" We are intent on doing our best to keep the school year moving forward. I am deeply grateful to be part of a community that is working so hard and cooperatively to realize this goal and support one another as we go."
Head of School John Packard on January 6.
April 25, 2022: Our COVID-19 numbers have been encouraging. As of today, we have no active student cases. We have heard from a small number of employees who have tested positive with a few currently in isolation. This is reassuring news, however, North Andover and other local communities remain on the rise, so we continue to encourage anyone who feels unwell to wear a mask indoors and get tested. We have an ample supply of rapid antigen tests at the Health Center for students and employees. Further updates will be provided should our positivity rates or approach change. Thank you!
Booster Clinic: Nearly 80 students received boosters during our January clinic on campus. We held another on March 4.
February 10, 2022: Since February 3, we have had we have had 3 positive cases on campus, all students with mild cold-like symptoms. Please see updates below regarding COVID-19 cases on campus and relevant changes to our risk mitigation approach:
- Average Duration of Isolation: The majority of people who've tested positive have been able to rejoin the community after six-to-seven days of isolation followed by a negative rapid antigen test. Most have reported asymptomatic or mild infections and a complete resolution of symptoms upon return.
- Contact Tracing Changes: How we approach close contacts has shifted with new guidance from the CDC. The CDC's recommendation for close contacts is that they mask for 10 days when indoors following exposure, something all members of our community are expected to do. Keeping this and the fact that we are a vaccinated community in mind, classroom settings continue to be low risk for transmission. In accordance with DESE and CDC recommendations, we are focusing contact tracing on more high risk settings (dorms, meals, social circles, etc) and are not identifying close contacts in the classroom. A recommendation, but not requirement, is that close contacts be tested five days after exposure. Students who are close contacts will be contacted by the Health & Wellness Center for testing.
Brooks School was happy to hold school fully in person and without physical distancing limitations in the start of the 2021-2022 school year. Please note that our guidelines are evolving on a daily basis and details are subject to change at any point. Updates will be posted here as they are announced.
As a reminder, Brooks School is following CDC guidelines in our response to COVID-19 cases on campus. The most up to date guidance and information can be found here.
It is increasingly clear that the vaccines are safe, effective, and critical to operating on campus with as few restrictions as possible. No students (or employees) were allowed to return to school in September without proof of vaccination or an approved exemption (Review Brooks School's vaccination policy).
- We have the capacity to test both symptomatic and asymptomatic community members at any point.
- We will be testing all students and employees who are not fully vaccinated twice per week in our Health & Wellness Center.
- We will not be administering intake or routine testing of community members who are both asymptomatic and fully vaccinated (two weeks removed from a final vaccination dose). We will only test vaccinated students and employees if and when they are experiencing symptoms.
- The school will be requiring all students and employees to receive booster shots at whatever points in time the CDC recommends.
All students and employees are expected to have received a booster shot no later than March 9.
February 14, 2022: With COVID cases dropping precipitously in the area and in our community, we are beginning to relax our mask requirement and have moved to a mask-optional approach in most buildings on campus.
Mask-Optional Locations, unless otherwise directed by a teacher/adult:
- Academic Building, Luce Library, Lehman Art Center and the Center for the Arts
- Wilder Dining Hall and the Student Center
- Athletic Center and athletic facilities
- The Health and Wellness Center, at all times
- Chapel services on Mondays and Thursdays, and at any other time when we are there as a whole school.
- School meeting or any large gatherings in the Center for the Arts theater.
- If an individual is not feeling well, they should wear a mask at all times.
It is important to appreciate that many in our community will want and/or need to wear masks in some, or all, of these spaces. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that anyone wanting or needing to wear a mask is supported at all times.
We are looking forward to welcoming parents, guardians, alums and guests back to our campus this year. In an effort to be consistent with the approach we are taking with students and employees:
- We will not be allowing any unvaccinated parents, guardians, alums, and guests to be inside any school building occupied or used by current students and employees. We will make exceptions to this rule as the year begins and we adjust to this norm.
- If parents and guardians are in need of an exception, we ask that you be in touch with the Health & Wellness Center directly ahead of entering any school facilities.
As has been the case since the pandemic’s beginning, there are a number of unknowns and it is likely that circumstances will continue to evolve. We intend to stay in touch with all public health guidelines in ways that make sense for our school and how we operate.
Health & Wellness Center Guidelines
The Health & Wellness Center team at Brooks is closely following The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to ensure we are caring for students properly and mitigating the risk of COVID-19 on campus.
We ask that all families plan ahead, as we expect any student requiring isolation will have a place to go within 24 hours.
What if a student tests positive for COVID-19?
Any student, regardless of vaccination status, who has confirmed laboratory testing positive for COVID-19 will be required to complete isolation, per CDC guidelines. Students will complete their isolation off-campus, at their home or at a location designated by family. We ask that all families plan ahead, as we expect any student requiring isolation will have a place to go within 24 hours.
- The length of isolation may vary depending on symptom onset and severity/duration of symptoms.
- The minimum isolation period is five days, with a return to campus on day six, if the student tests negative on a rapid antigen test.
- Isolation begins either on the day symptoms first appeared or the date laboratory testing was performed (if the student doesn't have symptoms).
- The Health & Wellness Center will communicate with students during their isolation to ensure they have a safe plan for return to campus.
What if a fully-vaccinated person is in contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
Based on current CDC guidelines, fully vaccinated individuals who have come into close contact with someone with COVID-19 will not be required to quarantine but will be required to get tested three to five days following the date of their exposure. In the event they develop symptoms or test positive, they will be placed in isolation.
What if an unvaccinated person is in direct contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19?
A small percentage of Brooks School community members will be unvaccinated due to medical or religious exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine. For unvaccinated people, Brooks plans to continue using the seven-day quarantine regimen, as outlined by the CDC for individuals identified as a direct contact of someone who tests positive for COVID-19:
- The direct contact must quarantine, off campus, for seven days from last exposure.
- On, or after, Day 5, the contact must take a PCR test, per the CDC.
- If the PCR test is negative, the contact may come out of quarantine on Day 8 if they have remained symptom-free.
- The contact will continue to self-monitor for symptoms through Day 14 and will be subject to additional testing/quarantine if symptoms develop.
- Unvaccinated people on campus will be required to wear a mask in indoor spaces at all times, regardless of known exposure.
What if a student has previously tested positive?
- If your child has tested positive for COVID-19, a clearance note from their health care provider will be required prior to their return to Brooks.
- Students who have tested positive within the past 90 days will be exempt from any asymptomatic testing.
- Students who have tested positive within the past 90 days will also be exempt from any quarantining if they are identified as a direct contact of someone who has tested positive — they will, however, be monitored daily for any symptoms. If symptoms develop at any time, quarantine and testing will be required.
What about athletics?
Brooks will continue to adhere to guidance from The American Academy of Pediatrics regarding high school athletes returning to sports or activities after a COVID-19 infection. (This link provides some excellent information regarding return to sports post COVID-19).
- A clearance note is required prior to returning to on-campus sports or activities in any capacity, regardless of how much time has lapsed since their infection.
- In addition, please provide the Health & Wellness Center with a copy of a positive COVID-19 test. Accurate documentation helps us determine which students may be exempt from testing for a period of time.
More Questions? Please Reach Out:
- Academics Concerns
Academic Dean Susanna Waters: (978) 725-6355
- Afternoon Programs
Director of Athletics Bobbie Crump-Burbank: (978) 725-6210
- Student Health
Director of Health and Wellness Services Melissa Donais: (978) 725-6207
- Student Life
Associate Head for Student Affairs Andrea Heinze: (978) 725-6264
2021: Please be advised that all contractors and vendors visiting Brooks School are required to submit a COVID self-attestation at our security checkpoint, located at the Service Entrance, prior to proceeding onto campus.
On the day of the visit:
1) Click into Brooks Visitor Daily Covid-19 Screening Site.
2) Answer the four questions.
3) Show the QR badge to the security guard.
Please do not execute the self-attestation on the day before your visit. Badges change daily. (We will also accept hard copies of the self-attestation at the security checkpoint). Thank you for your cooperation.