Dear Students, Families, and Staff Members,
Each Thursday evening the Department of Public Health releases the city/town and Berkshire County data updates for the previous 14 day period. The key information includes:
The positivity rate for the City of North Adams: Current rate is 1.78%.
The average positivity rate for 15 communities, not including North Adams, calculated from the total positive cases divided by the total number of tests for the last 14 days multiplied by 100: Current rate is 1.48%.
The pool testing results for this week’s students, staff, and student athletes are reported as negative, including the results for the end of last week and beginning of this week.
The report by the school nurse leader of the total number of cases of COVID by school and the status of each case (contact tracing, quarantine and self-isolation, and awaiting follow-up test results). There are a total of 2 cases in the district involving students and staff at Colegrove Park Elementary School (2).
On Friday, May 14, 2021, the COVID Data Team (a joint labor management team) met to review the data. The vote was unanimous to accept the data report. Except for those students who have not been cleared for a return to school due to contact tracing, the schools will continue to operate according to the schedule for full in-person learning in grades preK through 12 effective Monday, May 17, 2021.
Currently, the most effective prevention measures for COVID-19 are effective mitigation strategies (wearing a mask, physical distancing, and personal hygiene such as handwashing) and obtaining both doses of the two shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
Vaccination against COVID-19 has been approved for 12 to 16 years olds in addition to the 16 to 18 year old population.
North Berkshire Pediatrics supports the vaccination of children and is working collaboratively with the site organizers at St. Elizabeth’s of Hungary in North Adams to have a teen specific vaccination clinic. More information will be provided as it becomes available. There are appointments available through the Berkshire County Vaccination Collaborative. Please go to the Berkshire County Vaccination Collaborative website to schedule your appointment, or attend the walk-in vaccination clinics as scheduled. Vaccination for anyone over the age of 12, but under 18 years of age will need a parent/guardian to accompany them to the vaccination site.
The Center for Disease Control has issued new guidance regarding mask wearing for those who are fully vaccinated; however, schools are still under order through the Governor's office and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to implement measures to prevent contagion of COVID-19, including mask wearing.
Drury high school students are scheduled to return to school for in-person learning on May 17, 2021. Your continued use of mitigation measures while not in school will help to not only ensure a safe return to school, but also to keep our students in school for longer periods of time. Please practice prevention of infection and as always, if a staff member or student develops symptoms it is imperative that they stay home and contact their health care provider.
Pooled Testing Program
North Adams Public Schools has implemented a voluntary free weekly COVID-19 testing program to help keep our staff, students and community safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Regular COVID-19 testing of students and staff will help us lower the risk of the disease in our school by finding and isolating individuals who have COVID-19 quickly, even before or if they show symptoms.
We have confidence in our safety protocols including masking, distancing, and disinfection protocols. The weekly COVID-19 testing program is just another way we are striving to keep our school environment safe for everyone. It is not too late to provide consent for your child to participate in this valuable program.
The ability to join the pooled testing program by providing consent will remain an open enrollment process and you can submit your consent form at any time. Please provide an individual consent form for each of your children who attends North Adams Public Schools.The more individuals who participate, the safer our schools will be!
To participate in the testing program, you need to sign a consent form. You only need to sign once to consent for testing each week. The consent form can be found on the new COVID Pool Testing Program webpage on the district webpage located here.
Have Questions? Contact Lauren Gage, District Testing Coordinator and School Nurse Leader at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and we hope each of you and your families remain healthy!
Dr. Barbara Malkas