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.
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.
NPS offers an in-school COVID-19 testing program. This program has two components:
Symptomatic Testing for students who show symptoms of COVID-19 at school and
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.
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.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and secondary education (DESE) guidance