Watkinson’s plan for maintaining the health and safety of students and staff continues to follow all mandates, best practices, and current recommendations from the CDC, Connecticut State Department of Education, and the Connecticut Department of Health.
Masking is optional on campus for students, staff, and visitors, unless otherwise specified, but all who wish to continue masking at school are encouraged to do so. Masking is always required in the nurse’s office and masks will be provided.
Watkinson reserves the right to require visitors to wear masks, both indoors and outside at any event, and that decision will be informed by the data from our on-campus testing, infection levels of our surrounding community, and recommendations from the State and CDC.
GENERAL LAYERED MITIGATION STRATEGY
Campus-wide, we make use of our outdoor spaces as much as possible for teaching and learning, for lunch, and for activities. We use layered mitigation strategies as reasonable in the classrooms, keeping in mind that we are striving to have both the best teaching and learning for our students while simultaneously adopting recommended health and safety measures. Mitigation strategies include added ventilation, hand sanitizing, and distance between students when sensible is to be used.
There will be no regular COVID testing on campus this year.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR SENDING YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL
For general purposes, when deciding to send your child(ren) to school each day:
- If your student does not feel well, please keep them at home. Contact Watkinson’s school nurse for an assessment and school attendance plans. Depending on the situation, you may be referred to your own healthcare provider for testing and/or care plan.
- If your student has traveled internationally, please contact Watkinson’s school nurse for any appropriate guidance and protocols before your student returns to school.
- Vaccination for students is strongly encouraged and student vaccination information must be shared with Watkinson’s school nurse. The impact of a close contact causing a possible quarantine or isolation period on fully vaccinated students is much less intrusive to the educational process than for unvaccinated students.
SPECIFIC RETURN TO SCHOOL GUIDELINES
Please continue to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the school nurse. The State of Connecticut continues to ask that we report these cases directly to them. The nurse will also provide further health counseling and return to school instructions. Positive cases must isolate for 5 full days after symptom onset/positive test. Individuals may return to school once symptoms are largely resolved and they feel well enough to do so. If a fever was present, it must be resolved for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication.
Masking is required indoors on campus for days 6-10 after a positive test, including during indoor athletic activities.
Known Close Contacts Without Symptoms
Quarantine is no longer recommended for asymptomatic close contacts, regardless of vaccination status.
Per the CDC, wear a mask indoors on campus for 10 days following the last exposure for known close contacts of a positive case, regardless of vaccination status or recent history of COVID illness.
If symptoms develop following a close contact, stay home and obtain a test. Communicate with the nurse regarding next steps.
If you remain asymptomatic, testing around day 6 post-exposure is advised.
Known Close Contacts With Symptoms
Individuals with known close contact to a COVID-19 case who are experiencing symptoms should stay home, obtain a test, and connect with the nurse regarding plans for return to school.
Symptoms of COVID-19 Without Known or Suspected Close Contacts
Individuals with no known close contact but mild COVID-19 symptoms such as congestion, mild cough or sore throat, or stomach upset (and no fever), should use a rapid test at home and then proceed to school if the results are negative and they are feeling well enough to attend. Individuals reporting to school with mild symptoms after a negative test are strongly recommended to wear a well-fitting mask indoors until symptoms resolve.
Medical clearance to return to school and/or athletics may be required for any student that is absent for 5 full days or more due to prolonged illness. This is at the discretion of the school, and communication with the school nurse regarding the student’s condition is of the utmost importance.
Any questions related to readiness to return to school can be addressed to our school nurse, Kendra Wiesel.
STUDENT ATHLETE RETURN-TO-PLAY GUIDELINES
Watkinson School continues to work closely with Hartford HealthCare to review the infection data and risk concerning COVID-19 infections as it pertains to the health and safety of our student athletes. Families will be provided a risk assessment tool that will assist with determining the need for physician clearance prior to returning to athletic participation. The return-to-play process will then be individualized by the HHC Athletic Training team.
UPDATES AND COMMUNICATION
CT DPH advises that schools monitor community conditions, and adjust prevention strategies accordingly. Watkinson will continue to monitor evolving conditions and keep all stakeholders informed.
Watkinson’s COVID case dashboard will be published every Sunday, as part of the Watkinson Weekly email. As we are no longer testing the community each week, case numbers will be solely self-reported.