Dear Parents, Caregivers and Staff:
As I said last week, we have a recent change in the COVID Testing and Quarantining guidance from the state of Vermont. We follow the guidelines from the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE). You can find the full text of the guidance here. We have a few students who are involved in the old Test-To-Stay (TTS) protocol and we will finish testing those students with that protocol. But starting tomorrow, Wednesday, January 19th, 2022, we will begin the new COVID procedures. These protocols apply to both staff and students regardless of where the exposure occurred (school or home).
The proposed changes in guidance include the following:
- A student or staff member who tests positive must be quarantined for a minimum of five (5) days and produce consecutive negative antigen tests on days 4 and 5 and have no symptoms in order to return to school - this includes any after school activities. If that person continues to test positive, then they remain quarantined until they produce 2 consecutive days of negative tests or complete ten (10) full days of quarantine and are symptom free;
- If a student tests positive, they will not be allowed to return to sports programs, physical education, or outside recess unless they are cleared by a Primary Care Physician;
- Parents should contact the school nurse when any positive results are found using any testing protocol.
- A vaccinated student or staff member who is a close contact may continue to come to school and participate in activities but must have two consecutive negative antigen tests on day 4 & 5 and remain symptom free.
- An unvaccinated student or staff member who is a close contact may continue to come to school as long as they have consecutive negative antigen tests for five (5) days. If the unvaccinated person tests positive, then the clock starts all over again for any close contacts.
- We will provide the appropriate number of Family Antigen Test Kits for all vaccinated and unvaccinated students or staff who either test positive or become close contacts.
- We still ask that families use precaution when monitoring symptoms every morning. If you suspect a COVID-related symptom, then please contact your school nurse. We may be able to help provide the initial antigen test.
- If you test positive, it is critical that you quarantine from all activity for the full five (5) days. We are finding circumstances where exceptions are being made for off-campus activities and this provides more cause for spread.
- We still ask that students remain masked at school when inside, but students may now remain unmasked when outdoors.
- We will continue to do what we can do with respect to sanitizing and hand washing in our buildings.
- Individual building administrators and nurses will work with families around best methods for passing out the appropriate number of Family Test kits.
- Family Testing is on the honor system and we trust that our parents will test as prescribed and report positive results.
Please keep in mind that if you test positive and choose not to participate in the testing program, then you will need to stay home and quarantine for a full ten (10) days and remain symptom free before returning. If you are a close contact and choose not to participate in the testing program, then you will need to quarantine for a minimum of five (5) days and be symptom free.
Again, we start this new at-home procedure tomorrow, January 19th. We will all need to be patient as we work out any kinks. If you ever have any questions, you can contact your local nurse who is considered the building COVID Coordinator.
COVID Vaccine Clinic Reminder
Another reminder that the Weathersfield School, in conjunction with the Ascutney Fire Department, has an open vaccine clinic coming up. This clinic is open to the public - your child does NOT have to be a student at Weathersfield School nor do you need to be a resident of the town of Weathersfield:
- Saturday, January 22, 2022
- 10:30-1:00 PM
- Walk up (no appointment needed)
- Boosters and Initial vaccinations
Winter Athletics Protocol Update
Our COVID Athletic Handbook has some minor updates after the holidays. You can find it at this link. As stated previously, we are not changing much for the month of January. The spectator protocols are the same for now. We have been able to live stream the games which helps. I want to thank the IT department and administration for their help with this. We have started playing games at the high school and middle school levels. Elementary players (grades 3-6) using our facilities are practicing and should be starting some competition after January 14th. The AD’s and the administrators are meeting weekly to determine the spectator rules. Right now, because of the unvaccinated nature of our younger players, we are holding off on middle and elementary spectators until we meet again next week. Stay tuned.
We did receive some guidance for the Vermont Principal’s Association (VPA) on the Test-To-Play rules. We are going to implement these rules going forward across the K-12 spectrum. Essentially, they are as follows:
> Students who Test Positive for COVID:
If a student tests positive for COVID they should not practice or play regardless of symptoms or vaccination status until a minimum of 5 days have passed AND they:
- Have two negative antigen tests;
- To the extent they were symptomatic, have had no fever for 24 hours (without the use of fever reducing medicine) and other symptoms have improved; and
- Have been cleared by their primary care physician to begin the Return-to-Play protocol
> Students who are vaccinated and a close contact:
If a student is vaccinated and in close contact with someone who tests positive, they can practice and play in interscholastic competitions/games.
- Student should be tested on day five post-exposure
- If the student tests positive or develops symptoms at any point they should follow section Students Who Test Positive for COVID above.
> Students who are NOT vaccinated and a close contact:
If a student is NOT vaccinated and is a close contact of someone who tests positive, they can take an antigen test daily and:
> continue to go to school and practices;
> following five negative daily antigen tests, return to interscholastic competitions/games
> follow steps for Students Who Test Positive for COVID
Our nurses and administrators want to make this transition as smooth as possible. We are entering into a new phase of self-monitoring. We know the Omicron virus is quite contagious and we do need to work closely together to mitigate the spread. As always, we appreciate the cooperation of our parent community.
Have a great day!
Dr. David Baker
Windsor Southeast Supervisory Union