NLS Health & Safety Update July 31, 2020

NLS Health & Safety Update July 31, 2020

Dear Nantucket Lighthouse Friends and Families,


I am very excited to say that we are planning on opening on September 8, 2020 in person. Our in-person model is the only model and we are not offering a concurrent virtual model. We will closely monitor the needs of our students and community and adjust accordingly. If, later in the year, a child has to stay home for Covid-related quarantine, a plan will be made with that child’s teacher on how to maintain academic progress. Of course, if for any reason our school has to close due to the level of island community transmission, we are prepared to offer a virtual program for all students Kinder – 5th grade.


The wonderful thing about unexpected times such as these are the new ideas that spring up everywhere. We are planning playful welcome videos for students and designing five outdoor learning spaces for our campus. We are also making a connection with the Yoga Room and other walking field trip locations.


Our goal is to share our full Reopening Plan Presentation with all parents to review by August 19, 2020. We continue to monitor all guidelines on the state and national level, and we are guided by providing a safe learning environment for all students, faculty, and staff. It is our small size and our community culture of trust that will make this year a successful one for our school.



Arrival each morning at NLS


Our morning arrival will remain our flexible 8:20-8:30 a.m. arrival window.


When arriving at school, please make sure that you and your child are both wearing a face covering.


We require that all adults doing pick-up or drop-off wear face coverings when on our school campus.


Whenever possible, parents are encouraged to stay in their cars and drop the children off at the front of the school building. There will be several NLS adult greeters to help you say goodbye. We recognize that this is not always possible because of the age or emotional needs of the child that day, but it will make our arrival process run most smoothly.


Please note that all children will enter their classrooms through their classroom’s outer door. Your child’s teacher will be sharing a fun welcome video with you later in August to share our arrival and classroom routines.


Each day, NLS families will undertake mandatory health checks on a phone app upon arrival to school. The health check will include several questions about the student and their family members and will include a symptom checklist.


Please be prepared to keep your child at home if you, your child, or another member of your family is experiencing COVID-like symptoms.


COVID-19 Symptoms:

*Many of the symptoms of COVID-19 are also common in other childhood illnesses like the common cold, the flu, or seasonal allergies.

Fever or chills


Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing


Muscle or body aches


New loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Congestion or runny nose

Nausea or vomiting



Students who develop COVID-like symptoms during the school day will be isolated from the rest of the class by Alicia Lynn or Christine Hanson until parents promptly pick up their child. If the child’s symptoms persist, parents will notify NLS administration and seek testing at Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Students with persistent symptoms will be asked to remain home until having been tested.



Each class will be dismissed from a consistent location on campus to minimize groups congregating. The dismissal plan will be shared with families in our final plan.


Mask requirements for NLS students 

Nantucket Lighthouse School will be providing each child with one NLS gaiter designed by NLS parent, Kevin Korn, as a token of our appreciation for working with us on a safe re-entry. Our NLS gaiters will be available for sale if you would like additional gaiters.


As per DESE guidelines plus NLS’s more stringent ones, students in Kinderclass through 5th grade will wear face coverings within their classrooms. Small School students will not be required to wear face coverings within their classrooms.


All students will need several face coverings (one to be worn into school, two back-ups in their cubbies or backpacks), and extra at home for a clean one each day. Coverings must be cleaned before being worn to school again. For many families, this will mean 5-10 face coverings per child. We advise you start ordering and trying face coverings now so you can choose the best option for your child.


Face coverings for children can be masks or gaiters. Your child must be able to put the covering on easily and be comfortable wearing it for an extended period of time. For younger children, we highly recommend the gaiters so that they can always have their covering near them, even during a mask/gaiter break.


Students’ cloth face coverings should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ face coverings may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back.

Cloth face coverings should be stored in a space designated for each student that is separate from others when not being worn (e.g., in individually labeled containers or bags, personal lockers, or cubbies).


Scenario Planning for NLS  

The CDC Protocol Guide answers the following questions for NLS,

such as:

• What we do if there is a symptomatic individual – at home, on the bus, or at school?

• What we do if someone in the school community tests positive for COVID-19 – be it a student, teacher, staff, or bus driver, or one of their household members or close contacts?

• Who should get tested for COVID-19 and when?

• In what circumstances would someone need to quarantine (when they have been exposed but are not sick) or isolate (when they are sick)?

In our forthcoming Covid Plans, the various protocols for illness scenarios will be shared with all parents.


I know that these waters are uncharted, and everyone has concerns and questions. I continue to encourage all to reach out to me with specific questions and concerns, as always. Our goal is to create the safest and most enriching learning environment for all students. I look forward to seeing everyone back at school in 5 weeks!




on behalf of the Health & Safety Committee



For further reading:

1. Mass School Guidelines

2. Harvard School of Health Reopening Guide

3. Covid and Children Research Library