Important COVID Updates in Advance of Holiday Recess

Alexander Wolff

Dear Families and Staff,

As we prepare for the Holiday Recess we wanted to share a few reminders and updates related to COVID-19 testing, international travel and vaccinations. Please see below for this important information. 

District COVID-19 Testing Program

As a reminder, test kits will be distributed to all students and staff who are registered for the District’s testing program tomorrow, Thursday, December 23. This includes everyone who was previously registered for this program as well as anyone who registered this past weekend. 

  • Test kits for elementary school students will be distributed in your child’s classroom.
  • Test kits for MS/HS students must be picked up in the MS Nurse’s Office for middle school students and the HS Main Office for high school students.

Tests should be completed in the evening on Sunday, January 2 or before school on Monday, January 3 and dropped off in your schools’ respective dropbox by noon on Monday, January 3. Please see the testing instructions document for more information. 

International Travel

Please be reminded that the District requires any student returning from international travel to adhere to the CDC's recommendations related to COVID-19 testing/quarantine.

  • Unvaccinated individuals returning from international travel must quarantine for 10 days after arriving in the U.S. The quarantine period may be reduced to 7 days provided the individual receives a negative COVID-19 test 3-5 days after travel.
  • Vaccinated individuals returning from international travel are not required to quarantine, but should take a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after travel.
  • All individuals returning from international travel should self monitor for symptoms and isolate if you experience symptoms.
  • The CDC also recommends that unvaccinated domestic travelers be tested for COVID-19 upon returning home.

Please read more about international travel guidance and domestic travel guidance on the CDC website.

At-Home Tests

Positive results from at-home test kits must be confirmed using a PCR or lab-processed antigen test prior to informing the District of the positive result. Per the Department of Health, the District can not accept at-home test kits as proof of a negative result. 

Vaccination Symptoms

The Department of Health has updated its guidance regarding students who are experiencing symptoms after being vaccinated. 

Moving forward, students who experience any of the following symptoms within three days of being vaccinated may stay in school if they feel able to do so (day 1 is the vaccination day). These individuals do not require COVID testing to stay or return to school as long as their symptoms resolve within the three days following vaccination (i.e. if an individual receives a vaccine on Monday, their symptoms should be resolved before they return to school on Thursday).

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain

If these symptoms persist for longer than the three days following the injection, students should stay home until they receive a negative COVID-19 test (either a lab-confirmed PCR or Antigen test is accepted for this purpose, however at-home test kits will not be accepted).

Additionally, If students have a fever equal to or greater than 100 degrees following vaccination, they must remain out of school until they are fever free for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicine and receive a negative COVID-19 test (either a lab-confirmed PCR or Antigen test is accepted for this purpose). 

If students have any of the following symptoms, which are not considered related to vaccination, they must receive a negative PCR test to return to school:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell

Please note that pain or other reactions at the injection site are not considered symptoms of COVID-19 and students do not need to stay home if this is their only post-vaccination symptom. 

Updates on Child Vaccinations

As a reminder, the FDA and CDC approved Pfizer booster shots for anyone aged 16 and 17 who received their second dose at least 6 months ago. We strongly encourage families to consider boosters for your children if they are eligible.

Booster shots are also recommended by the CDC for anyone 18 and over who received their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least 6 months ago or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson at least 2 months ago. We strongly encourage all staff and parents/guardians to consider receiving a booster shot. 

Families are encouraged to send images of their children's vaccination cards to COVID-19 Coordinator Bridget Gates once they have received their second vaccine dose. This will allow for more efficient contact tracing in the event that a child is exposed to the virus while at school. As a reminder, fully vaccinated students (i.e. two weeks following your child's second dose) are exempt from quarantine requirements.

Please enjoy a safe, healthy and restful Holiday Recess. 

Sincerely,

The Pelham Public Schools

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