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Superintendent Update

September 17, 2021

Dear Clipper Staff & Families!

Our halls are alive with laughter and learning. Students’ curiosity and engagement with their peers offers a welcome buzz within and across all of our schools. As you read on, I have some highlights to share with you as well as some important information as we reshape our response to COVID to ensure that we are in-person and actively engaged as much as we can be.

Outdoor Classrooms. Let’s give another Shout Out! to the Outdoor Learning Committee. They have continued dedicating numerous hours throughout the summer and into the school year to support FPS outdoor education. The team has added a tent at Mullen Hall Elementary. And we almost have a second tent at the high school. Over the next several weeks additional tents will go up at our other schools. The Falmouth Rotary Club and the Falmouth 300 Committee have started a new outdoor project. They are creating an interactive learning walk of our natural habitat at Teaticket Elementary School and the Teaticket Park. Learn more about what the Outdoor Learning Committee is doing and how you can get involved at http://www.falmouthoutdoorlearningproject.com/

COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing In-school. Two testing programs:

  1. Symptomatic Testing: When a student or staff member presents with symptoms during school, they may be tested with a BinaxNOW rapid antigen test (and depending on results, may be recommended for a PCR test). Please do not come to school or send students to school if they are experiencing symptoms at home.

  2. Test and Stay for close contacts: If an unvaccinated asymptomatic student or staff member has been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual, they may be tested in school with a BinaxNOW rapid antigen test for at least five (5) days from the first day of exposure. This option allows asymptomatic students and staff to remain in school with a negative test. Staff and students identified as a close contact outside of school must follow the traditional quarantine protocol. The Test and Stay option is only available to close contacts identified during school.

If you have not already completed the paper copy, parents/guardians may complete the online consent form for in-school testing at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null.

Our amazing school nurses created a testing video explaining the in-school testing process.

Quarantine Protocols. If a student or staff member is identified as a close contact, you have options.

  1. If vaccinated, you do not have to follow quarantine protocols. You just need to monitor for symptoms for 14 days.
  2. Participate in DESE's Test and Stay program if you are unvaccinated and asymptomatic. See above for details of the Test and Stay program.
  3. Follow the traditional quarantine protocol. If you remain asymptomatic and test negative on day five, then you may return to school on day 8. Or if you choose not to get tested on day 5 then you may return on day 11 as long as you do not develop symptoms.

Notifications of Exposure. Parents/guardians and staff members will be notified if you/your child have been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 positive individual. If the student or staff member is vaccinated, you will receive an email notifying you/your child have been identified as a close contact. If the student or staff member has consented to the Test and Stay program, you will receive an email notifying you the Test and Stay protocol has begun. If you are a student or staff member who is unvaccinated and has not consented to the Test and Stay program, you will receive an email and a phone call to review the quarantine protocol.

Reporting Vaccinations. Please report vaccination information to your school nurse or our public health COVID Nurse at 774-392-6477 or covidnurse@falmouth.k12.ma.us. Having this information on file assists us in making quarantine decisions when contact tracing is necessary. Vaccinated asymptomatic staff and students do not have to quarantine.

Please note: we do not know vaccination information even if you’ve registered for a vaccination through our information sharing. We would only know if students or staff participated in our on-site vaccination clinics. Everyone else will need to confirm vaccination information in order for us to officially count a person vaccinated.

Student and Staff Vaccination Clinics. There’s still time to register for our on-site vaccination clinics. We are offering vaccination clinics for our students 12 years and older at Morse Pond, Lawrence, and FHS. All FPS unvaccinated staff are encouraged to sign up.

Falmouth High School
September 24  9:00 am-11:00 am

Lawrence School
September 24  11:30 am -12:30 pm 

Morse Pond School
September 24 1:00 pm -2:00 pm

COVID Data Dashboard. Our data dashboard will be on our FPS website/COVID page next week. We will be reporting in-school positive cases requiring us to contact trace. We will also report the number of students and staff who chose to quarantine. The district is reporting data Friday evening through the end of the school day the following Friday. We will be reporting data from the first day of school on September 8, 2021. In the weeks to come we will be adding the percent of staff and students who are vaccinated.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) are reporting all positive cases reported to the schools whether they were in-school or out-of-school when positive. DESE is reporting data Thursday through the following Wednesday. DESE’s data began on September 13, 2021.

Family Forum. We are holding a fourth family forum on September 22, 2021 from 6:00-7:00 pm at the Teaticket Elementary School outdoor tent to reflect on what our students’ needs may be for the upcoming school year based on how your child(ren) fared last year. The Falmouth Public Schools will be receiving a third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds. These federal dollars are provided to school districts to help address the impact of the pandemic. If you are unable to join us, you may send comments via email to pmurphy@falmouth.k12.ma.us.

National Hispanic Heritage Month. This week began the recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month honoring the achievements, contributions, culture, and history of Hispanic and Latinx American people. On September 14, 2021, President Biden issued a presidential proclamation. The link with the entire proclamation as well as some videos can be found at National Heritage Month. Let’s celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and learn more about a culture rich in language, cuisine, music, and the arts.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sincerely,

Lori Duerr, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Falmouth Public Schools