Health & Safety Plan
We believe, as do many pediatric experts, that being around friends, having social contact, and engaging in person (in short, being a part of a community) is critical for the social and emotional health of children of all ages. This document demonstrates our commitment to the safety of our students, your children, while also being fully committed to keeping them on campus and engaging them in a fun and healthy learning environment.
Our Scenario Building Team has met again this summer and considered the ongoing recommendations from many health organizations, including the CDC, the PA Department of Health, and the Chester County Department of Health.
Much like the spring and summer of 2020, we have considered everything from screening for symptoms, to the structure of arrivals and departures, and much more.
On Campus Learning
We have learned that it isn’t possible to make a “line in the sand” decision around remaining open or changing to MPFS @home. Having said that, we are committed to remaining on campus every day, with the exception of students who may need to quarantine because of direct exposure. We, and many private schools, were successful in keeping Covid cases low last year because of the layered mitigation practices we had in place, and we will utilize many again this year, at least as we start the school year. These include: masking indoors (no masking is required outdoors), air ventilation, continuing to social distance and identify close contacts in line with the CDC guidance for K-12 Schools, and vaccines for eligible students and employees.
Treating Each Other With Kindness and Respect
In addition to our multi-layered approach to safety, it is, as it has always been, our goal to create a culture of empathy, compassion and understanding. Covid 19 has brought with it some vastly different views on everything from masks, to vaccines, to the very existence of the virus itself. Regardless of one’s stance on any of these issues, we expect that all members of the school community will treat each other with respect and dignity. Please protect the interpersonal integrity of our community and do not question, pressure, or judge anyone based on their known or assumed vaccination status.
While we are not requiring the vaccine for students, we believe that vaccines are an important part of community health when fighting Covid-19. There is no shortage of data to support that communities are less susceptible to the virus when the vaccination rates are high, as well as the opposite. We are asking that all students who have received a COVID-19 vaccine provide documentation to Jon Hall, Head of School, and all vaccinated faculty and staff provide documentation to Syreeta Bacon, Director of Business and Campus Operations. This information will be important for us to conduct contact tracing and will enable us to share information with our community about our vaccination rate. We will not keep any actual vaccine documentation on file. We will simply make note that we have seen proof of vaccination. Details for how to provide student documentation will be shared in the first week of school.
We understand that some families may find it important to know the vaccination status of the adults and students with whom their children spend the school day. However, we as a school will not share the vaccination status of any student or staff member.
Expectations of our Community
As the threat of Covid-19 transmission continues, especially in those who are not able to be vaccinated, it is going to take the diligence and determination of the entire MPFS community to keep the risk of Covid-19 infection as low as possible. As such, it is vital for all of us, faculty and staff, families and students, to fully commit to the following expectations (which are in line with the the recommendations from our various resources):
- Staying Home When Experiencing Symptoms
First and foremost, all students and employees must stay home if experiencing Covid related symptoms, despite the fact that many of these symptoms are associated with many other respiratory illnesses. This is imperative.
- For symptomatic individuals:
- A negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) is required if a symptomatic individual falls into the category of "Low Likelihood" of having Covid-19 (as defined by no known exposure, OR fully vaccinated, OR has had a Covid-19 infection in the last 3 months).
- Negative rapid antigen test results will need to be confirmed by a PCR test if the symptomatic individual falls into the "High Likelihood*" of having Covid-19 (as defined by having close contact with a confirmed case, AND is not fully vaccinated AND has not had a Covid-19 infection in the past three month
When/How long to Quarantine:
For asymptomatic individuals identified as a close contact to a confirmed case of Covid-19: If a non-vaccinated individual is identified as a close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19, but is asymptomatic, the individual will quarantine for ten days with no test or 7 days with a negative rapid antigen OR PCR test after day 5 and no symptoms as of day 7.
For symptomatic individuals identified as a close contact to a confirmed case of Covid-19: If an individual (vaccinated or not) is identified as a close contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 and is symptomatic, the individual must quarantine for fourteen days after symptom onset or date of last exposure to the confirmed case of Covid-19, whichever happened last.
- For symptomatic individuals:
All staff and students will wear a mask when inside buildings on campus. Masks are optional when students or staff are outside. Reusable masks will be cared for appropriately and disposable masks will be disposed of properly. Age Considerations - All students and staff will wear masks inside, but our youngest students will continue to be supported and nurtured, as always, in ways that are developmentally appropriate. Teachers will continue to be in tune with students’ needs and capabilities, and will exercise realistic mitigation practices regarding mask wearing.
Medical Considerations - Some individuals may have a medical exemption for a mask. If an individual is not wearing a mask, please assume they have a valid medical exemption. Students or staff who have a medical or mental health condition or a disability that limits wearing a mask in school must provide medical documentation from a licensed medical provider whose specialty is in line with making this diagnosis. For example, a chiropractor cannot provide a note saying that a student should not be expected to wear a mask.
Please do not send your child/children to school in masks that are too large and/or do not fit snugly around the nose and face. Just covering the nose is not enough; it should be snug around the nose. If you are using a surgical mask, which are often too large for small faces, please tie them off so that they fit properly. Below I am including the CDC's guidance on masks:
- Masks should include multiple layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric; single-layered fabric masks should not be worn.
- Cloth masks should be made of a fabric that blocks light when held up to a bright light source.
- When it comes to fabric, the tightness of the weave is important. At a bare minimum, the weave should be tight enough that you do not see the outline of the individual fibers when you hold the material up to light. But tighter is better.
- Thin fabrics that do not block light should not be worn.
- A mask with a nose wire is preferable to prevent leaking around the nose
- Masks with exhalation vents or other openings should not be worn.
- Cloth masks and surgical masks allow CO2 to escape into the air through the mask when you breathe out or talk. CO2 molecules are small enough to easily pass through cloth and surgical mask material. This is in contrast to the virus that causes COVID-19 which is much larger than CO2, so cannot pass as easily through a properly designed and properly worn mask.
Other Community Expectations:
- On a daily basis, all families, faculty and staff will complete the RUVNA “symptom check” (sent each morning via email and text). Students who come to school without the Symptom Check being completed will not be allowed to attend school that day until the parent/caregiver completes the screening. If the unscreened student arrives by bus, the parent/caregiver will be called and asked to complete the health screening, or to pick up the student.
- All employees and students must notify the Head of School if they have had exposure to COVID-19 (student notification should come from the parent/caregiver). - All employees and families must notify the Head of School if they or a member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19.
- All families will pick up their children as quickly as possible if he or she shows signs of being sick.
- Students will bring their own snacks and lunch daily, and will not share food, snacks or beverages. Water bottles should be brought from home, as our refilling stations will be accessible but our drinking fountains will not.
- No food will be provided by the school
- Singing will take place masked and distanced, or outside. Sports on our campus will follow the policy of masks indoors and optional outdoors.
Morning Drop-off and Pick-up (this remains the same as 2020-2021)
- Parents are now asked to drop off their students by car at designated drop off locations for their children, and not to walk students on campus unless you live close enough to walk your children to school. In either case, parents are asked to say goodbye to their children at the appropriate gate and not escort their child/children onto campus
- Parents are asked to not leave their cars during drop off and pick up (except to secure a child into a child seat). Drop off begins at 8:00 AM, and pickup begins at 3:00 PM for grades 3-5 and 3:10 for grades 6-8.
- The locations for drop off are as follows:
- Preschool: By way of N. Broomall street, by turning right off of Fourth Street and pulling the driver side of
- Grades K-2: By way of the gate that enters from the Rose Tree Media Lot, adjacent to the playground equipment, by turning left off of Fourth Street. Please pull up and form a line that starts at the orange cone holding a STOP sign. Students must exit from the passenger side of the car. Once your child/children have exited the car, please turn left and make your way around the perimeter of the parking lot and exit back onto Fourth Street.
- Grades 3-5: The front door of the school. Parents/guardians should approach the school from Olive Street and drop off on the school side of the street at the small paved area on Third Street just before the front gate. Please pull up and form a line that starts at the orange cone holding a STOP sign. Please wait until it is your turn before allowing your child to exit the vehicle. Children should exit from the passenger side of the vehicle ONLY. If you have an additional child/children to drop off, please consider using one of the other drop off locations instead of the 3-5 location!
- Middle School: The fourth street back gate. Please pull up and form a line that starts at the orange cone holding a STOP sign, so that the passenger side of your car is facing the gate. Please do not exit your car, but please wait until your child is screened for temperature before pulling away. Please wait until it is your turn before allowing your child to exit the vehicle.
- Preschool: By way of N. Broomall street, by turning right off of Fourth Street and pulling the driver side of
Please note: As a fever has been downgraded to a level two symptom, and by itself is not considered a strong indicator of Covid-19 any longer, we will no longer be taking temperatures at the gate. We are still asking families to take their children’s temperature at home before sending them to school, however.
End of Day Pickup: (unless you child requires assistance with a child seat or seat belt, please do not leave your vehicle):
- Pickup begins at 3:00 pm for preschool through grade 5, and 3:10 for grades 6-8. Preschool, K-2, and middle
- Grades 3-5 will be picked up at the back gate and should follow the following procedure: form a line on the school side of Fourth Street with the passenger side of the car facing the gate. Parents should not park their vehicle and walk to the gate to retrieve their child. Please do not block Broomall Street, as preschool families need to come up Broomall for pickup.
- Students getting picked up by a parent/guardian will wait until their name is called by the staff member at the back gate or side gate.
- Please do not block Broomall Street when forming the pickup line, as preschool families will be turning up Broomall from fourth street.
Our afterschool care is available from 3:00 PM to 5:45 PM to all children attending Media-Providence Friends School on regular school days. The program provides a safe environment with appropriate activities in which a child can spend her/his after-school hours. Elements of study, recreation, play, the arts and more are included.
Afterschool Program COVID Protocols
Our Afterschool Program will follow the same protocols of social distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing that are set out in the policies of MPFS. Where possible, Afterschool will take place outdoors. All children should be encouraged to bring a snack and use a water bottle brought from home.
Pick-Up from Afterschool Program: Details forthcoming from Syreeta Bacon.
Structure of the School Day
- All students and employees will wear a face covering while indoors on campus. - Students will be allowed on the playground when they arrive on campus.
- Lunches and snacks will be eaten outside, weather permitting. Face coverings are optional when outside. Students will not be allowed to share food or beverages.
- Because physical activity is extremely important, recess and PE will continue to happen, but with the proper precautions to keep students apart physically and with the proper equipment sanitation in between classes.
- We will have sports during the 2020-2021 school year.
- As mentioned previously, we will continue to have the Afterschool program.
- Visitors will be allowed on campus, but must wear a mask when indoors and outdoors as well if not vaccinated.
- The CDC guidelines for social distance in schools is now 3 feet. Most of the time, we will still have our students as close to 6 feet as possible, but during some activities we will follow the 3 foot recommendation. While effort will be made to keep preschool students 3-6 feet apart, due to the nature of preschool children, it is highly unlikely that this can be consistently accomplished in preschool.
- We will not have any off campus field trips until further notice.
- We will not hold any large gatherings, including Meeting for Worship. MFW will take place in the individual classrooms.
Snack and Lunch Times at MPFS during COVID:
When it is at all possible, students and teachers will eat outside. Please consider: “There is no bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
If the weather is such that eating outside is not reasonable, students will need to eat inside. When eating inside, teachers will apply the following guidelines in order to mitigate particulates in the air:
- When unmasked, students will be asked to refrain from talking. Teachers may play music or provide a mindfulness query, students can write, draw, or read.
- Students will be encouraged to eat within a period of time determined by the classroom teacher (snack 5-10 minutes, lunch 10-15 minutes... It is remarkable how quickly kids eat when not chatting with each other!)
- Once a student(s) finishes lunch, masks will be replaced.
- When the time for eating is over for everyone, masks will be donned and students/teachers will be able to chat with one another for the remainder of their lunch period.
Cleaning and Disinfecting (this remains the same as 2020-2021)
- We have invested in the machines and materials necessary to not only clean but disinfect the classrooms, bathrooms and surfaces throughout the school day.
- We have created a schedule that the custodian will follow throughout the day to disinfect bathrooms and classrooms, and checklists will be kept in every room to be dated and initialled when done. This entails disinfecting each classroom before students arrive and again when a class goes outside for lunch/recess.
- In addition, faculty will assist by disinfecting high contact surfaces in their classrooms once mid-morning and once mid afternoon using disinfecting wipes and sprays.
- Hand-washing and hand sanitizing will be emphasized throughout the day and hand sanitizer will be provided in every classroom. Visual reminders will be placed throughout the school.
- Classroom doors and windows will be open whenever possible
School District Transportation
MPFS is served by many different school districts. These individual districts and bus providers will provide their plans for safely transporting students to and from MPFS. As with all students arriving by car or foot, students arriving by bus will be required to have a Symptom Check Form (completed by a parent or guardian), screened for a temperature, and required to use hand sanitizer upon entry.
Showing Signs or Symptoms on Campus:
Community members must stay home if they are sick. If a student or staff member becomes sick while on campus, they will be assessed for any symptoms of COVID-19 using the CDC defined symptoms of COVID-19. Parents and/or caregivers of students will be contacted immediately, and asked to arrange for the prompt retrieval of their child. If COVID-19 symptoms are present, the child must be picked up in 60 minutes or less. Failure to adhere to the requirements for picking up children with COVID-19 symptoms will result in consequences up to and including exclusion from campus.
MPFS Travel/Gathering Policy: We will not have a travel policy in place to start the 2021-22 school year
Exposure and Testing Positive
We will be following the CCDoH guidance outlined here.
Identifying Close Contacts
We will be following the CCDoH Guidance outlined here.