October 29, 2021
Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 11th edition of the Back to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, updated guidance for quarantining and testing, vaccination message from RIDOH, surveillance tesitng, flu vaccination clinic at OCRS, and town data. For more information about happenings in Smithfield Schools, see the November newsletter on this link: https://bit.ly/3BqFOgo
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
One case was confirmed since the last Back to School Report for a total of 78 cases since the start of the school year. The one case was at LaPerche Elementary School. Thank you for continuing to follow health and safety guidelines to keep our greater school community protected.
Updated Guidance for Quarantining and Testing
Executive Order 21-105 reflects updated requirements for testing for close contacts in line with CDC guidance. The following applies for students & staff:
Fully vaccinated students & staff identified as close contacts must get tested 5-7 days after the date of exposure, wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result, and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days. This was a change from the 3-5 day recommendation that was previously followed.
Not fully vaccinated students & staff identified as close contacts must get tested immediately after being identified and, if negative, get tested again 5-7 days after last exposure or immediately if symptoms develop.
Not fully vaccinated students & staff identified as close contacts must self- quarantine for 10 days unless one of the following exemptions applies:
The person previously had COVID-19 no more than 90 days prior to the last date of close contact and is not showing symptoms; or
The person meets all of the Pre K-12 close contact exception criteria:
The close contact and infected person are both pre K-12 students;
Exposure occurred inside a pre K-12 classroom or structured outdoor pre K-12 setting where mask use can be observed;
Both students wore face masks at all times; and
Students were at least 3 feet apart from each other at all times; or
The person is a pre K-12 student or staff member and the exposure occurred at outdoor recess at a pre K-12 school; or
The exposure occurred on a pre K-12 school bus with open windows, all persons on the bus wore face masks, and there was at least one other adult in addition to the driver present to monitor masks were worn; or
The district has entered into a written agreement to implement the State’s Test to Stay Pilot Program (TTS) and the family/individual has consented to participate in TTS. The TTS quarantine protocol requires self-quarantine when not attending school or school-related extracurricular activities.
Vaccination Message from RIDOH
Vaccination remains the most powerful strategy to keep children and families healthy and students learning and involved in extracurricular activities in person. Fully vaccinated students and staff who aren’t showing symptoms are exempt from quarantine. RIDOH strongly encourages all eligible students, staff, and families vaccinated. From August 29 to October 16, 1,950 out of 2,120 Pre K-12 in-school student cases were in unvaccinated students: Since the start of school, 92% of the students with COVID-19 infection are unvaccinated. Once the Covid vaccination is cleared for our ages 5 - 11 population, clinics will be made available to those families in our district who wish to have their child vaccinated.
Surveillance PCR Testing
We started our Covid-19 PCR surveillance testing this week. There were no detected positive cases across the district for all students that participated. All students and staff are invited to participate and consent forms can be submitted at any time. The surveillance testing is held every other Tuesday in each school.
Flu Vaccination Clinic at OCRS
A flu vaccination clinic will be held at OCRS on Wednesday, November 3rd, from 4-7pm for ages 3 and up. Go to Schoolflu.com to register.
We saw a continued drop in RI’s numbers last week and Smithfield, as well, had a significant drop in weekly cases, returning to values seen during the summer months. For the week ending October 16th, the number of new COVID cases in Smithfield was 33. This past week’s figure is 10. The town rate corresponds to a weekly rate of 45 new cases per 100,000 residents, which is considered a moderate rate of transmission as classified by the CDC. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent