Frequently Asked Questions
At Achievement First, your child’s health and well-being are our highest priority.
We will continue to implement CDC health guidance and safety measures to ensure our scholars, staff, and families are safe. Below we’ve answered frequently asked questions for families. Please check back here regularly for new information and updates.
General Safety Measures & COVID-19 Vaccination Policies
What safety measures will be in place to ensure students and staff are safe?
Every Achievement First school will follow public health and district guidelines to keep children, families, and staff safe and healthy. These guidelines have evolved and will continue to do so, and AF will continue to stay up to date with current recommendations. We employ a multi-layered strategy that includes ensuring all schools have proper ventilation and air filtration, cleaning and disinfecting hi-touch surfaces throughout the day, promoting hand hygiene, ensuring staff/students stay home when experiencing symptoms, and all staff members are required to be vaccinated. In addition to these strategies, Achievement First provides all students and staff members 4 at-home tests a month and before all school breaks. Our schools provide high-quality (N95, KN95, KF94, or surgical) masks for any staff or student who need them.
Do you conduct daily symptom screenings for students and staff?
No. CDC no longer recommends routine screening testing in K-12 schools. All students and staff are expected to self monitor for symptoms and all individuals who experience symptoms should stay home and test. Achievement First will continue to monitor CDC guidance and follow any public health guidance to implement daily symptom screenings.
What is your staff vaccination policy?
All Achievement First staff must be vaccinated, with medical and religious exemptions available to those who qualify.
Do you require students to be vaccinated?
Achievement First, unequivocally, believes that everyone who is medically eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine should do so. This is the safest way to keep our schools open for students and staff. We also recognize the past and present medical abuses and mistreatment that negatively impact BIPOC communities and justifiably contribute to vaccine hesitancy in our community. We encourage anyone that has concerns about the vaccine to talk with a doctor or public health expert to get the information you need from someone you trust. AF students ages 5+ are currently eligible for vaccination.
We do not currently require COVID-19 vaccination for our students. If the department of education (DOE, CTSDE, RIDE) requires vaccination for children, that will apply to our schools and we will communicate any changes and updates as they occur.
What safety measures will be in place on school buses?
On school buses, windows are open to improve ventilation when it does not create a safety hazard. We will follow our local district and CDC recommendations for masking on the school bus.
If an individual on the bus tests positive for COVID-19, all students on the bus will be notified of the potential exposure and asked to self-monitor for symptoms.
What measures are in place for ventilation?
Ventilation measures follow CDC guidance and will look different in different buildings. Schools with centralized HVAC systems will maximize ventilation rates. In schools with windows or window A/C units, windows will remain open and fans or air conditioners will be turned on to increase air circulation, classroom doors will remain open at all times, unless they need to be closed for safety reasons. Additionally, all rooms without windows are equipped with an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
Is there a school nurse?
Yes, all schools have a nurse.
Do staff regularly disinfect surfaces throughout the school?
Yes, we actively clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces (door handles, desks, tables, etc.) throughout the day.
Are hand washing stations or hand sanitizer available throughout the school and when will children be required to wash their hands?
Hand sanitizer is available in each classroom. Time is built into daily routines for students and staff to clean hands, especially at key times like after bathroom breaks, before lunch, or after recess.
Are visitors allowed in school buildings?
Yes. Achievement First Schools are excited to welcome visitors back to our schools beginning on March 7th, 2022. All visitors must follow all safety policies at the school. Those interested in visiting schools should reach out to your child’s school directly to schedule a visit so that we can ensure all safety protocols can be implemented with fidelity.
COVID-19 Testing & Potential Exposure Response
What should I do if my child is exposed to COVID-19 outside of school, or develops symptoms of COVID-19?
If your child is exposed to COVID-19 we ask that you monitor them for symptoms. Individuals without symptoms do not need to quarantine. These individuals are strongly encouraged to get tested and wear a mask for 10 days from last exposure. Individuals experiencing mild symptoms (congestion, runny nose, mild sore throat) who feel well enough to attend may continue to attend school. They are strongly encouraged to take a COVID-19 test every morning at home before leaving for school and wear a mask at school while experiencing mild symptoms. Individuals must stay home (or be sent home) if they are experiencing severe symptoms (fever, persistent cough/sore throat, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, loss of taste and/or smell, or vomiting/diarrhea). If your scholar develops severe symptoms, please notify your school immediately, stay home, monitor their symptoms, and contact your physician.
Will I be informed if there is a positive case in the school?
In alignment with CDC guidance, our schools will no longer identify close contacts, or require close contacts to quarantine. They will send a general notification to families via Parent Square when there has been a positive case to the entire classroom or school bus, and continue our policy that individuals who are sick/symptomatic should not come to school.
What happens if my child is exposed?
In our CT/RI schools, If your child is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 while at school, they can continue to attend school if they are not experiencing any symptoms of the virus. All exposed individuals are encouraged to wear a high quality (N95, KN95, KF94, or surgical mask with cloth mask over it) on days 1 to 10 after exposure.
If a student is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 OUTSIDE of school, you should contact your health provider and your child’s school for more guidance.
Do you offer on-site testing at schools for students?
The current guidelines of the CDC and our local districts no longer require nor strongly suggest the need for routine screening testing programs. Instead, the recommendation has shifted to encourage testing for students/staff who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. We have discontinued our weekly asymptomatic testing program as of November 4th, 2022 and have shifted to providing four at-home rapid tests a month (until June 2023) to staff and students to use in the case of exposure or potential COVID-19 symptoms. Additionally, at-home rapid tests will be provided prior to all major school breaks. While the asymptomatic testing program enabled on-site testing, it only reached a small set of the community. Shifting to at-home test kits has allowed us to expand access to testing and provides more flexibility.
Are masks required for students, teachers and staff?
We align with our local districts in regards to masking requirements and policies and currently, there is no mandate in place. We strongly encourage all staff and students to wear a high-filtration mask (N95, KN95, KN94, or surgical mask with cloth mask on top) when community levels are elevated. All schools will continue to provide high quality masks for staff daily, and for students weekly through the 22-23 school year. Schools will also have disposable masks on-site for emergencies and to be used for staff members who prefer double-masking. Masks are required in the following situations:
- When a student/staff becomes symptomatic at school
- If an individual tests positive for COVID-19, they must wear a high-filtration mask (N95, KN95, KN94, or surgical mask with cloth mask on top) when they return from isolation for days 6-10.
- During an outbreak or general increase in cases, universal masking in affected classrooms may be required.
What should I do if my child requires an accommodation or special mask?
We are committed to supporting our scholars with special needs and/or medical conditions who may require an accommodation or special mask. If your student has a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, please contact your school.
What measures will be in place in classrooms?
Classroom furniture will be arranged, and desks will be spaced as much as possible, to allow for distancing according to CDC guidelines. This may look different from school to school and classroom to classroom.
What safety measures will be in place for enrichment classes such as music, band, and art
Depending on available space and weather, schools will use outdoor areas for any classes that require movement, and increased voice projection (including PE, dance, and music), and students will be spaced as much as possible during these classes. Additionally, writing utensils (pens, pencils, paintbrushes, markers, crayons, etc.) cannot be shared among students. Each student must have individualized writing utensils.
Are students allowed to participate in sports and extracurricular activities?
We recognize that sports and other extracurricular activities are important for our scholars’ continued development. Sports and after-school activities have resumed and will follow guidance provided by the host district.
Do elementary students still have recess?
Yes, recess will take place outdoors, weather permitting. Students must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before and after recess.
Will students attend field trips?
Students are able to attend field trips to both outdoor and indoor locations. All safety protocols put forth by the destination must be followed during field trips.
What if I have additional questions?
Please add your additional questions to this Google form and it will be answered via email ASAP.
*Updated on December 2022. All protocols are subject to change.