Contingency Planning

Dear Parents,

As we are getting closer to reopening I know that parents have the pandemic and COVID-19 on their minds. With our students' safety at the top of my mind, I want to share with you some of the contingency plans we have been working on, for example, in the event that someone in our School community is diagnosed with COVID-19 or shows symptoms of COVID-19. Please see below our procedures if someone on campus is suspected of having COVID-19.

What will the School do if someone gets COVID-19?
If a student, staff member, or School visitor is suspected of/shows symptoms of COVID-19, that person will be sent home or to a medical professional as soon as possible. If the person is a child or cannot leave immediately, the individual will be immediately sent to isolation in the new School clinic (located in the Lower School building). The School Nurse, using proper isolation techniques, will evaluate the individual and contact a parent or other person to come pick them up.

What about notifying local health officials?
In the event that a student, staff member, or School visitor is confirmed to have COVID-19, it's very likely that local health authorities know first and notify the School of the situation. But in the event that the School learns of a diagnosis, we will immediately notify local health officials.

Will the School close if there's a COVID-19 case? For how long?
In the event that there is a COVID-19 case among our School community, School administration will work with local health authorities to determine the best course of action, including whether some or all parts of our campus/facilities must close and, if so, how long to close.

It's likely that students and most staff members will be dismissed for 2-3 days in order to allow local health officials to evaluate the situation and for School custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected areas.

Will the students switch to Spartan Distance Learning?
School administration will work closely with local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including how long the School must remain closed. Most likely, students and most staff members will need to be dismissed only for up to 2-3 days. However, depending on the details of the situation, it's possible that an extended dismissal might be needed to stop or slow further spread of COVID-19. If this is the case, distance learning would go in to effect.

How will I find out if my child was in contact with the infected person?
In the event that a member of the School community is found to have COVID-19, the School will conduct School and facility contact tracing to determine all of the individuals with whom the infected person may have come into close contact (per CDC guidelines), and each area of campus that may be affected. The School will immediately and proactively reach out to any individuals who may have been in close contact with the infected individual, or to their parent/guardian.

Then what?
School custodial staff will follow protocols laid out by the CDC and in the Florida Department of Education's “Reopening Florida’s Schools and the CARES Act” guide to clean and disinfect all areas that might have been exposed, including classrooms, offices, faculty lounges, bathrooms, common areas, playgrounds, etc.

If the infected person(s) has been on a School-owned/operated bus, CDC guidelines for sanitization of non-emergency transport vehicles will be followed.

Depending on how long the School is closed, we will communicate to the School community throughout the closure regarding what is being done, status, and next steps.

As soon as possible, School administration will communicate to the School community the expected reopening date and whether or not there will be a transition to distance learning.

Generally, there is no need for long-term closure. Once sanitization is complete, facilities can be re-occupied immediately. However, School administration will work closely with local health officials to determine the best course of action, and will communicate that to the community.

St. Johns faculty and staff have spent the summer preparing lesson plans, buildings, cleaning protocols, and much more to ensure the comfort and safety of our students and staff when we return to school on August 11. However, I understand that some students or their families may have medical issues or other factors that inhibit their return to campus next month. If you don't feel comfortable with your child returning to campus on August 11, please contact your Division Head no later than Friday, July 31 to register for distance learning.

As always, please let me know if you have thoughts or any other questions.

All the best,
Valorie Baker
Head of School