Superintendent Dolloff sent a letter to the community on Friday, November 20, providing some timely answers to a few Frequently Asked Questions:
I am writing today to share several items of note regarding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as I know there are many questions being asked about our plans moving forward. Consider these my best responses to the following Frequently Asked Questions, realizing that updated data may cause us to swiftly change course at any time:
Are we going to go “all-remote” anytime soon?
It is not my intent to move us to the remote learning mode unless the number of cases or quarantines throughout the district demands such action. To date, the number of cases in our schools has remained low and there have been no transmissions of COVID-19 from an infected individual in our schools to any other member of the school community. Our continued diligence wearing face coverings, maintaining social distance, and washing hands will be our best defense against the spread of the disease for the time being.
Like all of you, I anticipate a time when we may be forced to the remote learning mode by increasing regional or statewide cases of COVID-19, or by large numbers of quarantined individuals (as was the case at the High School two weeks ago). I would like to keep us in the hybrid mode until that time, providing as much in-person instruction and engagement for the health and well-being of our students as possible.
Will we be able to continue offering the remote option beyond January?
Yes. While our federal relief funds run out on December 30, the local relief fund provided by the Town of Yarmouth will allow us to continue this work through April 2. I remain optimistic that leaders in Washington, D.C. will deliver a relief package that will help us continue our hybrid and all-remote options through the end of the school year. I will keep you apprised of any news along that front.
I’m hearing about rapid COVID-19 testing coming to our schools. When is this going to happen?
We anticipate being able to test symptomatic persons in our schools by some point in December. Our nurses are developing protocols, receiving training, obtaining necessary protective equipment for themselves, and communicating with State authorities to make this a reality. I will communicate more about the project when the opportunity is imminent, but we do know that this testing will only be for individuals who become symptomatic at school. Please note:
- This will not be a test for individuals who are feeling well;
- We will not be a “testing center” to which people come simply to be tested;
- This will only be a service to staff and students who are feeling well in the morning, come to school, and begin showing symptoms at some point during the school day.
Parents/guardians will be required to sign a consent form in order for their child to be tested.
I’ll share more on this program when we are ready to offer the service.
Thank you for your continued cooperation and patience as we strive to keep our students, staff, and community safe. I know these questions are the tip of the iceberg, but I wanted to share some information with you that might help you in your understanding of where we are headed.
Andrew Dolloff, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools