Dear MBS Families,
I am writing to update you on our COVID-19 testing plans for the first week of January when we return to campus after winter break on Monday, January 3rd, and an update about international travel protocols.
We have recently seen an uptick in cases in Morris County and subsequently in our community. Likewise, we anticipate winter break will bring an elevated level of COVID-19 risk and transmission as many in our community will be spending time with children or other family members who are returning home from colleges around the country or with family who are traveling.
It is with this in mind that we have decided to test the entire MBS community for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status on Tuesday, January 4th. This additional safety measure is intended to complement, and not replace, the behavioral norms, infrastructure changes, and other adjustments previously adopted. Please make sure your child understands the importance of complying with our mask policy and has a mask that fits properly.
While many of our students are well versed in submitting weekly COVID-19 tests kits, this will be new to some of our middle school students and families. Below you will find information about pooled testing, details on the collection of samples, drop-off times, quarantine periods, frequently asked questions, and a consent form.
COVID-19 Pooled Testing Details:
Who: All Members of the MBS Community
When: Sample collection will occur Tuesday, January 4, 2:15 pm-3:30 pm
Where: Aux Gym
Test collection kits will be handed out during the advisory period on Monday, January 3rd. Students will self-administer the saliva test at home on Tuesday morning and we will collect them on Tuesday afternoon. When submitting your saliva test, it is important to follow these guidelines:
Do not drink or eat 30 minutes before taking the test.
Make sure that the vial is more than half full with saliva - without bubbles.
Screw the cap on completely.
Tests with insufficient saliva will be rejected and students will be required to provide their own negative PCR COVID-19 test results in order to return to school.
Quarantine Period for Unvaccinated Students:
As a reminder, students that are identified as close contacts and are unvaccinated will be required to quarantine for the recommended period of time. Currently, the quarantine period for unvaccinated students is 14 days.
Test results can be seen here 24 hours after test collection.
In case of inclement weather, we will use Wednesday, January 5 as an alternative collection date. You will be notified if we are using the alternative date.
What is Pooled Testing:
We have partnered with Brooklyn-based Mirimus Labs to conduct COVID-19 pooled testing. Pooled testing is a resource-effective way to test large groups and receive fast and accurate results.
Pooled-based testing can identify and isolate asymptomatic carriers of the COVID-19 virus, thus enhancing the health and safety of those on campus. This protocol will allow us to minimize the presence and transmission of the virus on-campus.
Students who miss the testing window:
Individuals who are unable to participate in our January 4 testing through MBS must provide negative test results from a PCR test in order to return to school. Students who do not provide a negative test result from an independent PCR test will not be permitted on campus or be eligible to participate in athletic or extracurricular activities until they submit a negative test result.
Testing FAQs, Instructions, Consent Form
You can read more about the CDC's guidance on pooled testing here and more about how Mirimus Labs conducts pooled testing here. Attached you will find information on how the saliva-based testing will be conducted and testing FAQs. Please review the written instructions and video instructions as well as the consent form. If you have additional questions, please email Bridget Marcato, School Nurse, email@example.com.
If your family is planning to travel internationally during holiday breaks, please keep in mind the following guidelines. In accordance with CDC recommendations, all unvaccinated community members who are traveling internationally must self-quarantine for a period of at least seven days upon their return. These individuals must also take a COVID-19 test on Day 5 of their return. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to self-quarantine after traveling internationally but are encouraged to take a test on Day 3-5 following their return.
Please keep in mind that as conditions change, our plans will evolve. We are confident that this plan will allow us to optimize our time on campus while keeping our community safe and healthy.
Wishing you a wonderful winter break and a Happy New Year.
Thank you for your continued support.