Updates from the COVID-19 Task Force
Dear Bishop Hendricken family,
As promised, below are some important protocol updates and reminders from the COVID-19 Task Force and School Nurse's Office on our path forward over the next few weeks. These are applicable to all Bishop Hendricken students, faculty, and staff. Please be sure to review them carefully. All of these changes have also been updated on our website's COVID Response hub, here.
As of this message, we are still awaiting information on what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) updated isolation guidance means for schools in Rhode Island. It is important to note that, as of now, this guidance is for the general public and not specific to school settings. Therefore, as of now, the isolation period for all positive cases will remain 10 days. This applies to students, faculty, and staff.
Negative Rapid (Antigen) Tests
In accordance with Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) guidance, Bishop Hendricken will now accept a negative rapid (antigen) test for return to school following a quarantine (close contact, household contact, or travel). You may still elect to receive a PCR if you prefer, but are reminded that you need to await those results before returning.
You can schedule a rapid test at state-run test sites by visiting portal.ri.gov or calling 401.222.8022. When scheduling online, be sure to select "General-public appointment" to receive a rapid test when asymptomatic.
Stay Home When You're Sick
You've heard this message consistently since the onset of the pandemic, but it bears repeating over and over again: please stay home from school when you have any 1 symptom whatsoever regardless of your vaccination status. You cannot come to school sick. Instead, stay home, get tested, and follow these steps.
If you receive a test because you have any 1 symptom at all, you MUST await both your rapid and PCR result. You cannot return to school with a negative rapid result only.
As Governor McKee mentioned in his press briefing last week, and as many have experienced over the past few weeks, testing is at a premium in Rhode Island. The School Nurse's Office is working with RIDOH to secure more rapid antigen tests and explore on-campus testing options currently available to us. We'll have an update on our strategy when we learn more about capacity.
Cafeteria & Lunch
Lunch is an obvious cause for concern when it comes to COVID spread. With cases ramping up, we will be instituting QR code scanning at all cafeteria tables in the coming days. Students will be required to scan the code at their table prior to sitting down to eat. This helps us get a more accurate record of who may be a close contact should a positive case occur. Students are asked for their full cooperation in this effort.
Midterms & Senior Experience
Midterms will take place as scheduled and in person. The full midterm exam schedule can be found, here. Additionally, there are currently no plans to adjust the Senior Experience program beginning this spring.
Everyone is reminded of the simple yet effective mitigation strategies we have at our disposal: properly wearing a proper-fitting mask (especially KN-95s and surgical masks), getting vaccinated, and getting boosted. To schedule a vaccination, click here. We know that these steps can help curb infection, the severity of symptoms, and the chances of hospitalization. And, of course, limit educational disruption.
Above all else, we're asking for everyone's patience and cooperation over the course of January. We know it's increasingly difficult to keep track of changes in protocol and policy. If there's ever any doubt about what might be expected of you or your son in any situation, please don't hesitate to contact us for clarification. We're here to help.
Let's stay safe and healthy! We'll provide more updates as they become available in the coming days.