Seasonal Flu/COVID Update
January 2, 2023
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Masks Highly Recommended As We Return From Break
Dear WPS families, faculty, and staff,
We look forward to welcoming our students and staff back to school tomorrow after our extended winter break, and we wish you and your family a Happy New Year!
As you are probably aware, there is currently an increase in respiratory infections, including COVID-19, Influenza, RSV, and everyday coughs and colds and as such we want to enter our new year healthy and well.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health indicates in their weekly flu report that flu severity for Massachusetts is "very high" at this time. Additionally, Middlesex County is at the "medium" level for COVID-19, as reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As such, we are highly recommending mask-wearing for both students and staff in WPS until the levels for both COVID and flu go down.
The CDC's recommended actions based on our current levels are as follows:
Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including recommended booster doses.
Avoid contact with people who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19 (and flu and RSV, as well).
Follow recommendations for isolation if you have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Follow the recommendations for what to do if you are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
Many students and faculty are choosing to wear masks to mitigate the risk of catching or carrying illness, and masking will be an enormous help in keeping our schools operating efficiently. With infections on the rise, wearing masks not only can prevent illness for our students, but also for our staff. If a student or staff member is exhibiting flu or COVID symptoms, please stay home and get tested before returning to school or work. Working together, we can keep our numbers of ill students and staff down.
If you received a free COVID-19 test kit, please use the test tomorrow morning prior to returning to school/work tomorrow morning, January 3.
Flu and COVID Vaccination Information
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is alerting residents that flu activity is much higher than usual for this time of year – in the Commonwealth and nationally – and urging residents of all ages to also get vaccinated against influenza. DPH and AAP remind you that COVID and flu shots may be given in the same visit.
While families may feel most comfortable getting their youngest children vaccinated by their primary care provider, please note that some retail pharmacies are also able to vaccinate children ages 3 and older. More information is available at www.mass.gov/CovidVaccineyoungkids.
As a reminder: the COVID vaccine is safe, free for all, and no ID or insurance is needed to be vaccinated.
Getting your family vaccinated against COVID and flu is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones. We appreciate your help to keep our communities safe and healthy.
For more information, please visit this link on the DESE website.