measures aimed at reducing disease transmission, including:
    1. Social distancing, hand-washing, proper use of face coverings
    2. Self-screening at home, including temperature and symptom checks
    3. Reinforcing that staff should not come to work if sick o When to seek medical attention if symptoms become severe
    4. Which underlying health conditions may make individuals more susceptible to contracting and suffering from a severe case of the virus
  5. Adjust workplace hours and shifts (working teams with different schedules or staggered arrival / departure) to minimize contact across workers and reduce congestion
  6. Require customers to sign up for classes in advance
  7. Facilities must screen workers at each shift by ensuring the following:
    1. Worker is not experiencing any symptoms such as fever (100.0 and above) or chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, fatigue, headache, muscle/body aches, runny nose/congestion, new loss of taste or smell, or nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
    2. Worker has not had “close contact” with an individual diagnosed with COVID-19. “Close contact” means living in the same household as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, caring for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, being within 6 feet of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more, or coming in direct contact with secretions (e.g., sharing utensils, being coughed on) from a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, while that person was symptomatic
    3. Worker has not been asked to self-isolate or quarantine by their doctor or a local public health official
    4. Workers who fail to meet the above criteria must be sent home
  8. Maintain a log of workers and customers to support potential contact tracing (name, date, time, contact information)
  9. Limit employees to discrete work zones to minimize overlap where possible
  10. Close or limit waiting areas and, for class-based activities with distinct session times, ask customers to wait outside or in cars until 10 minutes prior to their class
  11. Schedule 30-minute windows between classes to allow for thorough cleaning and appropriate ventilation of the fitness room, and to discourage congestion
  12. Consider creating “shifts” for customers engaging in unstructured exercise (i.e., open weight rooms) by using a reservation system in order to enforce occupancy limits
  13. Clearly designate staff responsible for sanitizing, cleaning, and supervision during each shift
  14. Workers who are particularly high risk to COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control (e.g., due to age or underlying conditions) are encouraged to stay home
  15. Encourage workers to self-identify symptoms or any close contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case to the employer
  16. Workers must stay home if feeling ill
  17. Encourage workers who test positive for COVID-19 to disclose to the workplace employer for purposes of cleaning / disinfecting and contact tracing. If the employer is notified of a positive case at the workplace, the employer shall notify the local Board of Health (LBOH) in the city or town where the workplace is located and assist the LBOH as reasonably requested to advise likely contacts to isolate and self-quarantine. Testing of other workers may be recommended consistent with CDC or DPH guidance and / or at the request of the LBOH
  18. Post notice to workers and visitors of important health information and relevant safety measures as outlined in the Commonwealth’s Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplace
  19. Close or mark lockers to enforce 6 feet social distancing, especially in locker rooms. Lockers should be sanitized after each use. Gyms should provide sanitizing wipes near the lockers or in the locker room
  20. Close all communal and individually partitioned showers. Showers that accompany pools may follow guidance for pools located on the Reopening Website
  21. Consider setting aside specific hours of operation exclusively for vulnerable populations
  22. Require that towels be stored in clearly labeled (clean vs. soiled) sanitary containers. Appropriate temperatures should be used when washing and drying towels. Employees must wear proper protective equipment (gloves and face covering) while handling towels. Towels should not be shaken out
  23. Operations of related services may be allowed to open and must follow sector-specific safety protocols for each setting. Some examples include:
    1. In-facility child-care: Must follow child-care guidance
    2. Bars/food services: Must follow restaurant guidance o Pools: Must follow pool guidance
    3. Athletic facilities (e.g., tennis courts): Must follow adult and youth sports guidance
    4. Massage: Must follow close contact personal services guidance
    5. Saunas, hot-tubs, and steam rooms: May not open before Phase 4
  24. Fans should not be used indoors and should only be used for outdoor classes if directed away from other customers
  25. For indoor and outdoor sports guidance, please refer to the EEA Reopening Site

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Managers and staff of Fitness Centers and Health Clubs must adhere to the following:

  1. Clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms (e.g., toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers) frequently and in accordance with CDC guidelines
  2. Conduct frequent cleaning and disinfection of site (at least daily, and more frequently if feasible)
  3. Keep cleaning logs that include date, time, and scope of cleaning
  4. Conduct frequent disinfecting of heavily transited areas and high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, handrails, equipment, etc.)
  5. In the event of a positive case of a worker, customer or vendor shut down site and wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting of the workplace in accordance with current CDC guidelines
  6. Open windows and doors to increase airflow where possible
  7. Disinfect all fitness equipment or mutually-touched objects (e.g., spin shoes, jump ropes, dumbbells, etc.) immediately after each use. At no point should customers come in contact with objects that others have touched without first being disinfected according to CDC guidelines

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3, Fitness Centers and Health Clubs

7/9/2020 (Permalink)

Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business is in effect. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. The following outlines the workplace safety standards pertaining to social distancing and hygiene protocols for Fitness Centers and Health Clubs.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

These standards are minimum requirements only and are not exclusive or exhaustive. The public health data for disease prevention upon which these guidelines are based can and does change frequently, it is the responsibility of each Fitness Centers and Health Club to stay abreast of any updates to these requirements.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDAMass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Fitness Centers and Health Clubs

Fitness Centers and Health Clubs are defined by the state as any fitness facility that provides access to and/or instruction of personal fitness training, including but not limited to fitness activities such as:

  1. Weight and resistance training
  2. Cross training
  3. Yoga
  4. Martial arts
  5. Spin classes
  6. Boot camp training

Additionally, both indoor and outdoor athletic facilities (whether a standalone facility or part of a Fitness Center or Health Club) used for gymnastics, tennis, and swimming must follow the EEA's Youth and Adult Sports guidance and the Pool guidance.

Standards for Responsible Fitness Centers and Health Clubs

No activity in Fitness Centers and Health Clubs shall occur without meeting these sector specific COVID19 workplace safety standards. These standards apply to all Fitness Centers and Health Clubs until rescinded or amended by the State. The owner of the Fitness Center or Health Club shall be responsible for meeting these standards. While these standards permit the operation of both indoor and outdoor fitness facilities, Fitness Centers and Health Clubs are strongly encouraged to offer outdoor classes / activities to reduce the risk of disease transmission.

Social Distancing

  1. Each facility must monitor visitor entries and exits, ensure social distancing, and limit occupancy at all times to:
    1. 40% of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy as documented in its occupancy permit on record with the municipal building department or other municipal record holder
    2. Facilities for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow 8 persons per 1,000 square feet of accessible indoor or outdoor space
    3. In any case, no enclosed space within the facility may exceed occupancy of 8 persons per 1,000 square feet
    4. All occupancy counts and calculations shall include visitors, staff, and other workers
  2. All equipment (weights, machines, treadmills, bikes, etc.) mus be arranged so exercise areas are spaced out at least 14 feet apart. Spacing of machines may be adjusted to at least 6 feet apart if barriers are installed
  3. If possible install plastic barriers between equipment.
    1. Barriers must extend high enough to effectively block respiration from someone using the equipment
    2. Barriers must be cleaned regularly
  4. If spacing of equipment is not possible, equipment should be blocked off (e.g., every other machine) to maintain 14 feet distancing
  5. Install visual markers (boundaries, walkways, signage, etc.) to encourage customers to remain at least 6 feet apart while moving throughout the space
  6. Establish directional pathways to manage visitor flow for foot traffic, to minimize contact (e.g., one-way entrance and exit to rooms, one-way pathways). Post clearly visible signage regarding these policies
  7. If possible establishing “workout zones” to encourage spacing of customers using free weights, dumbbells, etc.
  8. Stagger lunch and break times for workers, regulate the maximum number of people in one place and ensure at least 6 feet of physical distancing between workers
  9. Close or reconfigure common spaces and high-density areas of facilities where workers are likely to congregate (e.g., break rooms and eating areas) to allow 6 feet of physical distancing
  10. Close or reconfigure other common spaces where customers are likely to congregate or where social distancing is not possible, such as lobbies and waiting areas
  11. Require face coverings for all workers and visitors, except where unsafe due to medical condition or disability
  12. If customers cannot wear a face covering during strenuous fitness activities, physical distancing must be at least 14 feet.
  13. If customers are wearing face coverings during fitness activities, physical distancing must be at least 6 feet
  14. Install physical partitions in areas where physical distancing is not possible, such as service counters
  15. Contactless payment and sign-in methods are encouraged
  16. In group fitness classes, 14 feet of physical distancing must be maintained between attendees at all times. If physical barriers are installed between group fitness equipment, 6 feet of physical distancing should be maintained

Hygiene Protocols

  1. Ensure access to handwashing facilities on site, including soap and running water, and allow enough break time for workers to wash hands frequently; alcohol-based hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol may be used as an alternative
  2. Distribute hand sanitizer and disposable wipes abundantly throughout the space for workers and customers to disinfect their hands and equipment before and after use
  3. Disposable wipes should be placed next to each piece of large equipment (such as treadmills, bikes, rowing machines) and next to each area containing smaller equipment (such as free weights)
  4. Require trainers to wash hands before and after each training session and sanitize frequently during each session
  5. All equipment must be sanitized between uses. No equipment should be used by another customer or returned to the storage rack / container without being sanitized
  6. Encourage customers to use one piece of equipment at a time (e.g., limit circuit training or “super sets” with multiple pieces of equipment) in order to facilitate required sanitizing.
  7. Facilities must provide sanitization supplies at each piece of equipment in order for customers to clean in between each use
  8. If sanitation (or the monitoring thereof by employees) of any piece of equipment is not possible or practical, this equipment should be closed off
  9. Encourage customers to use their own personal exercise equipment (such as spin shoes, jump ropes, yoga mats, etc.) when possible.
  10. If shared items are used, they must be sanitized in between each use
  11. Post visible signage throughout the site to remind workers and customers of hygiene and safety protocols
  12. Allow water fountains to be used as refill stations only, provided that social distancing can be maintained.
  13. Customers and workers should bring their own water bottles or purchase beverages from the business

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA, Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3 Businesses

7/8/2020 (Permalink)

We are officially in Phase 3 of Governor Charlie Baker's administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business. Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. Businesses that return in Phase 3 must follow safety restrictions, most notable of which will be limits on capacity. This phase will be comprised of two smaller steps.The following outlines the two steps, changes to restrictions and Step 1 businesses approved to reopen.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA,  Mass EEA and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Opening of Phase 3 Enterprises

 Businesses and other organizations that are designated as Phase 3 enterprises (identified below) are permitted to open and operate from their physical workplaces and facilities according to the progressive two-step schedule. Phase 3 enterprises may open those promises to workers, customers, and the public only one authorized under the two-step schedule and provided that they comply with all workplace safety rules and standards.

Step One

July 6, 2020, Phase 3 enterprises  that are designated as Step 1 enterprises on schedule I may open they’re breaking water iMessage to workers, customers, and the public; provided, however, if for any premises located with the city of Boston, step one of phase 3 shall commence on July 13, 2020.

Step Two

If the public health data reflects continue positive progression, step two will be announced by a subsequent phase 3 order. Effective upon the commencement of step two, phase 3 enterprises that are designated as step 2 enterprise is on schedule they may be open in their brick-and-mortar promises to workers, customers, and public

Adjustments to Restrictions on Organized Sports Activities and Programs

The Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) will continue to issue sector specific rules to implement COVID-19 safety measures for both organized youth and adult amateur sports activities and shall continue to issue COVID-19 sector-specific rules and any other safety standards for operations of and participants in outdoor recreational activities. Visit EEA website regularly for updates to restrictions.

The specific restrictions on amateur organization organized sports itemized in paragraphs A-D of section 3 of COVID-19 order 35 have been rescinded. Accordingly the secretary of the EEA will continue to work with the Department of Health to determine ongoing, appropriate Sep 1 and Step 2 allowances, rules, and restrictions that

  • Permit games, scrimmages, and tournaments for both two-contact and contact sports
  • Establish appropriate limitations on the number of persons that may participate at one time in and organize sports activity with a single facility or a single court, field, or other playing surface
  • Open indoor athletic facilities for used by both youths and adults

Visit EEA website regularly for updates to restrictions.

Newly Reopened Businesses Premises

Phase 3 enterprises that are authorized under to open their brick-and-mortar premises to workers, customers, and the public shall be required to self-certify that they are in compliance with all generally acceptable COVID-19 workplace safety rules and any applicable sector-specific rules. Before opening a break-and-the mortar premises under the terms of this order the enterprise shall

  • Bring the workplace into full compliance with all applicable COVID-19 workplace safety rules and all Sector-Specific Rules applicable to the individual workplace
  • Complete the required self-certification to verify compliance with all applicable Sector-Specific Rules and make the self-certification available for inspection upon a request by State of Local authorities
  • Post on the premises all applicable public notices and advisories that are required to be displayed

Phase 3 Step One Businesses

  • Post secondary/higher ed/vocational-tech/trade/occupational schools - general operations
  • Casino gaming floors
  • Horse racing tracks and simulcast facilities
  • Indoor recreational athletic facilities for general use (not limited to youth programs)
  • Fitness centers and health clubs including
    • Cardio/weight rooms/locker rooms/inside facilities
    • Fitness studios (yoga, barre, cross–fit, spin classes, general fitness studios)
    • Museums
    • Indoor historic spaces/sights
    • Aquariums
    • Outdoor theaters and other outdoor performance venues NOT designated as Phase 4 enterprises
    • Movie theaters
    • Sightseeing and other organized tours (bus tours, duck tours, harbor cruise, whale watching)
    • Motion picture, television, and video streaming production
    • Fishing and hunting tournaments and other amateur or professional derbies
    • Outdoor event spaces used for gatherings and celebrations including those in parks, reservations, and other outdoor spaces NOT designated as Phase 4 enterprises
    • Indoor event spaces such as meeting rooms, ballrooms, and private party rooms – only when used for functions or events permitted under sector any specific rules for indoor and outdoor events
    • Indoor non-athletic instructional classes in arts/education/life skills for persons 18 years or older
    • Indoor recreational activities with low potential for a contact
      • batting cages
      • driving ranges
      • go-carts
      • bowling alleys
      • rock–climbing walls

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA Mass EEA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 3

7/7/2020 (Permalink)

As of Monday, July 6th, Governor Charlie Baker officially began Phase 3 of the administration's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts for business. This move allows gyms, museums, movie theaters and more to resume some operations even as COVID-19 cases surge in other parts of the country.

Strict rules are in place for the third phase of a four-phase economic reopening in Massachusetts. Businesses that return in Phase 3 must follow safety restrictions, most notable of which will be limits on capacity. Additionally, Governor Baker made clear that Phase 3 "will last significantly longer than the other phases. He also noted that this phase will be comprised of two smaller steps.The following highlights Phase 3 guidelines.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

The Department of Public Health (DPH) also issued updated guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Step One of Phase 3

Key public health data, such as new cases and hospitalizations, have been closely monitored and has seen a decline allowing for Phase 3 to begin on July 6th. Phase 3 will begin on July 13 in Boston.

Since mid-April, the 7-day average for the positive COVID-19 test rate is down 94 percent, the 3-day average of hospitalized patients is down 79 percent and the number of hospitals in surge is down 86 percent. 

More than 1,000,000 total COVID-19 tests have been administered, and testing continues throughout the state.

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase 3, subject to industry-specific rules concerning capacity and operations: 

  • Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues;
  • Museums, cultural and historical sites; 
  • Fitness centers and health clubs;
  • Certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact;
  • Professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators

Full guidance and list of businesses eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase 3 can be found by visiting the Mass.Gov website or clicking here. Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase 3 are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards.

Revised Gatherings Order

Under the updated gatherings order, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space.

Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25 percent of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 100 people in a single enclosed outdoor space. This includes community events, civic events, sporting events, concerts, conventions and more. This order does not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible.

This revised order does not supersede previously issued sector guidance, and is effective beginning Monday, July 6. It will be effective Monday, July 13 in the City of Boston.

Public Health Guidance

In Phase 3, health care providers may continue to provide in-person procedures and services as allowed in Phase 2, with the addition of certain group treatment programs and day programs. These programs include adult day health, day habilitation programs, and substance abuse services day treatment and outpatient services. Certain human services programs can reopen including community based day services for adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities and psychosocial rehabilitation clubhouses.        

Health care providers are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards, and must continue to utilize prioritization policies established in Phase II for care delivery and scheduling, as well as monitor patient volume for non-essential, elective procedures and services.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 14

7/2/2020 (Permalink)

There are many support systems that must be inplace to successfully reopen the state of Massachusetts. One of the essential support systems that must be ready for Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the Commonwealth is child care and youth programs. This blog highlights the administration's preparation minimum requirements as well as additional strategies for reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and required activity limitation for recreational camps and programs as outlined in Governor Charlie Baker's administration's guidelines for reopening child and youth programs.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Preparing for Recreational Camps and Programs

Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs permitted to operate during the current phase must prepare the camp environment to promote the new health and safety requirements and to facilitate infection control activities.

  1. Contact facility management and other programs sharing facility space to discuss if and how new requirements can be implemented and plan to address any challenges.
  2. Prepare the materials and equipment to be used by children to minimize sharing and promote physical distancing.
  3. Shared items that cannot be cleaned or disinfected must be removed from activity rotation.
  4. Prepare all cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions and store them in a locked closet or compartment that is accessible to staff in each area of the camp, but inaccessible to campers.
  5. Ensure that supplies for hand hygiene are adequate, accessible, and placed appropriately throughout the camp space.
  6. Prepare the camp space to ensure physical distancing required by the phase are met.
    1. Camps must consider physical building capacity limitations and the total number of children anticipated to be in any one area throughout the day and during inclement weather.
    2. Decisions about organization of the camp space must be guided by the camp’s ability to implement adequate and consistent physical distancing, especially in terms of utilization of common spaces that need to be shared by campers and staff.
    3. Camp enrollment must be based on the number of individuals that may be housed in an emergency. Emergency shelter occupancy shall have sufficient space to provide 6 ft. of separation between individuals.
  7. Program managers must increase staffing to ensure supervision of campers in the case of potential need for quarantine of staff with symptoms or illness as well as supervising youth with symptoms. Refer to Healthcare Personnel:Occupational Exposure & Return to Work Guidance for requirements on quarantine and returning to employment..
  8. Recreational camps must ensure a minimum of 2 properly trained Health Care Supervisors are present at all times at camp in the event a camper becomes symptomatic while at camp. 
  9. Staff members age 65 or older or with serious underlying health conditions should assess their risk to determine if they should stay home or follow additional precautions.
  10. Ensure that there are adequate provisions for the storage of children and staff belongings so that they do not touch.
  11. Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans, and other methods unless doing so creates a hazard.
  12. Ensure water systems and features (e.g., cooling systems) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.

Additional Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Transmission for Recreational Camps and Programs

In addition to the strategies highlighted in one of our previous blogs (click here to view) program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must apply these additional guidelines.

  1. Camp cohorts may not exceed maximum group size in place at the time of operations. Cohorts must not be combined at any time.
  2. The same staff member must be assigned to the same group of children each day for the duration of the program session (if weekly or monthly) and at all times while in care.
  3. Staff must not float between groups either during the day or from day-to-day, unless needed to provide supervision of specialized activities such as swimming, boating, archery, or firearms, or to provide staff with breaks.
  4. Camps may not congregate staff/campers in a way that does not allow for six feet of physical distancing between individuals.
  5. Staff should limit their contact with one another unless they are in the same cohort.
  6. Staff meetings should be conducted remotely, when possible.
  7. Camps may need to stagger the use of communal spaces in order to ensure physical distancing requirements. For example, camps must add extra meal shifts if necessary to maintain physical distancing and maximum group sizes in the dining hall or dining area.
  8. Camps must monitor all individuals that staff and children come into contact with during the course of the camp day in the potential case of exposure.
  9. While all camps serving youth and children must designate an isolation room or space, camps must prepare for the possibility of needing to isolate multiple campers. If possible, camps must create multiple, separate isolation rooms and spaces so symptomatic individuals can also physical distance from each other.

Activity Limitations for Recreational Camps and Programs

Program managers and staff must ensure that all activities are conducted in accordance with physical distancing, masking and sanitation requirements and following the guidance below.

  1. All sports activities must follow applicable Standards for Businesses and Other Entities Providing Outdoor Adult Sports Supervised Youth Sports Leagues, Summer Sports Camps.
  2. Minimize equipment sharing, and clean and disinfect shared equipment (such as balls and pucks) and at the end of each activity by products recommended by the CDC.
  3. Personal equipment, such as helmets and pads, shall not be shared.
  4. Activities should be outside when possible.
  5. Camps can use their own, private, swimming pools and beach front in accordance with guidance.
  6. Camps may not use community pools or beaches.
  7. Campers must use their own dedicated personal floatation devices which camps may provide.
  8. Camp operators that supply Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) to campers must clean and disinfect the PFD in accordance with US Coast Guard guidance.
  9. Camps may not take campers on field trips or for other offsite travel.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 13

7/1/2020 (Permalink)

There are many support systems that must be inplace to successfully reopen the state of Massachusetts. One of the essential support systems that must be ready for Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the Commonwealth is child care and youth programs. This blog highlights the administration's general guidance as well as the minimum planning requirements for recreational camps and programs as outlined in Governor Charlie Baker's administration's guidelines for reopening child and youth programs.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

General Guidance for Recreational Camps and Programs

Recreational Camps and Programs must operate under the following guidance as well as all other applicable state, CDC, and/or local municipal guidance. Residential Camps and other overnight stays are not permitted until further notice.

  1. Recreational Camps and Programs may operate with activity restrictions and limited opening for groups ≤12.
  2. Camps may have multiple groups of 12 campers and counselors, provided physical distancing is maintained between and within groups.
  3. Camps may not exceed the camper to counselor ratios in in Camp Regulations 105 CMR 430.101.
  4. Visitors (including parents) and volunteers are not permitted.
  5. Recreational Camps must comply with 105 CMR 430 Minimum Standards for Recreational Camps for Children: State Sanitary Code Chapter IV as well as any additional more restrictive MA state or local requirements or orders in response to COVID-19. Camps are responsible for ensuring their operations are updated to comply with new guidance and orders.

Planning for Recreational Camps and Programs

Program managers and staff of all camps that are allowed to operate during the current phase must ensure the following planning requirements are met.

  1. Recreational Camps and Programs plans must be updated to address how they will meet the new health and safety requirements associated with COVID-19.
  2. For Recreational Camps, plans must be included into Staff Training and Orientation and provided in writing and included in or in addition to the written camp Health Care Policy and other relevant procedures (105 CMR 430.159).
  3. Elements planning for Recreational Camps and Programs must include the following:
    1. A plan to address cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing and frequency. This must include a daily staff cleaning schedule to ensure that all areas, materials, furniture, and equipment are properly cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected.
    2. A plan for identifying and handling sick, symptomatic, and exposed children and staff that includes but is not limited to daily screening checks, location of screening activities, and staff responsible for screening. All staff conducting screenings should be trained to do so by the Health Care Consultant.
    3. A plan for the isolation and discharge of sick, symptomatic, and exposed children or staff, including procedures for contacting parents immediately, criteria for seeking medical assistance, transportation of a child/staff who has developed symptoms related to COVID-19 mid-day and who rely on camp transportation, mitigation of transmission until the sick individual can safely leave the camp, and immediately notifying the local board of health.
  4. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must ensure that their sick leave policies are flexible and promote the importance of staff not coming to work if they have a frequent cough, sneezing, fever, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or recent loss of taste or smell, or if they or someone they live with has been diagnosed with COVID-19. (3) Recreational Camps and
  5. Program managers must designate a senior camp staff person to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Employees should know who this person is and how to contact them.
  6. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must develop a plan for food service. Snacks and meals should be brought from home, be pre-packaged, or be ready to serve in individual portions to minimize handling and preparation. Where this is not feasible, staff must prepare and serve meals. Meals should not be served family style.
  7. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must develop a plan for safe vendor deliveries, if applicable. Noncontact delivery protocols must be arranged whenever possible.
  8. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must develop a plan for handling camp closings and staff absences.
  9. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must develop a plan outlining the lines of communication between staff and parents, local board of health, the Department of Public Health Community Sanitation Program, and other appropriate audiences.
  10. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must develop a plan for sharing information and guidelines with parents that includes the following:
    1. A system to check with parents daily on the health status of their children when children are dropped off at the facility.
    2. Email addresses and home, work, and mobile phone numbers from parents of children at the camp so that staff can reach them at any time.
    3. A tested communication system with parents, children at the camp, all staff, facility and/or grounds management, and emergency medical services.
    4. Information on COVID-19 including symptoms, transmission, prevention, and when to seek medical attention. Encouraging parents to share the information with their children as appropriate.
    5. Provide parents with information on the camp’s policies for preventing and responding to infection and illness. This must be given to the camper’s parents/guardians and not just provided on a website. Provide information in the primary languages spoken by the parents, if possible
  11. Program managers and staff of recreational camps and programs must develop safe pickup/drop off procedures to maintain physical distancing and prevent the mixing of campers.
    1. Explain new procedures with parents prior to the first drop-off.
    2. Confirm the pickup person is camper’s parent, legal guardian, or other individual designated in writing to have permission to pick up the camper.
  12. A transportation plan for limited camp transportation, if needed, provided that transportation conforms with the minimum requirements for Transportation. To view the administration's minimum requirements for transportation visit our previous blog by clicking, here
  13. Camps must have contingency plans for arranging for transportation for a sick camper, in the case that parents are unable to pick up their children, and for staff, in case they are unable to transport themselves.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 12

6/30/2020 (Permalink)

Child care and youth-serving programs remain a critical component in Governor Charlie Baker's overall plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts and get the residents of the Commonwealth back to work. This blog highlights the minimum requirements for food preparation as well as caring for children with special needs, vulnerable children, and infants and toddlers as outlined in Governor Charlie Baker's administration's guidelines for reopening child and youth programs.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Ensuring Food Safety

Program managers and their staff must follow these food safety guidelines.

  1. Whenever possible, snacks must be pre-packaged or ready to serve in individual portions to minimize handling and preparation. Meals shall not be served family style.
  2. To minimize potential spread of infection and to promote physical distancing, cafeterias and group dining rooms must be avoided. If there are no alternatives, programs must adequately physical distance during meals and add extra meal shifts.
  3. Multiple children shall not use the same serving or eating utensils. Each child must have an individual cup to use.
  4. Sinks used for food preparation must not be used for any other purposes.
  5. Staff must ensure children wash hands prior to and immediately after eating.
  6. Staff must wash their hands before preparing food and after helping children to eat.
  7. Tables, chairs, high chairs, and high chair trays used for meals need to be cleaned and sanitized before and after use.
  8. All food contact surfaces, equipment, and utensils used for the preparation, packaging, or handling of food products must be washed, rinsed, and sanitized before each use.
  9. Programs must frequently clean non-food contact surfaces, such as doorknobs, tabletops, and chairs using sanitizers approved by the EPA for use against COVID-19 and for food-contact surfaces. 
  10. Following the product label use directions for enveloped viruses, as indicated by the approved emerging viral pathogen claim on the master label.
  11. If the directions for use for viruses/viricidal activity list multiple contact times or dilutions, use the longest contact time or most concentrated solution.
  12. Be sure to follow the label directions for FOOD CONTACT SURFACES when using the chemical near or on utensils and food contact surfaces.

Identify and Understand Children's Healthcare Needs

To ensure that programs are adequately prepared to provide safe and appropriate services to children with special needs and vulnerable children, program managers and staff must take following steps.

  1. Review medical information submitted by parents and determine whether and how many high-risk children are in attendance.
  2. Reach out to parents of high-risk children and encourage them to discuss with their healthcare provider about whether the program is a safe option for the child and if additional protections are necessary.
  3. Discuss with the parent any concerns they have with the new protocols and how you can best help their child understand and adhere as close as possible to the health and safety requirements.

Supporting Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs will require unique supports in programs that may make it less possible to practice physical distancing and will require ample staff support to carry out the necessary hygiene practices. Program managers and staff must ensure that the program is adequately staffed and that staff are prepared and properly trained to accommodate children’s needs.

  1. Staff must be prepared to provide hands-on assistance to children with special needs for activities of daily living such as feeding, toileting, and changing of clothes.
  2. staff who care for children requiring hands-on assistance for routine care activities, including toileting, diapering, feeding, washing, or dressing, and other direct contact activities must wear a long-sleeved, button down, oversized shirt over their clothing and wear long hair up or tied back during all activities requiring direct contact with a child.
  3. Staff must change outer clothing if body fluids from the child get on it. Staff must change the child’s clothing if body fluids get on it. Soiled clothing must be placed in a plastic bag until it can be sent home with the child to be washed.
  4. Staff must be adequately trained and prepared to support children with health care needs with the necessary provisions of health care such as administration of medication needed throughout the day, tube feedings, blood sugar checks, and allergies to certain foods.
  5. For more invasive procedures, staff must protect themselves by wearing a gown or other body covering (e.g., an oversized button-down, long sleeved shirt, etc.), eye protection, and mask.
  6. Children with special needs may be unable to comply with face covering because of intellectual, behavioral, or sensory issues. To minimize the risk of infection for children who are unable to wear a face covering, physical distancing must be maintained whenever possible and staff must wear a face covering at all times, including when working with a child who is unable to wear a face covering.
  7. Programs serving children who are deaf or hard of hearing are encouraged to consider the use of transparent face coverings to facilitate the reading of lips and facial expressions.
  8. Staff-to-child ratios must be higher for programs serving children with special needs, given their need for more individualized attention.
  9. Groupings for children with special needs must be assigned based on the developmental level of the child and the impact of the disability on the child with regard to their ability to adhere to PPE requirements and physical distancing rather than their chronological age.
  10. Smaller groups must be formed where the child requires more hands on assistance and a higher number of staff required to care for the children. Some children with special needs will require 1:1 assistance. Programs must refer to individual treatment plans or IEPs when assessing required ratios.

Caring for Infants and Toddlers

Infants and toddlers will need to be held. Staff must practice stringent hygiene and infection control practices to keep themselves and the young children they care for healthy and safe while in care.

  1. Staff who care for infants and toddlers should wear protective covering, like a long-sleeved, button down, oversized shirt over their clothing and wear long hair up or tied back during all activities requiring that a toddler is held.
  2. Staff must change outer clothing if body fluids from the child get on it.
  3. Staff must change the child’s clothing if body fluids get on it.
  4. Soiled clothing must be placed in a plastic bag until it can be sent home with the child to be washed.
  5. All staff must follow safe and sanitary diaper changing procedures. Procedures must be posted in all diaper changing areas, and must include:
    1. Prepare (includes gathering all supplies, washing hands, and putting on gloves).
    2. Clean the child.
    3. Remove trash (soiled diaper, wipes, and gloves).
    4. Wash hands. Put on clean gloves, if wearing.
    5. Replace clean diaper.
    6. Wash child’s hands.
    7. Clean up diapering station.
    8. Remove and dispose of gloves.
    9. Wash hands.
  6. During washing and feeding activities, staff must protect themselves by wearing a gown or other body covering (e.g., an oversized button-down, long sleeved shirt, etc.) and eye protection where available. Staff with long hair must tie their hair back so it is off the collar and away from the reach of the child.
    1. Child care providers must wash their hands, neck, and anywhere touched by a child’s secretions.
    2. Child care providers must change the child’s clothes if secretions are on the child’s clothes. They must change the button-down shirt, if there are secretions on it, and wash their hands again.
    3. Contaminated clothes must be placed in a plastic bag or washed in a washing machine.
    4. Infants and toddlers and their providers must have multiple changes of clothes on hand.
  7. As infants and toddlers are not able to verbalize when they don’t feel well, staff must be attentive to any changes in a very young child’s behavior. If the child starts to look lethargic, and is not eating as well, staff must notify the parent to determine whether the child’s pediatrician must be contacted. If a toddler is showing signs of respiratory distress and having difficulty breathing, staff must call 911 and notify the parents immediately.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 11

6/29/2020 (Permalink)

Child care and youth-serving programs remain a critical component in Governor Charlie Baker's overall plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts and get the residents of the Commonwealth back to work. This blog highlights the minimum requirements for general on strategies for reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as well as transportation as outlined in Governor Baker's administration's guidelines for reopening child and youth programs.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Strategies to Reduce the Risk of Transmission of COVID-19

Program managers and their staff must attempt to maintain at least 6 feet of distance at all times and limit contact between individuals and groups, whenever possible. When 6 feet is not possible, individuals should wear masks or cloth face coverings.

  1. In order to encourage a distance of 6 feet between individuals, programs must have a minimum of 42 square feet per child, with 144 sq. ft. per child being the ideal to maintain proper physical distancing.
  2. (2) Physical distancing must be encouraged for children and staff at all times, including but not limited to:
    1. During transitions (e.g., waiting for bathrooms)
    2. During meal times (e.g., if a cafeteria or group dining room is typically used, serve meals in classrooms instead. Put each child’s meal on a plate, to limit the use of shared serving utensils. If classroom must be used, clean and disinfect tables between meal shifts.)
    3. While traveling to and from the outdoors
    4. During all activities
    5. During sleep, rest, or quiet play time (i.e. space out seating and bedding)
    6. While using transportation (e.g., buses)
  3. Limiting regular immediate contact (such as shaking or holding hands, hugging, or kissing), as well as by mediated contact.
  4. Stagger drop offs/pick-ups
  5. Store children’s belongings in a manner where they do not touch. Individually labeled storage containers, cubbies, or separate; designated areas must be used.
  6. Stagger recess and play outside one group at a time.
  7. Refrain from games and activities that encourage physical contact or proximity of less than 6 feet, like tag or circle time.
  8. Spaces for children must be organized in a way that allows staff to enforce and maintain consistent physical distancing guidelines. Physically rearrange the room to promote individual play, including setting up individual play activity stations like puzzles and art. Space activity areas/centers as far apart as possible.
  9. Ensure adequate supplies to minimize sharing of high touch materials to the extent possible (art supplies, equipment, etc. assigned to a single child per use) or limit use of supplies and equipment by one group of children at a time and clean and disinfect between uses. If possible, touchless trash cans should be utilized and located throughout the program space.
  10. Limit gatherings, events, and extracurricular activities to those that can maintain physical distancing. Support proper hand hygiene. Do not host events that encourage non-essential adults to visit the program.
  11. Close communal use spaces, such as game rooms or dining halls, if possible. If this is not possible, stagger use and disinfect in between uses or divide into two rooms. Programs may have multiple groups of ten, provided physical distancing is maintained between and within groups. When dividing rooms, create a clear barrier with cones, chairs, tables, etc. to ensure a minimum six feet of distance.
  12. Where possible, arrange for administrative staff to telework from their homes.
  13. Programs must limit travel off the premises for all children and staff. Programs must limit travel outside of the program, including canceling all field trips and inter-agency, or program, groups and activities. Hiking and outdoor activities may be conducted on program grounds.
  14. Activities that require or may require direct staff support or close contact must not be conducted, except where necessary to support participation for children with special needs.
  15. Limit the number of children permitted to use pool facilities at the same time. Determinations must consider how many people can be at the pool facility and still maintain 6 feet distancing.

Transportation

Group transportation should only be provided during the phased reopening when there is no other option to transport children to and from the program. Programs intending to provide transportation services shall follow the guidance below.

  1. Parents must screen their children for symptoms prior to boarding a vehicle.
  2. Physical distancing and group size requirements outlined above must be maintained while in transit. Because close seating on vehicles makes person-to-person transmission of respiratory viruses more likely, programs providing transportation to child care facilities must maximize space between riders (e.g., one rider per seat in every other row) and follow requirements for wearing masks or face coverings. Windows must be kept open.
  3. If not possible nor comfortable to open windows, set ventilation system to high. Do not recirculate conditioned air.

Developing a Transportation Plan

Program managers and staff intending to provide transportation must develop a transportation plan for following health and safety protocols. Additional requirements are as follows.

  1. Plans must include protocols for screening drivers, monitors, and/or children.
  2. Plans must include strategies for transporting children that may have become sick but rely upon transportation provided by programs.
  3. Plans must include strategies for minimizing the time children are in group transportation.
  4. Plan must include schedule for routine cleaning of vehicles, detailed below.
  5. Drivers and monitors must be trained on the transportation plan prior to reopening.
  6. Prior to sending kids by bus, staff must perform at a minimum a visual wellness check and symptom screen.
  7. Staff should assist children with washing or sanitizing hands upon arrival after exiting the bus, van, or vehicle and prior to departure before boarding the bus, van, or vehicle.

Screening Protocols

Designated staff must screen each driver and monitor before entering the vehicle following screening protocols. For a highlight of the minimum guidelines for screening protocols visit our previous blog by clicking, here.

Routine Cleaning of Vehicles

Program managers and staff must ensure the interior of each vehicle is be cleaned and either swept or vacuumed thoroughly after each morning and evening route and disinfected at least once each day.

  1. Clean the area prior to disinfection to remove all surface matter.
  2. Use EPA-Registered Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (the cause of COVID-19) to clean high-touch surfaces, including buttons, handholds, pull cords, rails, steering wheels, door handles, shift knobs, dashboard controls, and stanchions.
  3. Dust- and wet-mop vehicle floors.
  4. Remove trash.
  5. Wipe heat and air conditioner vents.
  6. Spot cleaning walls and seats.
  7. Dust horizontal surfaces.
  8. Clean spills.
  9. If soft or porous surfaces (e.g., fabric seats, upholstery, carpets) are visibly dirty, clean them using appropriate cleaners and then disinfect soft or porous surfaces using EPA Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
  10. Staff should be trained to use disinfectants in a safe and effective manner and to clean up potentially infectious materials and body fluid spills.

Precautions for Transportation Operators

Program managers and staff must make sure transportation operators take the following precautions when transporting children.

  1. For transit operators, potential sources of exposure include having close contact with a vehicle passenger with COVID-19, by contacting surfaces touched or handled by a person with COVID-19, or by touching your mouth, nose, or eyes.
  2. Request passengers avoid standing or sitting within 6 feet of the vehicle driver, wherever possible.
  3. Drivers and monitors must wear masks or face coverings. Riders over the age of 2 should be encouraged to wear masks or face coverings. For highlights of the guidance regarding masks and face coverings visit our blog by clicking, here.
  4. Avoid touching surfaces often touched by vehicle passengers.
  5. Use gloves if required to touch surfaces contaminated by bodily fluids.
  6. Proper hand hygiene is an important infection control measure. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially:
    1. After going to the bathroom
    2. Before eating
    3. After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
    4. Upon entering and exiting the vehicle.
    5. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  7. Practice routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces, including surfaces in the driver cockpit commonly touched by the driver.
  8. Ensure drivers and monitors have adequate supplies of soap, paper towels, tissues, hand sanitizers, cleaning supplies, and garbage bags.

Driver/Monitor Who Are Sick

If driver and/or monitor are sick, they must stay home and not come to work. Do not schedule them to work if they are sick.

Transportation for Children with Special Needs and Vulnerable Children

Program managers and staff must ensure the following transportation protocols are adhered to so as to ensure that children with special needs and vulnerable children who rely on transportation will be able to access program services.

  1. Screenings must be conducted before children, vehicle drivers, and vehicle staff board the bus.
  2. Transportation practices must adhere to physical distancing guidelines, as discussed above.
  3. Vehicle drop off must be adjusted to meet physical distancing guidelines. Vehicles must off load and load one vehicle at a time, unless the location allows for enough distance between vehicles.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Why Hire Water Remediation Professionals

6/26/2020 (Permalink)

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton Wellesley are certified water restoration experts and use tools and techniques scientifically proven to help. Knowing who is responsible for what aspect of restoration and recovery in your home after a loss incident can be stressful and overwhelming. Our technicians can make it easy by offering a comprehensive approach encompassing nearly every phase of restoration and later build back necessary.

Even basics like water cleanup for Hopkinton, MA commercial and residential properties can indicate different tasks that professionals like ours need to complete. We can work with your insurance provider to offer you a fast and reliable service that follows the boundaries of your coverage and limits any out-of-pocket expenses for you.

Your property needs to get thoroughly dried after a loss incident, and this can have a direct effect on the speed and final product of cleaning processes. We have professional grade, state-of-the-art equipment that can begin drying out damaged areas of your house quickly. With units like high-velocity air movers and desiccant dehumidifiers, we can provide customers with effective drying solutions that can return their property to its original condition sooner than expected.

Many property owners consider cutting out the middleman when it comes to restoring their houses, but there are potential pitfalls to this approach. Not only can DIY cleanup be ineffective when the full spectrum of moisture damage does not get addressed, but without the appropriate potent products and technologies for cleaning, your property might not only look like it used to, but also, may not be properly remediated, increasing the possibility of mold growth. We offer:

  • Professional and efficient service
  • EPA approved, commercial grade cleaning products
  • Thorough results

Cleaning up after a water loss can be a necessary step in making disasters “Like it never even happened.” Call the experts at SERVPRO of Newton Wellesley today, (617) 332-9000!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 10

6/26/2020 (Permalink)

Child care and youth-serving programs remain a critical component in Governor Charlie Baker's overall plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts and get the residents of the Commonwealth back to work. To prepare for successful reopening of child care programs, recreational camps, and youth programs the Governor Baker's administration has developed minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programsThe following highlights the minimum requirements for general cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting indoor and outdoor play areas, after potential exposure in day programs as well as additional considerations that should be taken.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Indoor Play Areas

Program managers must have staff charged with cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting indoor play areas must follow these guidelines.

  1. Children’s books, like other paper-based materials such as mail or envelopes, are not considered a high risk for transmission and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection procedures. Programs should conduct regular inspection and disposal of books or other paper-based materials that are heavily soiled or damaged.
  2. Machine washable cloth toys cannot be used at all.
  3. Toys that children have placed in their mouths or that are otherwise contaminated by body secretions or excretions must be set aside until they are cleaned by hand by a person wearing gloves. Clean with water and detergent, rinse, sanitize with an EPA-registered sanitizer, and air-dry or clean in a mechanical dishwasher.
  4. For electronics, such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls, remove visible contamination if present. Consider putting a wipeable cover on electronics. Follow manufacturer’s instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no guidance, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Wait in accordance with manufacturer’s directions and then dry surface thoroughly or allow to air dry. Provide cleaning materials for older children to clean their own electronics.

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Outdoor Play Areas

Program managers must have staff charged with cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting outdoor play areas must follow these guidelines.

  1. Communal parks and playgrounds must not be utilized. This includes public offsite playgrounds as well as playgrounds shared by multiple programs or houses. Playgrounds shared by multiple programs and houses may be used provided there is a plan for proper cleaning and disinfection between each group’s use.
  2. High touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, including play structures, tables and benches, should be frequently cleaned and disinfected.
  3. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces or groundcovers (mulch, sand) is not recommended.
  4. Communal pools must not be utilized.
  5. Programs may use their own indoor and outdoor swimming pools in accordance with guidance.
  6. All pools must meet the regulatory requirements of the state of Massachusetts' sanitary codes for minimum standards for swimming pools as well as any additional more restrictive MA state or local requirements or orders in response to COVID-19.
  7. Handrails and pool ladders must be disinfected frequently throughout the program day.

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting After Potential Exposure in Day Programs

If staff suspects a potential exposure, they must conduct cleaning and disinfecting as follows.

  1. Close off areas visited by the ill persons. Open outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  2. Programs must plan for availability of alternative space while areas are out of use. 
  3. Cleaning staff must clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment (e.g., tablets, touch screens, keyboards) used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.

Additional Considerations

The state requires that those managing child care and youth programs to consider the following precautions.

  1. Staff clothing must not be worn again until after being laundered at the warmest temperature possible.
  2. Programs must comply with OSHA’s standards on Bloodborne Pathogens, including proper disposal of regulated waste and PPE.
  3. Programs shall follow CDC infection control guidelines designed to protect individuals from exposure to diseases spread by blood, bodily fluids, or excretions that may spread infectious disease.
  4. Health precautions include, but are not limited to, the use of PPE, proper disposal containers for contaminated waste, handwashing and proper handling of bodily waste.
    1. Non-latex gloves shall be provided and used for the clean-up of blood and bodily fluids
    2. Used gloves and any other materials containing blood or other bodily fluids shall be thrown away in a lined, covered container. Only material saturated/dripping with blood is considered medical waste and must be stored and disposed of pursuant to the regulations. Materials such as band-aids, tissues and others with minimal blood are not considered medical waste
    3. Contaminated clothing shall be sealed in a plastic container or bag, labeled with the child’s name, and returned to the parent at the end of the day
    4. Sharps waste shall be stored and disposed of in appropriate sharps containers with the word biohazard and the universal biohazard symbol.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 9

6/25/2020 (Permalink)

Child care and youth-serving programs remain a critical component in Governor Charlie Baker's overall plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts and get the residents of the Commonwealth back to work. To prepare for successful reopening of child care programs, recreational camps, and youth programs the Governor Baker's administration has developed minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programsThe following highlights the minimum requirements for general cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Resources and Supplies

The following is information about what supplies must be used for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.

  1. Programs must use EPA-registered disinfectants and sanitizers for use against COVID-19. Follow directions on the label, including ensuring that the disinfectant or sanitizer is approved for that type of surface (such as food-contact surfaces).
  2. When EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, a dilute bleach solution can be used. For example, add 1/3 cup of household bleach to 1 gallon of water OR 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Alternatively, a 70% alcohol can be applied.
  3. All bleach and water dilutions must be freshly mixed every 24 hours. Bleach solutions must be prepared daily to ensure their ability to safely sanitize or disinfect. When preparing sanitizing or disinfecting dilutions always add bleach to water. This helps to avoid bleach splashes caused by adding water to bleach. Use either the sanitizing or the disinfecting dilution as specified above.
  4. Many cleaning agents can be irritants and trigger acute symptoms in children with asthma or other respiratory conditions. Programs must not prepare cleaning solutions in close proximity to children.
  5. Check the label to see if your bleach is intended for disinfection, and ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against COVID-19 when properly diluted. Some bleaches, such as those designed for safe use on colored clothing or for whitening may not be suitable for disinfection.
  6. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Leave solution on the surface for at least 1 minute.
  7. Programs shall use child-safe cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions and children should never be present when mixing solutions.
  8. Only single use, disposable paper towels shall be used for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Sponges shall not be used for sanitizing or disinfecting.
  9. All sanitizing and disinfecting solutions must be labeled properly to identify the contents, kept out of the reach of children, and stored separately from food items. Do not store sanitizing and disinfecting solutions in beverage containers.
  10. Avoid aerosols, because they contain propellants that can affect breathing. Pump or trigger sprays are preferred.

Proper Usage of Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Supplies

Proper guidelines must be followed when cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Staff responsible for cleaning should understand and adhere to the proper use and application of all solutions used. 

  1. All sanitizing and disinfecting solutions must be used in areas with adequate ventilation and never in close proximity to children as to not trigger acute symptoms in children with asthma or other respiratory conditions. Do not spray chemicals around children. If possible, move children to another area or have someone distract them away from the area where a chemical is being used.
  2. To ensure effective cleaning and disinfecting, always clean surfaces with soap and water first, then disinfect using a diluted bleach solution, alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol, or an EPA approved disinfectant for use against the virus that causes COVID-19. Cleaning first will allow the disinfecting product to work as intended to destroy germs on the surface.
  3. Use all cleaning products according to the directions on the label. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for concentration, application method, and contact time for all cleaning and disinfection products.
  4. Surfaces and equipment must air dry after sanitizing or disinfecting. Do not wipe dry unless it is a product instruction. Careful supervision is needed to ensure that children are not able to touch the surface until it is completely dry.
  5. Keep all chemicals out of the reach of children both during storage and in use.
  6. Keep chemicals in their original containers. If this is not possible, label the alternate container to prevent errors.
  7. Do not mix chemicals. Doing so can produce a toxic gas.

General Guidelines for Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

Program staff charged with cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting must follow these general guidelines.

  1. Intensify the program’s routine cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting practices, paying extra attention to frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, bathrooms and sinks, keyboards, and bannisters.
  2. Clean and disinfect toys and activity items, including sports and specialty camp activity equipment (e.g. and climbing walls), used by children more frequently than usual and take extra care to ensure that all objects that children put in their mouths are removed from circulation, cleaned, and sanitized before another child is allowed to use it.
  3. While cleaning and disinfecting, staff must wear gloves as much as possible. Handwashing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after these procedures is always required, whether or not gloves are used.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 8

6/24/2020 (Permalink)

Child care and youth-serving programs are a critical component in Governor Charlie Baker's overall plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts and get the residents of the Commonwealth back to work. To prepare for reopening child care programs, recreational camps, and youth programs the administration has developed minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programsThe following highlights the minimum requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) and face masks or coverings.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Face Masks and Coverings

Those managing the daily operations of childcare and youth programs should encourage the wearing of masks or cloth face coverings during the program day. Whenever 6 feet of physical distancing is not possible, masks must be worn.

  1. To slow the spread of COVID-19, program staff are encouraged to wear a cloth face covering while serving children and interacting with parents and families. Program staff are required to wear a cloth face covering whenever 6 feet of physical distancing is not possible. Programs are encouraged to consider the use of transparent face coverings to allow for the reading of facial expressions, which is important for child development.
  2. When possible and at the discretion of the parent or guardian of the child, programs should encourage the wearing of masks or cloth face coverings for children age 2 and older who can safely and appropriately wear, remove, and handle masks. Additional guidance on use of face coverings and masks by children is as follows:
    1. Children under the age of 2 years should not wear face coverings or masks.
    2. When children can be safely kept at least 6 feet away from others, then they do not need to be encouraged to wear a mask.
    3. Masks must not be worn while children are eating/drinking, sleeping, and napping. Strict and consistent physical distancing must be practiced at all times during these activities. Masks do not need to be worn while engaging in active outdoor play, if children are able to keep physical distance from others.
    4. Children 2 years of age and older must be supervised when wearing a mask. If wearing the face covering causes the child to touch their face more frequently, staff must reconsider whether the mask is appropriate for the child.
  3. Families should provide their children with a sufficient supply of clean masks and face coverings for their child to allow replacing the covering as needed. These families must have a plan for routine cleaning of masks and face coverings, clearly mark masks with child’s name and room number, if applicable, and clearly distinguish which side of the covering should be worn facing outwards so they are worn properly each day. If families are unable to provide masks, programs should provide masks for children and youth, as necessary. Masks and face coverings must be routinely washed (at least daily and any time the mask is used or becomes soiled) depending on the frequency of use. When possible, masks must be washed in a washing machine in hot water and dried fully before using again. If a washing machine is unavailable, masks must be washed with soap and hot water and allowed to dry fully before using again.
  4. If using a disposable mask, follow CDC guidance on proper daily removal. Grasp bottom ties or elastics of the mask, then the ones at the top, and remove without touching the front. Discard in a waste container and wash hands or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately. 
  5. Staff must enforce the wearing of face masks by parents or guardians when on the premises and at all times during drop-off and pick-up. Programs must regularly remind families and staff that all individuals are encouraged to adhere to the CDC’s recommendations for wearing a mask or cloth face covering whenever going out in public and/or around other people.
  6. Staff must teach and reinforce use of cloth face coverings among all program staff. Face coverings are most essential at times when physical distancing is not possible. Staff must be frequently reminded not to touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information must be provided to all staff on proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

Exceptions to Use of Face Masks/Coverings

Exceptions for wearing face masks include situations that may inhibit an individual from wearing a face mask safely. These may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Children under the age of 2 years
  2. Children who cannot safely and appropriately wear, remove, and handle masks
  3. Children who have difficulty breathing with the face covering or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance
  4. Children with severe cognitive or respiratory impairments that may have a hard time tolerating a face mask
  5. Children where the only option for a face covering presents a potential choking or strangulation hazard
  6. Individuals who cannot breathe safely with a face covering, including those who require supplemental oxygen to breathe
  7. Individuals who, due to a behavioral health diagnosis or an intellectual impairment, are unable to wear a face covering safely
  8. Individuals who need to communicate with people who rely upon lip-reading.

When to Use Gloves

Staff must wear gloves when appropriate and at all times during the following activities. Program managers should consult with a child’s medical records and identify any allergies when determining type of gloves to use. Handwashing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after these procedures is always required, whether or not gloves are used.

  1. Diapering
  2. Food preparation
  3. Screening activities requiring contact
  4. Applying sunscreen.

After removing gloves for any reason, hand hygiene should be performed with alcohol-based hand sanitizer or soap and water. Additionally, as a means to reduce cross-contamination, disposable gloves should always be discarded after the following instances.

  1. Visible soiling or contamination with blood, respiratory or nasal secretions, or other body fluids occurs.
  2. Any signs of damage (e.g., holes, rips, tearing) or degradation are observed.
  3. Maximum of four hours of continuous use.
  4. Disposable glove “re-use” is not permitted as previously removed gloves have an increased risk of both tearing and contamination.
  5. Gloves should be removed following activities where glove usage is required including diapering, food preparation, applying sunscreen, and screening activities requiring contact.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 7

6/23/2020 (Permalink)

Governor Charlie Baker believes that, "one way you reduce the size of the problem that you have in the fall is by doing everything you can to squeeze as much of the heat out of the virus as you possibly can between now and then." Due to this belief, the beginning of Phase 3 of his plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts has been delayed for at least one week and will start no sooner than July 6. In preparation for the beginning of Phase 3 we will continue to share the administration's minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programs as the preparedness of these programs is vital to the overall success of reopening the Commonwealth. The following highlights the minimum requirements for acceptable hygiene and health practices.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Resources and Supplies

Child care and youth program managers must plan ahead to ensure that the program has adequate supplies to promote frequent and effective hygiene behaviors. Programs must have the following materials and supplies:

  1. Handwashing facilities with soap, water, and disposable paper towels must be readily accessible to all children and staff. Post handwashing instructions near every handwashing sink and where they can easily be seen by children and staff. (2)
  2. Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol may be utilized at times when handwashing is not available, as appropriate to the ages of children and only with written parent permission to use.6 Hand sanitizer must be stored securely and used only under supervision of staff. Staff must make sure children do not put hands wet with sanitizer in their mouth and must teach children proper use. 6 While hand sanitizer may be used by children over 2 years of age with parental permission, handwashing is the preferred and safer method.
  3. Hand hygiene stations must be set up at the entrance of the premises, so that children can clean their hands before they enter. If a sink with soap and water is not available, provide hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol next to parent sign-in sheets and allow use in accordance with the guidelines above. If hand sanitizer use is not appropriate or not approved and there is no soap and water at the entrance, children must be instructed to go to the nearest handwashing station upon entry. Keep hand sanitizer out of children’s reach and supervise use.
  4. If possible, place sign-in stations outside the program space and have contactless sign in, such as application or web based. If pens are required, they must be disinfected between uses or must be provided for individual only use.

When to Wash Hands

Children and staff must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer often, making sure to wash all surfaces of their hands (e.g., front and back, wrists, between fingers). Reinforce to staff and children that they must be regularly washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and should wash hands whenever the following criteria are met:

  1. Upon entry into and exit from program space
  2. When coming in to the program space from outside activities
  3. Before and after eating
  4. After sneezing, coughing or nose blowing
  5. After toileting and diapering
  6. Before handling food
  7. After touching or cleaning surfaces that may be contaminated
  8. After using any shared equipment like toys, computer keyboards, mouse, climbing walls
  9. After assisting children with handwashing;
  10. Before and after administration of medication
  11. Before entering vehicles used for transportation of children
  12. After contact with facemask or cloth face covering
  13. Before and after changes of gloves.

Cover Coughs or Sneezes

Children, families, and staff should avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth. Cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and clean hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer (if soap and water are not readily available and with parental permission and careful supervision as appropriate to the ages of the child).

Additional Healthy Habits

Child care and youth program managers are encouraged to teach, model, and reinforce the following healthy habits with both staff and children.

  1. Staff must know and follow the steps needed for effective handwashing (use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly and dry with individual disposable towel).
  2. Build in monitored handwashing for children at all necessary times throughout the day (e.g., upon arrival, before and after meals, after toileting and diapering, after coughing and sneezing, after contact with bodily fluids). Post visual steps of appropriate handwashing to assist children or cue them to sing the "Happy Birthday" song TWICE (approx. 20 seconds) as the length of time they need to wash their hands.
  3. Assist children with handwashing.
  4. Keep hand sanitizer out of the reach of children and monitor use closely. Due to its high alcohol content, ingesting hand sanitizer can be toxic for a child. Supervise children when they use hand sanitizer to make sure they rub their hands until completely dry, so they do not get sanitizer in their eyes or mouth.
  5. Explain to children why it is not healthy to share drinks or food, particularly when sick. 
  6. Teach children to use tissue to wipe their nose and to cough inside their elbow. They must wash their hands with soap and water immediately afterwards.
  7. Ask parents and caregivers to wash their own hands and assist in washing the hands of their children before dropping off, prior to coming for pick up, and when they get home.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned – a defensive cleaning program

6/22/2020 (Permalink)

Let us help you get back to business

As our communities re-open, we’re all moving back toward a new kind of normal. The expectations of visitors, customers, and employees who come into our establishments have evolved, and staying safe and well is a top concern. The global COVID-19 pandemic has changed what it means to be clean, and we’ve developed a program to help your business meet the new higher standard of clean that is now expected.

Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned is a defensive cleaning program we’re offering to businesses and commercial locations to address the current COVID-19 pandemic. This proactive viral pathogen cleaning program goes well beyond janitorial or carpet cleaning. By choosing Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you, your employees, your customers, and your community can rest assured that you’ve selected a higher cleaning standard – you are Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.

Extensive training and specialized products

As the #1 choice in cleanup and restoration*, we stand on more than 50 years of experience and expertise to help your business become Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned.  Beyond fire & water, SERVPRO professionals are trained and experienced in biohazard decontamination and chemical spills – always adhering to the cleaning and decontamination standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local authorities. 

From formulating and creating our proprietary cleaning products, like SERVPROXIDE, at our headquarters in Gallatin, TN, to taking the utmost care while disinfecting, we will ensure you and your business are set up to inspire consumer confidence as the economy continues to reopen.

3 C’s – Consult, Clean, and Certify

When the stakes are this high, you want a partner who has developed an industry leading, proprietary training program, cleaning solutions, and remediation processes over decades. We’ve cleaned up some of the most challenging biohazards imaginable. Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned reflects our unique experiences and capabilities. The program is grounded with our unique 3 C’s:

Consult, Clean, and Certify

  • Consult – Every business is different, which is why you’ll be assigned a Cleaning Protocol Consultant who understands your business and will create a cleaning program to meet your specific needs. This program will be developed based on your business type, size of space, amount of high frequency touchpoints, foot traffic and congestion points.
  • Clean – Based on your specific business needs, your location will undergo a thorough, deep clean, using exclusive cleaning products, according to protocols set forth by the CDC. Our employees have years of experience, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform. Cleanup procedures generally include cleaning of porous and non-porous surfaces, disinfecting of non-porous surfaces, cleaning and disinfecting of equipment, tools, and/or supplies used for cleanup process, and disposal of hazardous materials.  In the event of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 event, we will be there cleaning within 24 hours to ensure you get back to business as quickly as possible. 
  • Certify - Once your business location has been Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, you will gain access to proprietary signage, digital emblems, and other collateral that communicates that you’ve selected a higher standard of clean available to help protect your employees and customers. And because we add the day, month, and year to that proprietary stamp of clean, your guests will know that not only did you choose Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned, but that your location is being cleaned regularly at this standard.

Call today for a Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation

We’re Here to Help 24 hours a day, every day of the year including holidays! Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today at (617) 332-9000 for your Certified: SERVPRO Cleaned consultation.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 6

6/22/2020 (Permalink)

Even though we learned that Governor Charlie Baker has delayed the beginning of Phase 3 of his plan to reopen the Commonwealth for at least one week there is still work to be done. We will continue to share the administration's  minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programs  as the preparedness of these programs is vital to the overall success of reopening the state of Massachusetts. The following highlights the minimum requirements for isolation and discharge of sick children and or staff. 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Isolation and Discharge

Programs must take the following actions to prepare for a potential exposure.

  1. Designate a separate space to isolate children or staff who may become sick, with the door closed (or a solid barrier) if possible. Isolated children must be supervised at all times. A private or separate bathroom must be made available for use by sick individuals only. Others must not enter isolation room/space without PPE appropriate to the care setting. A location with an open window and/or good air circulation is optimal. In family child care settings with one adult, staff should isolate children who may become sick using a barrier to maintain adequate supervision of all children.
  2. If your facility does not have designated isolation rooms/spaces, determine a pre-specified location/facility to which you will be sending patients presenting with COVID-19 symptoms.
  3. Have an emergency back-up plan for staff coverage in case a child or staff becomes sick.
  4. Know the contact information for the local board of health in the city or town in which the program is located.
  5. Have masks and other cloth face coverings available for use by children and staff who become symptomatic, until they have left the premises of the program.
  6. Designate a separate exit from the exit used to regularly exit for those being discharged due to suspected infection.

Symptomatic - Children

If a child becomes symptomatic, programs must follow the protocols below:

  1. Immediately isolate from other children and minimize exposure to staff.
  2. Whenever possible, cover children’s (age 2 and older) noses and mouths with a mask or cloth face covering.
  3. Contact the child’s parents and have the child picked up as soon as possible.
  4. Follow the program’s plan for the transportation of a child who has developed symptoms and who relies on program transportation.

Symptomatic - Staff

If a staff member becomes symptomatic, they must cease child care duties immediately and be removed from others until they can leave. Staff must regularly self-monitor during the day to screen for new symptoms. If new symptoms are detected among a staff member, follow the requirements above for Isolation and Discharge and Symptomatic - Children.

Sick Children or Staff

Children and or Staff who are COVID-19 positive or symptomatic and presumed to have COVID-19 must not return until they have met the criteria for discontinuing home isolation and have consulted with a health care provider. Determine the date of symptom onset for the child/staff. Determine if the child/staff attended/worked at the program while symptomatic or during the two days before symptoms began. Identify what days the child/staff attended/worked during that time to determine all who had close contact with the sick individual during those days. 

If an individual tests positive for COVID-19 but is asymptomatic, isolation may be discontinued when at least 10 days have passed from the date of the positive test, as long as the individual remains asymptomatic. 

Notifying Required Parties

In the event that a program experiences an exposure, programs must notify the following parties.

  1. Employees and families about exposure but maintain confidentiality.
  2. Local board of health if a child or staff is COVID-19 positive.
  3. Funding and licensing agencies if a child or staff member has tested positive.

Self-Isolating

In the event that a staff member or child is exposed  or has potentially been exposed to a sick or symptomatic person, the following protocols must be followed.

  1. If a child or staff has been exposed to COVID-19, regardless of whether the individual has symptoms or not, the child or staff must not be permitted to enter the program space and must be sent home. Exposed individuals must be directed to stay home for at least 14 days after the last day of contact with the person who is sick. The program must consult the local board of health for guidance on quarantine for other children and staff and what additional precautions will be needed to ensure the program space is safe for continued child care services.
  2. If an exposed child or staff subsequently tests positive or their doctor says they have confirmed or probable COVID-19, they must be directed to stay home for a minimum of 10 days from the 1st day of symptoms appearing AND be fever-free for 72 hours without fever reducing medications AND experience significant improvements in symptoms. Release from isolation is under the jurisdiction of the local board of health where the individual resides.
  3. If a child’s household member or staff’s household member tests positive for COVID-19, the child or staff must self-quarantine for 14 days after the last time they could have been exposed.

Quarantine

If an exposed child or staff remains asymptomatic and/or tests negative for COVID-19 they must remain in quarantine and continue to monitor for the full 14 days.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 5

6/18/2020 (Permalink)

This is the fifth blog detailing the minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programsWe are in Phase 2 of Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts. It is important to note that these are minimum requirements to reopen. Contact the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) to identify any additional guidelines that may impact your program's ability to reopen. It is also a good idea to work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Minimum Requirements - Screening and Monitoring of Children and Staff

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Screening

Programs must screen all staff and children, every day, before they are permitted to enter the child care space following the requirements below.

  1. Establish a single point of entry to the program to ensure that no individual is allowed to enter the building until they successfully pass the screening.
  2. Designate specific program staff to conduct all screening activities, and establish a designated screening area (e.g., a side room or enclosed area close to the point of entry) that will allow for more privacy in order to ask questions confidentially. Unless a physical barrier, such as a plexiglass screen, is used, the space used for screening must allow for physical distancing of childcare staff from child/family while screening is being conducted (i.e. at least 6 feet of separation).
  3. Health check responses must be recorded and maintained on file.
  4. Verbally screen children and parents asking the following questions. If any of the below are yes, the child must not be allowed to enter the building. The child must return home with their parent or caregiver. 
    1. Today or in the past 24 hours, have you or any household members had any of the following symptoms?
      1. Fever (temperature of 100.0?F or above), felt feverish, or had chills?
      2. Cough?
      3. Sore throat?
      4. Difficulty breathing?
      5. Gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)?
      6. Fatigue? (Fatigue alone should not exclude a child from participation.)
      7. Headache?
      8. New loss of smell/taste?
      9. New muscle aches?
      10. Any other signs of illness?
    2. In the past 14 days, have you had close contact (being within 6 feet of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 for more than 10 minutes) with a person known to be infected with the novel COVID-19?
  5. Staff must make a visual inspection of each child for signs of illness, which could include flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing (without recent physical activity), fatigue, or extreme fussiness. Confirm that the child is not experiencing coughing or shortness of breath. In the event a child is experiencing shortness of breath or extreme difficulty breathing, call emergency medical services immediately.
  6. All staff, parents, children, and any individuals seeking entry into the program space must be directed to self-screen at home, prior to coming to the program for the day. If the program is a family child care program, all household members must self-screen before coming into the child care space.
    1. Self-screening shall include checking for symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal symptoms, new loss of taste/smell, muscle aches, or any other symptoms that feel like a cold. Anyone with a fever of 100.0?F or above or any other signs of illness must not be permitted to enter the program.
    2. Parents and staff must sign written attestations daily regarding any household contacts with COVID-19, symptoms (e.g., fever, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell or taste, or diarrhea), or if they have given children medicine to lower a fever.
    3. Individuals who decline to complete the screening will not be permitted to enter the program space.

Regular Monitoring

Staff must actively visually monitor children throughout the day for symptoms of any kind, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, abdominal pain, and unexplained rash. Children who appear ill or are exhibiting signs of illness must be separated from the larger group and isolated until able to leave the facility. Programs must have a non-contact or temporal thermometer on site to check temperatures if a child is suspected of having a fever (temperature above 100 degrees F). Special care must be taken to disinfect the thermometer after each use.

If any child or staff appears to have severe symptoms, call emergency services immediately. Before transferring to a medical facility, notify the transfer team and medical facility if the individual is suspected to have COVID-19. Severe symptoms include the following: extreme difficulty breathing (i.e. not being able to speak without gasping for air), bluish lips or face, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, severe persistent dizziness or lightheadedness, new confusion or inability to rouse someone, or new seizure or seizures that won’t stop.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 4

6/17/2020 (Permalink)

As we continue to follow Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the state of Massachusetts we have been sharing the administrations minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programs. This is the fourth installment.

While it is our hope that the information we have, and will continue to share, is beneficial to the business community of the Commonwealth it is important to note that this particular topic is intended to help parents as well. This blog (and past blogs) should be used as a baseline for parents to use when choosing a provider to ensure that the environment they are placing their children into is indeed a safe one.The following highlights the minimum requirements for group sizes and staffing ratios. 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Minimum Requirements - Group Size and Staffing Ratios

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Group Sizes

Group sizes must be restricted to a maximum of 10 children. If additional adults are required to support supervision of children during breaks, they must be assigned to only one cohort of children and not between cohorts. Guidance to maintain these group sizes includes the following:

  1. Children must remain with the same group each day and at all times while in care.
    1. When suitable to children’s ages and developmental level, siblings in attendance at the same time must be kept in the same group.
    2. Groups must not be combined at any time.
  2. The same staff must be assigned to the same group of children each day for the duration of the program session (if weekly or monthly) and at all times while in care. Staff must not float between groups either during the day or from day-to-day, unless needed to provide supervision of specialized activities.

Required Staffing Ratios and Maximum Group Sizes

In order to provide the level of supervision required to adhere to the following health and safety requirements, the following child-to-staff ratios must be maintained at all times during the program day. Number of adults assigned to each cohort of children should be minimized, appropriate to the needs of the program and the children. Most importantly, adults should not move between cohorts of children. The following guidance does not apply to caring for children with special needs.

  1. Infant (Birth – 14 months)
    1. 1 adult for every 3 infants or 2 adults for every 7 infants
    2. Maximum group size 7
  2. Toddler (15 – 32 months)
    1. 1 adult for every 4 toddlers or 2 adults for every 9 toddlers
    2. Maximum group size 9
  3. Preschool ≥33 months (not yet attending Kindergarten)
    1. 1 adult for every 10 preschoolers, however, it is recommended to have the maximum number of adults possible
    2. Maximum group size 10
  4. School Age (Attending Kindergarten and up)
    1. 1 adult for every 10 school age children
    2. Maximum group size 10
  5. Family Child Care and Multi-Age** (All Age Groups)
    1. 1 adult for every 6 children or 2 adults for every 8 children
    2. Maximum group size 8

** Multi-age groups may include no more than three children younger than two years old, including at least one toddler who is walking independently. Additional children must be older than 24 months. 

Supporting Children with Special Needs

Children with special needs will require unique supports in programs that may make it less possible to practice physical distancing and will require ample staff support to carry out the necessary hygiene practices. Programs must ensure that the program is adequately staffed and that staff are prepared and properly trained to accommodate children’s needs.

  1. Staff-to-child ratios must be higher for programs serving children with special needs, given their need for more individualized attention.
  2. Groupings for children with special needs must be assigned based on the developmental level of the child and the impact of the disability on the child with regard to their ability to adhere to PPE requirements and physical distancing rather than their chronological age.
  3. Smaller groups must be formed where the child requires more hands on assistance and a higher number of staff required to care for the children.
  4. Some children with special needs will require 1:1 assistance.
  5. Programs must refer to individual treatment plans or IEPs when assessing required ratios.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 3

6/16/2020 (Permalink)

In anticipation of Governor Charlie Baker's expected announcement of details for Phase 3 of his plan to reopen the Commonwealth we are continuing to share the administrations  minimum guidelines for reopening child and youth programs. The following highlights the minimum requirements for operations and staffing. 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Minimum Requirements - Operations and Staffing

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. As more is learned about the virus guidelines are updated accordingly. Those charged with planning to reopen child and youth programs should check the both the Massachusetts department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest guidance. 

Programs that are unable to must make the following changes to their operations or remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Daily Operations

  1. Cancel all field trips, inter-group events, and extracurricular activities.
  2. Avoid holding activities involving multiple groups attending at the same time and strictly enforce the restrictions on non-essential visitors. This includes parent volunteers, coaches and consultants. Nonessential adults must be prevented from entering the premises.
  3. For each child enrolled, programs must maintain on file a physician’s, nurse practitioner’s, or physician’s assistant’s certification that the child has been successfully immunized in accordance with the current DPH’s recommended schedules. 
  4. For each child with a chronic medical condition that has been diagnosed by a licensed Health Care Practitioner, programs must maintain an individual health care plan (IHCP). The plan shall describe the chronic condition, its symptoms, any medical treatment that may be necessary while the child is in care, the potential side effects of that treatment, and the potential consequences to the child’s health if the treatment is not administered. 

Staffing

  1. Programs must meet all staffing requirements per the authorizing entity for their specific program type. Staffing requirements for child and youth-serving summer programs may be relaxed for reopening under the authority of the authorizing entity.
  2. Provide staff with information about COVID-19, including how the illness is spread, how to prevent its spread, symptoms, and when to seek medical assistance for sick children or employees. 
  3. Have a system to monitor absenteeism to identify any trends in employee or child absences due to illness, as this might indicate spread of COVID-19 or other illness. 
  4. Have a plan for securing trained back-up staff in order to maintain sufficient staffing levels.
  5. Ensure that their sick leave policies are flexible and promote the importance of staff not coming to work if they have a frequent cough, sneezing, fever, difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or recent loss of taste or smell, or if they or someone they live with has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  6. Designate a staff member to be responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns. Employees must know who this person is and how to contact them.
  7. Create a communication system for staff and families for self-reporting of symptoms and notification of exposures and closures.
  8. Encourage all staff age 65 or older or with serious underlying health conditions to talk to their healthcare provider to assess their risk and to determine if they must stay home or follow additional precautions. 
  9. Train staff in all areas to ensure protocols are implemented safely and effectively in all programs.
  10. Develop policies for worker protection and provide training to all cleaning staff on site prior to providing cleaning tasks. Training must include when to use PPE, what PPE is necessary, how to properly put on, use, and take off PPE, and how to properly dispose of PPE.
  11. Ensure workers are trained on the hazards of the cleaning chemicals used in the workplace in accordance with Occupational Safety Hazard Administration (OSHA)’s Hazard Communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200). (12)
  12. Educate staff and workers performing cleaning, laundry, and trash pick-up activities to recognize the symptoms of COVID-19 and provide instructions on what to do if they develop symptoms. At a minimum, any staff must immediately notify their supervisor and the local health department if they develop symptoms of COVID-19. The health department will provide guidance on what actions need to be taken.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements, Part 2

6/12/2020 (Permalink)

As the we continue to advance through the second phase of Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the Commonwealth it becomes increasingly important to develop guidelines that focus on the health ans safety of  our communities while allowing for the needs of families with children to be met. The state has set forth guidance for reopening child and youth programs during Phase 2. 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Minimum Requirements - Planning

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care. Programs should also check the CDC website regularly to make sure that they are following the latest CDC guidance. 

Programs that are unable to adhere to the following requirements must remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Preparing

Programs must prepare the program environment to promote the new health and safety requirements and to facilitate infection control activities.

  1. Prepare the materials and equipment to be used by children to minimize sharing and promote distancing. Remove items that cannot be easily washed (e.g., stuffed animals, pillows) or that encourage children to put the toy in their mouths (e.g., play food, pretend utensils). If programs allow children to bring in items from home, they should have a plan in place to ensure the cleanliness of these items and should carefully monitor use to ensure that these objects are not shared between children. Shared items that cannot be cleaned or disinfected at all (e.g., playdough) must be removed from activity rotation. Remove all communal water, sand, and sensory tables and activities that bring children in close proximity with each other using shared materials.
  2. Prepare all cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting solutions and identify a safe place for storage that is accessible to staff in each area of the program, but out of reach of children. Ensure that supplies for hand hygiene are adequate and placed appropriately throughout the program space, including in all group, transition (e.g., hallways), and common spaces.
  3. Prepare the program space to promote physical distancing. Programs must consider the physical building capacity limitations and the total number of children anticipated to be in any one area. Decisions about organization of the program space must be guided by the program’s ability to implement adequate and consistent physical distancing, especially in terms of utilization of common spaces that need to be shared by all children. Areas occupied by individual groups must be defined by permanent walls, movable walls, or other partitions. Programs with large spaces must consider using barriers to create clearly defined and separate areas for small groups of children. Program staff must review the physical distancing requirements for children in the program and be prepared to support children with adjustment to new systems and routines.
  4. Ensure that there are adequate provisions for the storage of child and staff belongings so that they do not touch.
  5. Close drinking fountains that require contact for use. Motion activated or touchless drinking fountains are acceptable for use only when filling cups, water bottles, or other receptacles. 
  6. Ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible by opening windows and doors, using fans (must be inaccessible to young children), and other methods. Do not open windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (e.g., allows pollen in or exacerbates asthma symptoms) to children using the facility. In rooms located above the first floor, windows must be either inaccessible to children or protected with a window guard. 
  7. Take steps to ensure that all water systems and features (e.g., cooling systems) are safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other diseases associated with water.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Child Programs Minimum Requirements

6/11/2020 (Permalink)

In part one of second phase of Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the Commonwealth the administration along with the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) have been working closely with the CDC, community leaders and medical experts to develop solutions that balance the needs of children and families with public health and safety. As we have discussed in one of our previous blogs, as the residents of Massachusetts slowly go back to work it becomes increasingly important that safe childcare options exists. The following highlights the State's guidance for reopening child and youth programs during Phase 2. 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Phase 2 has been divided into two parts. Beginning today, Monday, June 8, child care may begin the process of opening reopen under certain restrictions including, but not limited to COVID-19 Order No. 35former COVID-19 Orders and sector-specific COVID-19 workplace safety rules .

Minimum Requirements - Planning

These requirements apply to all child and youth-serving programs, including recreational summer programs, recreational summer camps for children, municipal or recreational youth programs not traditionally licensed as camps, family child care, and center-based child care.

EEC licensing regulations are currently being reviewed and amended to allow programs the maximum flexibility to reopen, until such time, implementation of the Minimum Health and Safety Requirements are sufficient for reopening programs in good standing prior to the closure due to COVID-19. In addition to the following requirements, it is recommended that programs frequently check the CDC website to ensure they are implementing the most current CDC guidance.

Programs that are unable to adhere to the following requirements must remain closed and reopen at a later date.

Planning

Programs must develop plans prior to reopening (and maintain them once reopened) to address how they will meet the new health and safety requirements. Programs must identify all the ways reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic might affect the program and develop a plan of action. Elements of this planning must include the following:

  1. A cleaning plan that identifies what items must be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected and with what frequency. This must include a daily cleaning schedule for staff (before, during, and after programming) to ensure that all areas, materials, furniture, and equipment used for child care are properly cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected. Programs must also have a plan in place to obtain and maintain inventory of essential cleaning supplies.
  2. A plan for identifying and handling sick, symptomatic, and exposed children and staff that includes but is not limited to daily screening checks, location of screening activities, staff responsible for screening, and barriers for screening.
  3. A plan for the isolation and discharge of sick, symptomatic, and exposed children or staff, including procedures for contacting parents immediately, criteria for seeking medical assistance, transportation of children or staff who have developed symptoms related to COVID-19 mid-day and who rely on program transportation, and mitigation of transmission until a sick individual can safely leave the program.
  4. A plan to work with their local and state health departments to ensure appropriate local protocols and guidelines are followed, such as updated/additional guidance for cleaning and disinfection and instructions and availability of COVID-19 testing.
  5. A plan for safe vendor deliveries, if applicable. Non-contact delivery protocols must be arranged whenever possible.
  6. A plan for transportation that includes how to implement infection control strategies during transportation, including during boarding and disembarking, and a plan to maintain physical distancing and hand hygiene practices.
  7. A plan for handling program closings, staff absences, and gaps in child attendance. The plan must include procedures to alert local health officials about large increases in child and staff absences or substantial increases in respiratory illnesses (like the common cold or the “flu,” which have symptoms similar to symptoms of COVID-19). Programs must determine how the facility will communicate with staff and parents and identify who will be responsible to inform the funding agency, local board of health, and other appropriate audiences.
  8. A plan for the administration of medication including a plan for the treatment of children with asthma and other chronic illness. Nebulizer use must be prohibited as it can increase risk of the virus being aerosolized.
  9. A plan for coordinating space and facilitate support services for children, including when identified on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). A space should be made available to allow for service delivery to occur, whenever possible.
  10. A plan for sharing information and guidelines with parents that includes the following:
    1. A system to check with parents daily on the status of their children when children are dropped off at the facility. 
    2. Ensuring information and communication can be provided in the primary languages spoken by the parents.
    3. Obtaining email addresses and home, work, and mobile phone numbers from parents of children at the program so that the program can reach them at any time.
    4. Creating and testing communication systems with parents, children at the program, all staff, facility and/or grounds management, and emergency medical services.
    5. Providing parents with information on COVID-19 including symptoms, transmission, prevention, and when to seek medical attention. Encouraging parents to share the information with their children as appropriate.
    6. Providing parents with guidance on how to share information with their children in developmentally appropriate ways and encouraging parents to share the information with their children, as appropriate.
    7. Providing parents with information on the program’s policies for preventing and responding to infection and illness.
    8. Identifying a person responsible for sharing information to parents if and when an exposure occurs, and how that information will be communicated.

While the administration continues to work with communities to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Health and Human Services

6/10/2020 (Permalink)

As we begin the second phase of Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the Commonwealth it becomes increasingly important that, while we continue to move towards normal, we are aware of the risks inherent of doing so and remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19. In part one of Phase 2 health care, behavioral health, dental and vision practitioners are allowed to incrementally resume certain in-person visits. 

The following highlights guidance for reopening Health and Human Services during Phase 2. 

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Phase 2 has been divided into two parts. Beginning today, Monday, June 8, the following can reopen under certain restrictions including, but not limited to COVID-19 Order No. 35former COVID-19 Orders and sector-specific COVID-19 workplace safety rules .

Health care providers may incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits, and vision care, subject to ongoing compliance with public health and safety standards. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may resume, except for elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs (currently slated to resume as part of Phase 3).

Expanding in-person visitation should be done cautiously. The decision to do so should be determined solely on clinical judgment and any care that can be appropriately delivered via telehealth should not resume in-person. Priority should go to urgent services, chronic disease management, and preventive care and should promote equitable access to care for all.

According to these guidelines in order to resume services, health care providers must attest to and meet a range of infection control and public health criteria for how they deliver services:

  • In order to provide non-emergency care, health care providers must attest to continuing to meet specific requirements to reopen or expand services including adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), infection control readiness, screening for COVID symptoms, and social distancing protocols. These attestation documents are posted online. 
  • Health care providers must establish and adhere to a prioritization policy for scheduling in-person services that maximizes telehealth, focuses on high-priority preventive services, chronic disease management, pediatric care and immunizations, and urgent procedures that lead to high risk or significant worsening of the patient’s condition if deferred. 
  • For non-essential, elective invasive procedures and services, providers must attest to monitoring patient volume to ensure they can meet CDC and other public health guidance regarding environmental infection controls and to limit overall pressure on the health care system. 
  • Hospitals will be required to continue to meet the requirement of having at least 20% capacity available (based on a 7-day average of the hospital’s or hospital system’s available, staffed adult ICU and medical/surgical inpatient beds, including surge beds that can be staffed in 12-24 hours). 
  • Additionally, health care providers should consider delaying/deferring certain non-urgent services that are expected to require significant PPE resources, result in hospital/ICU care or post-acute care, or that result in significant aerosolization.

Modifications have been made to the guidance for visitation with family and loved ones.  

  • specific requirements for social distancing and infection control must be adhered to.
  • Parents/guardians for children, birth partners, 2 and companions for individuals with disabilities continue to be allowed and are not considered visitors.
  • Exceptions for hospitals and nursing facilities for compassionate/end of life visits will continue.
  • All visitation is subject to infection control protocol, social distancing, and face coverings, and given the diversity of the facilities and programs, there are specific timetables for each.

Each congregate care program will be reaching out to families with specific details on scheduling a visit with their loved ones as the start date nears. The timeline is as follows; 

  • On June 5, skilled nursing facilities, rest homes and assisted living residences began limited outdoor visitation of up to 2 visitors. 
  • On June 10, hospitals can resume limited inside visitation of 1 person. 
  • On June 10, human services adult residential programs and group homes operated by the Department of Developmental Services, Department of Mental Health, Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission can resume limited outdoor visitation. 
  • One week after the start of Phase 2, the Soldiers’ Homes will begin limited outdoor visitation, as long as infection rates continue to remain stable. 
  • On or before June 30, human services children and youth residential programs operated by the Department of Children and Families, Department of Mental Health, Department of Youth Services, and licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care can resume outdoor visitation.

While the administration continues to work with providers to implement best practices and protocols we will continue to share with you guidance from the CDCFDAOSHA and the Governor's office to follow as we prepare for reopening. Also, we at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley know that not every business has access to the resources necessary to meet these strict guidelines. For those businesses, we are here to help!

Certified SERVPRO Clean

The Disaster Remediation Teams at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley are specialists in cleaning services and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work of "normal daily cleaning". Call SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley today for a free consultation - (617) 332-9000.

All of us here at SERVPRO of Newton/Wellesley want you and your loved ones to stay safe and know that we will make it through this together! Rest assured, we will continue to do our best to keep you up-to-date and informed!

Planning To Reopen - Phase 2 Begins

6/9/2020 (Permalink)

At his press conference on Monday, Governor Charlie Baker announced his decision to begin Phase 2 of his reopening plan for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As of Monday, June 8th, residents of the Commonwealth will be able to go inside retail stores, children will be able to head to playgrounds and participate in sports programs while restaurants can serve people outside. His decision to begin Phase 2 was based on his observation of a downward trajectory of state wide coronavirus statistics in terms of new cases and hospitalizations.

As always, work with your local health officials to determine a set of strategies appropriate for your community’s situation.

(See our "Planning to Reopen series of blogs for more information regarding CDCEPAFDA, and OSHA safety requirements). To review the administration's reopening guidance from the state click here. To view Governor Baker's full report click here).

Phase 2 has been divided into two parts. Beginning today, Monday, June 8, the following can reopen under certain restrictions including, but not limited to COVID-19 Order No. 35former COVID-19 Orders and sector-specific COVID-19 workplace safety rules .

  • Childcare facilities and day camps
  • Driving and flight school
  • Funeral homes, with occupancy limits
  • Higher education classes including post-secondary, vocational tech and occupation schools may allow students to complete required courses for graduation.
  • Historical spaces may reopen outdoor facilities. No guided tours allowed nor can they host functions or gatherings.
  • Hotels and other lodgings, though they may not host events, functions or meetings
  • Outdoor recreation including pools, playgrounds and driving ranges
  • Personal services, such as home cleaning, window washing, education tutoring and career coaching, with social distancing mandated
  • Restaurants, offering only outdoor dining and takeout
  • Retail, with occupancy limits
  • Sports: Professional teams may continue practices starting Monday, though no games or public admission is allowed. Youth sports and adult amateur leagues may resume as well.
  • Warehouses and distribution centers

Restaurants

  • Diners can only be served outdoors with table 6 feet apart and away from high foot traffic areas.
  • Tables will be allowed to be closer together only if protective barriers are in place.
  • No more than six people can sit at a table.
  • Take-out service will still be allowed with safety standards in place because of the allowance of outdoor dining.

Retail Stores

  • Retail stores can open at 40% of maximum occupancy (8 people (including staff)/1,000 sq ft)
  • Enclosed shopping malls and other indoor multi-tenant retail spaces having restaurants or retailers serving only food and beverage can only offer take-out or delivery service.
  • Indoor seating areas, including food courts, must be closed.
  • Children’s play areas and arcades must remain closed.
  • When necessary for people to line up to enter a store, retailers must put markers outside to ensure a six-foot distance between customers waiting to get inside.
  • Shoppers must practice social distancing
  • Shoppers must wear face coverings
  • Stores should install physical barriers at checkout stations where possible and to put up visual social distance markers in places like lines to check out or lines to use the bathroom.
  • Sampling stations for items like makeup and perfume are not allowed and fitting rooms will remain closed.
  • After serving a customer, employees have to disinfect shared equipment with supplies provided by the employer.
  • Disinfection and cleaning logs must also be kept showing the business is following protocols.

Health Care  

  • Providers can resume in-person services including annual visits, dental visits and vision care.
  • Elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs will not be allowed until Phase 3.
  • The State health officials urged all to consider tele-health options when possible.
  • On June 10, hospitals can allow one visitor at a time per patient. If a patient is in an ambulance, one person can accompany them.

Sports Teams

  • Amature and youth sprots teams can begin practicing.
  • Outdoor athletic facilities will open for youth and adult activities
  • Indoor athletic facilities will reopen for sports programs only including sports camps for children under the age of 18.
  • Adult and unsupervised youth activities are still not allowed.
  • Locker rooms for indoor facilities will remain closed.
  • Groups comprising of coaches, staff and participants may not excede 10 people.
  • Contact sports can only have no-contact drills and practices.
  • Non-contact sports can hold games, but contact sports cannot have inter-team games, scrimmages, or tournaments. 

Day Camps

  • Camps and childcare facilities can open but this does not include overnight camps.
  • Temperatures for children and staff need to be checked daily before entering facilities.
  • Parents will also have to answer several questions about the child’s health and the health of people in a home.
  • Groups will be restricted to 10 with staff saying with the same group of children during the day.
  • Children and staff members over the age of 2 are encouraged to wear face coverings or masks when 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.

Hotels and Motels

These business may reopen, but under a series of conditions. These conditions include, but are not limited to;

  • Staff and patrons must