MASD Health & Safety Update

January 7, 2022

Health & Safety Update

As much as we all wish to be past navigating the COVID pandemic, it is still very much a part of our lives. The information that follows in this newsletter is meant to provide you with a snapshot of our goals related to the pandemic along with updates to our current strategies to work towards them. I doubt many would disagree with our goals. Conversely, we acknowledge differences of opinion on our strategies. At times, it is hard to remember that the virus itself continues to evolve and the standard of care along with it. Please know that we continue to review federal, state, and local guidance to do the very best we can to help our district navigate what is before us. We remain as resolved as ever to educate the young people of this community.

Pandemic Response Goals

  • Keep our schools open for learning


  • Keep our students and staff in school


  • Support the health and safety of our students and staff

Response Strategy Updates

Masks

Are masks still required at Mechanicsburg?
  • Yes. Based on the current surge in COVID positive cases, and after reviewing guidance, we will maintain our mask requirement until further notice.



When will we be able to make masks optional/recommended?

  • Our goal remains to move to masks optional. We are examining different systems of metrics that we could use to guide when masks would be required vs. optional.

Exposure to COVID-19

How do I know if my child has been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
  • Throughout the pandemic, we have directly notified the family of any child who qualified as a close contact to someone positive for COVID-19. In very few cases have those identified exposures ended up testing positive themselves. There is no doubt that the current surge leads students to regularly interact with individuals positive for COVID-19 in our buildings. Additionally, the Omicron variant is highly contagious, but also leads to minimal symptoms in most who are vaccinated leaving people unaware of even being positive. While we continue to notify families in instances where we are certain there was exposure, the best approach for each family is to simply monitor for symptoms daily and keep your child home if exhibiting any of those symptoms. Visit our Daily Symptom Checklist for support.

Isolation & Quarantine Periods

The CDC's new quarantine guidelines said that my child is not "fully vaccinated" if they don't have a booster, yet I can't get them one anywhere.
  • Agreed, this is an issue that needs addressed. The CDC recently adjusted the guideline and we have adapted ours as well. Boosters are only required for eligible adults (age 18+) to be considered fully vaccinated. Children (under age 18) are considered fully vaccinated as long as they are two weeks past their initial series of vaccination.



So, does my child need to quarantine if they are a close contact to someone who is COVID positive?

  • If they are vaccinated, and have no symptoms, then they do NOT need to quarantine. If they are unvaccinated then they must quarantine for 5 days. Please visit our Health Monitoring Tool for more details.

Vaccines & Boosters

Where can I receive a vaccine?
  • While individuals should always consult their doctor, we support everyone eligible for vaccination or a booster to obtain one. This will not only help create healthy spaces within our schools; but, will also help protect individuals from the need to quarantine in the event of exposure. Visit this link to find information about vaccine distribution in our area: https://www.vaccines.gov/

Instructional Delivery Model

Under what circumstances would MASD close a school?
  • The two main factors include staff shortages and extreme student absences. If we do not have enough staff available to maintain our program at a particular building, we would potentially need to close that school. Also, if a large number of students are absent from instruction, we would potentially need to pivot as well.



How can families help?

  • Consider being added to our substitute teacher list. Even without a teaching degree, we can train you as a "Guest Teacher". Visit our Human Resources webpage for more information.