Welcome Back! and A Few Reminders
April 25, 2021
As follow-up to the full time elementary return, we are excited (and a bit anxious) to welcome back all middle and high school students tomorrow while supporting those who will stay remote. It feels like the first day of school all over again as we restructure routines and recreate safety protocols. I offer a few reminders and resources to make tomorrow go smoothly.
The vacation week was very quiet for new COVID cases until Friday night. Since then 4 student cases were reported: 1 Willard, 1 CMS, and 2 CCHS. Our total case count this year is 184 to date.
Asymptomatic Pool Testing
We continue to urge you to participate in the pool testing that will ensure we isolate any asymptomatic positive cases. With thanks to the CMS PTG compiling the information, here are reminders of how it works and how to sign up:
Myth #1: If my child’s pool tests positive, my child will have to quarantine for 10 days.
Fact #1: If your child’s pool tests positive, they will only have to quarantine until they perform an individual test and receive a negative result. For this purpose, the district is now accepting the AFC Urgent Care rapid molecular ID NOW test, which gives immediate results to minimize quarantine time. Each time that a Concord pool has tested positive so far, the positive individual within the pool was identified within hours using this method.
Myth #2: If my child participates in pooled testing, they will frequently have to perform individual tests because their pool will test positive often.
Fact #2: This program has performed over 10,000 tests to date in the Concord schools, and from those only three pools have turned up positive so far. For the vast majority of participants, pooled testing has provided a weekly confirmation that they are still COVID free.
Myth #3: If my child participates in pooled testing, they will have to endure an uncomfortable and invasive sampling procedure every week.
Fact #3: If you had a PCR test done in 2020, you may remember a scratchy swab going much further into your nose than you would like. Pooled testing swabs and procedures today are much better than this. The swabs are now as soft as a Q-Tip and only the cottony head of the swab enters the nostril. It is not a deep swab.
With the return to fully in-person learning, expanding our testing to over 2,500 students will be key in helping to maintain a safe environment for all. We need your help. If you haven’t already provided consent in Aspen for your child to take part, please do so. Our thanks to the families of the 1,700+ students who are already part of the program.
Update CMS and CCHS Bus Routes
The Transportation Department worked tirelessly to create routes with more capacity on them so all CMS and CCHS students wanting to ride could do so while maintaining three feet of distance. Those routes are posted here:
CMS and CCHS Full Return Information
Both principals have posted extensive details to assist CMS and CCHS families in preparing for tomorrow’s full return. You can find that information on the school webpages as noted below.
As you return from break, it is critical that the travel protocol be followed. We are so grateful for the ongoing cooperation. Below is what is posted on the district webpage as to our current process for Out of State Travel:
The protocols of the Concord Public Schools and Concord-Carlisle Regional School District remain more conservative than the state’s travel advisory dated March 22, 2021. All students who travel must provide a negative PCR test after returning to Massachusetts. Antigen and pool tests will not be accepted. We will accept a rapid molecular ID NOW test. This does not apply to travel out of state for less than 24 hours.
If a student has had COVID within the last 90 days then a PCR test is not required but proof of the positive test may be required. If a child were COVID positive more than 90 days prior to travel, the PCR test is required upon return to Massachusetts.
If a student is fully vaccinated (14 days post-second shot of vaccine), a PCR test is not required. The schools require proof of vaccination be provided for any child that has traveled.
As of April 26, 2021, CMS and CCHS students who remain home awaiting test results will not be able to live stream into the classroom due to the full return of all students to in-person learning.
So Deeply Appreciative of the Moment
When we closed on March 12, 2020, we had no idea that it would take over 12 months to welcome all students back to our school buildings. We learned that the relationships and connections make a school, not the facility. That said, we also learned what was invaluable in those relationships and what we would never again take that for granted. So, it is worth taking a moment to appreciate the significance of tomorrow’s return and all that it symbolizes about we learned matters the most: being together. It will come with new challenges as we change the variables. It will require a new type of partnership as we support each other through the transition. The collaboration that got us this far will get us through the next seven weeks. There is so much to be grateful for.
Please let us know if you have questions. We look forward to seeing everyone tomorrow!