Sunday, May 19, 2024

Students at the Graham & Parks School in Neighborhood 9. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Cambridge Public Schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday so Covid tests can be administered to staff and students, then reopen Wednesday, interim superintendent Victoria Greer said Friday.

The decision was made in collaboration with the Cambridge Public Health Department.

“The fast-spreading Omicron variant has caused a significant rise in Covid cases, supply chain shortages, challenges for families and staff accessing testing appointments and information about likely staff shortages next week,” Greer said in her email.

The district will “test as many students as possible on Monday, receive results on Tuesday and return to in-person learning on Wednesday with minimal disruptions by reducing unnecessary quarantines later this week and beyond,” Greer’s email said.

Families can test students Sunday and Monday at the city’s community sites. Testing sites are closed Saturday, but there will be extended hours Sunday at the 50 Church St., Harvard Square, site from 2 p.m. through 7 p.m.; and on Monday at the CambridgeSide mall, 100 CambridgeSide Place, East Cambridge, from 2 to 8 p.m.

Test results from the walk-in sites are usually available within 48 hours via the system’s online patient portal, according to the city’s website. 

The city offers Covid tests by appointment via its partnership with CIC Health at its 295 Third St., Kendall Square, location.

The health department and school district will provide testing for students Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Peabody, King Open and Morse elementary schools, as well as at Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school. Appointments are not required. Parents and caregivers must give consent for testing for students under age 18, and students in pre-kindergarten though eighth grade must be accompanied by an adult.

In a Thursday email to district families, Greer noted that CPS is distributing KN-95 masks and rapid testing kits provided by the state for all employees. The district’s order for self-test kits did not arrive before the holiday break for distribution to families or students. The district continues to implement its weekly testing, symptomatic testing and “test and stay” protocols.

“We know these are challenging times. As we continue our focus on safe in-person learning, we need our entire community to extend grace and to practice patience and kindness so that we do not add to the existing stress caused by the increase in cases,” Greer wrote.

Greer also encouraged students to be vaccinated, noting that the city is offering appointment-required vaccine clinics on Monday (from 4 to 8 p.m.) and Thursday (from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at CambridgeSide; and on Wednesday (from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.) at the CRLS Field House, 1640 Cambridge St., Mid-Cambridge.