Health and Safety
Our top priority is the health and well-being of our students, families, and staff. We continue to be highly attentive to the requirements and guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regional and local authorities including the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Public Health – Seattle and King County, as well as the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). As you are aware, there is no way to fully guard against transmission, but with strict adherence to the following health and safety measures, we hope to keep risk to a minimum.
Please carefully review this information and be prepared to follow all health and safety protocols.
All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear a face covering at all times, indoors and outdoors, while on campus. This protocol is in accordance with the requirements of the DOH and OSPI. Refer to the Washington State Department of Health Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings for more information. If an individual does not have a face mask, one will be provided by the School.
Students and adults will wash hands frequently including when they arrive at school, before meals or snacks, after outside time, after going to the bathroom, after nose blowing or sneezing, and before leaving to go home. Hand washing stations will be installed at school entrances. If soap and water are not readily available, hand sanitizer may be used.
Students, faculty, staff, and visitors will practice physical distancing as much as possible in classrooms and other common areas, and during activities. Floor markings will designate 6 foot spaces and direct traffic flow in halls throughout the school building. Seating/desks in classrooms will face the same direction and be 6 feet apart. Plexiglass barriers have been installed in areas where it is difficult to maintain proper physical distancing. Students' and teachers' ability to social distance will depend on students’ ages and developmental and physical abilities.
Families are asked to monitor household members for symptoms, including fever, and avoid bringing sick students to school.
- Before arriving at school each day, students, faculty, and staff are required to submit a brief questionnaire using the Magnus PHR app to assess the symptoms of illness and exposure to COVID-19. (Download the app and review detailed instructions prior to the first day of school at www.stthomasschool.org/screening).
- Temperature checks will also be conducted for all students, employees, and campus visitors upon arrival.
- Students with symptoms will be separated from other students and will need to be picked up as soon as possible.
Cleaning protocols will be compliant with CDC recommendations, including the types of cleaning products used and the frequency of cleaning. Special attention will be given to the cleaning of high-touch surfaces throughout the day and there will be nightly deep cleaning and disinfection of every classroom.
Unlike most institutional buildings, the STS facility is a LEED Gold Certified building that employs natural ventilation methods that exchange interior and exterior air much more frequently than usual. In classrooms, airflow is introduced via exterior wall louvers and is convected via roof-mounted vent stacks. Interior ceiling fans provide auxiliary internal air circulation. All ventilation settings have been adjusted to maximize fresh air intake throughout the building.
Confirmed/suspected case and close contact protocols
Among the many factors influencing the decision to open or close campus is one that is completely within our collective control: STS community compliance with COVID-19 related policies, procedures, and guidelines.
That means each one of us –parents, students, faculty, and staff – has an impact on community health and, therefore, how children will be educated (in-person, hybrid, or remote). Members of the STS community are expected to:
- Follow public health guidelines and the School's health and safety protocols.
- Avoid large crowds.
- Wear a mask.
- Practice physical distancing.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Stay home if sick or exposed.
Isolation vs. Quarantine
Isolation keeps someone who is sick or tested positive for COVID-19 without symptoms away from others, even in their own home.
Quarantine keeps someone who was in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 away from others.
For more information, see the CDC's COVID-19: Quarantine vs Isolation.
Close contact is defined as either of the following occurring at any time in the last 14 days when the infected individual was infectious:
- being directly exposed to fluids from the mouth or nose
- being within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period
- being in an on-campus cohort meeting with the infected individual
Individuals are presumed infectious at least two days prior to symptom onset and ten days after symptoms begin, or in the case of asymptomatic individuals who are lab-confirmed with COVID-19, two days prior to the confirming lab test until ten days after the test.