Covid Protocols

San Juan Del Sur Day School
Health Response Plan 2021-2022
Created by the Health Response Committee
Updated: October 12, 2021

Who We Are

The Health Response Committee (HRC) is a group of parents covering a range of perspectives on how to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 while offering our kids a great education.  These parents include a mix of nationalities and genders, have been part of the community for varying amounts of time, are local business owners, and are people with diverse viewpoints on how to respond to the pandemic. Our decision-making process is informed by debate, discussions of available data and science, and considerations about what is best for all school families and the community at large. 

Health Questions? The HRC invites and encourages the sharing of questions and concerns about how the Day School is responding to the pandemic. Please submit them to SJDSHealthResponse@gmail.com or send a WhatsApp message to Lindsay Clinton (+505-8103-2096)  or Heather Harrison (+1-832-271-9073). Again, we will honor your confidentiality.

Why We Created this Document

​​These are challenging times. We are more than two years into a pandemic unlike any of us have ever experienced and we are all trying to do what makes sense for our families. 

The purpose of this Health Response Plan (Plan) is to provide additional guidance about how we can navigate the current phase of the Covid-19 pandemic together. The people behind this document convened because we care deeply about the school, its continuing success, our children’s education, and our community’s ability to thrive. 

School leadership has been consistent since the start of the pandemic that it will take a “locally appropriate” response to the situation. That means that the school’s response adapts and changes as the pandemic shifts. Given recent shifts, we felt it would be helpful to provide additional guidance around health concerns–the School Handbook offers great guidance, for the record–given the dramatic increase in Covid cases in our community. 

The Health Response Committee (HRC), which formed on October 1, 2021, aims to:

  • Support parents and the school as we navigate this public health crisis; 
  • Provide a safe space for parents to communicate their questions and concerns, no matter where you stand around Covid-19; 
  • Offer a central point of contact for health-related inquiries, questions and comments.  

Protecting Our Community

How lucky are we to live in this town and send our kids to this school? We benefit from a lifestyle that is predominantly outdoors and open-air, and our kids go to a school with well-ventilated classrooms and smaller than average class sizes.

That said, it’s important to realize that we are part of a larger community that requires protection and risk mitigation. The local health system is currently under immense stress. To our knowledge, the local hospital is not admitting Covid patients; patients must travel to Rivas or Managua to receive comprehensive medical attention. In addition, Nicaragua does not have accessible Covid-19 testing infrastructure–the only option for PCR testing is in Managua. This presents challenges when identifying cases and contact tracing.

How We Can Help
We aim to keep our community, both school and town, safe and we also aim to provide support and compassion when an individual or family is affected by Covid-19. There is no shame in contracting this virus. This community is here to help. 

Through the Committee, should the need arise, we will coordinate resources related to medical care, translation, sourcing tests, meal support, transport support and childcare support. 

Helpful Values to Keep in Mind

Given the above, we have discussed the importance of adopting the following values (in addition to the Core Values of the school) as a community: 

  • High degree of individual accountability
    • Example: Acknowledgement that you (whether a parent, child or teacher) are part of a larger community that could be affected by your individual behaviors 
  • A commitment to reduce risk whenever possible by taking reasonable measures
    • Example: Talk to your children about mask-wearing on the bus and appropriate distancing when in the classroom
  • Transparency about the health status of our children and our families, when necessary
    • Example: When you or your child become sick and Covid is suspected, you make the school aware as soon as you can
  • Willingness to trust each other during this difficult time. 
    • Example: If someone is sick and suspects Covid or tests positive, we trust that they will share this information. That said, families are not expected to make any and all illnesses known that are not Covid. We respect individual and family privacy
  • Tolerance for viewpoints that are different from our own
    • Example: Understand that we come at this challenge from different backgrounds and points of view; children who wear masks or children who don’t wear masks should not be shamed for their choices
  • Acceptance that community members are entitled to make individual personal choices, but acknowledgement that we are all in this community together and we should look out for one another.

As the pandemic continues, and we work to follow this plan, we note that there are several commonly recommended ways to protect oneself and mitigate Covid-19 transmission risk by major global health authorities:

  • Wear masks when you can and when asked, e.g. inside local stores
  • Get vaccinated if you have access to a vaccine
  • Keep physical distance whenever possible
  • Minimize interactions with groups of people to the extent possible
  • Stay home upon learning of possible exposure and inform close contacts of such possible exposure

Health and Safety Measures

The following Health and Safety Measures will be reviewed regularly and updated as the trajectory of the pandemic changes. 

Focus AreaPractice and Procedure
Daily ScreeningRemember to do a health screen each morning to determine if your child is exhibiting signs of illness:If your child is sick, please keep them home. What qualifies as sick? Symptoms that are viral and contagious including cough, fever, runny nose. If helpful, please refer to these commonly understood symptoms of Covid:Primary: fever, cough, chills, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, diarrhea (STAY HOME)Secondary: fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting (EVALUATE AND INFORM THE SCHOOL)Confirm that the child has not been exposed to anyone who may have or have had Covid in the last 14 days. Students will have their temperature taken upon arriving at school. Teachers will conduct a self-check.At least 2 adults on campus will screen children visually for symptoms of sickness and be empowered to alert school leadership if a child might be sick and need help. Teachers will also keep an eye on students throughout the day to make sure they are feeling good.
VaccinationVaccination for children, teachers and parents is not required. Major global health authorities recommend getting vaccinated for Covid-19. 
MaskingGiven the recent rise in cases, masks are strongly encouraged for teachers in Grade 3 and up, as well as all adult visitors to campus, when indoors and within 1 meter from any student.Mask wearing for teachers in grades lower than third or in Spanish-language classes is at the discretion of the teacher. Masks are not required for children while on school campus; mask wearing is at the discretion of each family. If a family prefers that their child wears a mask while at school, teachers will support and encourage mask-wearing for that particular student. No student will be shamed for their family’s choice about mask-wearing. Masks are required for any person riding the bus. 
SicknessAll community members stay home when sick.Anyone with a fever or primary COVID-like symptoms should, when possible, self-isolate and are encouraged to seek medical attention and get the support of the community.Students and employees who develop symptoms or appear sick during the day will be gently separated and will be asked to be picked up early.
Teachers as GuidesEach division of the school (Early Childhood, Primary School, Middle and Upper School) will work with students in age-appropriate and positive ways to help them understand the importance of good hygiene and social distance. 
HygieneStudents and employees wash and sanitize their hands throughout the day, including upon arrival at school, before and after eating, and after bathroom use.Teachers encourage and guide proper hygiene. Hand sanitizer is available throughout campus.Parents of students in the Early Childhood Program are encouraged to send their child with their own hand towel. 
Physical DistancingClassroom settings will have 3 feet distance between all individuals to the extent possible.
School VisitorsEssential visitors for admissions, development, community-building, and program enhancement are permitted. If indoors and in close proximity to others, masks are strongly encouraged. 
Events and AssembliesAssemblies will be conducted outdoors, remotely, or be recorded and shared after the fact.Parent gatherings will be conducted outdoors or remotely.Faculty and employee meetings conducted outdoors.
Snack and Meal-time There’s no lunch service right now. Students are asked to bring lunches, snacks and water bottles. Teachers encourage good hygiene practices (hand washing before and after eating).Food sharing is not permitted.
Cleaning​​The Day School has hired additional custodial staff to clean and disinfect the school throughout the day.Cleaning materials will be available in all classrooms. Classrooms, high-touch areas (doorknobs, light switches, chair backs, desks, and table tops), and restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected every day.
VentilationOutdoor instruction will be provided whenever possible and weather permitting.  When outdoor learning is not feasible, classes will be split into small groups.Additional outdoor learning spaces for classes and small groups have been added to the campus over the summer. All classroom windows will remain open throughout the school day to encourage air flow. All classroom doors will remain open whenever possible.
TransportationBus service is available to all families, however, parents should be aware that physical distancing is not possible on the bus. All adults and children riding on the bus must wear a mask for the duration of the ride. Remember, masks need to cover mouth and nose. If a rider doesn’t want to wear a mask, parents can coordinate an alternative mode of transportation. 

What to Do if Someone Gets Sick

In the event that someone in our community gets Covid, the Committee will coordinate support for the family in need, and attempt to inform others, when directly relevant, while respecting all applicable privacy laws.

Note, because the testing infrastructure in Nicaragua is limited, and it is difficult to expect testing, we cannot reasonably create plans that are dependent upon testing. If a student or parent/guardian OR a member of their household may have been exposed to Covid or tests positive for COVID-19, please contact SJDSHealthResponse@gmail.com.

If a student or parent is sick and you have questions about what to do, need support from the community, or need help determining if your child should go to school, email SJDSHealthResponse@gmail.com.  

As a reminder, the Parent Handbook has the following Communicable Disease Policy:  

Communicable Disease Policy 

We will inform the school community when a teacher or child has become ill with a contagious disease while in attendance. A child with signs of a communicable disease will be discharged to their parent/guardian within one hour. If both parents/guardian are unavailable the person designated as the emergency medical contact will be called. Until the parent/guardian arrives, the child will be kept in isolation from the rest of the group, but within sight of a teacher or staff member. 

A child with the following symptoms may be dismissed from school. The child can be readmitted when the symptoms have ceased for at least 24 hours without use of medication. 

An oral temperature of 100 degrees or above (99 degrees using the auxiliary method) when in combination with other signs of illness 

Diarrhea- (defined as: more watery, less formed, more frequent stools than typical for the child) more than one within a 24 hour period 

Vomiting 

Lice or other parasitic infestation-the school administrator or a teacher must clear the child before they return to school 

Rashes of undetermined origin 

Lethargy affecting the child’s ability to learn 

Difficulty breathing, wheezing, or rapid breathing, not associated with a pre-diagnosed medical condition 

Unexplained blood in stools, unusually dark urine and/or grey or white stool 

Discharge, itchiness, or redness in the eyes 

Severe coughing, causing the child to become red or blue in the face or to make a whooping sound 

Sore throat or difficulty in swallowing

  • Additional guidance for when a student is sick: 
    • If the student has a fever, keep him/her home for at least 24 hours. If no other symptoms emerge and the child remains fever-free for 24 hours, the child can return to school. 
    • If the student has a viral, possibly contagious symptom like runny nose, fever, sore throat or cough–whether you think it’s Covid or not–please keep your child home and wait until they are symptom-free or provide the school a note from a doctor indicating that the symptoms are not contagious. 
    • If the student has 2+ primary Covid symptoms, the student should not come to school and should be isolated for at least 3 days. 
    • If a student has a positive test, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, the student should isolate for 10 days from the test or onset of symptoms. 
      • If a child has no symptoms after day 5, the child can return to school by providing a negative test or a doctor’s note. Reach out to SJDSHealthResponse@gmail.com for helpful resources, including recommended doctors. 
      • If the child has siblings that attend the day school, please discuss what actions to take with SJDSHealthResponse@gmail.com.
  • Guidance for when a parent is sick:
    • If a parent tests positive or if they think they might have Covid, children should isolate for 10 days or present a negative test or doctor’s note (after the fifth day).  
      • The HRC, if made aware of the case, will liaise to deliver support to the family in need.
  • Guidance for when a teacher is sick:
    • If a teacher tests positive or has 2+ primary Covid symptoms, the teacher will isolate for 10 days. 
    • The teacher’s class will continue with a substitute teacher and parents should assess whether they choose to send their children to school.
  • In the unlikely event of a class outbreak: 
    • In the unlikely event that 50% of the students in any class have Covid, the class will utilize Seesaw for 5 days (the teacher and all students in the class isolate).
    • The HRC will help to coordinate tests for the affected classroom, if possible.
    • Siblings of the children who are in the affected classroom are not required to be isolated; parents should decide what is most appropriate, given their own child’s health status. 

In case of a positive on-campus COVID-19 exposure, the Day School will typically:

  • Gently isolate the sick person if the person is at school. 
  • Review attendance, schedules, and seating records to identify any others who might be at risk.
  • Communicate with families and employees who may have been exposed at school, observing privacy laws. 
  • Depending on the exposure, individuals may be asked to isolate for community health.
  • Be in contact with families and/or employees during the discussed isolation period to ensure all are negative and symptom-free before returning to school.

If the school or the HRC is informed of a Covid case:

  • If there is a confirmed case of Covid, the class will be informed. Class will continue. Parents have the option to keep their child home or send their child to school and follow any risk-reducing strategy they wish. 

Additional Helpful Info

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is used to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have the virus and people who they came in contact with and working with them to slow down or stop the spread. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among students or employees, the Day School will, while observing national privacy laws, make every effort to inform relevant individuals.

Exposure

An exposure is defined as an individual who has close contact for longer than 15 cumulative minutes in a day with a person who has COVID-19.

Close contact

Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread Covid starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days before the positive test). People who have been in close contact with someone who has Covid should isolate themselves. However, people who have been fully vaccinated or people who were diagnosed with Covid in the last 3 months may not need to be isolated. Source: CDC Website

COVID-19 Symptoms

People with COVID-19 can have a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure to the virus. “Primary” COVID-19 symptoms require a person to stay home from school. “Non-primary” COVID-19 symptoms can be seen with many other illnesses, in addition to COVID-19. Non-primary symptoms do not always require a student to stay home. 

When feasible, sick students and staff with any primary COVID-19 symptoms are encouraged to seek testing. If you need to access a test, please make the HRC aware, and we will try to help you find one. 

If a student or staff member has non-primary symptoms that persist for more than one day, the parent should consider evaluation by the child’s doctor to determine if you need to get tested.

Primary COVID-19 symptoms: 

  • Cough
  • Temperature of 100༠F or 37.7༠C or higher 
  • Chills 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea

Non-primary COVID-19 symptoms: 

  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headache 
  • Sore throat 
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea or vomiting 

~May we be happy, may we be healthy, may we be safe, may we live with ease~