Covid-19 Policies and Information
The policies below largely reflect OSSE’s July 2022 updated guidance, with the exception that ToTH will also adopt a test-to-stay option for children who are not up to date with Covid-19 vaccination. Beginning with the start of the 2022-23 school year on August 29, 2022, we currently plan to have the following policies in place:
All positive cases of Covid-19, or close contact exposures to a Covid-19 positive individual, should be reported immediately to ToTH by emailing the head of school at [email protected]. ToTH will send an alert to the community if a positive case is reported at school. ToTH is required to report positive cases of Covid-19 to OSSE by submitting an Unusual Incident Report.
Staff and faculty: ToTH has had a vaccine mandate in place for staff since August 2021. All staff and teachers at ToTH are fully-vaccinated against Covid-19. OSSE also requires full vaccination against Covid-19 for licensed child care center staff, so any new staff members will also be required to provide proof of vaccination upon hire.
Enrolled children: ToTH is not currently requiring Covid-19 vaccination for enrolled children until such time as a vaccine for this age group receives full FDA approval. The D.C. Act 24-280 Coronavirus Immunization of School Students and Early Childhood Workers Regulation Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 requires that children who are eligible for a fully approved Covid-19 vaccine receive the vaccine. If/when Covid-19 vaccines do receive full approval for children between 6 months and 6 years, we expect that Covid-19 will be added to the schedule of childhood vaccinations that are already required by DC Health for children to enroll in schools and preschools. In that event, we do expect that the Covid-19 vaccine would be required in order to enroll at ToTH. It is also possible that if circumstances change in the fall or winter that make vaccination more urgent to protect the safety of the cohort overall, we might consider implementing a vaccine mandate earlier than planned.
The best way to ensure that your child does not miss school if they have been exposed to Covid-19 and are not symptomatic is to have them receive a full course of Covid-19 vaccination. Fully vaccinated children, regardless of age, will be exempt from Covid-19 exposure quarantines as long as they remain symptom free and wear a mask for 10 days after exposure (if over the age of 2.). This policy is aligned with OSSE’s updated guidance and CDC guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.
Vaccine Records: Parents should submit a copy of their child’s Covid-19 vaccination record to our director of admissions and enrollment, Ila Furman, at [email protected]. Vaccination records may also be uploaded directly to your child’s Curacubby portal in the “Forms” section. Proof of vaccination will be required to determine your child’s quarantine requirements or exemption if they are exposed to Covid-19.
Indoor and outdoor mask-wearing will be optional for staff and children during LOW and MEDIUM Covid-19 community levels for DC (as determined by the CDC). Our staff are happy to actively support your child if you would like to send them with a child-size KN95 or KF94 mask to wear at school.
- During HIGH Covid-19 community levels in DC, we anticipate requiring masks once again.
- Masking will also be required for staff and children over the age of 2 in certain circumstances where an additional prevention strategy is recommended:
- Individuals who are close contacts of an individual with a confirmed case of Covid-19 will need to mask at school for 10 days.
- Individuals who return from isolation on day 6 will need to wear a mask through day 10.
Stay Home When Sick
ToTH’s Illness Exclusion and Return criteria, which are published in the Family Handbook, will be strictly enforced. Exclusion from school is required for any child who develops symptoms of Covid-19. The child must be tested for Covid-19, or seek an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider. A sick child may return to school when standard return criteria (as published in the handbook) have been met. If your child develops symptoms of an illness during the course of the school day, we will isolate your child with a supervising staff member and call for an early pick-up.
Isolation and Quarantine
We have revised our isolation and quarantine policies for the 2022-2023 school year. These policy changes were informed by current CDC and OSSE recommendations and take into account the new availability of the Covid-19 vaccine for children under 5 years old and greater flexibility for individual child development centers to implement test-to-stay programs.
Testing and Test-to-Stay
We will continue to ask families to test their children using a rapid antigen or PRC test when Covid-19 symptoms are present (as is recommended by OSSE and the CDC) to help rule out Covid-19 and reduce the risk of spread at school. In addition, we expect to occasionally request families to test to return from longer breaks during MEDIUM Covid-19 community levels and as often as weekly during HIGH Covid-19 community levels.
Unvaccinated children will be allowed the option to “test-to-stay” for a period of 5-7 school days (depending on age and mask-wearing ability) if they are exposed to Covid-19 and remain symptom free. If parents choose not to utilize the test-to-stay option, unvaccinated children will be subject to the standard 10-day quarantine criteria for unvaccinated individuals.
Free Covid-19 Test Kits
Two free boxes of rapid antigen test kits (2 tests per box) are available to DC residents with valid ID at any DC Covid Center. The nearest DC Covid Center is located just a 4 minute drive from ToTH at 507 8th St. SE. We recommend keeping a small supply of test kits at home so that you have them available in case your child gets sick or needs to test-to-stay.
Free PCR testing kits are available next door to ToTH at the front desk of the Arthur Capper Recreation Center (entrance on the south side of the playground.) Test kits can be returned to the dropbox outside of the entrance by 8pm on the day the test was administered. Results generally come back within 1-3 days.
While the DC Covid Community Level may be LOW, transmission rates are still high in DC and across most of the country. With masking now being optional at school, it is still important to exercise caution and responsibility with personal activities, especially large, indoor gatherings. If your family travels by air, bus, or train, we recommend wearing masks and testing 3-5 days after returning home.