Return to School Update

April 30, 2021

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LOOKING AHEAD

We are excited to have so many of our students back with us in person! It is a relief to have made it to this point and to see the numbers of COVID-19 cases on the decline in our city. We are deeply appreciative of the efforts to return to a healthy and safe community that our students, staff and families have made to get us to this point! In these last weeks of school as the weather gets warmer and there are end of school year events and celebrations, let's continue our efforts to keep our community safe by doing the following:



  • Wear a mask at all times - on school grounds, buses, and during school events (except during lunch or mask breaks) even if you are vaccinated; continue to wear a mask when in close contact with people not in your household.

  • Maintain physical distancing at 6 feet, in school and out, whenever possible

  • Participate in weekly COVID-19 testing (pooled/PCR)

  • Get vaccinated!

HIGH SCHOOL REMINDERS

  • FHS Seniors returned to school full-time on April 29, 2021.

  • The return date for weekly, in-person learning for Grades 9-11 has not yet been decided and students in grades 9-11 will continue with a hybrid schedule. The coming week is a B-Week so Grade 9-11 students in Cohort S and B will be in-person.

  • The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has announced all high school in person learning must begin by May 17, 2021. The high school administration is working through details to determine the exact day students will return.

CURRENT PUBLIC HEALTH CONDITIONS

Below are important informational links that highlight the current COVID-related public health conditions in Framingham. Please note the Current Status and City of Framingham Weekly Data Analysis included below is pulled each Monday. We recognize that the data can change between Monday and Friday when this communication is prepared.


Click to see the FPS COVID Dashboard

Click to review the City of Framingham Weekly Data Analysis (PDF)

Click to access the City of Framingham COVID Resource Page

RETURN-TO-SCHOOL DASHBOARD

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(Text from the table above)


Return-to-School Target

City Positivity: 4% (or less)

New Cases (Daily): 10 (or less)


Current Status (Latest Report: April 28, 2021)

City Positivity: 3.09%

New Cases (Daily): 15.24

↘︎ Lower than the previous week


2-Week Historical Trend

April 12, 2021

City Positivity: 4.02% (No change from the previous week)

New Cases (Daily): 26.96 (↘︎ Lower than the previous week)


April 5, 2021

City Positivity: 4.03% (↗ Higher than the previous week)

New Cases (Daily): 33.99 (↘︎ Lower than the previous week)

POOLED TESTING AND COVID CASE REPORTING

RISK MITIGATION EFFORTS

We believe that all of our risk mitigation efforts (including facility safety upgrades, mask wearing, physical/social distancing, weekly COVID testing, the COVID-19 vaccine, daily attestation, and others) have supported our success in bringing our students and staff safely back to school. You can reference the expanded Risk Mitigation Effort details shared in recent Return to School Smores which are now linked at the bottom of this newsletter.


Masks/Face Coverings

Masks/Face Coverings are among the most important single measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Masks must be worn by everyone at all times with rare exceptions.The District Face Coverings Policy provides more detailed information.


COVID-19 Individual PCR Testing for ALL FPS Staff

ALL FPS staff are encouraged to participate in weekly COVID-19 individual PCR testing that is provided at each of our schools.


UPDATED! COVID-19 Pooled Testing for Students

We encourage all of our students to participate in pooled testing! Pooled testing is free, easy, and helps to identify asymptomatic students with COVID-19 early and prevent the spread of the virus through the school community. Provide Consent for your child to participate in COVID-19 Pooled Testing today: Pool Testing Consent Form


As of April 26, 2021 all students participating in an athletic program/team at Framingham High school are required to participate in weekly pooled testing.


Beginning May 3, 2021 the district will begin implementing BinaxNow follow-up testing in the event of a positive pooled test result. This means students in a positive pool will be tested individually with a BinaxNow antigen rapid test to identify who is positive for COVID-19. BinaxNow testing utilizes a shallow nasal swab and results are received within 15 minutes. Testing will be administered at your child’s school by trained staff. Students in a positive pool who test negative with a follow-up BinaxNow test can remain in school. Students with a positive BinaxNow test must isolate and be picked up from school as soon as possible. Students with a positive BinaxNow test will remain out of school until they receive a negative individual PCR test result. If the BinaxNow testing does not identify a COVID-19 positive individual, each person in the pool will need a follow up individual PCR test. Students must isolate and be picked up from school as soon as possible and will remain out of school until they receive a negative individual PCR test result. You can find a location to have your child PCR tested here.


MyMedBot (Attestation App)

MyMedBot is used to screen all FPS staff and students daily for potential COVID symptoms by answering a series of COVID-19 related questions. The app should be completed truthfully every day. Staff and students should never come into a school building when sick or if you’ve been exposed to COVID, especially if someone in your home has tested positive or is exhibiting symptoms. Your cooperation and collaboration is key to keeping schools open and safe for everyone.


COVID Call Center

Families can reach the trilingual COVID Call Center by email COVID@framingham.k12.ma.us or by calling (508) 782-6633. Call Center staff are available between 5:00am to 6:00pm Monday through Friday.


COVID-19 Vaccines

All educators are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Staff can use the state’s pre-registration system to schedule appointments: mass.gov:COVID Vaccine Pre-registration. Once an educator has received their full vaccine dose, they should upload it to TalentEd to enhance the efficiencies of the COVID Team in contact tracing and MedBot determinations.


Some people experience vaccine side effects such as tiredness, headache, muscle pain, pain at the injection site, or temperature less than 100.0°. These symptoms are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. If you experience these common minor symptoms in the first 72 hours after your vaccine and feel well enough to come to work, you do not need to list these as symptoms on MyMEDBOT.

Please remember it is possible to get COVID-19 even after you are vaccinated. If you have any other symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, cough, or loss of sense of smell or taste, stay home from work, avoid close contact with others, get PCR tested, and contact your healthcare provider. You can find frequently asked questions about COVID vaccine side effects here.


It takes several weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. Please continue to wear a mask, maintain 6ft physical distance, practice frequent hand washing, and stay home when sick.


Because vaccinated individuals are guided by different COVID-19 quarantine, isolation, and travel rules, we are asking staff to provide documentation of your COVID vaccines to HR through TalentEd once you are fully vaccinated. This will assist the COVID Team when contact tracing may be needed and potentially eliminate the need for you to quarantine. Please note that while the District is strongly encouraging that its employees receive a vaccination, we are not mandating it.


NEW! COVID-19 Vaccines for Young People Under Age 18

As of April 19, young people 16 years of age and older who live, work, or go to school in Massachusetts are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, people under age 18 can only be given the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech is a safe and effective vaccine which is given in two doses at least 21 days apart. The large numbers of people who have already been vaccinated has contributed to the recent steady decline in COVID-19 infections. Vaccination of our young people creates an exciting opportunity to keep them safe and healthy and promote the continued decline of COVID-19’s presence in our community.


A parent/guardian must give permission for their young person under the age of 18 to be vaccinated. Parents/guardians must provide a written consent form that their child can bring to their vaccination appointment. The parent/guardian does not need to go with the young person to their vaccination appointment to give consent if the form is completed in advance. The written consent form can be downloaded below.





Keep in mind that a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes it. For this reason, it is extremely important for vaccinated young people to continue to wear a mask, physically distance, practice frequent hand hygiene, stay home when sick, and participate in pooled or PCR testing.


More information on COVID-19 vaccines for young people under the age of 18, including how to schedule and prepare for an appointment can be found here.

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COVID INFORMATION WEBSITE

Members of the COVID Team have been working hard behind the scenes to update a dedicated website with COVID Information and Resources. This site will continue to be updated as new information becomes available.


Please visit https://www.framingham.k12.ma.us/covid for more information.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Please continue to make sure that your school has update-to-date contact information, including cell phone numbers, for all Primary and Emergency contacts associated with your child(ren). At least 4 contacts should be listed. It is extremely important that we are able to reach you for important communications, contact tracing if needed, and to ensure MyMedBot is associated with the correct email address(es).

RECENT RETURN TO SCHOOL SMORES

Framingham Public Schools

The mission of the Framingham Public Schools is to educate each student to learn and live productively as a critically-thinking, responsible citizen in a multicultural, democratic society by providing academically challenging instructional programs taught by highly-qualified staff and supported by comprehensive services in partnership with our entire community. For news, updates, and announcements, follow Framingham Public Schools (@FraminghamPS) on Facebook, Twitter, and (@framinghamschools) on Instagram. You can also join the conversation using #FraminghamSchools.