January 11, 2022,
I write to let you know that we are still awaiting yesterday’s pool testing results at all of the schools. The labs are facing significant volume so this is not unexpected.
As mentioned, we were watching a group of cases in a Thoreau Kindergarten classroom. Yesterday, I consulted with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the public health officials. It was decided that if we had another positive case in that room then we would shift to remote learning for the remainder of the week. We did learn of another positive case this morning so that shift will start tomorrow.
We are constantly watching the data and patterns. Each situation comes with its own context, age level of the students, and other unique aspects. We will be considering all of that carefully before any decisions are made. I do not expect large numbers of remote classrooms but very occasional short-term situations like this one.
Stay warm and have a wonderful evening!
January 9, 2022
I hope you enjoyed the unplanned three day weekend! COVID is among the updates tonight while I also share other district events and appreciation.
In the Spotlight
It goes without saying that among the many unsung heroes of the pandemic are the school nurses. This past week as COVID surged and school reopened, the role they play in supporting students, staff, and families was very evident. Their dedication and commitment are unending as COVID makes school nursing an around-the-clock job. Please join me in thanking them! The photo below is from 2020 and is missing CCHS Nurse Sara Sequeira and includes Carlisle Public School nurses Lauren Sawyer and Lori Desjardin. Finally, I would be greatly remiss not to appreciate the unwavering support of Public Health Nurse Tricia McGean.
Concord Public School and CCHS Nurses: Paula Amante, Kari DeCapua, Michele Mosher, Lisa Koski, Polly King, Mary Jenkinson, Meg Jensen, Patsy Sullivan.
Positive Cases: As did all schools, we had an unprecedented week last week with COVID cases. Thank you for your support. The COVID Dashboard will be updated throughout the week usually late in the afternoon and evening.
Pool Testing: We will pool test again tomorrow and strongly ask that everyone participate. Pools will be reduced to 3 people so it will be simpler to identify the positive individual. Individuals are identified through antigen testing at the school without the need for a PCR test so we know the results immediately. Testing will be weekly going forward. You can enroll your child at: Electronic Consent Form
Concord Middle School Project
Two upcoming virtual coffees will provide highlights of the project to date:
Jan 12 – 11:00 AM
Meeting ID: 913 4188 4727
Find your local number: https://concordps.zoom.us/u/abqiDEuXex
Jan 13 – 7:00 PM
Meeting ID: 978 8621 6289
Find your local number: https://concordps.zoom.us/u/aJan8IKpB
The CMSBC webpage provides additional information on the entire project.
Concord Free Public Library
The new Children’s Library and the Commons space are open to patrons! More details are found here: https://t.co/ubsMGXwgjH
Dr. Martin Luther King Celebration January 21 6:30 p.m. Via ZOOM
A reminder to virtually join the special celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King on the evening of January 21. Please click here for the event flyer, and RSVP in order to receive a zoom link in advance. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Andrew K. Nyamekye.
Thank you again for the partnership and collaboration. Have a great start to the week!
January 6, 2022
Due to the pending snowstorm, the Concord Public Schools, CCHS, and Ripley will be closed tomorrow, Friday, January 7, 2022.
Have a great snow day!
January 5, 2022
We are off to a good start in 2022. We know it has its challenges for families and students as well as the staff. In seeing positives, students are in school and we are running all of our extracurricular activities. We thank you for your support in making that happen.
The COVID Data Dashboard tells the big picture story for the week. In breaking down the school week so far, we learned of 65 cases on Monday, 42 yesterday, and approximately 35 today.
Pool Testing Update
We will not be pool testing tomorrow as originally planned due to a backlog in testing results and the potential for a storm on Friday. We will test everyone on Monday. Results from Monday’s testing are posted on the COVID Data Dashboard. We tested over 2200 staff and students with 31 positives.
Vaccine Clinic Information- Thursday, January 6 CCHS
- Dress to possibly wait outside to minimize crowds indoors
- Remember to bring your vaccine card
And yes, I’ll be watching the forecast carefully over the next 24-36 hours! Have a good night!
January 4, 2022
I write to share information about Thursday night’s vaccine clinic.
We are all anxious for the 12-15 year olds to be boosted. Yesterday, the FDA voted for approval. CDC approval is likely over the next few days. The vendor is unable to offer the booster until full approval occurs so they will not be able to offer it at Thursday night’s clinic. The public health officials are looking to schedule another session in the next few weeks.
If you do have an appointment on Thursday night, please plan to come at your scheduled time. They are going to be deliberate about managing the number of people inside at one time given the omicron surge.
Enjoy the sun that finally returned today!
January 2, 2022
In order to streamline communication from families to the schools about COVID questions or cases, we created school-based COVID accounts. The district COVID account is closing down tonight. Preschool parents should contact Nurse Polly King until that account is ready. Please use these addresses from now on:
Thank you so much for your cooperation and support.
January 1, 2022
Happy New Year! Tonight, I share our plans for Monday as well as our revised COVID protocols for the upcoming weeks.
Monday, January 3
We will have a full day on our regular schedule on Monday. I have been able to sufficiently connect with leaders, health officials, and staff this week with more time planned together tomorrow to review our updated protocols. Staff will be able to test prior to student arrival. Our students need our routines to stay in place, albeit with some modifications to enhance safety. It was unlikely we could conduct student pool testing effectively without being in session. I am not sure there was a perfect plan here as you will see my peers in other districts doing different things. As superintendents, we have been well-connected this week and know that we each have our own individual contexts.
Updated COVID Protocols for January
The link above outlines our complete list of protocols to return as safely as possible next week. Significant changes are in yellow from previous plans this year. Below are the most noteworthy items to bring to your attention:
- Reinstating 3′ distance wherever possible including in classrooms with students facing the same direction
- Isolation and quarantine of positive cases and unvaccinated close contacts is now 5 days per DPH protocol
- Those individuals with COVID in the house need to stay home for the same 5 days and test negative before returning to school.
- Everyone should stay home even with mild symptoms. Please do not dismiss any symptoms.
- We now accept both PCR or antigen tests (including at-home ones).
- Students will wipe down desks when classes transition.
- Elementary students will return to the classroom for lunch. CMS and CCHS will space as much as possible when eating.
- High quality masks are important. We encourage staff and students to consider wearing N95 masks.
- Pool testing is recommended for everyone. We will test two days per week for the coming weeks.
- We continue to monitor ventilation and regularly track CO2 readings in all of the schools. Students missing school will receive prioritized assignments and a flexible approach to make-up work.
As has been the case for the last two years, we will monitor the plan and adjust accordingly. Further communication and opportunities for questions will soon follow.
I am confident that together we can get through yet another chapter of the pandemic. Have a wonderful evening!
December 31, 2021
Happy New Year!
On behalf of the school nurses, I am sharing the deadline to enroll in next week’s pool testing of tomorrow, January 1, 2022 at 12 pm. That will allow the nurses the remainder of the weekend to plan for Monday. We do plan to pool test everyone twice next week. With over 21,000 cases in Massachusetts yesterday, we see this as an invaluable tool to know about and isolate cases once we return to school.
You can enroll your child at: Electronic Consent Form
Later in the weekend, we will have other updates and information for everyone. The Data Dashboard is always available. Should it be of interest, the patterns in positive cases this week include spread throughout immediate families and exposures during Christmas gatherings. Almost everyone has been fully vaccinated or on a couple of occasions even boosted. Symptoms have all been mild and manageable which is very good news.
Have a great start to 2022!
December 29, 2021
Happy Wednesday! I share a few updates about COVID protocols and reminders of opportunities for pool testing and vaccinations.
COVID Positive 5 Day Isolation
In accordance with today’s DPH and DESE information, we will follow the CDC guideline for all individuals testing positive after December 23:
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolate) Regardless of Vaccination Status:
- Stay home for 5 days
- If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
- Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves.
COVID Vaccine Clinic
Ages 5 and up
Thursday, January 6
Concord-Carlisle High School
Register for an appointment:
https://home.color.com/ vaccine/register/purpleshield? calendar=c20a6c06-e5fa-4240- a952-9e74f871f6ee
We expect to pool test as many students as possible on Monday. It is an enormous resource that can assist us in managing the surge. If you have not given consent to test your child we urge you to consider participating. You can enroll your child at: Electronic Consent Form
Staff Masks and Antigen Tests
As you may have heard through the media, we are very fortunate to benefit from state provided KN95 masks and antigen tests for all staff that will be distributed prior to our return on Monday.
Close Contacts and Contact Tracing
The state notified us today that DESE and DPH are reviewing the CDC guidance. They will have updates to school districts by the weekend.
Please continue to use the COVID email account during the break as needed: email@example.com
Current district case counts are available in real time on the COVID Dashboard.
Have a great night!
December 27, 2021
I hope this finds you enjoying the holiday week. I have two brief COVID updates to share.
Concord Mask Mandate
As of tonight at midnight, all public places in Concord must adhere to a newly voted mask mandate. The details are found here: Concord Mask Mandate 12.27.21
CDC Quarantine and Close Contact Recommendations
The CDC just modified its quarantine and close contact guidelines. I expect the Department of Public Health and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide updates to the schools as the week evolves which will inform our protocols for the new year.
Please continue to use the COVID email account as needed: firstname.lastname@example.org
Current district case counts are available in real time on the COVID Dashboard.
We will share updated information later in the week as we have it. Enjoy the slower pace of the week off!
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