Happy New Year! I hope that you had a wonderful vacation and that you were able to rest and relax. I am sorry to interrupt you at the end of the week but I am writing to update everyone as we prepare for the return to in-person instruction in all of our schools on Monday, January 3, 2022. We are excited to see everyone back at school on Monday.
Over the vacation week, we have had a number of updates from CDC, DESE, and DPH. I will try to go through them so that you can see what effects they will have on all of us.
CDC Isolation and Quarantine changes
CDC has changed its guidance on Isolation protocols. These changes have prompted DESE and DPH to review their isolation and quarantining protocols as well. Isolation is the time someone who is COVID-19 positive must spend in isolation and away from others. The protocol previously was ten (10) days and has been reduced to five (5) days. DESE/DPH has endorsed this change. DESE has updated the isolation and close contact protocols. This information can be found at DESE/DPH Protocols COVID-19 Scenarios Updated 12/30/2021.
Isolation is for anyone regardless of vaccination status who has tested positive for COVID-19. Quarantine is for close contact with a positive COVID-19 individual. The current information from DPH is at About COVID-19 isolation and quarantine and the DESE update is at DESE/DPH Protocols COVID-19 Scenarios Updated 12/30/2021.
If you test positive for COVID-19 (regardless of vaccination status) you should:
- Stay home and remain isolated for 5 Days
- Consider the first day with symptoms or the day you test position as Day Zero (0)
- As long as you have NO SYMPTOMS
- You may return to school on Day Six (6)
- Continue to wear a mask around others for an additional five (5) days
- You have been fever-free without fever-reducing medication for Twenty-Four (24) hours
As a reminder, isolation keeps someone who is sick and has tested positive for COVID-19 away from others (even in their own home) while quarantine keeps someone who is a close contact of someone with COVID-19 away from others.
I hope this information is helpful to you and that will keep us safe.
Prior to the vacation week, DESE provided us with additional KN95 masks. While KN95 masks are not required they are highly recommended for use at this time. The KN95 masks we received will be available at each school.
Please note that masks are required in all of our buildings and that proper use of masks will be particularly important as we reopen our schools on Monday, January 3, 2022.
Antigen tests for faculty and staff
DESE has provided us with Antigen Test Kits for all faculty and staff. These test kits will allow all BPS staff to test prior to the start of school on Monday, January 3, 2022. They have also provided us with KN95 masks that will be available at all schools. DESE Press Release – Tests
Safety Check Testing
it is important to note that we will begin our COVID-19 safety check testing protocol again this week. We urge everyone to sign up to be part of our protective testing program. If you have not done so already and would like to you can sign up for testing at
By signing up for testing you provide an additional layer of protection for your child, your family, and our schools. I cannot urge you strongly enough to participate in this free service.
School Specific Guidance
With the marked increase of the OMICRON variant of COVID-19 in our community, county, and state please know that everyone is working to ensure that we return to school safely. With that in mind, you will hear directly from each building principal tomorrow. Each will alert you to specific changes in their school building to keep faculty and students safe. Most of these changes will be to the diligence of keeping our guard up through improved mask compliance, the use of masks more well suited to the OMICRON variant, reduced interpersonal contact, and changes to eating arrangements at lunch.
Optimism in the New Year
Even with everything going on, I wanted to welcome you back to school with a bit of optimism. As always, and especially now, I truly believe it is important for all of us to continue working together for the benefit we provide to one another. Below are the last two stanzas of John O’Donohue’s poem Beannacht (New Year Blessing). I hope his words come true for each of us as we turn the calendar from December to January.
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
May the clarity of light be yours,
May the fluency of the ocean be yours,
May the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
Wind work these words
Of love around you,
An invisible cloak
To mind your life.
– John O’Donohue
Wishing you continued health and happiness in 2022