COVID Safety Plan 2021-2022

COVID Safety Plan - Revised on January 2022

On-campus instruction has resumed on Monday, January 3, 2022. This last week has seen a dramatic increase in Covid cases, both locally and globally. The Covid Safety Team met to address this surge and to adapt our protocols to the current situation. Our goal continues to be to keep our students and community safe, while allowing for in-person instruction to continue.
 
It is possible, and even likely, that our health and safety protocols may change in the next couple weeks. All protocols have been designed with the goal to minimize interruption in teaching while protecting our students and staff, especially our unvaccinated students. Based on our knowledge, experience, and direction from public health authorities, we continue to  implement the following multi-layered prevention strategies:
  • Required masking indoors and outdoors
  • Physical distancing during lunches
  • Enhanced cleaning
  • Handwashing and sanitizing
  • Air ventilation
  • Isolation of symptomatic individuals
  • Routine testing
  • Daily health attestation via VisitU system
We expect all of our students and faculty to follow these protocols. We will be extremely vigilant about enforcement, including the possibility of sending students home, in order to ensure the health and safety of all.
 
In the context of this new surge, we anticipate needing to revisit some of the protocols that had recently changed (such as mixing grades for enrichment classes or recesses). 

Masking
Masks are among the most important measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other communicable diseases. 

All students from PK to 8th grade, even fully vaccinated ones, will be required to wear a face mask covering their nose and mouth, while indoors and outdoors, except during meals and mask breaks. Students who are unable to wear masks due to medical or behavioral challenges will be exempt. 

We require that all students bring their own clean/washed masks to school each day, clearly labeled with their names. We ask that students also bring a backup mask in a sealed plastic bag should the first one become wet or soiled.

Face coverings must be made out of breathable cloth materials, consist of at least two layers, cover a student’s entire nose and mouth area, and be secured to the student’s head with elastic ties or straps. Masks should fit properly and we will enforce the correct usage of masks while at school.

Travel policy reminder
If you have traveled by air (whether international or domestic), our policy is that students need to quarantine for three days after travel and then have a PCR or lab-administered antigen test. Please send the results to snickles@eb.org. 
 
As a reminder, if a student is positive, they isolate for 10 days (we follow Berkeley Public Health policies, and they have not yet adopted the shorter isolation period defined by the CDC). Teachers will provide learning materials for your child, but might not be able to do live sessions. Please allow one business day for our teachers to prepare all the materials that your student will need in case of quarantine.

If someone is a close contact:
 
1. Fully vaccinated students and staff who are close contacts to a positive case are not required to quarantine if they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (at least 2 weeks following receipt of their second dose in a 2-dose series) and have had NO symptoms since the  exposure.
 
2. All unvaccinated close contacts must quarantine for 10 days.
Symptoms

The Omicron variant symptoms are very similar to cold symptoms and we need to be extremely cautious with students who demonstrate any symptoms at all.
 
We rely on you to keep our school safe by keeping your children home if they have Covid-19 symptoms. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19: congestion/runny nose, sore throat, headache, fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell.

Vaccinations
Approximately 59 percent of our children in the 5-11 age group have been vaccinated. We strongly encourage any unvaccinated students who are eligible to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Please send a copy of the vaccination card to snickles@eb.org so that we have an accurate count of vaccinated students. Unvaccinated students will need to follow a different quarantine protocol than vaccinated students (defined by the closed contact protocol above).

Aftercare update
At this time, we plan to continue offering aftercare with adjusted protocols.

For the Lower School (K-5), our aftercare students will be separated by grade level. Students will rotate between play areas on the yard and will be kept outdoors as much as possible. During inclement weather, students will be brought inside.

For the Preschool, when students are outside, they will be separated into two outdoor pods (Class B/D and Class A/C/E). When students need to be brought inside during inclement weather or after dark, they will be separated into three pods (Class A, Classes B/D, and Classes C/E) in order to ensure as little mixing as possible indoors.
Parents will still be allowed to come on campus to pick up students: masks must be worn at all times and we ask parents to spend no more than 10 minutes on campus. K-G5 parents may not enter the building and must remain outdoors.

Main Strategies to Mitigate the Pandemic on Campus - Fall 2021

The principle mitigation strategies are based around masking, cohorting, and enhanced sanitation and cleaning procedures. In particular, to lower the risk of transmission and to aid in contact tracing, students are to be placed in the same rooms with the same groups of children. 

Here are the main strategies that will be enacted on campus to lower the risk of possible transmission to students, parents, staff and the wider community:
  • The use of masks on campus for students.
  • Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning processes.
  • Modification of programs and events in compliance with limits on group sizes and physical distancing measures when having lunch.
  • Possible use of virtual platforms in conjunction with on campus learning (a hybrid approach, easy to scale up) to keep in-person contact at safer levels in areas of academic instruction or student activities.
  • Some after school athletics offerings are canceled for the first quarter and will be assessed for the rest of the year.
  • After school enrichment and extended day programming are being revisited to mitigate health risks.

Health and Safety Measures

Below are the health and safety measures that are put in place when school resumes in the Fall 2021:

LIST OF 7 ITEMS

SOCIAL DISTANCING
There are no longer social distancing requirements for schools, but we will be grouping students by class and by grade level whenever possible. Social distancing will be implemented at lunch times for all students.
  • Density of bathrooms: one person at a time will be allowed in the bathroom
  • Creating protocols and assigned spaces for isolating potentially sick adults or students
  • The School has also designated additional indoor spaces which will be used as classroom space, such as the Mini-Gym and the Maker-Space, the middle school library, the Middle School Heads’ office. Additional outdoor learning spaces are installed by using canopies as well. 
 
CLEANING, DISINFECTION AND VENTILATION
For ventilation, the school has made great efforts to provide our community with proper ventilation and sanitization in the classrooms:
  • All classrooms have HVAC systems with MERV13 filters and all occupied classrooms are equipped with additional portable smoke air purifiers.
  • The whole lower school and the preschool is also equipped with a new UVC sanitizer system in the existing HVAC systems, these systems purify 99.9% of airborne virus/bacteria particles in the air to all of our classrooms, common areas, and offices.
  • For the middle school (where radiant heat is used), portable GermGuardian Air purifiers (size XL with HEPA Filters, UVC sanitizer system) have been installed which will be running 24h a day at a cycle rate of 4 times an hour in all student occupied classrooms.
  • Open Window Policy: indoor classrooms will open windows and doors, weather permitting, and ensure that it does not pose a safety and health risk to children (particularly in case of poor air quality).
  • Custodial staff will conduct regular cleanings of restrooms (every hour).
  • Students are required to wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, when arriving and leaving home, when arriving and leaving school, before and after meals, after outside play, before and after using the restroom, after having close contact with others, after using shared surfaces and tools, and after blowing nose, coughing, and sneezing.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided in all classrooms. Students using hand sanitizer should rub it into their hands until it is completely dry.
  • Students using soap and water must follow CDC guidance on proper hand washing techniques, including washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap, rubbing thoroughly after application, and using paper towels to dry hands thoroughly. Parents should teach students proper hand washing techniques and staff will reinforce these techniques.
  • Students will also be reminded not to touch their faces, and to use a tissue to wipe their nose and to cough and sneeze inside the tissue. The School encourages parents to also remind students to follow these practices.

USE OF MARKERS AND SIGNAGE

  • Signs and barriers will be installed throughout the campus to direct student and employee traffic in a manner that promotes physical distancing.
  • The School also designated foot traffic patterns, such as one-way hallways, to limit the frequency of students passing each other or coming within six feet of each other, as they move throughout campus.
  • The School has signs posted at conspicuous places at all School entrances that instruct students, parents, and other visitors not to enter if they are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and/or more of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, or any other symptom associated with COVID-19 identified by the CDC).
  • The signs also instruct persons who are not experiencing these symptoms and who can enter the facilities that they are to wear face coverings at all times and maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others while inside.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT

  • All faculty and staff received training on health and safety measures prior to coming back to school.
  • All faculty, staff wear masks. Faculty and staff have the option to be equipped with FDA-approved surgical masks.
  • All Pre K-8 students must wear a face covering while at school, except during designated meal times. Face coverings must be made out of breathable cloth materials, cover a student’s entire nose and mouth area, and be secured to the student’s head with elastic ties or straps.
  • Preschool children older than 2 years old will be strongly encouraged, when feasible, to wear facemasks throughout the school day, other than during meal times.
  • Students with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from being able to wear a cloth face covering, will be provided with accommodations, which may include wearing a face shield with a cloth drape attached across the bottom and tucked into a shirt; this determination will be made on a case-by-case basis consistent with the School’s policy on reasonable accommodation of students.
  • Students are encouraged to bring their own face coverings from home, but the School will have face coverings or face shields available to students who fail to do so or whose face coverings become damaged while at school. Ear adjusters are also available at the LS reception for masks that need a more secure fit.
  • Students with pre-existing health conditions might wear additional protective equipment and/or continue home learning.​​​​​​​

TRAVEL AND BEYOND THE CLASSROOM EXPERIENCES
  • Avoid unnecessary travel and trips domestically and internationally.
  • High risk activities (attending a large group event indoors) must be avoided.
  • At the present time, all field trips and school assemblies will be conducted virtually.

SCREENING
  • Parents shall screen students daily by checking their temperature and observing for other symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the morning prior to leaving for school. The School provides access to an online system (VISIT-U) for ease of tracking purposes.
  • Parents must keep their student at home if the student exhibits one or more symptoms associated with COVID-19 and notify the School of the reason for the student’s absence.
  • Students who report symptoms associated with COVID-19 may return to School after they meet the requirements set forth in the following section of this plan.
    In addition to daily self-screenings, parents and students are obligated to report the following information and remain at home as recommended by the CDC:
  • We ask employees to arrange for testing prior to returning to work onsite.
  • If they had close contact with someone who was ill with confirmed COVID-19, they must follow quarantine procedures and may not return to school until 10 days after the date of exposure. According to the CDC: “Close contact” means being within six (6) feet of an individual for at least 15 minutes. If a member of their household is ill with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, they may not return to school until 10 days after the date of exposure and shall remain at least 6 feet away from the ill individual until 10 days have passed to the extent possible.
    Teacher will take each student’s temperature using a non-invasive contactless infrared thermometer. If necessary, the School may take an individual’s temperature a second time to confirm the results of the first test or if the results of the first test suggest an erroneous result;
  • Screeners can ask whether the person has experienced symptoms associated with COVID-19 within the last 24 hours; whether anyone in the household has had symptoms associated with COVID-19 or received a positive COVID-19 test; whether the person has had close contact with anyone with a positive test for COVID-19.
  • Persons presenting with a fever of 100º F (37.8º C) or above will be excluded from the School facility/campus. The School may exclude any individual who presents symptoms associated with COVID-19. Students who appear to be ill, have a fever, or report symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be sent home as soon as practicable per the School’s Protocol When a Student Exhibits Symptoms Associated With COVID-19 at School. Individuals exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to campus until one of the following occurs:
    • He or she certifies that at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared AND the student has been free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medication for at least one (1) day AND respiratory symptoms have improved;
    • He or she provides the School with a negative viral test result for COVID-19 (antibody tests may not show when someone has a current infection and are not acceptable);
    • His or her health care provider provides the School with a note certifying that he or she is free from COVID-19;  
    • The School will maintain COVID-19 test results and doctor’s notes submitted pursuant to this Policy as students’ confidential medical records.
    • Parents should not bring their children to school if they OR ANYONE the child lives with develops Covid-like symptoms.
    • Students and employees will have their temperatures taken with hospital-grade no-contact thermometers.
    • Additional measures may be implemented or allowed with the guidance of state and local authorities.
    • We will respect the right to privacy of all of our community members.
    • All community members should commit to following the governmental health guidelines in their day to day activities outside of the school.

TESTING

  • The school tests all employees that are expected to be on campus during school hours before the start of the school year and after each school break.
  • All employees are tested for COVID-19 by Antigen BinaxNow tests several times a month.
  • Starting the week of August 30th employees present on campus will gradually be tested twice weekly with antigen tests.
  • Symptomatic testing is also organized when appropriate.

Last Covid Update


SAFETY MEASURES AT SCHOOL
The state of California updated its guidance for schools on July 12th. We will continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our students by focusing on the four pillars of our safety strategy as we did last year: masking, social distancing, testing, and stable grouping. In general, we plan to begin the school year with the strongest measures in place, with the hope of easing up on our protocols as the situation improves.

Masking: The CDC recommends universal masking for everyone over the age of two, regardless of vaccine status. Masks have proved to be very efficient to limit the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, masks will be required for all students, teachers, and staff both indoors and outdoors at school. This includes classrooms, hallways, playgrounds and all other spaces. Good fitting masks have adjustable ears, nose bridge, no valve. Please bring extra masks. You may want to consider higher filter masks like happy masks or enviro masks or masks with a filter built-in or replaceable filter insert.

Social Distancing: There are no longer social distancing requirements for schools, but we will be grouping students by class and by grade level whenever possible. Social distancing will be implemented at lunch times for all students.

Daily Screening for Symptoms: This year, families will be asked to screen their children for COVID symptoms each day using the VisitU system. We will send a dedicated communication regarding this new platform. As a reminder, a child with symptoms must stay home and should be tested for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status. 

Quarantining in case of a positive case:
 
  • Vaccinated students who are asymptomatic do not need to quarantine after close contact with a COVID-positive person.

  • Unvaccinated students must quarantine after close contact with a COVID-positive individual, but if both the person positive for COVID-19 and the contact were masked during the exposure, the close contact may continue to attend school for in-person instruction if they:
    1. Are asymptomatic;
    2. Continue to appropriately mask, as required;
    3. Undergo at least twice weekly testing during the 10-day period; and
    4. Avoid all extracurricular activities at school, including sports, after-school programs and activities within the community setting.
Though the public health department rules are now different, we have decided not to apply the modified quarantine and will continue to ask our students to quarantine for 10 days.

Surveillance Testing; EB will continue to test our Kindergarten, Elementary students, and Middle Schoolers (regardless of their vaccination status)  with the Abbott BinaxNOW Covid-19 Antigen Test when on campus. In the event of a positive test result, a follow-up PCR test will be necessary.

Revised Welcome Day (August 26th)
In response to the current number of cases in the area, the Safety Committee has decided to cancel our in-person Welcome Day except for new students whose parents will receive further information from Magali Noth, our new Primary School Head. Teachers from G1 to G8 will organize a virtual visit of their classrooms on August 26, 2021. You will receive a detailed communication closer to Welcome Day.

PCR Testing before the first day of school
Before coming to school on August 30th, all our students will need to be tested with a PCR test, (antigen testing results will not be accepted). Please note, we are not conducting PCR testing on campus this year before the first day of school and after the school breaks. You can send your student’s PCR test results to snickles@eb.org no later than August 29, 2021.