Dear APS families & staff,
We hope you are all enjoying the vacation break. We wanted to share a number of recent COVID-19 developments that have occurred over the past week.
As anticipated, there have been reports of an increase in positive COVID-19 cases throughout Massachusetts and nationwide. Some school districts in Massachusetts have made the decision to delay or cancel school on Monday based on a number of factors, including the availability of at-home testing kits that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced would be delivered to districts for educator use. The delivery of this shipment from DESE’s vendor has been delayed by at least a day, possibly two, which has created some uncertainty as to when they will be available for distribution to our staff.
As of this communication, APS plans to return to school on Monday, January 3rd at our regularly scheduled start times. If, for any reason, we need to change the schedule for Monday, we will notify families and staff immediately via email, text, and a recorded phone call.
This week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provided new recommendations regarding isolation for positive COVID-19 individuals and quarantine for close contacts.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) updated school leaders this week on the new CDC recommendations for school districts. We would like to advise you of the guidelines that are effective for APS at this time.
As a reminder, all students, staff, and visitors at Andover Public Schools are required to wear masks while indoors per the School Committee mask policy. This is regardless of vaccination status and applies to all grade levels (PreK-12).
Positive COVID-19 test & isolation: regardless of vaccination status
DESE and DPH have adopted the CDC recommendations regarding positive COVID-19 tests & isolation, effective immediately.
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you must continue to isolate at home for 5 days. (day zero is the day symptoms started prior to your COVID-19 test - or day zero is the day of your positive COVID test if you did not have any symptoms)
- If you continue to have any symptoms beyond day 5, you must continue to stay home and cannot return to school until either your symptoms are fully resolved or you can provide a physician note indicating a non-COVID-19 illness.
Close Contact - Quarantine:
DESE and DPH have provided updated guidance on quarantine and close contacts and Andover Public schools will adhere to these revised protocols effective immediately. We recognize these protocols are complicated and recommend you contact your school nurse for additional information.
We anticipate a high volume of calls to the school clinics in the coming days and weeks and ask you to please be patient if there is a delayed response to your question.
COVID-19 guidelines and protocols continue to evolve, as do the virus and its variants. We expect there will be additional changes in the near future and will provide updates as this information becomes available.
We appreciate your patience and understanding and wish you a happy new year.
Magda Parvey, Ed.D.
Andover Public Schools
Rita Casper, MBA RN NCSN
Director of Nursing
Andover Public Schools