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October 29, 2020
Dear APS families and staff,
As we complete our sixth week of school, I wanted to take a moment to thank our students and staff for their diligence in maintaining a safe social distance and following mask protocols in our school buildings. It is this collective effort that will allow us to offer the in-person hybrid learning model to our students for as long as safely possible during the pandemic.
A few weeks ago, Andover was moved into the yellow category, or moderate risk status, by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH). This indicates that there is a rise in COVID-19 positive cases within our community. The town’s Division of Health is updating positive case counts on a daily basis while in the “yellow” designation.
Halloween is a few days away. I would like to encourage our families who participate in Trick or Treat to do so with care. The town offers some guidelines to best enjoy the holiday responsibly and recommends that families not travel in large groups and remain in their neighborhoods.
Governor Baker has recently spoken about social gatherings as a key factor in the increase of positive cases in Massachusetts. We have seen news headlines of students in surrounding communities attending parties. As a result, some school districts have had to move into remote learning for all students in order to protect their students and staff. Please remind your children to exercise good judgement and avoid social gatherings which may create a public health issue for us all. Our goals are always to keep our students and staff safe and healthy.
This year, the Massachusetts DPH is requiring children 6 months or older to be vaccinated for influenza (flu) by December 31, 2020 unless either a medical or religious exemption is provided. This vaccination is required for all students regardless of which learning model they participate in. Please ask your family’s health care provider for more information.
For those planning to travel for the Thanksgiving holidays, the state has also provided recommendations for celebrating with family and friends during the pandemic. Many states around the country remain restricted to travel by residents of Massachusetts; it is a good idea to review the Massachusetts Travel Order to ensure you are visiting a state that is considered low risk and won’t require your family to quarantine following the Thanksgiving break.
I recognize this message contains a considerable amount of serious information. We have done a great job of providing our students with an opportunity to participate in in-person learning and activities. The precautions we have implemented have made the start of the school year a successful one—a path we hope to continue. I appreciate your commitment to these protocols; your support is critical to maintaining the availability of in-person learning. Thank you for all your support and understanding.