Good Afternoon Springfield School District families and staff,
Our district had 49 cases of COVID-19 this week which affected many staff and students. I cannot express enough gratitude to nurses and health secretaries for working through a very difficult week. They conducted contact tracing and communicated with families while navigating guidance that was not clear and was shared by the state two days before returning to school. Based on the most up-to-date information available, we are making the following immediate changes to our district protocols, but we anticipate making additional changes early this week.
MOST IMPORTANT: If you have any symptoms then stay home and test!
The most common Omicron symptoms differ from other variants. We are seeing more sore throats, runny noses, headaches and congestion than with other variants. For example, many individuals have described that they have a “scratchy throat.”
Test-to-Stay will continue on Monday and Tuesday for students that were identified as close contacts last week and consented for testing. Outside of those students, the school-based Test-to-Stay program will be phased out.
As we move forward with new cases, contact tracing will continue until we get the new detailed guidance at the beginning of the week; however, Test-to Stay will not be an option. It will be the responsibility of families to do at-home antigen testing based on the guidelines provide. Thos guidelines include the number of days you should test and when you should start testing. If you are unable to find an antigen test, you can contact the school nurse in your building.
New and Differing Approaches to Vaccination Status for Students and Adult Employees
Students Age Five to Seventeen
Based on the Health Department updates, all students between the ages of 5 and 17 years old will continue be treated as “up-to-date” on their vaccinations as long as
- Student has had both doses of Pfizer vaccine
- AND 14 days have passed since their second dose.
“Up-to-date” individuals who are close contacts do not need to quarantine. You should just monitor for symptoms.
Individuals Over Eighteen
While students between five and seventeen will continue to be treated as fully vaccinated, the same is not true for individuals eighteen and older. This is very important for school employees. The new approach to fully vaccinated individuals over 18 will depend on the vaccine received and the date of the final dose.
If you received the full set of Johnson & Johnson (1 dose), Pfizer (2 doses), and Moderna (2 doses), AND you have received a booster, you are considered “up-to-date” and will not need to quarantine if a close contact.
If you received both doses of Pfizer or Moderna more than 6 months ago and have NOT gotten a booster, you are NO LONGER considered “up-to-date.” You will need to quarantine and follow the testing protocols outlined in the guidance found here: Department of Health Close Contact Guidelines
If you received a one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine more than two months ago AND have NOT received a booster, you are NO LONGER considered “up-to-date.” You will need to quarantine and follow the testing protocols outlined in the guidance found here: Department of Health Close Contact Guidelines
If You Test Positive for COVID
If you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 based on an antigen, PCR or Lamp test, then you follow the guidelines below:
- Stay home and isolate for 5 days
- You can leave your home after day 5 if:
- you have two negative antigen tests performed at least 24 hours apart beginning no earlier than day 4*
- AND you never had symptoms, or your symptoms have improved and you feel better
- AND you have had no fever for at least 24 hours without the use of medicine that reduces fevers
- AND you wear a mask around others through day 10.
- Notify your close contacts that you have tested positive.
*Testing is strongly recommended. If you are unable to get a test and you meet all other requirements you can end isolation after 5 days.
Surveillance Testing will be discontinued per the AOE which is too slow to effectively identify and contain the current variant.
The Importance of Booster Shots
You should get a booster if you are 12 or older and you received:
- your Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least two months ago or
- your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least five months ago
- NEW! Registration through the Health Department now open for:
- Boosters for children ages 12-15. (approved by CDC 1/5/22)
- People who had a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least five months ago - this was six months. (approved by CDC week of 1/4/22)
- A third dose for immunocompromised children aged 5-11 (approved by CDC 1/4/22)
If you are age 18 or older, your booster can be the vaccine type of your choice: Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, no matter which vaccine you got originally. For youth 12 - 17 the booster must be Pfizer.
Due to how easily the Omicron variant is transmitted, it is recommended that surgical or KN95 masks are worn. It is also recommended that masks be worn outdoors during recess.
As I mentioned above, the next week will be filled with significant shifts in the statewide approach. As we get more detailed information, we will be sure to update you.
Thanks for your ongoing support and perseverance,
Superintendent of Schools