Aquinas 20-21 Task Force for Transition: Reopening Guidelines- August 3, 2020
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is the current state of travel restrictions as they apply to St. Thomas Aquinas?
St. Thomas Aquinas High School follows the NH government and families are asked to check its website for the most current restrictions on travel.
The New Hampshire quarantine for travel outside of New England applies to all St. Thomas Aquinas High School students.
As of August 19, 2020, People traveling into New Hampshire from surrounding New England states (Maine, Massachusetts, VT, CT and RI) do not have to quarantine. Those coming from non-New England states are asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.
To minimize risk to our school community, St. Thomas Aquinas encourages all families to limit domestic and international travel during the pandemic.
(Please do not ask the school for an interpretation of a specific travel plan. These guidelines are issued by the state and it is the responsibility of each family to interpret/report the guidelines based on the family's travel decisions.)
What will the beginning of the 2020-21 school year look like?
STA will be open five days a week from 8:00am-2:30pm. Students will attend four 80-minute classes a day. Four classes (A-D) will meet on “Blue Days” and the other four (E-H) will meet on “White Days.” The schedule will rotate, which will allow for all students to arrive late and depart early if they do not have a 1st or 4th period class on any given day.
What will happen if a St. Thomas Aquinas student is diagnosed with COVID or is suspected of having COVID?
If a student becomes symptomatic during the day, s/he will be isolated until s/he can be picked up by a parent or guardian.
In case of a suspected or positive exposure within the school, the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be contacted immediately. The school will support and participate in state and local agencies’ contact tracing. Additionally, the school will identify and communicate with any students who may have been exposed to cases within the community.
Quarantine and isolation will be conducted in accordance with the CDC and state guidelines. Remote attendance will be permitted for any student who is quarantined or isolated.
An individual who tests positive for COVID-19, is suspected of COVID-19, or whose family member (or close contact) test positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate from school as follows:
- If a person was/is suspected of having COVID-19 or presents with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 but has a subsequent negative COVID-19 test, s/he can return to school once free of fever or other symptoms.
- If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19 by a medical professional or a positive test, s/he should remain out of the school community until (a) at least 10 days have passed since the first symptoms, (2) 24 hours have passed since any fever subsided (without fever reducing medications), and (3) the individual’s symptoms have improved. In case of asymptomatic positive diagnoses, the individual must remain out of school until 10 days after their first positive diagnostic test, assuming that no symptoms develop.
- If an individual has been determined to have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 during the prior 48 hours before symptom onset or has participated in high-risk travel, s/he must quarantine for 14 days and must attend remotely. A positive test would require the individual to follow the criteria for diagnosed cases in the section above. A negative test does not exempt an individual from these requirements.
It is important that any student who tests positive follow-up with a cardiologist as the Coroniavirus can result in cardiac issues.
Parallel steps will be taken if an adult case of COVID occurs within the school.
If a student is ill at home (not COVID-related), what is the protocol for their return to school?
If students are at home because of illness and/or symptoms, they will require a physician’s note of clearance before returning to school. Negative test results (for COVID) will not be accepted as a physician’s note.
If a student becomes quarantined or isolated due to an exposure or illness outside of school, how should the parent report it?
Some students may be quarantined for a period due to circumstances beyond their control.
If a student is quarantined for a period of time, it should be reported by a parent to the medical office at STA on the first day of quarantine.
In both cases, assuming the student attends classes, the student will be classified as “present/remote.”
If the student may have exposed others in the school, the parent should contact the School Nurse to report the case.
What type of screening should be expected?
STA students and adults will be screened daily before entering the school according to the public health criteria in effect at the time.
Each day, all faculty, staff, and students will be required to complete an assessment before coming to campus. We are using an application called HealthTrac. This assessment will include a temperature as well as symptom questionnaire. We are asking that families take responsibility for this to ensure patient privacy. The application concludes with a green light to come to campus, or a red light to stay home. Red-lighted individuals will be asked to follow up with their Primary Care Provider.
Currently, attendees at school must meet the following criteria:
- No fever in excess of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- No COVID symptoms, including: respiratory symptoms such as runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, or shortness of breath; general body symptoms such as muscle aches, chills, and severe fatigue; gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; changes in sense of taste or smell.
- During the past 14 days, individuals must not have spent ten (10) or more minutes within six feet of someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19.
- Individuals must not have traveled during the prior 14 days outside of New England (NH, VT, ME, MA, CT, RI).
Specific guidance for isolation and quarantine will be provided for individuals who are unable to meet the above criteria. In most cases, a negative test result does not exempt an individual from these criteria. (Eg. In accordance with New Hampshire’s guidelines, a student who traveled to Florida and obtained a negative test result would still not be cleared to return until 14 days have passed. )
In general, many individuals will need to isolate at times over the course of the school year. Our remote learning infrastructure will support the ability of these individuals to do so without losing academic progress.
How will classrooms be arranged?
St. Thomas Aquinas has reduced the number of desks in each classroom to maximize the distance between them. Plexiglass barriers have been installed at high traffic counters and in the cafeteria.
Are masks required?
Masks are required at all times indoors, including before/after school. When physically distanced and outdoors (during breaks) students may remove masks for brief periods. (Masks are required at outdoor scheduled events, programs, assemblies, meetings, etc. in accordance with Governor Sununu's new order.)
STA encourages cloth or surgical masks. Gaiters with ear loops are permissible. Students may not wear old-style bandanas. Masks must fit well (poor fitting masks result in slipping, readjusting, touching and discomfort.) Masks must fall within dress code guidelines (no graphic or vulgar wording/images).
What are the distance protocols?
Students will follow distancing protocols in the hallways with one-directional traffic flow and stairwells designated for up/down traffic flow to limit cross traffic.
Will there still be Jumpstart/Orientation Day for Freshmen and Transfer Students?
Yes. On August 26th and 27th, freshmen and transfer students will participate in Jumpstart and Orientation.
Will microwaves and vending machines still be available for use?
To reduce touch points, the Cafeteria vending machines and microwaves will be closed until further notice.
What is the current status of STA Athletic Programs?
STA athletic teams are operating under the same social distancing and sanitation/cleaning protocols as the rest of campus (at a minimum). Sporting events will follow the guidance of the NHIAA.
As of August 2020, the NHIAA has moved back the start of all sports. Fall athletic seasons will officially begin on September 8th for all teams. On that date, tryouts and practices will begin.
STA coaches are working individually with their own teams to coordinate training and programming.
Sports physicals and Impact Tests should be conducted asap. Any questions may be directed to Ashley Leighton at email@example.com.
Fidelity to Mission
How will St. Thomas Aquinas High School maintain fidelity to its mission and commitment to excellence?
The global pandemic has been a catalyst for creativity, innovation, and reflection on that which matters most to and at St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Our faculty and staff have been presented with an opportunity to reimagine education in 2020-21. We see this not as a challenge but as an opportunity.
While remaining loyal to the virtues of our founding School Sisters of Notre Dame, we are learning to adapt and be flexible in ways never before considered.