COVID-19 Information - McDonogh School

2021-2022 COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS

Updated August 18, 2021

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our community continues to be our top priority. With guidance from McDonogh’s Pandemic Planning Team and Medical Advisory Board, and based on the latest guidelines from the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Maryland Department of Health, the 2021-2022 school year will begin with the following protocols and important guidelines outlined on this page.

  • Daily Health Questionnaire must be completed before coming to campus
  • 100% masked interaction indoors, except while eating, and on buses
  • When outdoors, masks must be worn when physical distancing is not possible 
  • Weekly surveillance testing of some employees and students (PK-12)
  • Frequent hand washing and hand sanitizing
  • Contact tracing 
  • Students and employees on campus must contact the Infirmary immediately if they begin to experience flu-like symptoms
  • Students who present symptoms while on campus must be picked up immediately

Please know that plans are subject to change at any point based on new information. We will continue to update this webpage. Thank you for your patience and flexibility during these uncertain times.

Questions regarding our COVID-19 mitigation efforts, should be directed to our Health Team at infirmary@mcdonogh.org.

Policies and Procedures

Community Expectations

We are all in this together, and the health of our community depends on everyone’s cooperation in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19. Please read and abide by our Community Expectations. Adhering to these expectations is vital in order for us to remain on campus with in-person learning.

Daily Health Questionnaire

Students, faculty, and staff must complete the daily health questionnaire (found on parent, Upper School student, and faculty and staff Personal Pages) before traveling to campus or getting on the school bus each morning.

Symptomatic Illness and Return to Campus

Those who have had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days will not be permitted on campus without a negative COVID-19 test. COVID-19 symptoms are any one of the following: fever of 99.5 degrees or higher, sore throat, cough, difficulty breathing, diarrhea or vomiting, new onset of severe headache (especially with fever), or new loss of taste or smell. For persons with chronic conditions such as asthma or allergies, the symptoms should represent a change from baseline. 

Please note that simply because a negative test result is received does not mean that symptomatic individuals should return to school; individuals should only return to campus after the symptoms have resolved. As in non-pandemic years, those who have had a fever of 99.5 degrees or higher must remain at home until 48 hours after the fever has resolved without the use of antipyretic medications (e.g. Tylenol, Advil). For diarrhea and vomiting, individuals should not return until 24 hours after symptoms have resolved, and 48 hours for fever. Children who are potentially contagious should not come to school until their symptoms are gone.

Quarantine and Isolation

We will continue to follow guidelines from the CDC and the MDH for quarantine and isolation of those members of our community who are diagnosed with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19.

FULLY VACCINATED

Isolation: If a vaccinated individual tests positive for COVID-19, that individual must isolate for 10 days following the onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, 10 days following the positive test.

Quarantine: No quarantine will be necessary for the majority of exposures unless the exposure is deemed particularly high risk. If a vaccinated individual has had close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, they will need to be tested by PCR three to five days after the exposure, even if there are no symptoms. They should also wear a mask indoors in public for 10 to 14 days following exposure or until the test result is negative. If they experience any symptoms, immediate testing from an outside provider will be necessary.

UNVACCINATED OR PARTIALLY VACCINATED

Isolation: If an unvaccinated individual tests positive for COVID-19, that individual must isolate for 10 days following the onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic, 10 days following the positive test.

Quarantine: If an unvaccinated individual has had close contact with a person who is positive for COVID-19, that person will need to quarantine for 14 days at a minimum, or for a minimum of seven days with a negative PCR test between days five and seven. Even after returning from quarantine, individuals who have had close contact must continue to mask for the full 14 days.

Masks

All students, faculty, and staff must wear masks while indoors regardless of vaccination status. Our experience from last year indicates that wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of the virus on campus. It becomes even more important with the rise in the more contagious Delta variant. 

When outdoors, masks must be worn when physical distancing is not possible.

Masks should follow guidance from the State of Maryland and the CDC. They should be made of at least two layers and should not have any valves or vents. Each student should bring a spare mask to school in case their mask becomes soiled or damp. Cloth masks should be washed daily. Surgical or medical masks, including one-time-use masks, are permitted. 

Bandanas and neck gaiters are not permitted; research shows these types of face-coverings are ineffective at reducing the transmission of respiratory droplets. Masks with ear or head loops are strongly recommended.

Surveillance Testing

We plan to conduct weekly COVID surveillance testing of a percentage of students (PK-12), faculty, and staff.

Travel Policy

Students, faculty, and staff are expected to refrain from unnecessary travel. Any person who is not fully vaccinated and who travels outside the Mid-Atlantic region must get tested after returning and must self-quarantine away from campus until the test result is received. More information is available in the School’s travel policy.

Vaccination

We strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to obtain the COVID vaccine, this currently includes those individuals 5 years and older as recommended by the CDC. 

Effective November 1, 2021, McDonogh requires all eligible students aged 16 and older and employees to be vaccinated to continue attending school. 

Once fully vaccinated, students, faculty, and staff should send a copy of the CDC vaccination record to the Infirmary (infirmary@mcdonogh.org) or upload a photo on this survey. For those who are vaccinated but may have misplaced their vaccination record card, an electronic record can be downloaded from the Maryland Immunization Record website provided by the Maryland Department of Health at md.myir.net (free registration is required). As always, vaccination information is held confidentially. 

As the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) is lifted for younger age groups, McDonogh’s COVID vaccine requirement will be adjusted accordingly.

 

Virtual Learning

As announced earlier, we will not offer a virtual-only option for the 2021-2022 school year unless there is a stay-at-home order issued by local health and government officials. In this case, the entire school will transition to an all-virtual learning environment.

Bimodal education will only be provided for students who are in school-imposed multi-day quarantines due to exposure to COVID-19 or are isolating after active infection with COVID-19, not including students who are quarantined of their own volition. Students should be well enough to participate. Students who are ill are expected to stay home, stay offline, and rest. Bimodal education must be approved by the student's division head.

For students with other short-term illnesses, those who are quarantined due to travel or failure to adhere to community expectations, or those who are quarantined by the daily health questionnaire, coursework and lessons will be provided asynchronously through a variety of developmentally-appropriate means, including Canvas.

Dining

  • Lunch will be served via carry-out from the dining halls.
  • Students will eat lunch outside, weather permitting.
  • The Brass Eagle Cafe remains closed at this time.
  • Breakfast and dinner in Paterakis Hall are open only to students and employees who are vaccinated.

Transportation

Bus Transportation
The school is continuing to offer bus transportation.

  • Masks must be worn on the bus.
  • Families must sign up for bus service to and from one of our community stops.
  • Seating will be limited to 44 passengers, two students per seat. 
  • Three windows per side will remain open two to four inches for increased air circulation.
  • Buses are cleaned and disinfected after each use.

Carpooling
While McDonogh cannot recommend that families carpool, as it exposes family members to new individuals outside the household, we understand that it may be a necessity for some. The School cannot provide contact information to facilitate carpooling, but McDonogh will not prevent families from coordinating their own ridesharing. If you choose to carpool with people from outside your immediate family, we recommend wearing a mask and trying to ride with the same people on a regular basis.

Campus Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • The school has acquired reserves of soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting products.
  • Hospital-grade cleaning and disinfecting supplies that are safe for a school environment are used.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting of door handles, high-touch surfaces, and restrooms take place throughout the school day.
  • If an area has been occupied by someone suspected to be infected, the area is closed until it is safely disinfected.
  • Electrostatic fog sprayers are used to disinfect unoccupied areas throughout the school day.
  • The school follows recommended ventilation guidelines for buildings with central systems using the highest level MERV air filters and four to six air changes per hour. Fans and individual HEPA air purifiers are used in buildings without central systems to maintain continuous ventilation.

Social and Emotional Health

McDonogh is committed to supporting the social and emotional health of our faculty, staff, and students. Our counselors are valuable resources, and they stand ready to assist and support our community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Visitors

Like last year, access to campus is limited to students, faculty, essential personnel, authorized visitors, and those involved with school-sanctioned events. Parents are permitted on campus for drop-off and pick-up and approved volunteer assignments.

Anyone coming into student classrooms (for example to read a book to Lower School students or assist with a lesson in the Middle School) must be fully vaccinated and show proof of vaccination when checking in. 

Performances, extracurriculars, and other large gatherings may be held outdoors, or indoors with reduced capacity.

Visual and Performing Arts

Performing arts classes which include activities that produce larger amounts of aerosol spray (e.g., chorus, band, dance, theatre) must adhere to the following guidelines. Other visual and performing arts classes should follow McDonogh’s COVID-19 health safety guidelines for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Performance and gallery openings will be permitted throughout the school year.  Audiences/guests will reserve tickets in advance for all arts events; capacity for each event is limited to half the size of each performing or visual arts venue.
 

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

 

OUTDOORS*

INDOORS

MASKS

instrumentalist masks and bell covers when distancing is not possible 

instrumentalist masks and bell covers 

DISTANCE

with masks/bell covers: 1-3 feet
without masks/bell covers: 6 feet 

3 feet

TIME

no time limit 

50 minutes

AIR FLOW

well-ventilated/open tenting to protect from elements

3 ACH/hour

HYGIENE

follow CDC hand-washing and sanitizing practices

follow CDC hand-washing and sanitizing practices, including safe elimination of brass fluid

*outdoor singing/instrument playing is encouraged whenever possible
 

VOCAL MUSIC

 

OUTDOORS*

INDOORS

MASKS

instrumentalist masks and bell covers when distancing is not possible 

instrumentalist masks and bell covers 

DISTANCE

with masks/bell covers: 1-3 feet
without masks/bell covers: 6 feet 

3 feet

TIME

no time limit 

50 minutes

AIR FLOW

well-ventilated/open tenting to protect from elements

3 ACH/hour

HYGIENE

follow CDC hand-washing and sanitizing practices

follow CDC hand-washing and sanitizing practices, including safe elimination of brass fluid

*outdoor singing/instrument playing is encouraged whenever possible
 

DANCE 

 

OUTDOORS

INDOORS

MASKS

well-fitted masks when distancing is not possible

well-fitted masks

DISTANCE

with masks: 1-3 feet
without masks: 3 feet 

3 feet

AIR FLOW

well-ventilated

3 ACH/hour

HYGIENE 
& SAFETY

follow CDC hand-washing guidelines
sneakers worn at all times

floor & other high-touch surfaces (barre, stereo equipment) cleaned at the beginning and end of day

 


THEATRE 

 

OUTDOORS

INDOORS

MASKS

well-fitted masks when distancing is not possible

well-fitted masks

DISTANCE

with masks: 1-3 feet
without masks: 3 feet 

3 feet

AIR FLOW

well-ventilated

3 ACH/hour

HYGIENE 
& SAFETY

follow CDC hand-washing guidelines
sneakers worn at all times

floor & other high-touch surfaces (barre, stereo equipment) cleaned at the beginning and end of day

Athletics

We will continue to offer athletics because, in our opinion, these opportunities are vital to our students' social and emotional wellbeing.

Attendance at Games
Spectators are permitted to attend athletic contests on campus. For away games, the School will adhere to the protocols for each host venue; prior to away games, coaches will share the competitor school's spectator policy as some schools may not allow fans. On campus, masks are required by all when indoors. Spectators are not permitted at practices.

Face Coverings
McDonogh requires athletes to wear masks at all times when indoors, including during competition. For any team where 100% of players and coaches are vaccinated, the athletes and staff are not required to wear masks during competition. Masks are still required in common areas away from competition.

Spectators must remain masked at all times irrespective of vaccination status.

Physical Distancing
Athletes (not in the field of play), trainers, coaches, staff, and spectators must practice physical distancing at all times.

Event Capacity
Attendance at indoor athletic events on campus is limited to 50 percent of the facility's maximum occupancy.

Transportation to Games
Transportation will be provided for teams traveling to away games. Upperclassmen who drive to school may drive themselves to away games with a signed parent permission form, which can be obtained from the coaches.

Out-of-State Competition and Tournaments
McDonogh teams will not travel overnight for out-of-state contests until further notice, except for specific case-by-case events where risks can be mitigated (for example smaller events where students travel with their families).

Surveillance Testing
Athletes will be tested along with students during the School's typical surveillance testing windows.

Five-Day Boarding

Residential students are required to be vaccinated prior to moving into the dorms. Boarding students will be required to take their temperature every morning and evening using the contactless device provided on each floor in the dormitories. Every morning, students will complete the Daily Health Questionnaire (DHQ) before leaving the dormitory.

During school hours, the infirmary will provide care for ill students. For after-school hours, if a boarder has a fever above 99.5 degrees, has flu-like symptoms not associated with allergies, and/or has had contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they must call the dormitory head’s cell phone immediately to explain any symptoms over the phone. Instructions for care and next steps will be given. Parents will be contacted and most likely asked to pick up their child. Boarders must follow the School’s health and safety policies for return to campus.

Students and families will be notified if the student is identified as a close contact during contact tracing and will then follow the School’s health and safety policies. The School will not share the names of those who test positive or are presumed positive to protect student confidentiality.