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New Year Message  • Update • Archive of Covid Updates
New Year Message • Update • Archive of Covid Updates
Jeff Valence
Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dear Families,

As you saw in Nurse Kati’s email, the Covid Committee continues to monitor our community and regional exposure to the Corona virus.  We will be meeting Friday morning as well.  We anticipate, presuming no significant changes over the weekend,  that we will be returning to school as planned.   We request that for the two week period following the return to school, we ALL be especially vigilant and conservative in your assessment of whether COVID associated symptoms appear. The reason being due to the increased probability that the holidays will introduce greater probability of unknown exposures. 

We are also continuing our work on our school’s budget proposal for 21-22.  Our Wellness Committee met Wednesday to find ways we can support the needs of our community in 2021 and as we eventually emerge out of the pandemic.  I have heard from several teachers over the last few days about some exciting plans they have for their classrooms and the B&G team have been busy completing projects (such as a sensory path) in the building that were put off due to the demands of COVID.  I will post pictures soon.

We have a lot that is happening that we can be proud of and to look forward to in 2021.  We hope you will join with others hands and voices which help us build on our success and amplify all that we can be grateful for.  A positive attitude helps see past the negative and illuminate the positive.  Quite often this perspective is the difference between misery and joy -- joy being one of the ingredients that inspire the drive towards success.

On behalf of myself and the entire school, we wish you a happy and successful 2021.

Jeff 



Below are the  notices that were sent out updating families on changes or updates surrounding COVID for your reference or in case you did not receive an email.


From: Kati Miller <kmiller@lymeschool.org>      Date: Fri, Dec 31, 2020 at 10:03 AM

Families,

 As we near the return to school, we would like to communicate the following:
 
The Lyme School COVID Committee has been meeting over the break and monitoring any events that might impact our local school community. We plan to meet again on Friday Jan. 1st. 

We ask families to remain committed to following the health mitigation practices of mask wearing, handwashing, physical distancing and screening for symptoms. 

We attend the weekly State of NH DHHS meetings with School Partners and there is currently no plan to change the guidance and recommendations regarding disinfection and sanitization of surfaces in school settings. The State of NH DHHS continues to recommend routine cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces and further stresses the importance of this in schools with younger aged children. We will therefore continue with our cleaning strategies until told otherwise and will continue to follow updated information.

Finally, we urge families to contact nurse@lymeschool.org with any questions or concerns regarding your child/children's return to school or if there is any assistance your family might need.

We appreciate the continued support from the Lyme School families and wish everyone a Happy New Year. 

With thanks,

Kati Miller RN
On behalf of the Lyme School COVID Committee



From: Kati Miller <kmiller@lymeschool.org>      Date: Fri, Dec 18, 2020 at 6:28 PM

Lyme School Families,

This is an update from the COVID Committee as of 12/18/20:

We continue to monitor and work with NH DHHS in regards to our recent COVID-19 positive case. At this time, we have no evidence of transmission within the school. We ask families to continue to limit gathering with others outside of your household, especially indoor settings, and continue to mask and maintain distance as recommended by CDC and NH DHHS.

 The State of NH DHHS continues to affirm that any travel poses an increased risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. They continue to recommend people avoid any unnecessary travel even within the six New England states. Please keep in mind the quarantine requirements of the school if you travel outside of New England or host people from outside New England. 

 NH has received 12,675 doses of the Pfizer vaccine so far. These doses are being administered to healthcare workers and long-term care facilities in accordance with the State of NH Phase 1a administration schedule. The current vaccines have not been studied extensively in the pediatric population and there are no plans to administer them to children at this time. 

 The Lyme School COVID Committee will continue to meet regularly during the school break. We will evaluate and monitor the local COVID-19 situation and ask that you check your email for updated communications. 

Kati Miller RN On behalf of the Lyme School COVID Committee



From: Kati Miller <kmiller@lymeschool.org>      Date: Thu, Dec 10, 2020 at 10:36 AM

Lyme School Families, We would like to provide updates on two important issues:

• New Quarantine guidance from the State of NH and how it impacts our school. 

• Morning Health Screening process.

NH DHHS has updated the guidance for those who have been identified as close contacts to a person diagnosed with COVID-19. 

The Lyme School will be adhering to the new guidance and excluding students and staff from school for the 10 day quarantine period. This is a change from the 14 day exclusion and aligns us with the State of NH recommendations.  Please refer to this link for more information Self-quarantine guidance 

We will also adhere to the updated Travel recommendations NH Travel recommendations and exclude students and staff for the full 10 days of quarantine. Although the State of NH provides an option for ending quarantine after day 7 by getting a COVID-19 test, the Lyme School will maintain the 10 days of exclusion for any high risk travel as defined by the NH DHHS. This means that an individual could test out of the state required travel quarantine but would still be excluded from attending school for the full 10 days. 

We are relying on families to self-report any high risk exposure or travel, including hosting family or friends who did not quarantine according to NH DHHS guidelines. There will be no restrictions on students if the visitors complied with the State of NH quarantine recommendations, otherwise we will ask families to keep students out of school for 10 days after last exposure to a visitor. 

Morning Health Screening As mentioned in previous emails, we recognize temperature checks have become inaccurate since the start of the cold weather. We will be asking families to check their child's temperature before school every day.  "Did you check your temperature and was it below 100.4 this morning?" will be added to the morning’s Health Screening questions.  If you are unable to take the temperature at home please contact the school nurse so that we may check the child’s temperature at school at  nurse@lymeschool.org We appreciate your continued support and cooperation as we forge ahead with in-person learning amidst a pandemic. We continue to re-evaluate our processes and are all learning through this experience together. 

Kati Miller RN On behalf of the Lyme School COVID Committee



From: Kati Miller <kmiller@lymeschool.org>   Date: Tue, Nov 24, 2020 at 4:12 PM

Hello,

Here is a brief update from our Lyme School COVID Committee meeting on 11/23/20. 

I would like to remind parents to continue to contact the School office or Nurse's office when your child is absent from school. Please be in touch if you have any questions during the Thanksgiving break at nurse@lymeschool.org

As the season changes into winter, we have noticed that masks become wet after playing outside during recess. Please send extra dry and clean masks with your child each day. We do have a supply of extra masks but most children have a type that they prefer. I have found that the disposable type masks dry quicker than cotton masks. 

NH continues to see an increase in community transmission, COVID positive cases and hospitalizations. The State of NH DHHS recommends against getting together with anyone during Thanksgiving not in your immediate household. Any travel or social/family gatherings increase a person's risk for getting infected and spreading the virus.

There will be no Lyme Recreation basketball or alpine ski program this winter after discussion with the Recreation Committee and based on recommendations from the COVID committee. 

We are continuing to work on issues related to the Morning Health Screening process during the winter season. We are aware that the temperature checks are becoming increasingly inaccurate due to the cold weather. We will continue to rely heavily on the screening questions asked prior to school entry. We are working to determine if there is a better way to check students' temperatures. In the meantime, we ask for your cooperation in monitoring your child's symptoms and temperature daily before school.

Finally, here are the links to the most updated Self-Isolation and Quarantine guides for your reference.

I hope you all have a restful and safe Thanksgiving break. 

Kati Miller RN On behalf of the Lyme School COVID Committee



From: Kati Miller <kmiller@lymeschool.org>   Date: Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 10:24 AM

Dear Parents,

This is the first of what we aspire to be regular updates from the The Lyme School Covid Committee.  We will use this email to communicate new information and updates from the state and our local community response efforts.    The debriefing process from our first COVID positive school community case is in the final stages. One goal identified was to provide a regular summary report to staff and our school families.    The Covid Committee meets weekly to discuss and respond to COVID-19 related issues and implications on the academic setting. Members include: Jeff Valence, Kati Miller, Antonia Altomare, Karen Huyck, Margaret Caudill-Slosberg, Michael Hinsley, Elise Foxall, Miki McGee, Matt Hayden (Board Liaison)  This week’s updates  (1) explain the new NH travel guidelines and how they relate to return to school decisions and  (2) explain the recent changes in the state role in contract tracing.  While this information is important for you to know and will inform our school COVID response, any emergency and time-sensitive updates will be communicated through our school emergency communication procedures. 

UPDATES:  • State's updated guidelines for travel and parameters of quarantine.

• NH DHHS continues to recommend against any non-essential personal or business travel, and people should avoid gathering with others who are not part of a person's immediate household, even during the holidays.
• People traveling outside the six New England states (NH, ME, VT, MA, CT, RI) still need to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last day of travel outside   of New England (unchanged) • The State has now given travelers the option to shorten their travel-related quarantine if all the following apply: the person gets a molecular-based test (an antigen/rapid test is not acceptable) on day 7 (or later) of their quarantine, the person tests negative, and they remain asymptomatic. 
• This 7-day "test out" of travel quarantine option applies ONLY to travel-related quarantine and NOT quarantine due to other types of exposure

Although the state has changed the parameters of quarantine related to travel, the Lyme School as well as many other schools and organizations are adhering to the policy of a 14 day exclusion with no testing out option.   What this means: if you travel, the State DHHS is requiring you to quarantine for 7 days at which point, if you test negative, you would no longer be required to quarantine (you can move about without restrictions), however you would still not be able to return to school until the end of the 14 days as CDC still asserts the potential of transmission exists for 14 days.  

Due to widespread community transmission and rapid pandemic surge across the state of NH, containment is no longer possible. The focus is on strict adherence to community mitigation intervention including avoiding social gatherings, physical distancing, mask wearing, hand hygiene.   NH DHHS will no longer be investigating and contact tracing each person diagnosed with COVID-19. They will be instead focusing on contact tracing for the following populations: • People 18 years of age or younger

• People 65 years of age or older

• Racial and ethnic minorities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

• Any person associated with congregate care settings (nursing homes, long-term care, schools)

• Any clusters of outbreaks

The state’s timeline in their contact tracing of school aged people relies heavily on the school’s role to immediately identify and notify those individuals who meet the definition of close contact and would require quarantine.  The school’s initial assessment of contacts relies on the defined grade cohorts.  Further refinement of this contact list is determined based upon individual interviews and review with the state department of health. It may take several days after case identification for the state to become involved in the contact investigation process. As a result, the state has asked that all initial contact notification and exclusion from school be done by the school designated COVID coordinator, which in our case is the School Nurse and COVID Response Team.       Thank you for your commitment to keeping our school safe. 

The Lyme School COVID Committee