Healthy LREI

This page outlines our most up-to-date policies and practices:


August  2021  
Dear LREI Families, 

I hope that this note finds you well and enjoying the summer. If you are anything like me, you are balancing summer fun and summer treats (More watermelon, anyone?), with excitement about our return to school in a few weeks.  

I write with a Covid-19 policies/procedures update. Please be sure to read all of this long email.  The Covid-19 landscape is changing rapidly and we may well adjust these plans in the coming weeks as we have leading up to this letter, as you will see below. As we have seen, NYC has revised its procedures and policies nearly every day for the past few weeks.  

We will base our plans on the range of recommendations/requirements from the CDC and the NYC Department of Health and our various advisors. Clearly, the health of the students and adults in school is at the heart of our decision making as is providing your children the best progressive program possible.  We will, of course, keep you updated throughout the year. 

First, and most importantly, it is our plan to begin school for all, in person, as scheduled, on September 9, 2021. We want to be back in school, together, learning, full time. Next to the health of each member of the community, this is the most important thing.

In order to achieve these dual goals, being in school and keeping everyone healthy, LREI has decided to require that all students who are eligible be vaccinated against Covid-19.  Given the timing of this announcement, we are asking that all students who are eligible receive their first dose no later than September 22 and the second by October 27.  All who turn 12 during the school year must be fully vaccinated within five weeks  of the child’s 12th birthday.  Please submit proof of vaccination via the Magnus portal. At the end of this message I have included instructions for uploading vaccination records to your child’s Magnus account.

Families whose children have documented medical/health reasons or other grounds to claim an exemption should email me (pkassen@lrei.org), CCing Ava Dawson (adawson@lrei.org), the school’s health director, with this request. 

We want to thank those families, the majority of families, who have already had their eligible children vaccinated. 

Updates:  

Return to School Testing - We ask that all students, vaccinated or not, have a negative PCR test prior to returning to school on September 9.  This test should be taken no earlier than Sunday, September 5, 2021.  Please upload the result sheet to your child’s Magnus account by 5:00p.m. on Wednesday September 8. Email nurses@lrei.org if you have difficulty. Rapid antigen tests will not be accepted.

Periodic Testing
We are creating a rotating schedule for all those who are unvaccinated to participate in a periodic testing program.  We will be in touch about the specifics of which tests, how often, etc.   

Masks - Given the current guidance by the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, we will ask that all students in all grades be masked when in the school buildings during the school day. We will allow students to remove their masks when they are outside during the school day and when eating in classrooms/cafeterias.  We will allow students to remove masks in the building during the school day as soon as the health authorities tell us this is safe.  

Physical Distancing - The required distance between students will be reduced from what it was last year, with the goal of creating classrooms that are active and collegial spaces, while protecting the health of each student.  

Athletics, Vocal / Instrumental Music, Drama Productions, Etc. - We are working hard to find ways to conduct all extracurricular activities and will continue to update you on these efforts.  We hope to hear from the athletic leagues shortly and we are making decisions on how to conduct indoor extracurricular sports safely.  We are also working to create safe opportunities for music, in all forms, to return to LREI.  We so missed hearing the students’ beautiful music.   

Daily Health Surveys (Magnus) - We plan to begin the year without a daily health screening, though this may ultimately be required and we will reinstate the surveys as needed/required. We can forestall reinstating the survey by paying attention to a few common sense precautions - wash our hands, stay home when symptomatic, take common-sense precautions.  

It is essential that families keep their children home when they have any symptoms of Covid-19 or any other communicable disease, for that matter. 
  • Vomiting or diarrhea?  Stay home for 24 hours.  
  • Fever of over 100℉? Stay home for 24 hours after your child’s temperature returns to normal without medication. 
  • A negative PCR will still be required to return to school after experiencing any symptoms, even if vaccinated. We will continue to ask that parents who experience any symptoms of Covid-19 be tested themselves, even if vaccinated.

Travel - The following requirements reflect current travel guidance, these could change. 
 
If you are unvaccinated and are traveling domestically - no quarantine before testing/return is needed.  If unvaccinated and traveling internationally - the CDC continues to recommend a 7-day quarantine with a test on day three - five.  We ask that you follow these recommendations.  

Quarantining - We will continue to require unvaccinated students to quarantine for 10 days if they are exposed to a positive case of Covid-19 in accordance with NYS Department of Health Regulations.  NYS does not allow testing out of quarantine for exposure. As per CDC guidance, vaccinated students who are exposed to COVID will be required to take a PCR test between 3-5 days after exposure, even if asymptomatic. At this time, they will not be required to quarantine pending results. Note that this guidance may change without notice.

Contact Ava Dawson (adawson@lrei.org) immediately if you are informed of exposure outside of school or receive a positive test result.

The divisional principals will communicate division-specific information, as needed.  

Family Visits to the Buildings - We will enter the school year with most parent events happening remotely.  As we can do so safely, we will invite families into the buildings for in-person events and hope to do so for all families a few times in the first part of the year.  We will likely ask for proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid-19 test. Even if vaccinated, we will require masks of all visitors, and ask you not to enter the building if you are having any symptoms of illness. 

For Lower School Families - Families of fours, kindergarteners, and first graders will be able to have one vaccinated adult per day walk their child into the school.  Faith Hunter, Lower School Principal, will be in touch with details. Second, third, and fourth grade families will be able to accompany their children to their classrooms for the first two days of the school year. Again, Faith will be in touch with details. 

Clearly, all of this will depend on the trajectory of the virus. Thank you for your attention to these important matters.  Please remember to submit all required health information ASAP via Magnus.  

For those who have questions, please be in touch via email, though know that over the summer our replies might be a little slower than usual.  We also invite you to join a conversation on Tuesday, August 31, at 6:30p.m., when I will be available, along with several colleagues, to discuss this information and any additional updates.  I will post the Zoom information on the LREI Connect Community Events Calendar.  

The good news for the summer is that the more time we spend outside, the safer we are. Enjoy!

Optimistically yours, 

Phil

COVID Q&A - Symptoms/School Exclusion/Isolation/Quarantine/Contact

List of 15 items.

  • Student and Staff Symptoms/Illness Policy

    • All students and staff must stay home and immediately take a molecular COVID test (PCR, Rapid PCR, Rapid Molecular) test if they exhibit any of the following symptoms:
      • Fever (100 F)
      • New cough or congestion
      • Sore throat
      • Loss of taste or smell
      • Vomiting or Diarrhea
    • Students and staff must stay home and monitor for the following symptoms. If the symptoms do not resolve within 24 hours, take a molecular COVID test (PCR, Rapid PCR, Rapid Molecular):
      • Headache
      • Fatigue
      • Muscle aches
      • Abdominal pain
    • Students and staff with a negative molecular COVID test may return to school when they have been fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medication, 24 hours after any episode of vomiting or diarrhea, when feeling better and able to tolerate masking. All results must be sent to nurses@lrei.org for clearance. Symptom clearance is required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated community members due to the potential for breakthrough cases.
    • Positive results must be reported to Ava Dawson immediately (adawson@lrei.org)
    • Note: The NYC Department of Health does not allow for rapid antigen tests or antibody tests to clear to return from symptoms or exposure.
  • Parent/Household Member Illness Policy

    • If a parent or household member (including caregivers/nannies) has any of the symptoms above, we request that you keep any unvaccinated students home and be tested for COVID with a molecular COVID test (PCR, Rapid PCR, Rapid Molecular). If the adult at home is  positive, please report this to the nurses (nurses@lrei.org)
    • If this household member has been present in the LREI buildings in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset or a positive test, you must report this to the nurses immediately (nurses@lrei.org).
  • Mask Policy

    • All students and staff are required to wear fitted face coverings over their nose and mouth at all times while indoors on school property and on trips. They may be removed indoors only for eating, drinking or napping. 
    • Masks are currently optional outdoors. The school will support students whose family requests they mask outdoors.
    • Masks should be form fitting and made of at least 2 layers of fabric. 
    • Gaiters and masks with valves are not permitted.
    • Face shields may be used in addition to, but not in place of face masks. 
    • Disposable masks are available on site, if needed. 
  • COVID Vaccines

    • Vaccination against COVID-19 is required for all students age 12 and older. 
    • Exemptions will be considered on an individual basis. An exemption form must be requested by emailing the Director. 
    • Unvaccinated students, even those with exemptions, will not be permitted to participate in higher-risk indoor activities including, but not limited to, sports and performing arts. 
    • Unvaccinated students in grades 7-12 will be required to participate in bi-weekly COVID testing. 50% of unvaccinated people in each grade will be tested weekly on a rotating basis. 
    • Unvaccinated students in grades 4s-6th will be required to participate in monthly COVID testing. A sample of 25% of each class will be tested weekly. Families may opt to test their children by PCR/saliva testing outside of school after being cleared to do so by the nurses.
  • COVID Exposure Policy

    • All students and staff are required to report any known COVID exposure immediately to the schools’ Health Director. Ava Dawson is available by phone or email (adawson@lrei.org). 
    • If you are unsure if a circumstance warrants exposure, please err on the side of caution and contact the nurses (nurses@lrei.org) or Ava (adawson@lrei.org). 
    • Families and staff will be notified by the School of any in-school exposures, and will be directed as to the proper quarantine and testing measures. 
  • Quarantine Policy

    • Vaccinated
      • Fully vaccinated students and staff are not required to quarantine after a known COVID exposure if they are not experiencing symptoms.
      • In order to attend school, exposed vaccinated students and staff must take a lab-based COVID PCR test at time of notification exposure and on day 5 after exposure. For exposures that occur at LREI, this testing will be offered on-site. Families may choose to obtain testing outside of school. 
      • If the exposed individual develops ANY symptoms, they must immediately isolate and take a lab-based COVID PCR. 
    • Unvaccinated
      • Unvaccinated students or staff are required to quarantine for 10 days after their date of last contact with COVID.  
      • Students may be released from quarantine early by taking a lab-based PCR on day 5 after exposure, and return to school on day 8 if asymptomatic and negative. We will inform contacts of the appropriate test and return dates. 
    • Siblings/Household members of exposed students/staff
      • Vaccinated Primary Contact
        • Siblings and household members of vaccinated contacts may continue to attend school UNLESS the primary contact develops ANY symptoms and is required to quarantine and test. 
    • Unvaccinated Primary Contact
      • Siblings and household members must remain at home until the primary exposed contact has tested negative by a rapid test, and then may return to school.
      • Families must separate the quarantined individual to the best of their ability at home. 
      • If the primary contact develops ANY symptoms during quarantine, the sibling must quarantine at home. Contact the nurses immediately if this occurs (nurses@lrei.org).
  • Travel Protocol

    Note that COVID is still a threat and the CDC does not recommend unnecessary travel at this time. Please review the COVID rates and prevalence of your destination when choosing to travel and again immediately prior to your trip and upon your return home. We strongly discourage any travel to destinations with greater than a COVID prevalence of more than 35 cases per 100,000 residents. (See here for current prevalence.)
    • Vaccinated
      • Domestic - no current limitations or testing requirements
      • International - no quarantine required, must take a PCR on day 3-5 after return to  the US. 
    • Unvaccinated - 
      • Domestic- quarantine and PCR on day 3-5 after arrival per CDC guidelines. 
      • International - quarantine and PCR testing on day 3-5 after arrival required per CDC guidelines. 
  • What is Isolation?

    Isolation applies to individuals with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. It involves the diagnosed person having no interaction with other members of the household. The person must have their own bathroom and a door to their quarters. Meals are delivered to the room. This is difficult in a private residence, and may be impossible if the person in isolation is a young child. 

    Per the NYS DOH guidelines, a person diagnosed with COVID-19 must isolate for 10 days after the onset of their symptoms OR 10 days from the date they were tested (if they were asymptomatic). Repeat COVID testing is not recommended after the 10 day isolation period.
  • What is Quarantine? 

    Quarantine applies to individuals exposed to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID19, or who have recently traveled internationally or in states with widespread COVID-19 transmission. People in quarantine feel well, but may be pre-symptomatic. A person in quarantine must monitor themselves closely to determine if they have developed symptoms of COVID-19. The person must have their own bathroom or clean the bathroom between each use. They must sleep in a separate room from anyone not in quarantine, in case symptoms develop at night. If they develop symptoms, they must be tested and start an isolation period. 
     
    Per the NYS DOH guidelines, an unvaccinated contact must quarantine for 10 days after their date of last contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, and continue to monitor closely for symptoms for 14 days. If a person has ongoing contact with a case during their isolation period, they must quarantine for the case’s 10 day isolation period, plus an additional 10 days (potential 20 day quarantine). 

    Per the NYS DOH guidelines, a vaccinated contact is not required to quarantine but must wear their face covering at all times and monitor closely for symptoms for 14 days. If they develop any symptoms, they must immediately quarantine and test.
  • What happens if my child gets sick at school? 

    If your child develops any symptoms of COVID-19 at school, as defined by the CDC and NYS Department of Health above, they will be evaluated by a nurse, placed in an isolation room, and a parent/guardian will be called to pick them up. We expect that you will be available to answer a call from the school at all times during the day, and will pick up your child within 1 hour of contact. Young children and children requiring ongoing nursing care will be accompanied into isolation by a nurse. Older children will be visually monitored by a nurse while in isolation. 
     
    Any child sent home with COVID-like-symptoms must have the following to return to school:
    • A negative molecular COVID test (PCR, Rapid PCR, Rapid molecular) 
    • At least 24 hours fever-free without fever-reducing medication
    • Symptom improvement and the ability to self-manage any lingering symptoms in school
    If a child is not tested for COVID-19, they must stay home and isolate (as if they were positive) for 10 days after the onset of symptoms. We will be required to quarantine all of their contacts from the preceding 2 days. 
     
    Siblings/other household members who are not vaccinated must stay home while a student has a pending COVID-19 test due to symptoms. If the ill student tests negative on a rapid test (including rapid antigen) siblings/other household members will be permitted to attend school. 
  • I have more than one child in the school. What happens to a sibling if the other gets sick? 

    If you have more than one child in the school and are called to pick up one sick child, you will be asked to take any other unvaccinated children home as a precaution until the primary contact has a negative COVID-19 test. Well siblings will be permitted to return if the primary student has a negative rapid test.
  • What if my child has seasonal allergies and is coughing or congested? 

    Cough and congestion are both symptoms on the list of COVID-19 symptoms. For any new onset or new worsening of symptoms, we are required by the NYS Department of Health to isolate and refer the student for testing. 

    To avoid this situation, we strongly recommend that you talk to your pediatrician regarding starting your child on daily allergy medications to prevent these symptoms before they start.
  • What if my child already had COVID-19?

    It is possible to contract COVID-19 more than once. As a result, you will be required to follow the isolation, testing and return to school procedures outlined above, even if your child was diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past or has a positive antibody report UNLESS the COVID infection was within the last 90 days and the person has not traveled or had known COVID exposure. 

    If your child has had COVID-19 in the last 90 days, but their class is closed due to quarantine, they will be required to join their class in LREI Remote. 

    Students/Staff having tested positive for COVID-19 will not be required to participate in any surveillance or screening testing for the 90 day period following their positive test result. 
  • COVID-Testing Sites 

    Please note that COVID test processing times change frequently. Please confirm insurance/test processing time information with any site you visit prior to testing. The NYC DOH requires molecular COVID testing to return to school. Be sure to request a PCR if obtaining a rapid antigen.

    Note: City MD consistently has the longest processing time for testing (3-7 days). We do not recommend City MD at this time. 

    Recommended:

    • Free if no insurance
    • Processing time 12-36 hours
    • Takes insurance
    • Processing time 24 hours
    • Takes insurance
    • Processing time 24-48 hours
    NYU Pediatricians/Lab
    • Takes insurance if your pediatrician is affiliated
    • Processing time 12-24 hours
    • Takes insurance
    • Processing time 24 hours
    • Takes insurance
    • Processing time 24 hours
    • Takes insurance
    • Processing time 24-48 hours
    • Also offers Rapid PCR (not covered by insurance) 
    • Does not take insurance
    • Offers Rapid PCR only 
  • Which COVID Tests are Acceptable?

    Lab-based PCR -  a nasal PCR test that is taken by a medical provider and sent to a lab for processing. Results take 12-72 hours.  Accepted for all circumstances. 

    Saliva-based testing (Vault/Phosphorus) - a PCR that is sampled through saliva and sent to a lab for processing. Results take 48-72 hours. Accepted for all circumstances. 

    Rapid PCR/Molecular Testing - a nasal swab that is processed and run on a point-of-care machine in a doctor’s office. This test is more sensitive/accurate than a rapid test, but not as accurate as a lab-based PCR. Now accepted for symptom clearance.

    Rapid Antigen Testing - a less sensitive nasal test that is run in an office in 15 minutes. If positive, allows us to notify contacts quickly. NOT ACCEPTED FOR SYMPTOM OR QUARANTINE CLEARANCE.