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2021-2022 Health and Safety Guidelines

We look forward to welcoming students, faculty and staff back to school for the 2021-2022 academic year on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. 

Our team of physicians on the school’s Pandemic Response Team (PRT) continue to guide us as we systematically and thoughtfully work through every detail for a smart and safe school year. We are deeply grateful to all families for your efforts in prioritizing in-person learning and the health of the members in our Cold Spring community in the 2020-2021 school year and thank you for continuing to make the same commitment this year.

The policies listed below are based on current available guidelines and best practices based on available data and also reflect the current transmission rate in the local community. The plan laid out below represents the work of our PRT, a task force made up of faculty, administrators, and physicians. You will notice that some of the protocols from the 2020-2021 school year remain in place and others have been modified or lifted altogether. A careful reassessment of protocols has been led by the physicians of the PRT in collaboration along with our teachers and school administrators. Changes for the 2021-2022 school year are noted in bold italics.

This year our plans include the continued opening of school for five days a week with the addition of Extended Day, unless public health officials require us to do otherwise. 

Throughout the year, members of the PRT will continue to carefully monitor COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, local and state health statistics, guidance from the Connecticut Department of Health and the CDC and may adjust these recommendations as needed.

Health & Safety Guidelines

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. ABOUT COVID-19
  2. THE ROLE OF FAMILIES
  3. ENHANCED HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES
  4. A DAY AT SCHOOL
  5. PROTOCOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH POTENTIAL OR CONFIRMED COVID-19
  6. ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS
  7. SOCIAL CONTRACT
     

1: ABOUT COVID-19

COVID-19 is a disease caused by SARS-CoV-19, a virus spread from person to person primarily from respiratory droplets. While scientists and physicians are still working to understand the entirety of this disease, we know that wearing masks, frequent hand washing, adequate ventilation and physical distancing have proven to be incredibly effective in reducing the community spread of the disease. Additional guidance for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 at home and in school settings is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at https://www.cdc.gov.

SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

  • Temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher; Chills; Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Cough, Shortness of breath, Congestion
  • Sore Throat
  • New onset of severe headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea

Children can exhibit any of these symptoms. They can present with respiratory symptoms like a runny nose, cough or shortness of breath. However, according to the CDC, children may be less likely to have fever at all, may be less likely to present with fever as an initial symptom, and can present with only abdominal symptoms (like vomiting and diarrhea).

2: THE ROLE OF FAMILIES

Our plan is to continue to provide on-campus instruction for all students every day in the 2021-2022 academic year. Families will continue to play an important role in maintaining the safety of children and adults on our campus by following strict safety protocols at school but also at home. The most important thing you can do is to keep your child home if he or she is sick, even at the slight onset of sickness.

As a community, we must all be extra vigilant and do our part to adhere to state health recommendations and regulations to control transmission and potential future outbreaks. As a member of the Cold Spring School community, you agree to:

  • Follow Federal, State and Local Orders. This refers to the wearing of masks and physical distancing requirements in public spaces and other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • Take your child’s temperature each day before coming to school, and keep your child home if the temperature reads 100.4 F or greater.

  • Evaluate your child daily for the presence of COVID symptoms, and keep your child at home if they exhibit any of them.

  • Contact Lauri Aceto at the front desk at 203-787-1584, if your child is home sick.

  • Alert the school nurse, Melina Oliver, immediately by phone if someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19. You must keep your child home if anyone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19. 

  • Stay updated on the latest travel advisories for the state of CT here: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/travel.

  • Wear face coverings on school grounds. All parents must wear face masks during drop-off and pick-up. Teach your child how to properly put on and wear a face mask. A mask mandate is in place in the state of Connecticut at least through September 30, 2021, requiring everyone inside of a school building, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask.

    • All children in all grades will be required to wear face masks when indoors. We ask that you send your child to school in a clean, comfortable, well-fitting mask that covers the nose and mouth and send an extra mask, in case one is needed. Masks brought to school should be clean and washed regularly.

    • During outdoor Fitness or any outdoor activity, masks will be optional for children. When children are at a distance of 3 feet or more apart, teachers will also provide ‘mask breaks’ at other opportune times throughout the day.

Practice and reinforce good hygiene, specifically regular hand washing, at home. Hand washing procedures will be maintained at school throughout the day, specifically when returning from outside, after using the bathroom, before eating and when hands are visibly soiled. Limit the items that you send to school with your child each day. 

Complete and submit all required student medical forms to the school prior to August 23, 2021.  In addition to parents being listed as primary emergency contacts, if available, please provide one other emergency contact number of someone who is allowed to pick up your child from the school within 30 minutes of receiving a call from the school if your child presents with a temperature of 100.4 or above or becomes ill during the school day.

Our number one priority is ensuring that our school can stay open for our children and to keep the community as safe as possible. Maintaining stable classroom groups helps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. We urge you to consider only including your child’s classmates when scheduling any activities, carpools, or other engagements outside of school.

In addition to our CSS COVID-19 specific policies, please also refer to changes in CDC and state guidelines as the pandemic continues to evolve for type and size of gatherings and individual sector rules (eg. youth sports clubs and other indoor venues) to ensure that any activities outside of school are aligned with these guidelines. The school will continue to monitor regional data on infections as well as any changes to guidelines and will communicate them to the CSS community in a timely manner.

3: ENHANCED HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES

  • The air purification systems that were installed last year will continue to be used. 

  • Classroom windows will be open whenever possible, weather permitting.

  • Hand washing procedures will be maintained at school when returning from being outside, after using the bathroom, before eating and when hands are visibly soiled. Hand sanitizer will only be used when soap and water is not available.

  • Any child exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms during the day will be sent to the nurse’s office and will need to be picked up immediately (as soon as possible, but no more than 30 minutes after a call to a parent). Cold Spring faculty, administrators and staff exhibiting symptoms must also leave school immediately.

TESTING

We believe that incorporation of and access to SARS-CoV-2 testing for staff and students is an important part of maintaining in-person learning as well as keeping our community healthy.

Cold Spring is requiring all unvaccinated students to test for COVID prior to the start of school on September 1, 2021. Tests may begin on Saturday, August 28, 2021, and all results must be sent to the school nurse, Melina Oliver. A student must produce a negative COVID test to attend class. We strongly encourage testing all unvaccinated members of your family prior to the start of school.

Any student who travels out of Connecticut within seven days of the start of school (on or after August 25, 2021), must produce a negative test result before the first day of school (within 72hrs of September 1, 2021). The same requirement will apply during Class Orientations on August 19th and 20th. For example, if your child’s Orientation is on August 19th, they will need to produce a negative test result within 72hrs of August 19th if they traveled out of state on or before August 12th. 

Once school is in session, testing for any travel outside of the state of Connecticut will be required. Upon returning from any out-of-state or out-of-the-country travel, a student must get a COVID test here in Connecticut and submit the negative test results to the school nurse, Melina Oliver, if that student is coming to school within 7 days of arriving back from travel.  Please contact Melina with any questions about travel and testing.

Cold Spring is currently looking into on-campus weekly testing options and will let the community know if and when we secure something for students and staff.

 VACCINATION

As with other vaccines, it is recommended that children receive the COVID-19 vaccine as indicated for their age group by the ACIP/CDC. 

4: A DAY AT SCHOOL

In September, classrooms will be back to Cold Spring’s regular structure with two teachers. These classroom “groups” will now be the cohorts that we use in the 2021-2022 school year. All Special Area teachers will be back in their classrooms and will see students there. 

Based on the recommendations of the physicians on the PRT, classes may mix for academic purposes when following very specific guidelines monitored by the school nurse, Melina Oliver.

School Meeting, an important part of school life, supports our children’s development and builds community. At the beginning of the school year, there will be NO IN-PERSON WEDNESDAY SCHOOL MEETING. More information about virtual School Meeting will be coming your way in September.

DAILY HEALTH CHECKLIST FOR PARENTS

We will not utilize the Magnus Health daily screening for the 2021-2022 school year.  By sending a student to school, families are attesting that their children are illness/symptom free by answering NO to all of the following questions each day:

  • Does the student have chills or a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher when taken in the morning or within the past 24 hours (without taking fever reducing medications)?

  • Does the student have a sore throat?

  • Has the student experienced coughing and/or difficulty breathing?

  • Has the student experienced diarrhea or vomiting in the past 24 hours?

  • Has the student experienced a loss of smell and/or taste?

  • Has the student experienced body/muscle aches or a new onset of fatigue different from what they would normally experience?

  • Has the student experienced a new onset of severe headache?

  • Does your child have a bacterial infection such as pink eye or strep throat that has not yet been treated with antibiotics for a full 24 hours?

  • Is your child experiencing an undiagnosed rash or new and/or untreated rash or skin condition (i.e. hives or wound with purulent drainage)?

  • In the past 10 days, has the student or anyone else in the immediate family tested positive for COVID-19?

  • In the past 10 days, has the student had close contact (within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes) with a person confirmed positive for COVID-19?

  • In the past 10 days, has the student returned from travel to a high risk area (more than 10 cases per 100,00 or traveled internationally)?

If you answer yes to any of the above, please consult with the school nurse before sending your child/ren to school (moliver@coldspringschool.org).

WHAT STUDENTS SHOULD PLAN TO BRING TO SCHOOL

  • Masks: Children should wear a clean mask to school each day and always have an extra mask on hand, in case one is needed.

  • Extra Clothing & Shoes: Fitness will frequently be held outdoors. Students should come prepared with multiple warm layers, rain gear and/or changes of clothing so they are always comfortable. All students should also have indoor and outdoor shoes.

EXTENDED DAY, AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES, VACATION CHILD CARE AND FIELD TRIPS

The Extended Day program will begin on Tuesday, September 7th. Since we are minimizing the mixing of children across cohorts and grades, there will be no After School Activities or Vacation Childcare (VCC) at this time. 

TRAFFIC FLOW

For the 2021-2022 school year, we are planning for a 15 minute arrival time for K-6 classes between 8:00-8:15am and dismissal at 3:00pm for non-Extended Day students. The Preschool arrival window will be between 8:00-8:30am. Parents will drop off their children at designated locations on campus. Before the start of school, we will provide specific guidance for each classroom regarding their dedicated drop-off/pick-up spaces. It is important to arrive at school during this 15 minute time block. If you are unable to make the drop-off time, you must walk your child to the front door, ring the doorbell, and an administrator will walk your child to the classroom. Parents will not be permitted to drop-off directly in the classroom; however, our youngest students will have drop-off in an outdoor location where they can have time to acclimate before saying goodbye to parents. 

The same protocol will be utilized for pick-up at the 3pm dismissal time. If your child attends Extended Day, they will be brought to the door of the building when you arrive.

VISITORS

As a general rule, visitors will not be permitted to enter the school buildings while children are there at this time. This will include parents. Special circumstances may sometimes arise and will require express permission from school staff. Masks and hand washing will be required for all visitors regardless of vaccination status.

5: PROTOCOLS FOR STUDENTS WITH POTENTIAL OR CONFIRMED COVID-19 

WHEN TO KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME

If your child has symptoms of COVID-19, please call the school nurse, Melina Oliver, and then your pediatrician immediately to discuss the need for testing and to arrange for testing. Information regarding testing and testing centers can be found here:

COVID-19 Testing Site Locations

PLEASE KEEP YOUR CHILD HOME IF ANY OF THE FOLLOWING IS TRUE:

1) Symptoms concerning for COVID-19: 

  • Fever or fever-like symptoms: Temperature of 100.4 F or greater; Fatigue/body aches/chills/rigors even if there is no fever
  • Respiratory Symptoms: Cough, congestion, sore throat, or shortness of breath
  • Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • New onset of severe headache

2) Close Contact: Student has been in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19. Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinically compatible illness) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period

3) Testing: Your child has a confirmed positive COVID-19 test

4) Other Infections, Including:

  • Confirmed non-COVID viral infectious disease (Eg. Influenza or rhinovirus)
  • Bacterial infections requiring treatment (Eg. Strep throat or pink eye)

5) Doctor Recommendation: Pediatrician recommending student to stay home

*If COVID-19 PCR testing is required for return to school, please remember that all unvaccinated CSS siblings of the symptomatic student must also stay home until the test results are back, even if they are well. 

WHEN CAN YOUR CHILD RETURN TO SCHOOL

  • If NEGATIVE PCR test for COVID-19: student must stay home until symptom free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. Consider retesting and consulting with your pediatrician if symptoms worsen.

  • If POSITIVE for COVID-19: student must stay home for 10 days minimum (10 days since symptoms first appeared) and may return when symptoms have improved and child is fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. Unvaccinated siblings and other unvaccinated household members must stay out of school for 10 days because they are considered close contacts.

  • If you choose NOT to test your child, you must consult with your pediatrician and provide a note of clearance with an alternative diagnosis and instructions for a safe return to school. 

  • If an unvaccinated student is in close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual and the student is symptom-free: the unvaccinated student must stay home and be monitored for symptoms. The school nurse, Melina Oliver, will guide you on the length of your child's quarantine period (7-14 days) based on the nature of the exposure, your child's ability to quarantine from the close contact, and whether or not you choose to test your child. 

SPECIAL HEALTH CIRCUMSTANCES FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF

Individuals in the Cold Spring community that may have specific health circumstances that put them at increased risk should seek guidance from their personal doctors. We strongly encourage a discussion with school staff and the nurse to discuss any need for accommodations.

6: ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

We understand that questions will arise even after reading this handbook. These policies are fluid and may be changed as community transmission changes, new data becomes available, and as guidelines evolve. Please know that we will be sending out regular updates and communications throughout the school year. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Arati Pandit at apandit@coldspringschool.org with any questions that may not have been addressed here.

7: SOCIAL CONTRACT

As stated at the beginning of this handbook, the health and safety of the entire Cold Spring community continues to require all of our commitment and care.  Families and staff are asked to commit to a social contract in order to keep the Cold Spring community safe during this time. 

We ask that you:

  •  Carefully and thoroughly read the guidelines listed above

  • Ask for clarification if you need more information on any of the above protocols 

  • Continue to carefully read emails sent from Cold Spring as there may be updates and changes to these guidelines as the pandemic continues

Most importantly, we ask that you commit to following:

  • All school guidelines 

  • All health regulations set by the State of Connecticut concerning social gatherings, mask wearing, youth recreational sports, etc. when away from school

  • General practices at home and with others that prioritize outdoor activities, appropriate physical distancing when necessary, mask-use when needed, and other mitigation strategies

To reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and sustain in-person learning, we must continue to make decisions that support the collective good of our community. We are asking our entire community to commit to doing their part by being mindful of the choices we make outside of school and by following school health protocols in order to keep Cold Spring’s students, families, teachers and staff safe. We are truly grateful for your continued support, partnership, and vigilance.

PANDEMIC RESPONSE TEAM

Our planning efforts continue to be guided by the thoughtful work of our Pandemic Response Team, a task force composed of administrators, parents, and teachers. We will continue to closely monitor the pandemic and modify protocols, as and when necessary. A special thank you to our Pandemic Response Team members:

Ravi Krishnaswami - Chair of Pandemic Response Team, Board Member, Current Parent
Dr. Shelli Farhadian, MD, PhD - Infectious Diseases, Yale School of Medicine, Current Parent
Dr. Raimund Herzog, MD, MHS - Endocrinology, Yale School of Medicine, Board member, Parent of Alumni
Dr. Shiv Gandhi, MD, PhD- Infectious Diseases, Yale School of Medicine, Current Parent
Dan Biemesderfer - Board member, Parent and Grandparent of Alumni
Lisa Kinney Bajwa - Board member, Current Parent and Parent of Alumnus
Arati Pandit - Director of Cold Spring School, Parent of Alumnus
Melina Oliver- ADN, RN - School Nurse, Infectious Diseases YNHH, Current Parent
Carrie Clark - Director of Operations
Renuka Gandhi - Director of Admissions, Current Parent
Maxx Kopelman - Sixth Grade Head Teacher, Current Parent
Donna Dacosta - Preschool Head Teacher
Joshua Sloat - Curriculum Specialist, Current Parent and Parent of Alumna