Darlington School: Community Wellness Protocols and Procedures
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Community Wellness Protocols and Procedures

Jennifer Collins | July 29, 2020 | 124 views

We are excited for the 2020-2021 school year, another year that is likely to be unforgettable. In order for Darlington to have in-person learning on campus, we are asking faculty, staff, all students and their families to commit to supporting the health and wellness of our community. As a community that prioritizes health and safety, we must all do our part to adhere to state health recommendations and regulations to control transmission and potential outbreaks. If a child is sick or not feeling well, it is important for him or her to stay home. This practice will benefit everyone in our community. If your child is struggling in any way or if you have any questions, please contact the school.
 

After reviewing spaces on campus, the school has made a decision to use Persons Hall (Cooper House) as a health facility for the 2020-2021 school year. It will not be used as a dormitory and will instead be used by the Health Center as a location to evaluate students for COVID-19 symptoms as well as to house boarding students requiring quarantine or isolation due to exposure or positive testing for COVID-19.  

Students in Pre-K to 8 who become ill at school will be escorted by an adult to Persons Hall. Both the adult and the student will wear face coverings and maintain physical distancing. 

If a student presents with symptoms and/or has an elevated temperature during the daily temperature check, he or she will report to Persons Hall for further evaluation by the Health Center. Boarding students that maintain a temperature above 100.4℉ and/or have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will remain in Persons Hall for further evaluation.

The school nurse or division director will follow up individually with each student who is sent home from school to determine when the child is able to return to the classroom. 

To ensure the health and safety of the entire school community, all positive cases of COVID-19 should be reported to the school. Positive cases in students or parents should be reported to the student’s division director: Hope Jones for Pre-K to 8 or Chad Woods for Upper School. Faculty and staff should report positive cases to their respective supervisor.

An internal reporting structure has been put in place to ensure confidentiality, and nurses will follow up with individuals reporting a positive case. Individuals will be notified of possible exposure to illness and/or cases of COVID-19 should they or their student(s) be impacted. At times, students and/or faculty may be requested to remain at home if we believe there has been close contact with a symptomatic person awaiting COVID-19 test results. This guidance will come directly from our nursing staff or divisional leadership. 

Any member of the Darlington Community who has been exposed to COVID-19 or who is awaiting COVID-19 test results will be required to self quarantine according to the Health Department’s guidelines. As a community of trust, the self-quarantine requirements will extend to all members of the community who have been in close contact with the exposed student/faculty member. This may include siblings, roommates, parents, and children.    

  • Students, faculty, and employees may not come to school if they feel sick, test positive for COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Families should contact their division director immediately if their child is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, has tested positive for COVID-19, and/or has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Residential students should follow the reporting protocol outlined in the Residential Life Guide. 
  • Individuals will be notified of possible exposure to illness and/or cases of COVID-19 should they or their student(s) be impacted. We will not send community-wide communications regarding a positive test result.
  • Contact Tracing is used by the Department of Public Health to identify individuals exposed to an infectious disease and alert their Close Contacts as defined by the CDC. When used with other public health measures, contact tracing is the key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19.
  • Darlington is certified in contact tracing and has coordinated a plan with Department of Public Health officials in the event of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 for any community member. 
  • Using Department of Public Health guidelines, Health Services, Campus Safety, and Human Resources will work with the affected person, siblings, and families to identify and notify close contacts. 
  • We will maintain patient privacy as per HIPAA guidelines, but we will proactively and transparently keep you informed of any suspected or positive COVID-19 cases. 

If a student or employee is absent due to a routine illness, he or she must be symptom- and fever-free with no fever-reducing medications for 24 hours prior to their return. 

If a symptomatic student or employee is confirmed COVID-19 positive, that person may return to work/school if he or she has:

  • Followed the current Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines;
  • Been fever-free for 24 hours with no fever-reducing medications and no COVID-19-related symptoms; AND
  • Let at least 10 days pass since the positive test result and symptoms first appeared.

If an asymptomatic employee or student is confirmed COVID-19 positive, he or she may return to work/school if:

  • At least 10 days have passed since the positive test result and he or she remains asymptomatic. If symptoms develop, please follow the guidelines above for symptomatic persons.

If a student or employee has known exposure to COVID-19 within the definition of close contact, that person may return to work/school if he or she has:

  • Followed the current Georgia Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines regarding self-    quarantine;
  • Been fever-free for 24 hours with no fever-reducing medications and no COVID-19-related symptoms; AND
  • Let at least 14 days pass since direct exposure. 

CLOSE CONTACT as defined by the Georgia Department of Public Health, includes:

  • Living in the same household as a sick person with COVID-19;
  • Caring for a sick person with COVID-19;
  • Being within six feet of a sick person with COVID-19 for about 15 minutes; OR
  • Being in direct contact with secretions from a sick person with COVID-19 (e.g., being coughed on, kissing, sharing utensils, etc.).

Enhanced Schedules

Advanced Facilities Services will spend additional time each school day, evening, and weekend ensuring that high-touch and high-contact areas are cleaned regularly. Likely outcomes of this may be asking day students to leave campus earlier in the evening and limiting places students can be at certain times.

Disinfecting COVID-19-Exposed or Positive Areas

If an area of campus is identified as being exposed to COVID-19, Advanced Facilities Services will:

  • Lock the affected area and place appropriate signage on the door to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Make appropriate changes to HVAC system/schedule to maximize fresh air delivery to the affected classroom.
  • Clean and disinfect the room and furniture with EPA approved disinfectant.
  • Use a Lysol 360 machine to thoroughly disinfect all of the hard to reach areas

 

  • All visitors to campus will be required to wear masks and complete a health screen and temperature check prior to entering campus.  
  • Visitors will be asked to sanitize hands before entering campus. 
  • Visitors should be approved by their host prior to arriving on campus. 
  • Visitors must comply with Darlington’s social distancing protocols.

Parent Volunteers and Visits
 

Darlington School welcomes our parent volunteers. We know parent support is a critical component of our community engagement and partnership. Unfortunately, during the current health crisis, we will limit parent volunteer activities and limit parent visitation during the school day until further notice. Regular volunteers who work will be required to follow the Visitor Protocol.

  • At times, we know parents may need to drop off an item for their child during the school day. We ask the following:
  • Parents/Guardians of students in grades Pre-K to 8 will check in with security at the Gate House and proceed to the Thatcher Hall front desk to drop off the items. 
  • Parents/Guardians of students in the Upper School will check in with security at the Gate House and proceed to the Student Life Office in Wilcox to drop off items. 
  • We ask that parents assist us by not delivering items directly to students in class or around campus.
  • Substitute Teachers, Tutors/Intervention Specialists, College Admission Reps
  • All substitute teachers, intervention specialists, and other specialists who work with students on a regular basis will be required to follow the Visitor Protocol.  

Admission Visitors
Prospective students and parents must follow the Visitor Protocol.
 
Contracted Services/Vendors
All contracted services and all vendors must follow Visitor Protocol.

Off-campus appointments are encouraged to be scheduled outside the school day when possible to reduce the possibility of exposure due to on and off traffic to campus. Please adhere to the school attendance policies regarding school day appointments if one is required.

Parents/Guardians of Pre-K to 8 students who must leave for an off-campus appointment will be required to check-in at the Gate House and Security will communicate with Mrs. Wendy Payne in Thatcher Hall. This will minimize the wait time for our parents during the check-out process. Parents/Guardian must wear face covering when entering the lobby of Thatcher Hall to sign out students for these appointments.  

Students in the Upper School will need to sign out in the Student Life Office in Wilcox Hall and be picked up by their parent/guardian at the library steps. 

All students returning to campus after an appointment will be required to sign in at their designated check in point, have their temperature checked, complete a health screen, and sanitize hands before proceeding back to the classroom. 

The Program
 
While we plan to resume on-campus learning for as many students as possible this fall, our teachers are preparing for hybrid classes where one to many students may be learning from a distance. We have put into place a new set of course standards and lesson templates to help create a more consistent and productive learning environment for students, whether they are in the classroom or not. We have also made significant updates to our online Learning Management System to support this effort, and teachers have been working on hybrid learning strategies throughout the summer. 
 
In short, we are planning coursework from the beginning to accommodate students both on campus and from a distance. Students unable to attend classes on campus due to health or travel issues, or because they have family members in the home who may be considered at risk, should be prepared to attend online orientation sessions and initial classes in August and to work at pace and virtually alongside their on-campus counterparts. In general, the expectation will be to attend class synchronously (live online) at the teacher's direction. When synchronous is not possible, coursework and tasks will be clear and available to work through online.
 
Opting In

Students who wish to participate in the Hybrid Learning Platform should contact their division director as soon as possible. 
 
*Please note: If a student chooses to or needs to participate in Darlington's online option, then the student may not participate in any of Darlington's extracurricular programs during that time.

Preparing for School Interruptions

The Hybrid Learning Platform outlined above positions Darlington and our students to transition seamlessly to a distance learning program.

Given the nature of COVID-19, it is quite possible that individual students will miss school because of illness or quarantine. Impacted students would engage the Hybrid Learning Model in this situation. We are confident that the work the school is doing this summer will make this temporary transition a smooth and productive one. Division directors, deans, advisors and classroom teachers will all be engaged in this process. 

Circumstances this year may include a segment (possibilities include but are not limited to a homeroom, a grade level, a division, or a dorm) of the Darlington Community experiencing a temporary closure, while the rest of the school remains open. Impacted students would engage the Hybrid Learning Model in this situation. 

As we track the virus, we realize that there are circumstances that remain out of our control. In the event we are notified by government officials or the Health Department that we need to close, school will continue remotely. Note: This will also be the case for other days of the school year where we may not be able to be in the classroom (a closing related to weather, for example).