Since communicating our Tier 1 reopening plan to the PDS community, we have continued to receive specific school opening details from the City of Memphis/Shelby County Joint COVID-19 Task Force, the Shelby County Health Department (SCHD), and LeBonheur Children’s Hospital. Based on the guidance we are receiving, we are confident that our reopening plan has the appropriate policies and procedures in place to mitigate risks as much as possible.
While we are scheduled to receive further guidance from these organizations in the coming days, we want to take a moment to provide additional information regarding COVID-19 protocols at PDS as well as answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions we have received. Please understand that the following communication is based on guidelines as of today and may change in the coming weeks.
The CDC describes a cohort as a group of students who stay together throughout the school day to minimize exposure for students, teachers, and staff across the school environment. At PDS, we will consider each homeroom class a cohort during Tier 1.
This practice may help prevent the spread of COVID-19 by limiting cross-over of students, teachers, and staff to the fullest extent possible, thus:
Each cohort will have its own PE teacher and will be separated from other grade level cohorts during PE. PE will be held outside when possible. When inside, the curtains in the gym will be dropped to create 4 quadrants.
Each cohort will be assigned designated areas of the campus away from other cohorts. Locations will rotate throughout a school week so that students have opportunities to enjoy a variety of spaces. Each cohort will have its own recess equipment.
Early Childhood chapels will continue in a combination of live chapel with a single cohort in the Hussey Commons and streaming to the other EC classrooms.
During Tier 1, Elementary students will only attend chapel in person on Monday (1st, 2nd, 3rd grade) or Tuesday (4th, 5th, and 6th grade). These chapels will be held in the Sanctuary. Each child will be 6 feet apart, and each cohort will be separated by 12 feet.
All Friday chapels (1st-6th) will be streamed into classrooms during Tier 1.
Early Childhood cohorts will eat lunch in their classrooms.
Lunch details for the Elementary school division will be shared at Back to School meetings. Cohorts will be maintained during lunch.
LeBonheur, the Shelby County Health Department, and The American Academy of Pediatrics are recommending masks down to age two except for eating. Recognizing that masks do seem to be the best chance of keeping COVID-19 from spreading through schools, we are encouraging as much masking as possible for all teachers and students over two years of age. The mask should fit well and stay in place. Valve masks should not be used.
That being said, masks will not be worn at recess, PE, or lunch while in cohorts. The age of Early Childhood students will be used to determine whether to mask or not at certain times. Elementary teachers will incorporate mask breaks during the day.
An exposure is close contact with a COVID-19 positive person. Close contact is considered within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more with or without a mask. It is important to note that the 15 minutes is not cumulative. You do not count minutes and add them up over the course of the day.
The child will enter the quarantine room in the nurse’s office and an emergency contact will be called for him to be picked up within an hour. The quarantine room has a back exit and will have a quick exit to the outside. All symptomatic children need to be examined by their doctor, who will clinically assess as well as test for multiple conditions (flu, strep, RSV, etc). Depending on test results, the doctor may prescribe treatment or refer for COVID-19 testing. It is important to remember that children are much more likely to have a common cold than COVID-19.
The Tennessee Department of Health suggests the following symptoms are potentially COVID-19 symptoms and should apply to anyone attending or working in a school (i.e. children and adults in schools):
If the child with COVID-19 symptoms has a sibling at school, the sibling will be sent home at that time.
You should immediately contact PDS school nurse, Alice Ball, to inform PDS of the positive test results.
The child will be quarantined for a minimum of 10 days from the first sign of symptoms, and he must be symptom and fever free for at least 24 hours without medicine before returning to school. Any child returning to school from quarantine must coordinate with Alice Ball. No negative test is required to return to school.
If a student has a positive test but is asymptomatic, then the 10 day quarantine begins from the date of testing.
Any siblings should quarantine for 14 days since the last contact with the child testing positive. A sibling’s return to school should also be coordinated through Alice Ball.
Distance learning for your child will begin and continue through the end of the quarantine.
The child’s homeroom cohort and the homeroom teacher will quarantine during Tier 1.
PDS will identify and contact those who have been within 6 feet of the child for 15 minutes or more at any time within 48 hours prior to the student’s onset of symptoms until he has left the school property. Those students will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure.
Even if you choose to have your child tested and they test negative or feel healthy, the child should still quarantine for the full 14 days, because symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
There is no recommendation to do testing after an exposure unless the child develops symptoms. If symptoms develop, the child should be tested. If the child is positive, please contact Alice Ball.
Distance learning for that cohort will begin and continue through the end of the quarantine.
PDS will identify and contact those who have been within 6 feet of the child for 15 minutes or more at any time within 48 hours prior to the student’s onset of symptoms until the student has left the school property. Those students will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure.
If you are not contacted, your son was not exposed to the COVID-19 student.
The teacher’s homeroom cohort will quarantine for 14 days.
PDS will also identify and contact those who have been within 6 feet of the teacher for 15 minutes or more at any time within 48 hours prior to the teacher’s onset of symptoms until he or she has left the school property. Anyone with exposure will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last contact with the teacher.
PDS will identify and contact those who have been within 6 feet of the teacher for 15 minutes or more at any time within 48 hours prior to the individual’s onset of symptoms until the individual has left school property. Those individuals will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to that individual.
If you are not contacted, your son was not exposed to the COVID-19 faculty or staff member.
We will notify the families within the cohort and anyone else who was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more with the positive case. The positive case will not be identified by name. Alice Ball will notify the Shelby County Health Department of all positive cases per their protocol.
If you hear there has been a positive case at school and you have not been notified, your son was not exposed.
You should keep your child home from school while awaiting test results from anyone within the household. If the test is negative, the student can return to school. If the test is positive, the student should quarantine for 14 days from the last day he was exposed to the positive family member. If an additional family member gets sick with COVID-19, all negative family members must restart their quarantines.
If the child develops symptoms and tests positive, the child’s cohort and teacher will be notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days from the last day of contact with the child.
All positive tests within a PDS household should notify Alice Ball before coming to school so we can ensure there was no on-campus exposure.
Distance learning for the child and the cohort will begin and continue through the end of the quarantine.
If an employee or student becomes ill with COVID-19 symptoms while on campus, that person will be separated from others and seek appropriate medical care. The class will immediately wash their hands and move to another appropriate learning space for the remainder of the school day. We will then follow CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection of the area.
In the event that an early childhood student requires distance learning, we will engage in age appropriate instruction required to meet instructional expectations. Every effort will be made to address the need to stay connected with classmates and teachers through Zoom activities as well as activities that will be completed through SeeSaw.
If an elementary student requires distance learning, we will engage the student in a combination of real-time (synchronous) learning experiences and some asynchronous assignments. As much as possible, a student’s day at home will mimic the on-campus class schedule. Students will use Zoom to be an active part of the classroom while receiving instruction from the classroom teacher and completing work simultaneously with on-campus students.
This model not only allows students the opportunity to continue sharing in classroom discussions but also provides an avenue for student collaboration. Specific grade-level plans will be shared during our Back-to-School Zoom Meetings. (Information about Back to School meetings will be sent in a separate communication.)
Presbyterian Day School (PDS) is a private, Christian preschool and elementary school serving 500 boys from 2-years-old through 6th grade.
With our mission of striving to glorify God by developing boys in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man, we take a holistic approach to education, nurturing the heart, soul, mind, and body of each boy.