As the holidays are upon us, I am updating you on the questions you have asked regarding traveling. With COVID-19 cases increasing in San Diego County, it’s important we put our best foot forward in protecting our students’ and employees’ health, which will also allow the School to remain open for on-campus learning.
As a reminder, travel is considered by the State, County, and CDC to be a high-risk activity (See Oct 21 guidance from the CDC below). We will continue to provide updates from these agencies to inform our planning. Specifically, the California Department of Public Health is updating its guidelines on travel (which will trigger corresponding updates from the SD Department of Public Health) within the next two weeks.
Gillispie strongly encourages families who have taken part in high-risk activities (such as travel or attending large social gatherings) to refer to the COVID-19 Decision Tree. This document outlines that if anyone has COVID-19 symptoms or has reason to believe that they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they should take the recommended course of action which would include testing, isolating, and/or quarantining.
With travel or activities that take us away from home, please continue to be vigilant and responsible. We all need to use the following precautionary measures to slow the spread of the virus:
- Washing hands and following sanitation practices,
- Staying six feet apart,
- Wearing a face covering,
- Avoiding large crowds, especially if individuals are not practicing safety measures &,
- Not traveling if you or someone you are traveling with has been sick in the last 14 days.
If upon returning from traveling or other high-risk activities, you feel that your children should take the precaution of staying home to assess their health, please let your children’s teacher(s) know so that plans can be made. In the case of elementary students, teachers will prepare and send home assignments and will direct absent students when to join the online cohort and what the daily schedules will look like. To be clear, students should not be joining the online cohorts when families decide to extend their vacations. This temporary access to the online learning program is limited to students who are unable to be on campus for COVID-related concerns (illness, quarantine, isolation) only.
Gillispie will continue to monitor the County infection rates. If there continues to be a sharp increase in positive cases, Gillispie may decide that the wisest course of action is for K-Grade 6 to resume instruction virtually for one to two weeks after the Holiday Break. If this decision is made, virtual classes would begin on Wednesday, January 6, to allow elementary teachers to prepare and distribute materials and devices.
Early Childhood and Elementary parents, we appreciate you. The resiliency, integrity, and flexibility you have demonstrated in preventing the spread of COVID-19 at Gillispie speak to your character. Our gatherings at the holiday tables will more than likely look different this year, but let us toast each other, whether physically present or not, and wish one another happiness and good health!
Alison Fleming, Head of School
FYI – Higher Risk Activities (CDC updated 10/21/20)
Some types of travel and activities can put you at higher risk for exposure to COVID-19 (see list below). If you participated in higher-risk activities or think that you may have been exposed before or during your trip, take extra precautions (in addition to the ones listed above) to protect others for 14 days after you arrive:
- Stay home as much as possible.
- Avoid being around people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Consider getting tested for COVID-19.
What activities are considered higher risk?
Here are examples of activities and situations that can increase your risk of exposure to COVID-19:
- Being in an area that is experiencing high levels of COVID-19, including destinations with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. You can check the Travel Health Notices for recommendations for places you have traveled, including foreign countries and U.S. territories. You can also check states, counties, and cities to determine if these areas are experiencing high levels of COVID-19.
- Going to a large social gathering like a wedding, funeral, or party.
- Attending a mass gathering like a sporting event, concert, or parade.
- Being in crowds — for example, in restaurants, bars, airports, bus and train stations, or movie theaters.
- Traveling on a cruise ship or riverboat.