Superintendent's Update - January 14, 2022
Dear Monomoy families and staff,
The past two weeks have seen exponentially more cases of COVID-19 among our school community than at any other point in the pandemic. It’s clear that the Omicron variant is far more transmissible than prior variants. The good news is that between the sheer number of people who have recently contracted COVID or been vaccinated (both of which provide protection against future illness), the exponential increase in cases may be behind us.
We had another week with a lot of positive pools. Following vacation last week, we had 29 positive pools, and we had a similarly large number of positive pools this week; hopefully, the total number of new cases, while still very high, may have plateaued. You can find weekly COVID-19 data on our dashboard here. With the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday, we will hold our pool testing on Tuesday next week.
I shared our updated quarantine/testing protocols last week, and you can find those details here. I’ve also attached that information in a more graphic format, which may be easier to understand. The important key to these guidelines is whether the individual is symptomatic. The end of quarantine after five days is not automatic, it applies only if there are no symptoms present. If symptoms are present, students and staff should not be in school.
The Test and Stay program is proving to be a safe and effective means for students who were close contacts at school to be tested daily in order to remain in-person. Note that our testing supplies are limited, and we are only able to test those who are participating in Test and Stay as a school-identified close contact or who may become symptomatic while at school. If your student is identified as a close contact outside of school, you are encouraged to pursue testing -- find testing sites across the state here.
We take our guidance from DESE, DPH, the CDC, and our local public health officials, and that guidance continues to change as scientists understand this virus more and as new variants emerge. Because Omicron is so contagious, many health officials are now recommending shifting away from the cloth masks many have been using and to use N95/KN95 masks, which tend to be better fitting and provide higher filtration.
Fifty-eight years ago, Dr. King addressed a crowd in front of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke of a dream “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” We have come far and still have a long way to go before we realize his vision of equality and equity. Enjoy this three-day weekend honoring Dr. King’s legacy.
Scott Carpenter, Ed.D.
Monomoy Regional School District