Dear HUUSD Families and Staff,
As we prepare to return to school on Monday, January 3, we are working through a number of changes shared by the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and the Agency of Education (AOE) late yesterday afternoon. Please know that we are continuing to ask questions and await further information from these agencies on all the implications of these changes for our school setting. Our goal continues to be to safely maintain school operations as we walk through the pandemic together. We remind everyone that our first and best protection is to stay home and seek testing if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
New Guidance on Isolation and Quarantine
Schools have been directed to follow updated guidance that came from the VDH Thursday afternoon. You can review the VDH website for this guidance on isolation and what to do if you are a close contact.
Given these changes in who must quarantine, as well as for your own safety, we strongly recommend that anyone 16 and older get a booster shot if your last COVID vaccine was more than 6 months ago (2 months if you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) Find out more about how to book a booster or initial vaccine here.
Rapid Antigen Tests for Return to School
There was terrific response for picking up the Rapid Antigen Kits the state made available yesterday and today for all K-12 students. These tests are NOT required, but strongly recommended. As a reminder, please have your child(ren) take these tests at least 24 hours apart, starting two days before school begins.
If both tests are negative and your child has no symptoms of COVID-19, they may return to school on Monday, January 3. The state asks that you please report your test result to the Health Department (they are collecting information on how many tests total are administered, so want your result regardless of if positive or negative.
What do I do if my child tests positive? Please reference this information on What to do if you test positive.
Other COVID-19 Testing Programs in HUUSD
We will continue to offer weekly testing to students 5 and older and staff on Mondays. If you have not already done so, sign up here.
Our Close Contact Test to Stay is slated to continue for those who are unvaccinated and have been identified as a close contact in the school setting only. We await the implications of the transmissibility of the omicron variant and the new CDC and VDH guidance around quarantine for close contacts on our Test to Stay program. Additionally, given rising case counts, it is not clear if we will have capacity to operate the Test to Stay program.
Sign up for Close Contact Test to Stay and Symptomatic Response Testing. See the directions here.
Our response to COVID-19 continues to remain dynamic, as we adjust to new information and developments. We have had 44 reported cases in HUUSD staff and students since 12/21/21, following a trend of increased cases seen around our state. We will continue to carefully monitor and adjust as needed, working with the Department of Health and the Agency of Education. Thank you for your continued collaboration, communication and prioritization of our school community as a whole.
Allison Conyers & Kaiya Korb
HUUSD COVID coordinator & HUUSD building-based COVID administrator