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 have started 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 take into account what we learned in the first half of the 2020-21 school year and will continue to 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, Canterbury parents must sign the form that is assigned to them in CLAW acknowledging their understanding of the policies and procedures below.
Canterbury has hired a nurse for this school year who is in regular communication with the staff and parents with medical updates and individual concerns as needed.
We have established a private space with a fold-out bed to be able to offer a resting spot for children who are ill and awaiting pickup.
- We 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 are asked to check temperatures and for COVID-19 symptoms before sending children to school. Faculty are asked to do the same personal assessment.
- Additionally, faculty will be doing temperature checks each day in the classroom. 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.
- Parents must reach out to the school nurse to make a plan for a child to return to school after any fever.
- 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 are 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 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. Canterbury provides one reusable mask per student and has disposable masks available for temporary use, if necessary. Additional Canterbury-branded masks are available for purchase in the school store.
- Masks with valves are not allowed, nor are scarves, bandanas, or neck gaiters.
- 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 mask breaks throughout the day, especially younger students, and there is 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 to remove their masks at outdoor lunch and take brief outdoor mask breaks as they maintain a safe social distance.
- Canterbury has hand sanitizer stations at the entrances to every building and classroom. Students are asked to bring personal sanitizer for use at their desks.
- Canterbury requires students to wash hands or use hand sanitizer each time they enter and exit class.
- We rely on parents to promote the same hygienic practices students 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 employs additional janitorial support who clean high-touch surfaces throughout the entire school day -- doorknobs, bathrooms, desks, etc.
- Schoolwide disinfections occur in the evenings twice weekly through the use of a disinfecting mist with 72 hours of ongoing antiviral power.
Classroom safety and dynamics
- We have prepared our spacious campus for outdoor classes and teachers hold classes outside often.
- Windows and doors are opened as much as possible to allow ventilation. Students 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 are 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) are 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 have been repurposed into classrooms to provide the appropriate social distancing for students.
- Teachers maintain a six-foot social distance from children and other adults for their own safety and the health of our school community.
- Students have assigned seats in all of the places where they do academic work to facilitate contact tracing, should the need arise.
- Children do 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 have suspended 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.
- If a Canterbury family chooses to participate in a high-risk activity such as traveling by air, being on a cruise ship, attending an indoor gathering with 10 or more people from outside their home, or attending an outdoor event with 25 or more people (such as amusement parks, sporting events, weddings, funerals, and concerts), our school nurse will help coordinate their student’s return to in-person learning. Based on the timing of the events and the nature of the events themselves, she will make an individual plan that will include a combination of distance learning and appropriately timed testing to ensure each student’s safe return.
- 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 the nurse and informing her 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 are used to control crowding during drop off and pickup times. In the lower school, students enter via their classrooms’ external doors. In the middle school, there are multiple points of entry for each building designated by grade.
- Students wait in their classrooms after school for their carpool numbers to be called, rather than gathering in Phillips Chapel. The lower and middle schools run their carpools separately.
- When at all possible, we move teachers rather than students. Children are 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 utilize their external doors and keep hallway use to a minimum. Middle school students are restricted to particular areas of the buildings by grade.
Chapel, assemblies, and performances
- Large in-person gatherings have been suspended, until further notice.
- The school gathers small numbers of students for chapel services, which are held at the outdoor chapel as long as weather permits. Services are shared electronically for viewing in classrooms by students not able to attend and distance learners.
- 8th grade sermons, one of our program’s capstone experiences, are continuing with social distancing and other safety measures.
- We have implemented 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 are providing meaningful ways for them to connect with our community while safely at a distance.
Specialist teachers travel to the students’ homerooms, and are 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’ social-emotional development. Canterbury's PE classes occur almost exclusively outdoors and at a distance, with students continuing to wear masks.
- Recess occurs regularly in staggered schedules on playing fields and the playground. Lower school students wash their hands before and after recess.
- Interscholastic athletics were held in a limited way for fall outdoor sports. Administrators will decide each season and sport on a case-by-case basis based on the nature of the sport and current COVID-19 conditions in our community. Our medical task force recommends careful consideration of interscholastic athletics due to visitors (home and away) on campus, the difficulty of bus travel, and close contact between students.
- Students eat lunch with the homeroom groups. Lunch is taken outside as often as possible (including in jackets!) and otherwise is eaten in classrooms when weather or circumstances don’t permit.
- 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 is held for regularly enrolled students, with no drop-ins allowed. Cubs, PreK and Kindergarten Extended Day takes place in Stafford Hall. Extended Day for 1st-8th grades occurs in the Extended Day cottage, with a maximum of 8-10 students per room. Parents picking up must call for their child or children, and students will be walked to the door to meet them.
- Encore after-school activities have been 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 spring of 2021, 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. Click here
for the CDC's guidance on quarantine.
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 pursue testing or an alternative diagnosis from a medical provider. Based on test results or collaboration with the provider, the student's family will work with our nurse on the conditions of their return to on-campus learning. 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 or positive test, the student must remain in isolation at home for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or the duration of their class' quarantine (see below), whichever is longer.
Siblings also must go home or stay home when a student has symptoms requiring further evaluation or testing. Siblings must remain at home until the student is deemed safe to return to school or the end of their own exposure-related quarantine. The return to campus for siblings of infected students will be coordinated individually in consultation with the school nurse.
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 7-10 calendar days from the date of last exposure to the infected child. In order to provide a consistent and high-quality learning experience, classwork will continue exclusively via distance learning for the duration of the class' quarantine. 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 7-10 days from the date of last exposure. Classmates who do develop symptoms, as diagnosed by a medical provider or positive test, may return to school at the end of the quarantine period if they are fever-free without medicine for at least 24 hours AND it is 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
The student originally diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to school after their 10-day isolation, if they have been fever free for at least 24 hours.
Additionally, individual students and faculty must quarantine for 7-10 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
- They had a close contact (greater than 15 minutes, less than six feet apart, even masked), to someone outside their household who is isolating because of a positive test or medical provider diagnosis of COVID-19
Under these circumstances, Canterbury students and faculty must quarantine for 7-10 days, starting from the date of last close contact with the infected person. Students can return at the end of 7-10 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.
Siblings of children in a quarantined class may be at school, provided everyone in the home is symptom free, while their sibling is under quarantine.
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 and can return based on timing provided by our school nurse.
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.