As the air becomes a bit dryer and the temperatures drop, most of us start thinking about the holidays and start making plans, which might include travel. The School's suggestion is to consider the risk to your family and others when selecting a destination and adhering to the same health and safety guidance we have been abiding by, such as wearing a mask at all times except when eating or drinking, avoiding close contact by staying at least six feet apart from anyone not in your household, practicing good hand hygiene, and avoiding contact with anyone who is sick. For more specific guidance on international travel, please refer to the CDC website on holiday travel, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html. Incidentally, we will be having exams immediately before and in-person classes immediately following the holidays.
If you choose to travel outside the United States, your student will be required to complete a travel questionnaire, quarantine for 14 days, and be cleared by the EHS nursing staff before returning to school. Instead of quarantining for 14 days, you may choose to have your student take a COVID-19 test (PCR only) on day six (6) after your return from international travel. If your student remains asymptomatic and receives a negative test result, he/she may be cleared by our nursing staff to return to school as early as day seven (7). Please note that your student is still at risk for 14 days after your return trip, so he/she should continue to wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene and be monitored for symptoms. In addition to quarantining, your student will be excluded from attending Senior Outreach or Interim Term, which will require community service time as dictated by the School to receive credit on his/her transcript.
One timely note regarding COVID-19 and specifically the definition of close contact. As of October 21st, last Wednesday, the CDC redefined close contact as "someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period, starting from two days before illness onset or for asymptomatic individuals, two days prior to test specimen collection until the time the individual is isolated." This modification of the policy reformulates the way exposure is assessed especially when our health and safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing, are not strictly applied.
Overall, we have had an excellent start to the school year. We continue to gain confidence and momentum toward the elements that characterize Episcopal High School because our health and safety plan for our campus has worked well. By following the advice of our health consultants and building strong relationships with the health department, exceeding their expectations for reporting and strictly following their abatement directives, our course has not been altered. However, the positive gains we have enjoyed can be quickly stalled by risky decisions off campus which inevitably impact our constituencies.Your concurrence and continued cooperation will help us to minimize the transmission of the virus on our campus and ultimately allow EHS to remain on campus going into the spring. Every day our students get a closer glimpse of the EHS they expect, and we would like to do everything in power to bring that into clear focus.