By The Associated Press
As the April school break kicks off in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, families are being asked to revisit guidelines for testing and quarantining before students get ready to return to school.
In Massachusetts, some schools are following the state’s lead and recommending testing or quarantining only for returning students and staffers, but others are keeping it as a requirement.
Milton Schools Superintendent James Jette estimates as many as 300 families in his district are traveling this break. WCVB-TV reports he said the town will offer testing late in the week for students to receive results before classes resume.
He said some parents may be upset or disappointed that the district is keeping its requirement for testing and quarantining.
“But the alternative is even more upsetting,” he said.
In Rhode Island, most schools are following guidelines adopted by the Department of Health for students who return from out-of-state travel. Residents returning from a list of 26 states with a positivity rate of COVID-19 greater than 5% will be required to quarantine for 10 days while in Rhode Island.
Instead of that, though, they can provide proof of a negative test for COVID-19, taken within 72 hours prior to their arrival in Rhode Island.
Some agricultural fairs in Connecticut are back on schedule for 2021 after mass cancellations during the coronavirus pandemic last year.
One of them making a comeback is the Guilford Fair, scheduled from Sept. 17 to 19.
“There are a lot of 4H kids, FFA kids, who work with animals all year round,” Bob Hammerlund, assistant secretary of the Guilford Agricultural Society, told the Hartford Courant. “Last year, with no fair, not being able to show, was a big disappointment. That’s what it’s all about. They want to show what they’ve grown, what they’ve made.
The Vermont Education Agency is also working on guidance for graduation and end-of-year school celebrations to be published at the end of April, Education Secretary Dan French said.
“We are optimistic that schools will be able to hold many of these events this, and I think it’s really important that we try to end the year on a celebratory note,” he said Friday, during the governor’s twice-weekly coronavirus briefing.
Until the guidance is published, school districts can use the state’s phased reopening plan, called the Vermont Forward Plan, as they they make decisions about these events.
Vermont reported 69 new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday, for a statewide total since the pandemic began of more than 21,800.
A total of 27 people were hospitalized with four in intensive care.
No new deaths were reported, with the total remaining at 242.
Some school districts in New Hampshire’s are hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics for students ages 16 and older.
Manchester, the state’s largest city, is holding its first one on Monday for students at Memorial High School. Students at West High School can get vaccinated on Wednesday and Central High School students will get vaccinated Thursday.
The city of Portsmouth plans to hold a clinic for students on Monday.
Some students in Dover were vaccinated at a clinic last week. More vaccines will be given on Tuesday. Other Strafford County vaccine clinics were being held during the weekend in Durham and Rochester.
Corrections officials in Maine’s Cumberland County say more inmates and staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, so they’ve started diverting people arrested to other county jails.
Corrections officials said that as of Friday, people arrested in Cumberland County were being sent to either the York County jail in Alfred or the Two Bridges jail in Wiscasset until further notice.
Cumberland corrections officials said earlier in the week, 27 inmates tested positive for COVID-19. On Wednesday, another 24 inmates tested positive, along with two staff members.
“Hopefully, this will allow the jail to focus on identifying, quarantining and limiting the outbreak, to reduce further spread within the jail,” corrections officials said in a news release on Friday.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Saturday that the state has been the site of nearly 57,000 cases of the virus and 764 deaths, including one new one, and more than 400 infections.