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COVID-19 Protocols and Updates

 

Baldwin School COVID-19 Protocol Documents

May 6, 2021


Dear Baldwin Community,

Per the Governor’s new executive order (OE-2021-032), Baldwin School will resume in-person instruction beginning Monday, May 10, for all grades PPK-12. Synchronous instruction is still available for families who have elected to keep their children home.

In preparation for your child(ren)’s return to campus, please review our COVID protocols and FAQs. We also ask that you complete the daily health declarations and synch all wristbands in Safetrac before the end of the day to ensure that your account is functioning properly. If your wristband is unprogrammed (blinking white or not completing the synchronization process), it will need to be programmed manually. Please plan accordingly and reach out to Laura Montalvo if you have any difficulty.

Aliveschool cafeteria services will be available. If you would like to receive lunch from Aliveschool, you need to complete your orders by tomorrow. For the menu go to: PaySchoolCentral. For further information please contact alive@baldwin-school.org.

We will reimplement the drop-off and pick-up procedures used prior to Spring Break. Allow for extra time at drop-off and pick-up. Follow the directions of faculty and staff at all times. As a reminder, Elementary students will be dropped-off/picked-up exclusively at the Elementary pavilion. MUS students will be dropped-off/picked-up at the pavilion adjacent to the VPAC. Students will only be allowed on campus if they: (1) have a completed SafeTrac daily health declaration, (2) their SafeTrac wristband is clearly visible and synced, (3) they are wearing a properly fitted face mask (FDA approved, no side vents),  and (4) their temperature is within the approved range. If you have misplaced your wristband, the replacement cost is $15.00.

If you plan to pick up your child(ren) through the West Gate (OECC route), please queue your vehicle in a single and orderly line along the Baldwin perimeter fence adjacent to the OECC, and exercise patience. Do not form two lanes or block traffic. Please honor our neighbors and broader community.

We are so excited to have our students return to campus!

See you Monday,


James Nelligan
Headmaster
Dear Baldwin Community,

We are in communication with our assigned PR Health municipal epidemiologist. Bayamón continues to have a positive COVID case-level of “Red” or highest concern. While case numbers have come down over the past two weeks, more than 60 municipalities island-wide have a “Red” designation. Therefore, we are not authorized to reopen to in-person K-12 instruction in the coming week.

The Asociación de Escuelas Privadas met today as an organization. The PR Health Coordinator for COVID-19 Surveillance addressed our membership. Her remarks align with the points raised in an article in today’s edition of El Nuevo Día—that positive case numbers must decrease further still, and remain below PR Health’s acceptable threshold for 14 days before K-12 schools would be allowed to reopen.

We have submitted a second “dispensa” requesting the right to reopen, outlining our state of readiness, even as we still await a determination on the first request. We continue to make our case that it is imperative we get our kids back to school now.

I will update you again in the coming week.


James Nelligan
Head of School 

April 19, 2021


Dear Baldwin Community,

K-12 in-person programming is tentatively set to resume on Monday, April 26. The return of grades K thru twelve to campus is contingent upon the PR Department of Health’s seven-day analysis of positive COVID case rates. We will receive an update on Bayamón’s positive case rate by Thursday of this week. Bayamón, our municipality, has a current designation of “Red”—highest concern. Under the guidelines set by PR Health, schools cannot offer in-person instruction in any municipality with a “Red” level designation, despite our readiness to open. Our hope is that Bayamón’s positive case rate will decrease, and that our PR Health designation will shift over the course of the week.

As you know, Baldwin has implemented a comprehensive strategy for COVID mitigation. Our practices and protocols include the installation of protective equipment, enhanced cleaning and sanitation services, SafeTrac tracking and tracing systems, maintenance of a variety of personal protective equipment (PPE) and specialty cleaning supplies, and careful management of campus ingress and egress, transitions between classes, lunch periods, playtime, and physical education. To mitigate risk further, we preemptively shifted to virtual instruction for two weeks following Spring Break, and conducted PCR testing for faculty and staff as a condition of their return to campus. We are ready to reopen to K-12 students now.

We continue to work with our various school associations to impress upon our government the importance of returning children to in-person instruction as soon as possible. Our children are undoubtedly best served on campus, and we’re working to make this happen. We are in constant communication with our assigned epidemiologist. I will continue to update you to any changes in our status.

Looking forward to seeing you all back on campus,


James Nelligan
Headmaster

Dear Baldwin community,

We are in close communication with our municipal epidemiologist from the PR Departamento de Salud. We are also carefully monitoring SafeTrac. If you have not already submitted a daily health declaration for your child or as an employee via SafeTrac and synchronized your wristband, please do so now.

When you sync your wristband and submit the daily health declaration, a risk-level will be assigned. If the risk level is Low (Green), students/employees are safe to come to campus following all normal health and safety protocols.

Per the Departamento de Salud:

If upon submission of the health declaration and synchronization, you receive a Medium Risk (Yellow) alert,

  1. Vaccinated employees may come to work so long as they have no symptoms and follow all health and safety protocols. 
  2. Non-vaccinated employees must quarantine for 5 days and return to work with a negative PCR test.
  3. Students may come to school so long as they have no symptoms and follow all health and safety protocols.
Employees and parents must closely monitor for the onset of symptoms.


If upon submission of the health declaration you receive a High Risk (Red) alert,

  1. Vaccinated employees must quarantine for 5 days and return to work provided they have no symptoms. No PCR test is required.
  2. Non-vaccinated employees must quarantine for at least five days and then take a PCR test. They may return to work if the test is negative. If the PCR test is positive, they must quarantine for an additional ten days.
  3. Students must quarantine for a period of 14 days. Per PR Health, students may not return to school before they have completed the 14-day quarantine, even if they elect to take a PCR test.

Safetrac will be directly contacting anybody on high risk with medical orders. You are also likely to be contacted by the Department of Health.

Please be reminded that the health status of students and employees is strictly confidential, and governed by HIPPA laws.


James Nelligan
Headmaster
March 16, 2021


Dear Baldwin community,

Yesterday, we integrated six more grades—4 and 5; 8-11. Predictably, drop-off and pick-up were a little rough as families learned our new procedures. We also had an unanticipated software update from SafeTrac that caused some problems with syncing wristbands. Drop off this morning ran much smoother, and we anticipate the same this afternoon.

To support our efforts:

1. Anticipate longer wait times given our safety procedures.

2. When you drive through the gates for drop-off in the morning, your children’s morning Heath declaration(s) should be completed, their wristbands should be synced, and you should have your SafeTrac software open on your cell phone screen. We need to see both the health declaration time-stamped log and the time-stamped wristband sync page.

3. Follow all staff and guard directions.

4. If you arrive at drop-off/pick-up unprepared for any reason, SafeTrac or otherwise, we will ask you to circle back around.

5. Students may only be dropped off/picked up at their assigned divisional points.

6. We understand that if you have children in multiple divisions, some of our procedures may be inconvenient. Nonetheless, our goal is to preserve overall traffic flow. Please abide by our directions and plan accordingly.

Finally, as a reminder, we are all working to support the health and safety of your children and to prevent the spread of COVID. This reality necessitates a different set of rules and expectations. We ask that you be respectful of our staff at all times. A failure to comply can result in permanent dismissal from our campus.


James Nelligan
Headmaster

Dear Baldwin community,

I am proud to announce that we are fully certified by the Departamento de Salud to return to in-person instruction, K-12. We passed our two-hour on-site inspection yesterday.  We will reopen K-12 in stages, as outlined in earlier communications, beginning Monday, March 8. Our educators are excited to welcome your children back!

The team of inspectors noted that we stand apart and above in our preparations. Our modified VPAC lunch space was approved for daily use, as were our play fields. Our classroom AC units can be used so long as we meet a few additional stipulations, e.g. keeping at least one door open in each classroom, etc. As a reminder to all, we installed UV filters within all AC units in student spaces, and   virus-rated HEPA air cleaning systems in all learning and working spaces. We ensure continuous cross-ventilation via screened windows on both sides of our classrooms. All learning and teacher spaces are sanitized via an electrostatic process each evening after enhanced cleaning takes place. 

As we prepare to return to K-12 in-person instruction, please keep in mind the following priority items:

  1. Properly fitted and rated face masks are required at all times. Students must wear either a surgical or N95/KN95 mask. Per the “Protocolo para la Vigilancia de COVID-19 en el Sector Educativo de Puerto Rico'', fabric masks or masks with valves may not be worn, unless they are used over a surgical or N95/KN95 mask. As noted earlier, we do have a stock of masks in child and adult sizes for emergency use. The Departamento de Salud requires that masks be worn at all times other than lunch.
  2. We have received questions as to whether the SafeTrac software can be downloaded onto student phones. We will not allow SafeTrac to be downloaded to student phones for children under the age of 16. This is to prevent accidental or inappropriate entries related to morning health screening.
  3. In some cases, older siblings will drive younger siblings to campus. These cases must be pre-approved by my office. Sibling drivers still need to drop off and pick up younger siblings at their assigned points by division, and present heath declaration logs, SafeTrac wristbands, etc. No exceptions. Carpooling is not allowed. For points 2 and 3, reach out to my assistant, Laura Montalvo, for additional details.
  4. Drop off and pick up will take longer than usual. There will be a few bumps along the way as everybody adjusts to our new protocols. We made provisions for this, and we ask that you do the same. Follow all staff and guard directions at all times.
  5. We will strictly follow our protocols. We will turn away students missing their completed morning health declaration and/or wristband. No exceptions. Please be sure that you have completed SafeTrac health declarations, wristbands syncing, etc., prior to leaving home.
  6. If a temperature screening at drop-off results in a measure above the CDC guideline—100.4 degrees Fahrenheit—we will retake the temperature. If the number is still high after the second check, you will be directed to exit campus and return after 5 minutes for a final screening. If the number still measures above tolerance, we will not allow your child onto campus. It’s a good idea to also review our health protocols in our divisional handbooks.
  7. Morning health declarations, positive test notifications, self-quarantine, etc., work on an honor system. These, along with the SafeTrac wristband and software, help us mitigate the spread of COVID 19. We know from experience that these protocols and practices work. We need all families to be forthcoming in their morning declarations. If you travel as a family, you and your children are still subject to quarantine and testing requirements prior to a return to in-person instruction. We will monitor this closely, and Baldwin School reserves the right to deny access to campus to any staff or student so as to preserve public health.
  8. We are working to keep everyone as safe as possible. We ask that you arrive on campus with a healthy measure of patience and good will. Disrespectful behavior will not be tolerated.

Like you, we all feel the weight of the last calendar year. It’s been difficult for all our families. While there are many markers of hope, we must remain vigilant against COVID 19 in the near term. We’ll do our part!

Looking forward to Monday,

James

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:

OECC:
  • 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.
 
Elementary:
  • Grades 1-5 will be closed for in-service preparation for our return to in-person instruction on March 1-5.
 
MUS:
  • 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:
 
OECC:
  • Kindergarten will open for in-person instruction beginning March 8.
 
Elementary:
  • 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.
 
MUS:
  • 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
Headmaster
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
Headmaster
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
Headmaster

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
Headmaster

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
Headmaster