November 19, 2020 -- Head of School COVID Update
Dear Park City Day School Families,
This morning, we learned of two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our Early Childhood Pod. With 3 cases now confirmed school-wide, the Administrative Team and COVID Task Force have collectively made the decision to move the entire school to distance learning effective at the end of school today through Friday, December 4th. It is our hope that this extra time will put your family at ease as we all work to mitigate additional exposure. Our Nursery and Early Childhood Pod have already returned home this morning in advance of this notice.
In preparation for Distance Learning, your Homeroom Teacher or Advisor will be in touch to coordinate a plan. For the 3-5 Pod, Friday will be a normal half-day of instruction. For other pods, Friday will be a day to check-in with your teacher virtually in order to set the tone for the week after break. We ask that parents please come to school to pick up any snow clothes or learning materials you may need either this afternoon before 4:00 p.m. or Friday between 8 a.m. - 12 p.m..
Without a doubt, as we enter this Thanksgiving holiday, many of us are struggling to manage a shift in plans and altered expectations. We can both embrace that loss, and be immensely grateful for all that we have. We may not be celebrating in our traditional fashion, but we may still certainly celebrate. This is an incredible opportunity to model for our children this resiliency and gratitude in the face of immense challenges. We wish you grace and courage as you navigate those waters in the coming days.
Also, we would like to reiterate our request that we all strive to make the safest and healthiest choices for our community in the weeks ahead. Again, our ability to maintain on-campus operations depends upon our commitment to reducing the introduction and spread of the virus. Please review our guidance below and contact me with any questions or concerns.
- Limit opportunities for exposure to the virus.
- Strictly adhere to the Governor's mandate and avoid any social gatherings indoors with individuals other than those in your household. Should you choose to gather with others from outside your household, please do so with great caution and forethought and while wearing masks and social distancing.
- Reconsider any Thanksgiving travel plans. Should travel be necessary, make health and safety an absolute priority.
- During the week of Distance Learning (11/30-12/6), please limit your exposure to the virus to the fullest extent possible. We specifically ask that you not meet up with PCDS friends for playdates. The purpose of this move to Distance Learning is to provide time for symptoms to develop in those who may have been exposed to the virus during the break. If students continue to gather, that negates this purpose.
- As we return to campus on December 7, please be extra vigilant and keep children home if they exhibit any symptoms. The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas will be critical for the entire nation, our campus community included.
Thank you in advance for your vigilance and flexibility. We appreciate the challenges these decisions present and are grateful for your support. We wish you and your entire family a safe and joyful Thanksgiving holiday. We look forward to reconnecting in person soon.
Head of School
November 17, 2020 -- COVID-19 Update
We are writing to inform you that we have a confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in the 3rd Grade so the 3-5 Pod has been moved to Distance Learning for the remainder of the week. Most importantly, the student is feeling well and we are wishing him a full and quick recovery.
This action to move to distance learning is aligned with our protocol set forth at the beginning of the school in the Return to School Plan. Students and teachers in grades 3-5 are already engaged in Distance Learning with core and specialist classes taking place virtually. Currently, no other pod has been affected.
Although unfortunate, we hope this will serve as a stark reminder of the challenges we all face, especially as we head into the holiday season. Thank you for your ongoing support and vigilance to keep our community safe and our school open for in-person instruction.
November 16, 2020 -- Aftercare Closure
As COVID-19 cases in the region continue to increase, we have decided to halt our aftercare operations after today until, at least, January 2021. We feel this is a prudent step to reduce the potential spread of the virus on campus. We acknowledge the inconvenience this may pose for some of our families, and thank you for your understanding.
November 13, 2020-- Head of School COVID-19 Update
Dear PCDS Parents and Guardians,
On behalf of the PCDS staff and board I would like to thank you for your continued vigilance as we navigate our way through the COVID-19 pandemic. With tight on-campus protocols and your thoughtful choices off-campus, we have been able to enjoy many weeks of in-person learning. Well done!
As you know, Governor Herbert has issued an emergency executive order to address increased COVID-19 case counts across the State of Utah. The order is in effect through at least November 23, 2020 and includes:
- Statewide mask mandate
- Gatherings limited to same household only
- No youth/high school sports, activities or extracurriculars (other than state finals events)
- Masks and physical distancing between household groups at a
ll businesses, including bars and restaurants
- Weekly testing for COVID-19 on college campuses
Like most of the state, Summit County is experiencing high transmission rates and case counts. In addition, we are approaching a complicated few weeks with a seasonal transition indoors coupled with travel and family gatherings. With all of that in mind, we are reaching out to ask for your heightened vigilance in the coming days. Our ability to continue on campus is directly related to our collective commitment to following the Governor's order and making wise and thoughtful decisions as we prepare for the Thanksgiving break.
To be specific:
- Limit opportunities for exposure to the virus to the fullest extent possible.
- Adhere to the Governor's mandate and avoid any social gatherings indoors with individuals other than those in your household.
- Should you choose to gather with others from outside your household, please do so with great caution and forethought, wearing masks when social distancing is not feasible.
- Reconsider any Thanksgiving travel plans. Should travel be necessary, make health and safety an absolute priority.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided extensive guidance in regards to best practices for holiday gatherings. Please review that information here: COVID-19: HOLIDAY CELEBRATION GUIDELINES
If you are unable to follow these recommendations, we ask that
you impose a 14-day quarantine period on your family before your student returns to campus. In this situation, our teachers will communicate the work being done in class, but there will not be live, virtual learning opportunities and “keeping up” will be the family’s responsibility.
The PCDS COVID-19 Task Force continues to meet regularly and is actively monitoring the situation in our community. We reserve the right to move to Distance Learning, or implement other measures as necessitated by the health situation. And, as a reminder, a positive case in our on-campus community will result in a mandatory 14-day quarantine for that pod.
Thank you for your attention to this message and your commitment to the PCDS community. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. It is a great privilege to partner with you as we work through these challenging times.
October 29, 2020 -- Head of School COVID-19 Update
Dear Park City Day School Families,
Congratulations on a fantastic start to the 2020-21 school year. I am immensely proud of our entire community and the way in which we have risen to this challenge. Parents, thank you for your enduring support and please do congratulate your students on their successful navigation of our first quarter.
As you know, the COVID case count is growing across the country and in Utah. Recently, the State of Utah enacted new guidelines which we have reviewed with our COVID Task Force. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control has also issued new guidance regarding the definition of “close contact” for purposes of contact tracing potential exposure. I would like to briefly summarize these changes and their impact on our approach at PCDS. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any additional questions.
1) Change in Utah Health Guidance Levels
As a result of the increase in transmission and positive cases throughout Utah, the Governor recently issued new health guidance levels. The color-coded levels have been replaced by a county-specific designation as having a High, Moderate, or Low transmission level. Importantly, the State has uncoupled school operations from these designations. Schools may maintain on-campus operations in any of the levels of transmission.
Therefore, PCDS will not automatically move to Distance Learning based on our level of transmission. We will continue to evaluate our operations in consultation with the Summit County Health Department, and our own Task Force and Board of Trustees. We believe that our pod structure and other protocols provide a robust framework and we have reviewed this approach in the last few days with the SCHD and received their confirmation and approval.
In addition, we will not tie a decision to move to Distance Learning to a specific metric, but will continue to evaluate the situation on a daily basis looking for potential red flags in our data and that of the broader community.
Note that a 14-day move to Distance Learning at the pod level would still take place if a positive case is identified in the campus community.
2) Shortened Quarantine Guidance
You may have also noted recently that schools are now allowed to offer a shortened version of the 14-day quarantine under some specific circumstances. We have reviewed this option and determined it to be incompatible with our pod system and current protocols, and will not change our quarantine standards at this time.
3) New CDC Definition of “Close Contact”
Last week, the CDC modified its guidelines to reflect research showing one can contract coronavirus from multiple brief encounters. The CDC now defines a “close contact” as spending a cumulative 15 minutes or more within 6 feet of an infectious person over a period of 24 hours. The previous standard required the 15 minutes of contact to be consecutive. We have shared this change with our staff, particularly those passing between pods, and will adjust our on-campus interactions appropriately to limit potential exposure.
4) Covid Tracker
There is a new COVID tracker on our PCDS website with current active cases and historical information. We will update this site with any developments regarding cases in our campus community.
We will continue to provide frequent updates on the health and safety front. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out should you have any questions or concerns.
Please stay safe and enjoy this Halloween weekend! Please stay safe and “think twice for PCDS.”
October 22, 2020-- COVID-19 Update
In an effort to more effectively communicate our current COVID-19 status, we have added a tracker to our website underCOVID-19 Response
. You will also find an archive of all of our COVID-19 Updates throughout the year. Stay strong and keep up the good work.
October 8, 2020 -- COVID-19 Update
The change of seasons has everyone feeling festive and searching for ways to celebrate. Maintaining traditions and planning activities that boost our level of joy is incredibly important to our mental health at this time. However, this year it will require some extra creativity and consideration. On-campus Halloween celebrations are in the works, with plans being submitted to the Health and Safety Committee for approval before proceeding. Outside of school, we encourage you to continue to "think twice for PCDS" as you plan holiday events and activities. Here's a reminder of how to discern risk (from our Return to School Plan):
To gauge the potential risk of an activity, think about:
- Number of People (more people = higher risk),
- Social Distancing (less space = higher risk),
- Ventilation (outdoor events are less risky than indoor events),
- How likely you are to share space with people from outside your household who are not wearing masks (events with eating and drinking can be tricky this way).
We appreciate the continued care and concern our community members are demonstrating. Keep it up!
October 1, 2020 -- COVID-19 Update
As we are all well aware, Utah is currently experiencing a statewide spike of COVID-19 cases. Fortunately, Summit County has not suffered the kind of surge that Salt Lake and Utah Counties are facing, but recent headlines in the Park Record regarding local cases in our tight-knit community may be causing anxiety. This feels like an appropriate time for both reassurances as well as a few reminders of best practices.
First, the reassurances:
- We have had increased absences over the past week, which at first glance may seem concerning. However, this is evidence of the care and commitment of our community members who are meticulously following the guidelines of the Return to School Flowchart when symptoms or possible exposure scenarios arise.
- Assume that no news is good news! If a person within our on-campus school community tests positive for COVID-19, Mr. Crossland will promptly and directly inform the community in a way that conveys all the information you need to know while respecting that person's medical privacy.
Secondly, the reminders:
- Consistent and correct use of properly fitted masks is one of the most important things we can do to protect others and ourselves. Parents, please review the fit and condition of your child's masks. Some are getting worn out already and ear loops are starting to stretch. Try having your child tell you a story while they wear their mask to evaluate the fit if you aren't sure - the mask should stay over the child's nose while speaking.
- Any students or staff who have had close contact (closer than 6 feet for more than fifteen minutes) with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for fourteen days, regardless of whether they receive a negative test result themselves. If this is your situation, you will likely have been called by a county contact tracer. Please reach out to your child's homeroom teacher/advisor to get your child on the Parallel Learning Plan (PLP) for the duration of their quarantine.
- If your child is staying home because they are experiencing symptoms, please inform both the front desk and your child's homeroom teacher or advisor. You do not need to complete the daily symptom screening form for a child not attending school.
- Finally, we would like to remind you that, according to the Return to School Flowchart, if a member of our community has COVID-19 symptoms but does not get a COVID-19 test, they should remain home for a minimum of seven days (at least 3 days past resolution of any fever and 24 hours past resolution of symptoms). If you have symptoms but take a COVID-19 test and it's negative, you may return to campus once your symptoms resolve and you've been fever free for at least 24 hours. If the cost of a COVID-19 test is prohibitive for your family, assistance is available. Please reach out to Ian Crossland.
We are so grateful for our conscientious and community-minded families! We are in this together, and we appreciate you.
September 17, 2020 -- COVID-19 Update
As the weather cools, allergy season progresses, and we experience poor air quality due to wildfires, we want to clarify how and when to keep your child home from school. So far, PCDS parents and guardians have demonstrated great caution and care for our community by keeping kids home when they have any symptoms. However, we want to acknowledge that some degree of runny noses, and possibly other minor symptoms, are to be expected in the colder months. Please always consider symptoms through the lens of "is this normal for my child?" For example, if your child gets a runny nose every winter, that alone would not necessarily prevent them from coming to school.
Parents and guardians, you know your children best and you know when they are not feeling like themselves. In the case of a known COVID-19 exposure (regardless of symptoms), please continue to practice caution and remain home as directed in the Return to Campus flowchart below. If you ever have questions about symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out to Health and Safety Coordinator, Robin McGinn.
September 3, 2020 -- COVID-19 Update
We are pleased to report that our janitorial service is completing a midday sanitation of high-touch areas in each classroom. An after hours deep cleaning is taking place nightly as well.
Thank you to all PCDS families who have made filling out the morning symptom screening form a part of their daily routines! The system has been running very smoothly for the most part. A few reminders:
- If you have more than one child at PCDS, please fill the form out for each child, each day, by clicking "submit another response."
- It takes a few moments for the form results to populate on our spreadsheets, so please complete the form before entering the car line whenever possible.
Please reach out to Robin McGinn (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be removed from the mailing list if another family member is responsible for filling out the form.
August 27, 2020 -- COVID-19 Update
Through hot and sticky weather this week, our superhero students have demonstrated their respect and compassion for each other and their teachers by wearing their masks consistently. Thank you! We know masks are uncomfortable and make it harder to communicate, but many separate lines of evidence support their efficacy in slowing the spread of COVID-19, so we appreciate your diligence. Recent studies show that any cloth face covering is better than none, so thinner face coverings like neck gaiters (Buffs) or bandanas are acceptable for outdoor use, such as during Wellness class or recess. However, students should bring a more substantial mask to wear indoors that conforms to the following guidelines:
- Covers both the nose and mouth snugly, without gaps at the chin, cheeks, or nose
- Made from two or more layers of fabric OR a single layer that is thick enough that you cannot see through the fabric when you hold it up to the light
- Has ear loops, straps, or ties to hold it in place; some masks are quite loose and difficult for students to keep over their noses
Additionally, Park City Day School has a clear protocol for managing suspected or identified cases of COVID-19 as described in Section D of the Return To School Plan. We will be sure to communicate actively and appropriately with you should we need to make any COVID-related decisions.
August 17, 2020 -- Morning Check-In Procedure
At-Home Symptom Screening:
Every school day at 6:30 a.m., parents will receive an email invitation from Health and Safety Coordinator, Robin McGinn (email@example.com
), to fill out the day’s symptom screening form. This critical step should take less than 30 seconds to complete and helps protect our entire community. Take a moment to set a reminder in your phone or make a plan to squeeze this into your morning routine. Families with more than one PCDS student will need to click “submit another response” and complete the form separately for each child. Include your child’s first and last name to help the morning check-in process go smoothly. If, while completing the form, you realize your child has symptoms, please keep them home from school and call the front office to let them know your child will be absent.
Student Check-In Screening:
Student arrivals and check-in screenings will take place outside on the sidewalk from 7:45-8:15 each morning. The staff on duty will take the child’s temperature, ask them how they are feeling, and confirm the At-Home Screening Form has been submitted. Once cleared, the student will be permitted to enter the building to make their way to their homeroom at which point they will wash their hands. Homeroom teachers will be in their classrooms, ready to receive students beginning at 7:45 a.m. Preschool and Junior Kindergarten parents are welcome to enter the fenced garden space after their check-in to say their goodbyes.
As a reminder, both the lower and middle school campus buildings are closed to non-essential visitors. All visitors must ring the doorbell at the main entrance and wait to be received by school personnel.
August 10, 2020 -- Back to School
According to a new public health order
put in place over the weekend, all Utah schools, including Park City Day School, have been given the following guidelines about face masks and face shields. Using face shields alone is no longer allowed, and students must wear face masks at all times while indoors (except when eating and drinking).
The order defines “face mask” as follows:
covers the nose and mouth without openings that can be seen through
is made of synthetic or natural fabrics
secures under the chin
fits snugly against the nose and sides of the face, and
does not have an exhalation valve or vent.
We are recommending students come to school with a backup mask each day in case their first one becomes soiled. Spare masks will be available should a child need one.