Staying Safe

Dear EVCS Blended Learning Families,

We are so pleased to have our kids back in the building for in-person learning – and we really hope to keep it going without interruption for the foreseeable future. Given the slow but steady rise in test positivity rate in New York City we are doubling down on all of the safety measures we have in place at the school, and we are asking for your partnership in order to keep each other safe and keep our school building open.

One of the most important things we ask that you do every day is to fill out the daily health screening for your child. The screening consists of four questions:

Have you experienced symptoms of COVID-19, including a fever of 100.0 degrees F or greater, a new cough, new loss of taste or smell or shortness of breath within the past 10 days?
In the past 10 days, have you gotten a positive result from a COVID-19 test?
In the past 14 days, have you been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes) with anyone who tested positive for COVID-19?
Have you traveled to a state other than New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, or Vermont, OR internationally in the last 14 days?

We recommend you add this link to your home screen on your phone to make it simple to access in the morning. I know it becomes tedious to fill out the screening every day and our tendency is to rush through and habitually answer “no” to all of the questions, but please consider all of these questions carefully and thoughtfully each and every day. Our practice has been to take every child’s temperature before entering the building, but as the weather has gotten colder we are noticing that our contactless thermometers are becoming increasingly unreliable, so please check your child’s temperature and be extra vigilant in looking out for any potential symptoms before sending your child to school in the morning.

Last month we arranged our schedules to allow for every class to eat lunch outside every day, either in the schoolyard or in the Tree of Knowing Garden. Since lunch is the one time of the day when all of our students need to take their masks off, we want to make sure that we are doing this in the safest possible way, and outside is just safer than inside. Al fresco dining has been going great, but it’s getting cold out there, so please make sure to bundle your child up!

One more cold weather related item. Good ventilation is an essential part of our school-wide plan for keeping our students and staff safe, and so it is necessary to keep windows open throughout the day. This sometimes means that our classrooms can get a bit chilly, especially on the lower floors. We are working with our custodians to keep the heat pumping through the radiators all day long, and we have requested air purifiers for every classroom so we can open the windows slightly-less-wide. But please send your child in with layers, which you may consider leaving in the classroom for when they need it. I myself have adopted a Mister Rogers routine of throwing on a cardigan when I arrive at my office in the morning. 😉

Finally, as you know, all schools now have random COVID testing every week, and each time the testing staff comes we will test approximately 20 % of our students. All blended learning students are required to have signed consent from their parents to be tested – and if you previously gave consent the DOE is asking that you update your consent form to reflect the more frequent testing. We had testing in our school yesterday morning, and the parents all of the students who were tested have already been notified and should be receiving the lab results within the next day.

Thanks so much for trusting us with your children’s safety – we consider it the absolute most important thing – and than you for your partnership in keeping everyone in our community safe.