Health and Safety
The American Academy of Pediatrics “strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school.” The AAP’s recommendation is based on the importance of being in school for students’ socio-emotional health, academic achievement, and physical activity.
At Canterbury School, we agree that having school together in person is vital to the intellectual, physical, and socio-emotional health of our students. We will start the school year together, but to remain together, we must remain healthy as a community. We must all take responsibility for our community’s health through safe and careful actions and responsible travel away from school. Otherwise, the health and safety mitigations we take when on campus will be rendered ineffective.
Additionally, while the safety of our students and families is paramount, in order to be able to do great things together on campus, we need a healthy staff. As much as the children, these policies are intended to protect our teachers and administrators who are committed to being on campus with our students, as well as parents and other family members at home.
These policies are our starting point for the 2020-21 school year, but it is likely that they will evolve as we learn through experience, as guidance changes from the CDC and other health organizations, and as our local environment changes with regard to COVID-19. We pledge to communicate as swiftly and clearly as we can, and we ask parents’ flexibility and patience, as some changes may come with little notice.
After reviewing these health and safety protocols, current Canterbury parents must sign the form that will be assigned to them in CLAW acknowledging their understanding of the policies and procedures below.
Canterbury is hiring a nurse for this school year who will be in regular communication with the staff and parents with medical updates and individual concerns as needed.
We are establishing two spaces with fold-out beds to be able to offer a resting spot for children who are ill and awaiting pickup.
- We will share in the responsibility for making sure students come to school healthy with a combination of at-home screening and screening by faculty at school.
- Parents will be asked to check temperatures and for COVID-19 symptoms before sending children to school.
- Additionally, faculty will be doing temperature checks each day. If a student’s temperature is 100 or above, the student will be assessed by the school nurse.
- Parents must keep sick students at home for 24 hours after a fever related to any illness subsides without the use of anti-fever medicines.
- If the nurse or administration believes that a student or employee should be further evaluated for COVID-19, they will be asked to quarantine in the designated sick room.
- For students, the nurse or administration will call the student’s parents for pickup.
- For employees, school leadership will coordinate with the employee to manage followup.
- Masks will be required for all students, Kindergarten-8th grade. Students should bring a backup mask, as well. Cubs and PreK students are required to bring masks and will practice wearing them in a limited way over the course of the year.
- Masks must cover a student’s nose, mouth, and chin and provide as much coverage of the cheeks as possible.
- We encourage students to wear masks that are comfortable for them and fit them well, while expressing their personal style. Graphics must be school-appropriate, and no text or advertisements will be allowed. Masks with valves are not allowed, nor are scarves, bandanas, or neck gaiters. Canterbury will provide one reusable mask per student and will have disposable masks available for temporary use, if necessary. Additional Canterbury-approved/branded masks will be available for purchase in the school store.
- Students whose masks do not meet these guidelines will be provided a disposable mask for the day and will be asked to return the following day with an appropriate mask.
- Students will take frequent mask breaks throughout the day, especially younger students, and there will be a safe zone where a student can remove their mask for immediate temporary relief before returning to the rest of the group. Students will be permitted at outdoor lunch, recess, and outdoor PE to play without masks as they maintain a safe social distance.
- Canterbury will have hand sanitizer stations at the entrances to every building and classroom. Students will be asked to bring personal sanitizer for use at their desks.
- Canterbury will require students to wash hands or use hand sanitizer each time they enter and exit class.
- We will rely on parents to promote the same hygienic practices students will use at school, including washing hands regularly, keeping hands away from their face, avoiding the sharing of personal items, and covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or bent arm and washing hands immediately after.
- The school will employ additional janitorial support who will clean high-touch surfaces throughout the entire school day -- doorknobs, bathrooms, desks, etc.
- Schoolwide disinfections will occur in the evenings multiple times weekly through the use of a disinfecting mist with 72 hours of ongoing antiviral power.
Classroom safety and dynamics
- We are preparing our spacious campus for outdoor classes and teachers will hold classes outside often.
- Windows will be opened as much as possible to allow ventilation. Students will need to be prepared this year to dress for the weather, as classrooms may be colder or warmer than they are used to.
- Student desks and tables for kindergarten-8th grade will be distanced as much as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children keep a safe distance of three to six feet, and we will strive for six feet wherever possible.
- Plexiglass desk and table cubicles (24” high) will be set up for every student in every room in K-8th grade, adding an extra barrier for protection when students are in the classroom.
- Some common spaces may be repurposed into classrooms to provide the appropriate social distancing for students.
- Teachers will need to maintain a six-foot social distance from children and other adults for their own safety and the health of our school community.
- Students will have assigned seats in all of the places where they do academic work and even for less formal elements of school life to facilitate contact tracing, should the need arise.
- Children will not share supplies or food. Water fountains have been turned off. Students should bring their own water bottles, which can be refilled in classroom sinks.
Visitors and volunteers
- We will suspend nearly all of our volunteer programs for now and limit visitors to keep the people inside our buildings to our staff and students only. Parent fobs have been turned off, and we will let you know when or if we are able to reinstate them. Parents will need to pick up and drop off during school hours exclusively at the administration office.
- In-person parent-teacher meetings and conferences will be held primarily over Zoom and other digital media for our staff and parents’ safety and protection.
- We ask for Canterbury families’ good faith commitment to our school community’s health via their decisions about travel, participation in large social gatherings, mask wearing, etc. In order to keep our school community safe and on campus together, we all must be smart, informed, and if necessary, quarantine ourselves and our families in order to keep the rest of the Canterbury community safe.
- It is important for us as a community to be empathetic and supportive toward each other in the upcoming school year and always. It will be an especially sensitive year for us in regards to illness and your partnership in following these protocols. Keeping in close communication with Canterbury and informing us of illness (of any kind) will be the best way we can mitigate the spread of COVID-19, should someone in our community become infected.
Daily School Life
Dropoff and pickup
- Multiple doors will be used to control crowding during drop off and pickup times. In the lower school, students will enter via their classrooms’ external doors. In the middle school, there will be multiple points of entry for each building.
- Carpool policies ensuring social distancing will be released to parents in August.
- When at all possible, we will be moving teachers rather than students. Children will be grouped in cohorts almost exclusively, so as to stay in the same spaces together throughout the school day and school week as the teachers travel to them.
- Lower school teachers will utilize their external doors and keep hallway use to a minimum. When middle school students must be in the hallways, they will do so on a staggered schedule that reduces general traffic. Middle school hallway traffic will be run in a single direction.
Chapel, assemblies, and performances
- Large in-person gatherings will be suspended, until further notice.
- The school will gather small numbers of students for chapel services, which will be held at the outdoor chapel as long as weather permits. Services will be shared electronically for viewing in classrooms by students not able to attend.
- 8th grade sermons, one of our program’s capstone experiences, will continue.
- We will be exploring digital venues for student performances until we can resume ensemble activities and parent gatherings.
Strong advice from our medical professionals is that trips on school buses and exposure to the public are not recommended for now. This applies to field trips, service learning, and athletics.
While students will not be able to engage in service learning off campus, our faculty will provide meaningful ways for them to connect with our community while safely at a distance.
Specialist teachers will travel to the students’ homerooms, and will be encouraged to use outdoor spaces for music, art, and world language instruction.
PE, recess, and interscholastic athletics
- We believe strongly in the value of physical education for students’ socio-emotional development. As a result, Canterbury will hold physical education classes in 2020-21. These will occur almost exclusively outdoors and at a distance.
- Recess will occur regularly in staggered schedules on playing fields and the playground; playgrounds will be sanitized between uses. Lower school students will wash their hands before and after recess.
- Interscholastic athletics are suspended through the end of the fall season, and we will make further decisions later in the school year. Our medical task force does not recommend interscholastic athletics due to visitors (home and away) on campus, the difficulty of bus travel, and close contact between students.
- Students will eat lunch with the homeroom groups. Lunch will be taken outside as often as possible (including in jackets!) and otherwise will be eaten in classrooms when weather or circumstances don’t permit.
- Hot Lunch will be suspended until further notice. We hope to be able to start this program later in the school year.
- Parents are asked to send any food and water necessary for the day to school with students in personalized containers. We ask parents of younger students to practice opening containers with their children to minimize the need for teacher assistance.
Extended Day and Encore
- Extended Day will be held for regularly enrolled students, with no drop-ins allowed. Cubs, PreK and kindergarten Extended Day will take place in Stafford Hall. Extended Day for 1st-8th grades will occur in the Extended Day cottage, with a maximum of 8-10 students per room. Parents will call for their child or children, and students will be walked to the door to meet them.
- Encore after-school activities will be suspended until further notice.
Isolation and Quarantine Policies and Procedures
Isolation is a term applied to students and adults who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 by positive test or medical provider diagnosis based on symptoms. Quarantine applies to students or adults with known exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been involved in high-risk activities. The practices of isolation and quarantine are similar, with students and adults asked to remain at home and away from contact with others. However, CDC recommendations differ because of the natural progression of the disease from exposure to contagious period to safe re-entry.
These policies and procedures are based on current best practices in the summer of 2020, and are subject to change at any point hereafter, based on the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC and state and local authorities.
A student who is sent home by the school nurse or administrators with symptoms including, but not limited to, fever, cough or respiratory symptoms, fatigue, muscle ache, or stomach symptoms, must be seen by a medical provider. The medical provider can determine if the student is safe to return to school with a note or diagnose a likely case of COVID-19 through symptoms or a positive test. Siblings also must go home when a student is sent home with symptoms requiring further evaluation. Siblings must remain at home until the student is deemed safe to return to school or the end of their own exposure-related quarantine.
If a student who has been attending school is diagnosed by a medical provider with COVID-19 based on the presence of disease-related symptoms, the student and siblings (if applicable), must remain in isolation at home for 14 calendar days. If the medical provider believes testing is needed for accurate diagnosis, the student must remain in isolation until the test results are known. If the test results are positive, students must isolate for a total of 14 days from the onset of symptoms. If the test results are negative, the student may return to school, if approved by their medical provider.
If a student must isolate because of their diagnosis of COVID-19, due to a positive test or medical provider’s evaluation of symptoms, their cohort classmates and homeroom teacher (in the lower school) also must quarantine for 14 calendar days from the date of exposure to the infected child. Classwork will continue via distance learning. Teachers who have not spent full days with an affected group of students will be evaluated individually.
Classmates who do not develop symptoms during quarantine may return to school 14 days from the date of exposure. Classmates who do develop symptoms, as diagnosed by a medical provider or positive test, may return to school at the end of the 14 day period if they are fever-free without medicine for at least 24 hours AND it is 10 days after the onset of symptoms, or they have had two negative COVID-19 tests more than 24 hours apart.
The student originally diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to school after 14 days, if they have been fever free for at least 24 hours.
If a teacher who spends a significant portion of classroom time with a class must isolate because of a diagnosis of COVID-19, due to a positive test or medical provider’s evaluation of symptoms, their class also must quarantine for 14 days from the date of last exposure. Classwork can continue via distance learning. If the teacher is not well enough to teach, a substitute may be able to teach the class remotely. Groups of students who have not spent significant classroom time with affected teachers will be evaluated individually.
Additionally, students and faculty must quarantine for 14 calendar days under the following circumstances:
- A household member, such as a sibling, is isolating because of a positive test or medical provider diagnosis of COVID-19
- A close contact (greater than 15 minutes, less than six feet apart, even masked), such as a playmate or relative not in their household, is isolating because of a positive test or medical provider diagnosis of COVID-19
Canterbury students and faculty must quarantine for 14 days, starting from the date of last close contact with the infected person. Students can return at the end of 14 days if they have not developed symptoms. Students who do develop symptoms, as diagnosed by a medical provider or positive test, must undergo a 10-day isolation period from the onset of symptoms. They may return to school if they are fever-free without medicine for at least 24 hours AND it is 10 days after the onset of symptoms or they have had two negative COVID-19 tests more than 24 hours apart.
We request that families also take responsibility for the health of our school community and communicate with our school nurse if they participate in activities they believe may confer any risk to our students and staff. The school nurse may recommend that a student or students quarantine, depending on the activity undertaken. Students may continue to learn from home during quarantine via distance learning. Students can return at the end of 14 days if they have not developed symptoms. Students who do develop symptoms, as diagnosed by a medical provider or positive test, must undergo a 10-day isolation period from the onset of symptoms. They may return to school if they are fever-free without medicine for at least 24 hours AND it is 10 days after the onset of symptoms or they have had two negative COVID-19 tests more than 24 hours apart.
The school nurse will work in conjunction with families to coordinate the appropriate return of students and teachers in isolation or quarantine, helping to ensure the safety of the entire school community.