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Covid-19 Taskforce Update 3/9/22

March 9, 2022

 

 

Dear McGillis Families,

Effective March 21, the School will not require indoor masking for students, employees, and visitors. This change is in response to new guidelines from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Salt Lake County Health Department, and the consulting physicians on our COVID-19 Task Force.

 

While masking will not be a requirement of the School’s layered mitigation strategy, the CDC and AAP advise individuals to consider various factors in deciding whether or not to use a mask including: vaccine status, immunocompromised individuals, and level of COVID-19 in the community.

 

Though mask use will not typically be required, everyone on campus should be “mask ready” and have a high-quality mask with them at all times (for example, worn on their wrist or in their pocket). At this time, masks will be required in certain situations, including large indoor group gatherings, indoor field trips, and while singing.

 

Some students, staff, and/or visitors may choose to continue wearing a mask, either consistently or on an as-needed basis, for a variety of reasons. As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, we will lean on our Community Commitment and values to guide our response to this change. Teachers will have conversations with students about the importance of respecting one another’s decisions, and we encourage families to have conversations at home about personal risk tolerance, the choice of whether or not to wear masks, and respecting one another’s choices.

 

The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to monitor cases and wider community trends, which may require masking for a class or grade. Decisions and duration of required masking will be made on a case-by-case basis. The School will continue to provide high-quality masks as needed.  

 

 

HIGH RISK EXPOSURE

Effective March 21, if exposed to COVID-19 and symptom-free:

  • Individuals who are up-to-date on vaccinations, including a booster if eligible, may return to school immediately, test daily, and wear a mask at school for 5 days from the date of exposure.
  • Students or staff who are not up-to-date on vaccinations and have been exposed must quarantine for 5 days from the date of exposure. They may return to school on day 6 with a negative test collected no earlier than day 5, and wear a mask for days 6-10.

 

HOME ISOLATION & RETURN TO SCHOOL FOR POSITIVE CASES

Effective March 21, if a student or staff member tests positive:

  • The individual will isolate and remain home for a minimum of 5 days from the day they were tested.
  • They may return to school on day 6 if they are symptom-free and produce a negative rapid test, and must wear a high-quality mask until day 10. Our health team will also assess each situation on a case-by-case basis.
  • Positive cases will continue to be tracked on our COVID-19 Dashboard and families will be notified if a student may have been in contact with a positive case.

 

OTHER PROTOCOLS

 

The School will continue to rely on other mitigations to protect our community and support in-person learning, including: a high vaccination rate among our community, staying home when showing signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses, isolating when positive, testing as necessary, eating lunch outdoors as often as possible, encouraging frequent hand-washing, and use of air purifiers throughout the school. 

 

Vaccination: The CDC and Salt Lake County Health Department acknowledge that COVID-19 vaccination helps protect adults and children ages 5 years and older from getting sick or severely ill with COVID-19 and helps protect those around them. We encourage our community of employees, students, and families to be up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccination series, including booster dose(s) when eligible. If you have not done so, please email your student’s current vaccination record to health@mcgillisschool.org.

 

Testing: Rapid antigen tests may be administered as deemed appropriate in response to active cases or as part of a screening at the School.

 

Visitors: The School anticipates resuming in-person activities and events by invitation. Volunteer opportunities will be shared as available. Masks may be recommended or even required under certain visitor circumstances, such as large group gatherings. We will continue to ask visitors who are experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to COVID to refrain from entering the building.

 

We are excited to welcome parents into the School next week for conferences. Please note our mask mandate will remain in effect for conferences, as this change commences on March 21. We appreciate your understanding and continued support of our mitigation efforts.

 

The COVID Task Force continues to actively monitor the status of COVID-19 and its impact on school operations, and the School will continue to adapt its protocols as needed. I remain grateful for your ongoing support of our community’s commitment as we move towards a hopeful endemic phase of COVID-19.

 

As always, please contact me or health@mcgillisschool.org if you have any questions.

 

Jim Brewer
Head of School