Dear JKHA/RKYHS Families,
The population surveillance screening protocol is remarkably accurate in detecting Covid positive individuals before they are contagious. The daily screening schedule is a critical component of our mitigation efforts.
Like all interventions, however, every solution creates new challenges. With the increased amount of Covid in our region, the surveillance screening is detecting a higher frequency of daily suspicious pods. Usually, only one specimen is positive in a pod of samples, but all individuals who submit to the suspicious pod must stay at home until they receive negative PCR results. The limited availability of testing combined with backed-up results from labs can make this experience especially trying.
We share your frustration and are exploring the possibility of reducing the number of students and teachers in a suspicious pod compelled to test and stay at home.
A little-known simpler and more convenient testing option is literally across the street from JKHA. Essex County provides PCR saliva testing kits at the Sears building (entrance is at the back of the mall). The kits are easy to use and are self-directed. I advise that if you need a test, go to the Essex County testing center and skip the hassle.
Recently, we were made aware of allegedly dubious test results from Adam Diagnostic Lab. We are not privy to the details of the allegation, but our anecdotal evidence leads us to believe that some of the negative tests are indeed inaccurate. Moving forward, we will not accept results from Adam Diagnostic Labs until otherwise indicated.
Attitudes towards Covid in general, and this current strain in particular, are varied, but what’s universally recognized is our teachers who once again anchor our community and provide reliability, comfort, stability and continuity, sometimes under duress, for our children and families. We are grateful for their devotion to our students and commitment to our mission.
We will continue to update you with more information as it becomes available. I will communicate any policy changes in light of the CDC’s recent guidelines regarding the length of quarantine as soon as our Health Committee reaches a decision about their recommendations.
Eliezer E. Rubin