2020-21 Plan: Reopen, Stay Open

This page represents the essential information that Moravian Academy community members need to know for a successful and healthy school year during the Covid-19 pandemic. This page was last updated 1.15.21.
December 11, 2020

Dear Moravian Academy,
We have important updates to share with you before we turn to our regular Friday newsletter stories. The rapid and sustained rise of COVID-19 cases is impacting all facets of life in the Lehigh Valley, including schools. The overall health and community spirit of Moravian Academy remain very strong, and we are grateful for this collective perseverance as we approach the following changes and updates for the next several weeks:
  • School will move to remote instruction for one week following Winter Break, from January 4-8, 2021. We will return to in-person instruction on January 11. This period of remote instruction will provide a 10-day buffer following December 31, allowing  us to safely work through any potential increases in exposures from the holidays. This will help us return more safely to campus on Monday, January 11. 
  • During the week of remote instruction, all students, faculty, and staff will need to complete their daily Ruvna health screening. Please know your responses remain a pivotal component to the continued health and safety of our school.
  • The new state-wide mandates announced by Gov. Wolf yesterday have a direct impact on school-wide co-curricular activities. All in-person sports and after-school activities are canceled from December 12 to January 4. This week, the Colonial League instituted new procedures for the winter sports season. These are outlined in the 2021 Winter Athletic Update.
We will have time next week to prepare for remote instruction, including reviewing expectations and materials for those students who have not yet experienced remote instruction this year. 
We will continue to share relevant health information with you. The recent spikes have tested and validated our protocols and to this point we have been able to keep the virus from spreading on campus. We see that all students and faculty members who were quarantined after possible campus exposure have successfully completed their quarantines. The majority of our positive cases and quarantines seem to be the result from time spent indoors between close friends and extended family members.
In hearing from our community, we want to acknowledge the concerns, fatigue, and grieving that many are feeling right now. As we remind our students, who themselves bring so much joy into the lives of others, today is always the right day to reach out with support, grace, and appreciation for the people around us. 
Thank you for helping us keep our community safe. We hope you and your family have a wonderful, blessed, and safe holiday season. We look forward to seeing you in the new year.   

Jeff Zemsky             Dr. Erica D'Agostino '91
Head of School        Assistant Head of School

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 13 items.

  • How can my family and I engage in safe holiday activities?

    The CDC has provided a wealth of information regarding safe holiday practices. The CDC and other healthcare experts have consistently noted that virtual gatherings with others and in-person celebrations limited to members of your household pose the least risk of transmission of Covid-19. Gatherings with individuals outside of your household should be kept outdoors, when possible. If celebrating with family members indoors, the recommendation is to wear masks, wash hands, and remain physically distant at all times.
  • What are the exemptions to the new PA travel order?

    The following individuals are exempt from the new PA travel order but shall conduct travel with adherence to social distancing and wearing of masks when in contact with other individuals.
    • Individuals traveling to and from PA for the purposes of work.
    • Individuals traveling to and from PA for medical reasons, including individuals providing comfort and support to the patient.
    • Military personnel traveling to PA by order or directive of a state or federal military authority.
    • Individuals in transit through PA to another destination provided that the time spent in PA is only the amount of time necessary to complete the transit; make use of travel services, such as a highway rest stop; or make any necessary travel connections.
  • Why did Moravian Academy choose a 10-day quarantine after large gatherings?

    The Stay Open Committee chose to enforce a 10-day quarantine, rather than 7 or 14 days, based on data regarding transmission of Covid-19 and in partnership with our healthcare team. Data indicates 91% of people who contract the virus will develop symptoms within 10 days of point of contact with a positive case.
  • You’re in isolation or school mandated quarantine, now what?

  • If a member of the community tests positive, how will we be notified?

     If a student or employee has a COVID-19 infection, School officials will support the Department of Health’s efforts for contact tracing and enforcing isolation and quarantining of those infected and their contacts. Provisions are already in place to support the continuity of learning from home during quarantine periods and for students choosing to remain at home. 

    If a person within your child’s cohort tests positive, we will notify you via email along with instructions regarding quarantine requirements, as applicable according to the Department of Health.
  • Am I entitled to know who tests positive for Covid-19?

    We will not publicly release the names of people who test positive. Families will be notified immediately if their student had close contact with anyone who is diagnosed with COVID-19. We will follow the guidance of the Bethlehem Health Bureau in making decisions to close classrooms or divisions, or to quarantine specific groups of students, faculty, or staff.
  • We need to get tested for COVID-19, where can we go?

    As a first step, you should call your primary care physician to receive their recommendation for testing. If testing is recommended, we suggest obtaining a Covid test through St. Luke’s University Health Network. Call the St. Luke’s Hotline at 1-866-STLUKES (1-866-785-8537). Press option 7 to be evaluated over the phone by a trained nursing professional to see if further evaluation or testing is indicated. Alert the nursing professional regarding your association with MA.
  • Can I test out of quarantine post-travel or following close contact with a positive case?

    No, the CDC does not allow individuals to “test out” of quarantine.
  • If one child is quarantined, should I keep my other child home?

    As per CDC guidelines, if only one child is a close contact of a positive case, other children in the home may attend school (they would be considered contacts of potential contacts). That being said, as a family you may choose to keep all children at home while one child is being quarantined. This is a perfectly acceptable choice, and all children will be able to attend remote classes during this quarantine period.
  • Will your recommendations be vetted by public health experts?

    Absolutely! We have entered into a partnership with St. Luke’s University Health Network, they will be reviewing all aspects of our Health & Safety Plan, as well as providing guidance for athletics, music/arts, chapel, dining, transportation, co-curricular programming, faculty/staff training,  ventilation, etc. This partnership gives us access to St. Luke’s engineers, environmental health & safety experts, and infectious disease physicians. We are thrilled to have entered this partnership which will allow us to open our campuses with confidence.
  • If our student needs to begin the academic year remotely, are we locked into that choice for the duration of the year?

    No! Your decisions regarding the mode of instruction can be fluid, based on the circumstances of your particular family and the broader local and state community. We are happy to work with families who need to move between remote and in-person instruction.
  • Will masks be worn at all times?

    Students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear face coverings at all times. They will have the opportunity to remove their masks at lunch and during designated “mask breaks”.
  • Can I choose the mask our child wears?

    Yes. Families should consider masks as part of the uniform/dress code. We are working to include new MA-branded masks as part of the uniform that families can feel free to purchase. We also realize many families and employees have grown accustomed to their own personal face masks. While our masks will be available for students and employees (we have ordered 1,500), we certainly encourage you to send your student to school with their own preferred face covering.

Merle Smith Campus

Downtown Campus