Dear Staff, Students, and Parents/Guardians,
I am writing to inform you that an individual in our Drury High School community has tested positive for COVID-19 after becoming symptomatic. Our first responsibility is to keep our students and staff safe. We have been planning for this scenario during our reopening planning process and have a comprehensive plan in place to sanitize the school, inform staff and families whose students were at risk of exposure or in close contact, and support the affected family as they navigate this stressful experience.
Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to the safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are grateful to our families for their continued efforts to keep students home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.
Though we cannot provide specific information about the individual who tested positive, North Adams Public Schools will be implementing our protocols for notification, disinfection, and quarantine for staff and students who may have been exposed. For this reason, the 7th and 8th Grade Academy classes will be remote for Thursday and Friday, March 4 and 5, 2021. School is expected to resume in the hybrid model for 7th and 8th Grade Academy on Monday, March 8th, 2021. Staff and students identified through contact tracing will be notified by School Nurse Leader Lauren Gage regarding testing, including using the Abbott BinaxNOW rapid results test. All other 7th and 8th Grade Academy staff are to report to Drury High School for remote instruction from their classrooms.
Parents of students who were in close contact with the individual will be notified privately. All close contacts should be tested. We are also following all Department of Health protocols, including collaborating with our local board of health to complete contact tracing. Additionally, we are asking those parents whose students are tested for COVID-19 at their health care provider’s office or at the Stop the Spread Center located at 97 Church Street, North Adams to please report the results to the school nurse.
For those students in 7th and 8th Grade Academy that have not been notified of a potential exposure, pool testing is still available to you this week.
If you would like your student to be tested, and have completed a Pool Testing Consent Form, please email the school nurse Lauren Gage at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will schedule you for testing. Testing takes about 5-10 minutes, and testing times would be before school at 7:15AM, and at lunch at 11:00 AM. In your email, please include your student's name, grade and preferred testing time.
To complete a Pooled Testing Consent Form, go to: https://www.napsk12.org/page/pooledcovid19testing
To further prevent transmission of the virus to other staff and students, we have sanitized the school with a focus on those areas frequented by the individual that tested positive. We will continue to be vigilant in adhering to all of the protocols that have been put in place in an effort to continue in person learning in the hybrid model. We are also providing remote learning for all students required to quarantine at home to continue to provide instruction, structure, and an emotional connection to the classroom during a time that we know will be challenging.
For more information on COVID-19 symptoms and testing, visit: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/about-covid-19-testing#where-can-get-a-test?-.
Please contact us immediately should you or someone in your home begin to show symptoms.
We are committed to continuous communication with and support of our families. If there is additional transmission as a result of this case or a separate case, we will send out another message immediately. Thank you for your continued support.
Barbara Malkas, Ed.D.
Superintendent of North Adams Public Schools