Frontier, Union 38 districts recommend masks as COVID-19 cases increase
Frontier, Union 38 districts recommend masks as COVID-19 cases increase

Frontier, Union 38 districts recommend masks as COVID-19 cases increase

Published: 16-05-2022 11:40:29

Modified: 16/5/2022 11:38:42

SOUTH DEERFIELD – With the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Franklin County designates as “high” risk of COVID-19 exposureAlong with the discovery of new cases in Union 38 and Frontier Regional school districts, schools recommend that all students wear masks while indoors.

After last week’s Frontier School Committee meeting addressed the growing number of positive COVID-19 cases at Frontier and Deerfield and Conway elementary schools, the district wrote on the Frontier Regional School Facebook page that it now recommends students wear masks, but it is not mandatory.

“We recommend that students wear masks indoors. This is not a mandatory requirement, but given the increase in the number, there is a higher risk of infection. the post reads. “We will continue to support families’ decisions about masking, but we will not discipline students for not wearing a mask.”

Across all five schools in the towns of Frontier and Union 38, 58 positive cases were detected from May 9 to May 13, according to the COVID-19 dashboard of the districts. Most cases occurred on May 9, with Conway Grammar School, Deerfield Elementary, and Frontier detecting 12, 10, and 10 cases, respectively, through pooled testing. Whately and Sunderland Elementary Schools have, on average, from zero to two cases each day.

The 92 cases discovered since May 1 top the case count for April, which saw 75 positive cases during the month – though the school holidays in mid-April meant fewer tests were conducted. In March, districts discovered 15 cases, according to the dashboard.

School committee members expressed concern over what they said was a lack of communication between district administrators and families in relation to the rising COVID-19 cases.

“We talk about this as our regular scheduled school committee meeting and not as these things happen,” commented member Missy Novak. “I think there should be more pre-communication.… I think we should at least be informed, both as school committee members and as parents.”

Superintendent Darius Modestow said he contacted the Deerfield Board of Health after May 2 saw 10 cases discovered at Deerfield Elementary, and “this communication is still ongoing” and families will be kept in the loop.

“I own the fact that I did not communicate with the school committee over the weekend,” he said at last week’s meeting. »I did not push for masking in that email because it was not the decision that the National Board of Health left me with. … I have not communicated it with all the school committees, and I have to own and improve on that. ”

Frontier’s Facebook post says, “families will be notified by their building manager, and students and staff will be strongly encouraged to wear masks as more cases increase the likelihood of spread in our classrooms.”

Deerfield’s board chair Carolyn Shores Ness said the district has been in contact with the board and that they are “very carefully” monitoring cases. She added that this mask recommendation is not mandatory because cases are “spread” from classroom to classroom at Deerfield Elementary, indicating that transmission does not take place in school.

She said the National Board of Health will look at cases in classroom by classroom and will “make sure parents are as informed as possible.”

“It’s really important that we keep schools open,” she said, adding that safety and continuation of school functions is “No. 1 priority.”

Shores Ness said the board is monitoring the increase in COVID-19 cases to see if this is a minor increase that subsides over the course of a few weeks before making a decision that could drastically affect graduation and other events at the end. of the year.

“The only reason we make a recommendation – highly recommend – is if this is an increase,” Shores Ness explained. “Most of the school’s events are two or three weeks out. We hope this little mini-wave will fall.”

Shores Ness urged those eligible for booster shots to have them at the May 20 Vaccine Clinic from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm at Deerfield Elementary. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available to anyone aged 5 and over. Interested parties can register at Walk-in vaccinations will also be available.

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