Staff Update: Thanksgiving, Testing, Safety Protocols Reminders

Staff Update: Thanksgiving, Testing, Safety Protocols Reminders
Posted on 11/20/2020

Dear CPS staff -

We are writing with a few reminders for all staff as we enter in a holiday season that presents unique challenges.

  1. Employee Assistance Program
  2. Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving
  3. Traveling Requirements
  4. COVID-19 Testing at Schools for In-Person Staff Only
  5. Notification about positive student cases
  6. Reminders to reduce virus transmission

Kenneth N. Salim

1. Employee Assistance Program: Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is here to support you 24/7/365 with confidential assistance around challenges including:

  • Planning your holidays while working from home
  • Celebrating the holidays while maintaining social distancing and other safety practices
  • Coping with anxiety around the holidays and returning to school/work after the holidays
  • Stress management techniques
  • Childcare arrangements during school holiday breaks
  • Managing disappointment and expectations i.e. canceled events, holiday traditions
  • Helpline: (888) 993-7650 Email: [email protected] Web:

2. A Safe Thanksgiving: The CDC is now recommending that the “safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.”

Whether you travel or not, if you are celebrating or gathering with people you don’t live with, consider these key steps:

  • Minimize group size. While the Massachusetts guidelines require limiting to 10 people indoors, you should consider limiting your gatherings to just the people you live with. It truly is the safest way to celebrate.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water upon arrival at anyone's home. Repeat this throughout the day.
  • Mask up. Research shows that COVID-19 can be spread by talking without a mask. Remember to mask up when you’re not eating or drinking. When you are eating, TRY to minimize talking. Remind each other throughout the day to mask up.
  • Designate safe seating ahead of time, before your guests arrive, for mealtime and socialtime that keeps everyone six feet apart.
    If gathering indoors, improve ventilation by opening windows and doors. If you have an air purifier, especially with a HEPA filter, please use it! OR, ideally
  • Bundle up and Celebrate outdoors! It’s much safer than indoors. Your family can eat outside or take a walk.
  • Please take extra precautions around those who may be at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, such as older adults or those with underlying medical conditions.

3. Traveling Requirements: If you travel to areas affected by the Massachusetts Travel Ban, you must quarantine for 14 days unless you are traveling to a lower-risk state - which currently only includes Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Hawaii - or have had a negative test taken no longer than 72 hours before your arrival in Massachusetts.

4. COVID-19 Testing at Schools for In-Person Staff Only: This is a reminder that only in-person staff are eligible for CPS COVID surveillance testing. Please understand that for the health of those teaching, working and learning in person in the building it is important that you not come into your building just for COVID testing. Beginning Friday, November 20, staff not working in-person in the building will be denied the opportunity to test.

5. Notification about positive student cases: You may hear from a student or family member that a student has tested positive or has a confirmed case of COVID-19. Do NOT communicate this information to other staff, students, or families. Not only is this a violation of federal and state education and health privacy laws, it can cause the spread of misinformation. Instead, please contact your principal immediately with the information you have.

6. Reminders to reduce virus transmission: Based on the lessons learned from the first month of in-person learning, we want to remind staff of the following expectations to reduce transmission:

  • Research has shown that staff gathering in break rooms and eating or talking without a mask is a significant source of virus spread. Staff should find a location where you can eat alone. If you cannot avoid having lunch in the same space as others, distance yourselves as much as possible and avoid talking until masks are put back in place. (Safety & Health Manual, C7)
  • Stay home if you have household relatives or housemates who are symptomatic and have not yet received a negative test. (Safety & Health Manual, A1)
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