November 12, 2021
Dear Members of the Milford Public Schools Community,
Late last week, we received guidance from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) regarding the easing of quarantining protocols for specific circumstances of COVID-19 exposure. These recommendations, also known as the ‘Screen and Stay’ initiative, were developed with the intent of providing temporary immediate, but specifically defined, relief for families and school districts impacted by the frequent quarantining of students and staff who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated. This guidance applies to in-person learning activities only and does not apply to other settings (such as youth athletics, social gatherings, or other activities outside the normal school day). To read the full document authored by the DPH and CSDE, please click on this link: Options for Temporary Relief from Student and Staff Quarantines due to COVID-19 Exposures in K-12 Schools, Fall 2021.
As you know, our approach to containing the spread of COVID-19 in the Milford Public Schools has been based on a robust containment and mitigation plan, including the wearing of face coverings, use of hand sanitizer, frequent hand washing, social distancing, daily health monitoring of students/staff, contact tracing, and many more practices designed to provide a safe environment for in-person learning. Although it may have felt restrictive in nature at times, we believe these practices have played an important role in our ability to present the following guidance to you today. These protocols will go into effect for the Milford Public Schools as of Monday, November 29, 2021.
Exposure and Symptomatic Requirements
The Screen and Stay procedures permit Unvaccinated/Partially Vaccinated students and staff identified as a ‘close contact’ to a positive COVID-19 case in school the ability to continue to report to school for in-person learning or work, if and only if they meet the following conditions defined by CT DPH and CSDE:
the exposure occurred inside the school building between masked individuals; or
the exposure occurred between either masked or unmasked individuals in certain supervised outdoor activities; and
the student or staff member identified as a ‘close contact’ remains asymptomatic; and
both the school and family agree and are able to implement selected procedures to further reduce in-school transmission risk.
School and Health Department officials will determine whether students and staff identified as a ‘close contact’ meet the above eligibility criteria for Screen and Stay via the contact tracing investigation(s).
For Fully Vaccinated Students and Staff Members
Fully vaccinated individuals may continue to attend in-person learning, athletics, or other activities -- even those identified as a ‘close contact’ -- as long as the following qualifications are met:
The vaccinated person does not have any symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after their last exposure to the person positively diagnosed with COVID-19.
Upon being identified as a ‘close contact’, the vaccinated person conducts a personal daily health screening to monitor symptoms of COVID-19 for a full 14 days after exposure.
For Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated Students and Staff Members
Unvaccinated/Partially vaccinated students and staff members who have been identified as a ‘close contact’ may continue to attend in-person learning/work in a school building without quarantining, as long as the exposure occurred:
inside the school building during the regular school day (provided both the case and contact were consistently and correctly masked during the entirety of the exposure) regardless of duration or distancing; or
on a school bus or other school provided transportation (provided the case and contact were consistently and correctly masked during the entirety of the exposure) regardless of duration or distancing; or
outdoors during a regular mask break, during a staff-monitored recess, during a meal period, or during staff-supervised physical education/other instructional period - regardless of duration or distancing.
Although allowed to continue in-person learning activities, unvaccinated or partially vaccinated students and staff in the Screen and Stay protocol should follow normal quarantine procedures related to interscholastic or other athletic activities, other extracurricular activities, and any other activities that involve the potential for close contact with individuals outside of the household and that occur outside of the normal school day. Students participating in the Screen and Stay protocol should also refrain from (and be provided with alternatives to) in-school activities with other students that may actively generate increased amounts of aerosol-sized respiratory droplets, including but not limited to singing, wind instrument playing, giving speeches, or highly aerobic Physical Education activities for the 14 calendar days that they are in the Screen and Stay protocol.
Required Affirmation Document
Upon being identified as a ‘close contact’, Unvaccinated/Partially Vaccinated students or staff members who are determined to be eligible to take advantage of the Screen and Stay provisions will be required to complete and submit an Affirmation of Intent to Comply With Screen and Stay Requirements form (see Appendix 1) and conduct a daily screening using the Daily Symptom Screening checklist (see Appendix 2). School and health department officials will guide you further when the situation arises.
Pre-K Students/Staff Not Covered by Screen and Stay
Because the new Pediatric COVID-19 vaccine can only be administered to children ages 5 and above, our preschool students and staff members are not eligible for the Screen and Stay provisions at this time.
Persons With Symptoms Still Must Quarantine
Please know, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status, any individual who presents with symptoms of COVID-19 must quarantine according to the original health and safety protocols. School and health department officials will provide additional guidance to the individual regarding a safe return-to-school date.
In closing, we believe the addition of the Screen and Stay procedures will help families better maintain a more normal day-to-day routine while still ensuring a safe school environment for all. In accordance with CT DPH and CSDE guidance, school districts may choose to implement these procedures through the remainder of the Fall 2021 semester unless conditions with in-school or community transmission indicate the need to return to traditional quarantine procedures. As always, we thank you for your continued support and patience.
Anna M. Cutaia, Ed.D.
Deepa Joseph, MPH
Director of Health