January 3, 2022
2 Hour Delayed Opening
Warm greetings as we conclude our winter break. As 2021 draws to a close, we must now prepare for the safe return of our students to school on Monday, January 3, 2022. To that effect, the Woburn Public Schools will have a 2 hour delayed opening for all students on Monday, January 3rd. There will be no AM preschool.
Like many of you, I have been alarmed by reports of increasing numbers of Massachusetts residents testing positive for COVID-19 as a result of the Omicron variant. This increase in COVID cases has coincided with changes in CDC guidance and updated state guidance that we are just receiving. Additionally, we learned on Wednesday afternoon that the state will be supplying COVID tests for all educators to self-administer prior to the start of school. Unfortunately, these tests that were supposed to be available for pick up today December 31, 2021 have been delayed as of 9:30 last night. We are hoping to have them for staff on Monday, and is in part the reason for the delayed opening.
Certainly, last minute changes in the calendar can be difficult for many families. The use of Monday’s delayed opening will allow us to get as many as possible tested systematically and up to date with the new state guidance around health and safety protocols. Given the number of anticipated absences, we want to ensure that we can open all schools safely on Monday. The delay will allow time to appropriately staff our buildings. The number of Massachusetts residents testing positive for COVID this week has raised our concern with regard to the number of staff that we will have available on Monday.
Children with COVID Symptoms Should NOT Come to School
By now, we all know how very contagious COVID-19 and its variants are. For this reason, it is imperative that children experiencing any COVID symptoms do not come to school. Common COVID-19 symptoms are:
Fever or Chills Cough Shortness of Breath Difficulty Breathing Muscle or Body Aches Headache
New Loss of Taste or Smell Sore Throat Congestion
Runny Nose Nausea Vomiting
New CDC Guidance: COVID Positive 5-Day Isolation
In accordance with Wednesday’s DPH and DESE information, we will follow the CDC guideline for all individuals testing positive after December 23:
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolate) Regardless of Vaccination Status:
Stay home for 5 days
If you have no symptoms or your symptoms are resolving after 5 days, you can leave your house.
Continue to wear a mask around others for 5 additional days
If you have a fever, continue to stay home until your fever resolves
If your child(ren) is/are classified as close contacts and is not vaccinated, then they are required to quarantine for 5 days and can return to school on day 6, provided they do not have COVID symptoms (listed above).
The Test & Stay Program will remain in place, however, the number of testing days has been reduced to 5. If you have not provided consent for your child(ren) to participate in this program and/or require additional information, please reach out to your building principal or school nurse.
Transportation Services on Monday
Our team is working closely with our transportation providers to know as far in advance as possible if there will be any interruption in providing transportation services to and from our schools on Monday. Our experience has taught us that COVID-19 has greatly impacted student transportation services here in Woburn, and across our state and country. At this moment, we do not know of any projected transportation schedule changes, cancellations, or delays. We will inform you of any projected disruptions to this service as soon as it is possible. We know that many of you may have alternative means of transporting your students to and from school, if necessary, and we’d like for you to be aware of our concern.
I will continue to communicate with you as our newest COVID situation unfolds. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this latest variant and changes in Federal and State protocols.
Please know that the Woburn Public Schools wishes you the very best New Year’s Eve and that it is our hope that 2022 will bring us a better sense of safety, health, and well-being!
Matthew T. Crowley, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools