The Elisabeth Morrow School
Inspiring Achievement and Character in Students for 90 Years.

How Will EMS Ensure Safety for Our Community On-Campus? 

It is undeniable that the school will look and feel a little different in the fall. Still, life looks different everywhere these days, and we’re counting on the resiliency of our children, the commitment from families, and the benefits of having our children on campus. 

Masks 

Students age 2 and older will be expected to come to school each day with two freshly laundered masks and to be wearing one of them when they exit the car on arrival at the campus or enter the bus to travel to campus. Staff will be in drop-off areas to ensure compliance. 

EMS will have additional masks if needed. 

EMS recommends that masks follow CDC guidelines, while each division will address masks in their dress code.  

All staff will wear masks the entire day without exception, and may wear additional PPE, such as face shields, when appropriate. We are currently sourcing clear masks that will allow children to see our educators’ faces. 

We want to make clear that the staff of EMS understands that masks are the best way to prevent COVID-19 transmission from person to person, but also that masks are very hard for children to wear for extended periods of time, particularly our youngest students. Parental cooperation in helping children understand the role of masks on campus will be essential, as will some flexibility in allowing us to try to create spaces and times in the day when masks may not be required. 

The New Jersey Department of Education, in their advisory for reopening school, has recommended that while in a “safe space” where distancing can be achieved, students do not need to wear masks, but should wear them when moving around the classroom or between classrooms. This will allow students time to break from mask-wearing, creating a more authentic experience. 

Policies around when masks must be worn vary based on the age range of children, so please keep reading for more details per each division, but generally masks will be taken off for snack or lunch, while distance is maintained. Older divisions, like Morrow House, will employ a more strict set of rules around masks where they are to be used all day, while Chilton House will remain more flexible per New Jersey Department of Health guidelines. Little School will require students to wear masks all day in school except during snack and lunchtime. 

Social Distancing

Tremendous work has been put into the facilities over the summer, both to upgrade our buildings and to ensure each classroom can offer the appropriate amount of social distancing from desk to desk. 

Spaces outside the classroom, like the gym, are marked so students will understand how to maintain their distance from each other. Moving between spaces, when necessary, will be done with appropriate distancing. 

In our outdoor spaces, we’ve invested in lap desks and chairs so our students can enjoy the outdoors as additional space, while maintaining distance. The grounds will have marked vectors so that each Cohort may enjoy their own space. 

While in the classroom setting, within their own Cohort, there will be opportunities for students in select divisions to remove their masks because social distance is maintained. Much like a restaurant, while seated, they may be able to take off their masks and put them back on anytime they get up from their desk, or when distance cannot be achieved. In Morrow House, due to the age of students, we will expect masks to remain on all day.

As an added layer, HEPA-filtered air machines will be placed in spaces like Morrow House without independent ventilation and used in concert with fresh air exchange. 

Health Questionnaire

The day begins for our families at home, using an app we’ve acquired to track the symptoms of each member of our community each day. You’ll receive a notification, but should expect to fill out the questionnaire each morning before you leave for school. You’ll become accustomed to the questions, but generally, you’ll be asked about the appearance of symptoms, recent travel, or other behavior that might present a risk. Everyone’s utmost honesty is expected and required for our school year to be successful. 

Temperature Scans

As each person enters the school for the day, they will have their temperature checked. Depending on which division they are in, this can be either via handheld temperature monitor or thermal scanner. A temperature that exceeds 100 degrees will trigger an alert. 

EMS recommends that parents might add a temperature check to their morning routine, in addition to filling out the health questionnaire, to avoid bringing a feverish child to school. 

When a student registers a temperature, the division nurse will immediately be summoned. That student will be taken directly to the nurse's office to isolate while a parent is called. Parents will need to return to school to pick up their child and will require a COVID-19 test before returning to school. Generally, the child will need to remain away from school for 72 hours, fever- and symptom-free. 

If the child tests positive for COVID-19 or exhibits symptoms, a quarantine would be triggered, and the child would Flex for the time at home. 

EMS staff recognizes that it may be hard to secure a COVID-19 test at any given time, and recommends working with your pediatrician or family physician before the school year to ensure you know what opportunities exist if needed. We recommend this site for getting help in testing. 

Thermal scanners will be placed in the hallways of each division, and will passively monitor students throughout the day. They are monitored by staff in the division offices. When a student has a temperature that exceeds 100 degrees, the staff member is alerted and will immediately have the nurse bring the student to the nurse’s office to quarantine. 

The EMS staff understands that children who’ve recently exerted themselves through recess or other activities may initially show an elevated temperature. Under these circumstances, children will be retested after 10 minutes before further action is taken. 

Quarantine

If any member of an EMS family tests positive for COVID-19, all members of that family would need to be quarantined from campus for a minimum of 14 days. During that time, the children would Flex to online learning. 

Other situations can trigger a quarantine for families. We’ll expect all families to report travel outside the tri-state area via the health questionnaire, and travel to states on New Jersey’s travel advisory will require a quarantine on return. 

Quarantine isn’t just for individuals – an entire Cohort may need to Flex if there is evidence of COVID-19 within the Cohort. It hasn’t been determined yet if one or two cases in the Cohort is enough to trigger a group Flex. 

Additionally, entire divisions or the whole school may need to Flex for a time, depending on health conditions and advisories in the area. In all cases, we are prepared for students to experience a seamless transition. 

The EMS administration will work proactively to try and give families as much notice as possible of a Flex prescribed by the city, state, or test results, but ask for understanding from our families that in many cases, these decisions will be dictated to us by government officials. 

These standards take place BEFORE school starts, as well. If you are vacationing or passing through a state outlined by New Jersey’s travel advisory you will need to plan on a two-week quarantine upon your return to New Jersey.  Regardless of the destination, any family traveling by plane, train (other than commuter train), or ship must likewise plan the timing of such trip to allow 14 days between their return and their scheduled date to report to EMS. This means that if you meet the above criteria, you will need to be back in the tri-state area by Aug. 24. Please plan accordingly and remember this is part of the social contract with our entire community to keep everyone safe, and the honesty and accountability we want to model for our children. These standards will be in place for each school break, so please plan accordingly.

Contact Tracing

EMS is responsible for contact tracing staff exposure, which we’ll do through an app. If a member of our community tests positive, EMS will provide that information to the Department of Health as required by law, and the Department of Health will then pick up responsibility for contact tracing. This tracing is an essential piece of keeping EMS open, and we ask for full cooperation from all parties. 

To ensure the anonymity and privacy of our families, we will only alert those members of the community who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. We will never use names. 

Sanitizing

The entire EMS community will be engaged in the constant cleaning of spaces to ensure multiple levels of sanitization. 

EMS has 10 janitorial staff who will scrub the entire school each evening, using flu season procedures. This is a deep clean over all surfaces using hospital-grade Lysol. Lysol is on the EPA approved list of disinfectants for COVID-19. 

EMS facilities staff will then add a second layer of sanitization using an electrostatic fogger. We have secured four for use throughout the school. The fogger distributes a food-safe, chlorine-based disinfectant called PurTabs by Protexus. We’ve used this product in the past during flu season due to its ability to remain on surfaces and protect them for 30-90 days. PurTabs is also on the approved EPA list of disinfectants that kill COVID-19. This product is applied in the evening and dissipates overnight, and is specifically applied by EMS staff for quality assurance. 

Additionally, the school has hired an additional day porter, so now each division has their own. The day porters will sanitize high-touch surfaces between classes, including the bathrooms, doorknobs, railings, etc. 

Lastly, students and staff will sanitize their own spaces throughout the day with supplies provided by EMS. Handwashing will be encouraged and, based on age, monitored. Hand sanitizer stations are now plentiful throughout the school.

We are prepared to acquire additional staff and tools as necessary to ensure consistent sanitization levels for our community.  

Physical Education

Physical education is one of the activities that’s been lacking for most children through the spring and summer. So EMS is committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of Track, have exercise as part of every day. The benefits of exercise go far beyond the physical; at EMS we highly value social and emotional health. Routine exercise is a proven factor in mental health outcomes. 

We are still evaluating which, if any, school sports teams we will be able to maintain this year. 

To keep everyone safe, PE will focus primarily on individual exercises, rather than those that involve shared equipment. The gym will be clearly marked with social distancing. The outdoors will be made use of whenever possible for both PE and recess. 

While children won’t be able to use locker rooms, on days they have PE, children may come to school in their PE clothes. Please refer to the dress code for a list of accepted standards for PE attire. 

Food

In Little School and Morrow House, lunches will be eaten in the classroom, at student’s desks. In Chilton House, each child will have their own tray and a number of options for where to sit. When weather permits, students may be encouraged to sit outside, while maintaining social distance. 

Snacks will be prepared centrally and delivered to each classroom by the Cohort staff. Fridges have been installed to maintain the snacks.  

All students have the option of purchasing lunch, delivered by a vendor, to your child’s classroom for the school year.  For those parents who would like to send lunches, please remember all guidelines regarding lunches are still in place 

Students bringing lunch from home should pack it in a container bearing their name. Our school emphasizes good nutrition. We ask that gum, candy, and soda are not included in school lunches. We also ask that, as an allergy aware school, lunches not include tree nut and peanut products. There can be no provisions for heating lunches brought from home.

For families that would prefer the school to provide lunch, it will now be delivered to the classroom directly and distributed by the Cohort teaching staff. Sanitizing hands and spaces before lunch will take place in all divisions. 

Technology

EMS has made a major investment in both hardware and software to better aid our efforts this year. Following CDC guidelines we will no longer be sharing student devices in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Our Kindergarten through 2nd grade classrooms will each have one iPad per child. In addition to being used to augment the curriculum, these iPads will go home if there is reason to believe that Flex is imminent. In third grade, students are assigned Chromebooks. In fourth grade, students are assigned MacBook Airs. The Chromebooks and Macbook Airs do not go home at night with the students. They will be sent home if there is reason to believe that Flex is imminent.

If students are approved for Track 2: Remote, they will pick up their devices to use at home for learning. 

Additionally, if Chilton House Flexes, we will provide iPads to our threes and fours as well. This will contribute to a smooth set up for remote learning. 

We will be providing headsets to students from Kindergarten through fourth grade. 

Our fifth- through eighth-grade students will continue using their own devices as part of our Bring Your Own Laptop program. We, as an institution, have provided devices when a family cannot, and will continue to do so. Contact Sarah Rolle about any needs.

We have added software, as noted above, to obtain Health Questionnaires from our parents, daily. This app will also help us with contact tracing, when necessary. 

As an institution, we are invested in the Google Suite of products, and as such, will use Google Classroom for our Remote and Flex Tracks. 

Shared Materials

Great thought and planning have gone into acquiring all the materials each classroom will need to ensure that students are not sharing materials. Whether iPads or scissors or instruments, EMS has put in the effort to ensure that most materials will not pass from student to student. 

Where appropriate, bins have been purchased to help students maintain their supplies and belongings safely. 

Visitors on Campus

Beginning the first day of school, parents of children age 4 and older will no longer be allowed to escort children into or out of school. This means that when children are dropped off, parents do not exit the car. 

Due to this rule, we will be reminding parents via the health questionnaire app to remember all their child’s items for the day, as dropping forgotten items off later will no longer be an option. EMS always has backup supplies on hand, but please be sure each day to send your child with all items they’ll need throughout the school day.

Generally, visitors will be prohibited from entering campus to protect the community. If there is a need for an adult to be on campus, they will need to schedule that ahead of time with the front office, and all safety protocols will be in place: masks, distancing, thermal scanning.

EMS facilities occasionally need outside vendors on campus. Under those circumstances, they will work to ensure the vendors are not in the same spaces as the students and will have undergone the same protocols as everyone else. 

A side benefit of the additional staff in each Cohort and division is the unlikely need for substitute teachers, reducing the number of people that come into contact with the students. In most cases, existing staff will fill in. 

Siblings

Siblings will no longer be allowed to escort each other between divisions. Each child will need to be picked up from their division directly. In cases where both siblings are within the same division, some accommodations may be made. Please see details regarding each division for more information. 

Transportation

Busing will continue per usual, including schedules and pickup/drop points. What will change is how buses are boarded, their capacity, and behavior on board. 

While waiting for the bus, students will be expected to wear masks and maintain social distance. 

The bus will board from the back to the front. Students will no longer be able to choose a seat. This is done to reduce contact. 

Mini-buses will still be used, but with a maximum of 9 students (unless there are siblings). There will only be one student per seat unless you are riding with a sibling. Masks will be worn and windows will be open.

As always, adults will be present on the bus, and will help maintain the policies. 

The Late Bus will be available as necessary. Bus stops will be determined by demand. 

Expectations for Families and Staff

All EMS families learn the 4 Cs over the course of their time with us. Courtesy, Consideration, Cooperation, Compassion. We ask that you consider these values and a fifth C – Community – when you are not on campus.
While on campus, we have measures to control the people and materials students and staff come into contact with, and have gone to monumental lengths to provide safety for our community. However, when everyone goes home in the afternoon, your actions determine the risk level for our entire community. We ask that you consider this, every day, and act with the 4 Cs in mind. 

The 4 Cs follow the stages of a child's personal character development. The day begins with a simple act of courtesy - a greeting between a student and a teacher or administrator. This sets the tone for the consideration that will be shown in the classrooms, hallways, and playgrounds. As the child grows, courtesy and consideration make possible the cooperation necessary for advanced learning. And finally, a child who truly embraces courtesy, consideration, and cooperation becomes a young adult prepared to live a life of compassion.

We formally request that you follow all CDC guidelines and New Jersey guidelines. Wear masks whenever outside the home, and please do not congregate in groups with people outside your family, based on current guidelines. Maintain social distance whenever possible. Do not travel unless absolutely necessary. We’ll expect all families to report travel outside the tri-state area via the health questionnaire, and travel to states on New Jersey’s travel advisory will require a quarantine on return. Participate in all contact tracing efforts. Be honest and forthcoming in using the health questionnaire. As inconvenient as it may be, quarantine when appropriate. 

These standards take place BEFORE school starts, as well. If you are vacationing or passing through a state outlined by New Jersey’s travel advisory you will need to plan on a two-week quarantine upon your return to New Jersey.  Regardless of the destination, any family traveling by plane, train (other than commuter train), or ship must likewise plan the timing of such trip to allow 14 days between their return and their scheduled date to report to EMS. This means that if you meet the above criteria, you will need to be back in the tri-state area by Aug. 24. Please plan accordingly and remember this is part of the social contract with our entire community to keep everyone safe, and the honesty and accountability we want to model for our children. These standards will be in place for each school break, so please plan accordingly. We are here to support you, families, you are our partners in mutual success. If you need support, or have questions about any of these requests, please contact emshealthandsafetyteam@elisabethmorrow.org.
 

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