I wanted to take an opportunity to thank everyone for their understanding and flexibility as we started our new testing program. It is awkward and different and uncomfortable, but I have no doubt that it has already made a difference in the safety of our community as a whole.
The rounds of testing between now and the February vacation will involve cohorted testing groups by grade. Each grade will have an A and B group, and they will alternate weeks of testing. In a cohorted pooled testing situation, follow-up testing can be done at either the symptomatic or asymptomatic line.
The second graders did an excellent job with morning meeting today, and it was great to hear them read our closing meditation: ”I would like you to take a moment to think about how you like to be treated and how you treat others.” In a regular year, those words are stated everyday on this campus. I think it is important for all of us to consider the meaning of this sentence as we try to stay safe during the pandemic. So frequently, people don’t know how they got the virus or when they came in close contact, and frankly, it could be any of us at any time. Thank you again for your understanding.
Over the vacation the state and DESE updated quarantine and return to school guidelines. If a student or teacher is a close contact, they must quarantine and be tested on the fifth day after their last exposure to the virus. If that test is negative then the total required days of isolation is only seven days as long as there are no symptoms and monitoring takes place. If a test is not taken the required quarantine period is 14 days as long as there are no symptoms. If a member of the community tests positive, there must be ten days of isolation and then the individual can return after 24 hours without a fever, improvement with other symptoms, and clearance from a medical official or public health authority.
The state has extended the deadline for the flu vaccine. Flu cases are down dramatically nation wide and agencies at the local, state, and federal levels continue to believe that a flu vaccination is an excellent piece of the overall strategy to manage the impact of COVID 19 on hospitals and communities. If you have not gotten a flu shot please do so immediately. We are requiring that every student is vaccinated by February 1 or sends an email seeking a medical or religious exemption.
I apologize for the COVID heavy update. Trust me, I would much rather talk about the weekend of NFL playoff games, my latest attempt to make ramen, or where to find a snowy owl, but this week we needed to address a lot of COVID related items, and I am sure you understand.
Have a great weekend.
Thank you and be well,