Letter Explaining COVID Procedures and Processes
As we look forward to welcoming all of our PreK-12 students who received an in-person seat assignment via the lottery into school buildings on Monday, September 28, we wanted to share this letter explaining COVID procedures and processes for in-person students. For your convenience, we have also attached this information in an easy to follow chart format. Our face mask protocol and guidelines can be reviewed here: https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/facemask.
Dear Lowell Public Schools families,
Our first responsibility as we begin this school year is to keep our students, teachers, and staff safe. We have spent the summer months getting the school building and staff ready to execute all of the safety guidelines and best practices based on guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the medical community. From sanitizing and utilizing space in new and different ways to purchasing extra masks for students who might lose or forget theirs, we have been working hard to make sure our school buildings are as safe as possible. This year, like never before, will require partnership between schools and families to ensure that students are wearing their masks, washing their hands, and physical distancing. However, the most important thing you can do as a parent/caregiver is to keep students at home at the first sign of a symptom or exposure to the virus.
Our planning process has included thinking ahead about what we will do and how we will communicate with you should a student or staff member show symptoms at school or test positive for COVID-19. We want to share those with you in advance so that you have a clear understanding of what to expect. While some specifics may vary depending on the situation, there are some common steps that will be taken if someone in our school community is symptomatic, comes in contact with an affected person, or tests positive:
- Evaluate the person’s symptoms
- Separate them from others
- Clean and disinfect spaces visited by the person
We recommend COVID-19 testing and to stay at home while awaiting results.
- If the test is positive:
- Isolate at home - separate from other household members - for at least 10 days and until at least 24 hours have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms. (Isolation is the separation, for the period of communicability, of infected persons from others in order to prevent the direct or indirect transmission of a communicable disease.)
- Watch symptoms
- Notify the school nurse and personal close contacts (someone who was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more)
- Answer the call from the health department or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative to identify close contacts and help them prevent transmission
- Secure release from contact tracers (health department or Community Tracing Collaborative) for return to school
- Any students or staff who were close contacts (someone who was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) will be notified immediately
- If the test is negative for someone who was a close contact of someone who tested positive:
- They must quarantine at home for a minimum of 14 days. (Quarantine is restricting the movement of well persons who have been exposed to a communicable disease for a period of time relating to the usual incubation period of the disease, in order to prevent effective contact with those not exposed.)
- If the test is negative for a person who is symptomatic but was not in close contact with someone who tested positive:
- They can return to school once 24 hours have passed with no fever and improvement in symptoms, without the use of fever-reducing medications.
For your convenience, we have also attached this information in an easy to follow chart format. Our face mask protocol and guidelines can be reviewed here: https://www.lowell.k12.ma.us/facemask
For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-
Please contact us immediately if you or someone in your home begins to show the following symptoms:
- Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as a 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
- Congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies), when in combination with other symptoms
The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to keep your children home when they don’t feel well or when they demonstrate any of the above symptoms. We are committed to continuous communication with our families and your child’s school will continue to update you if potential cases occur. If you have any additional questions, please contact your child’s school.
Thank you for your continued support.
Dr. Joel D. Boyd
Superintendent of Schools