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Important COVID-19 Update for March 22 to April 1, 2021

Dear Shawsheen Parents/Guardians and Colleagues:

As our knowledge of COVID-19 continues to evolve, so too has our communication to all members of the Shawsheen community regarding positive cases of COVID.  One portion of our communication plan has not changed.  We continue to communicate immediately to individual families when their student is either:

  • Identified as a close contact of a known COVID-positive individual who was present in the school building during the period when they could transmit the virus to another person; or
  • Enrolled in a shop that must shift to 100% remote for a period of time due to the specific fact pattern of the case.

To keep the volume of COVID-related communication to community members manageable, we are shifting to a weekly, community-wide email to provide all members of our community with a general update on the status of the Coronavirus at Shawsheen.  Due to the shortened week, this reporting period covers two weeks – the period of March 20, 2021 through noon on Thursday, April 1, 2021.  During this 9 school-day period:

  • 7 members of the Shawsheen community reported testing positive for COVID-19 and were physically present in the school building during the period when they could transmit the virus to another person. During the previous two-week period, only 1 member of the Shawsheen community reported testing positive for COVID-19 and were physically present in the school building during the period when they could transmit the virus to another person;
  • 59 members of the Shawsheen community were identified as being a close contact (defined as being within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes in one 24-hour period) of one of the 7 COVID-positive cases mentioned above;
  • Due to the specific fact pattern of the cases and/or the identified close contacts, the following shops shifted to 100% remote during a portion of this two-week reporting period:
    • Carpentry Shop - from March 22-26th. Returned to in-person: Monday, March 29th;
    • Metal Fabrication Shop – on March 30th and 31st. Returned to in-person: April 1st; and
    • 11th grade Electrical Shop - on March 31st and April 1st. Electrical Shop WILL be in-person for 10th and 12th graders starting Monday, April 5th.

To be sure, the number of in-school COVID cases are higher than we have seen in a while.  It is clear that Shawsheen is not immune to the “COVID-fatigue” that is prevalent in our communities.  It is understandable that our students are anxious to get together outside of school with their friends, but it is equally clear that those gatherings are places where the proven precautions of frequent handwashing, social-distancing and mask-wearing are infrequently observed.  At the same time, all of the educators inside our building will remain committed to reinforcing the rules and social-distancing expectations that we’ve seen work so effectively.

Finally, I am convinced beyond all doubt, that the more members of the Shawsheen community who receive COVID vaccines, the lower the impact that COVID will have on our educational programs and other end-of-year activities.  I have, and will continue to, strongly encourage staff members to sign up for vaccines immediately and expect that the number of fully-vaccinated educators will continue to rise in the coming weeks.  In addition, I encourage parents to strongly consider signing their age-eligible student up for the vaccine as soon as it is available to them.  According to the CDC, the Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for those 16 years or older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are currently approved for those 18 years or older.  Of course, if you are interested in learning about when your student is eligible to receive the vaccination, you should contact your family medical provider for up-to-date information.

For every member of the Shawsheen community, battling the physical, emotional, psychological and educational impacts of the COVID pandemic has been exhausting.  Lowering our guard too early will only mean that those impacts will last longer in to 2021 than they have to.  Your continued vigilance, cooperation and support are essential in order to keep Shawsheen safe, and open to our students.

Respectfully,

Bradford L. Jackson, Ed.D.

Superintendent-Director