COVID-19 In Schools – Feb 3, 2022

Only 10,068 students and 1,918 staff cases of COVID-19 were reported to DESE this week. Yay?

Despite COVID-19 cases still being a record levels for student and staff, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is moving forward an option to shift testing to at-home rapid tests. A highlighted copy of the January 31, 2022 testing protocols includes the revised quarantine/isolation procedures with the test-at-home results. DESE staff have promised another FAQ that will incorporate the guidance for unvaccinated individuals who are close contacts outside of school.

DESE has a decent set of template letters, opt-in tools and multi-lingual resources that are a great starter pack for districts to use for their internal protocols. The updated list of resources and webinar recordings from DESE is available here. Districts and community organizations may also request a mobile vaccine clinic in their community. Start by filling out the form here – mass.gov/mobilevaccineform.

The bots here at The Policy Minute urge our readers to ask their district leaders for a central location for families to opt-in to at home testing and reporting. Share your great examples in the comments!

Number of MA Students  911,465
Positive Student Cases to Date188,317 (20.5%)

Student Count: Number of reported positive cases for students who are enrolled in the school.
Staff Count: Number of reported positive cases for district staff members employed by the school district.

If a school has concerns over a spike in cases within a classroom, grade, or a school, districts and schools must notify their local board of health and must call the DESE Rapid Response Help Center at 781-338-3500.

DESE FAQ Week of November 15, 2021

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education weekly reports are available here.

You can explore the DESE guidance for school-based testing, vaccines and safety policies for public and private schools here.

Curious about more statewide COVID-19 data? The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has a comprehensive interactive dashboard with community level data on testing, hospitalizations and COVID-19 Variants. You can visit their dashboard here.

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