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Dear Alma Community,
Welcome back! We hope you had an enjoyable Winter Break. As we return from the height of travel and gatherings amid the spread of new COVID-19 variants, the flu, and other respiratory viral illnesses, we wanted to remind all members of our community about our approach to mitigating the spread of illness within our community.
Our Alma community is experiencing increased cases of seasonal respiratory illnesses, particularly COVID-19 and influenza. We know that cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in New Bedford and elsewhere in Massachusetts, so this is not unique to Alma del Mar. However, our top priority remains the academic achievement of our scholars. Strong daily attendance is certainly influenced by these illnesses that are spreading in our community.
The best guards against severe illness are vaccinations against both COVID-19 and influenza. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expanded the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 6 months through 5 years. Now virtually all children across the state are eligible to get the updated COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials also recommend that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot annually. We also want to remind staff and scholars to stay home if they are not feeling well, take a COVID-19 test and seek treatment if needed, and to wash their hands regularly.
Additionally, wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of respiratory viral illness transmission, and so we are continuing our policy of “masks optional” that has been in place this year. Given the spread of these respiratory illnesses, we understand and support that more scholars or staff may choose to mask at this time. Scholars and staff should plan to provide their own mask, though we have them available outside the nurses office where they are still required in schools statewide.
Thank you very much for your continued support to keep our community safe.