Mask Optional Policy & Additional Updates & Reminders Regarding Aidan's COVID Protocols

Emailed to Aidan Community on March 9, 2022

Dear Aidan Community,

On March 8th, the DC Department of Health (DC DOH) decided to follow the CDC in removing the mask mandate for persons who are living in LOW or MEDIUM transmission areas, including schools.

As of Thursday, March 10, Aidan Montessori School will be adopting a “mask optional” policy for all students and staff. (Read Kevin's Announcement Here)

Those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe COVID should wear masks when DC is in MEDIUM transmission. DC is currently in LOW transmission. To track the transmission status of DC, please use this CDC link whenever you would like. I will be sure to continually look at this to monitor our area. The DC DOH has also expressed that physical distancing is generally no longer necessary for people in educational facilities. 

Please take note of the following (8) updates and reminders detailed below in response to this shift in Aidan's mask policy.

1. COVID-19 Vaccinations (Reminder)

The DOH and CDC continue to express that vaccination is the most important thing one can do to prevent severe illness that can accompany COVID-19. As stated previously, it will be a requirement for all eligible students and staff to be up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations for enrollment in the upcoming 2022-2023 school year.

If your child is up-to-date on their COVID vaccination or recently received their vaccination, then please be sure to upload any documentation to the Magnus Health App.

2. Staying Home When Sick (Update)

The following persons must not attend or enter the school:

  • Those experiencing COVID-like symptoms or symptoms of another infectious illness, regardless of vaccination or previous diagnosis status.
  • Anyone who is required to isolate or quarantine due to a COVID-19 diagnosis or exposure.
  • Anyone who is awaiting results of a COVID-19 test due to symptoms. Once the results have come back, are negative, AND the child feels well enough to participate in the life of the classroom, they may return to school.

The school has the right to exclude any student or staff member from school based on symptoms or other indications. The school also has the right to ask any student or staff member to wear a mask at school due to symptoms, being in the Nurse’s office, and/or other indications. While masks are now optional, please continue to keep a couple extra masks in your child’s backpack in case they need them.

3. Quarantine & Test-to-Stay (If Exposed to COVID-19) (Update)

Those individuals who are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination or have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 90 days will not need to quarantine after exposure, unless they become symptomatic.

We will be continuing with the Test-to-Stay (TTS) program for those asymptomatic, unvaccinated students who are exposed to a positive case in their classroom or at ASP. Exposures to children that happen in the home or outside of school will not be eligible to participate in TTS and the exposed children must quarantine. 

There will be minor differences in the Test-to-Stay than was previously enacted with the Mulberry classroom. As some students will not be masked while in school, it will no longer be a requirement for both students to be masked to qualify for TTS. Additionally, those who are participating in TTS will be allowed to attend ASP, although they must be separated from other students while maskless and eating snack.

Students participating in TTS will be required to wear a face mask during school hours and ASP. Other than that, the TTS program will be the same, and more information about it can be found here

Community members will be asked to wear a mask for 10 days following the COVID-19 exposure. As a reminder, this means that sending your child to ASP increases the possibility that they will be exposed to a positive individual, from other classes, and will be at increased risk to participate in Test-to-Stay and be required to wear a mask.

Primary and Elementary Students:

For those who are a close contact to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, and/or not eligible for the TTS program, must stay out of school for a minimum of 5 days. They may return to school after 5 days (Day 6 after exposure) if there is a COVID test done on day 5, the results come back negative, and they remain asymptomatic. If no test is done, they may return to school on Day 11, after 10 days of quarantining. All test results must continue to be sent to Nurse Lexi.

Toddler Students:

Per DC DOH guidelines (page 2-3), our Toddler community students are not eligible for the Test-to-Stay program. After an exposure, students under the age of 2 years old, will be asked to stay home for 10 days, returning on Day 11 after exposure. For those toddler students who are 2 years and older, the minimum length of quarantine is 5 days. They may return to school after 5 days (Day 6 after exposure) if there is a COVID test done on day 5, the results come back negative, and they remain asymptomatic. If the individual is not tested, they must stay home for a full 10 days, returning on Day 11 after exposure.

4. Isolation Guidelines (Symptomatic or COVID-19 Positive) (Reminder)

Any person who is required to isolate due to COVID-19 symptoms or diagnosis must not attend, work at, or visit an educational facility due to the risk of exposing others. They should isolate at home and consult with their healthcare provider for testing and care as needed.

A person who is awaiting a COVID-19 test due to symptoms of COVID-19 must not attend, work at, or visit an educational facility until their test comes back negative.

At this time, we will continue to follow the charts that outline these guidelines below: 

5. School Visitor Policy Updates (Update)

Beginning after spring break and given the results of our community testing on March 28, we are hoping to welcome visitors back into our building. This policy will be modified from our 2019 open visitor policy. To provide consistency for the children, we will not be inviting parents into the building at arrival and dismissal. 

Any visitors or parents that come into the school will need to be pre-approved and must provide proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 test results that have been taken in the past 24 hours before entering the building. Any visitor who does not submit test results OR that is experiencing symptoms, but has tested negative for COVID-19 in their pre-visit test will be asked to wear a mask while they visit. The school may require any visitor to wear a mask while they are inside the building. Once inside the building, visitors will have to follow the standard protocols, which include signing in at the front desk and wearing a visitor badge.

6. Magnus App & Arrival/Dismissal (Reminder)

We will continue to have families fill out the Magnus App each morning before coming to school. We have found, especially recently, that it brings awareness to parents of when to keep their children home from school. Nurse Lexi will continue to check that it has been completed by 7:45 AM. Any questionnaires that have not been completed at that time should expect to show their ‘GO’ or ‘STOP’ pop-up at their designated arrival area each morning.

As to avoid changing too many variables at the same time, we will keep the arrival and dismissal plans as they are right now. We will continue to have the classes go into their designated doors, and check in with their teachers before entering the building. The community will be notified about any arrival and dismissal changes that take place in the future.

7. Travel (Update)

At this time, there has not been any update in guidelines for travel, but we will continue to monitor for any changes. We will continue to follow the guidelines we have set out about travel, with a minor update on domestic travel for non up-to-date or unvaccinated persons. 

Any persons who are not up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccine or are unvaccinated will be asked to test 3-5 days after their return from domestic or international travel, and quarantine while waiting for their results to come back. Once the results come back, they are negative, and as long as the person remains asymptomatic, they may return to school. 

For persons who are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccine or those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days, there is no need for testing or quarantine following domestic travel as long as they do not have any symptoms. 

For persons who are up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccine or those who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the previous 90 days that travel internationally, they should get tested 3-5 days after their return home, but do not need to participate in a quarantine.

8. Weekly Testing (Update)

At this time, the school plans to finish the weekly testing after next Tuesday, March 15. We will still move forward with our community testing for all students on Monday, March 28 following spring break.

If DC transmission moves back to MEDIUM or HIGH, we will consider bringing back the testing as deemed necessary. 

We will continue to monitor this fluid situation. We will take into consideration the level of transmission in both the Aidan Community and the Greater DC community to determine the need to make any further changes both more stringent or more flexible. Any changes made will be publicized to the community before going into effect. 

As a community, we respect individual decisions about whether to mask or unmask. We encourage you to discuss this policy shift with family and make a decision that works best for you and your children. In accordance with the values of Aidan Montessori School, we will model acceptance and inclusion. Please see Mr. Clark’s communication in School Notes, which also includes tips from Ms. Labson about how to help your child through this time of change.

We look forward to seeing these changes in our community. We anticipate that it will greatly help with communication, learning, and connection. The school is grateful for your support. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Many thanks,

Nurse Lexi

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