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 4.16.21.
March 25, 2021
Dear Moravian Academy Community,
As we plan for a strong finish to our school year, our Health & Safety Committee has taken a moment to pause and reflect on the year, thus far. Overall, we feel good about the ebb and flow of our community health since the start of the school year. We have been confident in our protocols, particularly in our academic spaces. Our faculty, staff, and students have done a phenomenal job of adhering to protocols with consistency and precision - they are the key to our success. With just over two months left in the year, it is important that we all remain vigilant in our approach to community health and wellness.
As we reflect on the community health data we have been collecting since the start of the school years, in particular the copious notes we have maintained via contact tracing, we see spaces for improvement and continued learning, in addition to our areas of success. Our committee will continue to review this data and learn from our past experience as we plan for the upcoming school year, and we want to share these overall observations with you.
While we found no evidence of linked transmission within any of our academic spaces, we did have a cluster of cases on our Upper School Boys Basketball team this winter, causing the team to shut down for two weeks. Although this single instance of linked transmission occurred in our highest-exposure-risk indoor sport, it has given us much to consider for next school year as we discuss future mitigation efforts for athletics and other higher-exposure-risk co-curricular activities.
In terms of exposure, we see from our community’s data that when there was transmission, it mostly followed the small social gatherings with loved ones that have taken place outside of school. The vast majority of our Covid-positive cases were the result of visits to family members, weekend playdates with friends, or small gatherings of teenagers indoors and in cars.
We also saw the far-reaching impact one Covid-positive employee can have on a school; one positive teacher can result in 80 students and additional teachers being quarantined. This demonstrated to us the clear value of widespread vaccination, and we are happy to note that a large majority of our school employees are at least partially vaccinated with one of the three Covid vaccines being distributed in PA. These vaccination efforts will have a positive impact on employee health and wellness, and will also significantly reduce quarantine numbers as additional cases arise in the future.
Our Health and Safety Committee will continue to use our current and past health data, including lessons learned like those above, along with regional health data and expert guidance, to make adjustments as needed to our protocols. Overall, we are mindful of both maintaining safety while increasing students' access to important parts of our school, so you can anticipate that we will be more restrictive in some areas and remove restrictions in others when we can. There has been a lot of activity in the past week and we are announcing the following actions and decisions today. Please read the Community Guide carefully as well as the summaries below:
Effective immediately, we are removing our school-mandated travel quarantine. The current travel question will be removed from Ruvna as of Monday, March 29.
Following exposure to Covid-19, a non-vaccinated individual may reduce the time of quarantine to 10 days upon presentation of a negative RT-PCR test. For those individuals who choose not to be tested, they will adhere to the standard 14-day quarantine following exposure to Covid-19.
The high-risk gathering question will be reinstated in Ruvna on Tuesday, April 6, following Easter break. This question defines high-risk gatherings as those that occur indoors, unmasked, with 10 or more unvaccinated people who are not part of your household.
On March 19, the CDC provided updated guidance to school leaders indicating that 3’ of physical distance was sufficient between students, thereby allowing more students in each classroom. We will not be reconfiguring our classrooms and will instead continue to use 6’ of physical distancing, adhering to our current Covid maximum for each academic space. We will also continue to follow our protocols of routine cleaning, strict masking, open windows, cohorting, and bringing students outside as the weather permits. Any minor tweaks in our protocols will happen by grade/division and will be communicated by campus directors.
The recent guidance provided by the CDC, in addition to lessons learned this year, will inform our practices and planning for the 2021-2022 school year. The use of Covid testing as a screening tool is a potential consideration for higher-risk co-curricular activities and will be explored further in the coming weeks and months.
We are considering ways to improve instruction on the Upper School campus, where in-person attendance has been unpredictable. For this reason, there will be a modification to student attendance planning which will be communicated by the Upper School Director.
If you have questions regarding these updates please don’t hesitate to contact us. We continue to thank you for your patience and partnership this year. We look forward to an exciting, successful end to a challenging school year.
Jeff Zemsky Dr. Erica D'Agostino '91
Head of School Assistant Head of School