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September 7, 2021
Dear Alma Families,
We are excited to welcome all of your scholars back to school this Fall. As always, we are prioritizing the health and safety of our community. We appreciate you taking the time to read the following updates regarding COVID-19.
We are currently working with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to set up a “Test and Stay” program at Alma. This program would enable any scholars who are close contacts of scholars who test positive for COVID-19 to remain in school, provided they take a rapid test at school each day for at least five days and test negative. We will have further information about this program for you shortly, along with a consent form for parents and guardians to allow their scholars to be tested at school. Please look for this information and accompanying consent form in the coming week.
We’ve understandably been receiving questions from many of you related to COVID-19. Please see the following frequently asked questions for further information, and in the meantime, please continue to monitor your scholar for symptoms on a daily basis.
What should I do if my scholar tests positive for COVID-19, is experiencing symptoms, or if another member of my family tests positive?
Any COVID-related information about your scholar or family should go directly to your campus medical assistant. Our medical assistants are new staff members that we have added to our sites specifically to support with COVID communication. By communicating directly with them (instead of your scholar’s teacher, front desk, or other member of campus leadership) you are ensuring the most efficient response and next steps.
|Campus||Medical Assistant Name||Phone Number|
|Ottiwell campus, K-8||Keila Pires||(508) 296-0174|
|Douglass campus Immaculate Conception, K-4||Amarilys (Amy) Rivera||(508) 216-0271|
|Douglass campusFisher College/Christian Fellowship, 6-8||Itamary Lopez||(508) 205-9753|
If you call between the hours of 8 am-4 pm Monday through Friday, the medical assistant or another staff member will pick up the phone or get back to you within that day. If you call outside of those hours, please leave a voicemail with the relevant information and best number to reach you. Someone will get back to you by the following business day. Again, it is important that this information is going directly to the campus medical assistant, as they will determine the next steps. Thank you for following this protocol.
When will I hear from the school regarding COVID-19 cases?
- If your scholar is a close contact, you will be contacted by the school. This may initially come as an automated text, or a phone call from a staff member.
- Close contacts are defined as being within 6 feet of the infected person for at least 15 minutes without a mask or within 3 feet of the person for at least 15 minutes with a mask.
- As is true with any medical information, we are committed to maintaining confidentiality. Please respect that we will only communicate the information you need, relevant to your own scholar(s).
What happens if my scholar is a close contact?
- We are following the close contact protocols laid out by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in Massachusetts (DESE).
- In the event that your scholar is a close contact, you will receive a letter with the specific dates relevant to their exposure for you to follow:
- If your scholar is a close contact, they can be tested five (5) days after their COVID exposure. If their test result is negative, they can return to school eight (8) days after exposure. We recognize that this is incredibly disruptive to scholar learning and to your family.
- Please note that if a scholar receives a negative test result before the fifth day after their exposure, we cannot use that test result to determine if they can return to school. This is due to the timeline of how viral load increases in the body following exposure.
If my scholar is a close contact, how will this absence affect their schooling? What learning will they be doing at home?
- Per DESE, schools can no longer provide a remote learning option to count for learning time. As such, any days your scholar misses due to COVID-related causes are counted as regular absences.
- We are keeping careful records of COVID-related absences. Scholars and families will not be penalized by Alma del Mar for COVID-related absences.
- We will note COVID-related absences as relevant for middle school scholars on their transcripts.
- Teachers will provide some suggested at-home learning activities (primarily in the form of online programs) for scholars who are awaiting negative test results.
- When scholars return to school, we will ensure they get adequate academic support to make up any missed learning that occurred during their absence.
Thank you in advance for following our protocols.
Chief of Staff