Thanks to our community's partnership and mutual respect, CCDS remained open during the pandemic for in-person instruction, protecting our students’ continuity of learning. We are grateful to our families, faculty, and staff for their cooperation during challenging times.
Because new Covid-19 variants may emerge, the school will continue to evolve its policies and protocols toward safeguarding the community and keeping school open for on-campus instruction. Thank you for your continued support.
- Update from the Head of School (February 15, 2022)
- Report Positive Covid-19 Test Results
- Guiding Principles
- Healthy & Safety Protocols
Dear Country Day Parents,
I am pleased to report that the Omicron wave of Covid infections has rapidly declined, both at Country Day and in the Greater Cincinnati area. Although January was a challenging month for our community, we are proud to have stayed open for in-person education last month, as we have since the beginning of the pandemic. My sincere thanks go out to our Rapid Response Team (Ashley Ward, Tina Moulin, Theresa Hirschauer), our nurse Tina Peterson, and to all of you for partnering with the school so patiently and effectively.
As cases numbers drop, we are modifying some of our Covid policies going forward. Starting Tuesday, February 22, masks will be optional in most situations in all divisions. However, there will still be occasions where masking will be required:
- in crowded assemblies,
- in the dining terrace when not seated at a table,
- working closely with faculty in an office,
- in certain classrooms where individual medical conditions require it,
- for students who have recently recovered from Covid (6-10 days after a positive test), and
- for students who have family members who recently tested positive for Covid.
As a result, we ask that all students bring a high-quality mask to school with them.
Because this policy represents a change from our existing protocols, I wanted to share our rationale for this shift. Several factors inform our decision:
- cases have significantly declined from the peak of the Omicron wave in mid-January with further declines likely in the next few weeks;
- infections due to the Omicron variant have generally led to mild symptoms among the Country Day community, with a lower risk of serious illness than past strains;
- regardless of variant, students aged 18 and under remain at low risk for serious illness, with hospitalization rates similar to pneumonia, influenza, and other pre-Covid risks;
- vaccines have been widely available to all students ages 5 and above for months;
- vaccines – especially three doses of an mRNA vaccine – continue to provide robust protection against serious illness, including for older and more vulnerable populations;
- several peer schools have successfully transitioned to mask optional policies;
- there are instructional benefits to be realized from removing masks in classrooms; and
- students’ mental health has been under constant strain for nearly two years and their need for greater normalcy is increasingly urgent.
Please continue to report positive cases using our online form so we may track case trends in our community. And please continue to keep symptomatic students at home to limit the spread of illness on campus. Symptomatic students who arrive at school will be sent to the nurse for assessment and sent home if determined to be ill.
As with prior protocols, this decision is also subject to revision in the event that changing facts dictate a changing approach. We will continue to assess Covid trends in our school community and our region. If circumstances dictate, we will consider reinstating universal masking in the future.
Thank you again for all you have done as a community to allow Country Day to thrive despite the pandemic.
Rob Zimmerman ‘98
Head of School
Recognizing the need for adaptability, while also delivering a reliable and consistent educational experience, our planning has been founded on the following guiding principles. While a complete consensus among our entire community is impossible, we trust that a good faith consideration of our guiding principles will demonstrate that the school and its medical advisors are working to balance the competing community interests in a responsible, thoughtful, and pragmatic manner.
- Our top priority is ensuring the health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff.
- The first element of health and wellness is protecting community members from serious illness. Fortunately, nearly all our faculty and staff are vaccinated. We also recognize that, based on current data, the risk of serious illness to students aged 18 and younger remains low. However, unlike some schools, we serve students from 18 months to 18 years on a single campus where it is impossible to avoid intermixing of age groups. We also know from our experience that certain common-sense safety measures can reduce that risk even further.
- The second element of health and wellness is providing a robust “whole child” education that promotes each student’s academic, social, and emotional growth. We are more aware than ever of the value of in-person education and the importance of supporting our students’ mental health. Where possible, we will seek to deliver a full offering of academic, artistic, athletic, extracurricular, and community programming and ensure a smooth school year without unnecessary quarantines or disruptions to school life.
- The final principle that guides our approach is flexibility. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we must remain nimble as we face an evolving challenge. When the facts change, our approach will change. As a result, while the below guidance represents our current best thinking, it is necessarily contingent and provisional as we constantly evaluate new information. We will continue to consider guidance from our medical advisors, the Centers for Disease Control, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Ohio Department of Health, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and other health authorities.
Maintaining the health and safety of all individuals on campus is our priority in order to deliver an in-person learning experience to our students. We are all eager to put Covid-19 in the past and regain some sense of normalcy – no one more than the students, faculty, and staff. In light of the constantly evolving nature of this pandemic, the protocols are continuously reviewed for application throughout the year.
- Health Check
- Close Contact Quarantine Guidelines
- Positive Case Isolation Guidelines
- Communicable Disease Policy
Masks are optional in most situations in all divisions. However, there are occasions when masking is required:
- in certain classrooms, offices, or settings where an individual’s medical condition
sor family situation requires it,
- for students who tested positive for Covid and are returning to campus after isolating for 5 full days, masks must be worn on days 6-10 days, and
- for students who have family members who recently tested positive for Covid.
As a result, we ask that all students bring a high-quality mask to school with them. Those who feel the need to continue to wear a mask for their own protection or to protect others, are encouraged to do so.
The school accepts rapid test results in addition to Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test results. To comply with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines, such tests must be SARS-CoV-2 viral (PCR or antigen) tests, and they should be proctored/observed by a parent, guardian, or CCDS employee. Tests that are self-administered without a proctor will not meet ODH guidelines to avoid and/or exit quarantine. If you need assistance in proctoring rapid tests, please contact the school and we will work to arrange on-campus proctoring. Testing is an inconvenience, but is necessary to ensure the safety of our community.
Parents/students must certify that by being present on campus, each student is able to answer “no” to the health check questions:
- In the past 24 hours:
- Is anyone living in your household being tested for Covid or waiting for test results?
- Do you (the student) have a loss of taste or smell?
- Do you (the student) have a fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea?
- Have you (the student) been given medication to reduce a fever or suppress a cough?
- In the past 48 hours:
- Have you (the student) been in close contact with any individual who has tested positive for Covid-19?
Consistent with updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) guidelines,
Vaccinated individuals (i.e., individuals within six months of receiving their second mRNA dose – or two months from J&J vaccine – or have received a booster*) are not required to quarantine after unmasked exposure to someone who is Covid-positive. Vaccinated close contacts will be asked to consistently mask around others for 10 days after exposure.
Unvaccinated individuals (i.e., those who have not received a mRNA two-dose series or one-dose J&J vaccine, or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose and are not boosted or are more than two months after the J&J vaccine and are not boosted) may remain on campus after unmasked exposure to a Covid-positive individual if they:
- Test negative upon initial notification of exposure and then again on the fifth day after exposure, and
- Have no symptoms, and
- Consistently wear a mask around others for 10 days after exposure.
Early Childhood Center (ECC) Quarantine Protocols
Early childhood students who are in close contact with a Covid-positive individual will be directed to quarantine for five days (stay home and away from others). Students may return to school on day 6 if they:
- Test negative on day 5 following the exposure (day 0 is the first day of exposure). Rapid test results are acceptable.
- Remain symptom-free without use of medication.
- Wear a mask while indoors at school on days 6-10 after the exposure.
If parents prefer not to test their child, the child can complete the 10-day quarantine and return to school on day eleven.
* Individuals under age 16 are not eligible for a booster shot; therefore, students aged 5-15 will be considered fully vaccinated after receiving two doses of an mRNA vaccine or one dose of J&J.
Please contact your division head, divisional assistant, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report if your child is being tested, has tested positive, or has been in close contact with a Covid-positive individual.
Questions? Email email@example.com.
In response to new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals (see definition above under "Close Contact Quarantine Guidelines") who test positive for Covid may return to school five days after their positive test result if they are asymptomatic and diligently mask. Unvaccinated individuals may return after five days if they are asymptomatic, test negative on day five, and diligently mask (i.e., test negative on day five and return on day six).
The CDC Guidelines for Isolation:
- Monitor symptoms.
- Stay home unless you absolutely must leave, such as for essential medical appointments.
- Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets.
- Use a separate bedroom and bathroom, if possible.
- Do not share personal household items, like cups, utensils, and towels.
- Wear a mask when around others, if able.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces daily, including phones, remote controls, countertops, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom handles, toilets, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables.
- Wash hands often, including after coughing, sneezing, using the bathroom, and before and after eating.
Early Childhood Center (ECC) Isolation Protocols
EC students who test positive for Covid-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms, are required to isolate (stay home, away from others) for 10 days. They may return to school on day 11 if they are symptom-free (no test required).
Please contact your division head, divisional assistant or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report if your child is being tested, has tested positive, or has been in close contact with a Covid-positive individual.
Questions? Email email@example.com.
Students, faculty, and staff will adhere to the school’s Communicable Disease Policy and remain off campus if they display symptoms of Covid-19 or any other communicable disease.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE POLICY
The administration and teachers are routinely trained in recognizing communicable diseases. The Ohio Department of Health “Communicable Disease Chart” is posted in the nurse’s office, Lower School and at the Early Childhood Center (ECC). Notes will be sent home to all families when any child or teacher has become ill with a contagious disease while in attendance. A child with signs of a communicable disease will be discharged to their parents within one hour. If both parents are unavailable, the persons designated on the emergency form will be called. Until the parents arrive, the child will be kept in isolation from the rest of the group, but within sight of the teacher, administrator or nurse. A form will be sent home with the child detailing his/her symptoms and information regarding his/her return to school.
A child with the following symptoms will be dismissed from school. The child will be readmitted when the symptoms have ceased for at least 24 hours without use of medications.
- An oral temperature of 100 degrees or above (99 degrees using the auxiliary method) when in combination with other signs of illness
- Diarrhea – (defined as: more watery, less formed, more frequent stools than typical for the child) more than one within a 24 hour period
- Lice or other parasitic infestation – the school nurse must clear the child before the child returns to the school
- Rashes of undetermined origin
- Lethargy affecting the child’s ability to learn
- Difficulty breathing, wheezing or rapid breathing, not associated with a pre- diagnosed medical condition
- Unexplained blood in stools, unusually dark urine and/or grey or white stool
- Discharge, itchiness or redness in the eyes
- Severe coughing, causing the child to become red or blue in the face or to make a whooping sound
- Sore throat or difficulty in swallowing
- Symptoms that are thought to be infectious as listed on the Ohio Department of Health “Communicable Disease Chart”