In light of updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), Portsmouth Abbey School is now a mask-optional campus in all indoor and outdoor spaces. Additional updates to our COVID-19 protocols will be posted by Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
- Vaccination requirements
- Masking requirements
- Screening, testing and safety protocols
- Quarantine and isolation
- Campus Permissions and Protocols
- Important contact information
Will Portsmouth Abbey require students, faculty and staff to be vaccinated?
Yes, unless they have a School-approved religious or medical exemption.
All community members are required to be fully vaccinated with an FDA or WHO authorized COVID vaccine. This represents the best opportunity to provide a safe and healthy in-person school year and protects our larger campus community.
Please note that the following vaccines are accepted by the RIDOH:
- Moderna (2 doses) FDA emergency use authorized
- Pfizer (2 doses) FDA emergency use authorized
- J&J/Janssen (1 dose) FDA emergency use authorized
- AstraZeneca/Oxford (2 doses) WHO emergency use authorized
- Sinopharm (2 doses) WHO emergency use authorized
- Sinovac (2 doses) WHO emergency use authorized
The best protection against infection from COVID-19, is full vaccination plus a booster dose. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) now recommend COVID booster vaccination for all people age 12 and over who completed the initial series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least 5 months ago. Anyone who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination should receive a booster dose 2 months after initial vaccination. For our students ages 16 and 17, Pfizer is the only approved booster vaccine. The CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule can be found here.
Parents and students should feel free to contact Mrs. Celia Brown, RN, Director of Medical Services, email@example.com, 401-643-1233 at any time with questions or concerns that are not answered below. Parents of students who are medically vulnerable, have been diagnosed with chronic conditions, or auto-immune disorders should contact Mrs. Brown to discuss the specifics of their child’s individual needs. Every effort will be made to provide appropriate accommodations for the increased health and safety requirements for these students.
I remain unvaccinated, what does that mean?
Unvaccinated students will need to participate in a “Monitor to Stay” program if they are identified as a close contact of a COVID positive person.
Unvaccinated students may have additional testing requirements in order to participate in competitive sports depending upon league and opponent school protocols.
Will students and adults continue to be tested?
Testing will be required for all symptomatic individuals. Diagnostic testing for symptomatic students is a two-part process. A point-of-care rapid antigen test is conducted in the Infirmary using the BinaxNOW test or BD Veritor system. Results are ready in 15 minutes. Any symptomatic student who tests negative via the antigen test will receive a confirmatory PCR test which will be sent out to East Side Clinical Lab for processing. Students who are symptomatic must isolate pending the PCR test results.
Day students must stay home whenever they experience symptoms of COVID-19 and may not return to school until they have presented documentation of a negative COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test or COVID-19 PCR test.
Will contact tracing continue?
No, RIDOH/CDC has revised guidance and is transitioning away from universal contact tracing and no longer requires schools to identify or notify contacts.
What other practices will be in place?
We will continue to uphold key practices involved in the shared obligation to maintain our community’s safety to include: promotion of regular hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning procedures, testing for symptomatic students, and implementation of isolation and quarantine when needed.
If I am diagnosed with COVID-19 during the term, or I have had close contact with a COVID-19 positive person can I remain on campus?
All students are required to have a local emergency host on file in the event of a need for isolation due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, or an exposure requiring quarantine. Under new CDC guidelines, those who are fully vaccinated and who have received a booster shot will not have to quarantine if considered a close contact of a positive case. Students should be picked up by a family member, guardian, or emergency host within 24 hours in the event of a need to isolate or quarantine. In the event that it is impossible for a student to be picked up within 24 hours, the Infirmary has a limited number of beds to temporarily house students requiring isolation. Students may be temporarily moved to local hotels (with a School chaperone) while waiting for parents or guardians to arrive.
If I am diagnosed with COVID-19 when may I return to school?
- Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19, regardless of their vaccination status, should isolate for at least 5 days. Then they may:
- Return to school on day 6, if they don’t have symptoms or their symptoms are improving, and they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication). They should wear a well-fitting mask for an additional 5 days at school, at home, and with others; or
- Isolate until their symptoms are improving and they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medication). They should wear a well-fitting mask for the remainder of the 10-day period from symptom onset or specimen collection date if they are asymptomatic.
If I am a close contact what is the protocol?
- People identified as close contact s are exempt from quarantine if they:
- Are up-to-date on their vaccines. CDC guidance on COVID-19 vaccination can be found here
- Or if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.
- Individuals exempt from quarantine should wear a mask for 10 full days after exposure.
- Students and staff without symptoms, who are identified as close contacts, and aren’t exempt from quarantine are encouraged to follow the Monitor to Stay quarantine protocol, which allows students and staff to attend school in person and participate in school-related extracurricular activities during their quarantine period. In this case, they should
- Conduct symptom screening and attest that they don’t have symptoms for 5 days;
- Follow quarantine guidance when outside school, as well as updated CDC guidance about masking
Will students be allowed to visit between houses?
- Students may visit each other’s Houses, subject to the policies set forth in the Student Handbook. It is a traditional and important courtesy that students visiting Houses other than their own notify the Houseparent on duty and ask for House permission.
- Students may visit each other’s rooms with permission, again subject to the policies set forth in the Student Handbook. A student may not enter another student’s room without the presence and explicit permission of the occupant.
Are students allowed off-campus?
- Students may leave campus with day students and with regular approved drivers (parents, taxis and car services, etc. No ride-sharing such as Uber or Lyft.) Day students must have permission on file from their parents to provide rides to other students. Boarders must have permission on file from their parents to ride with other students.
As things continue to change, matters such as campus life, campus visitors, campus visits will continue to be communicated. We looking forward to a full and safe Abbey experience for our entire Community. If you have any questions, please contact:
Director of Medical Services Celia Brown, RN
Assistant Head for Student Life Paula Walter
Assistant Head for Operations John Perreira
CFO Ellen Eggeman
Assistant Head for Academics Nick Micheletti
Director of Parent Relations Meghan Fonts