Dear Smithfield Staff and Families,
This 5th edition of the Back to School report includes our weekly report on COVID cases, information regarding flu clinics, staying home when sick, testing requirements, and town data.
A Weekly Report on COVID Cases
We learned that one of the three reported cases last week was actually not COVID-positive. Another four cases were confirmed this week for a total of six cases since the start of the school year. This week’s cases were a staff member from LaPerche, a student at Smithfield High School, a student at Gallagher Middle School, and student at Old County Road School. Our new COVID response team assisted with contact tracing and calling close contacts. Due to the new rules regarding quarantines, few had to be quarantined, though a number of students are required to watch for symptoms and be tested on day 5.
Staying Home When Sick
We ask that all parents keep their children home if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 that cannot be explained by some other illness that has been documented by your pediatrician. For example, a student may come to school with a headache but has either a diagnosis of migraines, or has not eaten breakfast. After either treating the migraine, and/or allowing the student to eat, the headache resolves. That student may remain in school.
This year, if your child develops any one of the COVID-19 symptoms during the school day you will be called to pick up the child and any sibling(s). RIDOH/RIDE advises that parents of symptomatic individuals seek medical advice. A negative PCR test is needed before that student can return to school. Once a negative PCR result for the symptomatic student has been documented, the siblings may return to school as well.
The flu has many of the same symptoms as COVID19 and can make some individuals very sick, can reduce attendance in schools, and can stress our health care system further. Vaccination for the flu is most effective at this time of year. To support the health of our school community, we are hosting a faculty and staff flu clinic on Wednesday, October 6 from 2-4:30 at the High School cafeteria. The SHS student flu clinic will be held on Wednesday, October 6 from 8:00-10:30am in the cafeteria.
There have been many questions regarding testing requirements. If a person is deemed a close contact and is fully vaccinated, that person is required to test on day 3-5 after exposure. If a person is not vaccinated and is deemed a close contact, that person must be tested immediately then again on days 5-7. Persons experiencing any symptom of COVID19 are also required to be tested. Please contact your school nurse or a member of the COVID response team if you have questions about whether or not to be tested.
Good job, Smithfield! While RI’s numbers last week went up, Smithfield’s went down. Last week, the number of new COVID cases in Smithfield was 25 while the state’s figure was 1912 (from 1918 last week). The town rate corresponds to a daily rate of 3.6 new cases per 22,000 residents, or about 16.4 per 100,000. This is considered substantial transmission. This data is available at https://bit.ly/2PxCgDM.
Judy Paolucci, Superintendent