New protocols placed at Staples High School after return to hybrid model

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Graphic by Alexandra Glickman '23

Teachers are now making seating charts that will be used if a student is tested positive. Only those in close proximity will have to quarantine for two weeks, as opposed to the whole class quarantining.

Alexandra Glickman ’23, Staff Writer

New COVID-19 protocols such as seating charts and close proximity contact tracing have been established since the return to hybrid model as of Nov. 30.

After an evaluation of the COVID protocols at Staples, the Westport/Weston Health district and  medical advisor Dr. Norman Weinberger, the policy for contact tracing has been modified to only quarantine students in close proximity to positive cases. To have an accurate model of which students are close to one another, teachers are making seating charts that can be used if a student were to contract COVID-19.

“We intend to take a more precise approach when determining ‘close contacts’ and recommending a self-quarantine,” Superintendent Thomas Scarice wrote in an email sent out on Nov. 25. 

Some of the students who, in the past, were confused as to why they were being quarantined if they were not near the person who tested positive, support the district’s change in policy. 

“I believe in a classroom setting that if one person were to get the virus, only the students around that individual should quarantine, not the entire class,” Adeline Bozeman ’23 said. “The new method is sufficient because it prevents any unnecessary quarantine that a student may have to do.” 

Even though students were contracting the virus, according to an email sent on Nov. 25  by Superintendent Thomas Scarice, “it has been determined that spread in our schools has been extremely rare.” Instead, outside exposures such as gatherings like parties, sports practices and games.

This success in controlling the spread of COVID-19 allows us to modify our current approach to contact tracing, specifically in the middle and high school, which will help limit the number of students and staff needing to quarantine.”

— Superintendent Thomas Scarice

The improvement of the numbers seen for COVID-19 have allowed the continuation of modifying protocols.

“This success in controlling the spread of COVID-19 allows us to modify our current approach to contact tracing,” Scarice added, “specifically in the middle and high school, which will help limit the number of students and staff needing to quarantine.”

To keep school a safe place and ensure that this new implementation is the best decision, everyone must still be cautious and diligently follow all recommended protocols.

“Public health experts project high transmission rates until the start of the new year,” Scarice said. “It is critical that parents and those in the community partner with us to maintain the same vigilance that is evident in our schools in order to keep our schools open for on-site schooling.”