Overview and FAQ: 2020-2021 School Year
This page has been developed by the COVID Planning Committee to share our plans to protect the health and safety of the entire school community with our families, community, and fellow friends of WCDS.
A Safe Return to Campus will include:
- Thorough and continual cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.
- Physical distancing in the classroom and movement throughout the school.
- Masks are worn by all teachers and students throughout the school day.
- Students and Faculty adhering to our health and safety guidelines of staying home whenever any symptoms arise.
The state of Virginia has provided guidance for schools to reopen under Phase Three. This plan is based on the most recent information and guidance from a number of different resources including the Virginia Department of Health, the Center for Disease Control, the Virginia Department of Education. We believe a well-planned start which reduces risk to all community members will give us the best chance of maximizing our time on campus and help mitigate the spread of illness.
Personal Protective Equipment
WCDS requires all students and faculty to wear facemasks while at school, including during bus rides and in common areas. Students are responsible for bringing their own cloth mask to school daily, as part of their uniform requirements. This is mandatory for the health and well being of our community.
Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing
The health and well-being of the WCDS Community is our top priority. We have implemented a cleaning schedule and various procedures recommended by the VDH, CDC, and VDE to mitigate the spread of the virus.
- Classroom surfaces and equipment will be sanitized regularly throughout the day.
- Common areas will be sanitized and wiped down throughout the day.
- Sanitation stations will be available throughout the school and in each classroom.
Temperature Checks and Health Monitoring
Each family must take responsibility for the well-being of our entire community. It is vital for families to partner with the school and adhere to our strict health and safety protocols. Students and faculty must be symptom/illness-free in order to attend school.
- Students must be fever-free and exhibiting no signs of illness.
Social Distancing Guidelines
The capacity of each classroom will be limited based on current mandated guidelines. These limitations will include staff.
- All participants must be 3 feet apart and wearing a mask while in the classroom.
- Teachers will be assigned to a particular classroom and will limit their interaction with students outside their classroom.
- Classrooms will be set up to encourage social distancing.
- Each class will enjoy outdoor breaks with time in between classes for cleaning.
- Visitors will be restricted to those who are essential and will be asked to wear a mask and complete a health screening.
- Teachers will take advantage of our 12-acre property which is an excellent opportunity for outdoor learning. Classes are encouraged to take their students outdoors and open windows in the classrooms.
*Should a student or faculty member contract COVID-19, WCDS will follow recommendations from the VDOE and CDC and seek guidance provided by our local public health department. WCDS will be in communication with families immediately about the next steps we will need to take as a community.
We all play an important role in preventing the spread of illness on campus. Below you will find the key expectations we have of our families and faculty:
- Complete a daily symptom checklist for each child upon arrival at school.
- Please recognize health and safety precautions around travel are rapidly developing.
- Keep your child home if he/she shows any signs of illness.
- Keep your child home if he/she, others in your household, or someone close to your child is exposed to or test positive for COVID-19; contact the School immediately.
- Pick your child up promptly if he/she shows symptoms of illness.
- Follow federal, state, and local orders regarding social distancing and other measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
- Provide your child with a face covering on a daily basis.
- Practice and reinforce healthy behaviors at home.
- Keep your medical information current with the school.
A child will be considered well and permitted to attend school if they meet all of the following daily health observations:
- They have a temperature reading of 99.4° or lower.
- They have not had a fever of 100° or higher within the past 72 hours.
- No cough.
- No runny nose combined with other symptoms.
- No shortness of breath.
- No body rashes or eye discharge.
- They have not been exposed to a person infected with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
If a student is identified with the following symptoms, he/she will be excluded from the school for 72 hours:
- Fever of 100.0° or higher (during the school day).
- Continuous cough.
- Shortness of breath.
- Vomiting (without known cause).
- Diarrhea (loose stools 2-3 times during the day).
Students will be able to return to school once:
- Fever free for 72 hours without fever-reducing medications.
- Absence of continuous cough for 72 hours without cough suppressants.
- Absence of shortness of breath for 72 hours.
- Vomit free for 72 hours.
- Diarrhea free for 72 hours.
What happens if there are cases of infection within the school community? WCDS will adhere to the Virginia Department of Education, cited below (source):
What is the definition of exposure in a school setting?
- The definition of exposure is the same for every setting and every type of classroom. When assessing a person’s risk of exposure to COVID-19, close contact means being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 while not wearing adequate personal protective equipment for ≥15 minutes. If someone is within six feet of a person with lab-confirmed COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more at a time, that person is considered to have been exposed.
When are classroom or school closures triggered?
- These decisions need to be made on a case-by-case basis and in consultation with the local health department. The size of the class, the extent of social distancing in place while the ill persons were present and infectious, the extent of interaction and exposure in the area, and location of the case(s) in the class need to be assessed to determine the potential risk to others. Recommendations will be based on these assessments of risk and how instruction can continue in as safe a manner as possible.
How do you determine when a school should close, and if so, for how long after a case is detected in the school population?
- Schools should notify their local health department when outbreaks of COVID-19 in the school population are suspected or confirmed. Schools should work with their local health departments when cases of COVID-19 occur in teachers, staff, or students. Areas of the school where ill individuals spent time while infectious might need to be closed temporarily for cleaning and disinfection while unaffected areas continue to function as usual. Decisions about the closure of a section of the school or the entire school will depend on the number of ill persons who have been sent home for a period of isolation and the number of exposed contacts who have been identified and placed into quarantine. The extent of the school facility and teaching staff affected by these factors will be a factor in determining whether educational services can continue to be provided.
Released July 27, 2020