COVID-19 & Community Wellness
The health and well-being of our school community remain the top priority at TRS as we work together through these novel times.
These are uncharted waters, and we will continue to navigate them through careful preparation, transparency, regular communication, flexibility and as much grace as we can muster.
The COVID-19 global pandemic requires that each of us as members of The Raleigh School Community observe specific health and safety precautions in the coming year. In the spirit of our cooperative community, each returning family and faculty member must commit to protecting the healthy and safety of our community by knowing and abiding by the COVID-19 mitigation strategies outlined in our Community Wellness Handbook.
- Keeping Our Community Safe
- Class Configurations
- Community Wellness Pledge
- COVID-19 Scenarios and Responses
- Virtual Learning Plan
Our mitigation strategies include:
Consulting with Experts
- Adding a medical task force of doctors in our community from three hospitals in the area to consult with regularly as well as to provide information and answer questions for faculty and staff
- Hiring an experienced pediatric nurse practitioner who is on campus daily to provide care and support to our children, to guide our campus response to COVID-19, to manage any cases of the virus on campus, liaise between the school and the local health department and teach health and nutrition classes to children. If a member of our community has a positive case of COVID 19, the nurse will notify the local health department and the health department will guide the school’s response (who needs to quarantine, for how long, etc.)
- Regular review and incorporation of CDC and NC DHHS guidelines
- Regular consultation with other local and regional independent school leaders
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Requiring face coverings for all employees and all children kindergarten through 5th grade as well as encourage face coverings for preschool children
- Providing PPE including face coverings, shields/goggles and smocks for employees (where appropriate)
Space/Social Distancing/Limiting Adults on Campus
- Reducing class and cohort sizes on campus and converting specialists rooms and spaces into classrooms
- Limiting the movement of cohorts on campus through specials that push into classrooms
- Removing and/or replacing classroom furniture to allow for social distancing in every classroom
- Engaging faculty-led playground and outdoor committees to construct a plan to maximize use of our 18 acres of outdoor spaces beyond the playgrounds to encourage as much outdoor class time as possible
- Establishing an arrival and dismissal system that enables social distancing
- Reimagining large community events into smaller outdoor or virtual events that provide social distancing like the Raleigh Cool, graduation, back to school community events and our fall carnival
- Closing campus to parents and visitors – except for our very youngest preschool children who are allowed to walk their child to the preschool gate of campus with strict face coverings and social distancing guidelines
- Suspending helping parent and parent volunteers in classrooms
- Creating a Community Wellness Handbook which all community members receives. All community members returned a signed acknowledgment pledging their support to the school’s safety and health guidelines
- Requiring daily temperature screening of all children and adults before entering the campus and requiring daily affirmation from parents/caregivers during carline that their student(s) have not had any COVID-19 related symptoms or, to their knowledge, been exposed to anyone diagnosed with COVID-19
- Adding more supervised drop off locations for students to aid in additional carline processing and creating a more direct access path to the child’s specific classroom
- Requiring all people in cars in the carline over age 2 to wear a mask while in cars on campus to reduce exposure to staff managing carline
- Performing midday temperature and symptom screening of all children
- Creating an action and communications plan in the event a community member is diagnosed with COVID-19
- Adding kickstands to doors to provide touchless ways to prop open doors to reduce touch points on doors and increase airflow
- Adding large outdoor fans to circulate air on preschool and gym patios and decks
- Upgrading air filters in all HVAC systems across campus and ensuring all bathroom fans are working
- Adding touchless faucets in the gym building as well as replacing gym water fountain with a handwashing sink for a total of 8 sinks available to 5 classes in the gym building plus a separate adult bathroom
- Adding an outdoor sink by the upper field to be used during PE
- Freestanding hand sanitation stands at outside doors such as the Athletics and Arts Centers and offices
- A mister to be utilized in a weekly rotation among classrooms to further disinfect spaces beyond daily cleaning
- Signage and traffic flow markers to help with hygiene, sanitation and social distancing
- Disinfecting outdoor metal and plastic playground items after cohort use
- Dividing preschool outdoor toys by class and sanitizing daily
One of our most important COVID-19 mitigation strategies for this coming year is to adjust the number of children (and adults) in each classroom to create class cohorts that have plenty of space for children to spread out and social distance in a way that is appropriate for the age of the child.
Our preschool class cohort strategy resulted in a few changes in class offerings and structure:
- Our 4s cohorts have been reduced to a class size of 14. We have added a new Tu/Th school day 4s class to accommodate all the 4s students who were registered for school within the previous class sizes
- Our 3s cohorts have been reduced to 12 children per class
- Our 2s cohorts have 10 children per class.
- Our Parent/Child class has been reduced to 5 children, 5 parents, and 1 lead teacher.
Children will always stay together within their class cohort, whether inside or outside. Children may play with other children in their class cohort but may not play with children in another class cohort or share indoor or outdoor space at the same time with another class cohort.
In response to parent feedback, we offered parents the choice of on-campus learning and virtual learning and asked them to make a commitment to one of those cohorts for their child. At each grade level we have two on-campus cohorts of about 15 students each and a virtual learning cohort of up to 18 students. As in the preschool, children stay together within their class cohort, whether inside or outside.
All teachers will be working with the on-campus cohorts and the virtual cohort. We are aiming to ensure that all students get to know both lead teachers as well as the assistant teachers for the grade. The experience of the virtual cohort will closely align with on-campus cohorts so that should we reunite everyone (either on campus or virtually) there will be a similarity of experience and material covered.
As members of The Raleigh School Community, we pledge:
To Be A Supportive Community Member
- To commit to supporting all members of the TRS community: parents, faculty/staff and children.
- To respect the privacy of community members, being sensitive to the information I share, and will only share information with necessary school personnel.
- To keep our community safe, I and my family will follow all CDC and NCDHHS Covid-19 mitigation guidance.
- To not discriminate. I know that the virus is not a respecter of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or physical ability. I will treat the families and staff with the respect every human being deserves.
- To be mindful of family travel. If my family has visited a Covid hotspot, I will notify the school nurse and follow her guidance before returning to campus.
To Monitor and Care
- To adhere to the guidelines set forth in The Raleigh School Family Handbook and The Community Wellness Handbook.
- To keep my child home and inform the school nurse if I know my child is sick with Covid-19 or Covid-like symptoms (fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) or know that there has been exposure to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
- To follow the guidelines that the school and health department provide for isolation or quarantine.
- To monitor my child’s temperature and participate in the school’s daily health screening measures, as described in the Community Wellness Handbook, to determine whether it is appropriate for my child to attend school.
- To encourage and support my child’s ability to adhere to the guidelines for wearing a face covering (grades K-5).
- To support proper hand washing and respiratory etiquette (e.g., cover your cough) with my child at home.
Our community depends on strict adherence to these guidelines in order to adapt to the current times. These requirements are subject to change and new requirements may be added as knowledge of Covid-19 and its side effects become available.
We are grateful for your partnership and diligence in these unprecedented times.
A task force of faculty members, administrators , and parents has worked collaboratively to prepare a robust virtual learning plan that ensures that a developmentally appropriate program is provided to all of our students in the event that our campus must be closed at some point during the next school year. The Raleigh School remains committed to providing our students with an engaging, dynamic, play- and project-based learning curriculum, as we seek alternative ways to maintain the same sense of community and care that defines us.
The resulting virtual learning plan began by reviewing our school's mission and philosophy as well as our school's technology vision statement. The group then set out to identify and articulate overarching program goals that would be used to guide further development of the plan. The task force took many resources into consideration including guidelines provided by national and state professional organizations (NAIS, SAIS), developmentally appropriate practice, professional resources outlining best practices in virtual learning, feedback and experience of parents and faculty during VTRS over the last several months, and examples of virtual learning plans from both public and independent schools. The plan aims to be thorough, thoughtful, and informative and remains a draft in progress. The task force will continue to add information including resources for parents, tutorials for families, and professional development resources for faculty.