PAGE UPDATED: 9/13/2021

We will be using this page to keep our school community abreast of our current COVID policies and protocols. Given the rise of new COVID variants, the changes in our understanding of COVID, and the fluctuation in infection rates over time, these policies and protocols are subject to periodic changes. When updates are made to this page, we will change the “Page Updated” date that can be found in the upper left corner of this page. 

Following is a summary of some of the key protocols currently in place. These policies keep the school in alignment with the recommendations outlined by the CDC and DESE as well as the Local Board of Health. For a more complete description of our policies and protocols, please view this COVID Protocols Guidelines PDF, which also will be updated as needed. 

  • Vaccination: In addition to strongly encouraging all eligible community members to get the COVID-19 vaccine, The Rivers School is mandating, as of October 1,  that all individuals 16-years-old and older be vaccinated. This decision is in keeping with the recommendations of the CDC and comes on the heels of the FDA’s August 23 full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for individuals who are 16 and older. If a student chooses not to get vaccinated, they will have the opportunity to apply for an exemption based on medical or religious reasons.The school requires all vaccination information for students be submitted via the school health portal, MAGNUS, to ensure compliance with local and state policies.
  • Vaccine Information: The school requires that student vaccination information be submitted to the school nurse so that it can ensure it is operating in compliance with local and state policies.
  • Masking: Masks are not required for outdoors. For now, the school is following the requirement set forth by the Local Board of Health that stipulates that all individuals  in school must be masked while indoors regardless of vaccination status. The board will reassess that policy come October 1,  raising the possibility that the indoor masking policy could change after that time.
  • Social distancing: There are no social distancing requirements. The one exception to this is that students who are  under the age of 12, and therefore are ineligible for testing, will be spaced three feet apart when eating indoors.
  • Visitors to campus: Visitors are allowed on campus but must wear a mask when indoors.
  • Testing: The school will adopt a three-pronged testing strategy that will include the requirement that all individuals who are not fully vaccinated be tested on a once-a-week basis. Full details of this strategy are outlined in the 2021-2022 COVID Protocols Guidelines. Until the school’s weekly testing program is implemented, families of students who are not fully vaccinated will be responsible for submitting a weekly negative PCR or Rapid Antigen test processed in a lab (no at-home tests will be accepted). The tests should be administered on Sunday or Monday and submitted to the school nurse by Wednesday of each week. If a test is not submitted, the school will ask the student to stay home until a negative test result is provided.
  • Close Contacts and Quarantining: Unvaccinated individuals who are identified as a close contact will have the option to remain in school if they participate in the “test and stay” program. Vaccinated individuals will not have to test or quarantine unless they display potential COVID symptoms
  • Staying Home: Anyone displaying symptoms of COVID should remain at home and get tested for COVID before returning to school.
  • Performing Arts: The performing arts will return to pre-COVID operation. At this time, all participants are required to wear masks when indoors.  Additionally, wind and brass players will utilize bell covers with Merv-13 filter inserts.
  • Sports: Athletics will return to pre-COVID operation and will play a regular ISL schedule. At this time, all athletes will only be required to wear masks when indoors (on playing surfaces, in locker rooms, in training rooms, etc.).
  • Remote learning: In most cases, the school will not be offering remote learning as an option for students. In the case of a student’s prolonged absence from campus due to a COVID diagnosis or exposure, our academic and advising team will collaborate to support that individual student by developing a course-by-course plan for keeping up with the lessons and work. The aim of this plan will be employing the tools that best support the student’s learning during their absence. In some classes and for some students, that plan may involve synchronous remote class attendance (e.g., logging in via Zoom), while in other cases and for other students, independent asynchronous work and check-ins with the teacher may be a more effective approach. We will continue to revisit best practices for COVID-related learning support as the public health context evolves in the coming year. Teachers are not expected to use synchronous remote class attendance for students missing school for non-COVID reasons, including travel or illness.

Download: COVID Protocols Guidelines