January 11, 2022
Dear LSUU Community,
Today we received important information regarding upcoming policy changes to the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You may have already heard about some of these changes as information was shared with the media prior to being finalized by the state. It has been our process to share information when it has been finalized to ensure we are providing clear and current guidance. Today we have that clarity, and here is what we have learned.
Updates to Contact Tracing / Test to Stay / Masking:
- Contact Tracing – The contact tracing process is changing. It was reported that schools are being directed to stop contact tracing but that is not accurate. The process is actually becoming more conservative. What is changing is the formal process which has been extremely cumbersome on our health staff. Prior to today, all positive cases required extensive formal documentation that was shared with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH). Additionally, our nurses had to determine close contacts based on very specific parameters (e.g., within 3’ proximity for 15 minutes). We will now be alerting all close contacts but will not be required to submit the same paperwork requirements to the VDH. This will expedite and improve the process from a risk mitigation standpoint while taking some burden off of our health care staff.
- Test to Stay – Once we receive the test kits, this program will be implemented at home instead of at school. In the event there is a positive case, all close contacts will be notified and unvaccinated students will be provided test kits for the next five days. Test kits will also be provided for vaccinated and unvaccinated staff.
- Masking – As most already know, State health officials are encouraging students and staff to not rely on a single-layer cloth mask. Health experts are recommending higher quality masks, including N95 or KN95 masks or a surgical quality mask underneath a cloth mask. Our district has provided these higher quality masks for all staff members. We have also ordered a high quantity of child size masks that will be available for those that need them.
We will continue to ask families to keep their children home when they are sick or have symptoms. As stated by Mark Levine, our state health commissioner, “Our North Star continues to be maintaining in-person instruction and keeping kids that should be in school, in school.”
Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we work together to keep our schools safe and healthy.
Please reach out with any questions or concerns.
Superintendent of Schools