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FEH BOCES strengthens COVID precautions to protect against new, more transmissible strain
Franklin-Essex-Hamilton BOCES
Friday, February 05, 2021

As we prepare for the new, more transmissible strains of COVID-19 to arrive in our area, our school nurses and administrative staff met to take a look at what we’re currently doing to guard against COVID and where we might need to make some changes.

Two major changes came out of that decision-making process that will go into effect on Monday, Feb. 8.

  1. No more temperature taking: Data has shown that taking temperatures hasn’t been as effective as it was originally hoped at preventing COVID spread. Also, our current procedure forces people to bottleneck through the temperature taking station and doesn’t encourage keeping at least 6 feet of distance between people. Because of that, we have decided to stop taking everyone’s temperature as they enter the building.                     

    This will make it extra important for each person in our school community to keep close tabs on your own health and temperature, and continue to fill out the daily health monitoring questionnaire. Any student who hasn’t done the questionnaire and has to fill out a paper form will still have their temperature taken. All visitors will continue to have their temperature taken. 
  1. Masks must meet guidelines: Research has shown that certain things that used to be acceptable to use as masks are not as effective as they need to be. The following will no longer be acceptable for mask use: bandanas, neck gaiters, or any other thin, single-ply fabric. Recommended masks include the following: Reusable fabric masks made out of at least 2-ply woven fabrics that are washed regularly and surgical style disposable masks (medical or non-medical grade) are acceptable. N-95, KN-95, and other similar style masks are also acceptable for certain situations, but should be fitted properly. These types of masks are typically not recommended for everyday use. All persons should ensure that masks always cover both the nose and mouth and that the mask is secured snugly against the sides of your face without gaps.

    1. Double masking: The new, more contagious strain of COVID has been identified in Essex County. We are strongly recommending (but not requiring) that everyone wear two masks to avoid spread of this more transmissible strain of the virus.

This will make it extra important for each person in our school community to keep close tabs on your own health and temperature, and continue to fill out the daily health monitoring questionnaire. Any student who hasn’t done the questionnaire and has to fill out a paper form will still have their temperature taken. All visitors will continue to have their temperature taken.

Keep in mind that it’s still recommended that anyone who is vaccinated continue to wear a mask and follow other guidelines. It’s possible that, even if you can’t get sick from COVID-19, you could carry the virus and infect others.

As far as we’re aware, there have been very few cases of COVID-19 spreading within our schools since September. That’s a testament to how hard you are all working to follow guidelines and keep one another safe. We appreciate your cooperation and your diligence – thank you!