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COVID-19 Update

May 11, 2023

Dear Clarke Community,

The health and safety of Clarke students, families and staff remain our top priority. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have followed national and local guidance to prioritize health and safety.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the federal government issued a Public Health Emergency (PHE) statement and Clarke will follow this guidance beginning today:

“May 11, 2023, marks the end of the federal COVID-19 PHE declaration. After this date, CDC’s authorizations to collect certain types of public health data will expire. The United States has mobilized and sustained a historic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a nation, we now find ourselves at a different point in the pandemic – with more tools and resources than ever before to better protect ourselves and our communities. 

CDC has been working for many months to fold the agency’s COVID-19 emergency response activities into its existing structure and programs, as part of an ongoing transition to sustainable public health practice. The agency has also been working with partners, including states and local territories, to prepare for the end of the PHE declaration and communicate updated reporting requirements and cadences. 

While reporting frequency and source data for some metrics will shift when the PHE declaration ends, CDC will continue to report valuable data to inform individual and community public health actions to protect those at highest risk of severe COVID-19. Our priority remains providing the information necessary to protect the nation’s public health.”

What does this mean for Clarke? Going forward, starting May 12, 2023, please follow these health protocols:

  1. Guidance for masking
    • Mask-wearing by any individual is a personal choice.
    • Masks are no longer required at the Clarke Hearing Center in Northampton, MA.
  2. Guidance when testing positive for COVID-19
    If a staff member or child/student tests positive for COVID-19, whether vaccinated or not vaccinated:

    • Stay home and isolate for at least the first five days (likely the most infectious period)
    • If symptoms never existed, end isolation on day-five.
    • If symptomatic and symptoms have improved, and you are fever free for 24 hours, you may end isolation on day-five and return to work or school if testing negative.
    • Wear a mask around others for 10 days indoors. You may remove your mask on day-six if symptoms have improved, fever-free for 24 hours and testing negative.
  3. Guidance for COVID-19 exposure
    If a staff member or a child/student has been exposed to a positive COVID-19 individual, whether vaccinated or not vaccinated:

    • Do not quarantine while remaining asymptomatic. Wear a mask around others inside the home or indoors in public for the 10 days following the exposure unless they are unable to mask(*see explanation below).
    • If an individual becomes symptomatic after exposure, they must isolate and test. If positive, follow instructions above. If negative, they may return to work or school once symptoms have improved and they are fever-free for 24 hours.

This guidance is subject to change as CDC has advised that their recommendations will be updated to align with data changes. The Clarke Community will be notified regarding any changes to the guidance provided in this notification.

Please remember when staff or your student(s) are not feeling well, remain home from work or school until symptoms are improving and you are well enough to return. We all need to do our part to keep each other healthy.

Please contact me at with any questions or concerns about these updates. Thank you for your support.


Kerry Flaherty

Health & Safety Manager

Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech


*If unable to mask, you must isolate yourself from work or school, if asymptomatic on Day 5, you may return on Day 6 if still asymptomatic and you have tested negative.


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