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Dear Washington Market School families,
Holidays are traditionally a time of joy, a time many of us long to spend with our family and friends, perhaps with those whom we have been unable to see for some time. Unfortunately, this time of spreading holiday cheer also brings with it many risks. So whether you will be traveling, or just spending time with family and friends, we ask that you stay mindful.
As you know, the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in New York City and across the nation. Experts have stated that one of the keys to containment is increased testing. With this in mind and a commitment to keeping schools open, Governor Cuomo has implemented what is called the cluster action initiative to address COVID-19 hotspots. This is a science based approach used to address clusters of cases and prevent further spread in the communities. Schools identified in “cluster zones” are required to adhere to strict testing protocols to remain open. Although The Washington Market School is not currently under any cluster zone restrictions, we are taking a proactive approach to ensure our school remains open.
With that understanding, we would like to share some important news with our families. We are finalizing plans for weekly pool testing in our school. Pool testing is a way to test a large group of individuals in a short amount of time by pooling samples together. Any positive result in a group can then be tested individually to identify the specific positive sample. Pool testing will help us to identify individuals who might be asymptomatic and provide much needed peace of mind for all. We will be providing more information about our pool testing protocol in the next few weeks.
As health experts have stated, COVID-19 cases are expected to spike over the holiday season. For this reason, we are requiring our staff to submit a negative COVID-19 test before returning to school on January 11th and are requiring our families to do the same. To that end, we are looking into the possibility of having our children tested locally. While we are exploring this, we would like you to consider your best option to have your child tested independently.
Regardless of the testing site, all children will be required to submit a negative test result before returning physically to school on Monday, January 11th. Further information about testing options will be sent to you next week and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have on line at email@example.com.
Please remember that If you will be traveling outside of a NY contiguous state or a CDC level 2 or 3 region, follow the guidelines for testing as listed on our COVID flow sheet. For destinations that are listed as a CDC level 4 region you must follow the CDC’s testing requirements found here https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/testing-air-travel.html
So whether you will be traveling or just spending time with friends, testing before returning to school, in addition to healthy practices of social distancing, keeping our hands clean and wearing our masks, will help give us a healthy start to our New Year!
From all of us at The Washington Market School we wish you all a happy and healthy holiday!
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