Following the latest mandate from the D.C. Mayor regarding COVID-19 vaccination requirements, I am writing to you with important updates regarding Saint Anselm’s Abbey School’s COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement as well as some other Health and Safety Protocols.
COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement Update: Effective immediately, St. Anselm’s will require that all school employees and all students 12 years of age and older be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by November 1, 2021 (an individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving his final COVID -19 shot). A student who will turn 12 between September 20th and November 1st will need to be fully vaccinated before December 13th. A student turning 12 after November 1st will have 60 days from his birthday to be fully vaccinated.
Exemptions to the COVID -19 Vaccination Requirement:
Consistent with existing federal and local regulations regarding vaccination requirements, the School administration will consider requests for religious or medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement. Such exemption requests will be approved on a case-by-case basis. The deadline to request an exemption to the COVID -19 vaccination requirement is October 15, 2021.
To receive more information about the criteria and to initiate an exemption request please reach out to our school medic, Mr. Zack Delgado, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note the following regarding exemptions:
· Every school employee and student who receives an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement (as well as all students who are not yet age-eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine) will be required to wear a mask in the workplace/school.
· Every school employee and student who receives an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement (as well as all students who are not yet age-eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine) will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (rapid/antigen tests will not be accepted) once every week before reporting to work/school. Please note that the School administration is currently working on a way to offer weekly testing on campus at no cost to families/employees starting on Friday, October 1st. Individuals who miss the weekly on campus testing will still be required to submit their weekly test results by every Monday in order to be able to report to work/school. The School will send out additional information regarding testing requirement procedures in the next couple of days.
· In accordance with league policies, all unvaccinated students, including those who receive an exemption to the COVID-19 vaccination requirement, will not be allowed to participate in interscholastic athletics.
All students, faculty, staff, and essential visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a face mask at all times while on school grounds indoors, on school buses, and while participating in any school-related activities, including physical education, and intramurals.
Unvaccinated individuals will also be required to wear a mask outdoors, while vaccinated individuals are encouraged but not required to wear a mask outdoors. Everyone on campus (both vaccinated and unvaccinated) will continue to be required to adhere to the 6 feet of physical distancing outdoor (please refer to the health and safety plan for details on physical distancing rules in different school settings).
Face masks will not be required during the following specific scenarios:
- While actively eating and drinking during lunch time and designated mask breaks.
- While a faculty/staff member is alone in a private office.
Both surgical and nonmedical (cloth) masks can be used. Bandannas, neck gaiters and face masks with exhalation valves or vents are not considered acceptable face coverings and should not be used.
The school will have additional masks in stock to replace a student/employee’s mask as needed.
The school will provide students with outdoor mask breaks during lunch periods and other free times when adequate physical distance can be maintained.
In classrooms between students: Three feet of physical distancing will be implemented in between students in all classrooms. When needed, the three feet of physical distance between students in a classroom will be reduced to prioritize in-person attendance to all students. Teachers will continue to be 6 feet apart from students in all classrooms.
Three feet of physical distancing will also be implemented during school Masses and assemblies.
In all other common spaces and activities: Six feet of physical distancing will be implemented in all other common spaces including hallways, arrival and dismissal, and restrooms, as well as during other school-related activities including physical education classes, intramurals, athletics, and activities in which masks are not being worn such as during lunch and mask breaks.
Six feet of physical distancing will also be implemented across the school between all adults (faculty, staff, essential visitors), between adults and students, and between students from different classes
In school shuttles to and from the metro, athletic events, and student services: Three feet of physical distancing will be maintained at all times.
In school shuttles transporting students from Maryland and Virginia locations: The school will make the effort to maintain as much physical distancing as possible between students depending on the final number of students using the service, but 3 feet of physical distancing will not be guaranteed during these rides.
Cohorts and Lunch:
To prioritize in-person instruction, there will be no limits on the size of cohorts/classes.
To the extent possible, the school will keep students in the middle school within their assigned section every day for classes.
In the upper school, where students are enrolled in many different classes across the curriculum in Forms V and VI, the school will minimize the amount of unnecessary mixing as much as possible in these two grades but will not have specific cohorts but instead consider these two grades as one cohort. The same will be the case in forms III and IV grades but to a lesser extent.
All students will continue to eat and have their lunch break within their designated classes in a designated space either indoors or outdoors (or a combination of both) where in most cases 6 feet of physical distance between students will be available.
The school will not offer the traditional buffet style lunch but will provide individually packed lunches for families wishing to use this service.
Remote Learning for Students and Faculty Who Need to Comply with Covid-19 Safety Protocols:
This year the school will provide a remote learning option only to students and faculty that must miss in-person instruction to comply with Covid-19 safety protocols that will require an isolation/quarantine period and, as long as they are able (health wise) to engage in remote learning. To be accommodated, individuals will have to submit medical documentation to our school medic, Mr. Zack Delgado, confirming the need for isolation/quarantine due to Covid-19 exposure.
Individuals who have to miss a day or two of school due to experiencing Covid-19 like symptoms and having to wait for the results of a PCR test (or an alternate diagnosis), or those having to miss school for a couple of days due to any other illness will not have to engage in remote learning but just take a couple of “traditional” sick days and stay home but will still have to be cleared by a doctor and be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication before returning to school in person.
Periodic Covid-19 Screening Testing:
All unvaccinated faculty and staff as well as all unvaccinated students (both middle and high school) wishing to participate in high-risk sports as dictated by D.C. Department of Health (soccer, basketball, wrestling, and lacrosse) will be required to obtain and submit the results of a Covid-19 PCR test (antigen/rapid tests will not be accepted) once every other week. Individuals will be responsible for obtaining their own PCR test (via family doctors, local pharmacies, or testing sites) and submitting the results to our school Medic and Athletic Trainer Mr. Zack Delgado. The test results will be due by every other Wednesday at the latest starting on Wednesday, August 25th. The Wednesday schedule will give individuals the flexibility to obtain their tests over the weekends if needed.
Mr. Delgado will reach out to these individuals later this month to make sure everyone has been informed and is ready to comply with this requirement.
Unvaccinated individuals will not be required to quarantine after traveling to a high-risk area as long as they are asymptomatic but will still be required to obtain and submit a PCR test 3-5 days after returning from travel.
Visiting the School:
As we start a new school year yet again with a high rate of Covid-19 transmission in the D.C. area, the school will continue last year’s policy and only host essential visitors such as contractors, college counselors, and parents that have a private appointment with a faculty/staff member or with the admissions department. All essential visitors must comply with school safety protocols including mask wearing, physical distancing, and submitting a Covid-19 Symptoms Assessment before arriving to school.
*Parents and other family members will be welcome to school after school hours for athletic events (while this is permitted by D.C. Department of Health) but must comply with school safety protocols including mask wearing and physical distancing.
*All essential visitors and sports spectators experiencing Covid-19 like symptoms should not come to school.
Maintain Clean and Healthy Facilities:
The school’s cleaning crew will complete routine cleaning of rooms, objects, and surfaces, including high touch objects and surfaces (e.g., pens, keyboards, elevator buttons, light switches, handles, stair rails, faucets, phones, and doorknobs) on a daily schedule every evening after school hours.
All HVAC equipment will be on a quarterly preventive maintenance schedule. All classrooms and offices air ventilators will have a MERV-13 filter that will be replaced quarterly.
All classrooms and offices’ air purifier filters will be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
All water fountains in use will have a bottle filling feature and all water fountain filters will be replaced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Health and Safety Protocols:
Covid-19 Daily Symptoms Assessment:
All students, as well as faculty and staff, will be required to complete a Covid-19 Daily Symptoms Assessment via the magnus health app before arriving to school. Students’ assessments must be completed not later than 7:15 am every morning, faculty and staff most complete their assessment prior to arriving to school. Once completed, the assessment will provide feedback regarding attendance to school. If after completing the assessment you are directed not to attend school please stay home, report your absence to the main office, your teachers, and reach out to Mr. Delgado for follow up steps.
Becoming Ill While in School:
Individuals that become ill with Covid-19 like symptoms while in school (or arrive to school ill) will be immediately isolated, assessed for severe symptoms, and arrangements will be made for a prompt pick up (students) or sent home (faculty/staff). Before returning to school individuals will have to follow the return to school criteria provided by D.C. Department of Health and either obtain a negative *PCR test, an alternate diagnosis, and medical documentation confirming the individual has been cleared to return to school. For alternate diagnosis in which a fever was present, the individual must be fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications in addition to being cleared by a doctor before returning to school.
*For all scenarios in which a test is required to return to school after complying with Covid-19 safety protocols, only PCR tests will be accepted. Antigen/rapid tests will not be accepted.
If Diagnosed with Covid-19:
Any individual diagnosed with Covid-19 will be required to isolate for at least 10 days (unless a longer period is ordered by a doctor) from the day of symptoms onset or, if asymptomatic, from the day of the positive test result, regardless of vaccination status.
Covid-19 Point of Contact and Communications:
The school’s Covid-19 point of contact is our Medic and Athletic Trainer Mr. Zack Delgado. All families, faculty, and staff, as well as all essential visitors shall report any Covid-19 positive cases as well as any other Covid-19 related inquiries to Mr. Delgado. Mr. Delgado is also responsible for reporting all Covid-19 positive cases in the school community to the D.C. Department of Health and for leading all Covid-19 related contact tracing efforts in the school.
The school’s headmaster, Dr. Jim Power, in coordination with school healthcare personnel, will notify the entire school community via email of all positive Covid-19 cases reported to the school as well as all other corresponding actions taken such as quarantining of close contact individuals, cleaning and disinfecting, and return to school criteria after an individual becomes positive for Covid-19 or becomes a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case.