Community Letter: January 14, 2022, Updated January 26, 2022
Dear Moravian Academy,
It has been an especially busy time for COVID-19 headlines and, even as we start the holiday weekend, we have important school updates to share with you in preparation for the next few weeks.
Recent National Changes from CDC and CHOP
On December 27, the CDC updated their guidelines on isolation
. Based on research demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs in the 1-2 days prior to experiencing symptoms and the 2-3 days that follow, the CDC reduced the recommended quarantine period to 5 days for individuals who are asymptomatic OR whose symptoms are resolving (fever-free for 24 hours). We did not react immediately to this update due to the Omicron surge, as we wanted to receive additional guidance from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and our partners at St. Luke’s.
On January 6, CHOP released their updated Guidance for In-Person Education
, which added to the CDC’s updates by not requiring quarantine periods for exposed, asymptomatic individuals, among other changes. In addition to reading CHOP's policies, if you are looking to understand them better it may help to listen to this NPR interview with Dr. David Rubin
, primary care pediatrician and director of the CHOP PolicyLab. Dr. Rubin’s advice is not specific to Moravian Academy, but he has been one of our expert advisors throughout this pandemic. While both the CDC and CHOP shortened or discontinued some of their previous guidelines, both continue to recommend indoor masking within buildings and at school activities, regardless of vaccination status, as important mitigation efforts to keep in place. These experts are also briefing us on the negative effects on children’s social, emotional, and learning health when they are not in school.
What This Means for Us at Moravian Academy
Our Health and Safety Committee is updating protocols for the Merle-Smith Campus that go into effect this Tuesday, January 18, and is announcing an intention to update protocols on the Downtown and Swain Campuses on Monday, January 31. This comes after the committee reviewed recommendations in full with our partners at St. Luke's. We’re responding to new conditions including the prevalence of the Omicron variant, the reconsideration of isolation and quarantine protocols, and balancing COVID mitigation steps with meeting the immediate and long-term social, emotional, and learning needs of children and adolescents.
Conditions at the Merle-Smith are a good match for the updated CHOP recommendations because the immunity rate, the number of individuals who are vaccinated or who have had the natural disease, at the Merle-Smith Campus is above 90%. With an eye toward our Upper School students’ immediate needs, these changes go into effect on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. All students and families must read the addendum to understand the protocols
. The updates include shortened isolation periods and no quarantine requirements or contact tracing. Indoor masking will still be required. We believe strongly this will support the social, emotional, and learning needs of our students.
Downtown and Swain Campuses
The immunity rates, the number of individuals who are vaccinated or who have had the natural disease, are currently below 70% at both campuses, which is why we intend to implement the updated guidelines on these campuses beginning Monday, January 31, 2022. The updates include shortened isolation and quarantine periods. Indoor masking will still be required. We believe strongly this will meet the social, emotional, and learning needs of our students.
We are making these changes with an eye first on how to keep students healthy as they learn in person on campus. We continue to thank you for your partnership as we proceed through this winter.
Head of School