Dear LMSD Families,
If you have been checking the LMSD COVID-19 dashboard, you have seen that our District is experiencing a surge in reported positive cases, similar to what is occurring in the larger community. Despite these cases, Montgomery County remains in "low" according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). LMSD is in frequent contact with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health (MCOPH) regarding COVID-19 and continues to follow the health authority's directives and guidance. As of today, MCOPH is not making any changes to the current guidance.
LMSD continues to have a robust rapid antigen testing program. Testing is provided (with parent/guardian consent) to symptomatic students, students in the Mask-to-Stay (MTS) program, students in an outbreak cohort and other students identified as close contacts of a positive individual in school. Additionally, testing is available to asymptomatic and symptomatic staff and students, even if they are not close contacts, each Tuesday and Thursday from 3-4:30pm in the LMHS cafeteria.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of LMSD families continue to report positive cases to LMSD's COVID-19 Healthline each week. This consistent reporting enables our nursing staff to provide isolation and quarantine information to families, implement the Mask-to Stay (MTS) program, identify outbreaks, arrange for testing and facilitate the safest environment possible for all students and staff.
Through both the LMSD COVID-19 Healthline and LMSD's rapid antigen testing program, we have identified multiple outbreaks in recent weeks, in both extracurricular activities and in classrooms. MCOPH defines an outbreak as three or more linked cases in a core group over a 14-day period. In most outbreaks, all students in the core group are deemed close contacts. When an outbreak occurs, LMSD notifies MCOPH and impacted families receive the guidance and information below:
- Parents/Guardians are urged to screen their child(ren) daily for symptoms of illness. If a child has symptoms, they should be kept home and the parent/guardian should notify the School Nurse or the COVID Healthline at 610-645-1973.
- Students who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic may attend school without restrictions; however, masking is strongly recommended for the next 10 days. Optional testing will be offered at the child's school on a designated day. Testing is also available to students each Tuesday and Thursday after school at Lower Merion High School from 3-4:30pm in the cafeteria.
- Parents/Guardians of students who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated are contacted by the School Nurse and given guidance about quarantine, eligibility for the "Mask-to Stay" (MTS) program, testing and other protocols. Students who are not fully vaccinated or who are unvaccinated must quarantine at home or participate in the MTS, which has specific requirements for masking and testing.
- Students who exhibit any symptoms of illness in the outbreak cohort will be considered probable positives and will be required to isolate at home for five days. They may return to school on Day Six, with the requirement that they wear a mask consistently and correctly through Day 10.
- Again, rapid antigen testing is available to students at school between 4-6 days after exposure. Parents/guardians must contact the school nurse to arrange for testing and must consent via the form in PowerSchool.
At this time, neither the CDC nor MCOPH is recommending a return to mandatory universal masking in our schools; however, parents and guardians may want their children to return to wearing masks at school during the current period of increased transmission. Please discuss this with your child(ren), so that they understand your wishes on this issue. Please continue to screen your child for signs of illness each morning and do not send them to school if they are symptomatic.
LMSD continues to encourage all eligible individuals to get their full course of COVID-19 vaccines, including appropriate boosters. If your child has recently had a booster, please share a photo of their immunization card with the School Nurse. We also ask that parents/guardians continue to report positive cases to our COVID Healthline by calling 610-645-1973 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We appreciate your consistent reporting, as it allows our nurses to quickly assist you, identify cases or outbreaks and take appropriate actions in compliance with the MCOPH guidance.
Thank you for your ongoing vigilance as we endeavor to end this school year in a safe and healthy way.
Khalid N. Mumin, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools