December: Return to Campus Following the Holiday Break

Dear Trinity Families,
I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.
The intent of this note is to prepare our community for our return on January 3 and in light of the Omicron variant.  There’s a lot of information here and we’re using the FAQ format which hopefully will be easier for everyone.  I ask that you read this communication carefully and more than once.
To note, we are fully aware of the range of ways for students to return from the Test to Stay (NPR article) to the CDC’s 5 day quarantine/isolation guidance.  It is conceivable, in the future, Trinity would further consider the Test to Stay approach, however at this time the lack of supply of tests along with managing such a process make executing the approach particularly difficult.
With this said about Test to Stay, at Trinity, we’ve been consistent with CDC’s isolation/quarantine guidelines in particular to close contact scenarios, along with the SMCOE and CDPH.  We are also taking additional steps to mitigate spread upon our return on January 3.  It’s undeniable that the Omicron variant is highly transmissible and we will have positive cases in our community.  We will iterate and keep the health and safety of our community as the priority in our planning.  Our planning, as always, will evolve over time.
Here is the FAQ:
Will both campuses be open for in-person learning on Monday, January 3?
  • Yes, both campuses will be open for in-person learning although there are students who will be in quarantine due to holiday travel.
Are students being tested before returning to campus on January 3 or after quarantine?
  • Yes, Trinity provided at home rapid tests to all families on 12/16 and 12/17.  We asked all families to take the rapid tests 24 hours before returning to school and students who tested negative may return to school.
Does my family need to report the negative test results to school?
  • We ask that families self-report any positive test result and we are not requiring an upload of a negative test result.
For reasons of travel quarantine or other, we won’t be at school on January 3. Is there somewhere we indicate this?
What precautions are being taken on the Lower Campus to prevent the potential spread of the virus?
  • Lower Campus will return to the practice of Bubble Cohorts, meaning the Pine, Laurel and Tierra classrooms will not mix with other classes – to minimize potential spread between classrooms.
  • One impact of the Bubble Cohorts will be Extended Care will run from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day instead of the usual 7:30 to 6:00, due to the way students can potentially mix and staffing contraints.
  • We will evaluate the Bubble Cohort model on January 14 as it relates to Extended Care programming and social interaction among students.
  • A re-emphasis on proper mask wearing although it is understood this is challenging for 2 and 3 year olds.
Will Lower Campus students be tested weekly?
  • We looked closely at Saliva Test options but they did not seem functional for younger students as in the hour before the test students could not drink water, brush teeth, eat anything and rejected samples are common for food residue, mucus or too much/too little saliva.
  • We are looking for a consistent supply of rapid home tests (they’re in short supply currently) we will be able to provide families to use on a weekly basis.
What precautions are being taken on the Upper Campus to prevent the potential spread of the virus?
  • Testing will increase to 2x weekly, on Tuesday and Friday.  The increased testing will begin next week on Tuesday.  Testing will be for all Upper Campus students and faculty and staff on both campuses.
  • During snack and lunch times, students will be socially distanced while masks are removed.

  • A re-emphasis on proper mask wearing
  • Increased use of outdoor space and Great Hall.
If my child tests positive for Covid, what is the quarantine period?
  • Students who test positive will isolate for 5 days if asymptomatic.  If the student develops symptoms after testing positive, the 5 day isolation must start over.  Isolation begins from the date of the positive test or the date of symptom onset.  This reflects the preliminary 12/27 CDC guidelines.
  • Yes, students who test positive for Covid will need to present a negative test prior to return to school.  This diverges from CDC recommendations, which do not require a test to break isolation, but is consistent with our approach of taking a more conservative approach when the science supports it.  This test should be performed at the end of their isolation period, and should be a rapid antigen test.  (Rapid antigen tests are good at ruling out infectiousness in convalescing covid patients; PCR tests, by contrast, can remain positive for weeks-months after a patient, no-longer-infectious, has recovered from Covid-19).
If there is a positive case in my child’s class, will my child and the class need to quarantine?
  • Yes, if there is a positive case in your child’s class, your child and the class would be considered close contacts and would be quarantined for 5 days.  Quarantine would begin from the day the positive test is reported unless contact tracing is clear as to when the exposure took place.  
If my child is in quarantine due to a close contact, will he/she need to present a negative test to return to school?
  • Yes, students who are close contacts will need to present a negative test to return to school.  The test should be taken 3 to 5 days following the first day of quarantine or initial exposure assuming the exposure can be determined.  A rapid antigen test is acceptable.
If my child is an indirect contact (for example, a classmate has a family member who tested positive and another classmate is a close contact), would my child need to be quarantined?
  • No, if your child is an indirect contact, there would not be a quarantine period.  
If there is a positive case on either campus, and my child is an indirect contact, will the Lower or Upper Campus close for all the students?
  • No, the quarantine would only be for close contacts and not the entire campus.  There is the possibility, following contact tracing, the quarantine would extend beyond the impacted classroom, but that is not the expectation.
My child is fully vaccinated.  Does she/he still need to quarantine due to a school or home close contact?
  • Yes.   Even against Omicron, 2-dose vaccines durably reduce by 75% the risk of severe illness and hospitalization in adults (for whom the baseline risk of severe illness is much higher).  However, the effectiveness of these same 2 dose regimens against mild Omicron infection appears substantially reduced (and to be improved with a booster).  It is noted that this reduced effectiveness was observed in adult populations vaccinated many months ago, and not with pediatric vaccines, or for vaccines administered more recently (e.g., within the 2-3 month window when most of our students have been vaccinated).  However, because we still have students who are not yet fully vaccinated, we have to assume that breakthrough infections will occur in our recently vaccinated students, and can be transmitted as severe disease to unvaccinated or immunocompromised classmates. 
Our child has had both shots of the Covid vaccine.  Is our child considered fully vaccinated?
  • A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or ≥2 weeks after receipt of the single dose of the Janssen vaccine.1.
Will the school mandate vaccines for all eligible students?
  • We strongly encourage, based on the data, that all eligible students receive their vaccination. There is no single thing that Trinity parents can do protect their children that is more important than getting them vaccinated (and getting themselves boosted).
  • Currently, the vaccine for ages 5 to 11 has been granted Emergency Use Authorization (EAU).  When the vaccine receives full approval from the FDA, not just the EAU, Trinity will require the vaccination as it does with other required vaccinations.
  • If you have questions about Covid vaccines, please let us know and we will be happy to connect you with our medical consultants.
Our family is risk averse and we’d like to keep our child(ren) at home in the near future, will there be some remote version of their class they can access?
  • We understand some families may be risk averse or have vulnerable family members at home.  We also understand, from experience, we cannot effectively replicate the in-person experience virtually and through a screen.  
  • On both campuses, teachers will provide asynchronous activities for students, with daily Zoom check-ins, as a temporary bridge during this period of higher potential Covid transmission.
We traveled during the holidays.  Can you remind us of the quarantine period from Holiday travel?
  • Unvaccinated students who traveled by public transportation (plane, train, bus) a 7 or 10 day quarantine period from the day travel is completed.  The quarantine period is 7 days if the student completes a Covid test 3 to 5 days following travel (which is required to return regardless).  
  • Fully vaccinated students do not have to quarantine following travel.
Who do I contact if I have questions about the academic program and my child?
Who do I contact if I have questions about the Covid-19 Protocols?
Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for your close attention note.  It’s not lost on me how much information you’re trying to absorb and internalize along with the fatigue this far into the pandemic.  Please know how much I appreciate your support and insight as we partner to prioritize the health and safety in our community.
Be safe, be well and I hope to see you soon,