January 14, 2022
Dear Trinity-Pawling Community,
Trinity-Pawling has always been deliberate in nurturing the health of the community, whether it be in the dormitory, in the chapel, in the dining hall, in athletics, or in the classroom. It is this commitment that has compelled our response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the highly contagious Omicron variant. Much of the information outlined below is not new and has been in place since the students' return to campus last week. The additional clarification it offers relates to how Trinity-Pawling's response is to be distinguished from the recent and more general COVID guidelines coming from the CDC and state health departments.
As public health conditions evolve in New York State and across the globe, Trinity-Pawling remains committed to protecting the health of students, faculty, and staff. The School continues to work to interpret and apply guidance from local, state, and national authorities, with the primary goal of protecting our campus and its surrounding community. The CDC and various state health departments have prioritized keeping students in schools and have, as a result, lowered some of the quarantine or isolation periods. While these evolving guidelines reflect the School's same commitment to prioritize in-person learning, they are more generalized and presuppose that students are living at home and have access to home health resources should they become sick with COVID. The difference is that, in a communal residential setting such as Trinity-Pawling, the increased potential for spread of the virus greatly challenges our medical resources and capacity to respond to the specific health threat of COVID on campus, while we must simultaneously be responsive to non-COVID related illnesses and injuries. Our medical resources were never equipped to treat a pandemic on campus, and I would venture to say that no school has such resources.
Due to the highly contagious and rapid spread of the Omicron variant, Trinity-Pawling is currently experiencing a heightened risk of infection on campus and/or in the larger community that could challenge our capacity to respond to further spread of illness on campus. Therefore, we have implemented enhanced protocols and have adapted campus activities to protect that capacity as much as possible. Most of this information was communicated previously, but is reiterated here for your convenience.
- Students who test positive for COVID will be required to isolate off-campus for up to 10 days, with day zero being the date they test positive.
- Students who have been in sustained close contact with a COVID-positive student will be required to quarantine off-campus for 5 days.
- Masks are worn indoors in all school buildings except when alone in a private space or in a dorm room with a roommate. Masks are required outdoors during large gatherings.
- Community-wide testing protocols are currently in place.
- Academic classes will proceed in person.
- Most communal meetings, such as chapel, are currently being conducted remotely.
- Informal student gatherings in residential spaces are currently not allowed. Students may not visit other dormitories at this time.
- Closed campus will remain in effect until further notice. Students may not go to the Village of Pawling at this time.
- Athletic competitions and recreational sports may be postponed or limited if conditions of competing schools warrant such measures.
- Smith Field House may have limited hours, and masks are required while in the building.
- Visitors are limited and not allowed in campus buildings, except by permission.
- The dining hall is open for two lunch periods to reduce capacity. Takeout meals are available.
Due to the constant up-and-down cycle of the virus, it is difficult to make predictions on how long these protocols will stay in place. We are doing our best to ensure the health and safety of this community and therefore, our current protocols will remain fluid so that we may adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the virus while working to ensure in-person instruction. The School is regularly monitoring the infection rates on campus and in the surrounding areas. It is the School's goal to begin to relax some of these measures in ways that are commensurate with improving conditions on campus and in the surrounding areas.
Because of the communal nature that distinguishes a boarding school education, Trinity-Pawling will continue to focus on building and protecting the common good of our community. It is the School's objective to optimize our teaching and learning experience.