Hello Maple Run Community -
I am writing to you to clarify our current status and protocols related COVID-19, and to share what we know about upcoming changes to these protocols.
Due to significantly increased rates of infection, the impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is currently more severe than previous variants and has greatly impacted our ability to operate our schools. Contact tracing is currently overwhelming our system and has become impossible to keep up-to-date, as positive cases occur at such high numbers. This change is supported by the Vermont Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In their press release yesterday they referenced the high rate of transmission and we need to change our approach to keep children safe and lessen the burden on schools.
While the news has been full of statements regarding changes to school COVID-19 protocols, schools have been instructed to wait for written guidance from the Agencies of Health and Education. To date, the changes to protocol are minimal and are summarized below along with several clarifications regarding our current processes:
As of today (January 12, 2022) close contacts will be notified via email only. Please be sure that your school has the most up-to-date email address for you and that you are checking it daily.
Contact tracing takes place during the school day. Families will now be notified during school business hours. In some cases, this may mean that contact tracing will span multiple days.
MRUSD has not received additional antigen test kits to distribute to families. We will notify you as soon as they are available.
We will continue to administer our Test-to-Stay and Surveillance testing programs until new written guidelines arrive from the state, or we exhaust our supply of test kits.
This coming week, there is no school Monday (1/17) and Tuesday (1/18) so Surveillance Testing will not be offered to students that week.
The Agency of Health has updated their recommendations regarding mask wearing, please see it below:
The Health Department recommends wearing a high-quality mask to help limit the spread of COVID-19, including variants like Omicron. Examples of high-quality masks are N95 or KN95 masks, which are very good at blocking droplets. If you cannot get that type of mask, wear a well-fitting mask with at least two layers of tightly-woven fabric. You can also layer a disposable mask under a cloth mask to increase effectiveness.
Wearing a mask helps protect you and the people around you from getting or spreading COVID-19. A mask helps contain your respiratory droplets and can keep them from reaching other people. COVID-19 can spread even if a person does not have any symptoms. This is how we reduce the spread of the virus and outbreaks in our communities, schools and businesses.
Like community members, I, too, am frustrated about the impact of this new variant, rapid changes in guidelines and protocols, and our inability to return to “normal.” In an effort to reduce frustration and increase clarity as much as possible, I will continue to provide periodic updates. Our responses to the pandemic will evolve in order to keep our community as safe as possible, and to keep our schools open.
I thank you for your patience and your support of our children and staff.