We’re four weeks into this “new normal” school year, and now - more than ever before - we’re so grateful to be back on campus and learning together in person. This time together is so important not only for learning, but for our students’ social and emotional growth and community building.
That said, coming to a campus full of people in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic comes with an inherent risk of viral transmission. We've seen other schools shift to 100 percent virtual learning due to behaviors that increase this risk, and we don’t want that for our school.
First, we expect everyone to follow the latest North Carolina Executive Order on gatherings, face coverings, and distancing which you can find here. NCDHHS requirements on how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 can be found here along with information on community spread, contact tracing, and testing.
In addition to the mandatory isolation/quarantine situations below (which are just here as a reminder), FCDS will now ask that students and faculty consider a 14-day quarantine if they have been in situations or have engaged in behaviors off campus that carry an increased risk of viral transmission. We ask that you keep the guidelines below in mind as you make plans for upcoming school breaks.
- If your student is diagnosed with COVID-19, s/he is required to isolate for 10 days after the onset of symptoms and may not return to school until cleared by the school nurse.
- A 14-day quarantine is required if you are considered a close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more) of someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
We recommend that you consider a 14-day quarantine for your student/s if:
- S/he traveled internationally. The State Department's travel advisories can be found here.
- S/he traveled domestically and was in a high-risk setting during the trip. High-risk settings are defined as any time a large crowd gathers and social distancing was not possible and/or facial coverings were not worn, such as attending an amusement/theme park, protest, rally, party, or other event. (Please note that this list is not comprehensive and we trust your judgment.)
- S/he was in a high-risk setting, which is defined as gatherings larger than 25 individuals indoors and 50 outdoors, and unable to maintain distance of at least six feet between individuals who are not of your immediate family and/or not wearing a face covering.
- S/he did not adhere to the North Carolina Executive Order on gatherings, face coverings, and distancing. Please note that the order exempts worship services, spiritual gatherings, weddings, and funerals.
- S/he traveled with a club team playing a high- or moderate-risk sport in which there is close, sustained contact. (See high- and moderate-risk definitions here.)
We have no intention of policing the behavior of our community members, and we trust in your integrity to help keep our campus open and protect our teachers, staff, students, and families. If you are not sure about your individual situation, we ask that you err on the side of caution and contact Nancy Hart to discuss it. Please let your division director/s know as soon as possible (preferably 48 hours prior) if your student or students elect to quarantine so we can arrange for your students to FuryFlex. FuryFlex is now available for all Lower, Middle, and Upper School students on a short-term basis for quarantine.
The criteria for quarantine and FuryFlex are subject to change as we learn more about COVID-19, treatments, testing, and contact tracing.
The Thanksgiving holiday weekend always provides a wonderful time to gather with our families and celebrate all that we are grateful for. The chance to connect with our loved ones is perhaps more important than ever before during this uncertain time. Unfortunately, there is evidence that such family gatherings are responsible for large clusters of COVID-19 cases. Rather than put families in a position of feeling that they shouldn’t come together or singling them out to quarantine, FCDS will switch to virtual learning (preschool through grade 12) the week after Thanksgiving.
Here is the revised schedule:
November 25-27 - Thanksgiving Break
November 30-December 4 - Virtual learning for preschool through grade 12.
December 7 - School resumes on campus.
If students or teachers participate in activities over Thanksgiving break that would qualify for voluntary quarantine based on the criteria above, we encourage them to elect to quarantine for an additional week (to make the recommended 14 days).
Please be advised that, as we finalize the 2020-2021 calendar, we may consider a similar virtual week following our Winter Break and will let you know when the calendar is finished.
We appreciate your support, understanding, and cooperation as we continue to make decisions in the best interests of our students and our community.
Gardner Barrier, Head of School
Nancy Hart, RN, Head Nurse Health Service