Dear Parents/Guardians, Students, and Staff Members,
We wish to inform you that we have recently received information regarding a confirmed case of COVID-19 in an individual at Brayton Elementary School.
Every individual with a potential exposure has been contacted and given instructions on the course of action they need to take according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidelines regarding quarantine, including self-isolating and testing. Please note that all information, including the name(s) of ill persons, regarding any Public Health investigation is confidential and cannot be shared in order to protect patient privacy.
The district has coordinated with the Department of Public Health and will follow all recommendations. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Nurse Leader for the district, Amanda Davis, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Protocols for quarantine have changed with consideration of vaccination and mitigation strategies.
● All fully vaccinated individuals who remain asymptomatic are exempt from quarantine from a possible exposure to COVID-19.
● Close contacts in the classroom where students are masked and physically distanced 3 or more feet apart are exempt from quarantine from a possible exposure to COVID-19.
● Bus contacts provided students were masked and the windows were open are exempt from quarantine from a possible exposure to COVID-19.
● Any asymptomatic individual who has had COVID-19 in the past 90 days are exempt from quarantine from a possible exposure to COVID-19.
Parents/guardians whose asymptomatic child has been identified as a close contact can elect to have their child participate in the “test and stay” program and not have to quarantine. In the “test and stay” program, students with parental consent are tested daily for 7 consecutive days using the BinaxNow Rapid Results test. As long as the student remains asymptomatic and has a negative test result for each of the required days, the student can remain in school. Parents/guardians can provide consent by participating in the COVID Surveillance Testing Program (see information below).
COVID- 19 Symptoms
If you or your child develops any symptoms associated with COVID-19, it is important that you quarantine and schedule a test to confirm your illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
● Fever or chills or shaking chills
● Persistent cough
● Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
● New loss of taste or smell
● Muscle or body aches
In addition, if a student has any combination of the symptoms below please contact your child’s pediatrician regarding the potential of a COVID-19 infection:
● Sore throat
● Congestion or runny nose
● Nausea or vomiting
Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:
● Trouble breathing
● Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
● New confusion
● Inability to wake or stay awake
● Bluish lips or face
Call your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning to you.
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. The weekly COVID-19 testing program is just another way we are striving to keep our school environment safe for everyone. Please provide consent for your child to participate in this valuable program.If your child participated in the program last year, you need to provide an updated consent for this school year.
The consent form is available on the district website at https://www.napsk12.org/page/c....
The ability to join the surveillance testing program by providing consent will remain an open enrollment and you can submit your consent form at any time. Please provide an individual consent form for each of your children who attend North Adams Public Schools.The more individuals who participate, the safer our schools will be!
What is the COVID-19 testing program?
● Participating individuals will be tested for COVID-19 once a week.
● The COVID-19 test is quick, easy and it does not hurt. It is a nasal test you can administer yourself that gently swabs the lower inner nostril.
● The test is free. You do not need to pay for the test or have insurance to get the test.
● The test is performed at each school.
● We are in the process of developing a smooth scheduling system so that testing does not interrupt teaching and learning.
● The program is optional, but we hope you will participate to help us keep our schools as safe as possible.
● Consent is required for those parents electing to have their asymptomatic child participate in the “test and stay” program when identified as a close contact.
How can I participate in the program?
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 Surveillance Testing Program webpage on the district webpage located here.
This form gives consent to share your information if needed. No personal health information is provided to anyone outside of the district in the first round of surveillance testing. Our school nurses will call any individuals with a positive result to explain next steps and discuss follow-up testing options. Test results will only be shared with the Department of Public Health if you test positive on an individual follow-up test.
Your consent also gives us permission to share information with the technology platform we use to track testing. Your information will only be shared with the Department of Public Health and other departments if you test positive on an individual test.
The program is voluntary. Your child is not required to participate in the program. If you do not consent for your child to participate, your asymptomatic child can still come to school as long as they do not have a close contact with someone who is confirmed positive for COVID-19. However, we strongly encourage you to have your child participate to help us reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Currently, students 12 years old and older can be vaccinated. If the student is under the age of 18, they must have a parent or guardian present to authorize the vaccination.
Northern Berkshire Pediatrics patients can obtain vaccination appointments by calling the office (413-663-8365). Those who are not Northern Berkshire Pediatrics patients can of course still be vaccinated, these individuals obtain a vaccination at any of the sites located throughout the state including the CVS pharmacy .
North Adams Public Schools is going to continue responding to any positive case of COVID-19 using contact tracing in collaboration with the Department of Public Health. These efforts will also assist the district in identifying and limiting exposure to students and staff through early isolation.
Thank you and we hope each of you and your families remain healthy!
Dr. Barbara Malkas