Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
Happy New Year! This 27th edition of the weekly Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, school-based testing, vaccination updates, and town data.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
We last reported COVID cases three weeks ago. Over these past three weeks, another 38 staff and students tested positive. Nineteen cases were from SHS, six were from GMS, none were from OCRS, seven were from Winsor, four were from McCabe, one was from LaPerche, and one was from the district. This brings our total number of cases to 195 since the start of the school year.
School-Based, Asymptomatic Testing with BinaxNOW Test Kits
The district conducted school-based, asymptomatic testing on all athletes using the BinaxNOW test kits we received free from the state. Of the 12 athletes and coaches tested, one tested positive, which is consistent with the data collected by state teams who did pilot testing prior to the holiday break. We will be testing at all district schools over the next few weeks.
The value of asymptomatic testing cannot be understated. Once identified, these individuals can isolate, reducing exposure of the virus to others. The testing is NOT for symptomatic staff and students. Those experiencing symptoms should isolate and make a testing appointment by calling (844) 857 - 1814. We will not be testing students who fall ill during the school day. Our policy is consistent with asymptomatic testing being done at hospitals and is intended to keep our staff and students safe. NO PARENTS SHOULD SEND THEIR SICK CHILDREN TO SCHOOL WITH THE HOPE OF GETTING TESTED.
To download a consent form, see this link. Consent forms can be returned to your child’s school at any time before the initial testing date. Also, see the links below for more information or attend one of our orientation sessions listed below. To avoid issues with virtual meeting overloads, we have organized several choices for families.
1 866 899 4679
Access Code: 482-251-181
1 877 568 4106
Access Code: 997-965-365
(Smithfield) School-Based Testing Orientation Slides
The state is currently in the first phase of its vaccination program. Groups receiving the first dose of the vaccine in phase one are listed below:
Hospital staff, EMS, home health & hospice workers, nursing home staff & residents
COVID vaccinators, community health center staff, COVID specimen collectors, urgent care clinic staff, respiratory clinic staff (including clinical settings swabbing for COVID-19), pharmacists, corrections medical staff and mental health workers, high-risk incarcerated persons (65 and older, immunocompromised, or other high-risk factors), other long-term care facility staff and residents
Firefighters, law enforcement, hard-hit communities, COVID testing lab staff, other public health and emergency preparedness workers, school nurse teachers, harm reduction staff, patient-facing clinical students, community and family caregivers, corrections officers/staff
Dentists, primary care and other outpatient providers, dialysis centers staff, blood, organ, and tissue donation staff, morticians, funeral home workers, other death care professionals
Adults over 75 years of age
Smithfield is hosting the EMS Vaccination Clinics for the region (10 towns) and this experience will help our town organize future clinics for other groups that may be vaccinated in a POD setting. When further information is provided about these plans, we will share this information with you through our weekly reports and by other means.
The town of Smithfield saw a steady rise in new cases of COVID-19, from 6 per week in September to 172 for the first week of December then a steady decrease over the month of December to 82 during the week ending December 26th. Last week, the weekly rate jumped back up to 141, which corresponds to a daily rate of 20.1 new cases per ~22,000 residents or 95.1 per 100,000. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent