December 29, 2021
The purpose of this letter is to provide a reminder of the School's procedures for re-opening the School after this winter vacation. Given the increase of viral transmission caused by the Omicron variant, these procedures are timely and important. Recognizing how difficult it is to find a PCR test right now, please work to schedule a time for your son to be tested early next week.
Students MUST have a negative PCR test taken within 48-72 hours of their return to campus on January 5, 2022. After they have received their PCR test, students should observe a home quarantine before returning to campus. Upon their return, students will again be tested on January 8 and January 11. Per the School's COVID protocols, any student who tests positive must quarantine at home or at the home of a family member or guardian. The School does not have the capacity to offer extended quarantine health care for COVID positive students.
Students returning to campus on January 5 must check in at the Smith Field House between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM with a hard copy of their negative PCR test results. Please note that antigen tests are not acceptable.
Upon students' return to campus, there will be other procedures in place to maximize health and safety so as to leverage the priority of in-person learning. As has been the case, students will be required to wear face masks while inside any building. For the time being, wearing masks inside dormitories while socializing will also be required. We will also modify our schedule to include two lunch blocks so that we can reduce the number of students eating at one time. As noted previously, the first weekend after our return to school will be a closed campus and students will not be able to leave campus.
It is important to note that, while there have been breakthrough infections of those who have been fully vaccinated, the symptoms of the viral infection in the fully vaccinated are less severe. Yet, the Omicron variant can be spread among the vaccinated. So, while the transmission rates are surging in the northeast, increased protective measures are prudent for the time being. Moreover, they are also illustrative of how schools can adapt to ensure that in-person learning is prioritized. Recent studies further suggest that the booster shot increases the efficacy of the vaccine against the Omicron variant. The School strongly recommends that anyone eligible for the booster shot receives it before returning to campus.
I will communicate to the students directly that the health and safety of the entire community, including those with pre-existing conditions who are more susceptible to serious illness from the virus and children who are unable to be vaccinated, is the responsibility of each and every member of this community. Students must follow the appropriate protocols, including wearing masks when required to do so. I will communicate to them that if they are unable to abide by the health and safety protocols, then they will not be able to remain on campus. I ask your support in underscoring the absolute importance of your sons' responsibilities in protecting the common good and health of the larger school community.
Finally, I want to emphasize that Trinity-Pawling is fully committed to your sons' education and his overall learning experience. As we approach the two-year mark of dealing with this pandemic, we have learned a great deal of how to combat this virus. At the same time, we have also learned how to adapt, when necessary, so that we can prioritize in-person learning and leverage the distinctive aspects of the Trinity-Pawling experience. Toward this end, our priority is that your son will continue to have a positive and productive journey at Trinity-Pawling.