Health and Safety Plan During COVID-19
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Friends School Haverford remains committed to living its mission to offer an intellectually rich learning environment where every child is seen, heard, and deeply known. While our classrooms and campus will be different during the coming school year to prioritize the health and safety of our students and teachers, we are dedicated to continuing to create a nurturing environment and culture of kindness.
Our school community, like all others, will be impacted by COVID-19 throughout the coming academic year. The size of our school and the structure of our campus will allow us to invite all FSH students back to campus if we remain in the “Green Phase” by Governor Wolf’s metric. In prioritizing the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and families, we ask that you review the details of our reopening plan with care and intention so that you are familiar with the new protocols and routines required for on-campus learning.
We appreciate that the school year ahead, whether we are learning on or off-campus, will demand patience and flexibility from everyone in the FSH community. We are grateful to our families, students, faculty, and staff for their partnership as we adapt to the realities of this health crisis.
Our reopening plans are informed by information from the Centers for Disease Control, the Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education, the CHOP PolicyLab, and national medical associations. This plan reflects our current knowledge and will be updated as we learn more. All members of the Friends School Haverford community must commit to following the health and safety protocols shared here in order to ensure the health of each one of us.
Update to plan as of August 17, 2020
In light of our Health Department's guidance, I, along with our School Committee, have made the difficult decision that FSH will begin the year with virtual instruction. While this decision comes with disappointment and frustration after weeks of preparation to reopen our campus, we honor health officials' expertise. We hope that by delaying our campus reopening, we will help mitigate the local spread of COVID-19. We will continue with the final push to prepare our classrooms for in-person instruction so that we will be ready to return to campus on Monday, October 12, as long as the infection rate decreases, barring any additional guidance from state or county health officials.
Re-Opening of Campus: Return Dates
Monday, August 17:
The Administrative Core Team reports to work on campus.
Thursday, August 20:
All faculty/staff report to campus for opening in-service days.
Wednesday, August 26 through Wednesday, September 2:
On campus meet-n-greets with classmates and teachers/advisors.
Friday, August 28
All new preschool families will be invited to sign up for an optional 15 minute, meet-n-greet with their child’s classroom teacher.
Friday, September 25
Nursery school-grade 2 return to campus.
Friday, October 2
Grades 3-8 return to campus.
Travel & self-quarantine prior to September 25
Families should be prepared to quarantine based on any requirements issued by Governor Wolf and/or the PA Department of Health. Current guidelines and recommendations can be found here. Should additional travel requirements be put in place, all families must adhere to them before their child can return to school. Faculty/staff will adhere to the same requirements as they are issued.
Health Safety Measures
Student Mask Use
As per Governor Wolf’s current order, all students are required to wear a mask indoors during the school day and when they are outside but not able to properly social distance. Masks should cover the child’s nose and mouth, be fitted to the face, and connect with straps behind the head or around the ears. Following recommendations from the CDC, CHOP, and the AAP, students are asked not to wear gaiter-style masks, face shields (without a face mask as well), or masks with valves. Whenever possible, we ask families to consider our Quaker values of peace, simplicity, and moderation and to avoid masks with camouflage, weapons, or commercial logos.
Please contact the Nurse’s Office if your child has a specific medical condition that prevents them from wearing the type of face mask described above.
Families should send their child to school each day with three clean masks: one that their child wears upon arrival, one their child can use during the second half of the day, and an extra one to access if needed. (Half-day students in PS and PK need only bring in two clean masks each day.) The school will provide disposable masks when necessary and help students safely store their masks when they are not in use. Used masks will be sent home with the child and families are asked to send their child to school with clean masks the next day.
All faculty/staff will be wearing masks at all times in the classroom.
Pods & Family Groups
Each FSH child will be part of a “pod” of classes that share proximal spaces and hallways. Students will stay exclusively in these pods throughout their school day. Whenever possible, faculty and staff will stay within their assigned pod with the intention of limiting cross-exposure between and among the groups.
Each pod has a specific restroom assigned to them--students will use only the restroom(s) associated with their pod. Within each of our pods, larger classes have been divided into “family groups”--smaller groups of 8-12 children that allow us to ensure appropriate teacher-student ratios as well as maintain social distance in our classrooms. Coordinate teachers and administrators will be assigned to a specific pod.
There will be four pods:
Pod 1: Two preschool classes (divided into two family groups)
Pod 2: Two PK classes (divided into three family groups)
Pod 3: K and 1/2 (divided into a K family group and a 1/2 family group)
Pod 4: 3/4 and MS (divided into three family groups: 3/4, 5/6, & 7/8)
Temperature & Wellness Checks
Friends School Haverford will ask families to participate in two daily temperature/wellness checks. Each evening between 6 and 9 p.m., families must complete their child's health check using the FeverFree App that includes their child’s temperature as well as a wellness checklist. (The checklist is provided below.) Any child running a temperature of 100.0 or higher or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be able to attend school the following day. (This is the definition of fever given to us by our Haverford Township School District nurses.) Additionally, any child whose household members exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to attend school. In both cases, the child must (a) self-quarantine for 14 days beginning the day of reported symptoms or (b) share a negative COVID-19 test confirmed by a physician. We will continue to use the most current local and state guidelines to determine when it is safe for an individual to return to campus.
Upon arrival each morning, a faculty/staff member will take each child’s temperature and review the wellness checklist with families. Again, any child running a temperature of 100.0 or higher or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to attend school and must be taken home immediately. Here is a sample wellness checklist based on a template shared by the PA Department of Health.
All faculty and staff will use the same FeverFree App and follow the same daily, in-person temperature/wellness check protocol described above.
As noted earlier, children must be accompanied by an adult before and during the wellness check. (Children who arrive by school district bus are the only exception to this.) Please make sure that any and all adults who may drop your child off understand this important requirement.
School Day Procedures
Staggered Drop-off Schedule and Procedures
In order to accommodate the process of daily temperature and wellness checks while maintaining social distancing guidelines, specific drop-off times have been assigned by class/grade and building. These times ensure that there are enough staff to check students in and keep the car lines moving. The only exception to this is students arriving by bus.
Please be vigilant in maintaining the speed limit of 5 mph when on campus. Please extend your patience and kindness to the faculty/staff members as we work to ensure the health and safety of the school community.
*Any family that misses their assigned drop-off window must wait until 8:30 a.m. to complete the Wellness Check.
Arrival by bus
Students are required to wear a face covering at all times while riding the bus.
Students arriving to campus by school district bus will wait at the bus shed upon arrival, where they will be met by a faculty/staff member and complete the temperature and wellness check. We strongly encourage families of bus students to take their child’s temperature and review the wellness checklist each morning before getting on the bus. If a child presents symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival, they will be brought directly to the Nurse’s Office and the family will be contacted to bring their child home.
This fall, Early Birds will be available only to students arriving on campus by school district bus.
Staggered Pick-up Schedule and Procedures
In order to ensure the safety of all our students, specific pick-up times will be assigned by class/grade or family group. Beginning this year, Friends School Haverford employees will no longer be securing children in car seats or seat belts.
Families and caregivers should park in the appointed parking spots for their child’s building during their assigned pick-up time. Please exit the car and walk to the designated pick-up area in front of the appropriate building, where an FSH faculty or staff member will meet you with your child. We ask that families walk children back to their vehicle.
Early Dismissal Procedures
In the event that you need to pick your child up from school during the day (ie--for a doctor’s appointment), you must contact Nancy Hurley in the Main Office in advance to ensure your child is ready for his/her departure.
Please park on campus and call the Main Office upon your arrival. A faculty/staff member will accompany your child to your car.
Extended Day Program
Our Extended Program will be offered in a modified form this fall. Drop-in hours will not be available at this time. Students can only attend XD on their pre-registered days. Students who attend XD will remain in their pods where the XD staff will join them.
To ensure adequate staffing, families need to pay for XD a month at a time. Families will be asked to choose and adhere to a specific pick-up window to allow for physical distancing during pick-up times. Any students not picked up by the 3:30 p.m. who are not registered for XD will be charged $50.
Campus Visitor Policy
In order to maintain social distance and to limit cross-exposure to germs, access to our buildings will be limited to employees, students, and regularly-contracted workers (ex: Edutech representative, Haverford Township School District nurses). All families and caregivers will be asked to adhere to specific drop-off and pick-up routines. Admissions tours and visits will take place virtually. Any and all visitors, including parents, guardians, and caregivers of current students, must contact Nancy Hurley in the Main Office before coming to campus outside of drop-off and pick-up times.
Coordinate teachers will be assigned to a single pod on campus. They will stay in the same physical space as those students and teach only the students in that pod in person. Coordinate teachers will teach classes outside of their assigned pod virtually via video conferencing. Students will participate in the virtual class as a whole group (as opposed to on individual computer screens) and will be supported in person by classroom teachers.
Spanish (Marita Pyankov): Preschool pod
Art (Amy Kiely): Pre-K pod
Music (Ed Nardi): K & 1/2 pod
Science (Karen Lancaster): Grades 3-8 pod
PE (Sharon Stewart): Whenever weather permits, Tr. Sharon will hold PE class for every pod outdoors on the turf field.
Outdoor Space and Recess
Each family group will have a designated outdoor space for use throughout the school day.
Students will stay in their family groups for any outdoor instruction; during recess and outdoor play/activity, students will share a larger designated space with their assigned pod. Our intention is to provide students an opportunity to interact with their same-age peers while still limiting cross-exposure in and around our campus. Our playground equipment will remain closed; students will have access to individual materials to use during recess. Students and faculty/staff will take “mask breaks” outdoors while social distancing. All community members will wear masks outdoors when they are not able to maintain social distancing guidelines.
Given that all students will spend time outdoors over the course of the school day, families are asked to apply sunscreen to their child before school each morning.
Campus Safety Measures
Student Hand Hygiene
All of our classes will follow CDC recommendations for hand hygiene described below. Hand hygiene has always been an important skill taught in our early childhood classes; all of our classes will adopt similar plans to teach and model this while on campus:
- All students will wash their hands upon their entry to the classroom each morning and as they enter the building from time outdoors.
- All students will wash their hands before and after snack and lunch.
- All students will wash their hands after being in the bathroom areas before returning to class.
- Students will be prompted to wash their hands after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Hand sanitizer will be readily available and used when washing isn’t possible.
Hallways and Common Areas
- Hallway traffic will be kept at a minimum and whenever possible, students will share hallway spaces only with others in their assigned pod.
- Specific entrances and exits will be assigned to each pod to use throughout the day to minimize cross-exposure. Doorways, doorknobs, and hand railings will be sanitized throughout the school day.
- Restrooms will be assigned by pod and sanitized on a regular schedule during the school day.
- The Library and the Meetinghouse will not be used by students. Faculty will select library books to bring to their classrooms for students to use individually.
- The gymnasium will be available on a weekly rotating basis to each pod to use for recess and PE in the event of inclement weather.
Social Distancing in Classroom Spaces
Our classrooms have shifted this year to maximize space for social distancing. We assigned classrooms based upon enrollment and room size to accommodate the recommended six feet social distancing indoors. This reconfiguration of space allows all students to be on campus five days a week.
All FSH students will be taught how to keep a safe distance from others. Students in grades N-PK will have their own “spots” demarcated by a yoga mat; students in grades K-8 will each have a single, stand-alone desk. To help students maintain social distancing, classroom libraries, group play equipment, and shared supply centers will not be available. Additionally, whole class alternative seating options/areas that could be used by more than one child will not be in use this school year.
Classroom Ventilation Systems
In Heritage House, each classroom has doors and windows that can be opened throughout the day for fresh air. Each classroom has its own window AC unit and individual heater that pull in outside air.
In Schoolhouse, each classroom has windows that can be opened throughout the day for fresh air. Each classroom has its own window AC unit. The original classrooms (those in the central wing of the building) have baseboard hot-water heaters. The classrooms in the modern addition to the building (those in the left wing) have individual wall heaters that pull in outside air.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Restrooms, entrance ways, and classroom spaces will be cleaned and disinfected regularly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day. (Cleaning of restrooms and classroom spaces will happen when not in use by students.) The school buildings are cleaned each evening and this routine now includes increased attention to high touch surfaces and high traffic areas.
To best protect our learners, students will not share supplies. Rather, each child will be given an individual set of learning materials that s/he will access during the day. When not in use, these supplies will be stored in bins and placed in dedicated, separate locations in the classroom.
To optimize our space, students are asked to only bring what is absolutely necessary to school each day. Essential items include a lunch and snack, a water bottle, a coat (for cooler weather, if necessary), sunscreen that students can self-apply (if needed), 2 extra masks, and any homework (for older students). Students will be given an individual space to store their personal belongings. Access to these belongings will be controlled and managed by teachers using social distancing guidelines.
Because we anticipate holding classes outdoors as much as possible, parents are asked to send in a complete change of clothing for their child, regardless of his/her age. These items will be individually stored at school to be accessed when necessary.
Water fountains will not be in use this year. Please be sure your child comes to school each day with a reusable water bottle. We will have water coolers and filling stations available and monitored by adults for students to refill their bottles throughout the day.
Snack and Lunch
Snacks will happen at an appointed time in individual classrooms each morning. Students will be given a clean, individual brown paper bag to store their masks while eating.
At lunch, students will put their used mask away to bring home for cleaning and wear a second clean mask for the remainder of the school day.
Families must provide utensils for their children to use each day (if needed)--classroom teachers will not be able to provide utensils. Student lunches cannot be heated in a microwave; please plan to use a thermos for any hot lunch items.
Safety Drill Procedures
FSH will continue to hold fire and safety drills to ensure the safety of our students, faculty, and staff. Each class will have a designated spot for these drills that is physically distanced from other pods and family groups.
We appreciate the challenges we will face as a community as we undertake the common goal of supporting children through this global pandemic. We believe that a Friends School Haverford education is as impactful and valuable as ever before. We are grateful to you for sharing your children with us each school day, and we are committed to helping them navigate their world with curiosity, conscience, and kindness.
Zoom Q&A Sessions Acting Head of School, Liza Ewen
(Each session will be recorded and shared with those who cannot attend.)
Tuesday, July 28 @ 7 p.m. - Families of students in NS, PS, and PK
Thursday, July 30 @ 7 p.m. - Families of students in grades K - 4
Tuesday, August 4 @ 7 p.m. - Families of students in grades 5-8
Families will receive an email with the Zoom link an hour before the start of each session.