I hope you and yours had a wonderful break, were able to enjoy the holidays and spend time with family and friends. As you are aware, the challenges associated with COVID-19 remain, and with the number of increased cases locally, across the Commonwealth, and nationally, we are working to ensure we are positioned well for a safe and healthy return to school. Health care professionals are predicting that as a result of the holiday season, and the Omicron variant, this spike will continue over the next few weeks. It is important that if your student is symptomatic they stay home until they are safe to return according to the latest guidance.
Our nurses, leadership team and entire staff are working tirelessly to make certain that schools can remain open safely. We will continue to prioritize use of our testing program (Test & Stay/Pool Testing) as well as follow the most up-to-date DESE/DPH’s COVID-19 Guidelines, UPDATED December 30, 2021. This week, DESE/DPH issued updated guidance following the CDC's recommended changes related to isolation and quarantine durations. We received the following from DESE on December 29, 2021:
“Updates to isolation and quarantine guidance. As many of you know, the CDC recently made changes to their guidance related to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine durations. The Department of Public Health (DPH) has updated the state-wide guidance which includes a reduction of the required isolation period for COVID-19 positive individuals in K-12 schools to 5 days (from 10 days in current guidance), effective immediately."
These updates go into effect immediately. To help understand these changes and assist in the safe transition back to school we have provided a few scenarios below. For additional information, please see the attached updated local protocols with noted changes highlighted in yellow.
Scenario #1--If your child tested positive over this vacation up through December 29, please read the following:
If your child tested positive over this vacation up through 12/29, regardless of vaccination status, and they continue to have symptoms that are not resolving or they have a fever >100.0, they must stay home on January 4th. You need to email the child's school nurse and review the situation before your child returns to school.
If your child tested positive over this vacation up through 12/29, they have no symptoms or their symptoms are greatly improved, and they have not had a fever in the prior 24 hours, they may return to school on January 4th. Please email your child's school nurse to let them know.
Scenario #2--If your child tested positive over this vacation from December 30 through January 3, please read the following:
- Your child must stay home on January 3rd.
- Your child must stay home for 5 days from the date of the positive test or the onset of symptoms, whichever occurred first.
- You need to email the school nurse and review the situation before your child returns to school.
Scenario #3--If your child was exposed to someone with COVID-19 and they have been vaccinated within the last 6 months and/or had a booster:
- They may return to school on January 3rd.
- They must wear a mask at all times for 10 days from the date of the exposure, including on the bus and in the car riding with others.
- They should test on Day 5 after the close contact if possible.
- If they develop symptoms, they must stay home and get a test.
Food Service Supply Chain Shortages: Before the end of 2021, our Food Service Department was informed of continuing supply chain shortages/issues. Please know our food services department continues to work diligently with other personnel to ensure that we have food stuffs in a timely manner for our students. Please know that the menus at our schools, as a result, are subject to change; and that we deeply appreciate your patience, understanding and support while we navigate these supply chain issues.
AlphaBest Education Update: AlphaBest Education continues to seek out and hire new staff. Director Jennings heads up our before and after school program and serves more than 80 students each day. She will continue to seek out and identify the most highly qualified staff for the district. Please be on the lookout for email updates from Mrs. Jennings regarding our before and after school programming.
MSBA Update: At a recent meeting of the David Prouty High School Building Committee on Tuesday, December 7th, 2021 at the Wire Village School members of our communities including Selectmen, Finance Committee members, business leaders, and the communities we serve attended this important informational event on our Preferred Schematic Report (PSR). Future meetings are planned throughout the month of January with the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committees in each community as well as other important events communicating the exciting design planned for our future David Prouty High School.
SEBRSD Upgrades Website and Launches New App! As you heard last month, the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District’s launched its new app! It’s everything SEBRSD, in your pocket. With the new app, you can access sports scores, cafeteria menus, news updates, weather alerts, and even emergency notifications. If you have not already done so, please download the app on Android: https://bit.ly/337GvMC or iPhone: https://apple.co/3ifgMYU.
Events taking place in January 2022! This month we have so many exciting activities taking place throughout our learning community.
- Event: SEPAC Meeting via Zoom (Mon, Jan 3rd, 6:30pm)
- Event: School Committee Meeting (Tue, Jan 11, 6:00 PM)
- Event: Half Day of School (Fri, Jan 14)
- Event: School Closed – Holiday: Martin Luther King's Birthday, (Mon, Jan 17)
In closing, we know that the pandemic continues to place added pressure on students, families, our staff and our learning community as a whole. We are genuinely appreciative of your patience, support, and partnership of the Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District. Take care. Stay well and Happy New Year! #Innovate #Inspire #Achieve
Paul S. Haughey, Ed. D
Superintendent of Schools
Spencer-East Brookfield Regional School District