January NAPS Nursing Newsletter

posted Jan 18, 2021, 8:00 AM by Hillary Stasonis

In our January newsletter you will find some valuable information about the COVID-19 vaccine and tools for addressing your child’s mental health needs during these challenging times.

December NAPS Nursing Newsletter

posted Dec 21, 2020, 12:22 PM by Hillary Stasonis   [ updated Dec 21, 2020, 12:22 PM ]

Learn about flu shot requirements, updated quarantine guidance, and more. Thank you for all you have already been doing to keep our community safe and healthy!
 

November NAPS Nursing Newsletter

posted Nov 20, 2020, 7:28 AM by Hillary Stasonis   [ updated Nov 20, 2020, 7:30 AM ]

We hope this newsletter continues to be a positive resource for you during the holiday season. Thank you for all you have already been doing to keep our community safe and healthy!

News from the NAPS Nursing Dept.

posted Oct 26, 2020, 12:33 PM by Hillary Stasonis

Hello North Andover families! We hope this newsletter can be a positive resource for you. Thank you for all you have already been doing to keep our community safe and healthy!

NAPS Positive COVID-19 Case Process

posted Oct 5, 2020, 4:21 PM by Hillary Stasonis

Health Services Update 10/1/20


Our student body and staff have been closely adhering to our COVID-19 safety protocols including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. We are particularly grateful to our staff and student families for their continued efforts to stay home at the first sign of symptoms. These measures, taken in combination, greatly reduce the risk of additional transmission.


When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the results are sent to the health department in their town.  The local health department is responsible for reaching out to provide support to individuals who have tested positive so they can safely remain in medical isolation for a minimum of 10 days.  Sometimes there is a slight delay for the test results to reach the health department.  To ensure timely notification to the schools, staff and families are asked to notify their school nurse, principal, or the Director of Health Services, Cheryl Barczak barczakc@nak12.com, of any positive results. They will coordinate with the health department to begin contact tracing.


  • Contact tracing and notification begins as soon as possible.  Close contacts are defined as those who have been within 6 feet of a confirmed positive individual for at least fifteen minutes during the infectious period (48 hours prior to symptom onset or, in the case of an asymptomatic individual, 48 hours prior to a positive test result).  The building school nurse and principal have access to class rosters, seating charts and team/activity rosters to assist with identifying close contacts.

  • Communication by the health department is made to any staff member and/or parents of students who have been identified to be a close contact, notifying them that there has been a positive test without naming the person who tested positive.

  • Close contacts should not return to school until they have quarantined for 14 days.  They will be instructed to be tested 4-5 days after the exposure date, but must remain in quarantine even if the test result is negative, due to the 2-14 day incubation period of the virus. Each school will contact students regarding academic work during this quarantine period. 

  • When all close contacts have been notified by the health department, the school principal will use the following school-based communication (sample letter).


Additional protocols for responding to COVID-19 scenarios in school, on the bus or in community settings can be found here: COVID-19 scenarios in school


Thank you for continuing to support our mitigation efforts.  Your vigilance and active participation are key to keeping our schools open and our community safe.



Town Flu Vaccine Clinics on 9/30 & 10/16

posted Sep 24, 2020, 7:10 AM by Hillary Stasonis   [ updated Sep 24, 2020, 7:11 AM ]

Vaccine for ages 19+ including high dose for 65 and older.  
Where: North Andover Senior Center 
When: Wednesday, September 30th from 12pm-4pm Friday, October 16th from 10am-2pm 

Coronavirus Update #3 - March 12th

posted Mar 12, 2020, 12:01 PM by Hillary Stasonis

Dear North Andover Community,

I am writing to provide an update on continuing efforts in North Andover Public Schools regarding the Coronavirus. At this time, there are no positive or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in North Andover.

Our district leadership team and the Town’s Joint Task Force are collaborating to assess new information and adjust plans as necessary during this evolving situation. The Joint Task Force is also working continuously on preparedness and responsiveness. We are closely following the latest guidance of our local and state Department of Public Health (DPH), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). All information and updates are posted on the NAPS website.

North Andover Public Schools will remain open based on CDC and DPH guidance. Should the district need to close, we will utilize Beyond The Classroom. If we close for an extended period of time, we will be following the guidance of the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in developing a plan. 

Health, hygiene habits, and cleaning are particularly important to us. Students have been educated about handwashing and are encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day. Our custodians are implementing daily cleaning plans, along with enhanced cleaning and disinfection of high-contact surfaces (desks, doorknobs, light switches, chrome books, etc.). The district will also use heavy-duty electrostatic disinfection application spray guns to further sanitize facilities as needed. Additionally, school cafeterias have taken additional precautionary steps, as directed by the Board of Health. Also, our school transportation company has cleaned all buses and will continue to clean and sanitize regularly.

 

Regarding school-sponsored trips and travel, NAPS faculty and students do not have any international trips scheduled this spring. Travel outside of Massachusetts has been discontinued at this time, and school- sponsored activities are continually being assessed based on DPH, DESE, North Andover Public Health and CDC guidance. To this point, the recommendation from the North Andover Board of Health is to postpone Mr. North Andover, which is an extremely large community event of 890 attendees. Any information on rescheduling the event will be sent by Mr. Jackson at a future date. Should there be a change or cancellation of any future events, guardians/parents and staff will be notified.

The safety of our students, staff, and families is North Andover Public School’s top priority. Our Town and District are wholeheartedly dedicated to the continuous and ongoing evaluation and communication of new information as it becomes available.

 

Dr. Gregg T. Gilligan, Superintendent 

 

The Town of North Andover formed a joint task force, which includes: the School Superintendent, the Town Manager, the Board of Health Director, the Public Health Nurse, both Directors of Information Technology, the Assistant Superintendents, the School’s Director of Health Services, the Deputy Town Manager, Town Counsel, the Director of Administrative Services and the Director of Planning and Community Development.

Coronavirus Update 2

posted Mar 6, 2020, 2:23 PM by Hillary Stasonis

The school department is working closely and meeting regularly with the Town of North Andover Health Department to ensure we have the most up to date information, guidance, and recommendations from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  This afternoon I participated in a conference call for all Massachusetts Superintendents where representatives from both the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health provided guidance on the Coronavirus and answered questions.   In addition, DESE has advised that they will be sharing more information about student and staff absences and school year requirements in the coming days.  I will share the DESE information with you in our next update.

Although the risk of Coronavirus remains low for Massachusetts residents, I did want to provide you with an update on some of the proactive measures and supports that we have put in place here at NAPS.  Most importantly, please be assured that we are following ALL recommendations and guidance from the CDC, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the North Andover Department of Health.  

  • As you may know, we already have in place Beyond The Classroom Learning for snow days and should the need arise, we believe we will be able to utilize this program for any school cancellations.

  • The news coverage and talk of Coronavirus can cause anxiety in our students.  Our school counselors and school nurses are available to assist students. I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal if you have concerns.  Additionally, families can find information on dealing with anxiety in children on our Social Emotional Learning Website resource page.  

  • No school-sponsored international trips are scheduled for the spring.  Any school- sponsored domestic travel will be in accordance with recommendations from the CDC and the Department of Public Health.

  • We have many individuals who are, or have been, traveling.  North Andover Public Health and our schools are working together with MA DPH and are following the protocols set up by the CDC and other federal agencies to address the emerging issue of Coronavirus. 

  • North Andover Public Health  will be contacted by MA DPH should any traveler in the community be identified as requiring quarantine. The NA Health Department will assess and monitor the situation and our normal protocols for illness continues to be followed.  We will take any additional steps as directed by the CDC, MA DPH & NA Public Health. 

  • Staff have been asked to remind all students daily to wash their hands before lunch.

Cleaning

  • The cleaning products used by NAPS staff already include products that kill the Coronavirus.   

  • Heavy-duty electrostatic disinfection application spray guns (you may have seen this on a recent news broadcast) are used as part of our cleaning protocols and as directed by Director of Nursing Cheryl Barczak and/or Town Health Director Brian Lagrasse. 

  • We have ordered additional spray guns to have available as a precaution.

  • We have soap and hand sanitizer available at all schools and have a backup shipment scheduled to arrive next week.

  • Our bus contractor, North Reading Transportation, has advised that they are taking extra precautions including increased frequency of cleaning of vehicles with particular attention to “high touch” areas including handrails, door handles and seats.

 

I am sharing the recent Town of North Andover Coronavirus update which includes current facts and recommendations regarding the Coronavirus.

                       

We will continue to monitor this situation closely and we are committed to the safety and well-being of our students, staff, and families. If you have additional questions, you may call the North Andover Health Department at 978-688-9540.     


Information re: Coronavirus

posted Mar 5, 2020, 8:22 AM by Hillary Stasonis

As news about COVID-19 (coronavirus) develops, North Andover is following the situation closely. The North Andover Health Department, Director of Nursing and public safety officials are meeting regularly to discuss any updates to our existing school protocols, to track documented cases of the flu (and other viruses should they arise), and monitor school attendance.

As you may recall from several years ago, we have managed the H1N1 and norovirus in a similar situation, and the protocols are ready at hand. Please know we are following recommendations from both the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Based on current information, health officials are recommending local communities and schools take the same precautions to protect against coronavirus as we do to prevent the spread of everyday illnesses like the common cold or the flu. These recommendations are as follows:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
DPH has created a website updated with the latest guidance: www.mass.gov/2019coronavirus. The North Andover Health Department is also available at (978) 688-9540 if you have additional questions or concerns.

We will continue to monitor new developments as they relate to COVID-19 and will update the community accordingly. Please be assured that the physical and emotional health and well-being of all members of the North Andover community are our highest priority during this evolving situation. School nurses and counselors are available for students if needed.

Dr. Gregg T. Gilligan

Superintendent of Schools

Flu Updates - Jan 27th, 2020

posted Jan 27, 2020, 12:55 PM by Hillary Stasonis

Now that Massachusetts has increased the Flu severity from Moderate to High this week, here are some helpful tips to keep you Healthy and what to watch out for.

As always, please keep your child HOME if they have a Fever of 100 degrees or higher.  Children must remain home until they are fever FREE for at least 24 hours WITHOUT the use of medicine.  Keeping children healthy while in school is our goal. 

Preventing the Flu:
  1. Get Vaccinated!  While there are many different flu viruses, flu vaccines protect against the 3 or 4 viruses that research suggests will be most common. Flu vaccination also has been shown to significantly reduce a child’s risk of dying from influenza. While there are many different flu viruses, flu vaccines protect against the 3 or 4 viruses that research suggests will be most common. Three-component vaccines contain an H3N2, an H1N1 and a B virus.
  2. Prevent Spreading Germs!
    • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
    • While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
    • If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. 
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way. 
    • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
Flu Symptoms:

Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

Flu Facts

  • All influenza strains that have been characterized in Massachusetts this season to date are covered by the current influenza vaccine.
  • In the 2019-2020 flu season, more influenza B than influenza A positive specimens have been reported by hospitals and outpatient facilities in Massachusetts.
  • Nationally, influenza-like illness activity remains elevated and influenza B is most common, however, during recent weeks approximately equal numbers of influenza B and influenza A have been reported.
  • Additional statewide and national data including geographic spread, ILI activity, and pneumonia and influenza mortality are available at CDC’s FluView Weekly Report at www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly and FluView Interactive https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/fluviewinteractive.htm.

Flu activity remains elevated. It’s not too late to get vaccinated.
Flu vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.

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