Important Updates & Info About Returning to In-Person Learning
February 18, 2021
Greetings Lowell Public Schools Families,
We hope you enjoyed the February vacation and were able to relax and recharge.
With our first group of students set to return to in-person instruction on Monday, February 22, and our next group returning in-person on March 1, we wanted to share some updates and reminders to help guide families through the transition (these were included in the February issue of our district newsletter, the LPS Connector):
Schedule for Returning to In-Person Learning
• February 22 - Students in substantially separate special education programs who were previously participating in our in-person learning model (those students who were still attending in-person instruction in December)
• March 1 - Students who are not in a substantially separate special education program, but were previously served in-person this fall as part of our original school reopening plan.
• April 1 - Our target date for expanding in-person learning for additional students beyond those who were assigned to in-person learning at the beginning of this school year. We will continue to keep you posted with more details and about the feasibility of meeting this next target date. (In the meantime, please take our return to school survey if you have not already done so.)
Transportation for In-Person Learners
For those students returning in-person on February 22 and March 1 who receive transportation, the transportation schedule will remain the same as the last time they were attending school in-person. If you have any questions, please call the Transportation Office at 978-674-4333.
The COVID-19 rates here in Lowell continue to improve. According to the Commonwealth’s weekly report released on February 18, the average number of daily cases per 100,000 residents is now 41.0, down from 87.0 a month ago, while the “percent positivity rate” (the percentage of tests that are positive here in Lowell) is now 5.01, down from 10.15 a month ago.
The latest COVID-19 data, updates and information can be found on the LPS COVID-19 Dashboard. Please check out this great resource.
COVID-19 Testing Program
As part of the reopening process, we will be offering voluntary free weekly COVID-19 testing. This testing will lower the risk of spread of COVID-19 by helping to identify those positive cases in people who do not show any symptoms of COVID-19. In order to participate, parents/guardians will have to sign a consent form for their child. Click here for the consent form.
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.
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. Please click here to read more about this testing program.
Massachusetts is currently in Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccine rollout. As of publication, the following groups are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine: everyone in Phase 1; individuals 75 and older; individuals 65 and older; residents and staff of affordable senior housing; people with 2+ medical conditions. Those accompanying residents 75 and older to vaccine appointments (at the mass vaccination sites) can also get a shot. Early education and K-12 workers are currently slated to be eligible for vaccination later in Phase 2. For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the state’s website.
Also, check out these helpful resources from the Lowell Community Health Center and the Greater Lowell Health Alliance:
LPS Face Mask Protocol and Guidelines
Students, staff, and any person entering our school buildings are required to wear a face covering, unless there is a documented exception. Masks potentially slow the spread of the virus and can protect against the transmission of the virus from people who may have the virus and be asymptomatic. Please review the LPS Face Mask Protocol and Guidelines.
COVID-19 Cleaning Protocols
As students return to school, we will make sure we continue to follow strict safety guidelines in order to keep our students and staff safe. Air purifiers will be checked to ensure they are running in proper order, hand sanitizer stations and classroom dispensers will be filled, and desks and all surfaces will be regularly cleaned.
Our custodial staff will continue deploying additional disinfecting treatments in our buildings, such as using a disinfecting fogging/sprayer machines, especially when a COVID positive case has been identified.
What To Do When You Feel Sick
Do you feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms? Please refer to this helpful and easy to follow chart for guidelines about if you should go to school and how long you should isolate or quarantine if you do have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Please be sure to contact your school nurse if your child develops COVID symptoms or has been identified as a close contact or tested positive for COVID.
Massachusetts COVID-19 Travel Order
Please be mindful of the state’s COVID-19 Travel Order if you traveled out of state during the February vacation week, especially for families of students returning on February 22 or March 1. Having our COVID-19 numbers continue to decline is key to being able to keep our students in our school buildings.