Updates to COVID-19 Protocols

October 20, 2021


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WPS Offers Symptomatic Testing for Screening Purposes

Section 1- Symptomatic Testing.

If your child is not feeling well and you wish to find out if they have COVID, we are offering free rapid testing at Lowell West (formerly known as Cunniff West) located at 175 Main Street in Waltham, from 8:15-10:00 am Monday through Friday. Please use this Google FORM to sign up in advance of symptomatic testing.

Our BinaxNOW symptomatic testing is an initial rapid screen, with follow-up PCR testing required for students who have severe COVID symptoms. With our free symptomatic rapid test, you will know within 30 minutes if your child is positive for COVID. If the test is negative, you will still need to have your child tested with a molecular test to return to school if they have severe symptoms or multiple symptoms. The testing can be done at any Point of Care, such as a pediatrician's office or the state's free testing sites (see https://www.mass.gov/info-details/find-a-covid-19-test for locations). Home tests are not accepted as proof of a negative result.

Symptomatic testing is available for families beginning on Wednesday, October 20 from 8:15 am to 10:00 am. Please use this form to indicate when you will bring your child(ren) to be tested. If you haven't already done son, please fill out the Consent Form online prior to arriving at Lowell West. www.cic-health.com/consent/ma. This is the same consent form that is used for Test and Stay.

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Moving to Pool Testing Optional for Vaccinated Students in Grades 7-12

At Monday's meeting, the School Committee voted to move to optional pool testing for vaccinated students in grades 7-12, based on the recommendation from the Superintendent. The reason for moving to optional pool testing for vaccinated students is due to several factors, including:

  • No breakthrough cases in vaccinated students who were in school

  • 75% of Watertown’s 12-19-year-olds have at least one dose of the vaccine and 65% are fully vaccinated

  • All students can continue to test every week

  • All unvaccinated students or students who do not report vaccination status will still be pool tested weekly

  • Moving to optional testing provides the opportunity for the District to focus testing efforts and resources on the Test & Stay protocols

If the District experiences any increase in cases within vaccinated students, we will revert back to mandatory testing for all students in grades 7-12. Middle School athletes and middle school students across grades who participate in extracurriculars still need to be tested

Pool Testing continues for all students who are not vaccinated, including all students in PreK-6 and unvaccinated students in grades 7-12.

In order to determine whether a student will continue with pool testing, we are asking families to fill out the following Google Form, a form that is only shared with the school nurses to ensure confidentiality. If you prefer, you or your child can email a photo of the front of the card to your school nurse, or you or your child can bring it into the nurse’s office. Please note that any consideration of further changes to protocols such as mask-wearing depends on a certain vaccination rate, so filling out this form is essential to help with future decision-making.

7-12 Mandatory testing will continue for a few more weeks as we work out the logistics of testing and collecting vaccination cards. We will make changes once we are confident that families have the opportunity to consider the options and to submit the forms and when we have determined the best logistics to accommodate the various preferences.

Consent for Test and Stay

We encourage you to sign your child up to be part of the Test and Stay program being offered- a program that allows your child to remain in school and not quarantine as long as they test negative each morning using a rapid test, BinaxNOW. This protocol lasts for seven days, and on day 8, you no longer have to bring your child early for testing. The link to consent can be found here: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=null

If we determine that your child is a close contact while school is in session AND you have already consented to testing, your child may be tested in school and then we will notify you that the testing has been done and share information about next steps. Having the ability to quickly test students once we learn of a positive case is an excellent tool in our COVID-19 mitigation strategy.