Case Update & Pool Testing for ALL Students 2/17

Case Update & Pool Testing for ALL Students 2/17
Posted on 02/12/2021

Dear LS Students, Families, and Staff,

I am writing to confirm we have additional confirmation of positive student COVID cases, which brings our total of new cases reported since Wednesday to 23.  Contact tracing for all cases is now complete.  I extend my sincerest gratitude for the herculean efforts of the nurses and cooperation of staff and families.  Here is a link to our updated COVID data slides.  Please note this link is live and is updated regularly. 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1kKrOD-fnE1JvLF9LOen40GNnmLZRAu6HKLUBMvqG0QQ/edit?usp=sharing

We will continue to work with the Health Department to map out the possible sources of infection in order to come to a better understanding of the reason for our abrupt increase so we can determine how best to stop the alarming spread that has impacted our school community so terribly. It is clear that there were multiple possible overlapping sources of infection.  To our students:  When you interact with one group of friends, keep in mind that the people in that group are interacting with other groups of friends that may not all be following safety protocols.  You need to be sure you are following safe practices at all times.  It is important that you let us know about possible sources of overlap so we can let people know to quarantine in order to prevent further spread. As it stands now, I am sure we have many more cases to be confirmed over the next week and am hoping not to have another round of infections affecting the week after. 

While rates of infection are decreasing in the state and locally, we are not at all immune to spikes in infections if we let down our guard about safety protocols. You can absolutely be with small groups of friends but you must practice doing so safely: wearing masks, maintaining distance and frequent hand washing.  We need you all to do this for yourselves and for each other to prevent a secondary round of infections to feed of this current round.  If we all do our part there is no reason for this to continue for another cycle or to happen again.  The current spike has cost us the opportunity to be in person, and the cancellation of almost all of the extra curricular activities we have worked so hard to keep.  We need each of you to focus on what it is that you are doing to stay safe so that we can resume school and activities in person after the break.  

Here is important NEW information and reminders for you. 

1.  Due to the weather forecast of a possible storm early in the week we will shift sample pool test collection from Tuesday to Wednesday, February 17, 10 am to noon.   Sample collection is in the LS school cafeteria.

2.  For this particular collection we invite and encourage ALL students to participate whether you are currently enrolled in the program or not.  We will register you on site for no additional cost.  The only requirement is to submit an informed consent form.  A copy is attached below and copies will also be available on site.  You can only sign your own consent form if you are 18 or over.  Otherwise you need one signed by your parent/guardian in order to be able to participate. 

Here is the link to how to enroll in the pool testing program through the end of March. You are not at all required to do this to be able to participate in testing on 2/17.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dvwxhouURxU2OwOVA6O9M9RqRv815ipWzynHDHjAKcI/edit?usp=sharing

3.  As a precaution against the new COVID variants the CDC has issued new guidance recommending the use of double masks or N95 quality masks at this time.  The guidance can be read at this link.  

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7007e1.htm?s_cid=mm7007e1_w

4.  Vacation Reminder from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:

The Department recognizes that the upcoming February vacation may pose a challenge to districts in their efforts to limit students’ and staff’s exposure to COVID-19. The Department encourages district and school leaders to remind staff and students about the best practices that the Department of Public Health has outlined. These include limiting the size of any gatheringlimiting get-togethers to only people who live together or to a small group of individuals with whom they are regularly in contact, and avoiding travel. Anyone considering travel should review and abide by Massachusetts travel orders, and people who want to travel to another state that is not a lower-risk state should be aware of the quarantine requirements involved with such travel.

This is not how we thought we were going to end the week before the break!  I am sorry it turned out the way it did.  But here we are .... at the break!  Please enjoy it, be safe, and I hope to see us back in school in person on February 22!  To all our students who have tested positive I wish you all a quick and sound recovery!

Sincerely,

Bella Wong

Informed Consent Form - reflex copy.docx