As we continue to make our way through the first quarter of classes, we are cognizant of the the importance of assessing the impact of our COVID-19 schedule on the mitigation of the spread of the coronavirus, the support of our girls in terms of social and emotional well-being, and continuation of learning.
Impact on the spread: In reviewing our daily data and through the work with the City of Cincinnati Department of Health, the COVID-19 schedule design has enabled us to better mitigate the spread and the need to quarantine our faculty and students. According to a recent JAMA article citing COVID-19 best practices, the daily multi-tier wellness check that includes an at-home pre-screening AND onsite temperature check is the gold standard of assessing the community. The breakdown of our 4 courses over two days limits the number of classes per day, which means less interaction and a reduction in the number of students required to quarantine due to a COVID-19 positive or exposed students. The one class transition per day, short morning break, and optional lunch after the second class period has reduced the number of impacted students due to contact tracing. The Wednesday distance learning day has created another 24-hour span of time that reduces the exposure and quarantining requirements AND provides a built-in break to thoroughly clean and provide regular Pentrexx application. Each time SUA works with the City of Cincinnati Department of Health, we are reminded that that forward-thinking COVID-19 responsive schedule has helped SUA to reduce the number of student quarantines by COVID-19 exposure AND enabled us to better mitigate the spread due to limited contact and once a week deep cleaning. We are fortunate to have such an effective schedule during this most unprecedented time.
Impact on social and emotional wellbeing: Our entire Leadership Team, along with the Counseling Department, are engaging in regular conversations and assessments regarding student well-being. Last winter, SUA launched a Student Support Team, and this team reviews the information that we collect regarding student social, emotional, and academic wellbeing. Already this year, the team has met on several occasions and designed a number of student support plans. We are blessed to have such a strong team of professionals looking out for the wellbeing of our girls.
Impact of continuation of learning: Although the look and feel of the SUA COVID-19 schedule is different from the more familiar face-to-face 8:00 am to 3:00 pm schedule, it does not mean that it is less effective. All classroom teachers are asked to conduct regular check-ins with their students to make sure that the girls are feeling supported and challenged within their course. Additionally, all students were emailed a survey last week. The survey included questions about the schedule design and the impact on their learning and life outside of school. Lastly, we will launch a survey to parents on Thursday. This survey will be a high-level survey and will be the third piece of data in our three-part assessment. All of this information will be reviewed and will help us make any necessary instructional changes within the school to ensure that the girls are moving forward academically.
Here is the link to the SUA COVID-19 Dashboard. In addition to updating our Dashboard weekly, SUA will communicate to the entire community any test positives. Individual families whose daughters are directly impacted by the positive will receive a direct correspondence about required next steps.
In our recent exchange with the City of Cincinnati Department of Health, we learned the following about repeat exposure:
"As far we are aware, the 90 days post diagnosis is for repeat testing, not an exemption from quarantine, as we have no reliable markers for immunity (based on antibody tests), we do not know how long it lasts nor the frequency of reinfection (rare but possible). We do know PCR positivity can be prolonged, so don’t retest within 90 days unless clinically indicated. Any decisions on quarantine should be based on the 15 minute, less than 6 feet distance, close contact guidance, which might include sitting next to another student who tests positive. "
SUA is grateful to the City of Cincinnati Department of Health for the ongoing and essential support during this unprecedented time.