January 4, 2022
Dear HUUSD Families and Staff:
There have been a few changes in COVID protocols in our state and in our district recently. We are continuing to work with the state to sort through all of these; here is an update of what we do know at this time.
Updates to quarantine for close contacts and what to do if testing positive. The Vermont Department of Health updated isolation and quarantine guidance for those who test positive and those who are a close contact of someone who tests positive. These updates came in response to updated CDC guidance. The Health Department is updating many of its related resources, and will issue additional guidance in the coming days. We are answering questions with what we know and working to get the answers for that which is as yet unclear.
Contact Tracing We are proud of the contact tracing that we have provided for our community, maintaining our practices even while the state has had to step back due to capacity limitations. Given increased case counts and changes in who needs to quarantine, we need to make changes in order to continue providing the contact tracing we believe is so important for limiting spread of the virus. Beginning today, we will be notifying close contacts via email, as opposed to phone calls. When there is a case in a school, we will send out a Swiftreach notification via text and email notifying staff and families in that school that there has been a case. We will continue to notify the entire district of cases, but bundle this notification to one or, if needed, two notices a day.
Test to Stay suspended for week of January 3 - January 7. While the Vermont Department of Health continues to update all of their protocols and confirm for us that Test to Stay is an appropriate response with the new variant, as well as while we collect data on our own capacity we have temporarily suspended the test to stay program. We will update you as we determine if we can recommence this program.
Changes in HUUSD Protocols
Two changes have immediate impact for families:
While we appreciate the social positives of in person connection, our commitment first and foremost is working to curb the spread of the virus at this time.
We are updating and reconfirming our safety protocols across HUUSD. These include reinforcing the expectation that whenever a mask needs to be off (for eating, for example) students maintain a minimum of 3 feet of distance. We continue to review our existing protocols to determine any updates needed.
Boosters have been identified as critical in helping to diminish the impact of the virus. They also are part of what determines who needs to quarantine – if your last vaccination shot was more than 6 months ago (2 months for J & J), you need to quarantine if identified as a close contact. Individuals 16 and up can sign up for boosters now. Given the recent FDA approval, we anticipate boosters will be available for 12-15 year olds soon; we will let you know as soon as we hear of this news.
COVID Testing continues to be an important tool for addressing the spread of the virus. We strongly encourage participation in our weekly PCR testing available to staff and students 5 and over. We had over 800 individuals participate in this testing this past Monday. To sign up: Visit the Vermont Testing Microsite.
Click: Consent Now
Select Harwood Unified Union School District from the drop-down menu. Then select your School.
Staff choose “Sign consent form for yourself”
Parents choose “Sign Consent form for a minor”
Complete the requested information and your child will be eligible to test weekly.
Thank you for continuing to work with us as we work to understand how to meet the shifting landscape of this pandemic. The health and welfare of our school community continues to be our top priority. We will update you as new information becomes available to us.
Allison Conyers, HUUSD COVID coordinator
Kaiya Korb, HUUSD building-based COVID administrator
Brigid Nease, HUUSD Superintendent of Schools