January 24, 2022
Dear APS families,
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey C. Riley recently announced new at-home COVID-19 testing options.
Andover Public Schools will be participating in this new At-Home testing program. DESE will begin delivery of test kits for staff and students in the coming weeks. Once we have the tests on-hand, we will notify staff and families when they can anticipate test kits. Kits will be distributed to students at school buildings.
Students and staff who participate will receive one kit every two weeks to test themselves – each kit contains 2 tests, and each individual should test once per week. Individuals can choose which day they would like to administer their weekly test, based on needs or symptoms.
If an individual tests positive at home, they should enter this result in the Aspen Portal. Schools will report the number of positive cases to DESE as part of the weekly COVID-19 reporting already in place.
We are encouraged that this program will support our staff and families with in-person learning and allow our nursing team to focus on identifying symptomatic individuals. As a result of these new testing protocols, school administrators and nurses will no longer be performing the Test & Stay option or individualized contact tracing once the test kits are distributed to students and staff. Quarantining will no longer be required for students and staff who may be close contacts in school.
Important information regarding the program:
- DESE’s Weekly At-Home program is optional for staff and students, regardless of vaccination status. Families and staff must opt-in to participate.
- Families can opt-in via the Aspen Portal. Parents/Guardians must fill out the form for each child they wish to participate. We ask that you indicate your interest by Thursday, January 27, 2022, so we can provide an accurate count of needed tests to DESE. This will ensure that we have proper resources to successfully implement this program.
- Instructions on how to sign up and report a positive COVID-19 test result are available on our website.
- The test is the iHealth 15-minute at-home FDA-approved rapid antigen test.
- Those who opt-in to the program should test weekly, regardless of vaccination status or whether or not they are experiencing symptoms. If your child is experiencing symptoms, we encourage you to take the test immediately.
- Positive test results are shared with your school district for informational purposes only and will be reflected on the dashboard. Individual results will remain confidential, and they will never be made public.
Please visit the APS COVID-19 webpage for updated information. As a reminder, all students, staff, and visitors at Andover Public Schools are required to wear masks while indoors per the School Committee mask policy. This is regardless of vaccination status and applies to all grade levels (PreK-12).
We encourage you to reach out to our nursing team if you have any questions.
We remain committed to keeping our students and staff safe and healthy. We are grateful for your diligence in self-reporting and assisting us in keeping in-school transmission to a minimum.
Magda Parvey, Ed. D.
Andover Public Schools