Between January 7 and January 11 145 Andover students and school staff have reported having COVID-19, according to the district’s website.
This is in addition to the more than 350 students and staff who reported their illness to the schools after coming back from winter break last week. Cases are reported on a Saturday to Friday schedule, according to the district’s website.
While the district does not specify how many are student cases versus staff cases in its daily data, the state reported data between Dec. 31 and Jan. 5 shows 302 students and 45 staff members with COVID-19.
The district’s numbers are also self-reported, so positives can come from either the rapid antigen at-home tests or PCR tests, which are conducted by medical professionals. Between December 30 and January 5, 438 residents tested positive, said Thomas Carbone, the town’s director of public health who receives the state’s data from PCR tests.
The numbers are up significantly post-winter break, when between Dec. 16 and 22 — the week before school let out — 63 students and six teachers tested positive according to the state’s data.
So far last week about 58 teachers across the district have been absent on any given day, said Nicole Kieser, spokesperson for the district. She did not specify how many absences are related to COVID-19. There are 616 teachers total in the district.
“At this time, we are adequately staffed so we can continue to operate accordingly. The district will continue to evaluate and implement any measures to maintain student and staff safety and in-person learning,” she said.
Andover schools are utilizing the state’s ‘test and stay’ program that allows unvaccinated students who are close contacts of an infected person to stay in school as long as they test negative with rapid tests administered by school nurses, which is helping keep many students in school, Kieser said.
At this time the vast majority of Andover residents are vaccinated — 78% of residents who are eligible have gotten the jab, Carbone said.
However, some of the youngest students — 50% of children between the ages of 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated, according to state data.
Carbone and other town health officials are hoping everyone gets their shots, including boosters. There will be local clinics offered, with more information available on the town’s website.