For a pdf version of the ARPS Update, please click here.
Para uma versão do ARPS Update em português, clique aqui.
This week, all Massachusetts school districts were informed of a new COVID testing option that is being highly recommended by DESE and the MA Department of Health. Beginning January 31st, our Districts will be implementing this option, which discontinues routine contact tracing and the Test and Stay program, and replaces them with weekly, at-home antigen testing (rapid tests) for students and staff. A chart outlining the differences between the current option and the new option is included below. This change is being made with the support of our local Health Director.
Through this new option, each student and staff member who opts-into the program will receive a free rapid test kit on a bi-weekly basis so they will be able to test themselves routinely at home. In addition, the pooled testing program will remain in place across the district, providing two weekly opportunities for COVID testing. The most effective testing protocol under the new system would be to participate in both pooled and at-home testing, administering the tests several days apart. School nurses will be able to focus on identifying and supporting symptomatic individuals, although contact tracing will continue in cases that involve students in specialized programs whose disabilities prevent them from consistently wearing a face covering.
The deadline to enroll in the program, in order to begin receiving a free bi-weekly box of two rapid tests starting on January 31, is next Thursday, January 27 by 4:00 p.m. To enroll please complete the form at https://forms.gle/7kMecpm5TXCXVSBU8. Once again, you may still sign up for the pooled testing program by enrolling at https://www.cic-health.com/consent/ma?district=Amherst-Pelham.
Finally, every household is eligible to receive four free rapid tests from the federal program that has just been launched. To sign up, please visit https://www.covidtests.gov/.