Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad Tuesday acknowledged that cases of Covid-19 are increasing in the schools and the community.
“We have not upped our recommendation to a requirement, but we do recommend at this point that people really think about masking,” he told the School Committee. “It is a concern — we want to make sure everybody is thinking about their safety.”
This position was reached after consulting with the Board of Health and the state Education Department, the superintendent said, noting that Middlesex County has crossed the federal threshold as an area of “high” transmission.
Facemasks are available at all schools, he continued, and testing options remain: pooled PCR testing weekly or personal antigen tests.
Committee members Brad Morrison and Dan Brosgol expressed frustration that there are no longer processes for advising close contacts about possible infections. Conrad confirmed that the school nurse contacts the family if a positive confirmation occurs in school. The classroom teacher is also notified, for academic records, he said.
Brosgol acknowledged that this is the situation statewide. “We’ve all gotten kind of used to it. It isn’t over, but the way we deal with it has changed dramatically.”
The isolation period for a positive result is five days, Conrad said, followed by another five days masked. There’s no “policing,” Brosgol said; “I’m certain some kids are not doing the extra five days.”
“I think we need to be a little more proactive in putting out the information about case count,” Morrison said, suggesting that Conrad make the information more prominent in his weekly reports to parents. “We are asking people to be responsible in their behavior so they can make informed decisions. We need to inform them.”
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763u