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COVID-19

Overview
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The Newburyport Public Schools (NPS) has worked closely with the Newburyport Board of Health and our Medical Advisory Team to understand the recommendations and guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Massachusetts State Department of Public Health (DPH), and CDC

Decisions about NPS safety protocols are made with consideration of our local metrics (e.g. student and staff vaccination rates, City of Newburyport positivity rates) and in line with state and federal guidance. The NPS Medical Advisory Team meets regularly to review local data and respond to any changing regulations. We will continue to monitor local health data and respond with changes in protocols when needed.

mask policies
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Masks are required for all students and staff indoors and on buses regardless of vaccine status. Masks are optional outdoors.

mask graphic

vaccinations
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We encourage all eligible students and staff to get vaccinated. According to the CDC “Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Promoting vaccinations can help schools safely return to in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.” 

The COVID-19 vaccination is free and available for all people age 12 and older. For information on local vaccination options, see the Mass.gov vaccination site

COVID-19 TESTING Program
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NPS offers an in-school COVID-19 testing program. This program has two components: 
  1. Symptomatic Testing for students who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school and 
  2. Test and Stay for students who may have been exposed while in school but are not showing symptoms. 
 

To participate in the testing program, students must have a completed consent form. Each of these tests is a quick, non-invasive nasal swab that is collected under the supervision of a school nurse or trained health provider. Below are descriptions of how each test is conducted, and what they are used for. 

Symptomatic Testing

Students should not come to school if they are feeling sick while at home, however, if a student develops symptoms in school then Symptomatic Testing could be used. This is a rapid test (results are ready within 15 minutes). If a student has minimal symptoms and tests negative, they may be able to remain in school. School nurses will make this determination. 

Test and Stay

This process allows students who have had close contact (while at school) with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 to stay in school if they are not showing symptoms. Instead of needing to quarantine and miss school, these students will take a daily rapid test and remain in school as long as they are not symptomatic. Students participate in Test and Stay for at least five days after they may have been exposed.

Newburyport public schools Medical Advisory group
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  • Sean Gallagher, Superintendent of Schools
  • Frank Giacalone, Director of Public Health, City of Newburyport
  • Pam Palombo, Public Health Nurse, City of Newburyport
  • Jessica Lasky-Su, DSc, MS, NPS parent, epidemiologist, professor and statistician at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Mike Allard, NPS parent, Chief Operating Officer for the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Foundation
  • Lars Lundgren, MD, FAAP, Newburyport Public Schools consulting pediatrician, Children's HealthCare of Newburyport
  • Lauren McDonald, Director of Health Services, Newburyport Public Schools
  • Brian Callahan, Vice-chair, Newburyport School Committee
  • Joan Sheehan, President, Newburyport Teachers Association
  • Steve Bergholm, Director of Buildings and Grounds, Newburyport Public Schools
  • Pam Kealey, Director of Food Services, Newburyport Public Schools
  • NPS Extended Leadership Team (including all principals and assistant principals)