Here we address many of the questions we've been receiving about the 2020-2021 school year, in the midst of uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have additional questions not answered below, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FAQs on Returning to School
Last Published: December 1, 2020
Most Recent FAQs:
What if my family plans to travel over the holidays?
Anyone traveling will need to quarantine for 14 days upon return per the Health and Safety Committee of Ancillae's Taskforce.
Is it still okay to carpool with other families to/from school?
The Health and Safety Committee of our Pandemic Taskforce recommends that if carpooling, all windows must be open and all members are to be masked for the trip. Carpooling has been found to be a high risk transmission event.
Is there an update regarding winter sport offerings?
The Catholic Academy League Heads of School have decided to cancel the winter athletic season for all interscholastic, competitive play. This decision comes after careful discernment and collaboration. While we understand that this decision will bring some disappointment, our primary commitment to ensure a safe, healthy environment for students and families must be maintained and the current threat to safety is too great. The Athletic Directors from each school will continue to collaborate on plans and protocols for the spring season. We will keep our communities informed of our progress. Our partnership will keep our communities safe and bring us all together and stronger through these challenging times.
How will my child keep up with learning if he/she needs to quarantine?
That will vary based on the grade level of the child. SSM and Preschool students will be provided asynchronous activities and teacher check-in. In K-4, the student will join the separate virtual class. In grades 5-8, students will join the classes in session via Teams. Students will only be able to participate in the virtual program if out of school for an extended period of time. Contact Amy Lintner to find out if your child is eligible to join class virtual and if needed, she will make arrangements with your child's teachers.
If I kept my child home from school. Do I need a doctor’s note to return?
If you kept your child home from school because he/she showed possible COVID-19 symptoms as listed in our screening, a doctor’s note is required for your child to return to school. Students should be symptom-free. Students should also be fever-free for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
I kept my child home from school, but his/her symptoms are from a chronic problem (i.e. asthma, allergic runny nose). Does my child need a doctor’s note to return to school?
Yes, your child will need a doctor’s note stating symptoms are from a chronic problem, not a viral illness from which other students/staff could become sick.
One of my children was sent home from school. Do my other children need to go home, too?
No, only the sick child will need to go home unless the others also are showing symptoms.
I kept one of my children home from school because they were not feeling well. Do all of my children also need to stay home?
No, only the sick child is required to stay home. If the sick child is tested for Covid-19, then all other family members should stay home until a negative test result is received.
If a parent is symptomatic, do the children need to stay home?
No. Children only need to stay home if a parent is awaiting test results or has tested positive. Symptomatic adults may not drop off or pick up students from school.
I made a mistake on the Ruvna Health Screening. I got a message saying that my child may not come to school. Now what?
Contact Amy Lintner (email@example.com). She will be able to reset the form for you. You will then need to submit the screening again.
- When a student is absent from school, a note stating the reason for absence is required upon return. The school’s website has an Absentee Note form.
- Parents are asked to call school in the morning if keeping a child home. A reason should be given when calling reporting a child’s absence.
What will happen if an Ancillae faculty or staff member or student feels symptomatic once at school?
- Students and staff are to stay home if sick or symptomatic or have had a COVID-19 exposure.
- Self-screening of symptoms and exposure to COVID-19 will be reported by faculty, staff, and students daily before entering campus via an app.
- The Academy will utilize a COVID-19 Isolation room as a secondary health office.
What will happen if a member of the Ancillae community tests positive for COVD-19?
- If a child or staff member has a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, the Health Office will contact the Montgomery County Department of Public Health for further instructions.
- All children and staff in the same classroom or who have come in close contact with (defined as greater than 10 minutes of interaction less than 6 feet away) an infected individual should quarantine at home for 14 days.
What are the guidelines for a safe return to school after a student or staff member has been quarantined?
1) Symptomatic child/staff with test positive: exclude for 10 days from symptom onset AND at least 3 days after fever resolution (if present) AND improved respiratory symptoms.
2) Symptomatic child/staff not tested: exclude for 10 days from symptom onset AND at least 3 days after fever resolution (if present) AND improved respiratory symptoms.
3) Symptomatic child/staff with test negative: exclude until afebrile for 72 hours (if fever present) AND improved respiratory symptoms.
4) Symptomatic child/staff determined to have an alternative cause for illness by their primary medical doctor: exclude until symptoms resolved.
5) Exposed and asymptomatic: exclude for 14 days from last exposure if remains asymptomatic; exclude until meets criteria #1/2 if becomes symptomatic.
How will Ancillae manage emergency drills while remaining socially distant?
Ancillae will still practice emergency drills, but they will look very different. We have consulted Cheltenham’s Emergency Management and our Fire Marshal and it was recommended that rather than having fire or evacuation drills where everyone evacuates at one time, selected classes will practice at a time so that there is not a back-up and social distancing can be maintained. Lock down drills will not require any sort of huddling in an area of the room but will only focus on locking door and silence with more emphasis on discussion of routines – mental exercises of drill execution.
What if a child typically has a cough related to seasonal allergies or asthma?
Per our guideline, the first time any child exhibits potential symptoms of COVID-19, they should stay home from school and be evaluated by their physician, even children with similar seasonal symptoms that present every year. If the doctor determines that there is an alternate cause, like allergies, the child may return to school when they have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. After the child has been evaluated by their physician, we need a note from the doctor identifying the child’s usual symptoms related to a chronic condition and clearance to be in school.
But, if the symptoms either persist unexpectedly or change in any way, that child should be considered as exhibiting a NEW Symptom for Surveillance and must be kept home until he has met the Guidelines for Return to School.
If a student is sent to the isolation room and then sent home with suspected Covid, does that entire cohort need to be sent home at the same time?
Not when the case is suspected, only when confirmed would the cohort be quarantined. If local prevalence is low, the majority of suspected cases will probably be negative. When there is a positive case, local and state health departments will be involved.
What is the tipping point for Ancillae to go totally virtual?
Remember that we will continually be in contact with the Montgomery County Depart of Public Health for such decision-making. New guidance was just released last week from the PA Department of Education and PA Health Department that gives guidance connected to both county data and community data. This guidance looks at both level of transmission in the county and within our own walls. In addition to that guidance, we have the expertise of the doctors on our task force who will remain focused on evaluating the needs and conditions of our school community. They are committed to Ancillae and the work of the task force throughout the year. The physicians on our task force practice at multiple local hospitals and will be our eyes on the ground, watching not just official rates, but cases as they rise in real-time in local health systems. They will be critical to any decision regarding closure, whether temporary or longer-term.
What will happen after first trimester?
We will evaluate conditions and needs at the time and will determine if we will continue to offer a remote option for the non-medically fragile students. As we have learned over the last six months, we need to be adaptable to changing information and needs.
If a child is sent home during the school day with suspected Covid symptoms, does the sibling of that child need to be sent home?
It depends. If the sibling is asymptomatic – no. If that sibling is also symptomatic, yes.
Can students wear gaiters?
No. Emerging research indicates that they may not be effective in preventing the spread. Students must wear a mask that is a minimum 2- ply. 3-ply is better.
If a child's parent in my child’s cohort tests positive, does my child need to quarantine for 2 weeks?
According to CDC guideline, no. Contacts of contacts need no special arrangements. The child with the positive household member would be in quarantine, but the child in question would only quarantine if he/she tested positive.