Letter from the Superintendent - Oct 13, 2020

Letter from the Superintendent - Oct 13, 2020
Posted on 10/13/2020
Letter

Dear Families and Staff Members,

As you know, we have had two positive cases identified within the ranks of our student body. Our plan guided our responses to these cases and it has served us well. We want to thank everyone for diligently adhering to the safety guidelines we are using. This has allowed us to prevent community spread within the building.

In accordance with our cleaning protocols, we did a deep clean of classrooms and all the school’s common areas prior to opening school today. This included using an electrostatic fogger which gives off a fine mist of a specific cleaning product which has the capacity to eliminate the COVID virus.

The NH DHHS has a backlog of calls to make due to an uptick in COVID related activity across the state, so Principal Lacroix and I stepped in to do the initial phone calls to those individuals identified as having possible exposure. These calls were all made by Monday evening to ensure that these individuals would remain at home for the quarantine period. In addition, we have been responding to a myriad of questions from parents and staff related to these cases. There are no bad questions, and we will continue to be as transparent as possible in providing information within the limits of state and federal guidelines. You may review our Reopening Plan here and our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) here.

We anticipate that NH DHHS will still contact the individuals identified as close contacts or their parent/guardian and they will reiterate our instructions to them regarding how to self-quarantine at home. They will provide instructions for any required testing and will go over the quarantine requirements that will last until 14 days following their last possible exposure. A guide for self-quarantine can be found here. You may also find of interest, our COVID-19 Exposure Notification Procedure and the Poster What to Expect if a Student or Staff Member Test Positive for COVID-19.

Parents of affected students should contact their child’s teacher directly to arrange for telepresence for their youngster. If you have the need for a Chromebook for your child, you may request one by filling out the form found here. Please note that it typically takes at least 24 hours to process the request and prepare a Chromebook for a student.

If you or your child are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, such as a fever, chills, respiratory illness, aches or change in taste and smell, please stay home and away from others and get a COVID-19 PCR test. You may also choose to seek out testing from your healthcare provider or at one of the testing sites located throughout the state.

Please note that if you or your child are currently quarantined, you must complete the quarantine, even if your test is negative. This is because the maximum amount of time from being exposed to the virus that can cause COVID-19 and testing positive is 14 days. Therefore, even if your child tests negative today, they would need to quarantine until they reach the 14th day following exposure.

The safety of our children, employees and Chester families is our top priority. To ensure your health and safety, we have been following CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting for our high-traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces. In addition, to prevent further spread of the disease in our community, and because COVID-19 is most commonly spread through respiratory droplets, we should all take the following precautions to prevent the spread of the disease:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid close contact with others. When outside your home, keep a distance of at least 6 feet between individuals. This is known as physical distancing.
  • Wear a cloth face covering that covers your mouth and nose to protect others when in public areas. Reusable masks should be washed after a days’ use.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Keep children home if they have a fever or are not feeling well.

  • You may have seen the news reports this weekend identifying a number of sports facilities across the state and their connection to COVID cases in youth. In fact, we have been told that youth sports activities and parties are where the majority of positive cases of youngsters have occurred in New Hampshire. We implore you to be vigilant in checking the health and safety protocols of all organizations and groups that their children are involved in.

    As I mentioned in my previous letter, children may worry about themselves, their family and friends getting sick with COVID-19. Tips for talking to children about COVID-19 can be found here.

    To learn more about COVID-19, please check these trusted resources:
  • New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services:
    https://www.nh.gov/covid19/index.htm

  • United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

  • Chester School District Reopening Folder: https://sau82.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=22666903&pageId=27273965

  • As we navigate the challenges of this ongoing pandemic, it is imperative that we continue to communicate and work closely together. Thank you, for your continued support.

    Sincerely,

    Darrell J. Lockwood, Ed.D.