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Superintendent's Weekly Update (1/22/2021)

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Weekly Update: Friday, January 22, 2021  

  1. How do I sign my child up for the COVID-19 weekly screening

  2. COVID-19 District Dashboard (Updated each Sunday Evening)

  3. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Removes Requirement for Flu Vaccination

How do I sign my child up for the COVID-19 weekly screening

As the District prepares for adding students to its weekly COVID-19 screening, which will begin in early February, I am asking families to sign-up in advance. The weekly screening is optional.  Participating in the screening will help us to evaluate if there are any asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals in our school community.  Screening is an additional tool we can use to help slow the spread of the virus.  We highly encourage families to have their children participate as an additional strategy to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Quick facts

  1. Student PCR screening will take place each week beginning in early February.

  2. The swab will be a self-collection.  Families will collect the sample in the morning at home and send it to school the same day.

  3. The screening is a PCR test which is the ‘gold standard’ in COVID-19 testing.

  4. The individual samples are ‘pooled’ at the lab. This allows for individual retesting of the samples in the positive pool and the ability to identify the positive test without collecting new samples.

  5. Individual privacy and HIPPA compliance will be maintained.

  6. More information will be shared next week.

The Take-Home Kit

The kit will contain everything you need in one small box.  It will be sent home with your child at the beginning of the week for return on Thursday or Friday, depending on cohort in-person days.

Collection Process (Observed by the parent or guardian at home)

The swab is then placed in the tube.  

The cap is placed on the tube. 

The tube is placed in the provided plastic bag and brought to school.  

Collected at School and Sent to Lab for Pooled Testing

Weekly Screening

Detect Positive Cases

Take Action

Students will participate in weekly PCR COVID-19 screening.

The tests are pooled at the lab to save costs and time. Pools will include up to 16 samples. If a pool is positive, the individual(s) in the pool who are COVID-19 positive are identified through further processing at the lab with the original sample. There is no need for additional sample collection.

The process takes up to 48 hours. The District is planning on having samples returned to school on Thursday and Friday of each week. The pools will be shipped to the lab and results will be known by the end of the day on Sunday each week. Positive individuals will be notified before starting in-person learning each week.

Covid-19 District Dashboard

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health Removes Requirement for Flu Vaccination

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is removing the requirement for flu vaccination for attendance in childcare/preschool, primary, secondary and postsecondary education.  Preliminary data show that this has been a mild flu season to date, presumably as people have received their seasonal flu vaccine and have been adhering to mask-wearing and social distancing due to COVID-19. Given the intensive Commonwealth-wide efforts regarding COVID-19 vaccination, DPH wants to alleviate the burden to obtain flu vaccination and focus on continuing our COVID-19 vaccination efforts.  

DPH continues to strongly recommend that everyone age six months and older receive their seasonal flu vaccine each year.  

Jana Ferguson

Assistant Commissioner 

MA Department of Public Health


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