December 20, 2022
Dear Students, Parents/Guardians, Faculty and Staff Members,
With the December recess quickly approaching, let me begin this message by wishing each of you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season. This time of year is often a time for gatherings and travel, and based on prior experience, we know that means there will be increased exposure to people that we may not normally connect with. This increases the risk of contracting an illness, including COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), and the Influenza (flu) virus, which are also prevalent at this time of year.
With this in mind, Commissioner Jeff Riley of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released COVID-19 test kits from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) supply, to be distributed to each public school staff member and student. The kits contain two tests each.
The following is important information about how to use these test kits:
The first test is to be used either Monday evening (January 2nd), or Tuesday morning prior to the return to school (January 3rd) for all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status.
The second test in the kit may be reserved for those individuals who will need to test upon becoming symptomatic later in the week or during the weeks that follow.
The instructions for the administration of the test kit are available with each kit. The test kit expiration date has been extended by 6 months.
For the list of COVID-19 symptoms please go to the district website.
You do not need to be part of any previous testing program or to have provided consent in order to receive a test kit.
If you do find that you have a positive test result, please contact the District COVID Coordinator, Lisa Randall, at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow the CDC guidance for quarantining and mask-wearing, and contact your health care provider.
By using these tests to proactively diagnose possible positive cases, it is our hope that we will limit the potential COVID exposure in schools. Last year at this time we had a significant increase in the number of COVID positive cases statewide and that remained constant until mid-February. We can all do our part to reduce the spread of the virus through vaccinations, booster shots, and testing after possible exposure. This will allow us to maintain the consistency of our school programs throughout the winter.
It is with great gratitude that I wish to acknowledge the efforts of all in our North Adams Public Schools community in supporting our students. Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year.
Sincerely, Barbara Malkas, Ed.D.