Got a question? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get it answered for you. The below questions were last revised on January 15, 2021. Click on the titles below to reveal questions and answers.
- What to Expect at School
- Community Health
- Before Coming to Campus
- Facilities, Cleaning, and Health Protocol Updates
- Other Questions
How do I find schedules and the most updated information?
Most updates will arrive directly via email, so be sure to keep an eye out for messages from your principal, teachers, and division; and Quaker Notes, the School’s central information source for parents, which is sent every Sunday morning. Other key resources are the COVID response page Staying Safe in 2021 (formerly “Fall 2020”), which includes information about the safety practices, information from the Medical Advisory Team (MAT), and links to the COVID testing dashboard and schedule; the Parent Portal; the Parent Calendar, which includes dates and Zoom links when available; and an archive of sent messages on QuakerZone in case you missed an email.
To read past principals’ messages that have been archived in Quaker Notes:
To go to this archive of messages, click the “messages” button in QuakerZone:
Schedules may vary by division, grade, and group (A Group/B Group). In Lower School, returning now means four days a week—Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday, with Wednesday set aside for distance learning. In Middle School, dates will vary by grade and group. In Upper School, dates will vary by grade.
When will the School resume the hybrid program in 2021?
Monday, January 25. The School will remain in distance learning during the week of January 18 (school is not in session on January 18 and 20).
What if I want to switch from distance to in-person mode, or vice versa?
Distance learning will be an option available for every student during the 2020/21 school year. For planning purposes, families have been asked to commit to in-person or distance learning for the January to March 18, 2021 period and again for the period following Spring Break until the end of the school year. While a family may opt for distance learning at any time, students must remain in distance learning until the end of the term (March 18, 2021 or June 11, 2021).
Will I know if my child's teachers will teach in person?
Principals will communicate as much as possible closer to the start of the hybrid program. Regardless of where a teacher teaches, we are confident that the content will be delivered in a highly engaging and thoughtful way. Also, we know that many students enjoy the social interaction and the ability to be with classmates during the hybrid program. As the pandemic presents many complicating factors for teachers and families alike, we encourage you to make the right decision for your family based on how your student learns best.
What about dropoff and pickup schedules?
At this point, the pickup and dropoff schedule will remain consistent with that from the fall hybrid program. Health screenings via Ruvna must be completed and submitted before coming to campus; please be sure to have your student QR code ready for quick and required scanning before entering. Because de-densifying buildings and minimizing crowding at entrances remain necessary practices, parents are not allowed on campus. The schedule remains as follows:
For Lower School, the dropoff slot is based on the student’s last name in alphabetical order; teachers have prepared for rolling arrivals between 8:15-9 a.m. Families with two campus dropoffs can pick the slot that works for them. Dismissal is by grade; circle around the block should you need to wait for a 2nd or 3rd child pickup (do not remain in line, allow others to proceed). Grade 4 students should enter the Middle School building using the 37th Street entrance. Dismissal for Grade 4 students will also be at 37th Street.
For Middle and Upper School students: Grade 5 and 6 students should enter from 37th Street. Grades 7 and 8 should enter through the garage unless they have a younger sibling in Middle School. All Upper School students should enter through the garage.
How will we know what materials from distance learning students need to bring back to school?
Individual teachers will communicate about this. Students in grades 5 through 12 should bring their School-issued devices, charger, and headphones to school each day.
What role does community transmission rates play in deciding whether we can come back to school?
There are several metrics that we evaluate carefully to determine our return, as described in the School Plan for 2020/21, which is posted online on the Staying Safe in 2021 page. As recommended by the Medical Advisory Team (MAT), the School monitors and reviews School and area positivity rates daily. Following the January School community testing, we will begin to track positivity rates by campus location and grade-level groups (PK-3; grades 4-6; grades 7-8; Upper School). If the positivity rate exceeds 2% in any of these groups or School-wide, the MAT will convene, evaluate the scenarios of exposure risk, and recommend next steps. The MAT will also convene if the area DC or Montgomery County rates exceed 10%.
To see the latest metrics, log onto the Testing Dashboard and Information page, which is linked from the Staying Safe in 2021 page.
What are the School's criteria for remaining in hybrid or distance mode?
The metrics that determine the School’s learning mode are outlined on pages 7-8 on the School Plan for 2020/21, which is posted online on the Staying Safe in 2021 page.
How are you managing recess?
Each Lower School class has an assigned area, and faculty are being vigilant to ensure hand-washing before and after recess, that masks stay on, that students stay in cohorts and in their assigned areas, and a wipe-down of equipment after use. Students in grades 4 through 8 will have staggered recess/breaks and use the various athletic fields and outdoor spaces on the DC campus.
Are you using outdoor space?
We are using as many outdoor spaces as possible for classes, lunch, and recess. Tents and awnings have been set up and can be reserved for use by teachers, in addition to spaces on the fields.
Will you maintain cohorts?
Students in grades PK-5 will remain with their half-homeroom cohorts. Students in grade 6 will stay with their half-homeroom cohorts with the exception of math, language, and arts. In grades 7-12, students will move through their schedules to attend different classes. Classrooms have been de-densified to maintain six feet of distancing.
How will the availability of vaccines change the School’s approach to in-person learning?
We strongly encourage all members of the community to get vaccinated when possible because we hope it will help to keep the positivity rate low. Vaccines are slated to be available in late January to teachers in both DC and Montgomery County. The timeline for the availability of the vaccine for students is yet to be determined.
Are you testing every student and employee? How often and why?
Yes. The School is conducting mandatory surveillance testing for all students and employees as an additional step to monitor the infection rates within our community. To address concerns about the post-holiday rise in positivity rates, during the January to mid-February period, the School will conduct on-campus COVID-19 testing on a weekly basis during the school day. Testing frequency may change after mid-February to bi-monthly or monthly. Both the testing schedule and the overall metrics are available online at the Staying Safe in 2021 page; click and log onto Testing Dashboard and Information. COVID-19 testing is not a diagnostic tool, but rather a way to keep an eye on the overall health of the community.
What is the community COVID-19 positivity data based on?
All students and employees coming to campus are required to get tested following the established testing schedule, either with one of the School’s partners or independently. The School will monitor the 14-day average and will receive guidance from our Medical Advisory Team should the 2% threshold be reached either School-wide or in any of the grade-level groups. We will continue to seek guidance from the MAT on COVID-19 testing protocols and may make adjustments to our approach when advised to do so.
Do I need to report COVID-19 test results, even if I take the test at the School?Yes. Beginning in January, all students and employees will need to submit test results through Magnus Health via the Parent Portal, even if the test was administered at the School. Once logged in the Parent Portal, click the green button labeled “Health Forms,” which will take you to Magnus Health. Select your student’s name (go to “Front Desk” if you don’t see your student’s name automatically) and click the Student Health Tracker. At the bottom, you will see “COVID-19 Test Results” where you’ll be able to upload the test result.
Failure to submit a recent test result will affect the Ruvna daily health screening, a requirement to come on campus.
How willI I know when a community member has tested positive?
When reported, generalized results are posted on the Testing Dashboard and Information. The Director of Health Services also communicates general information when positive cases are reported.
If a student has been exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID, what do we do?
See the PDF “How to Respond to Possible COVID Cases” that is posted on the Staying Safe in 2021 page for guidance. This document outlines possible scenarios and some responses for them. It’s always a good idea to contact email@example.com if you are not sure what to do.
What is the cost of COVID-19 testing?
There is no charge at the time of School-sponsored testing. Health insurance information will be requested during the pre-registration process to seek insurance coverage and reimbursement for the cost of the test. Costs not covered by insurance will be paid for by the School, but only when tested by School-sponsored (currently Five Medicine and Capital Diagnostics) and vendors. We ask that you adhere to the deadlines in order to be prepared for testing and to receive results on time. All test results must be submitted through Magnus Health via the Parent Portal.
What happens at testing?
Beginning with the January hybrid program, we will offer COVID-19 testing to students on campus during the school day. Students will be supervised by the Health Services Team and School staff. Families who prefer to accompany their child for PCR COVID-19 testing may opt to test with their own provider. All test results must be submitted through Magnus Health via the Parent Portal.
When do I receive test results?
Test results are typically available within one to three days. The vendor will share results directly with families. The vendor will ask that community members sign consent forms for permission to disclose test results to the Health Services staff the first time; they will not require new consent forms upon subsequent testing. We ask everyone to submit test results using Magnus Health via the Parent Portal. Health Services will keep this information confidential and store results in Magnus Health.
What does a positive test result mean?
Test results will be shared with you via email. Positive test results for COVID-19 indicate that the virus was detected and the individual is infected with the virus and presumed to be contagious. The infected individual is expected to isolate immediately and contact their healthcare provider for further guidance. Positive results, as required by law, will be shared with the Health Department; they will likely contact an individual with positive results to begin the contact tracing process. Please cooperate with the health officials.
Do I need to register if my child is participating in person?
All families should have already made their selection of learning mode (i.e. in-person or 100% distance) on QuakerZone in early January. Contact your principal if you have questions.
If we travel outside the country or to a state on the DC quarantine list and then need to stay home for the travel quarantine, how do we report this? Do we need official permission to return to campus for in-person learning?
Report to firstname.lastname@example.org and to your division's attendance email. Individuals who are asymptomatic and receive a negative test result on day five of their quarantine will be allowed to return to campus on day eight. All COVID test results must be uploaded through Magnus Health via the Parent Portal or the Faculty/Staff portal for employees.You should check with Health Services before your child plans to return after the seven-day self-quarantine.
What steps do I need to take before an in-person day?
Details and steps are outlined in the School Plan for 2020/21 and in messages from your principal. Make sure your student takes their COVID test, brings extra masks, does their daily health screening using Ruvna, and brings a reusable water bottle.
Are parents allowed on campus?
No. Only students and faculty/staff working with students or on campus operations are allowed on campus. Please stay in your car when you drop off and pick up your student.
How can we acquire a bucket hat that is being used at the Lower School?
The Fox Den has a limited supply. Please contact email@example.com.
To what extent has Sidwell Friends updated the facilities, equipment, and protocols?
The School has made extensive updates to ensure the safety of our community. From adding Needlepoint Bipolar Ionization to our HVAC systems, adding air filters with HEPA and UV filtration to each classroom, acquiring thousands of yards of plexiglass for desks and teachers’ stations, repositioning 1,200 desks to de-densify classrooms, designating single-lane and one-way traffic patterns in all hallways, posting signage, to redoing how lunch is served, the list that can be found here and in the School Plan for 2020/21.
How will you serve lunch?
Lunch will be served in individually wrapped containers, and students will eat outdoors, weather permitting, or at their desks behind plexiglass dividers. The cafeteria is closed. To indicate allergies, the student health form is still used to manage lunches for students with food allergies, so please make sure those are up to date. Please work with your principal for any concerns and questions.
How can we share our feedback about our student's academic experience?
Please continue to share via our surveys and talk to your principal and your child’s advisors and teachers. Your input is vital.
Can Parents Association volunteers organize in-person events for students, families, or adults?
For the 2020/21 school year, PA events should use a virtual format. Some service opportunities that are outdoors and done on an individual basis, such as environmental cleanup, are permitted.