Update from the Health Team, Nov. 5: Travel and Vaccines

Dear Free Union community,

Thank you for doing so much to keep our classrooms safe for in-person learning. Our teachers and staff have also done a tremendous job with health screening and guiding our students to follow mask, distancing, and hand hygiene protocols. Your support of these efforts is very much appreciated.

With vaccines for children ages 5-11 now available, we hope that everyone in our community plans to take advantage of the COVID-19 shots. It is not our intention to mandate that children be vaccinated at Free Union at this time, and we will continue to follow the same protocols that we have set for this year for the next few months, including the following:

  • Any child with any symptom of illness must follow up with their pediatrician for evaluation and provide the return to school note that we and other schools have used since last fall. If anyone in the household feels unwell, is in quarantine, awaiting test results, or there is any COVID-19 related reason, your child should remain at home and you can reach out to us for guidance at .

  • Travel—We realize that time with family over the holidays is valuable, meaningful, and most anticipated. We still ask that you keep us apprised of your travel plans. Most travel that involves driving to visit family, or to the beach, mountains, vacation home, etc., falls within CDC guidelines. Please, be up front with your plans. Transparency is critical for our community to flourish.

    Travel via airplane, train, or other public transportation will continue to require your child to remain out of school for 7 days post travel return, with proof of a negative PCR COVID test on day 3-5. (Day 0 is the last day of travel). Without a negative test, unvaccinated individuals are asked to remain at home for 10 days. We plan to keep this in place throughout the holidays to minimize the risk of COVID-19 making its way to our classrooms. This policy is in accordance with current CDC guidelines for unvaccinated travelers, subject to re-evaluation if they make changes. (Please note that full vaccination status is reached two (2) weeks after a person receives their second shot. Therefore, if kids were to get their first vaccine in early/mid November, they would not be "fully vaccinated" until mid/late December at the earliest.)

  • Please take note regarding testing: In order for a child to return to school after having symptoms of illness or a known exposure, they must have a return-to-school form signed by their pediatrician. If the pediatrician indicates that a COVID test is warranted (see return-to-school form), then only a PCR test will be accepted. IN NO CASE will the the results of a "rapid" antigen test or a home test be acceptable. Testing must be done at BRHD (PCR testing), a pharmacy (PCR only), or your provider's office if a family needs return-to-school asymptomatic testing following travel.

  • Be sure your children are up to date on all vaccines and that everyone in your family gets a flu shot. These are available at your pediatrician's offices (and pharmacies) and we advise getting them as soon as possible. We are here to answer questions if needed and wish all of you a wonderful Fall and Holiday Season. Please reach out to us if you need to.

With gratitude,
-Allison, Afshan, Hope, and Mariclaire