Health and Safety

COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan August 2022

Jennifer Sherman, Head of School

Patrick Janssen, Director of Operations

Last updated August 5, 2022

 

As we enter the academic year 2022-2023, we acknowledge that the virus that causes COVID-19 has a continued presence in our local communities and society at large, and therefore continues to be a prominent consideration in the health and safety planning at RVWS.  The pandemic has evolved over time, marked by new variants which have led to changes in the presentation and severity of symptoms for individuals, and modifications in recommendations from health experts, accordingly.  Our school’s response to the pandemic has changed over time as well.  Amidst all the changes, however, one thing has remained the same: we have continued to follow the guidance of the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) when making updates to our COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan, and we will continue to do so.

According to the CDC, schools should have in place the following strategies for daily operations to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including the virus that causes COVID-19.

Strategies to Reduce Transmission from the CDC

  • Vaccination is the leading public health prevention strategy to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.  Promoting vaccination can help schools maintain in-person learning as well as extracurricular activities and sports.  We encourage everyone to stay up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Screening, ventilation, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, staying home when sick and getting tested, contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation, and cleaning and disinfection are also important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
  • Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
  • Localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening, testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies (e.g., physical distancing, screening, and testing).
  • CDC Quarantine Recommendations: following exposure to someone with COVID-19:
    • Fully-vaccinated individuals  who have had a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 should get tested at least 5 days after the exposure, and wear a mask around others and watch for symptoms for 10 days.
    • Individuals who are not fully-vaccinated should stay home for 5 days after a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19, test on day 5 after exposure, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
    • Individuals who had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days do not need to quarantine after a known exposure unless symptoms develop, but should wear a mask around others and watch for symptoms for 10 days.
  • CDC Isolation Recommendations: if you test positive for COVID-19,
    • Regardless of vaccination status, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for 5 days.  Isolation may end after 5 days if individuals are fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving.


If a student is staying home due to COVID-19 quarantine or isolation, please report this to the school administration by emailing both Pat Janssen at  pjanssen@rivervalleyschool.org AND Jessica Harper at attendance@rivervalleyschool.org

COVID-19 Community Levels and Associated Prevention Strategies

Community Levels of Risk

The CDC currently examines the combination of three metrics—new COVID-19 hospital admissions, the percent of inpatient beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, and total new COVID-19 cases in the community—to determine the COVID-19 community level of risk.  Using these data, the COVID-19 community level is classified as low, medium, or high.

Currently (as of 8/5/2022), Bucks and Northampton Counties in PA, and Hunterdon County in NJ, are in the MEDIUM level of community risk for COVID-19.

Masking

Low Community Level

  • Individuals will have the option to wear a mask indoors and outdoors based on their personal preference, and informed by their personal level of risk.
  • Shaming, questioning, 0r bullying anyone who chooses to wear a mask, or not wear a mask, at any time will not be tolerated.

Medium Community Level

  • Individuals who are  immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness should talk to their healthcare provider about additional precautions, such as wearing masks or respirators indoors in public.
  • Shaming, questioning, 0r bullying anyone who chooses to wear a mask, or not wear a mask, at any time will not be tolerated.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will not be required to wear masks outdoors on school grounds.

High Community Level

  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be required to wear well-fitting masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be encouraged, but not required to wear masks outdoors on school grounds. 

State guidelines permit an exemption for students with a disability or medical conditions that contraindicate the use of masks. River Valley requires a note from a parent or guardian for any such exemption. 

Physical Distancing

Low Community Level

  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will not be required to distance when indoors or outdoors.

Medium Community Level

  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will not be required to distance when indoors or outdoors

High Community Level

  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be required to wear well-fitting masks and maintain a safe physical distance from others indoors, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be encouraged  to wear masks and physically distance outdoors on school grounds.

Close Contact and Quarantine 

  • The definition of a close contact is an individual who was within 3 to 6 feet of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes cumulatively or continuously or more in a 24 hour period AND the exposed individual is unvaccinated AND a mask was not worn. According to the CDC, the close contact definition excludes vaccinated individuals and students who were within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student when both individuals were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting face masks and other school prevention strategies (e.g. increased ventilation, correct mask use, and physical distancing) are in place. 
  • Quarantine should be used for unvaccinated students, teachers, and staff who might have been exposed to COVID-19, and it is determined that masking and/or physical distancing protocols were compromised. Close contacts should quarantine unless they are fully vaccinated, or have tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered in the last 90 days, and do not have symptoms and it is determined that masking and/or physical distancing protocols were compromised.

RVWS Protocols

The following are the protocols that River Valley has adopted in the event of possible COVID-19 infection during the academic year 2022-2023.

 

If Then
A student develops flu-like symptoms overnight at home
  • Student stays home from school.
  • Family consults with their health care provider for evaluation and determination if COVID-19 testing is recommended.
A student shows symptoms of COVID-19 at school
  • Teacher removes student from classroom and notifies administration.
  • Administration team member takes student to infirmary until transportation can be arranged to send student home or seek emergency medical attention.
  • Parent(s), guardian(s) or caregiver(s) of ill student notified to pick up student.
  • Family consults with their health care provider for evaluation and determination if testing is recommended.
  • Exposed areas are cleaned and disinfected.
A student shows symptoms of COVID-19 and receives a negative COVID-19 test result.
  • Student returns to school when fever free for at least 24 hours with no fever-reducing medication and once symptoms have improved.
Parents report that their child has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Regardless of vaccination status, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should stay home for 5 days.  Isolation may end after 5 days if individuals are fever-free for 24 hours (without fever-reducing medication) and symptoms are improving.
  • Close contacts to positive individuals will be notified, but we will no longer send emails to the entire community to report positive cases.
  • If a student is staying home due to COVID-19 quarantine or isolation, please report this to the school administration by emailing both Pat Janssen at  pjanssen@rivervalleyschool.org AND Jessica Harper at attendance@rivervalleyschool.org 
Parents report that a family member of an RV student has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Fully-vaccinated individuals  who have had a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 should get tested at least 5 days after the exposure, and wear a mask around others and watch for symptoms for 10 days.
  • Individuals who are not fully-vaccinated should stay home for 5 days after a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19, test on day 5 after exposure, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
  • Individuals who had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days do not need to quarantine after a known exposure unless symptoms develop, but should wear a mask around others and watch for symptoms for 10 days.
Parents report that an RVWS student has been exposed (or may have been exposed) to COVID-19 outside of school.
  • Fully-vaccinated individuals  who have had a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19 should get tested at least 5 days after the exposure, and wear a mask around others and watch for symptoms for 10 days.
  • Individuals who are not fully-vaccinated should stay home for 5 days after a known exposure to someone with confirmed COVID-19, test on day 5 after exposure, and wear a mask around others for 5 additional days.
  • Individuals who had confirmed COVID-19 and recovered within the past 90 days do not need to quarantine after a known exposure unless symptoms develop, but should wear a mask around others and watch for symptoms for 10 days.
Parents report that a family member of an RVWS student has been exposed (or may have been exposed) to COVID-19.
  • The same protocol will be carried out as if a student has been exposed (or may have been exposed) to COVID-19.
A student asks about a classmate who has been absent for several days.
  • The teacher will use discretion in responding, being mindful not to violate FERPA regulations (i.e. do not disclose personally identifiable information).
A student reports to the class that a peer has COVID-19, or is in quarantine because a s/he or a family member has been exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • The teacher will use discretion in responding, being mindful not to violate FERPA regulations (i.e. do not disclose personally identifiable information). 
A student or teacher plans to travel domestically or internationally
  • CDC recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated, because travel increases your chance of getting
  • During travel:
    • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth and physically distance when possible.
  • After domestic or international travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test if your travel involved situations with a greater risk of exposure, such as being in crowded spaces while not wearing a well-fitting mask
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all  state and local  recommendations or requirements.
A teacher tests positive for COVID-19.
  • The same protocol will be carried out as if a student in the class has tested positive. 
  • Substitute coverage for remote instruction will be arranged for the teacher as necessary.
The family member of a teacher tests positive for COVID-19.
  • The same protocol will be carried out as if a family member of a student in the class has tested positive.
Field Trips are planned
  • Despite the fact that field trips and all-school gatherings pose more health risks to the community than eliminating these events altogether, it is acknowledged that the carrying out of certain capstone events and celebrations is foundational to the RVWS experience. The school’s administration is charged with the review of proposed events and the implementation of procedures that will ensure maximum safety for all concerned. Anyone wishing to schedule an event on campus that does not adhere strictly to the guidelines listed within this plan should issue a request in writing, with proposed safety protocols included, to Pat Janssen at pjanssen@rivervalleyschool.org.

Ongoing Review of the Plan

  • Staff will periodically review all elements of this Health & Safety Plan and are encouraged to reach out to Pat Janssen, Director of Operations, with any questions or concerns.
  • This plan will be reviewed monthly by the school’s administration, and will be updated in light of evolving guidance from the CDC, the State of Pennsylvania, and the Bucks County Health Department.

Resources

Please read, become familiar with, and periodically refer to the following resources to better understand the bases for our COVID-19 policies, and the conditions that would require us to make changes to our Health and Safety Plan in the future.

CDC Community Levels

CDC Community Levels by County

CDC Guidance for K-12 Schools

CDC Guidance for Travel

CDC Quarantine and Isolation

    1395 Bridgeton Hill Rd
    Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972
    610-982-5606

    Summer Hours (beginning 6/13/22)

    9 am - 1 pm Monday thru Thursday

    Contact River Valley

    River Valley Waldorf School
    1395 Bridgeton Hill Rd
    Upper Black Eddy, PA 18972
    610-982-5606
    Contact River Valley

    © River Valley Waldorf School