Health and Safety Plan
The Dock Mennonite Academy Health and Safety Plan for 2020-21 was approved by the Board of Trustees on July 24, 2020. This plan was prepared by the Pandemic Team, but much of the credit for the comprehensive plan goes to the broader Dock community.
As a small and nimble school, Dock demonstrated this past spring the ability to adjust and prepare for the unexpected. We were able to continue educating without missing days in March. This experience of significant growth for our teachers and students helped prepare us for opening school in the fall.
The physical and emotional safety of our students has remained paramount in our planning. Working with families as we approach this year is critical to our students’ success. We listened to directives and suggestions from our state and local health authorities. We continued making adjustments needed to ensure students can return to Dock and feel safe in being on campus again. Several surveys from faculty members and school families helped discern the priorities.
We were grateful for the responses from our school community. Over 450 students were represented in our final survey.
Through these unusual times, Dock has not wavered from its mission and vision for the future of our students. We look forward to envisioning our mission at work as we open this fall. Dock Mennonite Academy inspires and equips each student to serve with a global perspective by integrating faith, academic excellence and life-enriching opportunities in a Christ-centered community.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has published a strong statement in favor of bringing students back this fall “wherever and whenever that can be done safely.” This is our desire at Dock as well. To best serve the varying needs of our school families, we plan to offer two options for each Dock student: a 5-day, on-campus option and a remote learning option.
1. The Dock Mennonite Academy Health and Safety Plan for 2020-21 below outlines the plan for families choosing the on-campus option.
2. The stay-at-home option is based on connecting to the classroom through a Zoom call.
a. Students at home would log in through Schoology which will have a Zoom connection for each class and watch and participate in the class.
b. The teacher will be able to see the students at home and keep them involved in the discussion.
c. This will be a synchronous connection for local students; it will be recorded to better accommodate international students.
d. Dock will provide tech support and training for faculty members as needed. Offering two modes of delivery allows us to keep Dock open through different potential circumstances and gives families an opportunity to choose an option with which they are comfortable, with opportunities to change their status at designated times.
In June, 2020, the Dock Board of Directors approved the following people to serve on the Pandemic Team with the primary responsibilities for health and safety preparedness and response planning. This team served in an administrative capacity, consulting with many other people having expertise in areas such as health and education from a variety of sources to best prepare for our opening in 2020-2021. The team is comprised of the following members:
● Superintendent. Responsible for working with the Board of Directors and local Health Department in vetting the final plan. He will lead the process of plan development and submit the plan to PDE upon completion and final approval.
● Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction. Responsible for curriculum and design of delivery methods. She will explore various options to place each student in the best position to succeed, depending on the situation throughout the year.
● Director of Finance and Operations. Responsible for developing the process and procedures for keeping facilities and materials disinfected and sanitized to lower the risk for students and teachers. She will review food service options.
● High School Principal. Responsible for evaluating and adjusting schedules and activities to lower the level of risk during the school day for teachers and students. He will review classrooms and public spaces to determine the best configurations for student spacing.
● EC-8 Principal. Responsible for evaluating and adjusting schedules and activities to lower the level of risk during the school day for teachers and students. She will review classrooms and public spaces to determine the best configurations for student spacing.
To protect higher-risk students and staff, Dock will:
● Monitor employment law.
● Maintain communication with local and state authorities to determine current mitigation levels in the area.
● Consider creative solutions on a case by case basis for students with higher risk.
● Make adjustments to duties or spaces for staff as feasible to minimize risk or contact with others.
● Evaluate all large group events, field trips, public gatherings to make the best decisions at that time for that event.
The following daily health checklist shall be addressed at home by parents/students/staff:
1. If a student or anyone in the immediate household has had a known exposure to someone testing positive for COVID-19, the parent/guardian must contact the main office via email and not send the child to school until cleared by a healthcare provider.
- A "close contact" is defined as either being within approximately 6 feet of a COVID-19 case for 15 or more minutes (close contact can occur while caring for, living with, visiting, or sharing a health care waiting area or room with a COVID-19 case), or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case (e.g., being coughed on). See the Department of Health Case versus Contact for more information on these distinctions.
2. If a student has any of the following symptoms, the parent/guardian should email the campus’s main office and NOT send the child to school. If symptoms persist, the parent/guardian should contact the child's health care provider for care.
Is the person taking any medication to treat or reduce a fever such as ibuprofen (i.e. Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol)?
Is the person experiencing any of the following:
1 or more symptoms
2 or more symptoms
Fever (100.4 or higher)
Shortness of breath
New lack of smell or taste
Nausea or vomiting
The student/staff member shall stay home if they:
● Have one or more symptoms in Group A, OR
● Have two or more symptoms in Group B, OR
● Are taking fever-reducing medication.
3. Cold and allergy medicine is acceptable if no fever is present. Those with an annual cough due to allergies or other non-pandemic diagnosis may attend. If cough is persistent while in school or fever is measured, the student will be sent home, and will need a physician’s medical clearance note for return.
4. If a student wakes with a low grade fever, they should stay home, hydrate, and monitor temperature.
First period teachers/homeroom teachers, Schoology announcements and signs will be used to give regular reminders of this checklist.
● Students developing symptoms of illness during the school day should wear a mask and go to the EC8 nurse’s office or High School Guidance Office for evaluation. Parent permission is required by the school before a student leaves campus.
● Students entering the EC-8 Nurse’s Office/High School Guidance Office for any reason will wear a mask.
● After evaluation, students with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will remain masked and be moved to an area of monitored isolation until a contact arrives or parent permission is given for the student to leave. Medical and guidance personnel will provide support to the student at the recommended distance.
● Dock will communicate with families to ensure safe transportation plans for sick individuals.
● Parents should follow up with their healthcare provider for assessment, care and/or testing.
● If the student tests positive for COVID-19, the school will communicate with the child’s county of residence to determine parameters for safe return to school. Students testing positive for COVID-19 will need a doctor’s note for return.
● DOH information on Coronavirus Symptoms and Testing outlines details on current testing locations throughout the Commonwealth.
● The school will remain in communication with local departments of health to monitor case numbers, manage contact tracing, and determine if/when a temporary closure of one of our campuses is recommended for additional cleaning and re-sanitizing.
● Students with fevers or symptoms associated with COVID-19 should seek medical attention for further evaluation and instructions before returning to school.
● Students with fever or symptoms that may be associated with COVID-19 and no known direct exposure to a person with COVID-19 may return to school when they are asymptomatic and have been fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine or have confirmation of an alternative diagnosis from a health care provider that explains the COVID-19-like symptom(s).
● Students with symptoms who have had a direct exposure to a person with COVID-19 will be considered probable cases and should remain excluded from school until release from isolation criteria has been met.
● Students who are quarantined following close contact with a case may not return to school until cleared to do so by DOH or the appropriate CMHD. A negative test obtained prior to the end of quarantine does not clear an individual for return. The entire quarantine period must be completed. See CDC guidance on Quarantine if You Might be Sick.
● These guidelines apply to students and staff.
The Department of Health will continue to monitor community transmission rates and other surveillance metrics across the commonwealth, including Pre-K to 12 school specific outbreaks of COVID-19. Based on this disease monitoring and surveillance DOH may, in close coordination with PDE, issue guidance related to targeted school closures as part of a wider public health mitigation strategy.
DOH or county and municipal health departments (CMHDs) staff will notify Dock immediately upon learning that a person with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 was present at the school or a school event while infectious. DOH or CMHD staff will assist with risk assessment, isolation and quarantine recommendations, and other infection control recommendations. Dock will take every measure to maintain the confidentiality of the affected individual.
The DOH or CMHD staff will contact a student or staff person with COVID-19, inform close contacts of their possible exposure, and give instructions to those involved, including siblings and other household members, regarding self-quarantine and exclusions. The individual who tested positive will not be identified in communications from DOH or the CMHD to the school community at large but may need to be selectively identified for contact tracing by the DOH or CMHD staff.
Dock will contact local DOH or CMHD staff before acting in response to a known or suspected communicable disease.
● DOH at 1-877-PA Health (1-877-724-3258)
DOH and CMHDs will provide guidance regarding disease information, appropriate letters and communications, identification of high-risk individuals, appropriate action and treatment, and on-going support and assistance.
● If the person is present on school property when DOH or CMHD staff notify the school of the positive case information, the person should immediately, but discreetly, be taken to the COVID-19 related isolation space for pick up (if student) or asked to return home (if staff).
● Dock will contact DOH or the Montgomery County Health Department for further guidance if a parent/guardian/caregiver notifies the school of potential exposure by a student, staff member, or school visitor.
● Dock will close off areas used by the sick person and not use them again before cleaning and disinfecting as directed by applicable protocols.
Robust surveillance, case investigation, contact tracing and isolation of positive cases or quarantine of close contacts can slow and stop the transmission of COVID-19. Pennsylvania's public health infrastructure of epidemiologists, community health nurses, and CMHD staff are the backbone of this work. More information on contact tracing and case investigation can be found in DOH'S Contact Tracing Plan.
DOH and its CMHD partners have established procedures for timely communication when there is a probable or positive COVID-19 case. Local DOH staff or the CMHD will notify Dock and PDE immediately upon learning that someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was present at the school or school event while infectious. DOH or CMHD staff will assist with risk assessment, isolation and quarantine recommendations, and other infection control recommendations.
DOH or CMHD staff will assist with contact tracing and may request information regarding potential close school contacts from school nurses/health staff.
Dock will take measures that allow for exposed individuals to be more easily traced:
● Use assigned seating for each class when feasible.
● Take attendance for every class.
● Keep records of in-person meetings.
● Keep accurate records of any persons other than students and staff that enter the building.
Hand Washing - COVID-19 may survive on certain surfaces for some time, which means it is possible to be infected after touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, eyes, or nose. Frequent hand washing decreases transmission. Students will be encouraged not to touch their faces.
Hand washing routines will be implemented frequently throughout the day. Effective hand washing takes at least 20 seconds as there are many surfaces to clean and successful friction for lathering needs to cover all surfaces in order for the soap molecules to capture the germs within. This short video demonstrates the proper technique for hand washing. Movements should be practiced by students as they watch the video for helpful motor learning/muscle memory. With what is known about respiratory droplets, a slow count to twenty is preferable to singing a song to gauge length of task.
When using hand sanitizer, the entire surface of the hand should be covered by sanitizer and hands should be rubbed together until dry.
Covering Coughs is an important step in the mitigation of infection transmission. If students/staff do not have a tissue in hand and need to cough or sneeze, he/she is encouraged to elbow cough. This is accomplished by placing the mouth as close to the inside bend of the elbow as possible to decrease the spread of respiratory droplets released into the surrounding air. This should be practiced even when there is no one nearby. It is requested that persons coughing into a tissue or elbow thoroughly wash hands (and arms when feasible) afterward. Students with persistent cough should be medically evaluated.
These school hygiene guidelines and expectations will be introduced by the teacher and reviewed as needed during the school day. A copy will be added to the parent newsletter for several weeks to encourage continuity for virus transmission prevention strategies at home.
Decisions about face coverings will be based on continued monitoring of recommendations by state officials and health professionals.
On July 1, 2020, the PA Secretary of Health issued an Order requiring all individuals to wear a face covering when they leave their homes. The order outlines situations when a face covering must be worn and includes limited exceptions (see Section 3 of the Order). The Secretary issued this Order to continue to protect all in the Commonwealth from the spread of COVID-19, mindful of the need to slow the increase in the number of cases as the Commonwealth reopens and in order to avoid the resurgence that is overwhelming the health care systems and public health systems in other states that have been less successful in reopening than the Commonwealth.
This Order applies to any individual aged two and older whenever outside the home, including while in all school entities. The Order was effective July 1, 2020 and will remain in effect until the Secretary of Health determines the public health risk is sufficiently reduced so that face coverings are no longer necessary as a widely utilized public health tool.
"Face covering" means a covering of the nose and mouth that is secured to the head with ties, straps, or loops over the ears or is wrapped around the lower face. A "face covering" can be made of a variety of synthetic or natural fabrics, including cotton, silk, or linen, and, for the purposes of the Order, can include a plastic face shield that covers the nose and mouth. "Face coverings" may be factory-made, sewn by hand, or improvised from household items, including but not limited to, scarves, bandanas, t-shirts, sweatshirts, or towels. While procedural and surgical masks intended for health care providers and first responders, such as N95 respirators, would meet these requirements, these specialized masks should be reserved for appropriate occupational and health care settings.
School Staff and Visitors
● Face coverings must be worn by all staff and visitors (including parents and guardians), while at school, as per the PA Face Covering Order.
● Individuals must wear a face covering (mask or face shield) unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school.
● Dock will teach and reinforce use of face coverings among all staff as per the PA Face Covering Order.
● Face coverings may be removed to eat or drink during breaks and lunch periods; however, at those times, social distancing must be practiced.
● Staff are not required to wear a face covering in situations where wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition to operate equipment or execute a task.
● Transparent face coverings provide the opportunity for more visual cues and will be considered as an alternative for younger students, students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and their teachers. Individuals who are communicating or seeking to communicate with someone who is hearing impaired or who has another disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential to communication, are not required to wear a mask; however, individuals should consider using another type of face covering such as a plastic face shield and increase physical distancing.
● Dock will have a supply of face coverings and other personal protective equipment (PPE) at each school and will monitor inventory.
● All students must wear a face covering (cloth mask or face shield) that covers their nose and mouth inside the school and while outside when physical distancing is not feasible. Due to the small class size and potential spacing at Dock, we believe students will be able to remove their masks for significant parts of the day as described below.
● Children two years and older are required to wear a face covering unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or IDEA, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school. Accommodations for such students should be made in partnership with the student's health care provider, school nurse, and IEP/504 team.
● Dock will teach students and families how to properly wear a face covering (cover nose and mouth), to maintain hand hygiene when removing the face covering for meals and physical activity, and how to replace and maintain (washing regularly) a cloth face covering.
● Dock will provide face covering breaks throughout the day, while maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet. Dock will allow students to remove face coverings when students are:
● Eating or drinking when spaced at least 6 feet apart;
● Seated at desks or assigned workspaces at least 6 feet apart;
● Engaged in any activity at least 6 feet apart (e.g., face covering breaks, recess, etc.); or
● When wearing a face covering creates an unsafe condition in which to operate equipment or execute a task.
● Transparent face coverings provide the opportunity for more visual cues and will be especially considered as an alternative for younger students, students who are deaf and hard of hearing, and their teachers.
● Dock will display signs related to social distancing, handwashing, traffic flow and symptoms of COVID-19, etc.
● Dock principals will ensure that appropriate reminders will be posted in morning announcements
● Dock has created cleaning procedures for scheduled and intentional cleanings to minimize risk of high touch surfaces. These procedures include frequent sanitizing and disinfecting on the high touch surfaces.
● Dock will maintain regular cleaning protocols for non-high touch areas.
● Dock will make products available for faculty and staff to keep their spaces and shared items sanitary throughout the day.
● Dock will emphasize hand washing to faculty and staff.
● Dock will have regular maintenance on ventilation systems and provide fresh air as much as is feasible.
● Dock will allow water fountain use for bottle refilling only.
● Dock will continue to review and monitor areas and make any necessary adjustments.
● Each classroom will be designed to provide as much distance as is feasible.
● All large group, special events, and field trips will be reviewed to discern plausibility and appropriate safety protocols.
● Alternate schedules will be reviewed to reduce movement around campus and/or reduce the number of classes a student attends each day.
● Chapel seating and scheduling will be adjusted to provide for maximum spacing, including the utilization of classroom spaces and technology.
● Seating for students will be adjusted and additional space around campus used to provide distancing.
● Lunch schedules will be staggered to maximize distancing.
● Self-serve items and food service procedures will be adjusted to promote safety.
● Payment options will be in place to limit cash transactions, high touch activities and time spent in cafeteria
● PE/Recess teachers will monitor and adjust activities to allow for physical distancing when possible.
● Equipment usage will be adjusted to limit touching of shared equipment and gear. (e.g., protective gear, balls, bats, racquets, mats, or water bottles).
● Locker room usage will be designed to maximize distancing.
● Staff will work with the nurse, parents or trainer as appropriate to provide modifications as needed for those at higher risk of developing serious disease.
● Group and class sizes will be managed to allow for physical distancing when possible.
● Sports: We will work with the guidance from PIAA, the BAL and Upper Bux-Mont League. This includes protocols for hygiene, disinfection of equipment, distancing during practice and competition, numbers of participants, surveillance and testing, and travel restrictions. See athletic information HERE.
● Online training materials and the Dock Mennonite Academy Health and Safety Plan will be available to all staff on Schoology.
● Training will also be provided at in-service and on an individual basis.
● Topics covered may include cleaning protocols, guidelines and techniques for hygiene practices and mask coverings, monitoring students for symptoms, protocol for staff or students needing isolation, protocols for physical distancing of students and staff, restricted use of cafeteria, protocols for sports, recess, and sharing of materials.
● Alternate schedules will be reviewed to reduce movement around campus and/or reduce the number of classes a student attends each day.
● Lunch schedules will be adjusted to allow for as much spacing as is feasible.
● Traffic flow will be monitored and adjusted to allow for spacing as much as is feasible.
● Additional spaces, both indoor and outdoor, will be allotted for activities such as lunch and chapel.
● Use of individual materials that don’t need to be shared will be prioritized.
● Families will be asked to supply some individual school supplies for each student.
● Classroom sets of materials will be cleaned regularly.
● School visits by parents and other volunteers will be limited to minimize the number of contacts.
● Face coverings, such as masks or face shields, must be worn by all visitors (including parents and guardians), while at school, as per the PA Face Covering Order.
● Visitors must wear a face covering (mask or face shield) unless they have a medical or mental health condition or disability, documented in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that precludes the wearing of a face covering in school.
● Families who use transportation from one of the public schools that transport students to Dock should follow the plan established by that school district.
● Dock families should contact their local school district to obtain the plan and guidelines for using their transportation.
● Careful attention will be given to the drop-off and pick-up process to ensure physical distancing.
● The Superintendent’s office will provide ongoing communication with families around the elements of the local Dock Mennonite Academy Health and Safety Plan, including ways that families can practice safe hygiene in the home.
● Each Principal’s office will provide campus specific communication regarding the Dock Mennonite Academy Health and Safety Plan.
● Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs.
● The Dock Mennonite Academy Health and Safety Plan will be posted on Dock’s website prior to allowing students to return to school.
● Dock will provide regular update information on the school website and in parent communication.
● Students and families will be discouraged from gathering in public places while school is dismissed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Caregivers and families are encouraged to practice and reinforce good prevention habits at home and within their families.
● Dock will remind parents/guardians/caregivers to keep children at home if symptomatic.
The PA Department of Health recommends that travelers from 18 states should quarantine for 14 days upon return. There appears to be flexibility in determining who should quarantine, based on the activities and movement while in these states. It has also been noted this is a recommendation, not a mandate. The list of states will change over time. The following is a suggested plan and rationale for Dock.
a. All families will be encouraged to be aware of and follow the state recommendation.
b. The school will not monitor or enforce the recommendation.
c. We continue to trust our parents to comply as we do with symptom screening each morning.
a. We will encourage faculty and staff to stay in state as much as possible.
b. If they travel out of the state, we will encourage them to follow recommendations from the PA Dept of Health.
c. We will ask them to complete this form if they travel out of state after August 5: https://forms.gle/upyDbcA9d4gteUUW9
Based on their activities while out of state, the Pandemic Team will determine when the faculty member may return to campus.
Select pieces from Department of Health FAQ:
Is this a recommendation or requirement?
At this time, quarantine related to travel is a recommendation, not a requirement. Quarantine is recommended because it is one of the most effective methods in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Quarantining helps keep you, your family, your friends, and your community safe.
Does this apply to schools and students?
Schools, including institutions of higher education, should create a policy and procedure on how to handle students who have traveled to or live in one of the listed states. This policy should be incorporated into the school’s health and safety plans.
If I am going to a remote area of a listed state and, after arrival, I do not leave the property, do I still have to quarantine upon my return to Pennsylvania?
When considering whether to quarantine after travel one should consider the types of behavior that occurred while traveling to or through a listed state. For example, attending a gathering is an activity that poses more risk than stopping for fuel. Also consider if other public health precautions were taken during travel, such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing.