EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Will your child have to wear a mask to school this year? Are COVID-19 booster shots required?
Here’s a look at the Rhode Island Department of Health’s current COVID-19 safety recommendations for schools:
COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are recommended for anyone 6 months or older. Health officials are encouraging schools to recommend vaccinations. To learn about vaccine availability and booster eligibility, visit the Health Department’s website.
Students and staff who come to school with symptoms or develop symptoms while at school should wear a well-fitting mask. They should also get tested at school, or be sent home to get tested.
If the school is in a county with a “high” COVID-19 community level, universal indoor masking is recommended.
Each district has its own COVID-19 testing program. Contact your child’s school for more information.
Testing is also available at pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and respiratory clinics.
Students and staff who test positive should be sent home to isolate. If they test negative, the school should evaluate their symptoms to determine the response.
The R.I. Department of Health is recommending that schools take extra testing measures when it comes to sports. High-contact and indoor sports are considered to be more high-risk. These include wrestling, hockey, soccer, and football.
Athletes who are displaying COVID-19 symptoms should not attend or participate in sporting events. Athletes who have to miss events due to COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test should not be penalized, health officials noted.
Close contacts are individuals who have been within six feet of an infected person – masked or unmasked – for at least 15 minutes. Close contacts who have been vaccinated or who have had COVID-19 in the 90 days prior to exposure do not have to quarantine. They should, however, wear a mask for 10 days while monitoring for symptoms.
Close contacts who are not exempt must quarantine for five days from the last exposure and wear a mask for five days after, according to the Health Department.