Greenwich schools make ‘adjustments’ to strengthen the fight against COVID-19 | #students | #parents



GREENWICH — With the COVID-19 positivity rates rising quickly, the Greenwich Public Schools announced a number of adjustments as classes reopened Monday after the long holiday break.

The measures are part of an effort “to slightly tighten mitigation strategies for at least the month of January,” according to an email from Superintendent of Schools Toni Jones sent Sunday to GPS families.

“GPS remains committed to a safe learning environment for all staff and students. We watch each building on an individual level, and our outstanding nursing staff will continue to work with our families,” she said in the email.


All school sites will be reevaluating lunch time to ensure there is “ample space … instituted between students when masks are off,” the email said.

Greenwich High reopened a gym for expanded lunch space as of Monday, Jones said. On Tuesday, Greenwich High will add a fifth lunch rotation to reduce the number of students eating at one time.

Additionally, all school sites will limit individuals who may enter the buildings to only essential volunteers or consultants through January, she said.

Aquatics class at Greenwich High will be temporarily suspended, with pool safety and other curriculum substituted in its place, Jones said. This will be evaluated again at the end of January she said.

This pool change does not impact any after-school athletics, Jones said.

The vast majority of COVID-positive cases are coming from outside transmissions in the community, Jones said.

The district maintains an online COVID-19 tracker to inform the community on the status of cases. The next update on the COVID-19 tracker will be Tuesday, she said.

“We ask that families let their school nurse know if their child tested positive over the break so that information is collected to help inform decisions,” Jones said.

In the last update on Dec. 24, the last day of classes for elementary school and middle school students, a total of 146 new cases of COVID-19 were reported. There were a total of 272 active cases, which impacted all 15 school buildings.

At Greenwich High, which began its holiday break early by closing on the Wednesday and Thursday before Christmas, there were 105 active cases.

As of Dec. 24, a total of 544 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across the Greenwich school district since classes began Sept. 1. By comparison, for the 2020-21 school year, a total of 700 cases of COVID were reported districtwide. New cases of COVID-19 have been surging in the Greenwich schools in December, with a total of 392 cases reported, according to the tracker.

The state Department of Public Health says contact tracing is optional and that districts can concentrate on symptomatic individuals. At this time, GPS will continue to conduct contact tracing, with minor adjustments, Jones said.

Isolation, quarantine rules

The Greenwich Public Schools is now implementing a five-day isolation rule for students and staff who test positive for COVID-19, Jones said in the email.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Public Health now support the five-day isolation.

“An easy way to follow this new guideline is that you can return to school by adding one week/minus a day from the day you tested positive,” Jones said.

For those who test positive for COVID-19, stay home for five days; if you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after five days, you can leave your house; continue to wear a mask around others for five additional days; and if you have a fever, stay home for 24 hours until your fever resolves, the email said.

For those with COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status, test for COVID-19 and stay home. If test results are negative, return to activities when fever-free for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are significantly improved. If test results are positive, isolate for at least five days, return to activities on day six or later when fever-free for at least 24 hours and symptoms are improved; and wear a mask at all times for an additional five days when returning to activities.

Remote learning options

Jones also reminded families that Greenwich Public Schools cannot go to full remote learning unless ordered by Gov. Ned Lamont or through legislative action. The Connecticut State Department of Education has reiterated that local school districts do not have the authority to call for district remote instruction for an entire school district, she said.

In grades 6-12, if a student is placed in quarantine for health-related reasons by the health care team, the student should have access to watch the class virtually, Jones said. For Grades PK-5, work will be sent home for those in district-issued quarantine or isolation, she said.

The district has no new information about access to home kits for the school district, but it will continue to work on a better testing solution, Jones said.

At this time, the Connecticut Department of Health’s Project COVID DeteCT includes all students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. The opt-in program facilitates free weekly COVID-19 testing with a shallow nasal swab for students with the purpose of screening unvaccinated students on a weekly basis. Consent forms, available in both English and Spanish, are to be submitted electronically directly to the testing facilitators through their website



Source link

.  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .