Fall 2022: Health, Safety and Security
new for September 2022: COVID Q&A Your child doesn't feel well. What's your next step?
While we may be out of the crisis phase of COVID, we are not in an endemic phase of the outbreak. We will remain vigilant in our health and safety measures while continuing to reclaim essential aspects of school life that had to be modified over the past two-and-a-half years.
This pandemic will continue to demand flexibility, but we can reasonably expect that, this year, the work of responding to COVID-19 will be more stable, consistent and straightforward than it has been for the past three. The science has progressed, our on-campus practices have become safer, and our community has remained committed to working cooperatively through constant change.
The past two-and-a-half years have proven that Gordon families, faculty and staff are capable of taking care of themselves, and one another, thoughtfully and rationally. Our COVID-19 precautions continue to be grounded in the Rhode Island Department of Health's recommendations, but we can introduce new flexibility into the system and count on families to make smart, science-informed decisions every day.
Our COVID-19 protocols will be designed to maximize the days adults and students can spend at school. That will require us to continually balance the need to combat the spread of COVID-19 with the need to keep adult and student quarantines to a minimum.
Gordon will assess the danger of COVID-19 on-campus using the statewide community levels and a gradewide tally of students and adults who are isolating at home due to COVID-19. We will follow CDC recommendations and step back from last year's exhaustive contact tracing and notification process.
The last thirty months have strained every community, including Gordon. This year, we will continue to gently and steadily renew the joyful connection we all share.
The school's leadership is committed to understanding and being responsive to the academic, social, emotional and psychological impacts COVID-19 continues to have on our students, faculty and staff.
The changes we have made to campus life over the past three years have helped us recognize some opportunities to increase campus safety and security, and we will keep safety and security in mind as our on-campus protocols continue to evolve.
Dropoff and dismissal
Morning dropoff and afternoon dismissal will be simplified, as some COVID precautions become unnecessary and as Gordon recognizes some opportunities to increase campus security. Details on these protocols will be at www.gordonschool.org/dropoff
Security measures will include a single, supervised point of entry to the school, with all outside doors locked before and after school, and the flagpole loop will be closed to cars and trucks during the school day. These steps are in addition to the two security guards we have monitoring the campus.
Now that vaccinations are available to Gordon students of all ages, students will not need to be kept separate by grade or by division.
The widespread acceptance of vaccinations also allows us to re-introduce Gator drop-ins, vacation day child care, after school enrichments, prepared lunch, and admissions visitors.
There will be no limits on who can attend events on campus as long as every guest is up-to-date on vaccinations and symptom-free.
A central health office
Nurse Straub will move out of the field house and to a centrally located Health Office. The isolation space in the field house was not as essential as we expected it to be, and it is a huge benefit to have Nurse Straub closer to the center of the school.
The system for notifying families about positive cases will be simplified (see below)
With the expectation of more stable and consistent family experience this year, we've been able to plan a more detailed long-term calendar than we have in the past two years, with the major events for the entire school year in place as of August 15th.
Masks continue to be optional, and children should expect to see their classmates and teachers making their own choices about masking on a day-to-day basis. Masks will be available at school, and students and teachers may be asked to mask up in certain circumstances: in enclosed or crowded spaces, in places where immunocompromised guests might be present, or if the Department of Health recommends it for a classroom where there has been a high number of positive cases.
Gordon students will continue to learn and play outdoors every day, and teachers will be encouraged to keep windows open. Large shared spaces like the theater, library and field house will still have filtered air systems in place, and the CO2 monitoring systems that were put into place two years ago will continue to be used to ensure every classroom is well-ventilated.
Zoom vs. in-person gatherings
Gordon will continue to move back to the in-person format for meetings and gatherings, though we will experiment with Zoom as a way to increase parent participation in meetings, especially during the work day, or to increase the reach of special presentations.
Gordon will continue to restart in-person on-campus volunteer opportunities as a way to connect parents with one another and to give them ways to contribute authentically to the daily work of the school. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Gordon, please contact Assistant Head for Institutional Advancement and Community Engagement Veronica Jutras.
Families can make full use of the Commons, the playgrounds and the library.
The school is taking a number of steps to increase campus security this year. The changes that impact parents include the following:
Morning dropoff will be simplified with only four entrances to the school open between 7:15 and 8:10:
The Nelson Field House entrance for early childcare, open 7:15 to 7:55
The Early Childhood door, the front office door, and the Middle School door, 7:55 to 8:10
These entrances will be supervised while they are open. Classroom exterior doors will not be used.
The front office will be the only entrance and exit available between 8:10 and 3:20. Students arriving late in the morning will need to use the front entrance to check in. Parents are asked to avoid scheduling appointments for children during the school day, but if that is unavoidable, parents who need to pick up students during the school day should call the front desk in advance, at 401-434-3833, and pick up students at the front office.
The Nelson Field House entrance will be the only entrance available between 3:20 and 6:00. Parents will walk up to this entrance to pick up students from after school programs, except when theater and athletics have their supervised dismissal in the flagpole loop between 5:00 and 5:30.
The driveway loop around the flagpole will be closed during the day. It will only be open to cars during dropoff from 7:55 to 8:10, dismissal from 3:20 to 3:45, and athletics and theater pickup from 5:00 to 5:30. Delivery trucks, outside vendors, and parents picking up children during the school day will need to park in the parking lot, or drive up to the stone pillars outside the flagpole loop.