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Superintendent's Message January 1, 2022 Changes to COVID policy/procedures

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January 1, 2022

Good afternoon
As we begin the new year, I hope you and your families were able to enjoy the holidays.  However, we are mindful of the ongoing pandemic and the current concerns around the increase in COVID-19 cases. 

We are preparing to welcome students back with a full return to school on Tuesday, January 4.  In-person is where our students learn best and where we can best support their social emotional well-being.  

The State Department of Education (CSDE) has informed us this week,  they “and the entire Lamont administration remain committed to safely reopening Connecticut schools for in-person learning.”  CSDE is further supporting in-person learning with strategies to Vaccinate, Test, and Mitigate.

  • Vaccination remains our most important strategy for keeping kids in school by mitigating the spread and limiting the severity of symptoms.
  • Testing allows us to identify positive cases and limit the spread.  The state will be providing us with rapid tests for home use.  We will provide further information on how those will be distributed when they are received.
  • We have demonstrated significant success in mitigating the spread of this virus and keeping our schools safe for in-person learning.  We will continue to strictly enforce the mitigation measures that have worked so well for us to date, including masking and social distancing.  We will distance students as much as possible in class and at lunch.  At the elementary level, students will have snack at alternate, or ‘rolling’ times.  Frequent hand washing and sanitizing will continue.  

The Connecticut State Department of Public Health has issued optional policy and procedure changes for Quarantine, Isolation, Testing, and Contact Tracing.  Fairfield Public Schools will adopt these policies and procedures immediately, in response to the current health data.  Among the changes we are implementing: 

  • We are discontinuing in-school contact tracing.  We will continue to notify the community of positive cases through our daily updates. Fully vaccinated students and staff with no symptoms may continue with in person learning.  Students and staff with symptoms or those exposed to a positive case outside of school will need to stay home and test. Parents and guardians must contact their school administration if their child needs to quarantine. Please use the chart in the guidance document in making this decision. Elementary principals will let teachers and central office staff know in order to coordinate remote learning support.  6-12 principals will let teachers know that students will be in quarantine. 
  • Symptomatic students and staff must stay home and get tested.  Individuals who test positive should isolate for a minimum of five calendar days. Those who test negative and are fully vaccinated or those who have not had contact with a case outside of school may return to school when fever-free for 24 hours and other symptoms have significantly improved.  For details please follow the guidance document.
  • The district will accept the results of PCR, antigen, or home self-tests.
  • Please note the guidance defines fully vaccinated as having two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson and Johnson.  Fully vaccinated does not require boosters for students or staff.
  • As fully vaccinated students and staff with no symptoms may continue with in-person learning, the Screen and Stay program is discontinued.

Importantly, if you were contacted by the health department this week, you can reduce 5 days from your return to school or work date if you are asymptomatic.

  • We ask that you continue to keep children home if they feel sick, you are waiting for test results, have been in close contact with a positive case, or have any symptoms.

The full document can be found here.

Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to support our efforts.  We appreciate your continued understanding and patience.

Better days await us.

Take care,

Mike

Mike Cummings
Superintendent of Schools