Dear Parents, Guardians, and Members of the Newmarket Community,
As many of you may already be aware, the CDC and NH DHHS have made changes to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine timelines for anyone exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or testing positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status, or previous infection). Those recommendations will be implemented by the Newmarket School District, effective February 1. The updated guidance includes new terminology and definitions that are, in many cases, different from those in the past. Today we are providing you with a few reference documents that we hope will offer clarification:
1) Isolation and quarantine infographic
These documents will also be reviewed at a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, January 24, 2022, at 6:00pm via the Zoom link below:
Join Zoom Meeting https://newmarket-k12-nh-us.zoom.us/j/88948000867?pwd=RzBWbHcweElUaFZXMTJITWN2ZTArdz09
Meeting ID: 889 4800 0867 Passcode: Rtqhm1Rf
Updated protocols are as follows:
Return to School Screening and Testing Plan.
New guidance provides staff and students with an option to reduce the length of isolation and quarantine, if a combination of criteria are met. In response to these requirements, we have developed a return to school screening and testing plan, which will include the following:
- Any staff member or student who feels they are well enough to return to school on day six will schedule a screening and testing appointment on day 5.
- The nurse will review the criteria for returning to school. This will include a mask wearing consultation, an evaluation of symptom improvement, a temperature check, and a rapid COVID test (a consent form must be completed).
- If by clinical judgment and rapid COVID test results the staff/student has met the criteria to return on day 6, the nurse will inform them and let the building administration know they are cleared to return.
- If they do not meet the criteria to return, then they will complete the 10-day isolation period and return on day 11 if they are healthy enough to do so.
Mask Wearing. You may be wondering; Why all this fuss about mask wearing after two + years of wearing them? There are several reasons for this that are worth mentioning. First, to qualify for an early return from isolation and quarantining, wearing a well-fitted mask is required for the remainder of the 10-day time-period. Second, mask information has evolved since we last talked about this two years ago, and it is important to make sure that everyone understands which masks are effective, how to ensure that they fit properly, and what "wearing" a mask means. Finally, Dr. Chan has predicted that the Omicron variant will not peak in New Hampshire for several more weeks, and the surge of COVID-19 cases since returning from the break has already had a significant impact on our student and staff wellness. To keep staff, students, and loved ones safe from viral spread, we need to enhance our efforts to implement mitigation strategies with fidelity.
We believe that these protocols will keep everyone as safe as possible, while ensuring that our schools remain open and fully staffed. We hope you’ll join us on Monday, January 24 at 6:00pm for our Town Hall Meeting. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.
Susan K. Givens