January 2022 Update on Covid-19 Issues for CT After School Providers
#1 – TESTS & MASKS
Governor Lamont announced last week that the state will be distributing millions of additional masks and at-home testing kits beginning in January. Every town and school district will be involved, and some have already started distributing the first batch of these. For licensed providers, the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) is conducting the first of several distributions tomorrow, January 4th, in New Britain. See details here to find out more. For license-exempt providers, school and town allocations of masks and tests can be accessed, and you can reach out locally to find out details of these distributions.
#2 – STAFF WHO ARE NOT FULLY VACCINATED
The tests above are not meant to be used for staff who are not fully vaccinated and instead are choosing to get tested every week. Due to increased demand for testing, the OEC has amended its Memo 45 to temporarily allow for COVID-19 self-administered tests in addition to laboratory tests for the period through January 17th.
#3 – CDC Quarantine and Isolation Guideline Changes
Last month, the CDC changed its guidelines for isolation (separating sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick) and quarantine (separating and restricting the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick). The OEC has updated its Memo 37 which also includes a useful chart that lays out the guidelines based on vaccination status and with/without symptoms.
#4 – SCHOOL CLOSURES
With the possibility of local outbreaks, and staff shortages, schools may have to close with little notice. Unlike earlier in the pandemic, public schools do not currently have the authority to move to virtual learning for all students (although this could change) so these are likely to be closures without any virtual learning component. If you don’t already have a plan for providing full-day care during these closures, you should consider doing so over the next few months.