COVID SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Date: 04.18.2022

THE POINT OF CONTACT FOR ALL COVID-19 MATTERS IS COVID@SSESH.COM

Dear St. Stephen’s Community,

We would first like to thank you for your partnership over the past years as we have endeavored to make the best decisions for our whole community during the COVID-19 pandemic. We appreciate school families’ strong response to our request to upload COVID-19 vaccination records in Magnus Health. We are pleased to report that nearly 60% of the school’s vaccine-eligible students have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

We believe that the favorable COVID-19 metrics in Harris County as well as the strong vaccination profile amongst our students (age 5 and over) support a change to a “mask optional” learning environment for our students, effective as of Monday, April 4, 2022.

We understand that these changes may cause hesitation, questions, and adjustments, particularly for the families of children who are not eligible for the vaccine and for the immunocompromised.

School families, please know that our teachers will still wear masks in the classrooms, that cohorts will continue, and that masks are welcome to be worn by any students and other adults on campus. Masks will remain welcome on campus and may be required on class trips or field trips, subject to the requirements of off-campus transport and/or destinations. Students and adults participating in overnight class trips will also need to email a negative COVID-19 test result (rapid or PCR) 48 hours prior to the start of the class trip to covid@ssesh.org.

We are in a continual process of updating our policies as we follow the science and the context of our St. Stephen’s community and Harris County. Flexibility continues to be required as conditions with the virus change. Please know that we may return to masking in the event of unfavorable COVID-19 data within the St. Stephen’s and/or Harris County communities and/or as may be required in specific environments. We thank you, in advance, for your continued flexibility.

These modifications are endorsed by the Regathering Task Force of the Church and School, and we thank the Task Force for their wisdom and expertise, all given on a voluntary basis. Next on the Task Force’s agenda will be an examination of the policies related to quarantines and vaccination requirements.

St. Stephen’s will continue to rely on multiple layers of protection going forward, including the following, as may be applicable:

  • Continued enforcement of school cohorts*, contact tracing, quarantine, and isolation protocols, subject to review;
  • Close monitoring of COVID-19 data within the St. Stephen’s and Harris County communities (https://covid-harriscounty.hub.arcgis.com/);
  • Encouraging COVID-19 vaccination and boosting, as available, as recommended layers of protection; school families, please submit vaccination records to the school through Magnus Health (see the instructions here: https://ssesh.org/covid-safety/);
  • Requiring all staff and students stay home if they are ill; please contact covid@ssesh.org in the event of any of the following scenarios: close contact with an infected person, symptomatic, or diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Regular hand washing and sanitizing;
  • Enhancing ventilation of indoor learning environments;
  • Maximizing opportunities for outdoor learning and play.

We trust in the strength of the St. Stephen’s community, grounded in a culture of care, and hope that this spring will be a joyous celebration of community, of learning, and of faith.

Sincerely,

Nahla Nasser, Interim Head of School
The Reverend Lisa Hunt, Rector and President of the Board of Trustees

 

* Students will remain within their cohort during the school day. Cohorts will not mix on campus. Cohorts are subject to change.

The following cohorts operate during the school day.

  • Orientation 1
  • Orientation 2
  • Orientation 3
  • Primary 1 & 3
  • Primary 2 & 4
  • Lower El 1 & 2
  • Upper El & Middle Years

The following cohorts operate in Extended Care.

  • Orientation
  • Primary
  • Lower El
  • Upper El

The school will be using the following definitions of ON-campus and OFF-campus, which definitions are based on guidance from Harris County.

ON-campus: A school student or employee is “ON-campus” if the student or employee was on campus during the 2 days prior to his/her symptom onset (if they had symptoms) OR 5 days prior to their positive COVID-19 lab result.

OFF-campus: A person is “OFF-campus” if the person is not a student or employee of the school OR the student or employee of the school was not ON-campus.

Scenario: A student has close contact with a person (OFF-campus) who was diagnosed with COVID-19 Protocol: Only families in the affected class(es) will receive close contact notices.
Scenario: A student or employee (ON-campus) is diagnosed with COVID-19 Protocol: The school will notify all families. The notification will include the class of the student or employee, but will not disclose whether the individual is a student or teacher.
Scenario: A student or employee (OFF-campus) is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has close contact with a person (OFF-campus) who is diagnosed with COVID-19. Protocol: The school will apply the definition of OFF-campus. The community will not be notified of either scenario.
Scenario: A student or employee (ON-campus) is diagnosed with COVID-19 and an emergency response is required. Protocol: Urgent information on COVID-19 on campus will be shared by text message first, with email(s) to follow.

In the event that a student or employee (ON-campus) is diagnosed with COVID-19 and an emergency response is required, the school will generally follow the communications process below.

  • A text message will be sent to faculty and staff.
  • A text message will be sent to affected families with instructions. Text alerts will come from 95664. Please save this number as St. Stephen’s Campus Notify.
  • A text message will be sent to all families.
  • An email to the community will follow with information on the COVID-19 situation.
  • Contact tracing will commence and school will be canceled until (at least) the first round of contact tracing is complete, which process is estimated to take 24 hours.
  • Students and/or employees who have been identified as close contacts will receive a second email with additional information.

COVID-19 Scenarios

All families must monitor child(ren) for COVID-19 symptoms and not send sick child(ren) to school. The COVID-19 Scenarios below apply equally to students, faculty, and staff, except for the provisions concerning persons diagnosed with COVID-19 (isolation). Families must notify covid@ssesh.org if their child is exposed to or tests positive for any communicable disease, including COVID-19.

Close Contact (Quarantine)

The following provisions apply where the student is a close contact. Close contacts are someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person (laboratory-confirmed or a clinical diagnosis) for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period. For example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes.

 

How We Count Days

  • Day 0 = Date of close contact
  • Day 1 = Start counting quarantine period and wait period for COVID-19 test
  • Day 5 = COVID-19 Test Date

A student may return to campus when the following criteria are met.

  • The student has not experienced any COVID-19 symptom(s) since exposure.
  • Either of the following is true.
    • The family has provided to the official email address for COVID-19 matters (covid@ssesh.org) a negative PCR or rapid test result (test must occur on day 5 or later from exposure). Return to school on Day 6. OR
    • The student has completed a 10-day quarantine. Return to school on Day 11.

A student who recovered from COVID-19 within the past 3 months may return to campus when the following criteria are met.

  • The student has not experienced any COVID-19 symptom(s) since exposure.
  • The family has provided to the official email address for COVID-19 matters (covid@ssesh.org) a medical professional’s note clearing the student for return.

 

In the event that the student develops any COVID-19 symptom(s) following close contact, the student must comply with the procedures applicable to persons diagnosed with COVID-19.

Diagnosed with COVID-19 (Isolation)

How We Count Days

  • Day 0 = Symptom onset or positive test result
  • Day 1 = Start counting isolation period

A student who is diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to school on Day 11, provided the following criteria are met:

    • At least 10 days have elapsed since symptoms first appeared and/or a positive COVID-19 test result, as applicable;
    • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication;
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving; and
    • The family has provided to the official email address for COVID-19 matters (covid@ssesh.org) a medical professional’s note clearing the student for return and/or a negative PCR or rapid test result.

On a case-by-case basis, the School may elect to shorten this isolation period for students who are fully vaccinated, are asymptomatic, obtain a negative PCR or rapid test result, and comply with stringent masking and/or social distancing requirements.

A faculty or staff member who is diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to school on Day 6 (subject to stringent masking and/or social distancing requirements), provided the following criteria are met:

    • At least 5 days have elapsed since symptoms first appeared and/or a positive COVID-19 test result, as applicable;
    • At least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication;
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving; and
    • The faculty or staff member has provided to the official email address for COVID-19 matters (covid@ssesh.org) a medical professional’s note clearing the faculty or staff member for return and/or a negative PCR or rapid test result.

Loss of taste and smell may persist for weeks or months after recovery and need not delay the end of isolation.

Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms Without Close Contact

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever (100.0° F and above), chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, nasal congestion or rhinorrhea, vomiting or diarrhea, and skin rashes.

A student who has symptoms that could be COVID-19 but has not had close contact may return to school when the following criteria are met:

    • the student has not experienced any COVID-19 symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours and
    • the student obtains a medical professional’s note clearing the student for return or obtains a negative PCR or rapid test result.

Vaccination Record Upload Instructions

At St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Houston, we strongly encourage all families with fully-vaccinated students to log in to Magnus Health | Online & Electronic Student Medical Record Solution to upload the relevant COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards. Please upload the side showing the dates of the 1st dose and 2nd dose. Previous immunization records will remain in Magnus. Instructions for adding the COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to your child’s immunization records are provided below.

Step 1: Log in to Magnus Health | Online & Electronic Student Medical Record Solution

Click the “Log In” button on the top right of the webpage.

Step 2: Click “Edit” Immunization Form

Step 3: Click “Yes, continue”

Step 4: Click “Yes, Submit”

Step 5: Click “Upload”

Step 6: Click “Choose File” and select your child’s COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (the side showing the dates of the 1st and 2nd dose)

Step 7: Click “Upload File(s)”