Thanksgiving Updates

Nov 24.  It’s Thanksgiving and the recent spike in Covid here at HPS has been addressed.  We have much more to be thankful for at this time:

  • The students, families, and staff who have been directly impacted by Covid.  Your resilience, your willingness to keep schools informed, your patience, and your support as we’ve worked to manage new cases (many being reported on the same day) have inspired all of us.  We wish all of you a quick and complete recovery.

  • The Routine Pooled  PCR Testing project - in place at both schools.  Some of the individuals who tested positive were asymptomatic participants who were identified thanks to this endeavor and immediately began DPH Isolation Protocols

  • It’s not too late to have your child participate in pooled testing (now scheduled on Tuesdays and Fridays).  Please complete the brief but required Online CIC Health Consent Form. Check out this introductory Nasal Swab Video and practice at home (with "Q-tips") to help your child prepare to participate. Note: Individuals who test positive for Covid must postpone all PCR  testing for at least 90 days and should discuss other testing options with their Primary Health Care Provider.

  • The CDC Isolation v. Quarantine Explanations.

  • The Vaccines - which have prevented serious illness.  However, due to rising rates of breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated people, we strongly encourage participation from all HPS students and staff in the Routine Pooled Testing Project regardless of vaccination status.  The CIC Health Consent needs to be submitted in advance.

  • The HPS Community - who rallied to help support our large scale testing clinics.  We are especially grateful to the HES staff who arrived early each day and volunteered to assure that the clinics ran smoothly.  We also thank our partner testing agency TrueCare 24, the MA National Guard, the Hatfield Fire Department, the Hatfield Board of Health, and HPS parents for their ongoing support with these efforts.

Looking forward, we ask all families to note the following:

  • If travelling now or in the near future, we strongly encourage following the CDC Travel Guidelines; especially the quarantine & test guidelines for those who are not yet fully vaccinated.

  • Continue to actively monitor for symptoms.  While current state DPH DESE symptom management policies are being reviewed, we strongly encourage all families to keep symptomatic children and their siblings home, seek Covid tests or MD evaluation for an alternative diagnosis (ie, strep throat), contact your building nurse, and provide negative test results or MD clearance prior to having your children return to school.

  • Remind children to:   mask up when indoors, wash hands, and avoid sharing personal items / eating utensils /etc to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases like influenza and Covid.

  • Note current “Fully Vaccinated” terminology.  Younger students who have received their first (of 2) Pfizer vaccinations will not be considered “fully vaccinated” until 2 weeks after they received their second dose.  Children ages 5-11 will not achieve this until mid to late December.

  • Vaccinated healthy older students & adults likely have some protection against serious illness but may also have waning immunity.  Some of the vaccines given last spring have been shown to decrease in efficacy; hence the need for “booster” shots.  At this time, students under age 18 are not yet eligible to receive a booster.  If you and your older child meet the current criteria, we urge you to schedule your Covid Vaccine appointment for your booster and/or to begin scheduling vaccine appointments for your currently eligible children.

  • If carpooling, please consider limiting your carpool only to members of your immediate  family.  If carpooling with others is essential, please assure that windows are opened and that all participants (including the driver) are fully masked.  

  • Consider doing less risky activities when planning to see people from outside your immediate household (outdoor visits, indoor masking, distancing, etc).

Vigilance in following these and other standard public health measures will help everyone stay healthier and safer as we continue to face the highly contagious delta variant here in New England.  Thank you for your continued support.