Sandy Spring Friends School

 

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COVID-19 Updates and Info

This web page serves as a resource for navigating  the school year and SSFS's response  to COVID-19. SSFS is committed to providing an outstanding and novel educational experience, while keeping our community connected and supported in various ways.  

  • Last updated: April 21, 2022

Covid-19 Vaccination Requirements for 2022-2023

For the 2022-2023 school year, SSFS will continue to require all employees and students to obtain a COVID vaccination and submit proof of vaccination to our Health Office (though Magnus Health) when vaccination becomes available for each age group and when deemed appropriate by the SSFS Covid Response Team.  

Currently, SSFS requires all faculty and staff, as well as all students ages five and older, to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine and submit their records to the SSFS Health Center. While vaccinations are currently unavailable to students under five years of age, SSFS anticipates that our PK3 and PK4 students will be required to be vaccinated at some point during the 2022-2023 school year.

Those seeking a medical exemption should provide the Health Office with a letter, signed by a medical practitioner, that states the reason for the medical exemption, and the Health Center will determine approval. As medical advances are made and guidance is updated, SSFS may require additional measures of all students and employees to ensure broad immunity, including Covid-19 booster shots.
 

The Home and School Partnership: A Shared Responsibility

While the School is taking extraordinary measures to reduce the risk of virus transmission, there is no ability for the School to provide a completely risk-free environment for students, employees, and other community members. Studies indicate that the best protection for the community is provided by consistent practice of individual hygiene and social distancing measures by every member of the community.

As school takes place on campus, protecting the SSFS community from the COVID-19 virus is best accomplished through a combination of individual and institutional practices that provide layers of protection. No one step by itself is sufficient, and the best protection is provided through actions taken by the School, its employees, and each student’s family, forming a partnership, or social contract, that expands protection beyond the actions of one individual or institution. Many of the specifics of this partnership are summarized in the table below and described in detail in the rest of this document.

 

Guiding Principles and Decision Making

Important Updates


School Policies

SSFS is committing to implementing all possible measures in order to greatly reduce the possibility of viral transmission. The key practices will be:

 
Assemblies

For large indoor assemblies, we will require students to be masked. For all-school assemblies, SSFS will host virtual assemblies for grades PK-11. Seniors will be allowed to sit in the Performing Arts Center while wearing masks. All group gatherings will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Athletics

SSFS, under the guidance of the PVAC and the Covid Response Team, determine policy for athletic practices and competition with regards to Covid safety measures. 

Read More about Athletics
Buses

SSFS buses will run at full capacity during the 2021-2022 school year (less than 3' distancing between riders). After April 7, 2022, mask-wearing on buses will be optional. 

Club/Travel Sports Teams

Club/travel sports teams have been shown to be a particular risk for students bringing the virus back into the school community. SSFS asks that all families/students consider their participation in contact sports and on traveling teams until pandemic conditions greatly improve. 

Dining

Social distancing is encouraged during meal times, including lunch and snack. When the weather permits, dining for lunch will take place outdoors in the quad on picnic tables for Middle and Upper School. During the winter and in inclement weather, SSFS utilizes the Westview dining hall as well as the Clifton building and Westview classrooms. 

Distancing & Cohorting

SSFS encourages students to maintain social distancing of 3' or more in a classroom setting.

Recognizing that maintaining social distance can be difficult for our youngest learners, our Lower School grades have been cohorted to reduce the circles of contact.

Events

SSFS events will be significantly modified for the 2021-2022 school year. Virtual or outdoor events with sufficient social distancing will be prioritized. All individuals attending an in-person event must provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to the event. Test results and vaccination records should be sent to covid.screening@ssfs.org.

Read More about Events
Field Trips: Day and Overnight Trips

During the 2021-2022 school year, there will be reduced school-sponsored local day trips. Trips will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

Currently, overnight trips are not permitted. 

Masking

After spring break, SSFS will be implementing an optional mask-wearing policy following a tiered approach for outdoor and then indoor masking. See email for details. 

Read More about Masking
On-Campus Testing

Starting in September  2021 the School instituted systematic weekly COVID testing on campus.  This testing is required of all employees and students who will be on campus at any time. Testing will take place in the Lower School classrooms for Lower School students and staff, and in the Athletic Center Multipurpose Room for all others. 

Read More about On-Campus Testing
Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines and Protocols

The SSFS Health Center, in partnership with the Covid Response Team, has established guidelines for close contacts, quarantine, and isolation. 

The school is closely following follow closely the isolation and quarantine guidelines expressed by the Maryland Department of Health and Human Services in February 2022.

Read More about Quarantine and Isolation Guidelines and Protocols
Screening

Vaccinated PK-12 grade families should continue to regularly assess the health and wellness of their child and to keep them home if they are not feeling well and to email the Health Center if their child is exhibiting any COVID symptoms.

Travel

SSFS will not institute travel restrictions beyond those recommended by the CDC and Maryland Department of Health. However, we ask that you continue to consider your school community, our home and school partnership, and the shared responsibility of keeping everyone safe as you make your decisions about activities, gatherings, and travel.

Vaccination (2021-2022 SY)

SSFS requires all eligible faculty and staff and all eligible students in the Lower, Middle, and Upper School to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine and submit their records to the Health Center vis the Magnus Health.

Read More about Vaccination (2021-2022 SY)
Visitors (Non-Event)

Parents and other visitors are allowed on campus with advanced appointments. Visitors must either provide proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to their arrival. Test results and vaccination records should be submitted to covid.screening@ssfs.org.

Read More about Visitors (Non-Event)

Additional Safety Measures

For specific questions about your child's classes or special needs, your child’s teacher(s), advisor, or division head are your first and best resources. See the faculty-staff directory page here. Other resources include:

PRIMARY POINTS OF CONTACT

Lisa Dyer, School Nurse
 lisa.dyer@ssfs.org
301-774-7455 x120

Mónica Ruiz, Assistant Head of School
monica.ruiz@ssfs.org
301-774-7455 ext. 114

COUNSELORS

Joel Gunzburg, LS Counselor
joel.gunzburg@ssfs.org
301-774-7455  ext. 118

Erin Rose, MS Counselor
erin.rose@ssfs.org
301-774-7455  ext. 175

Beatrice Adewole, US Counselor
beatrice.adewole@ssfs.org
301-774-7455 ext. 138

Elizabeth Billett, US Counselor
elizabeth.billet@ssfs.org
301-774-7455 ext. 179

DORM STAFF

Kwame Darko, Dean of Boarding Life
kwame.darko@ssfs.org
301-774-7455  ext. 362

John Fahey, Assistant Director of Boarding
john.fahey@ssfs.org
301-774-7455  ext. 285