Salem Public Schools has developed this COVID-19 health and safety information in consultation with guidance provided by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control.  These protocols may be revised as needed in collaboration with the Salem Board of Health and SPS health advisors. Due to the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines, there has not been a need to make significant changes to this guidance since August 2022.

Prevention Strategies:

  • Staff or students who are sick with a fever above 100℉ or difficulty breathing should stay home and avoid social gatherings until they are well. Please consult your primary care provider if you believe that you or your child needs medical care 
  • Staff and students are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated with the latest version of the COVID-19 vaccine and the annual influenza vaccine.
  • COVID-19 and flu vaccines are readily available at all local pharmacies and at primary care offices.
  • Staff and students are reminded that handwashing or hand sanitizing remains the most effective way to prevent the spread of illness at home or at school.
  • Classroom and office spaces have been provided with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.  
  • School nurses have a supply of surgical masks for staff and students who wish to wear masks in schools or require a mask for their return to school after a COVID infection.

Exposure Guidance:

  • Quarantine for exposure to Covid-19 is no longer required nor recommended for children or staff in school settings, regardless of vaccination status or where the exposure occurred. 
  • Staff or students who have been exposed to a person with a known COVID infection and develop symptoms of illness, should consider testing with an over-the-counter test kit.
  • COVID test kits are available at all local pharmacies and are free of charge for patients with MassHealth insurance.
  • Every US household may place an order for four free COVID tests kits from the US federal government at this website.

When a Student or Staff Member Tests Positive: 

  • Isolate at home for at least five days (and mask when around others in the home) from the date of symptom onset or, if no symptoms are present, from the date of the positive test. Please see instructions below for determining day zero.
  • Should individuals develop moderate or severe symptoms, they should consult with their medical provider and continue to stay home, potentially beyond the five days.
  • After the 5-day period has passed, and if viral symptoms are improving and the individual is fever free without the use of fever-reducing or cold/flu medicine for at least 24 hours, they may return to work or school on day 6 but must wear a well-fitting mask through day ten while inside school buildings.

How to Determine ‘Day 6’ to Return to Work/School:

  • Day 0 = The day COVID symptoms began or, if no symptoms develop, the date of the positive test. 
  • Day 1 = The first day after symptoms began or, if no symptoms develop, the first day after a positive test.
  • Days 2 through Day 5 = Required isolation for all positive individuals.
  • Day 6 = Return to work/school with a mask if symptoms are resolving.  
  • Day 7 through Day 10 = Well-fitting mask required inside school buildings.