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Superintendent Update

April 7, 2022

Dear Staff and Families,

I hope everyone is enjoying the arrival of spring! Just one more week and staff and students will have a week to rest, rejuvenate, and enjoy the great Falmouth outdoors. Today my letter will focus on COVID information.

At-Home Testing Program. If you are participating in the At-Home Testing Program, you will be receiving an additional test kit next week.

  • We are asking you to use one of the additional tests the morning of Monday, April 25, 2022 prior to school. This is an additional strategy to ensure we are keeping our staff and students safe from exposure after the spring break.
  • We ask that you test again on Thursday morning, April 28, 2022 as part of the routine testing.
  • We will resume our normal weekly home testing schedule on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.

Sign Up for the At-home Testing Program. You may still sign up for the at-home testing program. Just use this link to register your child. Staff and students should test Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning as part of the routine testing program. If your child tests positive, please notify the COVID team using this link and keep your child at home.

COVID by the Numbers. FPS cases have increased slightly over the past week, almost doubling in numbers over the previous weeks; 7 cases from 3/24-3/30 to 13 cases from 3/31-4/6. Although 13 cases in a district of approximately 3800 staff and students is considered very low, I would not want to see the numbers trend up. For this reason, I’m sharing the protocols once again.

COVID Protocols. Please follow the following protocols if you test positive or are considered a close contact.

Protocol for individuals who test positive. 

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. 

Protocol for asymptomatic, unvaccinated individuals identified as close contacts outside of school settings.

Duration: Quarantine is at least 5 days from the date of exposure

Return to School: After 5 days, returning on day 6, provided that they:

  • Remain asymptomatic,
  • Adhere to strict mask use, other than when eating, drinking, or outside,
  • Conduct active monitoring for symptoms through day 10; and,
  • Self-isolate if symptoms develop.

Note:  For all those exposed, best practice would also include a viral test (antigen or PCR) for COVID19 at day 5 after exposure. An antigen test may be self-administered and does not need to be proctored or performed by a healthcare professional.

COVID Symptoms. The following symptoms apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Individuals who experience symptoms on the list below should follow the testing and quarantine response protocol for symptomatic individuals.

  • Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
  • Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

Unvaccinated Staff and Students. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Department of Public Health (DPH) strongly recommend unvaccinated individuals wear masks in school settings. DESE and DPH continue to strongly urge all eligible individuals to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and booster.

Masks. FPS has an abundance of KN95 masks and surgical masks available to anyone who would like to wear a mask during the school day. We support all staff and students who choose to wear a mask.

Thank you for your continued care and practice of the health and safety protocols.

Lori S. Duerr, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools