Health and Safety Guidelines and Reopening Procedures and Protocols



This document is adapted from a handbook distributed to faculty and staff in September 2020

What is COVID-19 and how does it spread?
What is COVID-19?
How does it spread?
How do you protect yourself and others?

Hygiene habits children will practice at Gordon

What is physical distancing and why should you do it?
What is physical distancing?
Physical distancing and COVID-19
What does six feet look like?
What does physical distancing look like at Gordon School?

Cloth face coverings
Why cloth face coverings are recommended
Cloth face coverings: who wears them, when
Selecting a cloth face covering for school
Mask habits adults will be modeling for students at Gordon
Cloth face coverings and PPE

The difference between cleaning and disinfecting
Cleaning responsibilities at school
Cleaning supplies for classrooms
Cleaning of play structures

The healthy classroom
Desks and seating
Classroom practices to promote good health
Masks and face shields during class
Classroom set-up for art, library, music
Supply considerations
Library and book check-out protocols
Water
Lunch and snack
Food allergies
Sunscreen
Outdoor play and recess
Bathroom protocols
What will a teacher do if a student seems ill?

The physically distanced office
Visitor policy

Screening protocols and considerations
Gordon’s approach to screening
Information about symptoms
The twenty-four hour rule
Close contacts and household contacts
Some common questions
What process will be used to bring adults and students into the on-campus community once school has started?

Arrival and dismissal procedures

Safety and security
Campus security
Evacuation and indoor safety protocols



What is COVID-19 and how does it spread?

What is COVID-19?

How does COVID-19 spread?

How do you protect yourself and others?

Sources



Hygiene habits children will practice at Gordon

These habits are essential for keeping students free of COVID-19 and will also help to keep them protected from other illnesses such as the common cold, flu, and strep:

Sources

Training videos



What is physical distancing and why should you do it?

What is physical distancing?

Physical distancing and COVID-19

What does six feet look like?

What does physical distancing look like at Gordon School?

Sources



Cloth face coverings (also known as “masks”)

Why cloth face coverings are recommended

Cloth face coverings: who wears them, when

Selecting a cloth face covering for school

Gordon has received a generous donation of sturdy, “Gordon-themed” masks. The school will provide two masks to every student and employee and keep plenty of extras on hand at school as backups. Students and faculty are also welcome to use other masks if they wish, provided they cover the wearer’s nose and mouth, fit well and meet the following guidelines.

Acceptable masks include:

Non-acceptable masks:

Mask habits adults will be modeling for students at Gordon

Cloth face coverings and PPE 

Sources



The difference between cleaning and disinfecting

Cleaning physically removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects by using soap (or detergent) and water. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Cleaning responsibilities at school

Gordon’s Buildings and Grounds crew and the cleaning company will be responsible for cleaning and disinfecting...

Classroom teachers are asked to support the Building and Grounds crew by disinfecting surfaces that are touched often in their rooms regularly. These surfaces include:

The Building and Grounds crew will be doing much of this disinfecting during the school day, but faculty have been asked to incorporate cleaning and disinfecting routines that make sense for the classroom schedule.

All faculty and staff will clean…

Cleaning supplies for classrooms

All classrooms will have hand soap and paper towels for cleaning.

All classrooms will have a supply of alcohol wipes for disinfecting. These wipes kill the COVID-19 virus, are allergen free, and are safe for both teachers and students to use.

For disinfecting, teachers should only use the wipes provided and should not bring products from home or spray any products into the air.

Teachers have been advised to keep cleaning products out of reach of children.

Cleaning of play structures



The healthy classroom

The following guidelines have been created by the Campus Operations and Health and Safety Working Groups in consultation with Gordon's consulting physician. These guidelines are intended to help guide faculty in preparing their rooms for teaching and learning.

These guidelines do not provide diagrams or strict instructions for how each classroom should be set up. Gordon has established a stable house and neighborhood structure as well as a mask-wearing requirement and other mitigation measures in order to significantly lower the risk of transmission and spread of COVID-19 at Gordon. This conservative approach to the major health and safety areas allows us some flexibility in other areas.

The best way to keep the risk of transmission and spread of the virus low is to build routines into the classroom that re-teach and reinforce healthy hygiene habits, including the following:

The healthy classroom

Teachers have set up their classrooms with these guidelines:

Desks and seating

To the greatest extent possible, teachers will avoid configurations in which students are facing one another. 

Classroom practices to promote good health

Teachers have been asked to use the outdoors as much as possible.

Teachers have been asked to create a handwashing schedule and maintain easy access to hand sanitizers, if applicable, to make hand hygiene efficient.

 

Teachers have been asked to reduce the number of shared surfaces in the classroom and clean after use.

Teachers have been asked to open windows, use the air conditioner in “clean air” mode, and move outside as much as possible.

Masks and face shields during class

Classroom set-up for art, library, music

Storage of art and music materials and location of classroom libraries is based on neighborhood configurations and determined divisionally.

Supply considerations

Student-assigned materials are best.

When students do have to use shared materials, prioritize hand hygiene.

Teachers should reduce or eliminate porous materials.

Shared materials in Early Childhood:

Library and book check-out protocols

All students will have the opportunity to check out books (two at a time) for class or home use.

High volume Middle School readers may request more than two books.

Checking out and returning books

Students and families (checking out)

Students and families (returning books):

Gordon@Home students and families:

Faculty

 

Classroom libraries (Curriculum carts)

Library Day

Quarantining books

Water

Lunch and snack

Food allergies

Sunscreen

Students should apply sunscreen before coming to school. If parents would like their child to re-apply after lunch, they should send in the sunscreen (no spray sunscreen) and send their child’s teacher and Nurse Horton an email. The teacher will supervise the child when they re-apply their sunscreen.

Outdoor play and recess

Bathroom protocols

Whenever possible, teachers will encourage these bathroom habits:

Use of bathrooms

Outdoor bathrooms

What will a teacher do if a student seems ill?



The physically distanced office

Changes to how the adults at Gordon work

Visitor policy

Rhode Island state guidelines recommend limiting visitors in schools to reduce the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

Sources


Screening protocols and considerations

Gordon’s approach to screening

While we have all gotten used to having to respond to health screening questions before entering a doctor’s office or a place of business, it’s easy to be confused about how to respond, especially when you want to answer them as honestly and accurately as possible.

The following protocols are intended to offer some clarity as families complete the health screening questions on the Gordon safety app each day.

Gordon will be using a variation on the most recent screening tool provided by the Rhode Island Department of Health. You may notice other schools or businesses using a different or modified set of questions. Gordon developed these questions under the guidance of Nurse Horton and our consulting physician and have been assured that they align with the intentions of the Rhode Island Department of Health screening tool.

The purpose of any health screening tool is to identify anyone who may possibly be infectious. The ultimate objective is to keep sick people off campus.

In order to keep the Gordon ecosystem as healthy as possible as we enter the school year, we are following the recommendations of the Rhode Island Department of Health and our consulting physician and beginning with a conservative approach to screening.

Information about symptoms

You can find the list of symptoms for COVID-19 on page 10 of the Rhode Island Outbreak Response Protocols for Pre K-12 Schools. We have also been calling this document the “RI Playbook," and we have created a shortcut to it at www.gordonschool.org/playbook.

Note: An updated version of the playbook has been shared with Rhode Island school nurses. As of the publication of this handbook, that document has not been made public. We will share the updated playbook as soon as it becomes available. The protocols below reflect the most current updates.

The playbook makes an important distinction between being “symptomatic” and being a “probable case.” A “probable case” indicates the need for a COVID-19 test.

If a child has ONE of the following symptoms, they meet the criteria of a “probable case:”

If a child has TWO or more of the following symptoms, they also meet the criteria of a “probable case:”

The twenty-four hour rule

The screening tool is interested in “new” symptoms. That means if a child is experiencing any symptom of COVID-19, they should stay home for twenty-four hours to get better or to determine if symptoms are worsening. Nurse Horton will consult you on next steps.

The follow-up could range from staying home for twenty-four hours or until symptoms are improved, to seeking medical advice or a COVID-19 test. The current guidance is that, if that same student remains fever free for twenty-four hours without the use of fever-reducing medication and the symptom improves or resolves, the student is welcome to return to school. The RIDOH recommends that all families of symptomatic individuals seek medical advice.

Symptomatic and Probable

Symptomatic individuals will need to complete a “self attestation form” provided by the school in order to be cleared to return to campus. This form is at www.gordonschool.org/return

Probable cases will need to get a COVID-19 test, receive a negative result, and return to normal health in order to be able to return to campus. The individual as well as their household contacts will need to isolate at home until the results of the test are received.

RIDOH will provide direction to the school on instructions for close contacts (i.e., house classmates and teachers) of the probable case.

This sounds like there will be a lot of people staying home.

Maybe at first. But the potential inconvenience is worth it to avoid a possible outbreak of any illness at Gordon. Taking twenty-four hours to determine the appropriate school response and provide the right direction to families will give us the best possible chance to keep Gordon's doors open. The availability of testing in the state and the rapid turnaround for results should help to mitigate the number of non-COVID-19 extended absences over time.

Close contacts and household contacts

The Rhode Island Department of Health defines close contact with an infected person as “being within six feet of an infected person, with or without a face mask, for at least fifteen minutes, or having unprotected direct contact with secretions or excretions of a person with confirmed COVID-19 during their infectious period.”

Knowing the close contacts of symptomatic and probable cases helps the school and the Department of Health provide direction on next steps for both the individual and the people in close contact with the symptomatic person.

At Gordon, students and teachers in the same house are considered close contacts.

Individuals living in the same household are considered household contacts. The definition of a household contact is the same as a close contact. However, the isolation protocols may differ between the two.

According to the RI Playbook, close contacts do not always have to be isolated if they come into contact with a symptomatic or probable case. Household contacts, however, always have to be isolated while a probable case awaits the results of their COVID-19 test. 

If someone in your household is not cleared to come to campus but does not fall under the criteria for a probable case (symptomatic), only the sick person needs to stay home. Follow the twenty-four hour rule.

Some common questions:

What if my child has a chronic condition?

If your child has a chronic condition, you should be in touch with their health care provider. They may have guidance for how to respond to questions if they experience symptoms daily. Please talk to Nurse Horton to share the doctor's recommendation.

What if my child has allergies?

Keep them home the first day they experience symptoms, and have them take their medications. If they feel better the next day, fill out the attestation form and come back to campus. If they do not feel better the next day, seek medical advice. Their doctor may recommend getting tested for COVID-19.

Are you serious? My child might have to stay home or get tested if I know their symptoms are due to allergies or some other non-infectious condition?

Yes. For symptoms like nasal congestion or cough, the focus is on new symptoms, so the first time the symptom emerges, they need to stay home. Additionally, symptoms like headache and gastrointestinal problems, which can be chronic or intermittent for some children, are symptoms of COVID-19, and the only way to know if the symptom is caused by COVID-19 is to administer a test.

What if my child has a cough?

What if my child has a cough, and they have asthma?

A cough meets the criteria for a probable case. Shouldn’t they just go get tested?

What is shortness of breath?

What is loss of taste or smell?

What if my child has muscle or body aches?

What if my child has a sore throat?

What if my child has a headache?

What if my child gets migraines?

I thought they couldn’t come back if they have taken Tylenol or ibuprofen as it could depress their temperature?

What if they experience nausea or vomiting?

What if they have diarrhea?

What if they have a runny or stuffy nose?

What is fatigue? Isn’t everyone experiencing fatigue in 2020?

Someone in my household meets the criteria for a probable case. Does my child need to stay home?

What process will be used to bring adults and students into the on-campus community once school has started?

In addition to newly hired faculty, this protocol applies to students admitted to Gordon mid-year and students returning to campus from @Home learning. Any @Home student has the option to return to campus at the beginning of a new trimester. In some cases, with approval from the Head and the Assistant Head of School, an @Home student may be permitted to return to campus before the end of the trimester.

To preserve the health and safety of those in our community, new faculty hires, newly admitted students, and returning @Home students will be required to do the following:



Arrival and dismissal procedures

Arrival and dismissal procedures are explained at www.gordonschool.org/dropoff


Safety and security

Campus security

Due to the increased use of outdoor classrooms, the need for outdoor bathrooms, and the recommendations to open doors to increase ventilation, Gordon has hired a security guard to patrol and monitor the campus from 7:45am to 3:30pm each day.

All outdoor bathrooms have been secured with fencing. Fifth, eighth, and one sixth grade house will need a key to enter the building. Student keys will be kept in classrooms.

Evacuation and indoor safety protocols

These processes have been updated to allow for students to safely distance as much as possible while allowing Gordon's normal safety standards to be maintained.

Recognizing that this year will present unique challenges that will impact the social and emotional well being of our students, Gordon has made the decision NOT to conduct lockdown drills with students during the 2020-21 school year.