2021-22 COVID-19 Protocols

The Health and Safety Committee has been monitoring the improving COVID-19 conditions for several weeks and has decided to move to Tier 2 level protocols, which include a shift to optional masking indoors on campus. This and other Tier 2 protocol changes will take effect on Monday, March 7.

Tier 2

Lehigh/Northampton county in moderate rate of transmission, per CDC guidance, campus or school vaccination or immunity rate exceeds 70% threshold, low incidence of COVID-19 cases and/or quarantines on campus

Masks Masks optional for students, faculty, and staff, regardless of vaccination status.

Masks must be worn in the nurse's suite regardless of symptoms or presenting reason for the visit to the nurse for the protection of all the students that may be in the nurse's suite at that time and due to the nature of the exposure that may occur in that environment.
Physical distancing Faculty and staff will be strategic about classroom spaces and large group gatherings, encouraging students to maintain physical distancing when possible.
Transportation We will follow the CDC guidelines for public transportation.
Dining & food P-K learners will continue to eat in their classrooms. 1-12 students will eat in dining rooms or outdoor spaces based on campus discretion.

All students should bring a filled water bottle to school which can be refilled throughout the school day.
Personal hygiene Frequent hand washing will be encouraged throughout the school day. Hand sanitizer & disinfectant wipes will continue to be available in all school spaces.

Proper sneezing/coughing etiquette (into the elbow or a tissue) will continue to be encouraged.

Students must sanitize their hands before & after sharing classroom materials.
Quarantine & isolation Individuals must isolate following a positive test result or being presumptive positive due to symptoms, as determined in consultation with the school.

The isolation period is 5 to 10 days, with the option to return starting on day 6 if the individual no longer has symptoms or symptoms are resolving to the point of satisfying the criteria from the daily screening (Ruvna).

Day 1 of isolation is the day after the test sample was taken or the day after symptoms begin.

Students returning to school on days 6-10 must wear a mask, CHOP recommends an N95, KN95, or well fitting surgical mask. The school will provide such masks if one is needed, based on availability.

Students are not required to quarantine if they remain asymptomatic, regardless of vaccination status, but are asked to wear a mask in school in place of a 10-day quarantine period if they know they have been exposed.
Cleaning & disinfection All campus buildings will be deep cleaned at the end of each academic day, in alignment with CDC recommendations.
Daytime field trips Day trips are allowed; all students & employees must follow health/safety guidelines for bus travel, etc. All trips will be approved at the discretion of campus directors.

Parent volunteers will not be permitted to ride school buses to field trip sites.
Overnight trips Overnight trips are allowed; all students & employees must follow health/safety guidelines for public transportation (bus, air, etc), masking, overnight accommodations, food services, etc. All trips will be approved at the discretion of campus directors.

Families may choose to have their student opt-out of overnight trips per their family’s comfort level with community transmission.

Testing prior to trips may be a consideration as a possible mitigation effort. Families would be notified well in advance if testing is being considered.
Cohorting Campuses will not implement cohorting; students will move between classes and schedules will be written to reduce exposure as much as possible.
Ventilation & use of outdoor spaces Windows & doors will be opened in classrooms to promote the flow of fresh air and increase air dilution of viruses and other germs. As cooler months approach students & employees should dress appropriately.

Faculty & staff will again make use of outdoor spaces for learning, dining & free time.
Athletics See the Athletics Health & Safety Plan.
Before & after-school programming Program leaders will ensure their campus’ school-day protocols are followed with fidelity.

Program leader ensures the program is registered with Scott McClary, Director of External Affairs.
Visitors/volunteers Essential personnel and visitors at directors’ approval, will be allowed on campus and required to complete an electronic health screening the morning of their visit; masks are optional.
Community events Community events will follow the school’s health and safety protocols with fidelity. Masking will be at the director’s discretion.
Contact tracing No contact tracing.
Daily health screening Daily electronic health screenings will be required of all students, employees, and campus visitors. Individuals who exhibit potential symptoms of Covid-19 will be asked to remain at home.
COVID-19 testing Testing protocols will not be utilized on a regular basis or for special events.
Special activities (performing arts, clubs, etc.) Health screening will be required prior to activities that take place on non-school days.

Masks are optional.
Remote instruction Students required to isolate due to positive COVID-19 results, will be provided remote instruction during the duration of their time at home. Details pertaining to remote instruction will be provided by each campus.
Vaccines Vaccines are not required for school participation. A copy of one’s up-to-date vaccine card should be on file with the nurse.
Community Letter: February 28, 2022

Dear Moravian Academy Community,

The Health and Safety Committee has been monitoring the improving COVID-19 conditions for several weeks and has decided to move to Tier 2 level protocols, which include a shift to optional masking indoors on campus. This and other Tier 2 protocol changes will take effect on Monday, March 7.

We make this decision after significant deliberations and based on the recommendations from our partners at St. Luke’s University Health Network. This is also consistent with guidance from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and, as of Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC published new parameters for county health status that place Lehigh and Northampton Counties in the “medium” range. At this level, the CDC recommends that wearing a mask is optional.

We do not make this decision lightly. In addition to this new guidance, we also took into consideration:
  • We strongly believe that we need to turn our focus to the immediate and long-term social, emotional, and learning needs of our students.
  • The protections available to individuals are strong, including vaccines, boosters, one-way N95 masking, and effective therapeutics that reduce serious illness. After reviewing the last two years of data, experts found that while children can contract the virus, they are more likely to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. 
  • For those in our community who want or need to continue wearing a mask, N95 or KN95 are highly effective for protecting the wearer from COVID-19.  
  • Our campus immunity rates (i.e. the number of individuals who are vaccinated or who have had the natural disease) are above 70% at Downtown and Swain and above 90% at Merle-Smith. We also project that our youngest students are likely to gain access to the vaccine in the near future. 
  • We remain committed to a multilayered set of health and safety protocols that have helped us mitigate the spread of illness, including daily screenings through RUVNA, staying home if you don’t feel well, encouraging hand washing or sanitizing, physical distancing inside, and opening windows for increased ventilation.
As CHOP outlined in their January guidance, the virus is now transitioning out of the pandemic towards the endemic phase, which means we need to transition to treating it like other seasonal viruses. As we take this next step and prepare to shift to a mask-optional status, we also look forward to slowly and thoughtfully beginning to resume our in-person, community-building activities and traditions that we enjoyed pre-COVID. 
 
Please continue to read the following information, as we want our community to fully understand how we are going to proceed as a school. 
  • Current protocols remain in place this week with no changes so that students and teachers can discuss each option available, allowing each student to make the best decision for their unique needs. 
  • Over the next week, we would like families to discuss with their children whether they will continue masking or choose to not mask. Students who continue to mask will be supported, as will students who choose not to mask. There may also be times that students who choose not to mask feel more comfortable masking. All of these decisions will be supported, and we would like you to make these decisions as a family. 
  • While we will support each family’s decision on masking, we will not ask our teachers to enforce each family's decision. We understand that these decisions may change over time and we cannot reasonably expect our teachers to know each family’s choice.  It will be the student’s responsibility to keep their mask on indoors if that is the family’s decision.
  • We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic is not completely over. As such, we will continue to monitor our regional and community COVID-19 data. If positivity rates increase, we may need to return to Tier 3, which requires universal masking.
This shift brings relief for some and concern for others in our community. Many have said they feel both these strong emotions at the same time. Let's embrace our mission to explore the complexities of our world with compassion. The pandemic has been extremely hard on the social and emotional wellbeing of our children, and this is the next stage in our healing process. Our responsibility is to support each other’s personal decisions, knowing that respecting others by making space for differing opinions is a core value of Moravian Academy.

We understand this may bring up additional questions, and we will send further information in advance of Monday, March 7. Please reach out to Dawn Brews, Acting Director of the Downtown Campus; Armistead Webster, Head of the Swain School; Dylan Deal, Director of the Merle-Smith Campus; or me, if needed.

Sincerely,

Jeff Zemsky
Head of School

Moravian Academy. Discover More.

Downtown Campus

Swain School

Merle-Smith Campus