Dear King Philip Community Members,
I would like to inform you all of several updates regarding the district’s COVID-19 contact tracing protocols in our schools and our close contact notification as a result of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.
Massachusetts had a positivity rate of over 22% yesterday and this percentage does not include those testing positive with home tests as they are not recorded by the state. While we continue to see cases rise throughout our region, we’re also seeing a significant increase in cases in our schools. We would like to remind all community members that we have relaunched our COVID-19 Dashboard and update it every Wednesday. Families are encouraged to check this dashboard weekly to see the district’s most up-to-date COVID-19 numbers.
At this time, public health departments are no longer notifying close contacts and instead, positive individuals are asked to notify their close contacts themselves. Since the start of the pandemic, our nursing and administrative staff have worked diligently nonstop to contact the families of those who have been identified as a close contact and provide all the needed support.
However, effective Monday, Jan. 10, only individuals who are at the highest risk of transmission within our schools will be notified as close contacts. Currently, everyone in our schools is masked so we will not continue to conduct contact tracing within our classrooms. As a rule of thumb, people should assume that when they are in a large gathering they may be near positive individuals. As such, we ask that everyone continues to wash their hands regularly, practice social distancing and wear a mask to help decrease the chance of transmission of this virus.
While we understand that there are brief periods of time throughout the school day in which students are not wearing masks, such as lunch, we highly encourage students to wear their masks if they are not actively eating or drinking during these times.
We will continue to do our best to monitor the situation and we will continue to practice all preventive measures including heightened cleaning and sanitization of all school facilities and enforcing the use of masks within our schools. But most importantly, we ask that if you don’t feel well, please stay home and isolate yourself from others. Those who have COVID-19 symptoms are identified as a close contact or test positive for COVID-19 should contact their school nurses for further information related to quarantine and testing protocols.
As always, we thank you all for your unwavering cooperation and understanding. We hope that through these mitigation measures, we will continue to keep our school community safe for our students and staff throughout this surge in cases.