Preschool program at The Baldwin School of Puerto Rico
About Us » COVID-19 Protocols and Updates

COVID-19 Protocols and Updates

February 11, 2021

Dear Baldwin community,

In consultation with the school’s counsel, we have been working over the past week to interpret the statements of various PR governmental agencies and their orders with regards to reopening the campus to in-person instruction. We are following the PR Department of Health’s guidelines for school reopening, including enrollment in their Bioportal and the submission of all required documents and data. Pending final certification, Baldwin School plans to reopen its campus to full-day, in-person instruction beginning March 8, 2021.

We are now making final preparations for reopening. The various school offices will be contacting you to confirm whether your child(ren) will return to campus for in-person instruction. You may elect to have your children remain in our virtual programming in lieu of a return to campus; however, students electing virtual programming will be required to finish the semester on-line. Given our extraordinary circumstances, Baldwin School reserves the right to modify cohorts and reassign faculty as necessary to support program delivery and best serve both in-person and on-line learners.

We will enroll all returning (in-person instruction) students in our SafeTrac tracking and tracing system. In the next weeks, parents will receive an email from Safetrac Biz with links to download the application to their phones and a pin number via SMS text to complete the registration. School offices will arrange the distribution of SafeTrac wristbands to all returning students. All students, like all faculty, staff, and services providers, are required to wear these bands to have access to campus. Directions for how to enroll in SafeTrac, how to complete daily health declarations, and how to sync SafeTrac wristbands, will be sent via Veracross. A link to a video detailing our modified drop-off and pick-up procedures will also be sent via Veracross.

In compliance with recommendations from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School for Public Health and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the following protocols and practices were adopted:

  1. SafeTrac Geofenced Tracking and Tracing for all students, staff, faculty, administrators, and contracted services personnel.
  2. Daily personal health declarations via SafeTrac for all students, staff, faculty, administrators, and contracted services personnel.
  3.  Acrylic shielding for all desks in all classroom and office spaces.
  4. UV sterilizers in all classroom AC units.
  5. Honeywell HEPA air filter systems in all classroom and office spaces.
  6. Designated ingress and egress queues for all public spaces.
  7. Public health signage and visual physical distancing indicators campus-wide.
  8. The installation of additional portable classroom spaces for the purposes of physical distancing (6ft, all students, all classrooms).
  9. Modified ingress, egress, lunch, and play protocols and practices to address public health concerns.
  10. A parent video indicating all COVID-related protocols and practices; a formal 21-page COVID protocol with references to guiding documents.
  11. Additional cleaning staff and enhanced cleaning procedures, including electrostatic sanitizing systems (VitalOxide) for in-day and end-of-day antiviral sanitization.
  12. Two school nurses.
  13. A contracted private ambulance service.
  14. Stocks of adult and child-sized medical-grade PPE procured from ZEE Medical and similar hospital suppliers.
  15.  Additional handwashing stations located around campus.
  16. Hand sanitizer dispensers in all classroom spaces.
We encourage all families to review our comprehensive Campus Health and Safety Reopening Protocols, available at the COVID-19 Protocols and Updates Section on our website.

In preparation for our return to in-person instruction, the week of March 1 will be modified as follows in order to provide teacher vaccination (2nd dose), training, and practice:

  • PPK and PK sections will follow their normal schedule March 2-5.
  • Kindergarten will have regular virtual programming on March 2 and 3. Kindergarten will be closed for in-service preparation for our return to in-person instruction on March 4 and 5.
  • Grades 1-5 will be closed for in-service preparation for our return to in-person instruction on March 1-5.
  • Grades 6-12 will be closed March 2-5 and March 8-9 for in-service preparation for our return to in-person instruction. Teachers will assign synchronous work as appropriately fitting to the particular need of each class.
As noted in an earlier letter, K-12 students will return to campus in a staggered format so as to safely reintroduce students to campus and our new safety protocols:
  • Kindergarten will open for in-person instruction beginning March 8.
  • Grades 1-3 will open for in-person instruction beginning the week of March 8.
  • Grades 4 and 5 will remain virtual the week of March 8, and return to in-person instruction beginning March 15.
  • Grades 6, 7, and 12 will return to in-person instruction beginning March 10.
  • Grades 8-11 will remain virtual March 10 -12 and return to in-person instruction beginning March 15.
After our staggered start, all OECC and Elementary students (PPK-5) will attend full-day, full week programming. Provisions have been made to ensure physical distancing in and out of the classroom, including the addition of portable classrooms.

Due to the unique schedules of all MUS students (6-12) and physical distancing considerations, a hybrid schedule (A/B; in-person and synchronous programming) will be implemented for the remainder of the year. Further information will be forthcoming from our divisional offices stipulating program formats and other important information early next week.

See you on campus soon!

James Nelligan
Dear Baldwin community,

I am writing to update you on two important subjects:

1.  Following the protocols and procedures established by the PR Department of Health and the National Guard, we have been officially assigned two dates for faculty and staff COVID-19 vaccinations—Friday, February 5, and Monday, February 8. Vaccinations will include all adults that work on campus, including third-party employees. A second shot will follow in three weeks. Vaccinations will affect school operations. OECC and Elementary grades 1 and 2 will not offer classes on February 5 to allow for off-site inoculations. Elementary grades 3-5 and MUS will not offer classes on February 8 for the same reason. Please plan accordingly.

2.  We are hosting three finalist candidates on campus this and next week. All stakeholder groups are represented in an intensive two-day interview process. On-campus interviews follow numerous pre-visit interviews. Our process is thorough and comprehensive. We want to thank all of you who are participating in this process. 

I will provide more information on both of these items as it becomes available.

Looking forward to seeing you soon,

James Nelligan
Dear Baldwin community,

We are aware that a small number of local independent schools recently vaccinated their staff for COVID-19.

In December, we filed paperwork through our private school association liaison for this purpose. Since late December, we have been working with our flu immunization provider as well. While they are authorized to distribute the vaccine as a private contractor, they do not yet have a supply and estimate two weeks until they do. We are also in near-daily contact with our Departamento de Educación COVID vaccine coordinator, who is arranging teacher vaccinations for the Bayamón region. We expect to be notified of our assigned vaccination date early in the coming week.

We are making every effort to vaccinate our staff in a timely, legal, and ethical way, abiding by the published protocol overseen by the National Guard. We will communicate when we have more information. Until then, we are diligently preparing for the reopening of our campus.

Joaquin Bacardi
Chairman, Board of Directors

James Nelligan

Dear Baldwin community,

Welcome back! I hope you all had a restful and joyful holiday break. While we would much prefer your children on campus, we are nonetheless happy to reconnect virtually with all our students.

A few updates:

  • We are now in phase three of our SafeTrac roll out. All faculty and staff campus-wide are registered in the system. They have begun daily health reporting and are wearing their wristbands to support our COVID tracking and tracing protocols. Phase four enrollment and wristband distribution for students will occur once the government gives us the green light to reopen.
  • We are now working to secure vaccines for all our faculty and staff as soon as they become available for "Phase 1B" populations. This should occur over the next few weeks.
  • Finalist interviews for the new head of school will begin soon. We have a strong candidate pool currently interviewing with Board members. We have selected representatives for all stakeholder groups: members of NJHS, NHS and student government, OECC and Elementary grade-level teacher leaders, MUS subject-area teacher leaders, parents from all divisions, and administrators and board members. We are working to ensure that diverse community perspectives are represented throughout the interview process. These representatives will receive an invitation from my assistant, Laura Montalvo in the next week.
  • Re-enrollment will begin in a little over a week. Please be on the lookout for email updates.
The campus remains in a state of readiness for a phased reopening. This will begin as soon as the PR government authorizes a return to in-person instruction for K-12 schools. Until then, we will continue to make our case for reopening and provide quality online instruction. Please stay safe and healthy.

¡Saludos y Próspero Año Nuevo!

James Nelligan

Dear Baldwin community,

I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving break!

As you are likely aware, COVID cases are spiking all over the world, and especially in North America and Europe. Given that we are now in the holiday corridor when people travel extensively, cases are expected to spike even higher in the coming weeks. While vaccine development certainly provides hope, the approval and distribution of lead vaccines are still months away. We will be in a public health posture through at least the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. Therefore, the school will take the following proactive steps to mitigate the spread of disease in our community:

  1. No matter when PR schools are authorized to reopen grades K-12 to in-person instruction, be it January as anticipated or later, Baldwin School will provide virtual programming only January 11-22 and April 5-16, the two-week period following Winter Break and Spring Break, respectively. This action addresses concerns about travel and COVID exposure for a community of roughly 3000 people.
  2. We will strictly enforce our travel policy, which complies with the most recent CDC recommendations for a minimum quarantine period of seven days upon return to Puerto Rico, and getting tested between days 3-5. To return to campus, students and staff will need to submit a negative PCR test result. If a test cannot be secured for any reason, students and staff must quarantine for 14 days from their date of return to PR, and obtain a physician’s release to return to campus.
  3. We will provide on-site COVID testing for all faculty and staff following major breaks.
  4. We have completed Phase 1 beta testing (control group) of our SafeTrac tracking and tracing platform. Phase 2 implementation—software and wristband distribution—will begin this week for all OECC faculty and staff, campus faculty and staff that regularly work with OECC, and PPK and PK students. Phase 3 implementation for all remainder faculty and staff will follow. Phase 4 implementation for all students, K-12, will occur just prior to their return to in-person instruction in the Spring semester. 

Public Health is our shared responsibility. We encourage all of our community to remain steadfast in their adherence to public health guidelines—wear a mask, wash your hands, physically distance, stay home if you are ill, and notify the school if/when you or your children are directly exposed to COVID. In this way, we will keep everyone as safe as possible. When we return to in-person instruction campus-wide, your vigilance will help keep our campus safe, and open.

See you as soon as I can,

James Nelligan