REPORTING A COVID-19 EXPOSURE OR POSITIVE TESTTo report a positive test result or exposure or ask a question about an exposure, please email email@example.com.
Updated January 22, 2021
After successfully orchestrating the precautions and protocols throughout these past months, we have decided to invite full divisions in the building starting in February. With a strong academic foundation in place, we are able to offer more robust in-person opportunities for our students. While we are confident in our return-to-in-person protocols and precautions, we appreciate that some families will still want their children to remain home at this time; all students have the option to remain remote from home for these in-person days of instruction.
At this time, our plan for division-wide in-person instruction in February includes:
Greenhills will continue to reevaluate our model. We will continue to follow guidance from medical advisors, public health experts, NAIS, and Michigan’s Safe Schools Road Map as we make these important decisions that have far-reaching impacts on the health and safety of our community.
Calendar & Schedule
The calendar below reflects our updated plans to allow entire divisions into Greenhills beginning in February. In the event of severe weather during an in-person day, all instruction will continue remotely. We will use our traditional communication channels to update families on those changes.
The current daily schedule, which includes a Community Day on all five-day weeks, will continue through the first week of March. March 3rd is the fifth and final Community Day. There were no Community Days planned for the fourth marking period.
Required Testing for In-Person Learning
Students who plan to attend school in-person will need to complete COVID-19 testing at Greenhills between 3:00pm and 6:00pm on the Friday prior to your student’s in-person week (or Thursday, if school is not in session on Friday). In-season athletes will test weekly during these same days and times, including on the weeks their division is remote.
We plan to continue this process in advance of each in-person week for four weeks, each division testing twice. We will pause to assess the efficacy of continued testing in the first week of March. There is no cost to families for this screening test at Greenhills.
Learn more about testing here
We have worked hard to design both curriculum and instruction for a flexible learning landscape. Part of that flexible landscape includes teaching students in the same course both in-person and remotely—this will be the case should a course have students from more than one grade level enrolled or if a course has students who choose to remain remote. Our faculty have continued to engage in professional development and thoughtful discussion about how to approach these facets of the flexible learning landscape. As always, we approach course design with intentionality and a commitment to these core values: belonging, agency, engagement, empathy, and joy.
Clubs, Activities, and Affinity Groups
Clubs, activities, and affinity groups that occur during the school day will remain remote at this time. There is a chance that students will not be able to attend meetings during the days when they are in-person. Faculty sponsors will work to connect with students should they need to miss a meeting to do in-person attendance.
Supervised Work Space
We will continue to offer Supervised Academic Study Hall (SASH) for middle school students who require it during upper school in-person weeks.. SASH can only accommodate those families that absolutely need the assistance: parents and caregivers who have no other family member available to supervise a child during the day; and parents and caregivers who are at risk of losing their jobs if they stay home to supervise a child. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require your student to attend their remote weeks from school in a campus study hall.
Mitigating Risk On Campus
We continue to follow the on-going guidance from the CDC, WHO, and local medical experts on the best ways to reduce exposure to COVID-19. Part of this work requires that our entire school population help us to create a community of care.
There are also several practices we are putting in place school-wide along with some physical shifts to the building that will all serve to mitigate risk. Specific mitigation strategies when individuals are on campus may include, but are not limited to:
Practices and Procedures
Changes to our Physical Space
Plum Food Service and Lunch
Plum will provide grab-and-go lunch options; self-serve options will not be available. Students will be oriented to the lunch procedure at school. Everyone should wash or sanitize their hands prior to and following lunch.
Responding to Concerns about Potential Exposures and Symptoms of COVID 19
We have created an email group to receive reports of positive test cases, new symptoms, potential exposures, concerns, and questions regarding COVID 19, with particular attention toward students and employees in the building and on campus.
If you wish to report a positive test result or exposure or ask a question about an exposure, please write to email@example.com. If you have an emergent issue, please call the School’s main number, 734.769.4010.
The people who receive and respond to emails to firstname.lastname@example.org include Quincy McLaughlin (Associate Head of School/Head of Upper School), Caroline Huntoon (Head of Middle School), Lisa Hogan (Covid Coordinator), Stephanie Bentley (Administrative Coordinator), and Ken Geremia (Operations/Emergency Planning). When and if a report requires a community notification of any kind regarding COVID-19, we won’t identify the reporter or the individual identified as experiencing new symptoms, an exposure, or a positive test result.
Greenhills families are still asked to send news of absences for all students (in-person and remote) for any reason to email@example.com.
Responding to Cases of COVID-19 in the Greenhills School Community
The School’s Covid Coordinators meet weekly with Washtenaw County Health Department specialists in a dedicated meeting for schools, and will continue to follow the guidance from public health officials regarding our response to cases in our school and local community. In these weekly meetings we review current local case data, any updates regarding Interim Guidance for schools, discuss school case reporting and coordination, ask questions, and seek guidance.
If a student or staff member believes they have COVID-19 symptoms (including fever, cough, nasal congestion or runny nose, sore throat, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, new loss of taste or smell, or shortness of breath), they should stay home from school to monitor symptoms, follow up with their healthcare provider, and notify the school by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. That healthcare provider may recommend a COVID-19 test or period of isolation.
If a student or employee reports a confirmed case of COVID-19 (by writing to email@example.com), Greenhills will collect the contact information for any close contacts of the affected individual, as required by public health authorities. Should a positive case of COVID-19 be identified, we will notify the local public health department and follow all directions for further notices and contact tracing. The Washtenaw County Health Department is charged to conduct contact tracing and we will make classroom rosters and other data obtained available to them when needed, and their efforts will be supported by our school. The Washtenaw County Health Department is also charged to direct the Greenhill’s responses to individual or multiple positive cases. Though the guidelines for determining when a COVID-19-infected person is able to return to school or work continue to evolve, at present students or employees who test positive, or who are deemed a close contact with someone who tests positive, should expect to be required to quarantine for 14 days. All community members will be notified of confirmed positive cases, though privacy rules preclude the naming of sick people.
A “Close contact” is s person who has spent at least 15 minutes with someone that has COVID-19 and were at least six feet apart during that time with or without a mask or a person sharing a household with or directly caring for a person having a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. WCHD will take the lead with all contact tracing, though schools may be asked to assist with gathering a list of potential contacts. WCHD will contact people directly if they test positive for COVID-19. They will also be in touch if they’ve found through case investigations that someone has been in close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19. (“Close contact” is considered within six feet for 15-plus minutes.) You can find more about contact tracing here. At this time, WCHD recommends that all close contacts quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days from last exposure to a person having a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. In some circumstances, quarantine recommendations may extend beyond 14 days.
Parents and students are expected to assist the School in fulfilling responsibilities to help local health departments in contract tracing.
At this time, WCHD recommends that all close contacts quarantine and monitor symptoms for 14 days from last exposure to a person having a confirmed positive case of COVID-19. In some circumstances, quarantine recommendations may extend beyond 14 days.
If Students or Staff Become Sick While on Campus
If anyone on campus becomes sick or develops symptoms listed above, they must depart campus as soon as possible. Until that time, the symptomatic individual will continue to wear a mask and remain in a supervised isolation room near the front of the school, with a designated separate entrance and exit. Parents/guardians/emergency contacts should be prepared to pick up the student as quickly as possible in the case of illness during school day. Students and staff that have COVID-19 symptoms and are sent home should remain at home until they receive a negative COVID-19 test, until the isolation period has passed as indicated by the CDC, or until their health care provider determines they can return to in-person activities. Students and their families will be responsible for communicating with the student’s health care provider as well as all necessary Greenhills staff members.
School is social, and we know that our student’s well-being relies on the connections they make at Greenhills. We are developing programming and practices to intentionally cultivate community. They are rooted in the following ideas:
Staying in Touch
Regular and reliable communication is paramount as we return to school. Keep an eye out for the following communications:
Diversity and Inclusion
As we clarify our vision for the fall, we are deliberating taking steps forward with our work related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and our school’s ongoing efforts to become an anti-racist school. As a learning community, we must ensure that every student in our care feels safe, valued, and supported; and we must bring marginalized students to the center of all we do at Greenhills. We will ensure that our affinity groups continue to offer safe spaces for students to share and respond to their experiences. Additionally, families can expect to see our plans and commitments around Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion shared on our website prior to the start of the school year.
Engaging in Student Life Activities
Engagement in student life—clubs, activities, affinity groups, athletics, and fine and performing arts—is essential to student well-being. The small communities formed in student life activities offer a sense of stability, belonging, and responsibility for students, mitigating some of the inherent risk of isolation. We are committed to offering our extensive student life activities remotely with possible in-person opportunities. We encourage all students to participate in student life at Greenhills.
Online Platform and Necessary Resources
We will continue to use GryphOn as a platform to house information about student courses. Online spaces will be clear, consistent, and concise to help students navigate synchronous and asynchronous experiences in order to lessen the cognitive load of navigation, and conserve energy for learning. Classes will primarily rely on Zoom for video conferencing but may utilize other online applications such as FlipGrid, GoogleForm, and Padlet. We will use structures and routines that students can rely on and innovate within those set structures. If there is a barrier to accessing necessary resources, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laptop Policy and Recommendations
Beginning in Fall 2020, Greenhills School began requiring students to bring a laptop daily to school instruction, whether remote or in-person. A 1:1 device for students allows us to continue to boost our instruction technology capabilities, help students to collaborate and communicate on devices that they feel most comfortable with, and decrease the usage of shared devices. Most importantly, 1:1 devices for our students allow us to eliminate the sharing of devices in the school to minimize touchable surfaces that may spread COVID-19. The complete Laptop Policy is available here, as well as on GryphOn.
For any help with GryphOn, Zoom, or other technology, please send a message to email@example.com. We welcome feedback related to student technology experiences and suggestions for improvement.
Do the benefits of in-person teaching really outweigh the risks and disruption?
The honest answer is: we’re not sure. Based on what our mental health and medical advisors tell us, we have reason to believe that students would benefit from some structured time together. That said, our goal is to be thoughtful and reflective about the steps in this process, and we know we will need to adjust.
Given all of the requirements and protocols you have to put in place, will in-person instruction feel overly restrictive?
School will certainly feel different. While we hope that these in-person days are beneficial for our students, we also know that it is likely students will experience some loss or frustration in response to such a different version of school.
If we choose to keep our student fully remote, will they be behind?
While we believe that there are benefits to returning to limited in-person learning, we recognize that each family’s situation, concerns, and barriers to return will be different. Students will still have full access to our academic program and many of our student life offerings should they need to remain fully remote for any reason.
What will my upper school student do during their free periods? Are they allowed to leave campus?
We will have designated distanced spaces for upper school students to work during their free periods where students will be expected to remain throughout their free period. Students will not be able to roam the school as they wish. When an US student’s free periods occur at the beginning and ending of an in-person school day, they will be permitted to arrive late or depart early, but they are not able to leave school during the day after a class and then return for a later class.
Will visitors be able to access campus?
Our campus is still closed to visitors.
Will you be providing bus service?
At this time, we will not be providing bus service.
Will there be before and after-school care?
At this time, we will not be providing before and after-school care.
Will Supervised Academic Study Hall (SASH) continue to be available
Yes, we will continue to offer Supervised Academic Study Hall (SASH) for middle school students who require it. SASH can only accommodate those families that absolutely need the assistance: parents and caregivers who have no other family member available to supervise a child during the day; and parents and caregivers who are at risk of losing their jobs if they stay home to supervise a child. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require your student to attend their remote weeks from school in a campus study hall.
Will students be able to use lockers and cubbies?
We have suspended the use of lockers and cubbies for the time being. Students should only bring the supplies they need for any given day, and plan to keep those supplies with them in a backpack
Do students need any additional supplies for in-person instructions?
In addition to supplies for each course, students should bring:
We will send grade-specific emails with reminders as those particular in-person days draw near.
Do you anticipate any teacher staffing issues as a result of teachers who need to be home with their own kids?
Staffing across the divisions may be challenging given various needs. We are working with faculty and staff to balance individual and school needs.
Will you be charging the same tuition for remote learning as in-person on campus learning?
At this time, Greenhills will not be discounting or reducing tuition for remote learning or hybrid learning. Regardless of the learning scenario, the entire Greenhills’ faculty and staff are working to deliver our enhanced program to students and families, and to live the mission of our school. The extensive planning and implementation of mitigation plans brings added, not reduced, cost to the school, and we are confident that our efforts will provide even greater value.
Do you have any programming/support envisioned to help address the mental health/ social emotional impacts for students of all ages?
Social emotional learning for wellness is at the center of our plans for campus return. We have adopted approaches across all grades and divisions to support individual wellness and to shape curriculum themes, advisory, and community connections.
Are you experiencing any negative effects on learning as a result of COVID? How is Greenhills addressing this?
Learning has been different for all students—in all schools. The long-term impact of this global pandemic is yet to be seen, and it will affect each child differently. One of our school’s greatest strengths is our ability to know our students well and to connect with them as individuals, meeting them where they are at and addressing their unique needs. We continue to work hard to mitigate any negative impact this pandemic might have on our students. If parents or guardians have specific questions or concerns from this past school year, we encourage them to contact the teachers, team leaders or grade deans directly for conversation and information.
How can students minimize their risk before coming to campus?
Students should continue to follow stated public health guidelines, including physical distancing, wearing face coverings while indoors and in crowded public areas, washing/sanitizing hands regularly, and minimizing contacts and exposures in order to minimize their risk. Our medical advisors also recommend students avoid out of state travel before school begins.
Will you insist students (and the rest) stay 6ft. apart at all times (lunch/break)? Do you really need to? If we screen students and staff for fever/symptoms before they arrive on campus every day, can’t they be closer?
We will try our best to have students maintain physical distance as this is one of the major mitigation strategies recommended by our health advisors. Screening for symptoms daily does not give enough information, especially given the asymptomatic nature of some COVID cases.
Will Greenhills enforce health and safety measures?
Yes. Health and safety is paramount, and it was a key factor in our decision to open the 2020-2021 school year remotely. We will only be able to welcome students to campus for limited in-person instruction if we are able to adhere to health and safety measures. Our commitment to the health and safety of our community members will continue to be unwavering, and keeping to the policies and protocols in place will be essential. We will also look to families to help talk with their students before school starts to help with this.
Has Greenhills considered COVID testing?
We are in steady communication with our medical advisors and the WCHD about the swiftly evolving local testing options. As of this update, we are not planning on implementing testing for all employees and all students attending in-person days, on site at school in January when we will have one grade in the building at a time. We are continually reviewing local testing options and will incorporate testing into our existing mitigation strategies when and if our medical advisors endorse a vendor and strategy that’s right for Greenhills. We will provide an update in January. You can find local testing options here.
Does Greenhills have up to date and fresh air HVAC systems?
Yes, and all systems have been tested and serviced in preparation for good ventilation. We have replaced all of the filters with high grade MERV 13 filters. We will also open windows and doors depending on the location.
In addition to masks are you thinking that teachers can use a shield also?
Yes, there may be a combination of face masks and face shields, depending on the teacher.
What kind of chemicals or cleaners are being used in the classroom?
All facilities cleaning materials follow CDC guidelines for safety and usage.
Will a nurse be available at school?
We are seeking guidance from our Medical Advisory Team about a range of options to support health policies and structures for a return to the school building. The school is considering how the possibility of the role of a school nurse may be helpful to the community.
Will lunch be provided for students?
Plum will provide grab-and-go lunch options; self-serve options will not be available.
Where will students eat?
Tented outdoor spaces with tables, the dining room, and designated spaces in the building will serve as eating areas.
How will students eat if masks are required at all times?
Masks can only be removed while eating and drinking. Students will also be required to maintain six feet of space at all times.
What safety procedures are in place to keep students safe during lunch?
What will after school activities be like in the fall (athletics, theater, Forensics, Robotics)?
We know these activities are deeply important to our students and essential for allowing students to create an individual support system within our school. Information about our in-person athletic program can be found on team pages in GryphOn, and The Hub. Additionally, some activities have started to offer optional in-person meetings on campus. As we move through the year, we will continue to work to make safe versions of these activities available to our students and will share more specifics as we are able.
How will students participate in wellness classes?
Our wellness faculty will continue to develop lessons and activities that will allow all students to participate remotely, and in-person when it is safe to do so.
What is the plan for performing arts? Will theater productions continue in a modified way or be canceled?
The upper school and middle school plays are both scheduled to be remote productions. Each production will be directed by a visiting artist who is not only an experienced educator but a working actor. We’re looking forward to taking advantage of this unique opportunity to work with talented artists around the country. Specific show details and information regarding auditions and rehearsal schedules are forthcoming.
Will grade and group meetings, like school assemblies, happen?
While all sizable in-person gatherings will not be possible, we plan to organize regular community meetings remotely.
The important work of school can only happen effectively when our community feels safe. We are making decisions to minimize risk of virus transmission, and will not waver on our commitment to keeping our community safe. In the event that individuals come to campus, we are establishing rigorous health and safety measures.
All experiences are designed with all families in mind, and we will ensure that all Greenhills students have the tools and the access that they need to engage in our programming. Additionally, we are aware that some of our younger students may need supervised space to engage in their remote academic work. Unless campus is closed, Greenhills will offer a limited number of socially distanced work spaces for middle school students on campus.
School is more than an academic space—it is a place for social and emotional growth and exploration. We know that to care for our students in the best way possible, we need to foster belonging, offer our students responsibility and agency over their Greenhills experiences, and create a sense of stability when possible. Community has never been more important, and we are designing experiences to amplify and promote belonging, responsibility, and stability in our student-centered community.
While we redesign and optimize courses to be delivered remotely with limited in-person instruction, relationships remain central to our approach. Our teachers will continue to meaningfully incorporate the best pedagogical practices into their work while maintaining our robust academic opportunities for students. Greenhills teachers are working to meet each student where they are, and to create engaging experiences.
We know students are more likely to experience belonging, agency, engagement, empathy, and joy when teachers commit to approaching course design in ways that value stability and consistency for students, while also retaining their own capacities for innovation and authenticity.
CONTRIBUTING TO OUR PLANNING
Our strength at Greenhills comes from the expertise that lies in our community. As we respond to evolving state guidelines, best practices, and emerging science on COVID-19, we have sought advice from experts in medicine, public health, and education. We have also created the following working groups within our own community to help us prepare and make recommendations that serve our students and further our mission.
This group is focused on maintaining the standard of care, developing mitigation protocols, and adapting our school spaces and supplies to public health and safety recommendations.
Members include: Laura Bird, Alyssa Friendly, Lisa Hogan, Caroline Huntoon, Quincy McLaughlin, John Nickel, Nina Scheinberg, Meg Seng, Deano Smith, Tom Ward
This group is focused on guiding our exceptional instructional practices and the design of our robust courses for the flexible instructional landscape with a focus on sustaining engagement and the learning experience.
Members include: Jeff Allen, Bob Ause, Susan Beamish, Nicole Burroughs, Neil Donato, Jenna Goldenberg, Mackenzie Hess, Caroline Huntoon, Rob Kinnaird, Sara LeBlanc, Monica Lewis, Quincy McLaughlin, Alex Monte-Sano, Becky Randolph, Deano Smith, Tom Ward, Kelly Williams
This group is focused on reconnecting our students to their school community by creating practices that support positive school relationships and a sense of belonging.
Members include: Heidi Butz, Nadine Hall, Caroline Huntoon, Quincy McLaughlin, Liza Ruggiero, Caitlin Smead, Tom Ward
The Benefit of Independent
As we continue to design our return to Greenhills in the fall, we benefit from the talents within our community and our ability to be both imaginative and flexible. Regardless of the details, we remain committed to our families and will provide a program that is safe, equitable, and robust.