January 4, 2022 Update

January 4, 2022

Dear East Granby Public Schools Staff and Families,

Good Evening to you all.  This is the follow-up communication to the message sent on Sunday, January 2, 2022 regarding the latest school guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic.  On December 31, 2021, the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) issued new guidance for schools that align with the recently updated guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and was shared with districts as a consideration.  Administrators met this morning (1/4/2022) with the Farmington Valley Health District (FVHD), and all the school systems represented in the Farmington Valley.  East Granby Public Schools will follow this new guidance with the understanding that situations and/or events might require our schools to shift back to more stringent guidelines.  The data still supports that the spread of COVID-19 is primarily occurring in social, family, and community settings. Our schools will continue to operate with the suite of mitigation measures that include proper mask wearing, social distancing during times when masks are off, hand washing/sanitizing, and staying home when symptomatic. 

The updated guidance regarding Quarantine, Isolation, Testing and Return to Activities can be viewed here:  
https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Coronavirus/FINAL-School-Contact-Tracing_Quarantine_Update_12312021.pdf 

The Department of Public Health stressed today that having individuals return to school after Day 5 is ONLY if students/staff are no longer experiencing symptoms or have significantly improved. Please reference the attachment: COVID Decision Making Tree for PreK-12 Schools.  The goal is for students to return to in-person learning sooner, but not at the expense of anyone’s health. 

It is extremely important that an individual experiencing any symptoms stay home and follow the COVID protocols of monitoring symptoms and seeking a test.  It is also important to understand that one negative test does not necessarily rule out the possibility of a positive result days later, especially if symptoms do not cease.  We are still operating under the guideline that a positive test is interpreted as exactly that, a positive diagnosis.  This is the case even if follow up tests reveal a negative result; a situation such as this will be discussed with the FVHD.

The timeframe for returning to athletics has not changed as a result of this new guidance. 

Contact Tracing:  The above link also provides updated guidance for contact tracing for a school exposure.  “DPH recommends that schools begin to refocus the activities of health staff away from the investigation of relatively low risk in-school exposures and toward the identification, early isolation, and clinical management of students and staff with active symptoms that could be related to COVID-19……the position of the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) is that routine contact tracing of individual exposures that occur inside schools or during school-organized and supervised activities can be discontinued…”  EGPS will contact trace if the administration, nursing staff, or FVHD feel there is a need and reason (ie: cluster of positive students in one classroom or program).  EGPS will also keep the COVID dashboard current. However, without contact tracing, we will no longer note the number of students quarantined by the school.  It is also important to recognize that although school districts are required to only report laboratory results for positive individuals with the State of Connecticut, we will include the reporting of home test results on our own EGPS dashboard:  
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/101Q8eU4po3ai5IWqHHg_mVfVjgm3Cs0v0VSIecxMKSs/edit#gid=0 

Home Test Kits:  This morning, EGPS received a limited number of home test kits.  The CSDE is providing these kits to help further protect staff, children, and families. The rapid
home tests are to be used to screen those who are symptomatic, to determine who should not
be present in school. For students that have had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, there is no need to test for COVID-19 again (DPH). These tests are for use by the symptomatic student, and not for other family members.  Instructions for use are located within each kit. 

There are two ways guardians can receive a free kit:
1. When a child is home from school because they have symptoms or had
direct exposure to an individual with COVID-19, they may contact the school nurse to
arrange to pick up a test kit. The guardian should be prepared to share where the exposure occurred. 
2. If a student visits the nurse with symptoms, guardians will be asked to pick up the student
from school and will be given the option to take a test kit home, while supplies last. We are not sure if and when we will receive another supply; therefore, we will be prudent with the distribution of kits. Home test results will be expected to be shared with school nurses. 

We recognize there will be situation specific questions. As we have shared before, there is no way to list every scenario or “what if”.  The logistics to implement any of these guidelines comes with many hours of questioning, brainstorming, and planning.  There is simply no easy response that satisfies everyone or every situation.  Please contact your school administrator or nurse for COVID/health-related questions and to notify of positive cases. We will continue to do our best to answer or get the answer to your question(s).  

There is still plenty of time for a happy and HEALTHY 2022!

Be Well, Missy Bavaro-Grande and the EGPS Administrative Team
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