April 2, 2021
Dear SPS Families,
When we returned to school in the fall, Shrewsbury Public Schools protocols for safety were developed based on the COVID-19 science and data that were available at that time. We also committed at that time to following that science and data as it is updated, and to make changes to our plan accordingly.
As we move to bringing all students back in full this spring, the large majority of our protocols will remain the same, however some changes have been made. The most significant change in our protocols is the move from 6 feet to 3 feet distancing in classrooms. The research that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education used to support this change, as well as the CDC’s updated recommendations for school, are linked if you are interested in further details. This new data as well as ongoing consultation with local experts makes us feel comfortable making the change to 3 foot distancing at this time. It is important to note that the definition of close contact has not changed, so it is likely that more students and staff will need to be quarantined when positive cases affect our school community.
The list of mitigation measures that we have had in place since August has not changed. Physical distancing (now at 3 feet), hand washing, proper mask wearing, and staying home if sick are still essential strategies. This has been a long haul and we all look forward to the day when we no longer need to employ these strategies in our daily lives. Until that time, please continue to encourage your children to adhere to these strategies while at school. I would also like to remind all families to continue to do a quick daily COVID screening before sending your child to school. The screening should include a check of any of these possible COVID symptoms:
❏ Fever (100° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
❏ Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
❏ Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
❏ New loss of taste or smell
❏ Sore throat
❏ Headache when in combination with other symptoms
❏ Muscle aches or body aches
❏ Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
❏ Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
❏ Nasal congestion or runny nose when in combination with other symptoms
If any of these symptoms are present, please keep your child home, contact your school nurse, and have the child tested for COVID. We know that it is now allergy season for many of us and allergy symptoms can be easily confused with COVID symptoms. We have had several recent positive individuals report that their symptoms started out as what they thought were allergies so they initially didn’t pay much attention to them, however they were eventually tested and found to be positive. Please do not assume that symptoms your child might be experiencing are allergies. Keep your child home, have then tested for COVID, and check in with the school nurse regarding results.
The Massachusetts Travel Advisory is also still in effect. We encourage anyone who is traveling to follow the advisory and be tested or quarantine if you do not meet one of the exceptions, and to share results of testing with the school nurse in your child’s building.
Thank you for all you continue to do every day to make our school community as safe as it can be. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
Noelle Freeman Joe Sawyer
Director of School Nursing Superintendent of Schools