Dear NSPS Families and Staff,
Attached is a document that summarizes some of the new close contact and isolation guidance issued by the CDC and Rhode Island Department of Health. Complete documentation is located at https://www.back2schoolri.com/outbreak-response-protocols/
In spite of the current COVID surge and staffing shortages, North Smithfield Public Schools is committed to remaining open and in-person. While there have been calls statewide to switch to distance learning during this surge, we recognize that not all families have the means to care for their children during the daytime hours at home. We also hold that the best place for students to be is in school with their teachers, classmates, and friends.
With the shortened isolation period, Monitor-to-Stay program, and Test to Play for our student-athletes, we are not only working to keep our students healthy, but healthy students in school even if they were an in-school close contact. Even during this surge, schools remain a safe place for children as we maintain facilities with good ventilation and continue to practice proven protocols. Especially at this time, sick students should remain at home.
The next few weeks will be the most challenging for attendance, staffing, and transportation, but I am confident that we will get through this together.
Dear North Smithfield Families and Staff,
On Thursday, 1/6/2022 the Governor and the Department of Health released updated COVID guidance for Rhode Island schools.
These changes were promoted by the Rhode Island Superintendent’s Association and are designed to keep more children out of quarantine and in school. The data shows the previous quarantine and close contact guidelines had the negative effect of keeping many healthy students at home and out of the classroom.
The new guidelines, based on the changes released by CDC on December 31, 2021, allows K-12 public schools in Rhode Island to change our protocols for quarantine, as well as increase our capacity for in-school screening, referred to as Monitor to Stay, and in-school testing for our athletes, referred to as Test to Play. In addition to the continued focus on full vaccination and booster of adults and children ages 5 and older and mask-wearing in public, these two strategies continue to be the most effective means of minimizing the transmission and impact of COVID-19.
Regardless of the changes it is vital that students and staff who have symptoms stay home from school.
We will have more information how NSPS will be implementing the new guidelines, but effective immediately:
You can address any general questions to me and, while I probably won't be able to respond to everyone individually, I can certainly take your email into consideration and respond en masse. For any questions about how the new guidelines affect your student individually, you should consult your school’s nurse. Further guidance and clarification will follow.
Michael St. Jean,