Please report all close contact exposures and only positive test results to the Health Office.
Any students kept home or sent home with ill symptoms must be cleared by a clinician and/or present a negative Covid test result before returning to campus. Please refer to the chart linked below for clarification regarding tests. Additionally, students may only return once symptoms have improved/resolved (including no fever without medication for at least 24 hours).
A letter from Head of School John Fixx on sent 12.31.21
Dear Country School Families and Teachers,
We hope your holidays are going well and that you are looking forward to 2022.
With guidance from the Task Force and support from the Educational Leadership Team, I wrote as we left for break that “to assure educational continuity and safety as we return on January 3 from the holiday, we are instituting some temporary safety procedures.” Again, thank you for your flexibility and your resilience throughout this ongoing pandemic.
What Is Success?
As a school community, success is keeping as many students on campus as possible while promoting sensible safety procedures for everyone and being responsive throughout this January/February spike. We know we already have COVID-19 in our school community and that will continue. This is not a time to relax. Country School families are busy and morning can be especially busy. But we need you to do a very thorough wellness check every morning.
What Families Need To Do
Be understanding. Over break I heard from two families of eligible but unvaccinated children that it’s unfair not to be testing everybody before January 3. On the other hand, I’ve heard from many families of vaccinated children that we need to require, as a condition of enrollment, the vaccination of all eligible students and then the booster as soon as possible. Please recognize and respect we have a range of opinions within our school community.
Continue to maintain safety procedures. Don’t let your guard down. We know that some may feel their child just has a common cold or the sniffles, but common colds are contagious and, we are learning, can be symptomatic of the new COVID variant.
Absolutely do not violate our community trust by sending children to school if they are experiencing any common symptoms of COVID-19:
Congestion or runny nose
Headache, muscle, or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
Do not wear cloth masks. One result of the rising positivity rate within Connecticut is that we are, for a few weeks at least, going to eliminate cloth masks worn by students or employees on campus. The Health Office will provide N95 and KN95 masks on January 3 and throughout the first weeks of school. Children may wear disposable surgical masks as long as they are worn properly.
The CDC reports that within school communities a mask worn properly over the nose and mouth is a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from reaching others.
Testing and Returning
If you are anxious about your child returning, you are welcomed to forego testing and instead keep your child home for Distance Learning. If you are leaning that way, you should already have notified Beth Coyne. We will allow that for only the first 10 days of school in January, with the student resuming in-person learning at the latest on Tuesday, January 18. Teachers need at least 24 hours to prepare materials to send to students. Here is the letter sent on December 19th outlining those procedures.
Do not report a negative result from a test unless you have questions.
Quarantining and Isolating
In answer to questions, we have been discussing the possibility of adopting the briefer quarantining and isolating timelines recently announced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Keeping students in school is important to weigh against the risk of transmission to fellow students and our employees. Until the community is notified otherwise, we will continue with the health policy established in August as captured on this hub under "COVID-19 Status Indicators and Directives."
In my letter of December 19, I wrote that as we ”collectively prepare for another likely January positivity surge within Connecticut, it is imperative that we all commit to maintaining social distancing and making other choices that sustain the health and educational continuity of our shared community.” Well, here we are about to be tested as a school community and I am optimistic.
We have been successful as a school community during COVID by adopting a “trusting” approach. That is still our attitude and it requires you thinking of your family first while also thinking of The Country School community as the larger family you also need to protect.
The highest priority of The Country School is the safety of its students, employees and visitors. I know that by attending classes and engaging in School activities on and off campus I may be exposed to COVID-19 and other infections. I also understand that despite all reasonable efforts by The Country School, my child/children and I can still contract COVID-19 and other infections. In order to reduce my risk, I agree to be an active participant in maintaining my own health, wellbeing and safety, as well as the safety of others, by following all of the guidelines and expectations outlined by The Country School.
I understand that COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and it is possible to be exposed to the virus even if I follow all of the safety precautions recommended by The Country School and by the CDC, local and State health officials, and others. I understand there is no known way to make me completely safe from COVID-19 or other infections.
I have read, understand, and agree to comply with all of the School’s, CDC’s and health officials’ expectations.
As more information is gathered and known, I understand The Country School may modify these guidelines and expectations. It is my responsibility to make every effort to keep myself informed of changes and updates to protect myself and The Country School community.
Thank you for your cooperation as we manage school during COVID. We appreciate parents, per protocol, erring on the side of caution by keeping children home if they have any COVID-related symptoms. We want to support that compliance by making distance learning available for these extraordinary situations.
Our goal is to maintain equity as best we can; however, as we have noted before, distance learning is difficult not only on the students at home but also on the teachers and students in the classroom.
In COVID-related cases, we might need 24 hours to prepare the technology, links, and lessons. Also, depending on the grade level, the links might cover most of the academic day or they might need to be more targeted to particular disciplines, subjects, and lessons throughout the day.
Please alert us as soon as you suspect you need to keep your child at home for a COVID-related reason so we can prepare as quickly as possible. Be mindful, also, that just because we have the technology, distance learning when a child is truly sick is not expected. Our first priority is always student safety and well-being, so we encourage sick children to take the time and rest they need to recover. In accordance with our testing/recovery protocols, we will look forward to welcoming all students back to in-person school as soon as they can return.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts with grace as we navigate this pandemic together.
341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443 P. 203-421-3113 | F. 203-421-4390 | Health Office F. 860-469-2550
Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.