Welcome to the Lowell Public Schools COVID-19 Dashboard, where you can find the latest updates related to COVID-19, including COVID-19 data, testing info and vaccine info.
Thank you for your continued support as we kick off the 2021-2022 school year. At Lowell Public Schools, keeping your students safe and in school is our top priority. We have learned a great deal over this past year and our current guidance and procedures reflect the most updated recommendations from the CDC and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
For the 2021-22 school year, we are offering an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of COVID-19, our COVID-19 testing program at school. This program has three components: symptomatic testing for students who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school, routine COVID safety checks to prevent the spread of the virus undetected among students who are not showing symptoms, and test and stay for students who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms. Each of these is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Unlike COVID-19 tests of the past, these are not uncomfortable and easy for students to do themselves.
Students only participate with permission from a parent or guardian. It is important to Lowell Public Schools that you are fully informed regarding the process and that we can answer any questions that you might have in advance of asking you to sign the consent form. Below we describe each of the three parts of our testing program, how they are conducted, and what they are used for.
Symptomatic testing is used when a student is showing symptoms of COVID-19 during school; students should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home. Some symptoms of the virus look identical to other illnesses like the cold or flu, and this test tells us whether a symptomatic student has COVID-19 or not. This is a rapid test, and we receive the results of this test within 15 minutes. If a student has minimal symptoms and tests negative, they can remain in school.
Routine COVID safety checks minimize disruption to learning by helping us catch potential spread of the virus before it starts. Each student administers the safety check on a weekly basis. Samples are collected at school in groups of 5-10 individuals. The samples are group together at school. Once the samples get to the lab, all the samples in the group are tested for COVID-19 together. In almost all cases, it will take less than 24 hours to receive safety check results. Students can continue to come to school while awaiting safety check results; they do not need to quarantine while awaiting results. If a safety check test is positive, the students in the group will take individual tests to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test//the lab will automatically process each individual sample to determine which student(s) in the group produced the positive test.
Test and stay allows students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test while they remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. Students participate in test and stay for at least five days after they may have been exposed.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, they must quarantine at home for the CDC-recommended ten days since symptoms appeared or ten days since the positive test before returning to school. The student must also be without a fever for 24 hours.
Although students who are vaccinated are much less likely to spread or contract the virus, it is important for us to create an inclusive environment for both vaccinated and unvaccinated students.
If you have additional questions, please contact your school principal.
It is our hope that these measures will work together to keep our schools safe and your student in school. Thanks again for your support during this challenging time. We look forward to welcoming your students back to the classroom.
SY 2021-22 Expectations and Understandings (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, City of Lowell and Lowell Public Schools)
- ALL STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN SCHOOL FULL-TIME, FIVE DAYS PER WEEK.
- ALL HEALTH AND SAFETY REQUIREMENTS PREVIOUSLY ISSUED BY THE MASSACHUSETTS DEPARTMENT OF ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION HAVE BEEN LIFTED INCLUDING NO REQUIREMENTS FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING.
- PER CITY OF LOWELL AND LOWELL SCHOOL COMMITTEE, MASKS ARE REQUIRED INDOORS AT ALL TIMES EXCEPT DURING BREAKS AND WHEN EATING/DRINKING (or by medical exemption or SPED/IEP).
- ROUTINE COVID SAFETY CHECKS (INSTEAD OF POOLED TESTING). THESE INCLUDE, SYMPTOMATIC TESTING, TEST AND STAY AND ROUTINE WEEKLY TESTING
- SCHOOLS WILL CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN VENTILATION UPGRADES, CONTINUE HAND HYGIENE PRACTICES, AND STUDENTS AND STAFF SHOULD STAY HOME WHEN SICK.
COVID-19 Testing Program
Testing Services included in the COVID-19 Testing Program:
In order to participate in the Testing Services, parents and staff must click here and complete the consent form requirement. Parents and staff may also use this form to NOT allow permission for testing as well.
This COVID-19 test is quick, easy and it does not hurt. It is a nasal test that gently swabs the lower inner nostril. We will accommodate all students’ needs to help them be comfortable during the test. Most children will self-test under the guidance of a trained adult.
The test is free. You do not need to pay for the test or have insurance to get the test.
The more students and staff who participate, the safer our schools will be.
COVID - 19 Vaccine
Anyone age 12 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the state’s website.
- Massachusetts DPH: Where and when you can get your vaccine
- Trust the Facts. Get the Vax
- Center for Disease Control (CDC): Facts about COVID-19 and the vaccine
- Lowell Community Health Center: For patients of the health center
COVID-19 Key definitions:
This section outlines the list of COVID-19 symptoms, provides the definition of a close contact, and outlines situations where close contacts are exempt from COVID-19 testing and quarantine response protocols including isolation, quarantine, and Test and Stay.
Below is the full list of symptoms for which caregivers should monitor their children, and staff should monitor themselves.
Unvaccinated individuals and any close contacts presenting these symptoms should follow testing and quarantine response protocols as outlined in Section 2 of this document.
Vaccinated individuals who are not close contacts should follow the testing and quarantine response protocols if they are experiencing symptoms in bold. These individuals may also seek clinical guidance to assess the need for PCR testing if they have other symptoms on this list.
COVID-19 symptoms list:
- Fever (100.0° Fahrenheit or higher), chills, or shaking chills
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath • New loss of taste or smell
- Muscle aches or body aches
- Cough (not due to other known cause, such as chronic cough)
- Sore throat, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea when in combination with other symptoms
- Headache when in combination with other symptoms
- Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
- Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms
Definition of a close contact
Close contacts are defined as individuals who have been within 6 feet of a COVID-19 positive individual while indoors, for at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period.3 4 Please note that the at-risk exposure time begins 48 hours prior to symptom onset (or time of positive test if asymptomatic) and continues until the time the COVID-19 positive individual is isolated.
In general, close contacts should follow the testing and quarantine response protocols in Section 2 of this document. However, certain close contacts are exempted from testing and quarantine response protocols as noted below.
Close contacts who are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols
The following close contacts are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols:
- Asymptomatic, fully vaccinated close contacts: Individuals who are asymptomatic and fully vaccinated are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.
- Classroom close contacts: An individual who is exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual in the classroom while both individuals were masked, so long as the individuals were spaced at least 3 feet apart, is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.
- Bus close contacts: Individuals on buses must be masked according to federal requirements. As such, individuals who are masked on buses when windows are open are exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols.
- Close contacts who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days: An individual who has been previously diagnosed with COVID-19 and then becomes a close contact of someone with COVID-19 is exempt from testing and quarantine response protocols if:
o The exposure occurred within 90 days of the onset of their own illness AND
o The exposed individual is recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms.
For more detailed information regarding DESE and Department of Health Protocols for Responding to Covid-19 Scenarios go to:
Where can you get tested for COVID
If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild, or if you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should get a test.
Stop the Spread Testing at Cawley
The City of Lowell has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CIC Health to offer a Stop the Spread Testing site in Lowell. Testing will be offered at Cawley Memorial Stadium, located at 424 Douglas Road. Testing is free and open to all Massachusetts residents over the age of 2, including those that are asymptomatic or that are not residents of Lowell. Drive-through service are available seven days a week at the following times:
Appointments can be reserved online at: lowellma.gov/covidtesting.
Testing Sites in Massachusetts
COVID-19 testing is widely available at sites across Massachusetts. For a complete list of testing sites, click here. To view an interactive map of testing sites, click here.
Who to contact when COVID positive or a close contact
In process of being updated
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
- ALL STUDENTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE IN SCHOOL FULL-TIME, FIVE DAYS PER WEEK.