Laurie St. Laurent, School Nurse
HPS Health and Safety Overview
or the 2021-2022 School Year
The HPS Health and Safety Committee has established the following health practices in accordance with Connecticut State Department of Education guidance. These protocols ensure our schools are as safe as possible for our students, families, teachers, staff, and community partners. This Health and Safety Overview has been developed in accordance with our full Return-to-Learn Plan, you can view the full plan on our website here. If you have any questions, please contact Health Services at 860-695-8760.
IMPORTANT: If your child has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, please inform your school’s nurse as soon as possible. The HPS Health & Safety Team strongly encourages all students eligible for the vaccine (currently those aged 12 and over) to be vaccinated. If your child has not been vaccinated, you can find information about the vaccine and how to schedule an appointment by clicking this link.
Health & Safety Protocols
All students and staff are required to wear masks at school (regardless of vaccination status), including on the bus, except during meal times, mask breaks, and outdoor activity (if physical distancing allows). For more information on the mask protocol, including info on exemptions, see the HPS Face Mask Protocol.
Masking in all school buildings is still a state requirement, see the State of CT Latest Guidance and this CT Department of Public Health document. If the state requirement changes, HPS will determine whether or not the mask requirement will remain in place based on local health data (number of cases, vaccination rates, etc.).
School administrators will ensure physical distancing to the maximum extent possible between students; at least 3 feet of distance should be maintained whenever possible. Staff will maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and students, except in limited circumstances when instruction requires.
Staff will encourage students to wash hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) throughout the school day, especially before meals. Hand sanitizer will be used when soap and water are not available.
Rapid COVID-19 tests will be available in all schools in the event that any students begin exhibiting symptoms while in the building.
It is critical for parents and guardians to keep students home if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19. Families should perform self-assessment of symptoms (fever of 100.0° F or higher; chills; uncontrolled new cough; difficulty breathing or shortness of breath; new loss of taste or smell; generally not feeling well or any change in baseline health. Daily symptom checker posted on HPS website ) prior to leaving home for school.
Please inform your child’s school if your child is tested for COVID-19, tests positive for COVID-19, or if a family member is contacted regarding potential exposure.
Student cohorts will be maintained in the same manner as the previous school year, including the required use of seating charts. Cohorts will be utilized in Grades PreK-8; cohorts will not be used in grades 9-12 due to the complexity of academic scheduling in high school.
PreK-8 cohorts will be maintained both inside and outside the classroom, including during lunch and recess.
Meal service is permitted in the cafeteria for all grades, however, your school may plan meal services differently (in coordination with the Director of Food & Nutrition Services) if it is not possible for students to eat in the cafeteria while maintaining other health and safety protocols. Seating charts are required for lunch. Students will be distanced to the maximum extent possible and will maintain cohorts while eating. Contact your child’s school if you have questions about meal services.
Buses will operate at full capacity with additional safety measures (masks required and hand sanitizer provided). Windows will remain open on buses (weather permitting) and buses will continue to be cleaned after each trip.
Extended Day Programs
After-school and extended day programs will be provided at specific schools with safety measures. These programs will follow the same health & safety protocols as the regular school day.
Visitors (including parents and guardians) will be allowed in HPS buildings. All visitors must follow health and safety protocols while in the building, including wearing a mask regardless of vaccination status. Visitors to HPS buildings must complete a health screening questionnaire upon arrival at the main entrance before proceeding into the building.
Cleaning & Ventilation
School buildings will continue to be cleaned and sanitized daily. HVAC/Ventilation experts were contracted to optimize systems and implement recommended practices. Air filters in all schools have been upgraded from MERV8 to MERV13.
COVID Case Management
HPS will continue to closely monitor potential cases in school buildings and conduct strict case management, contact tracing, and quarantining as necessary.
Each school will maintain a COVID-19 Response Team that is responsible for managing building-level health and safety protocols, assisting with contact tracing, and maintaining contact with the District Health & Safety Team.
How to Correctly Wear Your Face Mask video
Symptoms of COVID-19 (English)
Symptoms of COVID-19 (Spanish)
More CDC Information and Videos
To learn more about COVID-19 and how to protect your family from getting sick, click here How to Protect Yourself and Others. The CDC has their full series of videos about COVID-19 on Youtube (in English, Spanish, and American Sign Language) and their website:
All HPS policies will be available on our website, www.hartfordschools.org for easy reference. These policies are subject to change based upon current CDC guidelines; we will inform you of any changes to our policies as soon as possible.
Please feel free to contact the HPS Health Services Department with any questions at (860)695-8760, and your call will be returned.