Happy New Year PPS Staff and Families,
As the winter break comes to an end and the holiday season closes, we want to welcome 2022 and update families as we prepare to come back to school Monday, January 3, 2022. We want to remind the PPS community that even while COVID-19 cases rise in Allegheny County, believed due to the Omicron variant, our mitigation strategies of universal masking indoors, physical distancing, COVID-19 testing, and vaccinations put us in a different space than this time last year.
We continue to monitor the impact of new cases on school communities. As this information changes by the minute, we want to prepare staff and families for what will feel like short notice if there is a need to transition a school to remote instruction to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in a school community. The need to close a school building or facility is based on our Building Closure Guidelines. It considers the number of positive cases in a facility within 14 days and/or staffing shortages. To view our Building Closure Guidelines, please visit www.pghschools.org/closureguidelines. The need to close a school building or facility will be shared with staff and families via a robocall, posted to the District’s website and social media, and communicated with local news media. Please make sure your child’s school has accurate contact information on file so you may be kept up-to-date on important school closure announcements.
We are aware of recently updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to isolation and quarantine. Our District physician remains in close contact with local health officials related to the impact of COVID variants and new recommendations and is currently reviewing our COVID-19 Decision Tree and Daily Symptoms Screener for updates. For example, while health officials still learn more about the COVID-19 Omicron variant, information related to symptoms may need to be updated from that currently on our website. We will return on Monday, guided by our current COVID-19 Decision Tree, and share any updates with the PPS community soon.
We want to thank families and staff in advance for playing your role in maintaining healthy school communities. The consistent and correct use of masks, social distancing, staying home if you have a fever or otherwise do not feel well, and getting vaccinated against COVID-19 all help keep us safe and healthy.
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant highlights the importance of vaccination and boosters to prevent severe illness, hospitalizations and death. On Saturday, January 8, PPS and UPMC will host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. First and second doses, as well as booster shots, will be available. Children between the ages of 5-11 can receive the Pfizer pediatric vaccine. Students 12 years of age and older may receive the Pfizer vaccine, and adult family members may receive the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The CDC has bolstered its recommendation on booster shots for individuals 16 years or older. Individuals may receive a booster either six months after their Pfizer or Moderna shot or two months after their initial J&J vaccine. For more information about the District’s upcoming vaccination clinic and to sign up, visit www.pghschools.org/backandvaxxed.
We look forward to seeing everyone when we return to school on Monday!