Dear Parents, Guardians, and Staff:
I’d like to wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year 2022, and I hope you have had a relaxing and enjoyable winter break.
As we return to school on Monday, January 3, 2022, I have some important information to share with you. I have studied the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) documents and have communicated with Stephen Mansfield at Ledge Light Health District (LLHD), regarding the following changes being recommended:
Most importantly, see the chart on page 2 of the state document linked here that outlines protective measures in the schools related to current positive cases and/or symptomatic cases. Whether vaccinated or not, anyone with the “risk symptoms for COVID-19” should get tested and isolate/quarantine for 5 days, until they are symptom free (24 hours after fever), and anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should isolate/quarantine for at least 5 days.
School districts are no longer required to do individual-level contact tracing in their PreK-12 schools, but should ensure that they continue to:
- Enforce universal masking rules inside schools and buses.
- Take steps to ensure that periods of unmasking inside the school (e.g., meal periods) are as brief and as distanced as possible.
- Appropriately notify staff and parents/guardians of students regarding positive cases occurring in the school population.
As indicated by the CSDE and CDC, the shift in focus is on those who are symptomatic and/or test positive, rather than the individual-level contact tracking.
The components of Screen and Stay that are most important for a healthy school community are:
- Check for symptoms daily; take your temperature at home and/or take your child’s temperature. Stay home and isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19, and please keep your child home if they are symptomatic.
- Test if you have symptoms or know you are a close contact. COVID-19 “at-home test kits” will be distributed by the Groton Police Department on January 3, 2022 (see their website for information). Groton Public Schools will also be receiving “at-home testing kits” for distribution to the school community in the next few weeks.
- Carefully observe all the mitigating protocols in place at school and in the community, especially mask wearing.
Wishing you a Happy and Healthy New Year,
Susan L. Austin
Superintendent, Groton Public Schools