FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FOR ILLNESS

When should I keep my child home from school?

Do not send your child to school if you suspect that your child may be ill, and has exhibited any of the following signs or symptoms:

  • An elevated temperature of 100 degrees or more during the last 24 hours
  • Vomiting within the last 24 hours
  • Repeated episodes of diarrhea within the last 24 hours
  • Chills, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, and/or lingering headache
  • A significant amount of nasal discharge, particularly if the discharge is yellow or greenish in color
  • A persistent cough
  • A significant sore throat
  • An earache

If your child has a serious communicable disease, we ask that you please notify the school promptly so we can comply with any reporting requirements.

What happens if my child feels sick while at school?

If a student comes to school sick (including coughing, sneezing, or shortness of breath), or becomes ill during the course of the day, you will be contacted to pick your child up immediately.

What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading COVID-19?

The CDC recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and up to 60 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Practice this protocol at home so that your child will be ready to maintain it at school.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Always wash hands with soap and water when your hands are visibly dirty.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick (and do not return to school until you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication and/or clear of any yellow or green discharge). We ask you to strictly adhere to this policy.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

What can a parent do to prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19?

The situation is rapidly evolving, so we encourage you to stay updated with the latest information and recommendations posted by the Health Organizations listed in the links at this dedicated page: 

Is BWS closing?

Berkshire Waldorf School (BWS) will remain open at this time.

How will the decision to close the school be made?

The health and safety of our community is our top priority. While BWS monitors other school closings, including the Berkshire Hills Public School District and other independent schools, BWS makes decisions independently based on the school’s unique needs and situation as well as guidance from external agencies.
In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in our community, the school will work closely with the Mass State Department of Health, the Berkshire County Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and our school’s network of health professionals to determine the best course of action, following all public health protocols.

Under what circumstances will the school close?

If a case of COVID-19 is identified in the BWS community, we will follow local and/or state health authorities’ recommendations or orders to close. We may close, however, out of caution and in consideration of the school’s unique needs and situation, even if health officials do not deem it necessary.

What can a parent do to prepare for a school closure?

  • A few things parents may begin to think about include:
  • Plan alternative childcare arrangements for children in case school is dismissed early and/or closed.
  • Talk to friends, neighbors, and other parents in school about sharing childcare duties if your children are well but school is closed.
  • Talk to your employer about working from home or shifting schedules in the event of a school closure.

What would happen with school events and class trips?

We will continue to make decisions about holding or canceling events with caution and based upon updated information and recommendations from the CDC, the Mass State Department of Health, and the Berkshire Department of Health. We will communicate any cancellations as promptly as possible – through our Constant Contact email communication as well as the School Calendar – in order for community members to make any necessary arrangements. With respect to upcoming April and May events, we will continue to monitor the situation and make a decision whether to cancel or not closer to the date of the event.

How will my child’s education continue in the event of an extended school closure?

Faculty are preparing lessons, assignments, activities and resources that will allow our educational program to continue as much as possible in the event of an extended school closure.

What additional steps is the school taking at this time?

The school is taking extra care with cleaning and disinfection processes, with particular attention to common surfaces.

  • Additional cleaning of common surfaces by faculty and staff is happening at regular intervals throughout the school day.
  • The evening and weekend cleaning crew has implemented a disinfectant protocol in addition to the regular cleaning.
  • All faculty and staff are required to maintain appropriate hand washing and sanitizing protocols upon entering the building and throughout the day.

What are the restrictions on travel at this time?

In the most current travel guidelines, the CDC recommends that travelers (a) avoid all non-essential travel to the countries identified with a Warning Level 3 (b) practice enhanced precautions with respect to countries labeled with a Warning Level 2 and (c) practice usual precautions for countries with a Warning Level 1. Please refer to the list below:

  • China — Level 3, Avoid Non-essential Travel 
  • Hong Kong — Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions 
  • Iran — Level 3, Avoid Non-essential Travel 
  • Italy — Level 3, Avoid Non-essential Travel 
  • Japan — Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions 
  • South Korea — Level 3, Avoid Non-essential Travel 

We recommend that anyone returning from geographic regions where sustained community transmission has been identified (China, South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan), should self-quarantine for fourteen (14) days before they return to work or school, to limit any possible transmission of the virus.

We continue to closely monitor the situation and will keep you updated as things change. We will also update this dedicated page on our website, so please bookmark and refer to: 

Berkshire Waldorf School
35 West Plain Road
Great Barrington, MA 01230
(413) 528-4015