July 14, 2024

Welcome Back and COVID Guidance


August 29, 2023

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Welcome Back! We are so excited to be starting a new school year. There is a new calendar that better supports the developmental learning needs of our students, HERE it is in case you need an electronic version. Please pay particular attention to the start date and the early release schedule. Students grades 9-12 will begin this Wednesday (8/30) and students grades PK-8 will start this Thursday (8/31). 

We have to provide you with our new COVID guidance. We have had a few cases pop up in the schools over the summer so please be aware. For the start of the 2023/2024 school year, the Hartford School District will be using the infectious disease prevention strategies and COVID Response Protocol as outlined below.  This protocol is based on the current CDC guidelines for COVID-19.  Any future changes to this protocol will be communicated by the Superintendent of Schools.

MASKING

Universal masking is no longer required in Vermont schools*.  However, there are circumstances under which an individual should wear a mask in our school buildings:

  • For 10 days following a positive COVID test;
  • If experiencing symptoms of illness; per the Vermont Department of Health, "A student who is being sent home due to illness may be required to wear a mask while awaiting pick-up. The decision to require masking should be made by the school nurse based on clinical decision-making."  Additionally, if a student or staff member develops any symptoms while at school, the school nurse will use her clinical judgment to determine if the individual may remain in school.  If it is determined that they can stay at school, a facemask may be provided and should  be worn while indoors.

Masks must be at least 2 layers, fit properly, and be worn over the mouth and nose.

It is recommended that those who are identified as being at high risk for severe disease related to COVID contact their healthcare provider to discuss whether or not they should wear a mask.

Individuals may choose to continue to wear masks for their own personal reasons outside of those listed above.  Bullying or harassment of anyone for any reason will not be tolerated in any Hartford School District building or program.

* If community transmission levels in Windsor County reach a "high" level as defined by the CDC COVID BY COUNTY, Hartford School District may require that everyone wear a facemask while indoors until transmission levels decline.

GUIDANCE FOLLOWING AN EXPOSURE TO COVID-19

IF YOU ARE NOT EXPERIENCING ANY SYMPTOMS:

You DO NOT need to quarantine.

  • You should wear a high quality mask when around others for 10 days following the last date of exposure regardless of vaccination status.
  • If you choose to, you can test on/after day 6.
    • If the test is positive, stay home and notify your school nurse.
  • If you develop any symptoms, you must then stay home until symptoms improve and/or test for COVID using an antigen test.  If negative, multiple antigen tests may be needed.  If symptoms persist, you should continue to stay home and/or test until symptoms improve.

ISOLATION FOLLOWING A POSITIVE TEST

If you have a positive antigen or PCR test, let your school nurse know; they report positive cases to the VT Department of Health.  Use the following guidance regardless of vaccination status:

  • Stay home and isolate for at least 5 days. (Please note: the first day of symptoms/or the day of the positive test if there are no symptoms is DAY ZERO; the 5-day count begins the next day)
  • You can end isolation after day 5 IF:
    • You never had symptoms or any symptoms are improved  AND
    • You have not had a fever for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medications  AND
    • You should wear a mask around others for 10 days.
  • Notify your close contacts that you have tested positive.
  • If symptoms recur or worsen after ending isolation, restart isolation at "day 0."


ILLNESS

If a student or staff member develops symptoms of illness while at school, the school nurse will use their clinical judgment to determine if the individual may remain in school.  If it is determined that they can stay at school, a facemask may be provided and should be worn while indoors.  (Please see your child's parent/student handbook for illness protocols).

TESTING

Test kits will be made available to staff and students from the school nurse upon request to test due to symptoms.

**Antigen test kits will be provided by the school subject to available inventory received from the state of Vermont. 

Thank you, and I wish you the best school year ever. 

Tom DeBalsi
Superintendent