COVID-19 Information Center

Covid Policies

The keys to our success have been and will continue to be trust, agility, and preparedness — from faculty, staff, and families, alike.

EMS adheres to the protocols and policies recommended by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The EMS Health and Safety Team and the Medical and Dental Advisory Committee are constantly evaluating and updating policies as our understanding of the disease evolves, and we will keep our community informed of changes as they are implemented.

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS

Vaccination

It is vital that we provide a safe and healthy on-campus program for our students, faculty, and staff; COVID vaccination is now known to be the primary precautionary measure that we can all take to protect ourselves as well as the communities in which we live and work.

EMS has implemented a policy requiring all eligible faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19. If you believe you are eligible for an exemption, promptly contact School Nurse Desere Diaz.

Prior to returning to school, vaccinated employees must provide a copy of their COVID-19 vaccination card to the school nurse.

Parents should upload their child(ren)’s COVID-19 vaccination card(s) through Magnus.

Uploading Student Vaccination Records in Magnus

We recommend that all eligible students receive the vaccine, with the approval of their primary care physician. Upload student COVID-19 vaccination records to Magnus.  

Employees: Submit a copy of your COVID-19 vaccination card to Nurse Diaz.

COVID-19 TESTING & CONTACT TRACING

Registration and Consent for Testing

Although all new students and employees were required to submit their insurance information and give consent for COVID-19 testing at the beginning of the year, this consent was vendor-specific. Individuals must register and provide consent to our new testing provider, MediMobile Group.

How to Register

Step one: No later than Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021, a parent or guardian for each student getting tested must send an email to covidtesting@themedimobile.com with the subject line “EMS Testing” and containing the following:

  • Child(ren)’s full name(s)
  • Child(ren)’s date(s) of birth
  • Parent’s mobile phone number
  • Parent’s preferred email address

Step two: Once MediMobile receives this information, they will send an email and text using the contact information provided, with a unique link to complete registration online for each EMS student listed in the email.

The online registrations will be conducted through a HIPAA-compliant system for electronic medical records (ERMs). Registration will include demographic information and insurance information. Registration is not final until a parent or guardian has completed the insurance and consent forms for each child.

For those without health insurance, MediMobile will provide a form to complete. Specify in the initial email to MediMobile that you do not have insurance and request an Uninsured Form.

Families will only need to complete the registration process once per child unless they have a change in health insurance, in which case MediMobile will need the updated information.

Once our new Rapid Testing Protocol begins, as with our current process, families must send our new provider (MediMobile) any insurance reimbursements they receive for this testing.

Opting OuT of On-Campus Testing

Starting the week of November 1, 2021, EMS families may choose to opt out of on-campus COVID-19 rapid testing with MediMobile. However, children whose families choose to opt out of the on-campus testing program are still required to be tested each week for COVID-19 and receive a negative result to be permitted on campus, per school policy. All COVID-19 testing correspondence must be sent to covidtest@elisabethmorrow.org.

Families who choose to have their child(ren) tested off campus should align their child(ren)’s testing as close as reasonably possible to the scheduled weekly on-campus testing for their child’s division.

  • Morrow House: Monday
  • Little School: Wednesday
  • Chilton House: Thursday

Approved Test Types, Timing, and Reporting

At-home rapid antigen tests: Parents or guardians should submit a photo of the results for any rapid antigen tests administered at home to covidtest@elisabethmorrow.org.  At-home rapid tests should be completed each week on the same day as their child’s divisional test. Include your child’s name, division, and classroom in the subject line.

Lab-administered tests: Lab-administered PCR or rapid antigen tests are also acceptable. Results may be submitted weekly to covidtest@elisabethmorrow.org. Lab-performed tests should be completed on the same day each week.  When sending the official results, families should include their child’s name, division, and classroom in the subject line.

COVID-19 Testing Strategy

Starting on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, MediMobile will test students once a week on the following days, except for when the schedule requires modification to accommodate school holidays and professional development days. Although testing is required only for unvaccinated students, parents of vaccinated students may choose to include their child in the school’s testing program.

  • Morrow House: Mondays, 7:30–8:05 a.m.
    • Grades 5 & 6: Music Room
    • Grades 7 & 8: Library
  • Little School: Wednesdays, 8:30–11:15 a.m.
  • Chilton House: Thursdays 7:45–10:00 a.m.

We have metrics in place to identify when modification or cessation of our testing protocol is appropriate. With full confidence in the protection of our health and safety practices and in consultation with our Medical and Dental Advisory Committee, once Bergen County is able to sustain transmission levels that are “low” for two consecutive weeks, we plan to suspend our weekly testing program.

All staff members have been vaccinated, per our protocol.

Any student, parent, or employee who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately inform the school nurse, who will discuss next steps and appropriate protocols for self-isolating.

Contact Tracing, Self-Isolation, and Quarantine

In the event that a student or employee tests positive for COVID-19, the contact tracing team will determine if there is evidence of others’ close contact (as defined by the CDC) with the COVID+ individual.

The contact tracing team will interview the appropriate individuals and review current CDC and NJDOH regulations to determine if anyone will need to quarantine. EMS will send a community-wide notification when there is a COVID+ case on campus; however, we will continue to manage each division as a separate entity in evaluating COVID closure requirements, as we did last spring. 

Close Contacts: Fully Vaccinated

If asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine following exposure and can continue to attend school in person and participate in other activities but must test  3–5 days following exposure. In addition to correctly wearing masks in school, they should wear a mask in other indoor public settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result.

If symptomatic — as with anyone who is symptomatic — fully vaccinated close contacts should quarantine and seek testing, following protocol if results are COVID+. If the results are negative, they should remain at home until symptoms resolve and repeat the test again before returning to school.

Close Contacts: Not Fully Vaccinated

Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated will be required to quarantine after a COVID+ exposure and have two options for quarantine:

  • Option 1: Quarantine for 10 days, returning to school on Day 11 if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring.
  • Option 2:  Quarantine for 7 days, testing on Day 5 (48 hours before the time of planned quarantine discontinuation), to return to school on Day 8 if the test results are negative.
  • Please note that the day of the COVID+ test or the first day that you develop symptoms is  considered Day 0 (zero).

Testing FAQs

What is a rapid COVID-19 test? Why is EMS changing its testing protocol?

A rapid antigen test detects proteins from the virus that causes COVID-19.  The rapid antigen test is superior to PCR for identifying what we actually care about — contagious virus. The test provides a much faster result than PCR and is unlikely to produce false positives (which could cause unnecessary self-isolation and possible school closures).

Is the rapid antigen test FDA-approved?

Yes. The FDA made this test available under Emergency Use Authorization. You can view the authorization information online.

How will MediMobile collect specimens?

Specimens are collected using an anterior nasal swab: A healthcare technician will insert a swab into each nostril, one side at a time, approximately one inch. The swab is then rotated around the inside of each nostril, approximately five times, to gather mucous.

How long will it take to get results?

MediMobile verbally reports all rapid test results within 20 minutes and emails the results on the day of testing, after rendering services.

What happens when a student has a COVID+ rapid test result?

When a student has a positive test result, it is very likely that they have COVID-19.  In any instance of a COVID+ result, student(s) will be gently removed from their classroom, following already established procedures, and we will notify parents so they may pick up their child(ren). The COVID+ individuals will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

If a child becomes symptomatic outside of school and must be tested prior to returning, will EMS accept negative rapid test results?

Symptomatic children should never come to school without first being clinically assessed by the school nurse. A child having symptoms concerning for COVID-19 still requires a negative PCR test to return to school. In cases of symptoms, PCR is the test of choice; the test is for clinical diagnosis.  For asymptomatic screening, rapid antigen is the test of choice; the test is for population surveillance.

SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Masks

Masks are to be worn indoors at all times by all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, except when eating or drinking or when alone in a private office. Masking will be required outdoors when distance cannot be maintained. Masks must be worn according to guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Students are expected to come to school each day with two clean, well-fitting masks. They must wear one of them when they exit the car on arrival at the campus or enter the bus to travel to campus. Staff members will be stationed at drop-off areas to ensure compliance. EMS has additional masks on hand if needed. Parental cooperation in helping children understand the role of masks on campus is essential.

Resources

Social Distancing

We have reviewed each classroom’s capacity and arrangement to ensure the appropriate amount of social distancing is in accordance with the latest guidance from the New Jersey Department of Education and the CDC.

Spaces outside the classroom, like the gym, are marked so students understand how to maintain their distance from each other. Moving between spaces, when necessary, will be done with appropriate distancing.

Daily Wellness Screening

All students, faculty, and staff are required to complete the Daily Wellness Screening prior to coming to campus, either through the SchoolPass app or web interface. Families, faculty, and staff will receive an automated email and app notification from SchoolPass prompting them to complete the screening each day that school is in session.

The Daily Wellness Screening is the first and best line of defense against the spread of COVID-19. Faculty, staff, and students who do not complete the required Daily Wellness Screening may not be permitted to enter the campus.

This quick screening enables parents to report the appearance of key symptoms, any recent travel, or exposure to symptomatic individuals who might present a risk. Everyone’s diligence in completing these checks each day before school, with the utmost honesty, is expected and required.

If a student or employee is not feeling well or if the results of their Daily Wellness Screening are flagged, we ask that they remain home and contact the school nurse. Symptoms of COVID-19 can mimic common medical conditions such as colds, allergies, influenza, tonsillitis, etc. Therefore, it is critical to report ANY symptoms, including fatigue, headache, cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, muscle aches, and any change in smell or taste sensation to the school nurse.

Magnus Health Portal

Before attending school, each student must meet New Jersey requirements for physicals and immunizations, which are tracked in the school’s Magnus Health Portal (“Magnus”). Parents or guardians must sign the required permission and consent forms each year in Magnus, and all students must have a complete Vital Health Record. Applicable forms for allergy, asthma, or medications are not valid after the school year ends and must be newly submitted each year before school opens.

Magnus issues periodic email updates to remind families that they need to complete their child’s medical/health forms, and they may access Magnus from the provided links in these emails. Parents/guardians can also access Magnus from the Nurse’s Corner in myEMS. Please note that you must log in to myEMS to access Magnus. For myEMS login help, please contact School Registrar Andrea Hughes,  and for help accessing Magnus, please contact Nurse Diaz.

Filtration and Ventilation

As we did last year, we will maintain the highest quality filtration and airflow in all indoor spaces. Hospital-quality UltraHEPA IQAir filters are installed in every campus classroom and most program spaces. These units — in conjunction with operable windows, window fans, high-capacity negative air machines, and measurement and verification monitoring — are in place to ensure proper ventilation rates and the maximal level of air filtration possible with commercial filtration systems.

Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Our Facilities Department will maintain a robust program of thorough cleaning and disinfecting of common and high-touch areas. Hand sanitizer dispensers will be at all building entrances and throughout campus, along with disinfecting wipes. Handwashing is encouraged and, based on age, may be monitored.  All handwashing sinks are equipped with touchless devices — faucets, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers.

Sunday Health Updates

Please review the announcement email, called the Wednesday Envelope, each week that school is in session for important updates to EMS’ health and safety protocols. Sunday evening health updates may be issued as needed to alert the community to any important or new information.

CAMPUS LIFE

Remote Learning

EMS’ academic program will be conducted in person. Each division will have specific and age-appropriate strategies for remote learning in the event your child must quarantine after testing positive for COVID. 

Lunch

In Little School and Morrow House, students will eat lunch in their classroom at their desk. In Chilton House, each child will have their own tray.  When weather permits, students may sit outside while maintaining social distance. Prepackaged snacks will be delivered to every classroom by divisional staff.

Please label all lunches brought from home and continue to ensure they are free from tree nut and peanut products.  For lunch program participants, lunch will be delivered to the classroom and distributed by the divisional teaching staff.

Arrivals and Dismissals

Please reference the EMS handbook for times, locations, and procedures.

Bus Transportation

EMS has worked closely with our transportation provider to establish policies for EMS bussing.

Key components of this policy include confirmation that drivers and aides are vaccinated.  Bus drivers, bus aides, and students will wear masks aboard the bus at all times — prior to boarding the school bus, while on the bus, and until they are completely off the bus — regardless of vaccination status. Bus aides will supervise the children and ensure that they remain in compliance with the mandatory masking policy throughout the duration of the bus route.

Windows will remain open to the first position, regardless of weather, to maintain appropriate ventilation.  Buses will be cleaned and disinfected each day after the drivers complete their route, with a focus on high-touch areas.

Students will have assigned seating and will board the bus back-to-front and unload front-to-back.

Physical Education

EMS is committed to ensuring that all students exercise as part of their daily routine. The benefits of exercise go far beyond the physical; at EMS we promote social and emotional health and consider regular exercise a proven ingredient in fostering positive physical and mental health outcomes. Outdoor activities for PE and recess are stressed, weather and conditions permitting.

For days when students have PE, they should come to school dressed in EMS Teamwear.

Athletics Programs (outside of PE)

We are offering a full program of athletics and interschool sports and games, conditions permitting. Masks are required indoors at all times for players and spectators.

Parents Association Events and Gatherings

For the moment, we continue to maintain a closed campus. Parents, caregivers, and other visitors will not be allowed on campus regardless of their vaccination status.

While we recognize the value of having in-person events, including Parents Association Gatherings, our primary focus at this time is to return our students to campus safely. We will continue to assess local and regional conditions with the leadership team in consultation with our Medical and Dental Advisory Committee. As conditions allow, we will ease our policies in careful, incremental steps and will work to develop safe and healthy ways to have some parent meetings on campus to build and maintain community.

TRAVEL

CDC Guidelines for Travel — International and Domestic

We ask that our school community members follow CDC guidelines for domestic and international travel. EMS’ health and safety protocols extend to off-campus events and trips.

Please read the current guidelines using the links below:

Current CDC guidelines addressing domestic and international travel for unvaccinated individuals specify that, upon arrival, you must quarantine at home for a full 7 days after travel and get tested with a molecular or rapid antigen viral test 3–5 days after travel. Travel from states contiguous to New Jersey is exempt.

If you are traveling domestically or internationally prior to the start of school or during the school year and have an unvaccinated child, please plan for your child to quarantine for 7 full days prior to returning to school.

QUESTIONS

We are dedicated to maintaining a healthy and safe school environment and are grateful for your partnership. If you have any additional questions, please contact the following:

For general questions on COVID-19 policies and procedures, contact the EMS Health & Safety Team. For questions regarding individual students or to report or ask questions about exposure or possible exposure, contact the School Nurse, Desere Diaz, 201-568-5566 x 7109.

For questions regarding student disciplinary infractions resulting from failure to follow policies in school, contact your division head:

For questions regarding the health of other family members in your household, please contact your primary care physician.

For questions regarding health and safety protocols in your area, including any travel and quarantine policies, please contact your local health department.

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