COVID-19 Information Center

How We Make Decisions

An infographic called "The Environment Around EMS that shows the conditions that determine COVID policy

EMS reviews the science, considers the surrounding environment, and evaluates the current climate.

We adhere to the protocols and policies recommended by the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As our understanding of the disease evolves, the EMS Health and Safety Team, comprised of administrators and faculty representatives, is constantly evaluating and updating policies in consultation with a group of dedicated doctors and health professionals in our community who make up our Medical and Dental Advisory Committee. We will keep our community informed of changes as they are implemented.

An infographic called "Exposure and Contact Tracing" that shows the factors used in determining COVID exposure at EMS.

What happens when there’s a COVID+ case wihtin the community?

We start from the shared goal of wanting to keep everyone safe and in school. While we realize that we are living in a time of risk and concern, the science of exposure is nuanced and considers many factors. Our community’s health and safety and the benefits of keeping students in school are equally weighted in our decisions, and we typically err on the side of caution.

The EMS environment — with daily wellness checks, UltraHEPA filters, indoor masking, social distancing, a fully vaccinated staff, and other protective measures detailed in the COVID Policies section of our site — provides a very low risk for what the CDC considers “close contacts” to occur.

While in-person classes are best, students in isolation may remotely participate in classes. Note that students who are out of school due to illness of any kind will not remotely connect to classes; instead, they are expected to rest and recover. Students who must quarantine in accordance with state and local guidelines due to voluntary travel will not have the option to attend classes remotely.

SCENARIOCLOSURE
1 confirmed case in the schoolSchool remains open; students and staff in close contact with COVID+ case are excluded from school for 14 days.
3 or more cases in the same classroom (outbreak limited to one cohort)School remains open; students and staff in close contact with COVID+ case are excluded from school for 14 days. Recommendations for whether the entire classroom would be considered exposed will be based on public health investigation.
3 or more cases within 14 days, but are linked to exposure outside the school setting (e.g. in same household, exposed at the same event outside of school)School remains open; students and staff in close contact with COVID+ cases are excluded from school for 14 days.
3 or more cases within 14 days, linked together by some activity in school, but who are in different classrooms (outbreak involving multiple cohorts)Recommendations for whether school closure is indicated will be based on investigation by local health department.
A significant community outbreak is occurring or has recently occurred (e.g., large event or large local employer) and is impacting multiple staff, students, and families served by the school communityConsider closing school for 14 days, based on investigation by local health department.
3 or more cases are identified within 14 days that occur across multiple classrooms and a clear connection between cases cannot be easily identified (outbreak involving multiple cohorts)Close school for 14 days.
Very high risk of community transmission (refer to COVID-19 Regional Risk Level Matrix)Close school until COVID-19 transmission decreases.

Credit, New Jersey Department of Health

Who is EMS consulting?

Three little girls playing in the schoolyard, from left a Black girl with a yellow clothes and her hair put up, a girl of Asian descent wearing a white top, pastel skirt, white tights and face mask, and a caucasian girl with a long brown onitail, white clothes and a patterned mask.

In addition to following the policies and procedures of the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) and New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we’re also reading and taking under advisement guidance from the following academic, medical, and psychological experts.

This list is not exhaustive; every member of our faculty and staff additionally participated in discussions, webinars, readings, and conferences within their specialties about how to best serve students under these circumstances.

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