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Posted on: November 10, 2020

COVID-19 updates and Thanksgiving Travel

November 10, 2020

Dear APS families and staff, 

We are so appreciative of everyone’s hard work and cooperation as the district has implemented in-person hybrid learning over the past couple of months. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is still very active in our local area. According to the Town of Andover’s Health Division, our community has experienced a recent increase in positive cases. Last week, we made the difficult decision to move the high school into remote learning as a result of positive COVID-19 cases.

We hope our middle and elementary schools can remain open for in-person hybrid learning for the foreseeable future. We need your help to make that happen. We applaud our families for their ongoing efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These proactive measures—in combination with wearing masks, maintaining social distance and regularly washing hands—greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission. 

In-person learning serves our students well and provides them with highly desired opportunities to interact with their teachers and peers. The district continues to take precautions to protect our students and staff while in the buildings. Now we are asking families for an extra measure of support as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday break.

We all look forward to the holiday season for the time it provides to be with family and friends. However, this year presents particular challenges. The increase in positive cases makes those gatherings much more complicated and worrisome as a potential source of viral spread. If you plan to travel over the holiday break, please be mindful of Governor Baker’s travel order; many states across the U.S. are restricted to residents of Massachusetts. The list of low-risk states also changes frequently and it is good practice to review the map prior to any travel. Please take precautions to maintain the health of those around you. By keeping your guard up, you will make a difference in our ability to reconvene in person after the holiday.

Last week, the Governor and the Department of Public Health (DPH) updated their mask/face covering mandate to include all public places. Please encourage your children to maintain their habit of wearing a mask while outside of the school building. Also, please monitor your children daily for symptoms and keep them home if they show signs of illness. It is only with your cooperation and diligence that we will be able to sustain our in-person learning. 

Due to the increase in positive cases among our school community members and the volume of emails that has entailed, we are now updating our COVID-19 dashboard on a regular basis to reflect positive cases. We will not send email notifications of individual cases; however, you will be able to find that information on the dashboard. Staff and families who are considered close contacts of a positive case will be notified with an email and a follow-up call from a representative from our Nursing department. Additionally, you may be contacted by the Andover Health Division and/or the Massachusetts Collaborative for Contact Tracing. If the Contact Tracing Collaborative calls, the caller ID will indicate MA COVID Team. 

Our students and staff have done a remarkable job adjusting to their school year in positive ways during this pandemic. We appreciate your support and collaboration in our efforts to keep all students and staff safe. All of us at APS wish you the best of health throughout the coming weeks and the Thanksgiving break. 

Signature SB

Shelley Berman

Superintendent

 

 

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