The science is clear on two main points:
- COVID-19 is transmitted when a significant buildup of COVID virus particles (virions) leave one person’s nose or mouth (through either visible droplets or invisible “aerosols”) and accumulate in another person’s nose or mouth.
- There is no reliable way, besides a daily test, to know who has contracted or may be spreading COVID.
Of course, we don’t let anyone into our building if there’s reason to believe they may be infectious. But since we can’t know for sure, there’s only one safe way to re-open: Create an environment where COVID cannot build up in the air. Fortunately, scientists have figured out how to do this.
Every room a student will enter has an industrial strength HVAC system that constantly sucks in and pumps out air. Each circulation filters out 85%+ virions.
Students rotate attendance so that we can cut class sizes by 50%. Students will always be spaced 6 ft. apart indoors and, during limited indoor travel, will stay similarly distanced from peers.
To minimize exposure, students will be batched with ~10 peers in a single classroom all day. Teachers will rotate between rooms.
Masks dramatically reduce both how many virions someone exhales into a space. It also dramatically reduces how many virions other people breathe in. Our very simple rule for all staff and students: always wear a mask indoors.
Lunch & Breakfast
Eating and drinking with masks off is the riskiest part of the day. When possible, lunch, breakfast, and (of course) recess will be outdoors in a shaded gazebo. Due to the large volume of air outdoors, and the fact that sunlight quickly kills COVID, it's very hard for COVID to be transmitted outdoors. Of all documented transmissions, .0001% have occurred outdoors.
Students and staff wash hands frequently, in lunch transitions (when they’re most likely to touch their face).
Custodians wipe down tables, light switches, markers, door knobs, etc. between days. Doors are kept open to avoid touching handles to enter/exit. (An aside for peace of mind: COVID dies exponentially on surfaces, meaning only trace amounts survive day to day.)
Temperatures are scanned at the door. Students complete a morning wellness survey, which includes social-emotional questions that measure psychological safety and needs for support.
These are obviously just the cliffnotes. Without a doubt, these are the most important steps any group of people can take in order to prevent viral transmission. They protect not just our students, but also our staff, and all our loved ones.