Health and Safety Plan During COVID-19
Last year, Friends School Haverford had a successful year with no incidents of community spread, and it was due in large part to planning from the school staff, faculty, and school committee and the strong partnership with families. The school recognizes that its success could not happen without families’ significant sacrifices to follow similar prevention strategies at home.
In preparing for the 2021-2022 school year, Friends School Haverford was informed by guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, CHOP PolicyLab, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the County Health Departments from Montgomery and Chester County and soon Delaware County. This plan is subject to updates as the guidance shifts and reflects the most recent information from the stated agencies.
Friends School Haverford is committed to offering another year of school in person. The current plan is based on these two primary goals:
- Continue its mission to provide a safe and nurturing environment where children are intellectually engaged and their creativity is fostered;
- Create an updated health and safety plan with multi-layered prevention strategies that allow teachers and children to return to FSH safely and work and play on campus with as few disruptions to their day as possible.
Key takeaways from the health and safety plan
- Students, faculty, staff, families, and caregivers are required to wear masks indoors and outside.
- Students will remain six feet apart while eating or whenever they are unmasked whether indoors or outside.
- Multi-layer prevention strategies from last year will continue to be implemented, such as universal masking, temperature & wellness checks, social distancing of at least three feet when possible, cleansing and hygiene procedures, and staying home when sick and getting tested.
- Weekly COVID-19 pool testing will begin this fall.
- Extended Day Services will resume.
- The size of cohorts will expand to allow multiple grade levels to play outside together and work together indoors.
- COVID-19 testing and a negative test result are required before returning to school from a long vacation
Holiday weekend before school starts
At present, Governor Wolf has not issued a new Travel Order. However, considering our community of unvaccinated children, families, teachers, and staff, we strongly recommend that families enter the holiday weekend using multi-layered preventative strategies if planning to travel and spend time with friends and family. As an extra precaution, all students and staff must get a COVID test and provide an electronic copy of COVID test results to the school by September 9th (September 13th if traveling or in large groups during Labor Day weekend).
Weekly COVID-19 Testing
Starting September 13, we will begin weekly COVID-19 testing as an additional layer to the school’s preventative strategies. In early August, both Pennsylvania departments of Health and Education shared that they are partnering with Concentric by Ginkgo Bioworks (Ginkgo) to provide free COVID-19 testing in K-12 schools throughout Pennsylvania to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and outbreaks in schools during the 2021-2022 school year. FSH will participate in this program, which will allow us to do weekly pool testing. This regular information will enable the school to identify any community spread of COVID-19 from asymptomatic individuals.
Pooled classroom testing, which combines anterior nasal swab samples from all individuals in a classroom and runs them as a single test, is a simple and scalable way to test many students at once while minimizing resource strain.
Universal Mask Use
Friends School Haverford will require everyone to wear a mask while indoors and outside. At present, there are no current state orders requiring mask use. However, CDC recommends that schools should institute universal masking for everyone that includes both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
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), or masks with valves. Whenever possible, we ask families to consider our Quaker values of peace, simplicity, and moderation and 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 indoors and outdoors, except if they are alone in their rooms or offices.
Classrooms, Divisions, and Buildings
Each FSH child will be assigned to a classroom. Each classroom has a specific restroom assigned--students will use only the restroom(s) associated with their classroom. Each classroom will be assigned to a division that includes another classroom. Schedules will be organized to allow children to play together outside and share proximal spaces and hallways.
There will be four divisions:
- Pre-Kindergarten and Preschool - one classroom of each grade level
- Kindergarten and 1st grade - one classroom of each grade level
- 2/3 and 4/5 classrooms - one classroom of each grade level
Heritage House and Schoolhouse will each house two divisions.
- Heritage House - Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten and Preschool classrooms
- Schoolhouse - Kindergarten and Grade 1, Grades 2/3 and 4/5
School Day Procedures
Staggered drop-off schedule and procedures
Each building has specific drop-off times to accommodate the daily curbside drop-off process while maintaining social distance. These times ensure that there are enough staff and enough parking spaces during the busiest time of day. The only exception to this is students arriving by bus.
This year, the arrival process will happen entirely from Carline. Once FSH staff confirm the child’s temperature and wellness check, they will assist children as they get out of cars and send students into the building (with an FSH faculty or staff member for children in N-PK).
Please be vigilant in maintaining the speed limit of 5 mph when on campus. For safety reasons, cars should not pass parked vehicles in the car line. Please extend your patience and kindness to the faculty/staff members as we work to ensure the health and safety of the school community. Listed below are the morning arrival times for children in each building.
8:00-8:15 am Schoolhouse (Kindergarten & Grades 1-5)
8:15-8:30 am Heritage House (Nursery, Preschool, & Pre-Kindergarten)
8:30 am Late Arrival
*Any family that misses their assigned drop-off window must take their child to the Main Office to sign in.
Arrival by bus
Families of bus students should 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, FSH staff will bring students directly to the Nurse’s Office, and the school will contact the family to arrange a time to pick up their child.
Staggered pick-up schedule & procedures
To ensure the safety of all our students, FSH determined staggered arrival times for students in each building. Starting this year, Friends School Haverford employees will no longer secure children in car seats or seat belts.
This year, dismissal will occur in the carline. As parents enter campus, an FSH staff person will radio the child’s name to the staff members in the carline who will escort the children to their cars. Once parents/caregivers buckle children into their seats, a staff member will signal cars to exit the campus. Parents will not be allowed to pull out of the carline to leave until all cars are ready.
Please enter Buck Lane from Haverford Road to reduce traffic congestion and allow street traffic to bypass FSH families arriving for morning drop-off. In the afternoon, families leaving campus will be asked to turn right as they exit.
N-PK Half-Day Dismissal time is at 11:45 am.
N-5 Full-Day Dismissal times:
2:45 Heritage House
3:00 Schoolhouse and Bus children
Early dismissal procedures
If you need to pick your child up from school during the day (i.e.--for a doctor’s appointment), you must send an email to [email protected] and send a copy to your child’s teacher.
Parents and caregivers can come to the office to pick up their children.
Extended Day Program and Early Birds
This year, the school plans to offer Early Birds, which runs from 7:15-8:15 am. Children attending Early Birds should check with staff for their wellness check before going to class.
This school year, FSH will offer the Extended Day Program in a modified form this fall. The school intends to keep the XD children from Heritage House and Schoolhouse separate for most of the afternoon. However, as attendance shrinks, the groups may combine.
This year, we are offering drop-in. The charge for drop-in is $30
Students can only attend XD on their pre-registered days. Students who attend XD will remain in their buildings most of the afternoon where the XD staff will join them.
To ensure adequate staffing, families with children with regular XD schedules need to pay on a monthly basis. Families will be asked to choose and adhere to a specific pick-up window to allow physical distancing during pick-up times. Any students not picked up by the 3:30 pm who are not registered for XD will be charged $30.
Campus Visitor policy
To maintain social distance and to limit cross-exposure to germs, we will limit the number of visitors on campus for any given event. In limited capacities, the school will host events that will allow parents and other visitors on campus. All parents and visitors are subject to a temperature and wellness check before entering the building, and everyone visiting campus must wear masks while indoors.
All families and caregivers will be asked to adhere to the specific drop-off and pick-up routines. Individual on-campus admissions tours and visits will take place. All visitors, including parents, guardians, and caregivers of current students, must come to the Main Office when they come to campus.
Coordinate teachers will provide in-person instruction to students in all grade levels. While indoors, students will be socially distanced and masked.
Meeting for Worship
This year, the preschool through fifth-grade children will resume attending Meeting for Worship in the Meetinghouse, classrooms, and outdoors, which occurs for 15 minutes every Thursday morning.
Outdoor Space & Recess
Children in Heritage House and Schoolhouse will have staggered recess and outdoor time. Given current CDC guidance, students will be allowed to play outdoors unmasked while socially distancing. However, the school will monitor community transmission rates to determine a need to mask while outdoors.
Given that all students will spend time outdoors over the school day, families are asked to apply sunscreen and bug spray to their children before school each morning.
Temperature & Wellness Checks
Friends School Haverford will ask families to participate in a daily temperature/wellness check. Every morning, families must complete their child's health check using the FeverFree App that includes their child’s temperature and a wellness checklist. (The list 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 that day. In this case, the child must share a negative COVID-19 test.
- Additionally, any child whose household members exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to attend school. In this case, the child must (a) self-quarantine for 14 days beginning the day of reported symptoms or (b) share a negative COVID-19 test.
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.
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 all adults who may drop your child off understand this vital requirement.
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.
Social distancing in classroom spaces
CDC recommends schools maintain at least three feet of physical distance between students within classrooms. When three feet physical distancing is not possible, having other layers of preventative measures such as masking, hand washing, and ventilation will reduce transmission risks.
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 & Disinfection
The school buildings are cleaned each evening, and this routine now includes increased attention to high touch surfaces and high traffic areas.
Water fountains will not be in use this year. Please be sure your child comes to school with a reusable water bottle that is filled before school. 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 or afternoon.
At lunch, students will put their used masks 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.
Signs and Symptoms of COVID
FSH’s primary obligation is to the safety and health of all its students, families, and faculty/staff. Given what we know about how COVID-19 is spread, every family, student, faculty, and staff member must commit to staying home when they are ill. At the same time, we recognize that the symptoms of COVID-19 overlap with those of other common childhood illnesses. This link provides a symptoms flowchart to help explain how the school will determine who stays home and how long.
Procedures for Children with Symptoms
Any person who may become ill or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day will be brought to the Nurse’s Office, which has expanded to include two rooms this year. The Nurse’s Office is removed from classroom spaces and isolated to limit exposure. When Haverford Township School District nurses Mary Mellon Somers and Charlene Turner are not on campus, an administrator will oversee any student who needs to be in the Nurse’s Office. Families and caregivers will be contacted immediately.
Students with symptoms must be picked up from school within 60 minutes of being notified by an FSH staff member. In consultation with our nurses, an administrator will determine when a student can safely return to campus and communicate with the family.
Families will be asked to provide two additional emergency contacts who can pick up their child from school in the event of illness. Please begin making plans for this potential situation now.
Procedure for People who have had Exposure
If an FSH student has been exposed to an individual with COVID-19, the school will require that student stay home until 14 days have passed since the last contact with this person. During this quarantine or any other time away from campus due to illness, the student will engage in distance learning.
Suppose an FSH student has a fever or symptoms of COVID-19. In that case, they will need to stay home until they have a negative test result or a doctor’s note indicating an alternative diagnosis and stating that they are medically cleared to return to school.
Procedure for People who have COVID-19
If a student, faculty, or staff member contracts COVID-19, FSH will alert families, faculty, and staff and promptly contact local health officials to determine the length of school closure and required cleaning/sanitation protocol. Our nurses and administrators will handle all communications regarding potential exposure on campus. They will protect individuals’ confidentiality.
As the number of cases of COVID-19 fluctuates, FSH will continue to look to local and state guidelines to keep students on campus. However, the School reserves the right to close our campus and move to distance learning at any time it deems that the shift is in the best interest of the health and safety of its students, faculty, and staff.
Definitions: Quarantine and Isolation
Quarantine if you have been in close contact (within six feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over 24 hours) with someone who has COVID-19 unless you have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms, and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
Isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected.
People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, stay in a specific “sick room” or area, and use a separate bathroom (if available).
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). COVID-19 Guidance for Safe Schools. (2021 July 18). Retrieved August 5, 2021
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Guidance for Covid-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools. (2021, July 9)
Pennsylvania Department of Health. Public Health Recommendations for People Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19. (2021 July 30)David Rubin, Meredith Matone, Deanna Marshall, Jeffrey Gerber, and Susan Coffin for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) PolicyLab. Policy Review: Evidence and Guidance for In-person Schooling during the COVID-19 Pandemic (2021 July).