January 5, 2022
Welcome back and Happy New Year to everyone! It has certainly been an unusual and challenging year for all of us, as we continue to navigate the lingering challenges of Covid 19. The recent spike in cases of the highly contagious Omicron variant has been unsettling for many of our students, staff members and families. While this strain of the disease does appear to cause more mild symptoms, particularly for individuals who have been vaccinated, the rate of spread has been concerning. Over the past week I have received questions from many parents about school safety protocols in response to the surge in cases we are currently experiencing. I wanted to highlight a few key pieces of information that I hope will be helpful:
1- All students and staff members continue to wear masks at all times when in school with the exception of snack, lunch and recess. During snack and lunch, students maintain a minimum of 3 feet of social distance. Students are permitted to remove their masks while eating and are asked to re-mask once they have finished. Students do have assigned seats in the cafeteria in order to limit the number of other students they are in close contact with and to support contact tracing efforts if a positive case is identified.
2- HVAC filters at both schools are regularly replaced and we continue to bring in as much fresh air as possible given the colder temperatures. All classrooms and instructional spaces also have air purifier units to support keeping the environment healthy and safe.
3- Norfolk vaccination rates for children ages 5-11 continue to grow. As of this week 75% of children in Norfolk have received at least their first dose of the Covid 19 vaccine. Our school sponsored vaccine clinics were very well attended- special thank you to our Regional Wellness Director, Dot Pearl, for organizing these events!
4- The district continues to operate the Test and Stay program, offering daily rapid testing to children who are close contacts of Covid 19 positive individuals here at school. At this time we have almost no evidence of Covid 19 transmission among school-based close contacts. In addition we offer onsite rapid testing for any student who presents with symptoms at school. This allows us to immediately identify whether or not a child is positive for Covid 19 so that we can respond appropriately. All students who demonstrate symptoms are immediately sent home from school. Our school nurses have done an incredible job with timely and efficient contact tracing, testing and monitoring isolation and quarantine timelines.
5- Teachers and staff continue to diligently enforce our district safety protocols, including hand-washing, masking and distancing during lunch and snack times. Our talented educators have been amazing at creating as much normalcy, socialization and active learning as possible given the health and safety restrictions.
Like most districts, we have seen an increase in cases across both schools over the December break. Almost all of the new cases were identified over the vacation period and consequently did not impact the school (i.e most cases were diagnosed when students were not in the building and there were no school-based close contacts). For parents who are interested, we do update our district Covid 19 dashboard every Wednesday with weekly case counts. You can find the Covid 19 Dashboard on the front page of our district website.
Please be assured we are closely monitoring this situation and actively following the most current research and guidance from the medical community. Our goal is to keep our students as safe and healthy as possible and to keep our schools open with students able to learn in person with their teachers and peers. We are all hopeful that we will see a significant decline in cases as we get further into the winter and that 2022 will bring happier, healthier and brighter times for all members of our school community!
Dr. Ingrid N. Allardi
Changes to Covid 19 Isolation and Quarantine Guidelines
On December 30, 2021 the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education released updated protocols for Massachusetts Public Schools based on these revised guidelines. This document serves to highlight and explain the key changes to Covid protocols. In addition to changes in isolation and quarantine, more Norfolk students have now received the Covid 19 vaccination. Fully vaccinated students who are close contacts of a Covid positive individual and who are asymptomatic are exempt from testing and quarantine requirements. Please click on the attached PDF below for more information on other exemption categories.
Be Part of the TEAM!
The Plainville/Wrentham/Norfolk elementary school nutrition department currently has openings for food service workers and substitutes.
- Work at one, two or all three schools! You choose.
- Enjoy a school calendar schedule for work.
- Be home when your children are home, and have some adult interaction while they are at school.
- Fun and fast paced work for just a few hours a day.
For more information please visit: SchoolSpring
Norfolk Recreation Upcoming programs...
Click on pictures for more information!