Dear Masconomet Parent/Guardian,
As I begin this update on the status of our testing programs, I need to emphasize that the simplest way to remain in school after any exposure to COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. Fully vaccinated individuals who are close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual are exempt from any quarantine or testing protocols as long as they remain asymptomatic. Vaccines are widely available in Massachusetts. Go to https://vaxfinder.mass.gov/ to find a vaccination site near you.
For the past two weeks, Masconomet has been hosting a shared “Test and Stay” Program with the Tri-Town School Union. Test and Stay allows unvaccinated students who have had close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 while at school to stay in school if the unvaccinated student is not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these unvaccinated students 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. Our Test and Stay program has allowed 16 Masconomet students to continue to attend school after being identified as close contacts since the program began on September 21st.
In the next few days, we will be expanding our testing program to include symptomatic testing. Symptomatic testing is used when any student, vaccinated or unvaccinated, 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 any 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.
Parent consent is required for student participation in both the Test and Stay and Symptomatic Testing programs. Having prior consent is especially necessary for symptomatic testing as it allows us to test a student without having to wait for a parent to come to school to provide consent. Our testing provider, CIC Health, has created an online form in order for you to provide your consent for your child to participate in these programs. The form can be accessed through this link: https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Masconomet.
Please note that the consent form asks for consent to participate in all three testing programs offered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, namely “Test and Stay,” “Symptomatic,” and “Routine COVID Safety Checks,” formerly known as “pooled testing.” At this time, Masconomet is only participating in “Test and Stay” and “Symptomatic Testing.” If it is determined at a future date that “Routine COVID Safety Checks” are implemented, we will re-send a communication to families to determine who may want to opt-in/opt-out of that specific program. Said differently, although you are providing consent for all three testing programs when you complete the consent form, we are not doing “Routine COVID Safety Checks” at this time and will reconnect with families to determine their consent for that program if/when it is implemented.
Thank you in advance for providing your consent for your child to participate in our symptomatic and Test and Stay programs. Participating in these programs will ensure your child misses a minimum amount of learning time if they develop COVID-like symptoms, or are identified as an in-school close contact, and we are continuing to provide the safest environment possible for all students and staff. If you have any questions about these programs, please review the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s COVID Testing Page for more information.