COVID-19 Updates

ATTENTION  Parents/ Guardians and School Districts as of March 24, 2020

Yesterday Governor Baker issued more information about tighter restrictions across the state in an effort to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19. 
 
Our Residential Program remains open and we continue to remain vigilant in our efforts to clean and sanitize our environment, while maintaining learning and leisure activities on campus for our students. To date, we have no knowledge of a positive case affecting our students or staff. However, one significant hurdle is that it is so difficult to get students or staff tested if they have symptoms. Plus, seasonal illnesses and allergies greatly confuse the issue.   
 
To be most vigilant, the Boston Higashi School finds it necessary to continue to send students and staff home who exhibit signs of any illness. We are particularly concerned about students who have medical conditions that place them at even greater risk should they contract this virus. We believe our practices are substantially the same as all MA SPED residential programs currently open.

We are now trying to determine when it would be safe to have students return to the Residential Program after having an illness. In making that determination we will follow the CDC and DPH regulations in consultation with our medical advisors. Please be patient with respect to this matter. 

Our greatest fear is having a positive case or cases and/or needing to quarantine large numbers of staff, particularly nursing staff, and not having sufficient personnel to maintain operations. We are in unprecedented times. There is no road map to follow. We are all doing our best to try to keep everyone safe and healthy.
 
Several staff are working remotely and can be contacted to continue to offer advice, guidance and moral support. We are heartened by the number of parents who have shared suggestions about what is working for them and ideas for resources to help keep learning and purposeful leisure going. Please reach out to us if greater assistance is needed in this area.
 
As we forge ahead through these difficult weeks we look forward to a time when we can all be together again.







PREVIOUS UPDATES:
 
 Boston Higashi School will close Day Program effective
 March 17, 2020, until April 7, 2020
 
This decision is made in order to comply with the directive of Governor Baker and our regulatory agencies in light of the state of emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand that our decisions  will impose a hardship on our families. However, given our understanding of the potentially rapid spread of this disease, we believe this closing is important to try and reduce the potential spread of this pandemic virus. 
PARENTS OF RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER BRINGING THEIR STUDENT HOME.
The decision to keep the Residential Program open at this time will be day to day and all precautions will be taken. There will be a no visitor policy in place until further notice. This includes parents and family members. Please contact the school if there are any questions.  
 
Should your child become ill regardless of diagnosis, he/she will need to go home.  Your child cannot return to school until cleared by nursing, in consultation with our Medical Consultant.  Please call in advance to review your child’s circumstances. The COVID-19 virus may impose a greater risk to some students. For these students we will use our discretion as to whether they should remain on campus. Any decision will be made in the best interests of the School and will be final.  THE BOSTON HIGASHI SCHOOL IS NOT A MEDICAL FACILITY AND DOES NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES ON CAMPUS TO CARE FOR STUDENTS DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19 OR SIMILAR ILLNESSES.  
 
PLEASE CONTACT THE HEALTH ROOM TO SCHEDULE MEDICATION PICKUP IF NECESSARY.  WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR FULL COOPERATION.


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March 12, 2020
Dear Higashi Community,

 

 

In light of the ever changing impact of the COVID-19 Virus, you can expect ongoing communication with important information regarding our practices and procedures. The health and safety of students, staff and families remains our top priority. We have a task force that meets every morning to review alerts and assess our current status.

 

It is necessary for us to restrict access to campus as well as the number of visitors allowed on campus and to designated areas only. All visitors are asked to wash their hands upon entering the building. There will be a brief questionnaire at each reception desk that any and all visitors must complete. For student pick ups and drop offs, only one parent may enter the building via the main entrance on the day side or the Cushing residential lobby. Your student will be brought to you and you must exit campus immediately. If you need medication from the health office, alert the receptionist to facilitate this. If a parent wishes to visit a student on campus he/she will be directed to a designated area. Ideally the visit can be conducted outside if the weather is favorable.  

 

All meetings such as IEPs, transition and admission meetings should be conducted virtually by conference call or online. We have designated three areas for meetings that are deemed absolutely necessary:

 

LARGE CONFERENCE ROOM

CUSHING CONFERENCE ROOM

BUSINESS OFFICE CONFERENCE ROOM

 

There will be cleaning/sanitizing supplies in each of those rooms and the space will be cleaned after each use. We ask that staff/ facilitator of the meeting complete this task.

 

Staff are reminded to use other areas for virtual meetings. Whenever possible all outside evaluations will be delayed. In the event that it is vital to a student placement or procurement of adult services arrangements will be made on a case by case basis. 

 

Formal Dance & Graduation, Ladies Day of Beauty, and Emergence Program Brunch have been postponed until further notice. We are mindful of the disappointment that this may bring to our students and families, especially to the graduating class of 2020. Please be assured that we will make every effort to acknowledge and celebrate our graduates at another time in the future.

 

At this point in time we are not aware of any cases of COVID-19 within our Higashi community. We will continue to be mindful and vigilant and take any necessary precautions to keep everyone as safe as we can. We appreciate your full cooperation to maintain the safest environment possible. 

 

Any questions do not hesitate to contact:
Deb Donovan | deborah.donovan@bostonhigashi.org
Mike Kelly | mike.kelly@bostonhigashi.org