Dear King Philip Community Members,
I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday and enjoyed some well-deserved relaxation over the winter break. As we prepare to welcome you all back into our school buildings this coming Monday, we would like to share some important information with all of you.
Our district was informed yesterday, Dec. 29, that DESE and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) have made COVID-19 iHealth at-home rapid antigen tests available to all school districts within the state. Tests will be available for districts to pick up from MEMA warehouses over the weekend. As a result, we have planned our test distribution and administration accordingly.
As such, on Monday, Jan. 3, all King Philip, Norfolk, Plainville, and Wrentham schools will have a one hour delay for students. The hour delay will allow for all staff members to report to their school buildings at their regularly scheduled times to receive and complete their rapid antigen tests. The hour delay will provide ample time for the districts to distribute tests to staff members who opt to participate and make any staffing adjustments needed prior to students’ arrival.
Parents/guardians should note that DESE and MEMA have only allocated enough tests to each district for staff members and, as such, there will be no tests available to students at any of our schools at this time. Students who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, have been identified as a close contact of an individual who tested positive for COVID or who demonstrate COVID symptoms MUST stay home from school on Monday until parents have consulted with their school building nurses.
King Philip community members should also note that as a result of the latest increase in COVID-19 cases at the school, town, and state levels, our district will be reinstituting our mask mandate effective immediately at our high school until further notice. We will continue to closely monitor positive case rates and adjust the mandate accordingly if we see a decrease in cases. We have also re-launched our COVID-19 dashboard in an effort to keep community members updated on our schools’ positivity rates. The dashboard will be updated each Wednesday.
Additionally, the Department of Public Health (DPH) has updated its guidance in conjunction with the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding COVID-19 isolation and quarantine durations. Effective immediately, the required isolation period for COVID-19 positive individuals who show no symptoms has been reduced from 10 days to 5 days. The updated isolation guidance applies to all K-12 schools, however, quarantine guidance for students who are close contacts of COVID positive individuals in K-12 schools remains unchanged at this time. Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact their school building nurses for further advice. Also, DESE’s current mask requirement and Policy on Vaccination Rate Threshold will remain in effect until further notice.
The health and safety of our school community remain paramount and your cooperation is critical to keeping our students and staff safe and our schools open. As always, we thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you all in the New Year!
Superintendent of Schools