Changes to COVID-19 policies are pending for the Londonderry school district

The+Londonderry+school+district+is+waiting+for+N.H.+Department+of+Health+and+Safetys+new+COVID-19+guidelines+following+the+updated+recommendations+made+by+the+CDC.+

Photo by Courtney Clark

The Londonderry school district is waiting for N.H. Department of Health and Safety’s new COVID-19 guidelines following the updated recommendations made by the CDC.

Updated at 3:44 p.m. on Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Healthcare worker gives her professional advice regarding the surge in cases in N.H.

 

Following the return of students and staff from holiday break, the school has seen record numbers of individuals test positive. In the midst of this surge, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and N.H. Department of Health and Safety updated and shortened it’s COVID-19 guidelines.

“New Hampshire is now seeing over 80% of cases of Omicron,” Chief Medical Officer at the Manchester Elliot Hospital, Dr. Holly Mintz said. “This new variant is infecting people despite immunization.”

Those who are immunized are facing “less severe” symptoms than those who are unvaccinated. 

Currently, 56% of the state is fully vaccinated with 62.6% of Granite Staters having already received one dose of a vaccine. This means that approximately 44% of the state is not fully vaccinated and protected against COVID-19, making symptoms worse for those infected. 

“If everyone got small cold-like symptoms, this surge wouldn’t be as worrying,” Dr. Mintz said.  “Our ICUs are overflowing due to the severity of [COVID-19] symptoms amongst the unvaccinated. The availability of hospital beds is very low and there are challenges with regards to staff shortages due to infection. Our hospitals are in gridlock.”

To mitigate further spread of the “highly contagious” Omicron variant, Dr. Mintz recommends that people mask up and adhere to the guidelines posted by the CDC and N.H. Department of Health and Safety. 

“Ensure that you are following the guidelines if sick,” Dr. Mintz said. “Wear a mask after the five days of isolation and be sure to fully adhere to the guidelines. That means avoiding public gatherings and other crowded areas before the five days of masking are up.  If schools are implementing a universal masking policy, yet there are people who don’t wear masks at a groceries store for example, that doesn’t do any good. This is an entire community effort.”

Dr. Mintz urges Granite Staters to remain “extremely cautious and vigilant” with how they follow the updated COVID-19 guidelines.

“My biggest concern with the new guidelines is how they’ll be interpreted,” Dr. Mintz said. “People are seeing the ‘five-day isolation’ and end up glancing over the recommended five-day masking after isolation. Be very careful and avoid close contact events. Our hospitals are in between ‘Contingency’ and ‘Crisis’ status due to lack of staff, which is why we are getting back to work after five days, however, it’s worth mentioning that we are dressed in full PPE whereas the general population does not have that extra layer of protection.” 

The past two years have taken a toll on our healthcare system, wearing out medical professionals and demoralizing healthcare workers. Dr. Mintz has described the past two years as, “incredibly scary and exhausting.” 

As a result of severe symptoms related to COVID-19, hospitals are under a great deal of pressure, making it a challenge to meet the needs of those with non-COVID-19 related issues. 

“It’s become a challenge to meet the needs of the community due to the overflow of patients, lack of hospital beds, and staffing shortage,” Dr. Mintz said. “Unless you’re within the hospital walls, working and seeing ICU units overflow and hospital beds overflowing, you can’t see how horribly dire the situation is. This is all very real and scary. Anything the community can do to help is appreciated. We hope people take this seriously to help alleviate the demand on medical services. We also ask for patience. We get it. It’s a lot. We are trying to meet the needs of this community as best as we can and are committed to providing optimal care.”

The Lancer Spirit will continue to update this story as more information develops. 


Posted at 12:58 p.m. on Monday, January 10, 2022

New Hampshire Department of Health and Safety has released updated COVID-19 guidelines.

 

The Londonderry School District has cleared around 70 students to return to school following the implementation of the new  N.H. Department of Health and Safety COVID-19 guidelines. 

According to the email sent out by the Londonderry School District, household contacts will be reached out to by the district “early [this] week”  to inform them of updated COVID-19 guidelines. 

Early this week, the district will “mobilize to reach out to all those families and staff that are currently household contacts to see if the shorter timeline will apply”.

The school district thanks the community for their patience regarding this matter.   

The Lancer Spirit will continue to update this story as more information develops. 


Posted at 12:45 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2022

Londonderry School District informs parents of future changes to COVID-19 guidelines following the release of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Safety’s pending recommendations.

 

On Wednesday, January 5, the Londonderry School District was informed of the changes made to N.H. Department of Health and Safety’s (DHHS) COVID-19 guidelines, with regards to COVID-19 isolation and quarantine duration. 

On Thursday, January 6, the Londonderry school district sent out an email to parents informing them of the changes that could potentially be implemented following the pending release of N.H. Department of Health and Safety’s COVID-19 guidelines.

In the email sent out to parents, the school district stated that they “intend to change procedures to remain consistent with the updated NHDPHS guidelines”.

If the NH Department of Health and Safety guidelines follow those of the CDC:

 

  • Asymptomatic positive cases can end their isolation after their 5th day of isolation, but will then need to wear a mask for an additional 5 days in school and other settings. 
  • Positive cases that had symptoms can end their isolation after the 5th day only  if you are fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved. There is also the requirement to wear a mask for an additional 5 days in schools and other settings.
  • Any positive case that still has symptoms by the 5th day or after cannot end their isolation period sooner. Those cases will need to wait to be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and your other symptoms have improved.

The school district is currently working to process all of the cases impacted by the revisions made for COVID-19 guidelines.

“Due to the complexity of these designations, the volume of positive and recovering cases affected by this change, as well as the late notice that we are receiving, we will require tomorrow, Thursday January 6, to complete the processing of all cases impacted,” Londonderry School District said.

After all of the cases of those impacted are processed, the school district “[hopes] to welcome those students and staff released by the shortened isolation on Friday, January 7th”.  

It is expected that the updated COVID-19 guidelines will be available on the New Hampshire Department of Health and Safety’s website in the next few days. 

The Lancer Spirit will continue to update this story as more information develops. 


Posted at 10:24 p.m. on Thursday, January 6, 2022

On Monday December 27, the CDC released updated guidelines with regards to quarantine lengths for the general population. The CDC shortened the recommended quarantine length of ten days to five days for asymptomatic individuals who test positive, or if other symptoms are resolving (no fever for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication). The CDC recommends that those who leave quarantine after five days, wear a mask for another five days when they are around others in order to mitigate spread of infection.  

As of January 3, the Londonderry School District continues to follow the CDC’s previous guideline of a 10-day isolation for those who tested positive for COVID-19. The Londonderry School District also follows guidelines issued by the N.H. Department of Health and Safety, which uses recommendations from the CDC to create their own guidelines for the state. 

In accordance with the CDC’s recommendations for K-12 schools across the country, Londonderry schools have implemented “layered prevention strategies”.

Numerous measures to reduce transmission of COVID-19 including increased ventilation, air purifiers, UV light cleaning, and increased physical distancing when possible were implemented and executed as part of the 2021-2022 Reopening Plan.

The reopening plan was articulated using guidance from the N.H. Department of Health and Safety. 

The Londonderry school district is currently waiting for a statement from the NH Department of Health as to whether or not the current COVID-19 protocols will remain in place or will be updated to match that of the CDC.

According to Director of Pupil Services Kim Carpinone, “several meetings at the state level [are] happening at this time” to best decide how to move forward with the new recommendations posted. 

The Lancer Spirit will continue to update this story as more information develops.