As we continue to plan for the upcoming school year, the health and safety of our students is at the core of our planning. We are currently developing policies and procedures that will assist us to welcome students back to campus. In developing these policies and procedures we have utilized guidance from the state and county health departments, the CDC, national and regional school associations, and other medical professionals. We continue to monitor this guidance as the situation evolves, updating the plan as necessary.
St. Andrew’s is a community that spans different states, counties, and Washington, D.C. While the different locales will have different guidelines, it is crucial that all members of the community adhere to a similar standard. In August, families will be asked to sign a commitment to prioritizing the health and safety of the St. Andrew’s community. Along with this pledge will be a Health and Safety during COVID-19 document which will be an addendum to our normal handbook policies and procedures. This document will be utilized during the defined time period of the pandemic. It will be updated as guidance and data changes. Below are some of the protocols that will be implemented during the upcoming school year:
Face Coverings:Cloth face coverings will be mandatory for everyone on the St. Andrew's campus (over the age of 2). Masks will be required to cover both nose and mouth and fit snugly over the face. Face masks with valves and bandana type coverings that hang loose will not be permitted. Face coverings will be worn throughout the school day. All students are required to wear face coverings upon arrival to school, during hallway movement, in class, and when leaving campus. St. Andrew’s will provide every family with two cloth face coverings at the start of the school year. All families will be expected to launder face coverings for their students and provide additional ones as needed. Please ensure your child has an extra face covering in their bag daily as a backup. Face covering adherence will also take into account the age and developmental appropriateness of our elementary students and youngest preschool learners. Those students and employees who cannot wear a face covering due to a diagnosed medical condition should contact one of the school nurses for guidance.
Health Screenings: Daily health screenings will be mandatory for all students and employees prior to arrival to campus. We anticipate using a mobile Magnus app for these screenings. All members of our community will be expected to input their temperature as well as answer a series of questions daily prior to arrival. Students who are flagged during this process are required to stay home and contact the school nurse for guidance. Students/families will be required to print their “green” completed form or show a screenshot of their form upon arrival to campus. Students and employees who have not completed this daily screening will not be allowed on campus. Please make sure you have an accurate thermometer for home use.
Physical Distancing:Classroom spaces are being reconfigured to increase physical distancing between students, as recommended. Hallway, bathroom, and office signage are being placed to remind our community of physical distancing expectations. Grade-level cohorts will likely be implemented in the Lower School division. Middle and Upper School schedules will allow for reduced class sizes and staggered dismissal between classes to decrease hallway congestion.
Increased Hygiene Practices:Hand hygiene will be increased throughout the school day for our youngest students with scheduled hand washing times. For our Middle and Upper School students, there will be increased access to hand sanitizer and increased reminders from faculty and advisors to wash hands regularly. Hand sanitizer will be available in all classrooms as well as entry points into our buildings. We will continue to have tissue boxes for all classrooms as well as cleaning supplies for high-touch surfaces.
Change in School Exclusion Policy based on Illness: During the pandemic it is imperative that anyone who is feeling unwell stay home. Research has shown that there are an array of symptoms associated with COVID-19, which include fever (100.4 or greater), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrea. Any SAES community member with any of these symptoms will be required to stay home, or will be sent home from school if at school and evaluated to have one or more of these symptoms. A student with any of these symptoms will be required to be evaluated by their doctor for COVID-19. A student will not be allowed to return to school until they have been symptom free for 72 hours AND 10 days from the start of symptoms. A parent/guardian will be required to call one of the school nurses and get specific clearance to return to school after any symptom or illness. A student will not be allowed to return to campus until they have been cleared by the school nurses. A student may return earlier than 10 days if they have been tested for COVID-19 and test negative. Any student who tests positive for COVID-19 will follow the required isolation period based on guidance from the local health department and the health status of that individual (which could be longer than 14 days). We will work closely with our local health department on closure requirements when notified of a positive COVID-19 test result or increased absentee rates within our community. A 48 to 72-hour school wide or division wide (Lower School building vs Middle and Upper School building) closure may be necessary while communicating with the health department, assisting with contract tracing, and for cleaning purposes.
Lunch: To ensure physical distancing guidance, lunch will be eaten in designated classroom or outdoor spaces. Students will be sent to the lunch room at staggered times to grab and go to their designated lunch location. Our SAGE partners are hard at work planning for the school year. There will continue to be a variety of hot and cold items to choose from. Disinfecting wipes will be in each classroom and desk tops will be wiped down at the end of the lunch period. Students will be permitted to bring their own lunch to school. No refrigeration or reheating will be available.
Bus Transportation:All students who sign up for the optional bus transportation service will be required to wear a cloth face covering for the duration of the bus ride. Students will be required to apply hand sanitizer as they board the bus. Siblings will be required to sit together. All families will be required to show verification of their daily health screening to the bus driver prior to boarding the bus. This can be done through a printout of the screening verification or by showing their screening on their phone or smart device. Parents/Guardians are required to stay at the bus stop until their child has been approved to board the bus. A student who has been flagged “red” on their screening or any student who has not completed their screening, prior to arrival since a temperature reading is mandatory, will not be permitted to board the bus. Bus drivers will not have thermometers.