NLS Health & Safety Update July 24, 2020

NLS Health & Safety Update July 24, 2020

Dear Nantucket Lighthouse School Families and Friends,


We are grateful for the responses to our short survey last week. If you have not yet filled it out, please click here.




As you may know, the final Department of Education Guidelines for safe school re-openings are coming out at the end of July. We have based our school planning on the preliminary Department of Education Guidelines released in late June and the Harvard School of Public Health Guidelines, and we will continue to re-evaluate and go one step beyond the safety guidelines in many cases.


Our Dedicated NLS Faculty


Please be prepared to be flexible and creative alongside us. Our dedicated and creative teachers and staff are imagining ways to maintain the fun and connection synonymous with our school ethos while keeping everyone safe and healthy. They are amazing. Our preparations for reopening will take a lot of work on the part of our faculty, and I thank them for the additional time and dedication that this will take over the next weeks.


Faculty & Family Preparation


  • All teachers and staff will be tested for Covid-19 within one week of the start of school
  • Families will receive weekly newsletters about physical and social-emotional health and safety
  • Faculty will meet throughout rest of summer about safety measures
  • Teacher training regarding Covid-19 will happen during faculty work days as well as faculty meetings this summer
  • Teachers will communicate with families by making a welcome video highlighting new procedures and protocols prior to the start of school. This will include where to put lunches, backpacks, how to enter and exit the classroom, when and how we wash our hands, where we sit for circle, for work time, and how many children can be at various stations in the room, etc.


Physical Distancing & Hygiene 


  • All desks and table spots will be 3-6 feet apart
  • There will be plexiglass between student desks whenever less than 6 feet apart
  • Each room was measured and teachers are being consulted about the necessary layout and furniture changes that need to be made in keeping with a 6 foot spacing measure for younger children without face coverings and a 4.5 foot spacing measure for those students with face coverings.
  • Outdoor learning spaces are being designed for increased time learning outside (we are building several outdoor pergolas)
  • All classrooms have sinks and teachers will be instituting hand-washing routines that comply with CDC & DESE standards
  • Two outdoor sinks (one on either side of the building) will provide students a way to wash their hands during recess or outdoor class
  • Students will have their own materials as opposed to shared materials (and for any materials shared, cleanings will take place as per CDC & DESE standards)
  • Regular sanitizing of all high-traffic surfaces, including bathrooms, will be completed at least 4 times throughout each day and at the end of each day


Air Quality & Face Coverings 


  • Classrooms will open windows whenever possible because research shows that diluting the air is the most advantageous
  • Classrooms will use additional medical-grade double HEPPA filters because we are taking steps that go beyond the guidelines
  • Our HVAC system is being analyzed and filtration recommendations are in process
  • All children will wear face coverings in hallways and bathrooms
  • 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 and the classes will be small. We are still determining how much face covering wearing will happen in each classroom, which will depend on distance, activity, and dilution of air – i.e., open windows.
  • Face covering breaks will be built into each day
  • All faculty and staff will wear face coverings throughout the day.



We do need your help and collaboration to keep our school open. Any potential spread of infection at our school risks our closing. This becomes a real test of the integrity of our community and our honest communication with each other. Each of us has tremendous control of our own exposure and risk and tremendous control of our communication about such risks. We will be asking you to please keep in mind that your choices impact every other member of our community. We ask you to be honest in your communication with us about your family’s health and potential exposure throughout the year.


These are trying times that ask us to be responsible on a community level unlike other times. We are stronger when we all work together. I encourage each of you to have a family conversation: How can we actively help stop or prevent the spread of the virus? What are we willing to do as a family?


Lastly, we ask all parents to submit their child’s updated health records, including immunizations, by Friday, August 14. Sharing health records with us is required for your child’s re-entry to school.


For more information on the most current immunization requirements for school entry, please click here. Your child’s primary physician will be able to provide you with copies of your child’s current health records. Please email those records to Alicia Lynn at


We are grateful to have you as our partners in navigating this journey. We recognize that we are a community made up of individuals with individual needs, so we will continue to create NLS protocols with this in mind.


Next week, our newsletter will address more safety measures, including our plans in the case of a Covid-19 detection.


Thank you for your support and your feedback.




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