Hello, this is going to be a long one, but hopefully will more clear and concise regarding COVID protocol. Please read through the entire message as there is important information regarding the state mandated surveillance and test to stay programs.
As you know NM PED has released a new toolkit that outlines procedures for handling reports of COVID and positive cases, quarantine, and the requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Families who have been notified of close contact should read through the requirements so adjustments to quarantine period can be made. I will summarize the procedures we will follow based on the new guidelines. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to email me.
VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS: Individuals who are fully vaccinated (2 shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or 1 shot of Johnson and Johnson) While keeping up to date with vaccination status, which means getting a booster shot when eligible.
*These individuals do not need to quarantine if exposed to a COVID positive individual. It is recommended these individuals get tested after day 5 of the the exposure but it is not required. If the individual develops symptoms, notify the school and follow the 10 day quarantine period, to return they must have reduced symptoms and be fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication.
*Those as identified as having continuous close contact with a household member do not need to quarantine. If the individual develops symptoms, they should follow the same directions as outlined above for symptomatic individuals.
*Those identified as having close contact with a confirmed COVID positive case must quarantine for 5 days and, if asymptomatic, may return on day 6. You should continue to monitor and if the individual develops symptoms notify the school and follow the the 10 day quarantine period and remain home until the individual has reduced symptoms and is fever free for 24 hours without fever reducing medication.
*Those identified as having continuous close contact with a household member who has tested positive for COVID must quarantine for 10 days from the date of the positive test of the household member. If someone else in the household develops COVID during quarantine, the individual must restart the 10 day quarantine period.
Surveillance Testing and Test to Stay Program:
We are working with Premier Medical Group (PMG) to establish surveillance testing for those students who are not vaccinated. They will also implement the Test to Stay program which would allow unvaccinated students to be tested every other day and continue to come to school without quarantining. For example, it may be day 1-3-5 from exposure time or 2-4-6, as long as the student tests negative they will be allowed to be at school.
We started this process in December, but the company is short staffed due to COVID cases, ironic, isn’t it? We hope to be up and running by the end of the month. This would allow our students who have been identified as having close contact while at school to be tested and remain at school. The surveillance testing is to identify those students who may be asymptomatic so we can identify earlier and decrease the amount of possible close contacts at school.
This is a voluntary process and once we get our registration forms from PMG will send it out to our families along with other information and you can choose to participate if you wish.
Just to inform you, all of our unvaccinated staff test weekly and we report the results to NM Department of Health. On January 17th this will be expanded to all staff who have not yet received the booster if they are eligible. We have also seen a rise in the number of students who are testing positive and those who are out sick. We realize the availability of COVID tests makes it difficult to determine who has COVID and who does not. We will continue to monitor our numbers, but we very well may need to go remote for a week or two to help decrease the spread of COVID in school and implement stricter procedures around daily school procedures.
Thank you for your continued support and understanding as we navigate all of this. Sheesh, is what I think some days, but your students give us joy and most of all hope.