Responding to COVID-19
We are committed to ensuring that the health, safety, and well-being of our entire community are at the heart of our campus reopening plans. We will continue to review and refine our plans as we work to provide a safe and engaging learning experience that serves the needs of all our students.
This page details our planning approach and their results and decisions in respect to campus reopening and instructional options.
Keeping St. Patrick's Safe
This Fall 2020 Campus Reopening Plan largely spells out the steps the Day School has taken, or will take, to promote the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and wider community during the coronavirus pandemic.
An overview of key procedures, protocols and arrangements can be found below.
- Health, Screening & Protocols
- Social Distancing & Student Cohorts
- Arrangements for Arrival & Dismissal
- Sanitization & Modification of Buildings & Facilities
- Community Wide Expectations
- Communication to Day School Families, Faculty & Staff
- Before School Temperature-Taking
- Daily Survey Completion
- Wearing of Face Masks
- Modification of Health Offices
- Potential and Positive Cases
- Parents/Guardians and Other Visitors to Campus
- High-Risk Individuals
- Weekly Required Testing
Parents/guardians must take their child’s temperature before arriving at school.
If the child’s temperature is 100.4 or higher, the child’s parents/guardians are to contact their healthcare provider for further guidance as well as the Health Office. The child is to stay home from school for 24 hours after the fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication (e.g., Motrin, Tylenol).
Parents/guardians must complete a daily COVID-19 self-assessment for each child via Magnus Mobile before leaving home. Members of the faculty and staff must also complete the self-assessment, the COVID-19 Daily Survey, which serves as a daily health baseline for the child or adult prior to entering the school each morning.
[Magnus Mobile can be accessed by searching and downloading the app for Magnus Mobile V2 from the AppStore on the parents’/guardians’ smart device. Parents/guardians should login into their account with their Magnus username and password, search for an individual student by First or Last Name or for multiple students by searching by Tracker or by Group, and then select the appropriate student.]
No child will be admitted to the school without this form being completed and submitted by 7:45 AM. Faculty and staff must complete the survey by 7:30 AM. Infant-Toddler Center caregivers must complete the survey by 7:15 AM. In order to enable families to become accustomed to the Magnus Mobile COVID-19 Daily Survey, we are asking parents/guardians to begin submitting the form on August 25, whether or not their children will begin the 2020-2021 school year on campus or in a remote-learning format.
Magnus Questionnaire asks the following questions are answered either “YES” or “NO”:
Is the student currently experiencing, or have they experienced in recent weeks any of the following symptoms: temperatures >100.4, chills, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, muscle or body aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or any signs of rash?
Has the student been in close contact with a person that has tested positive for COVID-19?
Has the student had a positive for COVID-19 test result in the prior 14 days?
Has the student engaged in non-essential travel to a high risk state, as identified by the Mayor of the District of Columbia, in the prior 14 days, including travel for youth sports games and tournaments?
If you answered “YES” to any of the above, please explain to the best of your ability. Should your child have a “YES” answer to any question, the child may not enter school—nor may a member of the faculty and staff—and must contact the Health Office to determine next steps. The individual may return to school when the following conditions have been met:
The individual has been cleared to return by the individual’s healthcare provider with an alternate diagnosis and meets St. Patrick’s return-to-school guidelines after an illness.
The individual has been tested for COVID-19 and remains home while awaiting test results.
The individual has a negative COVID-19 test AND meets St. Patrick’s return-to-school guidelines after an illness.
24 hours after the fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication (e.g., Motrin, Tylenol) and respiratory symptoms have improved, AND
At least 10 days after symptoms first appeared, whichever is later.
Students or members of the faculty and staff with pre-existing health conditions that present with specific COVID-19-like symptoms may not be excluded from entering the school building on the basis of those specific symptoms, as long as they have been previously evaluated by their healthcare provider and notified the Health Office of those specific symptoms and those specific symptoms have been determined not to be due to COVID-19, as provided by OSSE.
St. Patrick’s will issue all children (above two years of age) and faculty and staff cloth masks to wear at school pursuant to and in accordance with OSSE, DC Health, and CDC requirements and recommendations. All students above two years of age will be expected to wear masks, with the duration of wear increasing with the age of the student and older students expected to wear masks for the bulk of the school day, except for short periods when eating. In addition, students in younger grades who rest will not wear masks when resting or sleeping and will be appropriately physically distanced during rest time. All students above two years of age will be required to wear masks when traveling outside of their cohort room for any reason.
Parents/guardians must make sure that their child has a clean mask, plus a spare, to wear at school daily. The School Mask Pack masks meet applicable recommendations for fabric masks for source control. They are not intended for surgical, medical, or industrial use or for use in high-risk situations. None of these products claim or guarantee to prevent transmission of, or infection with, any disease, including COVID-19. In addition to cloth masks, all faculty and staff will also be issued plastic goggles and multi-use face shields, upon request. We will keep a supply of disposable masks on hand in the event a student, a member of the faculty and staff, a contractor, or any other individual needs a mask.
Revised Face Mask Protocols 02/28/2021
If you are concerned about your child’s ability to navigate double-masking, your child is welcome to wear a single mask, but it should be—at a minimum—the three-layer mask we provided on Friday, February 26.
If your child is already wearing an enhanced pediatric mask, your child may continue to do so.
Making sure that your child’s mask fits properly is particularly important, as we work to keep both your child, and those around your child, healthy and safe. If you are having difficulty with a proper fit, please contact the Health Office at email@example.com.
Double-masking—as we suggested, with the three-layer protective mask closest to the face and then the St. Patrick’s/Crayola to ensure a snug fit—remains an effective way to ensure such a fit.
Parents of children in younger grades should consider sending in a second mask in your child’s bag so that your child can change the mask after lunch time or if it gets wet or soiled.
The Health Office on both the Whitehaven Campus and MacArthur Campus will be expanded to include a separated, sanitized space for potential COVID-19 cases to be treated separately.
Careful planning around proximity to building exits, other occupied spaces, dedicated bathrooms, and materials used in these spaces will continue to occur as we build out the modifications.
When there is a suspected case of COVID-19, which will be determined by the presence of any one of the symptoms, that child or adult will be moved into the Health Office area designated for isolation for care and awaiting departure from school. For students, parents/guardians will immediately be notified and expected to pick up their child within 30 minutes of notification. Any member of the faculty and staff or the parents/guardians of any students with symptoms of COVID-19 are then to contact their healthcare provider to determine if COVID-19 testing is indicated. The Day School will immediately deploy cleaning and disinfecting procedures for any areas and materials with which the student or the member of the faculty and staff has been in contact.
If presenting with COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell), that student or adult may not return to school until meeting the appropriate criteria below:
If the individual receives a negative test AND the individual meets the standard criteria for returning to school after an illness.
If the individual does not receive a COVID-19 test, the individual must: a. Submit documentation from a healthcare provider of an alternate diagnosis and meet the standard criteria to return after illness; OR b. Meet symptom-based criteria to return:
At least 24 hours after the fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication (e.g., Motrin, Tylenol) and respiratory symptoms have improved
At least 10 days from when symptoms first appeared, whichever is later.
Students or faculty and staff with pre-existing health conditions that present with specific COVID-19-like symptoms may not be excluded from entering the school building on the basis of those specific symptoms, if a healthcare provider has provided written or verbal documentation that those specific symptoms are not due to COVID-19.
Close Contact with a Person Who Is Positive for COVID-19
A close contact is any individual who has been within six feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes within 48 hours of a positive test or the development of symptoms. If any student or member of the faculty and staff has been in close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19, that individual must not return to school until having completed the quarantine period of 14 days from the last date of contact with the COVID-19-positive individual or as instructed by DC Health without becoming symptomatic or being diagnosed with COVID-19. A negative COVID-19 test during this period would not shorten the quarantine period of 14 days.
Awaiting a COVID-19 Test Result
The parents/guardians of any student—and any member of the faculty and staff—being tested or evaluated for COVID-19 must alert the Health Office. Any student or member of the faculty and staff must not return to school while awaiting COVID-19 test results. If any student or member of the faculty and staff has been in close contact with a person who is awaiting a COVID-19 test result, that individual must not return to school until the close contact receives the results of the test. If the close contact tests positive, those in direct contact with that individual should seek guidance from their healthcare providers or DC Health, will be contacted by contact-tracers from their jurisdiction, and must quarantine for 14 days from the last exposure to the COVID-19-positive individual or as instructed by DC Health.
If a student or member of the faculty and staff is instructed to quarantine, the individual may return according to these criteria:
14 days from the last exposure to the COVID-19-positive individual, or as instructed by DC Health.
If the close contact is a household member from whom the student or member of the faculty and staff can isolate, that individual may return to school after a quarantine of 14 days from the last close contact.
If the close contact is a household member from whom the student or member of the faculty and staff cannot isolate, the individual may return to school after a quarantine of 14 days from the end of the COVID-19-positive individual’s infectious period (defined by 24 hours after the fever has resolved without the use of fever-reducing medication (e.g., Motrin, Tylenol) and respiratory symptoms have improved AND at least 10 days from when symptoms first appeared, whichever is later).
A negative COVID-19 test during this period would not shorten the quarantine period of at least 14 days.
Confirmed Positive COVID-19 Test Result
A student or a member of the faculty and staff who tests positive for COVID-19 must consult a healthcare provider and then may not return to school until:
For Symptomatic and Positive Test:
At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication (e.g., Motrin, Tylenol) and respiratory symptoms have improved AND
At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, whichever is later.
For Asymptomatic and Positive Test: An individual who did not show symptoms of COVID-19 but did test positive must consult a healthcare provider and must stay at home until at least 10 days have passed since the positive test for COVID-19, assuming that the individual did not develop symptoms since the positive test.
In either case, close contacts (including all members of the household) must quarantine for 14 days from the last date of close contact with the COVID-19-positive individual.
In the event a student or member of the faculty and staff is confirmed to have COVID-19, the Day School will notify DC Health as directed by OSSE. DC Health will, in turn, instruct St. Patrick’s on appropriate dismissal and other safety protocols, including specific individuals or groups that may need to quarantine. While close contacts will only be instructed to quarantine if the sick individual is confirmed to have COVID-19, it will be essential that all students and faculty and staff closely monitor for symptoms at all times and stay home and seek medical attention if those symptoms develop.
Parents/guardians must restrict their visits to the Day School to emergency purposes only, such as picking up a sick child from school. If a child has forgotten an essential item at home, the parent/guardian can deliver the item to the reception area on the MacArthur Campus or the Whitehaven Campus, and the receptionist will arrange for the item to be delivered to the child. Parents/guardians will not be admitted beyond the reception area on either campus, except to pick up a child who has become sick during the day. In those cases, parents/guardians will have their temperatures taken before they can proceed beyond the reception area.
Likewise, other visitors will be restricted from visiting the Day School. The Office of Enrollment Management will conduct the admission process virtually, including any tours or visits associated with the process.
Contractors performing essential maintenance or service calls will be required to have their temperatures taken and to be wearing masks upon entering the building. They will also be required to observe appropriate social-distancing measures. To the extent possible, we will schedule maintenance and service calls for times when students will not be in the building.
Members of this group, either faculty and staff or students, will have the opportunity to attend virtual classes or teach and work virtually.
DC Health recommends that any individuals at high risk for experiencing severe illness due to COVID-19—please find a more complete list of conditions Medical Condition List—consult with their healthcare provider before attending in-person activities at school.
- Social Distancing on Campus
- Student Cohorts
- Dedicated Faculty per Cohort
- Lunch Program
- Physical Education
- After-School Activities/After-School Clubs
- Extended Day
We will strive to maintain the recommended six feet between students at all grade levels, even as we recognize the challenges of doing so among our youngest children. Cohort sizes have been determined to be in compliance with existing OSSE recommendations and to provide for appropriate social distancing within the cohort classrooms.
We will also control pedestrian flow in hallways and stairwells and provide markers along hallways, in classrooms, and in other settings in order to assist students in judging what six feet looks like so that they can maintain the appropriate social distancing.
Students will be assigned to grade-level cohorts as outlined below. The goal is to create small, stable cohorts as the unit of organization and instruction that are balanced in response to parents’/guardians’ selection of either on-campus or remote learning for their children. In building cohorts, Division Heads will seek to reduce cross-cohort interactions, for example, by placing twins in the same cohort, attending to the placement of same-grade-level siblings, and putting students who will attend Extended Day, once it is offered, in the same cohort. Division Heads will also be mindful of placing at least one identified friend with a student in a cohort and considering prior student experiences and teacher feedback.
Leading each cohort will generally be a homeroom teacher or learning specialist, at least through Grade 4, while other teachers with classroom experience may lead cohorts in other grades. In the Middle School, which differs from the Nursery School and Lower School in that its academic program is entirely departmentalized and its students arranged in advisories, cohort teachers will generally be those content-area teachers. Cohort teachers will serve as academic and social-emotional coaches, providing support to students in content areas and collaborating with other teachers on content-specific needs. Cohorts will not change throughout the day, with students receiving instruction from special-subject teachers and, in the case of grades that are departmentalized, from content-area teachers via synchronous (streaming devices) or asynchronous classes.
Students in Nursery classes (three-year-olds) will be in cohorts of no more than eight students.
Students in PK classes (four-year-olds) will be in cohorts of no more than ten students.
Kindergarten to Grade 8 students will be in cohorts of no more than 11 students.
Parents/guardians were asked to submit the Program Selection Form by August 7, indicating whether they planned to have their children begin the 2020-2021 school year on campus or on a remote basis. In order to maintain the integrity of the small, stable cohort, there will not be regular student movement in and out of cohorts—that is, between on-campus and remote learning. Selections made by parents/guardians can be reviewed and revised at mid- and end-of-term moments, roughly every six weeks. Presumably a student can move from on-campus learning to remote learning during each six-week period, but a student cannot move from remote learning to on-campus learning in that same timeframe, unless the student is returning from a brief illness.
In order to minimize the movement of faculty, technology will be deployed to enable multiple rooms receiving instruction simultaneously. There will be a faculty member with this cohort throughout the day.
Teachers will not travel from room to room except where and when absolutely necessary. That arrangement reduces the possibility that a teacher will introduce an infection from another cohort and that the teacher will face infection from multiple cohorts.
Students will eat lunch with their assigned cohorts and in their cohort classroom or outdoors. The Day School moved in this direction so that we can assure our community that the vendor in place uses the most stringent precautions in food handling, preparation, and delivery during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ultimately, the Day School chose to remain with the current lunch vendor, Ridgewells. This program was redesigned to meet all food safety standards and each student will have a choice of three menu options daily. Each meal will be individually packaged and delivered directly to both campuses. For those students who will not be on campus, we will offer prorated refunds.
All students in the Lower School and Middle School will have physical education twice each week, while students in Nursery School will have physical education once each week. Students will remain in their cohort groups and join one or two other cohorts with each discreet cohort maintaining separate play areas and physical distancing. PE will occur outside whenever possible and, when weather prohibits outside activity, PE teachers will stream directions for non-strenuous activities into cohort classrooms, including activities such as yoga or nutrition education.
We are continuing to explore possibilities for students in Grades 5 to 8 to participate in on-campus, outdoor athletic clinics.
We will not offer After-School Activities/After-School Clubs onsite upon our return to school, although certain activities such as music and yoga lessons may be offered virtually. It is our expectation that other activities typically offered as part of this program will not resume for the remainder of the school year.
Extended Day has been, and will always be, an integral part of the offerings provided to families. We are tentatively planning to reopen our Extended Day program for students at all grade levels on Monday, November 2. Please look for registration information in a separate email. And please note that the program will conclude at 5:00 pm rather than 6:00 pm when it reopens.
For many years, St. Patrick’s has encouraged carpooling to enable arrival and dismissal times to proceed safely and efficiently, to reduce the impact of the Day School on the surrounding community, and to reduce the impact of the Day School on the environment. However, as part of the Fall Reopening Plan, we will discourage carpooling to avoid mixing children beyond their immediate family and their instructional cohorts. We will also stagger arrival and dismissal times and designate building entry and exit points by grade level to avoid crowding. Siblings will be scheduled into the earliest arrival and departure periods.
During on-campus learning, every student will remain in the same cohort and classroom throughout the day for instruction. There will be scheduled recess times for outdoor play with scheduled locations designated to support distancing of cohorts. Students will eat lunch in this same classroom or outdoors. In order to minimize the movement of faculty, we will provide the appropriate technology to enable multiple rooms to receive instruction simultaneously. There will be a faculty member with each cohort throughout the day.
Students will follow a staggered schedule for arrival, and we will designate the doors that students will use, based on grade level, for arrival and departure, all in the interest of avoiding crowding and the loss of social distancing. Upon arrival in the carpool line, all children will place their masks on before approaching entry to the Day School.
As students enter school, they will use hand sanitizer and sanitize the bottom of their shoes. Students will report directly to their cohort classrooms rather than report to one of several supervised central gathering places as in years past.
- Air Quality
- Sanitization of Surfaces
- Touchless Faucets
- Suspected or Confirmed Cases
- Health and Sanitization
We have made significant upgrades to our air-handling systems and to our protocols to improve the quality of the air flowing into the facilities. The fresh air is filtered before it is distributed to the various HVAC vents. The recently added devices purify and disinfect the air further to create a safer indoor environment for all building occupants.
Those devices include UV light systems that filter and purify fresh and recirculated air before it is delivered to occupied spaces. We have also installed MERV 9-12 filters on all HVAC systems, including MERV-12 filters on most of the units. (Although we have had some concerns about the impact of MERV-13 filters on the airflow within our system, we continue to study the possibility of moving to MERV-13 filters.) While quarterly changes of the filters is standard, we will change the filters monthly until such time as the health and safety situation allows. Likewise, we have initiated the process of running the air-handling units continuously, with outside dampers open, rather than not running them at night or on weekends, to further purify indoor air.
Portable air purifiers, air scrubbers, and a disinfectant fogger machine are in place for sanitizing the air where there are suspected cases of COVID-19.
The information above, of course, refers to interior spaces. Given the desirability of exterior spaces during the coronavirus pandemic, we have installed three tents in three different locations to promote outdoor instruction and other activities. Those tents will be installed on the grassy area near the diagonal parking spaces along upper Whitehaven Parkway and on the Foxhall Campus. During the summer, we have also installed the St. Patrick’s Garden & Outdoor Learning Space on the Foxhall Campus, which will provide an exciting new outdoor space for use across the grade levels. Students in cohort groups will also have scheduled access to our three playgrounds across each day and week, with regular wipe-downs of the play equipment in those locations.
Our operational strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has been to ensure our cleaning protocols follow CDC guidelines. These guidelines encourage institutions to consider the important differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting and recommend the best chemicals to use and how to apply them.
We know we need different protocols for different circumstances. For example, if we have an individual who tests positive for COVID-19, either a student or a teacher, that particular classroom will need to be closed for a certain period of time for disinfection.
We will continue to use the CDC guidelines, along with other occupational and environmental recommendations, to learn and implement the safest and most current practices in school facilities. Likewise, we will seek guidance from DC Health with respect to sanitization when an individual tests positive for COVID-19.
All bathrooms have been equipped with touchless faucets to ensure that faculty and staff and students can minimize their contact with bathroom surfaces. Not only do these faucets reduce the number of surfaces touched during the day, they also limit the waste of water, which is core to our environmental sustainability goals.
In addition, all water fountains in common areas will be limited to water bottle refill only. We will be installing inline water coolers for each classroom to limit the movement of students into common areas during the day.
We are planning for separate and distinct protocols for any adult or child who tests positive for COVID-19. The office or classroom in which that individual works or studies will need to be closed for a certain period of time for disinfection. For suspected cases, we will implement CDC guidelines, along with other occupational and environmental recommendations, including immediately closing off and sanitizing the affected area. We will also seek guidance from DC Health with respect to sanitization. Portable air purifiers and scrubbers are available for deployment in these situations.
In the event of a confirmed COVID-19 case in a student or a member of the faculty and staff, the Day School will follow all steps outlined by DC Health as well as the cleaning, disinfection, and sanitization guidance from the CDC, including:
If seven days or fewer have passed since the person who is sick used the facility, the Day School will
Close off areas used by the individual who is sick.
Open outside doors and windows, as possible, to increase air circulation in those areas.
Wait up to 24 hours, or as long as possible, before cleaning or disinfecting to allow respiratory droplets to settle.
Clean and disinfect all areas used by the individual who is sick, including classrooms, bathrooms, and common areas.
If more than seven days have passed since the individual who is sick used the facility, additional cleaning and disinfection is not necessary, and routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.
The Health Offices on the Whitehaven Campus and MacArthur Campus will provide a separate, sanitized space for students or adults exhibiting possible symptoms of COVID-19 so that they may be isolated temporarily for care as they await departure from school. On the Whitehaven Campus, we have provided a separate two-room facility (along the hallway across from the science labs) with ready access to a bathroom for the purposes of the Health Office and isolation protocols. On the MacArthur Campus, more routine health needs will be re-routed so that the existing Health Office can be used for the purposes of isolation.
Frequently touched surfaces such as handrails, door hardware, and playground equipment will be sanitized with disinfectant wipes frequently throughout the day. Each classroom will be equipped with disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer for frequent wipe-downs of surfaces and hand sanitization between handwashing breaks.
- Follow Federal, State, and Local Public-Health Orders
- Report Symptoms, Stay Home if Sick, Stay Home if Exposed
- Limit Visits On Campus
- Large Gatherings
- Medical Forms and Emergency Contacts
- Seasonal Flu Shots
- Outside-of-School Activities
School-based efforts alone will be unsuccessful in promoting everyone’s health and safety. Instead, all members of the Day School community must recognize, and act upon, their shared responsibilities, both in and out of school, to engage in and promote healthy behaviors themselves and by their children and other household members as advised by medical professionals and public-health officials to curb the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing how quickly COVID-19 can spread within a community, the choices that all of us—adults as well as children—make with respect to our behaviors, both in and out of school, will ultimately determine the success of our plan to provide on-campus learning for St. Patrick’s students. By sending your children to St. Patrick’s for on-campus learning, you are agreeing to act in a forthright and otherwise responsible manner that promotes the best interests of all of the students, faculty and staff, and families that comprise the Day School community and of the wider communities of which we are a part.
Specifically, we expect all members of our community to act in accordance with the health and safety protocols set forth in the Fall 2020 Campus Reopening Plan and to commit to the following best practices at all times. A failure to comply can result in required quarantining of the student, loss of the ability to participate in on-campus learning or, in extreme cases, separation from the community.
Families and faculty and staff must report symptoms and temperatures via Magnus Mobile in an accurate and forthright manner before coming to school each day. We will also take students’ temperatures here at school upon arrival. Symptoms include fever or chills, congestion or runny nose, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and new loss of taste or smell. If your child has any of these symptoms, please report them to the Health Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) in addition to reporting them via Magnus.
Parents/guardians must keep their children at home—and members of the faculty and staff must stay at home rather than come to school—if they are sick or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms and alert the Health Office (email@example.com) to those symptoms. Parents/guardians and members of the faculty and staff must clear all returns to school with the Health Office.
Parents/guardians must keep their children at home—and members of the faculty and staff must stay at home rather than come to school—if there is reason to believe that there has been exposure to someone who is infected with COVID-19 or who is awaiting the results of a COVID-19 test and alert the Health Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to that possible exposure. Parents/guardians and members of the faculty and staff must clear all returns to school with the Health Office.
Families should avoid non-essential travel. St. Patrick’s will rely on the Mayor of the District of Columbia’s directive regarding non-essential travel. During Phase Two, non-essential travel outside of the National Capital Region remains discouraged. As travel increases your chances of getting infected and spreading COVID-19, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.
Parents/guardians must upload required student health forms with Magnus before the start of the school year and make sure that emergency contacts are current, including at least two individuals who can promptly pick up a child who has become ill at school. Parents/guardians must also make certain that children’s immunizations are current. Public health officials are concerned about outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases if children are not getting immunized during this challenging time.
In planning students’ outside-of-school activities, parents/guardians must be mindful of the Day School’s reliance on small, stable cohort groups as the unit of instructional organization, designed to limit the number of individuals with whom any one student comes into contact and thereby slow the spread of COVID-19. While St. Patrick’s will not be in the position of reviewing and approving parents’/guardians’ plans for their children, we offer the following guidelines:
o Outdoor activities are preferable to indoor activities, but only with proper protocols
o The protocols observed by any out-of-cohort activity, organized or more casual, should match St. Patrick’s: Consistent symptom-screening, masks required, physical distancing, handwashing/sanitizer
o Avoid indoor playdates with students outside of a child’s cohort
o Self-quarantine upon return from any high-risk states
The Day School has appointed a COVID-19 point-of-contact, as directed by OSSE: Middle School health educator and school nurse Judy Barr, MSN/Ed. The COVID-19 point-of-contact is responsible for ensuring the appropriate steps are followed in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 and acting as the point-of-contact for families and faculty and staff to notify if a child or member of the faculty and staff tests positive for COVID-19.
The Day School will communicate in ways that protect the privacy of individuals and alert families and faculty and staff to a COVID-19 case. Those protocols will include:
notifying families of students and faculty and staff in close contact with the individual, including the requirement to quarantine for 14 days;
notifying the entire school that there has been a COVID-19 positive case, that those having been in close contact have been told to quarantine, and that appropriate steps will be taken to clean and disinfect the corresponding areas;
educating the community to the signs and symptoms of COVID-19;
referring members of the community to the Guidance for Contacts of a Person Confirmed to Have COVID-19; and
informing members of the community about options for COVID-19 testing in the District of Columbia.
DC Health will instruct the Day School on dismissals and other safety precautions in the event a known COVID-19 individual came into close contact with others at school.
External Resources & Guidelines
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health) provide guidelines for the reopening of Kindergarten-Grade 12 schools and childcare programs, the latter through the Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).
In particular, St. Patrick’s has relied on DC Health’s recommendations as articulated in OSSE’s “Health and Safety Guidance for Schools: COVID-19 Recovery Period” (most recent update: August 21, 2020) and “Health and Safety Guidance for Child Care Providers: COVID-19 Recovery Period” (most recent update: August 21, 2020) as a roadmap for developing this plan.
- Core Values
- Health & Safety First
- Research Driven & Effectively Communicated
- Community Responsibility
- Flexible, Responsive, & Prepared
Ensure that all related decisions are based in research, communicated clearly, effectively implemented, and diligently enforced.
Guiding reopening discussions are recommendations made by medical professionals and public-health officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the District of Columbia Department of Health (DC Health).
St. Patrick's will promote practices that reduce the risk of virus transmission and clearly state expectations of all members of our community. We expect each family to adhere to our guidelines for health and safety.
School-based efforts alone will be unsuccessful in promoting the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and wider community. Instead, all members of the Day School community must recognize, and act upon, their shared responsibilities, both in and out of school, to engage in and promote healthy behaviors themselves and by their children and other family members as advised by medical professionals and public-health officials to slow the spread of Covid-19. Recognizing how quickly Covid-19 can spread within a community, the choices that all of us—adults as well as children—make with respect to our behaviors, both in and out of school, will ultimately determine our success in this undertaking.
We believe that—whenever possible and in ways that protect the health and safety of the community—on-campus, in-person teaching and learning offer the most effective setting for promoting the ongoing growth and development of our students—cognitively, academically, socially and emotionally, spiritually, and physically.
We prefer face-to-face learning, but have planned for remote learning to allow for agility between the two models.
Given the possibility/likelihood of at least intermittent school closures to slow the spread of Covid-19, along with the certainty that not all students or teachers will be able to participate in on-campus learning for reasons of health, the Day School must also have available a robust remote-learning plan that is accessible on an equitable basis to all of our students and families, promotes sustained student engagement, and supports continuity and depth of learning, continuity and depth of community, and continuity and depth of care. In addition, some elements of that remote-learning plan will be deployed even in on-campus settings, as we seek to maintain the health and safety of students and faculty and staff in our cohort-based framework.
Parents should have a certain degree of flexibility in choosing the preferred educational setting for their children, based on health considerations (broadly stated), but the Day School’s need to plan its instructional program, to group students appropriately for that program, and to protect the integrity of the small, stable cohorts that comprise the optimal setting for teaching and learning during the coronavirus pandemic will require some constraints on that flexibility.