February 16, 2022
Dear Staff and Families,
Today’s letter will be brief and focus on COVID related matters.
Mask Mandate Lifted. The School Committee has voted to follow the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) lead in lifting the mask mandate beginning February 28, 2022. Therefore, masks are optional with a few exceptions; masks are still required on school buses as this is a federal mandate, masks are still required in health offices, and masks are still required for an individual who tested COVID positive and is eligible to return to school after day 5 of isolation. Individuals are cleared to return if asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving by day 5.
DESE guidance for COVID positive individuals:
- Duration: Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive cases is a minimum of 5 days after symptom onset or after positive PCR or antigen test, if asymptomatic.
- Return to school: After 5 days and once they have:
- Been without fever for 24 hours (and without taking fever-reducing medications)
- Experienced improvement in other symptoms.
- Following the 5-day isolation period, individuals must mask for 5 additional days when around others, other than when eating, drinking, or outside.
- Note: Return to school should be based on time and symptom resolution. Testing during isolation to return to school is not required.
Unvaccinated Staff and Students. DESE and the Department of Public Health (DPH) strongly recommend unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in school settings. DESE and DPH continue to strongly urge all eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and booster.
At-Home Testing Program. If you are participating in the At-Home Testing Program, you will be receiving an additional test kit this week.
- We are asking you to use one of the additional tests the morning of Monday, February 28 prior to school.
- Please save the second test in this additional test kit for a day when your child is experiencing symptoms.
- This is an additional strategy to ensure we are keeping our staff and students safe from exposure after the holiday break.
- We ask that you test again on Thursday morning as part of the routine testing.
- We will resume our normal weekly home testing schedule on Wednesday, March 6, 2022.
Not participating? You may still sign up for the at-home testing program. Just use the link emailed to families to register your child. Staff and students should test Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning. If your child tests positive, please notify the COVID team using this link, keep your child at home, and follow the guidance above for COVID positive individuals.
Masks. FPS has an abundance of KN95 masks available to anyone who would like to wear a mask during the school day. Just ask someone in the school’s front office. As well, there are also plenty of surgical masks available to all staff and students if this is preferable. We support all staff and students who choose to wear a mask.
I hope the upcoming vacation gives you an opportunity to relax and enjoy some downtime with your family and friends.
Lori S. Duerr, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools