Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 6th edition of the Back to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, a vaccination update for ages 5-11, and town data.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
Another six cases were confirmed this week for a total of twelve cases since the start of the school year. This week’s cases were a GMS student, a Pleasant View ES student, and four SHS students.
Bus Seating Charts
Buses are required to keep seating charts and to update charts whenever necessary. Our COVID team uses these charts to follow RIDOH rules for quaranining. The team does its best with the information it is provided. We will be randomly checking buses for adherence to assigned seating and mask wearing. Please remind your children to follow all bus rules. Our drivers must spend time attending to the road, rather than to correcting behaviors.
We are currently reviewing lunch practices to ensure safety and consistency across the schools. This year, students have returned to the cafeterias for lunch and are encouraged to eat outdoors when possible. Students are expected to wear masks and maximize physical distancing while moving through the food service line and to put masks back on once done eating. We are working on improving the consistency of practices among schools so as to provide more time for students to socialize. Additional information about our lunch practices will be communicated in the next report.
Vaccination Update for Ages 5 - 11
Pfizer has submitted data to the FDA for authorization for use of its vaccine for youth ages five to 11. The data has not yet been peer-reviewed or published at this time. The FDA will review the compiled data over a four- or six- week review process. Following the FDA review process, if determined appropriate, FDA will authorize the vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for people ages five to 11. Providers will not be permitted to administer the vaccine to youth ages five to 11 UNTIL the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meets to review the FDA authorization and provides clinical guidance. RIDOH estimates that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine may complete this process and become authorized for youth ages five to 11 as soon as late October/early November, depending on the review process.
While RI’s numbers last week went up slightly, Smithfield’s remained fairly consistent. Last week, the number of new COVID cases in Smithfield was 30 while the state’s figure was 2200, up from 2065 last week (prior week’s figures are adjusted as data is reviewed). The town rate corresponds to a daily rate of 4.3 new cases per 22,000 residents, or about 19.5 per 100,000. This is considered substantial transmission by the CDC and RIDOH. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent