DC NEWS

Update on COVID Testing, Masking, & Our COVID Protocols

DC Families,

We wanted to share our new plans for COVID testing and masking moving forward. As always, we are keeping a close eye on public health data in our community and schools and remain ready to pivot should we need to.

Updated Approach to Student Asymptomatic Testing
Starting April 4, we will return to testing 25% of our students weekly for COVID-19. Given the steep decline in cases, the CDC and DC Health Guidance no longer recommend regular asymptomatic COVID testing in schools and most schools in DC are moving to testing 0% of their students. We feel it is appropriate to continue regular asymptomatic testing for a portion of our in-person students for the time being while we keep watching COVID rates. We are working to pay for this out of grant funding as our testing provider is unlikely to receive reimbursement from the federal government and will start to charge us moving forward. Schools will create school-specific plans on which group of students will test each week.

Families will have the option to pick up rapid tests from their school’s office manager each Friday. In addition, we’ll continue to send home rapid antigen tests with our early childhood students who are not yet eligible for the COVID Vaccine.

As we’ve done throughout the pandemic, we’ll closely monitor our positive rate (last week we had 3 students test positive out of approximately 6,800 tests administered).

Masking
Thank you to the 450+ families who shared their thoughts on DC’s masking policy. For the time being, we plan to continue requiring masks indoors for all staff and students in our school buildings. As a reminder, masks are optional for outdoor activities. We plan to review this policy after Spring Break.

53% of staff and 79% of families shared it was important to require masks at this time. We understand this also means a large number of staff and families feel masks should be optional.  We heard strong rationales, rooted in the safety and social emotional development needs of our students, from individuals preferring both routes. We will  continue to monitor COVID data, schools in the District where masks are now optional, and input we are hearing from our community.  We will update you after Spring Break about whether we will move to masks being optional.

CDC Quarantine Guidance 
To align our practices with CDC Guidance, we are shifting our quarantine test-to-return option to a test and receive a negative result on day five, return on day six option. This means unvaccinated close contacts and individuals who receive a positive COVID test may return after receiving a negative result on day five of their quarantine. If they opt to not test or receive a positive result, they will have a full ten-day quarantine. This practice will go into effect on Monday, March 28.

If you have questions about any of these shifts, do not hesitate to reach out to our COVID Support Team at covid@kippdc.org or reply to this email. At DC,, we have pivoted at each inflection point of the pandemic and weighed the safety of our community, public health guidance, what is in the best interest of our students’ academic and social emotional needs, and input from our staff and families. We will continue to do this and cautiously move forward.

Thank you for your partnership,

DC Public Schools

 

Posted on March 25, 2022 in Community

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