December 5, 2021
Happy Sunday Harrington Families
I hope everyone has had a nice weekend so far, seems the frigid air is upon us with some storms heading our way into this coming week. As we enter winter, we want students to have a consistent outdoor experience between grades and classrooms. To support this, we have set guidelines for temperature/weather type when deciding outdoor vs. indoor recess for all classrooms. Below are guidelines for outdoor recess for ‘21-22 school year.
- Students will be outdoors if the real feel temperature (including wind chill) is 20 degrees or warmer and it’s not raining, sleeting, hailing, or blizzarding. We use Weatherbug.com to determine the temperature.
- On questionable, cold days the office will make an announcement before the first recess announcing outdoor or indoor recess. If no announcement is made then it is outdoor recess.
- If students want to play in snow, they must be wearing snow pants, boots, jackets, and gloves/mittens. If students do not wish to play in the snow, they will remain on the blacktop.
- With a large amount of students out on the playground at each recess, we need to be extra vigilant about safety. There is no throwing of snowballs or ice. A reflection form will be used to re-teach and discuss the safety concerns if a student does not follow this rule.
- Label each article of clothing so that if something is misplaced, it can be returned to you as quickly as possible.
Please be aware that all students go outside when the weather meets these conditions. Please send your child to school wearing appropriate outdoor clothing for the weather. We highly encourage you to practice getting dressed in the snow gear as quickly as possible- make a game of it and time it! The expectation is, if you child is well enough to come to school, they are well enough to go outdoors.
Thanks for taking the time to remind students of the winter expectations. Snow play is beloved by many and we want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to safely enjoy their recess time during these months.
TEST & STAY CONSENT
At the beginning of the school year, Dr. Lang sent out a link for families to participate in the Test and Stay program for their students. While this is certainly parental/guardian choice as to whether to participate in the program or not which I respect uncondidtionally, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of school attendance. In the event of a positive case in a classroom, those students that are not signed up for the Test and Stay program can be out of school anywhere from 8 to 11 days. As we move deeper into the year, academic requirements and expectations only increase and attendance is truly valuable. If you were on the fence before, give me a call and let's talk about it and why it can be an important decision regarding consent. I've attached the link for those that may want to sign up for the program.
As always, thank you for your continued support of our Harrington community. Please reach out to me or Karen with any questions or concerns as always.
Once again, remember to…"Push through your day, Smile, Be Happy, Stay Positive!"
Be safe! Stay well!
Rob & Karen
Let's Stay Connected!
COVID Update for Harrington Families
Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, you should be tested, regardless of vaccination status. If you have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you should consult with a healthcare provider before testing again.
It has come to our attention that many families have been using at home tests for the COVID-19 virus. While we appreciate testing at home with the antigen test, the at home test, in the school setting, is not considered a confirmed positive test. Once you have a positive home test, please schedule a laboratory test (PCR) to confirm the positive home test immediately. The PCR test is the most accurate way to diagnosis the COVID-19 virus. It is also important to contact your healthcare provider and school nurse to inform of the positive test.
It is important to note that, for now, the at home test is discarded after use. The results of the home tests are not reported to the Department of Public Health and the positive test is not processed and sequenced in a lab. This will weaken the ability to track variants, discover mutations and document positive cases.
Testing is critically important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you have symptoms, or have been identified as a close contact, you should be tested, regardless of vaccination status. If you have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days, you should consult with a healthcare provider before testing again.
If the test is positive for COVID-19, the positive individual must isolate away from others in the home. Please inform your healthcare provider and the school nurse of a positive test, as well as notify any close contacts. A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet (while indoors) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
In consultation with the Chelmsford Board of Health, these are the recommendations for unvaccinated and vaccinated close contacts:
An unvaccinated close contact should:
- Quarantine and follow the testing and quarantine guidelines for the exposure.
- It is recommended that unvaccinated close contacts test immediately and then again on day 5.
- The rationale for testing immediately, is that in the event of testing positive, the 10- day isolation period can begin sooner rather than later.
- Unvaccinated close contacts must monitor for symptoms for the full 14-days.
- Unvaccinated close contacts may participate in Test and Stay if the exposure to the positive case was in the school setting.
- To be eligible to participate in Test and Stay, consent for Test and Stay must be received by the school a minimum of three days prior to the exposure.
- The link to consent for Test and Stay is:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdfSHazJ4EQvmKRfes5QkMmCdcjOjrqpTlecVxPd6PXMlmLZA/viewform
*Please note: If the exposure to the positive case was in the home or in the community, this is a higher risk exposure. Therefore, the quarantine must be completed at home and the close contact is not eligible to participate in Test and Stay.
In the school setting, vaccinated close contacts:
- Are exempt from testing and quarantine protocols.
- However, we recommend testing, as vaccinated close contacts in some instances are testing positive. Therefore, it is recommended (not required), to test immediately and if negative, to test again on day 3, 4 or 5.
- Vaccinated close contacts must wear a mask until a negative test is received.
- It is recommended that vaccinated close contacts monitor for symptoms for the full 14-days.
Nationwide, and in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there has recently been an increase in the number of positive cases. However, the good news, is that due to the high vaccination rates, the symptoms experienced in most cases have been relatively mild. We have seen that same trend in our school community as well.
While we have seen an increase in cases in our school population, the vast majority of the positive cases have been traced back to exposures in the home or at an event outside of school. Understandably, we are seeing many signs of “COVID FATIGUE”- however, it is imperative to continue the practices that we know will stop the spread of COVID-19. We ask for your help promote the following mitigation strategies:
- STAY HOME IF NOT FEELING WELL
- If experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, test immediately and isolate until results are back
- If identified as a close contact, please follow the testing and quarantine protocols
- If diagnosed with COVID-19, please follow the 10-day isolation protocol
- Wear a mask while indoors (masks should fit snugly around the nose and mouth)
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water and/or use hand sanitizer.
- When feasible, maintain physical distance from others
Lastly, we strongly encourage those eligible to be vaccinated and to receive the booster! The COVID-19 vaccine and booster will increase the level of protection against the virus. The vaccines have undergone, and will continue to undergo, intensive safety monitoring. Covid 19- vaccines are effective and can reduce the risk of getting and spreading the virus that cause Covid-19. There is strength in numbers! Getting the vaccine can protect families, communities, and our schools.
The collective health of our school community, and our community at large, relies on a collaborative partnership with our families. This partnership requires our families to follow the best practices and guidelines that we know will decrease the spread of the virus.
As always, thank you all for your cooperation and continued efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19!
Peggy Gump, M.Ed BSN RN
Coordinator of Nursing Services
Chelmsford Public Schools
200 Richardson Road
N. Chelmsford, MA 01863
Grade 2 Mitten & Glove Drive
Our second grade students will be creating a “Garland of Giving” during the upcoming holiday season. Beginning December 1st, please consider donating new mittens and gloves of all sizes to our community bin located in the Harrington lobby. We will be accepting donations until Friday, December 17th. The mittens and gloves will be donated to The Wish Project in the name of Harrington School. What a wonderful gesture of kindness and community service this will be! We hope to beat our 2019 donation of 290 pairs of mittens and gloves. Thank you for your contributions to help those in need during the upcoming winter season.
SCHOOL REMINDERS -
HPTO Meetings: On that first Wednesday of each month we hold our HPTO meetings at 6:30, in person and virtually. Our PTO gives parents and teachers the opportunity to work together to supplement and enrich the educational experience for all. Harrington Elementary is incredibly fortunate to have such a strong, dedicated, motivated, well-functioning PTO. Our HPTO is the teacher's and community's most important ally when it comes to achieving curricular and fundraising goals throughout the year. I know that everyone leads busy lives, as does this amazing PTO board, so, I would ask all of you to try to take some time at the beginning of each month to support our HPTO by attending their meetings either in person or virtually. If you have a Facebook account, join the HPTO page for important news and information of upcoming events and links to the meetings.
Mask Help: If possible send your child’s mask in on a breakaway lanyard as many students are losing their masks out at recess.
Approaching Cold Weather: As we approach our cold weather season, please make sure students are coming to school with the appropriate clothing. Unless we reach a specific threshold in regards to temperature, the plan will always be to go outside as much as possible for mask breaks and recess.
Please join us for the Little Shoppers Winter Store on Saturday 12/11! We’re back with in-person shopping this year at the Harrington from 10am-2pm! Children can shop for holiday gifts for family and friends at affordable price points between $3-$7 per item, wrapped with love by members of the CHS National Honors Society. Light refreshments will also be available.
* Please remember that masks are mandatory inside of CPS buildings, so please be sure to wear one inside for the safety of all.
Our next meeting will be Wednesday February 2 at 6:30pm in the Harrington Library and online. Follow our Facebook page for the link to join! Please note that there will not be a meeting in January due to the Table Talk Math book group.