Happy Friday. As I write this, I am feeling relieved that we have had no positive cases (as of this afternoon) at HHS and happy that we will have our full complement of students on Monday. The entire school community should be pleased that we can continue to provide exceptional educational experiences to all of our students, both in-person and remotely.
Please remain vigilant in adhering to the protocols. I will be reminding the students of this next week and thanking them for all they have done.
I would like to share an update from our assistant superintendent, Ms. Robin Steiner, that was shared with all staff:
First and foremost, I want to thank everyone for your effort at containing the virus in our SAU 70 schools. You have done an amazing job! I know I certainly feel tremendous hope given the declining numbers of COVID cases, and the move to vaccinate so many groups in our two states, including school staff. Although I am hopeful, I still feel we must maintain our vigilance with regard to the virus and continue our current practices of masking, maintaining six feet of social distancing, handwashing, cleaning and avoiding travel. This will help us move into the spring and allow our schools to remain open with in person instruction.
Vermont Guidance – Includes all Residents of Vermont
Vermont residents must still follow the Vermont guidance. The Health Department advises against any non-essential travel, even within Vermont. All travel to and from Vermont requires quarantine for 14 days. You can end your quarantine early if you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19, get a test on or after day 7, get a negative test result, still do not have symptoms, and continue to monitor yourself for symptoms for the full 14 days. The only exceptions are essential travel (for personal safety, health care, care of others, food, beverage or medicine, work, parental shared custody, students who commute to attend schools) or for those who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days. Students who travel will need to quarantine.
New Hampshire Guidance – Includes all Residents of New Hampshire
Having said that, NH has updated its travel and quarantine guidance. Domestic travel within the U.S. outside of New England no longer requires quarantine upon return to NH. The CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time. We strongly recommend students and staff continue to follow the CDC's travel guidance and to quarantine for 3 to 5 days, get a PCR test after 3-5 days of ending travel, and limit public interactions. Students and staff should return to school following a negative PCR test. Following these guidelines will be in the best interest of our students and staff and will help us to keep schools open to in person learning. I have attached the CDC guidance below. Residents need to continue to self-quarantine for 10 days still after any international travel or travel by cruise ship. The exception to international or cruise travel involves persons who are 14 days or more beyond completion of COVID-19 vaccination or are within 90 days of COVID infection, do not need to be quarantined unless they are symptomatic upon or within 14 days of return.
Also, persons who are 14 days or more beyond completion of COVID-19 vaccination or are within 90 days of having the COVID infection no longer need to quarantine.
This is in effect for NH residents only and does not apply to Vermont residents.
Having said that, and in order to keep our schools open:
we recommend against non-essential travel for the remainder of the school year
we wish to discourage travel to reduce infections and potentially introduce more variants of the disease into our community
our students and some staff are not yet vaccinated
we wish to avoid clusters in schools that would potentially cause us to go remote.
Also, we will be following new recommendations regarding close contacts. Instead of having those quarantining as close contacts tested immediately, testing will now take place on day 7.
Finally, the new VINI website in NH seems to be working well in allowing staff working in NH schools to sign up for vaccines. Staff in VT have been able to sign up for vaccines under the VT system too. We have close to 400 staff members signed up for the clinic at DHMC on 3/27. If you have been able to sign up for a vaccine earlier in either state, there is no longer a need to notify me.
As always, please feel free to email if you have any COVID related questions. I will do my best to answer these. Rules in both states seemed to be changing much more quickly now, so I will keep you posted as I learn about new rules.