COVID-19 Protocols for the 2021 – 2022 School Year
COVID-19 Protocols for the New School Year
We are committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment so that we can welcome every student and their families back to campus. The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics both released new school guidance for the start of the school year with an emphasis on a full re-opening with in-person learning. Our health and safety protocols are based on these guidelines and on the recommendations from the GSA Medical Advisory Council.
- Masking-we know the number one way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 is masking. At the GSA, we will continue to follow our on-campus masking guidelines for all students, teachers, staff, and visitors, even for those who are vaccinated. While the Governor issued an executive order prohibiting the use of masks in public schools, private schools are free to implement masking policies at their own discretion. We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable, our students. We can mitigate risks by wearing masks especially since we cannot always guarantee 3 feet of distance with all our students in our classrooms.
- Ventilation- the GSA HVAC systems are doing an excellent job of moving air and keeping indoor air quality high. The systems can accomplish over 6 air changes per hour, which is the highest category recommended and use MERV 13 filters. There are three exceptions: the strings/piano rooms, the HOS office & conference room, and the MS office. These three exceptions will continue to have the classroom doors cracked open when students are occupying these areas. The rest of the school will not have the classroom doors open as it is not necessary to do so with the excellent HVAC system we have in our school. We will also continue to provide every classroom and every office area with a HEPA filtration system.
- Screening and Temp Checks-We strongly encourage all individuals to screen for symptoms per CDC Guidelines before coming to campus. We will no longer be performing temperature checks or asking screening questions upon entry to our campus, but rather as the CDC recommends, screening should happen before leaving home. Anyone who is sick should stay home and contact the campus immediately.
- Lunch, Snacks, and Water Breaks-these will be taken outdoors with distancing so that our students can remove their masks. If we are unable to eat outside due to severe weather, we will provide a different lunch plan so that everyone remains safe.
- Hand Washing and Sanitizing-we will continue to provide hand sanitizing stations in all classrooms and throughout the campus as well as opportunities for hand washing often.
- Recess-students will be allowed to remove their masks as long as distancing is practiced.
- Cleaning-we will continue to follow the CDC recommended cleaning guidelines for schools. We will clean and disinfect highly touched surfaces and areas frequently and will do so immediately if a sick individual has been identified.
- Sick Individuals- If you or your child are feeling sick, regardless of whether you are vaccinated or not, please stay home and contact your physician and the GSA as soon as possible. Anyone who is sick will need to isolate at home for 10 days. Those who show symptoms can return early if they receive a doctor’s note stating they do not have COVID-19 or receive a negative result from a PCR test.
- Quarantine-Anyone who is unvaccinated and has had contact with someone that has tested positive will be required to quarantine for 10-14 days. Vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine if they come in close contact with someone who tests positive.
Travel- We ask all our families to follow CDC travel guidelines for unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals. Please review the school calendar so that travel is not planned during instructional periods.
For those students that are unvaccinated, the minimum amount of time to quarantine is 7 days beginning the day they arrive home. A student would need to test on Day 6 or 7 of the quarantine period, receive a negative test, and be symptom free to return on campus on Day 8. If a student is not tested for COVID, then they will need to self-quarantine for 10 days before returning to campus.
Any days that a student must quarantine due to travel will be marked as unexcused absences. During these absences, we will not provide virtual learning or missed work since this is not a quarantine placed by the school but rather for travel. If the quarantine is placed by the school, we will determine the best support that can be given during the quarantine period, which could be virtual and/or work to complete at home.
Those that are fully vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months, do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine. However, all other CDC travel recommendations should be followed.
- As you are aware, there are Covid-19 variants that seem to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which are causing more cases and hospitalizations in Travis County. We urge our families to be cautious when participating in high-risk activities, such as using public transportation (air travel, buses, trains, etc.), being indoors unmasked with unvaccinated people, being in crowds, or in poorly ventilated places. Please take caution and protect yourself and others.
- Covid-19 vaccines are effective in keeping you from getting Covid-19, especially severe illness, and death. Covid-19 vaccines reduce the risk of people spreading the virus that causes Covid-19. Vaccines are widely accessible in the United States.
Medical/Scientific Advisory Council
Dr. Rosa M. Peña
Dr. Michael Grad, MD
Dr. Bri Tristan, MD
Dr. Ami Patel, MD
Dr. Robert Westony, M.D.
On-Campus Action Team
Jennifer Wiebrand (4th grade parent)
Susie Gravette (5th & 7th grade parent)
Amy Degner (6th grade parent)
Yohan Faulk (6th grade parent)
Bronson Dorsey (Facilities Director)
Tricia Yost (Board Chair)
Frances Ramberg (Director of MS)
Dr. Rosa Peña (Interim HOS)