2021 Opening Recommendations Part II

2021 Opening Recommendations Part II
Posted on 08/13/2021
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Salem Public Schools remains committed to a safe and healthy reopening for all students, staff, and families in our district.  We expect a full in-person return to school for all students (remote learning will only be an option for students who qualify for home and hospital care per Massachusetts Regulation). On Monday, August 9th, the Salem School Committee unanimously approved Salem Public Schools’ recommendations for the upcoming opening of school that utilize a multi-layered approach to reducing the risk of spread and to minimize disruption to learning for our students and their families summarized below:  

reopening goals

In addition to the implementation strategies above, the COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective intervention to reduce the risk of both spread of and severe illness due to the virus. SPS is offering another free vaccination clinic on Saturday, August 28th from 11am-1pm at Saltonstall (211 Lafayette St.). In order to maximize health & safety, Salem Public Schools also recommends the following additional steps to protect our students, staff, and community this fall. 


Recommendation A – Required staff vaccination or biweekly COVID-19 testing: In March 2021, 92% of the staff that responded to our survey had already received their vaccine or had scheduled their appointment. In alignment with the City of Salem’s Keep Salem Safe, Open, & Strong campaign, SPS is working with the Salem Teachers Union to require either (1) proof of vaccination or (2) biweekly (twice per week) COVID checks (formerly called surveillance testing). SPS school nurses will collect proof of vaccination during all staff PD week (week of August 24th) and SPS is able to offer free, on-site testing for staff. 


Recommendation B – Weekly COVID checks for high respiration extracurricular Activities for ages 12 and older: Extracurricular activities are an important part of the educational experience SPS is able to provide for our students, but many also increase the risk of spread during the pandemic. Beginning in winter 2021, SPS implemented a required weekly COVID check (formerly called surveillance testing) in order to participate in athletics. This fall, in order to participate in any high respiration extracurricular activities, including athletics, band, chorus, and drama, SPS plans to resume this practice of requiring once per week COVID checks for all extracurricular activities. SPS is able to offer free, on-site testing.


Recommendation C – Required student vaccination or masks required outdoors and proof of consultation with your healthcare provider for high respiration extracurricular activities for ages 12 and older: The COVID-19 vaccine has now been approved for ages 12 and over since May, 2021. Currently, 55% of 12-15 year olds and only 43% of 16-19 year olds in the City of Salem have been vaccinated. This fall, in order to participate in any high respiration extracurricular activities, including athletics, band, chorus, and drama, SPS will require that students ages 12 and older have either (1) proof of vaccination OR (2) participants must wear masks even when outdoors and must show evidence of having consulted with their healthcare provider about receiving the vaccine. SPS will provide the required form to be signed by the healthcare provider documenting the consultation and will offer access to healthcare providers for students who need it. SPS will collect proof of vaccination prior to the start of the season or at the start of the school year. 




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