Dear HUUSD families and staff,
As we approach a new year, we want to thank each of you for all you’ve done to make our schools strong over the past several months. You have helped minimize significant interruptions to students’ learning in these ways:
- staying home when experiencing any COVID-like symptoms,
- masking and
- participating in the various COVID testing that has been available.
With the omicron variant on the rise, we are anticipating changes in how we respond to keeping our school community safe and strong. The first of these is extremely timely and something we hope you will all consider doing, particularly given that over 30 cases have been identified in our school community since December 22.
- FREE RAPID TESTS AVAILABLE FOR ALL STUDENTS. SIGN UP NOW. The state is making free rapid (antigen) tests available to ALL families of children in grades Kindergarten -12th grade. There are enough rapid tests for every school-aged child in a family to test, with the idea that the test is done within the 24 hours before returning to school next week. These tests can be picked up Thursday, December 30, or Friday, December 31. The pick-up sites will be open both days from 7 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. The name and school of the student(s) will be required to pick up the tests (the student does not need to be present).
Starting today, Wednesday, December 29, families can complete the registration for a time to pick up their child’s (or children’s) kit. Registration is now open at healthvermont.gov/student-testing. Registration to pick up the tests is required. The closest pick-up sites for local families will be Middlesex (1170 US Route 2) and Waitsfield (6909 Main St., by the transfer station) VTrans garages.
Staff are encouraged to access test kits through their local pharmacies, using the health insurance reimbursement available.
For additional guidance about COVID-19, consult the health department. Any child experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home from school regardless of their test result.
- WEEKLY SURVEILLANCE TESTING and TEST TO STAY CONTINUES Our weekly surveillance testing continues to be available. We have over 750 students (5 and older) and staff participating in these opt-in weekly PCR tests. If you wish to join this weekly testing, sign up here. We will also continue our “test to stay” program, which allows asymptomatic individuals identified as close contacts who might otherwise need to quarantine to test daily and then participate in school. You can find more information on the test-to-stay program here.
- UPDATES TO VERMONT DEPT OF HEALTH (VDH) PROTOCOLS ANTICIPATED The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently announced shortened quarantine and isolation periods for those with COVID. We anticipate these changes will soon be reflected in our state guidance. Until then, all of our current COVID-19 protocols remain in place. When any changes are published by the Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education, we will communicate new protocols to the school community.
Thank you for continuing to work together to put our children’s best interests at the forefront.
HUUSD COVID-19 Leadership Team