Health and Safety Update
Jan. 20, 2022
Dear LMSD Families,
As you know, our community and District experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases beginning before winter break. We are hopeful that this surge is peaking and the number of daily positive cases being reported to LMSD will begin to decline. But we wanted to remind you to remain vigilant in practicing mitigation efforts – such as distancing, masking, and frequent hand-washing -- at home and in school We also wanted to update you regarding some questions that we are hearing frequently on the COVID Healthline (610-645-1973).
Masks continue to be required on all LMSD buses and in LMSD buildings. Our Health and Safety Plan and the Montgomery County Office of Public (MOCPH) allows the use of cloth or surgical masks, in addition to N95 or KN95/KN94 masks, which some staff, students and their parents/guardians may prefer. Although neither LMSD or MCOPH currently require a specific kind of mask, we encourage everyone to properly and consistently wear a high-quality, well-fitting mask. LMSD currently has a limited supply of KN95 masks for use by staff at the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19, such as cafeteria staff, bus drivers, nurses, some special education staff and teachers of our youngest learners. Other staff with specific needs may request KN95 masks as well. All students and staff have access to surgical masks, should they forget their mask or need a new one during the school day; however, parents/guardians are encouraged to provide their children with high-quality masks they will wear consistently.
LMSD is grateful to the Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners, who allocated $11,000 to buy N95 or K95 masks for children whose families may be experiencing economic need during this time.
Remote Access to Instruction
The surge has meant that we have many students and staff who are isolated or quarantined for brief periods of time. Students who have COVID-19 and are isolated and feeling well enough, and students who are required to quarantine due a confirmed exposure are able to access their classes via technology, such as Zoom, during the days they are required stay home. Cases must be reported to the School Nurse or to LMSD Health Services via the COVID Healthline at 610-645-1973 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The COVID team will inform each school daily of students who are required to quarantine or isolate in according with MCOPH. Schools will then coordinate Zoom access for those students for the designated time period. Please note, it may take up to a full school day for zoom access to be provided. The staff thank you for your patience.
Montgomery County has just expanded their testing capacity and a new regional testing site has opened at Mercy Fitzgerald in Delaware County. Information about locations and appointments is available here. LMSD is offering rapid antigen testing to current students and staff (only) from 3:00-4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the cafeteria at Lower Merion High School. Park by the Kobe Bryant Gym entrance.
- This includes: voluntary assurance testing for asymptomatic staff and students, symptomatic students and staff unable to secure testing elsewhere and students participating in higher risk extracurriculars/activities.
- No appointment required.
- Participants must generate and bring their QR code.
LMSD continues to urge all eligible students and staff to get vaccinated and boosted. Click here for information on Montgomery County vaccine clinics. If you have new or updated vaccination information for your child(ren) that you have not yet submitted to LMSD, please send a photo of your child's vaccine card to the nurse at their school. Include the child's name, grade and "Proof of Vaccination" in the subject line of the email. Parents/guardians are not required to submit proof of vaccination, but having the information on file makes it easier for the nurses to share accurate information regarding the timing of isolations, quarantines, testing and mask-to-stay protocols.
Thank you for your ongoing cooperation in keeping our students, staff and community healthy.
Terry Quinlan, MEd, MA, RN, CSN
Lead Supervisor of School Health and Student Safety