January 7, 2022
Dear Alma Families,
Happy New Year! As we all return to school amidst a rise in COVID-19 cases both locally and across the country, we want to reiterate that our priority continues to be keeping our doors open for in person learning to the greatest extent possible so that scholars can do their best learning and receive the individual support they need. We are also committed to keeping our scholars and staff safe as we do this.
We will host a Network-wide Alma Family Zoom on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 5:30 pm.
We expect the number of positive cases in New Bedford to continue to increase in the coming weeks. We are actively working to keep school open in the following ways:
- Prioritizing proper ventilation in all spaces
- Providing dedicated Medical Assistant(s) at each campus
- Running a robust Test & Stay Program at each campus
- Requiring our staff to be fully vaccinated, or test weekly
- Frequently cleaning and sanitizing all high-traffic surface areas
Though we are experiencing a staffing shortage, we are currently able to staff our buildings and classrooms. We are prepared to transition individual classrooms to remote learning in case we are asked to do so by health officials due to high case rates. Per DPH and DESE guidelines, we do not anticipate at this time any need to shift grade levels or campuses to remote learning. We will only quarantine a classroom of scholars if absolutely necessary.
Keeping our schools open will take all of us working together to keep our communities safe. We are asking all Alma families to please:
- Get yourself and any eligible members of your household (ages 5 and up) vaccinated against COVID-19.
- Give consent for your scholar to participate in Test & Stay Program (if applicable)
- Continue to monitor your scholar for symptoms and keep them home if they do not feel well.
- Let us know If you are keeping your scholar home from school due to COVID-19, so that we are aware they may be absent for multiple days
- Provide the school with proof of COVID-19 vaccination by contacting your medical assistant with a photo of the vaccination card or other proof of vaccination status.
Alma will continue to follow DESE’s COVID Guidance, most recently updated here on Dec. 30, 2021. Please find the attached Frequently Asked Questions document for more information.
Keila Pires, Ottiwell Campus Medical Assistant, 508-296-0174
Amy Rivera, K-4 Douglass Campus Medical Assistant, 508-216-0271
Itamary Lopez, 6-8 Douglass Campus Medical Assistant, 508-205-9753
Frequently Asked Questions
If my scholar tests positive, how long do they have to be out of school now that the CDC has updated the isolation guidance?
Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive cases is a minimum of 5 days after symptom onset or after positive PCR or antigen test, if asymptomatic. Scholars may return to school:
- After 5 days (on or after day 6) and once they have:
- Been without fever for 24 hours (without taking fever-reducing medications); and
- Experienced improvement in other symptoms.
- Note: Scholars must continue to mask for 5 additional days when around others. Masks are already required at school.
If someone in my household tests positive for COVID-19 and cannot be fully isolated, but my scholar remains negative, how long before they can end their quarantine and return to school?
If a household member is unable to isolate, they will be continuing to expose any unvaccinated members of their household throughout the positive individual’s isolation period of at least 5 days. This means that any unvaccinated family members should remain in quarantine for the duration of the positive individual’s 5+ day isolation PLUS an additional quarantine period starting from the last date of that individual’s isolation. This additional quarantine period must be at least 5 days, depending on the criteria outlined in the quarantine guidance.
If someone is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual outside of school, can they participate in Test & Stay?
No. At this time, Test and Stay is intended for in-school close contacts only. Unvaccinated close contacts that were exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in their household (such as siblings or other family members) or other non-school setting, must quarantine at home per DPH/DESE Protocols (see link above). As a reminder, vaccinated close contacts are exempt from quarantine and do not participate in Test & Stay.