Hello SSD students, families, and staff,
As we head into the weekend, here are some updates on COVID and the TikTok Threat.
THE CHANGE IN OUR CLOSE CONTACT NOTIFICATION PROCESS
Over the past two weeks, we have been changing how we notify families if a child is a close contact to a positive COVID case at school. We have streamlined this process due to the demands with contact tracing, high numbers, and the increase in testing at schools. Families will receive a robocall alerting you to check your email with the specific information about test dates and quarantine. Please read the information carefully and if you still have questions, contact the school nurse at your child’s school.
NO CONTACT TRACING BY SCHOOLS DURING THE DECEMBER RECESS
This afternoon we were notified by the Secretary of Education that schools are not expected to conduct contact tracing over their holiday break. Beginning December 23, 2021, the Health Department will not advise schools of positive cases, and will not expect schools to provide line lists for cases that occur in schools.
The intent is to provide school staff an opportunity to rest and recover and spend time with family and friends.
When a child is a close contact and unvaccinated you will have three options: 14-day quarantine with no testing or Quarantine and test 7 days after last exposure or participate in Test-to-Stay. If your child is participating in Test-to-Stay and you receive the robocall during the school day, you do not need to pick them up. If they are not participating in Test-to-Stay then your child will need to be picked up at school.
So far, the Test-to-Stay program has been running smoothly. The program allows students to access their education in a controlled environment where close contacts are tested regularly. Per the Vermont Department of Health, students participating in Test-to-Stay will need to quarantine outside of school. Students should not be participating in recreational sports programs while participating in Test-to-Stay. Due to the mixing of schools, students cannot attend the All 4 One program when they are participating in Test to Stay.
Please consider signing your child up as soon as possible so that consent is ready and available to access if your child is identified as a close contact of a positive covid case in the classroom. This is a one-time registration for the school year. You will need to complete both the consent and Simple Report for Response testing:
- A student can only participate in Test-to-Stay if their parent/guardian has given consent. If you would like your child to participate in the response testing, including the antigen Test to Stay program, please complete the Consent webform as soon as possible.
- Vermont will be using SimpleReport to report the results of antigen tests. This reporting system allows for parents/guardians to receive their student’s results instantly. Please register your student, using this https://www.simplereport.gov/register/JYHZM
FROM THE VERMONT DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
Due to the currently large number of COVID-19 cases, we are asking Vermonters who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate themselves at home away from other people and begin reaching out to close contacts immediately. The Health Department will prioritize contact tracing to people at higher risk. You may not receive a phone call from a contact tracer, but you still need to stay home and away from others, and follow these steps to stop further spread.
Vaccines are the best tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. Unfortunately, our school student vaccination rate is low which impacts the number of COVID cases. When you are vaccinated you are much less likely to get sick and less likely to transmit the virus to others. There are many vaccine clinics available and you can register for first, second, or boosters at: https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine
There was a clinic for 5-11-year-olds at Elm and Union Street School on Tuesday. There will be another clinic at the schools on January 4th for the 1st or 2nd Pfizer dose. You can register on the VDH site.
The Pfizer booster expanded authorization for 16 and 17-year-olds on December 9th. In Vermont, 16 and 17-year-olds can register online for Pfizer boosters. They can also check with health care providers or pharmacies to receive their booster. It must have been at least 6 months since their second dose.
Here are the stats for our Tuesday Clinics
Total Vaccinate Appointment slots that were available: 150
Total slots used (including adult boosters): 50
Total slots used by a student: 26
If your child is vaccinated, please send a copy of the vaccination card to the school nurse.
TRAVEL & HOLIDAY GUIDANCE
With the high number of COVID cases, it is important to consider how to safely gather over the holidays. If you have symptoms, even mild ones, please make the hard, but right, choice to stay home. Get tested 5-7 days after the holiday gathering, even if you’re fully vaccinated and even if you don’t have any symptoms.
TODAY’S NATIONAL TIKTOK THREAT
I just wanted to reiterate that there was no direct threat to Springfield Schools today. Please know that if there was a specific threat to Springfield Schools we would have been working with law enforcement to further weigh whether or not school closure was necessary. With today’s threat being a nationwide one and with the Vermont Intelligence Center not seeing the threat as credible, we did decide that schools should remain open.
MY ONGOING THANKS
Thanks for all that you are doing. We are all physically, emotionally, and spiritually tired, but you keep stepping up. I appreciate those efforts and know that together we can get through this.
Have a great weekend,