Health & Safety

School Status

What is the School’s current status related to Covid-19?

  • Our full-time programs are operating at full capacity, with in-person instruction—with sensible precautions and other interventions in place. The current protocols include:
    • Required Covid-19 vaccination for all full-time students, faculty, and staff, with accommodation plans for valid medical or religious exemptions. Boosters also required.
    • Unvaccinated individuals must wear a mask at all times.
    • Increased use of in-class technology, including remote work, when necessary.
    • More frequent professional cleaning, among other disinfection measures.
  • Continuing Education classes are running, with protocols and precautions for those students as well.
  • We will keep our community updated regularly with any changes or issues that may arise.
  • Frequently asked questions are provided below. For any additional questions, please contact info@nbss.edu.

Updated 5/2/22 (Updated policies and FAQs)


With guidance from public health experts, industry professionals, and our own Response Team, we have developed a health and safety plan that includes precautions to mitigate the spread of disease, interventions should someone in our community become sick, and contingencies for working and learning remotely. Our response and contingency plans will flex and adapt as necessary to maintain the health and safety of everyone at NBSS.

We will work to provide a safe, healthy, and productive environment, and will adapt our approach as new information and guidance become available. However, it will take the commitment and dedication of our entire community to see us through. We are fortunate that the character this difficult situation demands—adaptability, problem-solving, creativity, and focus—are all natural to our work in craft and skilled trades.

Frequently Asked Questions—Protocols

Requirements for testing vary, based upon illness and exposure, as well as vaccination status.

  • Anyone who is Covid-19 symptomatic will need to be tested after the onset of symptoms, and will need to produce a negative FDA-authorized Covid-19 test in order to return to School.
  • Anyone who had close, prolonged contact with someone who has Covid-19, will need to be tested 5 days after exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms. The School will provide guidelines as to next steps depending on the condition and vaccination status of those involved.
  • Vaccinated individuals need not be tested at regular times throughout the School year.
  • Unvaccinated individuals with approved exemptions will need to be tested before the start of School, after holiday breaks, after periods of travel to areas at high risk for the virus, and at other times per the guidelines set forth in their approved accommodation plans. Proof of a negative FDA-authorized Covid-19 test will be required before they can return to the building or job site.

If you had close contact with an individual at NBSS who has tested positive for Covid-19, you will be notified immediately and should follow the directions provided, which will be based on your vaccination status.

Please note the following

  • When a negative Covid-19 test result is required for return to School or work, NBSS accepts any FDA-authorized option. See the question below, “What kind of Covid-19 tests are acceptable?” for more information.
  • Test results must be emailed to info@nbss.edu, and will be kept confidential.
  • Testing may also be required in instances of symptoms of Covid-19 and/or confirmed exposure.

When a negative Covid-19 test result is required for return to School or work, NBSS accepts any FDA-authorized option. These include:

  • Individual PCR-type tests administered at a Testing Site.
  • At-Home Rapid Tests that you self-administer. Please note that when using a Self/Rapid Test, manufacturer instructions should be followed for serial testing. Two tests over three days are the standard in many home tests. An initial negative test result is sufficient for return-to-School if asymptomatic, but the second test should be completed within the timeframe given.

Testing Resources

Boston and other communities across Massachusetts have recently expanded PCR testing locations and hours. View a list of free, no-appointment-necessary sites in Boston. At-Home Rapid tests are available for purchase at your local pharmacy and online. There are also a limited number of free rapid tests available at some community locations, via the USPS, or via the Commonwealth.

In the event you are required to test by NBSS (due to an exposure or another reason), and if you can not find a test in a suitable time frame, the School will have a limited number of rapid tests on hand for your use.

Other Testing Resources

NBSS requires vaccination against COVID-19 for all faculty, staff, and students, with reasonable accommodation plans provided for those seeking an exemption due to a qualifying medical or religious reason.

All faculty, staff, and students whose work or study requires their presence on campus must receive a Covid-19 booster shot no more than 30 days after they become eligible, unless they have obtained an approved exemption from the School, such as a health, medical, or religious accommodation.

  • New students should provide a copy of their vaccination card (with birth-date redacted) by filling out this certification form.
  • Faculty and staff should provide a copy of their vaccination card (with birth-date redacted) to our human resources consultant.

Any full-time student or staff or faculty member who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates vaccination, or who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, may engage in an interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided. Additional safety protocols may be required or recommended as appropriate for accommodation. Students must submit their request to Bryan McGrath, Director of Student Life & Career Services, at bmcgrath@nbss.edu no later than one month before their training begins. We may not be able to consider accommodations for those who request one after that date.

The vaccine requirement may also apply to other regular visitors to the building.

We won’t be vaccinating people at NBSS, since it requires infrastructure, training, and support we just don’t have.

However, now that anyone in Massachusetts over age 12 is eligible to get the vaccine, access has been increasing. Find a local vaccination location, and view more information from the CDC about the vaccines.

While we’ve heard from many about their enthusiasm for the vaccine, we acknowledge that there may be some who are hesitant about it. We encourage anyone feeling this way to reach out to your doctor, and to review the information provided by the CDC to learn more.

By all accounts, vaccines are safe and effective at reducing serious illness from Covid-19, including new variants that may arise. It’s for this reason that we as a School feel confident that adding vaccination to our community’s response will be a meaningful, effective way to maintain our continued health and safety.

Any student who has a qualifying medical condition that contraindicates vaccination, or who objects to being vaccinated on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs and practices, may engage in an interactive process to determine if a reasonable accommodation can be provided. Additional safety protocols may be required or recommended as appropriate for accommodation. Students must submit their request to bmcgrath@nbss.edu no later than one month before their training begins. We may not be able to consider accommodations for those who request one after that date.

Please note that additional safety protocols may be required as par of accommodation plans.

We have updated the School’s health and safety protocols to reflect our vaccine requirement for all students, staff, and faculty, and the understanding that vast majority of our community will be vaccinated as a result. View FAQs listed below for more information on mask wearing, testing, visitors, and other policies.

For fully-vaccinated individuals, masks are optional in program areas, and during program activities. When in individual or shared offices, masks are optional for vaccinated individuals.

All unvaccinated individuals (students, staff, faculty, or guests) must wear masks at all times.

For students, faculty, or staff who receive a positive Covid-19 test result, after returning to School they must wear a mask for 5 additional days. See the “Illness” section below for more information about positive cases.

For those seeking a vaccine exemption, masks may be a required component of accommodation plans. Specific requirements will be communicated individually.

Acceptable face coverings include N95, KN95, or KN94 masks, surgical masks, and quality fabric masks. Bandannas and buff/ neck gaiters are not acceptable. Please note that NBSS has a limited number of KN95 masks available, for those who have trouble procuring one on their own.

Daily self-attestation or screening is no longer be required. However, if you do not feel well, do not come to School or work. Please let your instructor or supervisor know you’re staying home, and we’ll work with you to find ways to make up any missed work.

Visitors are allowed in the building by appointment with approval from the program’s Department Head, and must be accompanied by a Staff or Faculty “host”, and sign in at the Front Desk. This policy includes both individuals and small groups. Unvaccinated visitors must wear masks at all times.

Students may be allowed a limited number of guests, with pre-approval from their department head, and only during normal program hours (no evenings or weekends).

The School will begin hosting in-person public events in May 2022.

The School will begin hosting in-person public events in May 2022. We will also begin providing space for private events by outside organizations that same month. When possible, we will provide virtual options for events, exhibitions, and so on.

As always, we will continue to follow guidance from the CDC and Commonwealth’s Department of Public Health.

We no longer have travel or large gathering restrictions for vaccinated individuals. We encourage our staff, faculty, and students to be cautious at large gatherings or when traveling to areas of high risk for COVID-19, to respect the safety of others in the NBSS community.

The well-being of our community is our top priority, and we are taking all measures available to us to ensure the School remains a safe place to learn.

  • We have implemented a number of protocols for a safe, healthy, and productive environment at NBSS. This includes precautions to mitigate the spread of disease, interventions should someone in our community become sick, and multiple contingencies for working and learning remotely. View our Health & Safety Plan at the link on this page above.
  • We have drafted an emergency response plan using information and guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC)World Health Organization (WHO) and our local agency, the Boston Public Health Commission.
  • We have implemented a number of protocols for a safe, healthy, and productive environment at NBSS. This includes precautions to mitigate the spread of disease, interventions should someone in our community become sick, and multiple contingencies for working and learning remotely.
  • We encourage full-time students, faculty, and staff to be cautious when traveling to areas of high risk for Covid-19. We also ask our community to follow the Commonwealth’s advisories for travelers, including self-quarantine and testing as appropriate.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation as it relates to Covid-19 in Boston and our surrounding communities. Our response plan will be continually updated as the situation demands, and we will communicate any changes or issues with our community as they happen.

We will communicate any closure—as well as the reason and any plans for reopening—through email and this website primarily, and possibly via text as well.

Illness

We all have a role to play in keeping our community safe. This means practicing common-sense behaviors such as:

  • For those seeking a vaccine exemption, masks may still be a required component of accommodation plans. Masks are required for outside unvaccinated visitors.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and/or disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Get a flu shot.

If any person at NBSS (faculty or staff member, student, instructor, or vendor) is diagnosed as Covid-19 positive, the School will follow the procedures listed below, which allow for a quick assessment and response.

  • The School will notify by email and text all those who are known to have had close contact with the individual who is diagnosed as Covid-19 positive. The email will provide guidelines as to next steps depending on the condition and vaccination status of those involved. No personal information will be provided per federal privacy standards.
  • The areas of the facility (program, classroom, office, etc) where there was a Covid-19 positive case will be disinfected by an outside vendor in accordance with CDC standards. Such areas of exposure may be closed for up to 14 days. If an area is a full-time program space, remote training for students may occur during this time.

Please note: each situation will follow these general procedures, but additional or alternative protocols may be used to address the specificity of any instance. Protocols may also change, as new health guidance becomes available.

  • As in all cases when you are experiencing symptoms of a contagious illness, you should stay home and let your instructor or supervisor know you’ll be out. The first priority is your health, and we will work with you to find ways to make up for any missed time.
  • If you have fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of Covid-19, please let us know and seek prompt medical evaluation by a healthcare professional. Depending on their advice you may or may not need to be tested.
  • If you receive a positive diagnosis for Covid-19, please let us know. We will then provide further guidelines as to any quarantine and your return to School.

For more information, review the recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control if you have concerns about COVID-19.

If you test positive for COVID-19, please follow these guidelines:

  • Notify your instructor, supervisor, and/or the Provost office of your status.
  • Stay home and self-isolate. Before you can return to NBSS, at least 5 days must have passed since your symptoms first appeared, or from the date of you positive test result. Even if vaccinated and asymptomatic, you can not return to NBSS until after this length of time.
  • Any fever must have been absent for at least 72 hours (without the use of medicine that reduces fevers).
  • Other symptoms must have improved (for example when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
  • A doctor’s note confirming that you are cleared to return to NBSS may also be required.
  • Once you return to School, you must wear a mask for an additional 5 days.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the School when you’re ready. Please keep us informed of how you’re doing. As always, follow the advice of a medical professional and take good care of yourself.

Self-isolate (also known as self-quarantine or quarantine) means you should stay home and avoid contact with others. Do not go to work, classes, events, other social gatherings. To the extent possible, do not use public transportation (airplanes, buses, trains) or ride-shares until you are told it is safe to return to normal activities by your medical provider.

A close contact is someone with whom you have been within six feet of for at least 10-15 minutes while symptomatic or within 48 hours before symptom onset – regardless of whether you were wearing a mask or not. A close contact can also be someone who had direct contact with the droplets of a Covid-19 case (e.g., being coughed on) while not wearing a mask or face covering.

Note that this definition may be updated in light of recent developments. Please review current CDC guidelines to stay informed.

It’s best to review the recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Health and safety guidelines for quarantining are regularly updated, and may depend on your unique situation including vaccination status. As always, please keep us informed of your status and any absence that may be necessary.

In an effort to keep our community as healthy, safe, and productive as possible, we ask that you immediately notify your instructor, supervisor, and/or the Provost so we can respond appropriately. Note that the response required will be based on the length and condition of exposure, your and the other individual’s vaccination statuses, and a number of other factors.

In certain circumstances, we may require that you get tested 5 days after your exposure, either at a Covid-19 Testing Site near you, or using a FDA-approved At-Home Rapid Test. You may be required to produce a negative result prior to returning to School.

As always, you should also review the recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control. Health and safety guidelines are regularly updated, and may depend on your unique situation, including vaccination status.

Full-Time Training

The NBSS Health & Safety Plan includes School-wide precautions and requirements to mitigate the spread of disease, interventions should someone in our community become sick, and multiple contingencies for working and learning remotely. Learn more about these details in the FAQs above under Protocols and Illness.

As of May 2,2022, we will follow these protocols:

  • Masks are optional for vaccinated individuals. For those seeking a vaccine exemption, masks may still be a required component of accommodation plans. Masks are required for outside unvaccinated visitors.
  • Handwashing is encouraged as a part of “hand hygiene,” for general good health.
  • Physical distancing will no longer be required unless it is a part of an approved accommodation.
  • Plexi barriers are optional, and may be used if still wanted for safety or part of an accommodation plan.
  • Daily self-screening is no longer required.
  • We use a tap card system at the front desk for tracking attendance. All students entering the building must tap in at the front desk.
  • Eating together indoors and outdoors is allowed at this time. Group size may be limited.
  • Restrooms are no longer designated for specific groups.
  • Staff will be able to resume routine visits to program areas.
  • Use of common spaces for meetings, social gathering, organized in-person opportunities, in-person affinity group meetings is allowed. Masks are optional for vaccinated individuals. This includes Shaw and Greener conference rooms, Fine Dining, North Suite central area, etc. Group size may be limited.

Programs that practice field work, such as Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry, are expected to follow all of the same health and safety protocols as they do at NBSS, even though they are not in the building. Masks for fully-vaccinated students and faculty are optional while in program spaces and at program activities, including off-site and outdoor work.

Masks are required for all unvaccinated visitors. For those seeking a vaccine exemption, masks may still be a required component of accommodation plans, and those requirements will be communicated individually.

Students should also wash or sanitize their hands frequently, remain home when sick, and abide by any other official School precautions.

As of fall 2021, all full-time programs returned to their usual spaces, and we returned to full student capacity without the need for physical distancing.

The 2021-22 academic year returned to a normal schedule.

Download the 2021-22 Academic Calendar for 9-month cohorts, the 2021-22 Academic Calendar for Violin Making & Repair students, or view a visual version of the Calendar.

We will take the regular Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring breaks. Please note the following:

  • We no longer have travel or large gathering restrictions. We encourage everyone to take caution with large gatherings and travel to areas of high Covid-19 risk, to respect the safety of others in the NBSS community. All students, faculty, and staff should comply with the Commonwealth’s travel guidelines.
  • For unvaccinated students with approved exemptions, proof of a negative test is required to returning to NBSS after Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring Breaks, and after traveling to areas at high risk for virus transmission. Tests should be administered within a week prior to returning to school. Please use your best judgement and be tested after any gatherings or travel.

Learn more about testing requirements and recommendations in the Protocols section above.

Faculty are prepared for remote training with students, which can be utilized in the event of an individual’s absence due to Covid-19, if a program is temporarily under quarantine, or if the building needs to close for a period of time.

We will work with students to make sure that any absence due to your illness or self-isolation doesn’t affect you adversely. The first priority is your health.

We understand that instruction at NBSS is hands-on and space/machine dependent. Your instructor will work with you to find ways to make up for any missed work, and how to make your time out of class as productive as possible. This may include suggested tasks like drawing, researching, or reading, communicating via email, viewing online videos, etc. Since every situation will be different, instructors will tailor their approach to their program specifically.

We are considering a variety of options for make up work during the course of the pandemic. Know that the faculty and staff will continue to work with you, individually in many cases, to find the best way forward in each of your programs. We remain committed to you and the successful completion of your work.

Please contact your instructor. As each situation will be different, they will work with you on leave options, and any special steps or accommodations needed to keep our community healthy.

Continuing Education Classes

In-person Continuing Education classes have now resumed at the School. View all classes and register here. You can also view Health & Safety protocols and requirements for CE students on this FAQs page, including our vaccination policy.

Full-Time Enrollment & Tuition

Everyone must determine whether this is the right time for training at NBSS and as information continues to change about Covid-19, we understand that a decision you make now may change. If you decide it’s not the right time, please reach out to our Admissions department. Each student and each program will have different timelines for enrolling in the future.

Students may withdraw at any point in the school year. Here are the provisions of our current withdrawal policy:

  • If enrollment is terminated after one week but before 4.5 weeks have been completed the student will owe 30% of the period’s tuition.
  • If enrollment is terminated after 4.5 weeks but before 9 weeks are completed, the student will owe 50% of the period’s tuition.
  • After nine weeks, all tuition for the period is due.

In the event the building or a program is closed for a prolonged period of time, we will assess the possibility of additional training time for students upon reopening.

The Veterans Administration’s education and housing benefit programs are continuing as usual at this time. No changes are being made to certifications already submitted. We are continuing to monitor policy information coming from the VA, and will update our veteran population if anything changes.

Working at NBSS

As Covid-19 statistics improve, and vaccination rates both locally and within the School community increase, we are excited for a time when many of the day-to-day practices we know and value can resume. As a primarily hands-on, in-person School—one that values close collaboration, shared effort, and strong collegiality—we recognize the benefits to being in our building together.

As always, the health and safety of our School community is of utmost importance. The School continues to follow its health and safety protocols, which are updated as guidance from the CDC and state and local health departments change.

  • Starting in September 2021, all regular full-time staff members returned to in-office work at least 3 days per week. We’ll keep this schedule through early 2022, and we plan to increase that to a minimum of 4 days per week later in the year. In all cases, your supervisors or team may decide that more in-office time is needed, particularly in student-facing roles or at certain times of the year. Each staff member must work with their supervisor on an approved in-office work schedule.
  • To facilitate this transition back to in-office work, the School will reimburse the reasonable costs associated with parking while staff and faculty members are working in the building through July 31, 2022.

Visitors to our store are welcome during regular business hours. Visitors to our programs are allowed, by appointment only, and must be accompanied by a Staff or Faculty “host.” All unvaccinated visitors must wear masks.

Students may be allowed a limited number of guests, with pre-approval from their department head, and only during normal program hours (no evenings or weekends).

As in all cases when you are experiencing symptoms of a contagious illness, you should stay home, let your supervisor know you’ll be out, and follow the advice of your medical professional.

Refer to the “Illness” section above for detailed actions to take in the event you are diagnosed with COVID-19. Please see the employee handbook for additional details and policy addenda on absences and missed work.

Please contact your supervisor. As each situation will be different, they will work with you on leave options, and any special steps or accommodations needed to keep our community healthy.

Review the employee handbook for additional details and policy addenda in light of COVID-19.

Your health and safety is our top priority. It is important that people stay home if they are sick, and help maintain the health of our community.

Please see the employee handbook for additional details and policy addenda related to working from home and sick time in light of COVID-19.

Yes, if you are self-isolating but not actively sick, you are expected to work from home. Please discuss options with your supervisor, including remote access, conference calls, etc. Work that cannot be done remotely will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

Faculty and instructors should privately check in with the student exhibiting illness, and please ask them to leave class and make arrangements to see a medical professional. Please let Claire Fruitman or Marc Dreyfus know so they can follow up, if needed.

NBSS will provide or pay for parking for staff and faculty through July 31, 2022.

  • Faculty or staff who would prefer to go back to public transportation can do so.
  • For faculty and staff who drive in to work at the School, a schedule for the limited spaces in the NBSS Richmond Street lot will be built with parking days and spots.
  • If it is not your scheduled day or the lot is full, use your School charge card at a local parking lot/garage, or submit receipts for reimbursement. Here is a list of parking rates for nearby garages.
  • If parked in our lot, you’ll need to move your own car if you are blocking others, and you may be asked to move to an offsite lot on any given day, even if you have a reserved spot. Please submit your license plate number to the front desk so we track approved vehicles and easily coordinate moving cars.
  • All guests or non-scheduled parking will be coordinated with the front desk.
  • Departments must notify the front desk about all deliveries.

Ongoing Communications