How are we keeping students safe as they return to our campus for the 2020-21 school year?
We have employed a methodology, based on expert advice and in line with government guidelines, called 'Stop, Protect, React'. This is a series of protective measures that are aimed at keeping our students and staff safe while allowing us to focus primarily on creating the best possible learning experiences for our students. This methodology works only with the collaboration of all of our community members under our core value of 'working together, because without us all we're nothing'. Read on to learn more.
Our first measure is to stop the virus from entering the school. Therefore our first line of defence is regular testing. All students and staff who enter the building are tested weekly, with the possibility of stepping up the frequency of testing if a case of Covid-19 is identified within the school. Non-staff adults are not permitted to enter our school building until further notice.
Further more, testing is backed up by data provided by parents for each of their children via a mobile app. The app also serves as a platform for communicating test results and implementing daily assessment of risk.
At the entrance to the school, one can find our final boundary protection in the form of ID checking, which is linked to the results from testing, app data and thermal scan via overhead camera, to permit entry to school. Students then disinfect their hands and walk on disinfecting mats as the last step before entering school.
Our next measure against Coronavirus is to prevent any potential case from spreading inside the building. To achieve this we have divided our student body into three cohorts - elementary school, middle school and high school. Students in these cohorts are limited to moving within defined areas of the building, and may not enter another cohort at any time. Use of common spaces is also carefully managed to avoid cohort cross over.
Masks are also worn in common spaces like hallways, offices and the cafeteria. In classrooms, teachers and students wear masks. All classrooms and common areas are regularly cleaned and disinfected.
We have deployed touch-free technology throughout school, installing automatic outer doors, water and hand-sanitizer dispensers in the hallways, and soap dispensers in bathrooms. Newly installed signage helps remind students to maintain social distancing. In the cafeteria, meals are served in reusable lunchboxes and must be pre-ordered.
If a Covid-19 infection is identified within our community, we are ready to respond to it. Depending on the situation, a group of students may be temporarily excluded from school until they can be retested and returned to school. Our response may also involve closing a cohort or the whole school until retesting allows us to reopen.
In a group, cohort, or whole school closure, we will initiate our Virtual School approach and communicate how learning will continue until the threat or exposure is mitigated.
Our goal will be to return to school as soon as possible when medical evidence suggests it is safe.