Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 31st edition of the weekly Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, rules for those testing positive in the last 90 days, a sports update, travel guidance reminders, and town data.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
This past week, 8 new COVID cases were reported in our school community, down from 19, 22, and 28 over the past 3 weeks. Three cases were from SHS, two were from GMS, one was from Winsor, two were from LaPerche, and no cases were reported for McCabe or OCRS. This brings our total number of cases to 272 since the start of the school year.
Rules for Those Who Tested Positive in Last 90 Days
At the regional meeting held last week, RIDOH explained current guidance for those who have tested positive within the past 90 days. During the 90-day period, no quarantines are necessary if the person is considered a close contact, including for close contacts within the household. There is also no quarantine after travel, no negative test result needed for sports, and no asymptomatic school-based testing for these individuals.
Winter sports teams have been practicing without issue and will soon be participating in games. Our asymptomatic testing program provides some confidence in the safety of our athletes.
The RIIL has maintained a commitment to offer football during “season 3” and will continue to develop and implement COVID-19 mitigation guidelines and sport-specific requirements for all fall and winter sports. Meanwhile, Massachusetts has received full approval for football, starting on February 22nd. The MA football modifications approved by their DOH form the basis for modifications from the RIIL. We will continue to monitor their efforts as well as the local conditions in the hope that our football players are playing and are kept safe.
Reminder - Travel Guidance
With February vacation around the corner, we are again sharing our new policy about travel. An executive order issued by the governor allows for three quarantine options for someone returning to RI after traveling to a US state where >5% of COVID tests are positive. The “gold standard” is to quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms. As an exception, you may provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to your arrival. Travelers may also receive a COVID-19 test during their quarantine period in RI and get a negative result can stop quarantining but should still self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. We are now allowing members of our school community to use the testing options to reduce or eliminate the need to quarantine. We remind parents, however, that travel during school days is considered a non-excused absence, even with the availability of distance learning. Ensuring school attendance is an important parental responsibility that results in school success as well as strong work ethics in adults.
The number of new cases of COVID in the town of Smithfield dropped to 103 this week, down from a high of 144 at the start of January. This latest figure corresponds to a daily rate of 14.7 new cases per 21,650 residents or 68.0 per 100,000. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent