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Return to School Report # 28,  #29 and #30
Return to School Report # 28, #29 and #30
Julie Dorsey
Friday, January 29, 2021

School Report #30

January 29, 2021

Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,

This 30th edition of the weekly Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, town testing clinic, spectator policy for sports, and town data. Additional information about Smithfield Public Schools can be found in the February newsletter (see http://bit.ly/2MuDBN5).  

A Weekly Report on COVID Cases

This past week, 19 new COVID cases were reported in our school community, down from 22 the week prior and 28 2 weeks ago.  Three cases were from SHS, five were from GMS, four were from OCRS, four were from Winsor, two were from McCabe, and no cases were reported for LaPerche. This brings our total number of cases to 264 since the start of the school year.  

Town Testing Clinic

The Town of Smithfield is hosting a COVID testing event on February 14th at Smithfield High School.  This event is free and is for anyone in our community who would like to be tested.  Early detection and isolation are important for keeping our community healthy.  Look for additional details about the event in the upcoming week.

Spectator Policy for Sports

The Principals Committee on Athletics voted unanimously on the following spectator policy for winter sports competitions:  Spectators will not be allowed at athletic events held at on-campus gymnasiums with the exception of a one-time senior day event for home team parents only.  Spectator policies for athletic events not held at on-campus gymnasiums (ice rinks, gymnastics facilities, pools, etc.) are at the discretion of the schools and facilities. 

The Smithfield Ice Rink considered its size in developing a maximum capacity to ensure social distancing.  In consideration of this, it is the policy of Smithfield High School to allow 2 spectators per player (home and visitor) at hockey games at our home rink. Due to the size of the spectator area at the YMCA pool, no spectators will be allowed at swimming meets. The policies for other locations are at the discretion of those facilities.  

Town Data

The month of January started out at a high of 144 new cases per week then decreased to 132 then 113 then up to 122 this past week.  This latest figure corresponds to a daily rate of 17.4 new cases per 21,650 residents or 80.5 per 100,000. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.

Sincerely,

Judy Paolucci, Superintendent

School Report #29

January 22, 2021

Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,

This 29th edition of the weekly Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, updated travel quarantine guidance, reminders about school-based testing, and town data.

A Weekly Report on COVID Cases

This past week, 22 new COVID cases were reported in our school community, down from 28 the week prior.  Seven cases were from SHS, one was from GMS, three were from OCRS, two were from Winsor, four were from McCabe, and five were from LaPerche. This brings our total number of cases to 245 since the start of the school year.  

Updated Travel Quarantine Guidance

An executive order issued by the governor allows for three quarantine options for someone returning to RI after traveling to a US state where >5% of COVID tests are positive. The “gold standard” is to quarantine for 14 days and self-monitor for symptoms.  As an exception, you may provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to your arrival.  Travelers may also receive a COVID-19 test during their quarantine period in RI and get a negative result can stop quarantining but should still self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.  We are now allowing members of our school community to use the testing options to reduce or eliminate the need to quarantine.  We remind parents, however, that travel during school days is considered a non-excused absence, even with the availability of distance learning.  Ensuring school attendance is an important parental responsibility that results in school success as well as strong work ethics in adults.  

Reminder:  School-Based, Asymptomatic Testing 

We are hoping that families will submit consent forms so that their children can participate in our school-based testing during future testing sessions.  BiNaxNOW testing is non-invasive and only involves swabbing of the nasal cavities.  Our ability to keep our students and staff safe and healthy depends on the efforts of all members of our school community.  To download a consent form, see this link

The testing is NOT for symptomatic staff and students. Those experiencing symptoms should isolate and make a testing appointment by calling (844) 857 - 1814.  We will not be testing students who fall ill during the school day.  Our policy is consistent with asymptomatic testing being done at hospitals and is intended to keep our staff and students safe.  NO PARENTS SHOULD SEND THEIR SICK CHILDREN TO SCHOOL WITH THE HOPE OF GETTING TESTED.

Town Data

Smithfield has long been heralded as a safe and quaint community, however, the virus respects no borders.  The state data, sorted by towns, shows that almost 10% of Smithfield’s population (2019) have tested positive for COVID-19, putting us in the top 25th percentile in the state.  The town of Smithfield saw a steady rise in new cases of COVID-19, from 6 per week in September to 172 for the first week of December then a steady decrease over the month of December to 82 during the week ending December 26th. January, likewise, started out at a high of 144 then decreased to 132 then 113.  This latest figure corresponds to a daily rate of 16 new cases per 21,650 residents or 74.6 per 100,000. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.

Sincerely,

Judy Paolucci, Superintendent

 

School Report #28

January 15, 2021

Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,

This 28th edition of the weekly Return to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, an update on school-based testing, determining the quarantine period, athletics, and town data.

A Weekly Report on COVID Cases

This past week, 29 new COVID cases were reported.  Seven cases were from SHS, twelve were from GMS, one was from OCRS, four were from Winsor, three were from McCabe, and two were from LaPerche. This brings our total number of cases to 224 since the start of the school year.  

School-Based, Asymptomatic Testing with BinaxNOW Test Kits

The district just completed the second week of school-based, asymptomatic testing using the BinaxNOW test kits we received free from the state.  Our percentage of positive tests mirrors the data collected by state teams who did pilot testing prior to the holiday break - about 0.67%.  So far we have tested all athletes twice in addition to students at LaPerche and SHS who had submitted consent forms.  Next week, we’ll continue testing at SHS as well as Old County Road School.  Winsor, McCabe, and GMS will test for the first time during the last week of January 25th.    

To download a consent form, see this link.  Consent forms can be returned to your child’s school at any time.  If you were unable to attend one of the orientation sessions, you may view the slides or review an orientation recording.

This testing is NOT for symptomatic staff and students. Those experiencing symptoms or those who are in quarantine and want a test to shorten their quarantine period should make a testing appointment by calling (844) 857 - 1814.  

Quarantine Period 

School administrators and nurses have become adept at determining quarantine periods but it can be confusing to those who don’t deal with case investigations on a weekly basis.  The calendar, below, provides an example.  If a person is asymptomatic and tests positive on January 7th or if they are symptomatic and their symptoms began on January 7th, they are considered infectious beginning on January 5th.  If they begin their isolation on January 7th, the 7th is considered “day 0.”  The 10 days period would continue to day 10 - January 17th and they can return to school on the 18th.  Anyone in close contact January 5th, 6th, or 7th, would have to quarantine for 10 days from their last contact with this individual.  Since persons living in the same household may be unable to avoid contact during the infected person’s isolation, their quarantine wouldn’t begin until the last day of this person’s infectious period.  Even using the reduced quarantine period now allowed, this would mean the person could not break quarantine until January 28th or the 25th if they tested negative on 22nd or later. 

 

 

Athletics

 

Last week, practices began for basketball, gymnastics, ice hockey, swimming, and indoor track and field.  Rules from the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL) and the Smithfield School District, intended to limit exposure to COVID and to ensure the continuity of sports programming include:

 

  • Student-athletes may not participate in multiple sports for the winter sports season. 

  • Student-athletes and families are strongly encouraged to limit out-of-state travel and a 14-day quarantine is required for anyone returning from out of state.  

  • There will be limited access to the Smithfield High School building.  While locker rooms may be used to change before practices/games, lockers cannot be used for storage.  The weight room will remain closed.

  • One athlete at a time is allowed to see the trainer in the trainer’s office. 

  • Practices are closed to spectators and parents must remain in their car at dropoff and pickup. 

  • Only one team is permitted in the practice space at a time. 

  • Prior to coming to practice, all participants must wash their hands. Once at the practice participants should be encouraged to use hand sanitizer to wash their hands frequently. 

  • Students must bring their own water bottles, labeled with their names.

  • Prior to each practice, all participants must be screened.

  • All equipment being used must be cleaned and sanitized before each practice. 

  • Facilities being used must be cleaned and sanitized daily.

  • Athletes, coaches, and staff must wear face coverings (gaiters may NOT be worn) at all times.  Athletes may briefly remove masks for drinking if proper social distancing is maintained. 

  • Physical distancing is encouraged, whenever possible When not engaged in active play, team members should maintain a physical distance of six feet between each person.

  • Athletes should shower at home immediately after practices/games. 

  • Bus transportation is limited to 36 people, including coaches, players, and the driver. 

  • Spectators will not be allowed at SHS home contests while some schools may be allowing spectators. SHS will live stream all home basketball contests on the NFHS network.

  • Two-parent/adult family members may be permitted to attend the designated senior night contest if allowed by state and local guidelines in place at the time.  

  • Concessions will not be sold at contests this year.

  • Athletes and coaches are required to be COVID-19 tested weekly at SHS. 

  • Athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 must be cleared by a medical professional prior to beginning a Return to Play (RTP) protocol.

 

Town Data

 

The town of Smithfield saw a steady rise in new cases of COVID-19, from 6 per week in September to 172 for the first week of December then a steady decrease over the month of December to 82 during the week ending December 26th. Last week, the weekly rate was 133, which corresponds to a daily rate of 19 new cases per ~22,000 residents or 89.7 per 100,000. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.

 

Sincerely,

Judy Paolucci, Superintendent