January 1, 2022
Dear Milford Public Schools Staff and Parents/Guardians,
Happy New Year! It is our hope for a year ahead of health and joy as we continue to work together in partnership with you.
While there is a lot of speculation about school opening on Monday, as of the writing of this letter, we plan to return to in-person learning as scheduled on Monday, January 3, 2022. As we move forward, we will continue to balance what we believe is best for our students - in-person learning while ensuring the implementation of mitigation measures that will keep students and staff safe through this pandemic virus.
This week we received updated guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Education regarding remote learning. As you will remember, last year the decision to move to districtwide (or schoolwide) remote learning was left up to school district officials. At this time, remote learning can only be instituted by emergency declaration pursuant to legislative or gubernatorial authority. There are limited and very specific cases where remote learning can be approved locally including for individual students who must be in isolation due to confirmed COVID-19 infection or close contact.
Given the current incidence of COVID-19 cases, both in Milford and across the state, we have been monitoring two key factors that will impact our ability to open school doors: staff absences and availability of bus drivers. If a staff shortage will influence our ability to hold in-person learning on Monday. I will keep you updated.
As we prepare for our return to school, we are relying on you to follow these crucial steps in order to keep everyone safe and healthy while enabling us to keep our students and staff in school.
Stay home if you are sick! Complete the COVID-19 Daily Self Checklist at home before you send your child to school. If your child(ren) has any symptoms, no matter how mild they seem, do not send them to school. Notify your school of the absence using the current MPS Student Absence Reporting Procedure and your School Nurse will follow-up regarding next steps.
Quarantine & Isolation Updates. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently updated its quarantine and isolation guidelines. The CT State Department of Education (CSDE) and CT Department of Public Health (DPH) provided an update to these guidelines late last night. CSDE and CT DPH will be holding a meeting with school district and local health department officials, statewide, on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. We will update our local guidelines at the conclusion of that meeting, in consultation with the Milford Health Department. A letter outlining the changes and any new protocols will be sent to you in a separate communication later this upcoming week.
Confirmed Case of COVID-19. Several individuals in the Milford Public Schools community have been diagnosed with COVID-19 over the holiday break. The Milford Health Department has been in touch with those whose diagnosis was reported through Thursday, December 30th. If you or a member of your household have tested positive for COVID-19 using any test (at-home test kit, rapid test, or PCR test) and have not received a specific return to school date from Milford Health Department staff and/or your School Administrator, do not report to school on Monday, January 3, 2022. Stay home, isolate the positive case from others in the household if possible, and notify your Building Administrator and/or School Nurse of the positive COVID-19 case. The School Nurse will follow up with you regarding return to school dates.
Close contact with a Confirmed COVID-19 Case. As a result of the increase in cases locally, several individuals in our community have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19. If your child has had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not fully vaccinated, he/she should stay home from school until you receive instructions regarding the appropriate return to school date. If you have spoken with the Milford Health Department and received a return to school date, your child may return accordingly as long as he/she is not experiencing any symptoms. If your child is fully vaccinated and feeling well, he/she may return to school as long as you have provided the child’s program of of vaccination to the School Nurse.
Practice all of the mitigation strategies to keep each other safe! While all of us may be feeling tired as we move into 2022 with this pandemic still very much a part of our lives, it is more important than ever that we remain committed to the mitigation strategies that work as we navigate this current wave. Please join us and do your part to help us keep each other safe by doing the following:
Get tested if you have symptoms and/or have been exposed to COVID-19. Please note that if you have symptoms or have been exposed and have a negative result using an at-home test or rapid test, you should obtain a follow-up PCR test to confirm the negative result. Also, as you may be aware, CT DPH has ordered COVID-19 at-home rapid test kits to distribute to public and private schools. Milford Public Schools is working closely with City of Milford emergency management officials to be able to distribute these school-specific kits to families once they are delivered locally. We will provide additional updates on this initiative as we receive more information.
Wear a well-fitting mask or face covering, especially when you and your family are in indoor public places with people outside of your household.
Maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet when you are around people outside of your household, especially indoors.
Wash hands frequently and/or use hand sanitizer if you are somewhere that you do not have access to handwashing facilities.
Information connected to COVID-19 is constantly evolving and we will continue to communicate important information to you that impacts the health and safety of the students and staff of Milford Public Schools. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or the Milford Health Department.
We wish everyone a happy and healthy new year!
Anna M. Cutaia, Ed.D.