COVID Prevention Policy 2021-22rev April 27, 2022
Circle School COVID Policy 2021-22
COVID Prevention Policy 2021-22 (rev April 27, 2022)
Freedom / Responsibility / Democracy / Community
SUMMARY OF POLICY FEATURES
- Masks OPTIONAL in the OPTIONAL ZONE
- Masks REQUIRED in the REQUIRED ZONE
- Voluntary free weekly COVID testing on Tuesdays
- Masks also REQUIRED: JC always, field trips (in vehicles and indoors), large indoor gatherings
- Masks REQUIRED EVERYWHERE if two members test positive in a 7-day period
- “Masks” includes all kinds of face coverings for reducing transmission
- Continuous air treatment to remove particles and aerosols (NPBI)
OPTIONAL ZONE (mostly spacious, well-ventilated areas): Outdoors, Vestibule, Lobby, Front Office, Side Office, Commons, Eatery, Kitchen, Mama Pod, Library, North Nook, North Entry, Sign-In Board Area, South Nook, Alley, Lavatories, Lavatory Courtyard, Records Room, Storage Room.
REQUIRED ZONE (mostly enclosed rooms): Conference Room, Meadow Room, Music Studio, Round Room, North Pod, South Pod.
This policy shall be in effect through June 8, 2022, and may be modified, extended, or terminated by vote of School Meeting.
The purpose of this policy is to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID at school, intending to balance individual freedom with community well-being; to balance the value of in-person attendance with the risk of a school closure; and to be responsive to the various viewpoints and risk assessments among members of the school community.
In the OPTIONAL ZONE, masks are OPTIONAL. In the REQUIRED ZONE, masks are REQUIRED except that if a person is alone in a room, they may remove their mask.
Masking is also REQUIRED as follows: at all times in Judicial Committee sessions (all witnesses, all JC members, all observers); while in vehicles and indoors during field trips; in all-school indoor gatherings (such as the first 15 minutes of School Meeting sessions); other large gatherings as specified by School Meeting from time to time.
The school shall arrange for voluntary weekly collection of cheek-swab samples at school, and submission of samples to a laboratory for rapid PCR COVID testing. (Most students are able to do the cheek swab themselves if they wish. The process takes only a few seconds.) Families of students who choose to participate in the weekly testing program shall submit their medical insurance information to the testing agency. (Test providers currently accept all insurances, and insurers do not require any out-of-pocket payment. If that changes, or if a provider rejects a particular insurance, the family will be notified before charges are incurred.)
Voluntary weekly testing of most students and staff, and exclusion of those who test positive, is essential to this policy and will help reduce the risk of COVID transmission. If voluntary participation in weekly testing falls below 70% of the student-staff population, then School Meeting may consider expanding the REQUIRED ZONE up to and including ALL of the indoors.
Any person who has tested positive shall be excluded from school (communicated by the Medical Officer) through the 5th day after the earlier of the onset of symptoms or the positive test sample collection AND at least 24 hours with no fever (without fever-reducing medication) AND noticeable improvement in symptoms, if any.
Persons who have not tested positive and are assessed by the Medical Officer as having had exposure through close contacts (at school or away from school), shall be excluded through the 5th day after known exposure if no symptoms have developed. However, if a negative test result has been received, based on a sample collected on or after the 3rd day, and no symptoms have developed, the exclusion will end. The Medical Officer shall not inquire as to vaccination status.
Absences due to exclusion from school or otherwise related to COVID shall be deemed lawful absences.
If the Medical Officer determines that two or more contagious persons were present at school during the previous seven days, then the Emergency Committee shall, as soon as possible, impose mandatory masking everywhere indoors unless it finds reason not to do so. Mandatory masking shall continue for a period specified by the Emergency Committee or until otherwise directed by School Meeting. A person shall be deemed contagious based on the Medical Officer’s knowledge and judgment, during any or all of the period from two days preceding collection of a sample that tests positive and continuing for up to five days thereafter.
Curbside pickups and drop-offs are encouraged but not required. Parents and other transportation providers who enter the building are asked to wait for their passengers in the Lobby. Blanket forts and similarly confined forts are prohibited. As always, staff members are permitted to be anywhere on campus at any time as necessary or helpful, regardless of Zones, masking, and other policy provisions. Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization equipment, installed in August 2020 to remove aerosol particles from the air (including particles containing the COVID virus), will operate continuously (as last year), and last year’s enhanced air filtration will be continued.
Exceptions to this policy may be made only by School Meeting (including its Executive Committee when active) or, temporarily, its Emergency Committee. Note that this policy may or may not accord with recommendations of the CDC and other public health officials. Legally binding orders or legislation that conflict with this policy shall supersede this policy.
NOTE: Ventilation and indoor air quality were already excellent in our newly constructed building. In August 2020 the school added NEEDLEPOINT BIPOLAR IONIZATION (NPBI) for continuous removal of pathogens and aerosol particles. This technology has been shown to disable and remove airborne viruses, including the COVID virus, and will continue to operate throughout the building in 2021-22, along with increased air filtration.