Walpole Schools Reduce COVID-19 Restrictions

Katie Gillis, Walpole High School

NESPA Winner: News Story, 2022

The Searchlight, Walpole High School, Walpole, MA

After nearly two years of health protocols and mask mandates, the COVID-19 pandemic seems never-ending. However, in a calm after the most recent spike of cases, Walpole High School has enacted new COVID-19 policies in hopes of restoring a sense of normalcy to school.

WHS has been using a Test-and-Stay policy since early in the school year. This program allows students who have been contact-traced to get tested for COVID-19 conveniently through the school. If a student were to be named a close contact, they would be called down to the nurses’ office, where they would take a test before returning to class. They must test daily for seven days, however, they can avoid having to self-quarantine.

However, on Jan. 18, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a new initiative which replaces this former Test-and-Stay program. Schools across Massachusetts can opt for the At-Home Test Method, in which the state would
provide any participating staff and students with one at-home COVID-19 test per week. Unless the test is positive, they are able to attend school as normal, without the fear of becoming contact traced.

“Providing this option for at-home testing will allow school nurses to spend more time identifying symptomatic individuals and focus their efforts on other aspects of COVID-19 management in our schools,” Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffrey Riley said. “It’s frankly a game changer.”


Read the full story here.