From Head of School Tom Main’s 2022 summer letter to Ridgefield Academy and Landmark Preschool parents: “One of our greatest accomplishments of the last two years has been the simple fact that we have been in session every day. We believe that there is deep and substantive value to gathering and learning in person: academically, social-emotionally, and as a community. Consequently, holding “normal” school, on-campus, has been critical to our success. Our students have continued to mature and develop in all the ways they should – they are not “gapped” in any critical areas. With this philosophy in mind, as well as current conditions, and the recommendations coming from various health organizations, we will continue modifying our mitigation strategies and communication protocols.”
At the close of the 2021-2022 school year, the State of Connecticut provided guidance for school communities "to begin the transition of management of COVID-19 from a pandemic emergency response model toward a model that aligns with a more standard public health approach to the management and control of respiratory viral diseases." That model shifted to localized decision-making, case-specific circumstances surrounding exposure, and community protocols and moved away from individual case investigation, contact tracing, and quarantining of staff and students following exposures.
- Recommended vaccination
- a "Test-Mask-Go" strategy, which allows specific guidelines for continued in-person participation with symptom awareness and at-home testing, and
- continued use of available prevention tools, which should be adjusted if field conditions change
We will continue our management this year with a mindset of doing what works best for our community's needs, taking into account local, state, and then federal guidance, while keeping student and staff health and wellness at the forefront of our decision-making.
Through the school’s Patriot Portal, enrolled families can view a COVID Dashboard and current mitigation protocols and policies. The portal will be used to communicate COVID related changes with our Ridgefield Academy and Landmark Preschool community as needed.
This plan was updated in August 2022, taking into consideration current mandates, recommendations, and requirements. The guidelines outlined below are subject to change in alignment with changes to mandates and the prevailing COVID-19 public health situation.
With no state mandates or executive orders to the contrary, Ridgefield Academy and Landmark Preschools will provide a comprehensive educational program of full-time in-person teaching and learning, clubs, activities, and sports.
RA/LP@Home (Formerly Parallel Remote Learning)
RA/LP will continue to offer remote learning @Home for families that either want or need to explore alternatives to in-person instruction. Details can be found here on the Patriot Portal.
ON CAMPUS PROCEDURES
- Mask wearing is now a matter of personal choice or health needs. Whatever choice each family or community member makes will be treated with respect and kindness, in line with our values as a school.
- Masks will be required when returning to school after isolating from being COVID positive.
- Parents will be notified of positive COVID cases on their children's campus via the Patriot Portal COVID Dashboard.
- Changes in COVID protocol or requirements by the state or region will be communicated to all enrolled families.
- The school will continue to track and report positive cases to the local health department.
Ventilation rates or the percentage of outdoor air circulating in ventilation systems will remain at their maximum circulation. Efforts to improve air filtration, reduce recirculation, and disable demand-controlled ventilation remain in place.
Normal daily and routine cleaning practices will be in place. All classrooms will be provided with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes.
HEALTH & SAFETY
To maintain a safe learning environment, parents and caregivers should keep students home when ill and follow the Parent-Student Handbook guidelines for a safe return to school. See Addendum for returning to school after experiencing COVID symptoms. Parents should notify school staff if students are out ill.
Vaccination of staff and students is not currently required but is strongly recommended.
- We will no longer cohort any grades
- There will be no contact tracing
- We ask that you watch for symptoms
- At-home COVID tests are available from the school upon request
See chart below.
Experiencing COVID Symptoms | Test • Mask • Go
If your child is experiencing mild respiratory disease symptoms (e.g., infrequent cough, congestion, runny nose, sore throat, etc.) they may continue to come to school, provided:
- they are fever-free (< 100°F) and feel well enough to participate,
- they do not live with anyone who has had COVID-19 in the past 2 weeks,
- they can wear a mask consistently and correctly (this is strongly encouraged), and
- they test negative for COVID-19 prior to attending school every day they have symptoms, as well as one final test on the morning their symptoms have completely resolved.
- you have a fever (≥ 100°F) or feel feverish (they should not report in-person until their fever has resolved for at least 24 hours without the use of medication)
- you live with a person who recently tested positive for COVID-19 (within the past 2 weeks)
Instead, these individuals should stay home until their symptoms resolve and test for COVID-19.
Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 should complete isolation according to the CDC Q/I Calculator.
Symptoms, as designated by the CDC:
fever or chills • cough • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • fatigue • muscle or body aches • headache • new loss of taste or smell • sore throat • congestion or runny nose • nausea or vomiting • diarrhea
- COVID positive students will be required to isolate for 5 days. When they return to school, they will be asked to wear a mask for another 5 days.
- If the situation warrants, additional COVID protocols may be implemented such as:
- required masking at the grade, division or building level,
- social distancing reducing interaction across grades during meals or other gathering times may be put in place temporarily
- Limiting guests to include only essential visitors