Return to School Update

Dear Pembroke Families and Staff,

We hope that you are enjoying time with your families over this winter break, and we are excited to welcome everyone back to school on Monday, January 3, 2022.  

This week the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) announced it will be supplying 200,000 at-home rapid antigen tests to school districts so that all teachers and staff across the Commonwealth have the option to self-test for COVID-19 before they return to school from holiday break.  

This week, the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education made a number of changes to the COVID-19 Protocols:

Isolation - Updated 

Duration: Self-isolation for COVID-19 positive cases is a minimum of 5 days (reduced from 10 days) after symptom onset or after positive PCR or antigen test, if asymptomatic. 

  • Return to school: After 5 days (return day 6) once they have: 
    • Been without fever for 24 hours (and without taking fever-reducing medications); and
    • Experienced improvement in other symptoms.

Following the 5-day isolation period, individuals must mask for 5 additional days when around others. 

Quarantine Options - Updated

Test and Stay: Students who have been a school-based close contact and are asymptomatic may attend school and school-sponsored activities if they participate in the Test and Stay program.  The duration of the Test and Stay program has changed from 7 to 5 days from last exposure.

Traditional quarantine: Students and staff with household exposure, close contacts outside of school, and those who do not wish to test and stay still need to self-quarantine at home for 5 days, returning on day 6, as long as the person remains asymptomatic.  Best practices include a negative test on day 5 after exposure.

Those who are fully vaccinated and asymptomatic are exempt from testing and quarantine protocols.  At this time, DESE still considers people with 2 doses of Pfizer or Moderna, or 1 dose of Janssen (J&J) plus two weeks, to be fully vaccinated.

Additional information about updates to protocols will be shared as soon as they become available.

If your child has experienced one of the following within 5 days of returning to school, please stay home from school and contact your school nurse via email:

  • Positive COVID-19 test
  • Close contact with a person who has tested positive
  • Symptoms of COVID-19
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we continue to work to keep our schools open.
Thank you,
Erin Obey, Superintendent