Dear MBS Community,
I just wanted to thank you all for your cooperation with Tuesday's school-wide COVID-19 testing and this week of remote learning. This allows us to return to campus in the safest way possible. While we prioritize the health and safety of our community, we also recognize the value of being physically together at school. We have received the results from this week's testing and I am happy to report that in-person learning will resume on Monday, January 10th, as planned. I am looking forward to seeing our students back on campus.
According to the NJ Department of Health, our area is currently designated as red, meaning we are experiencing very high COVID-19 activity levels. Accordingly, we will continue with weekly school-wide testing for the month of January. As always, we will continue to monitor conditions in our school and in surrounding communities and will respond accordingly as the situation changes.
As noted in our medical update on Monday, the NJDOH isolation period remains at 10 days for individuals who test positive for COVID-19. While the CDC has updated these protocols, they currently have not been adopted by the NJDOH for school environments.
As expected, our testing detected a number of positive cases of COVID-19: 15 students, 1 faculty member and 11 staff members tested positive out of 648 tests. All of the impacted families have been contacted. All of these students are eligible for remote learning (via synchronous and asynchronous modules) while they quarantine. While our county is experiencing a rate of about 31% positivity, I am pleased that this week's community school testing only reflected about a 4% positivity rate. These results enable us to continue to safely have in-person learning, as well as continue to offer a full complement of extra-curricular activities.
While the number of positive cases is significantly higher than we have seen in the past testing cycles, we are not surprised, as the omicron variant has spiked cases across our state. We have also seen a similar rise in cases reported to the School over the winter break. There is still a lot of uncertainty with the omicron variant, but we are encouraged by the news and theory that the omicron variant leads to less severe disease, particularly for vaccinated and boosted individuals. We continue to encourage all members of the community to get their booster shots.
Our next testing date is Tuesday, January 11th. Testing kits will be distributed to students in school on Monday. Between now and then, please closely monitor your child for symptoms of COVID-19. If any symptoms are observed, please keep your child home and keep Bridget Marcato, School Nurse, informed of any diagnoses or symptoms.
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we continue to navigate new challenges presented by the pandemic.