Reopening Hopkins


COVID-19 Planning and Preparedness

Hopkins School remains dedicated to providing a quality educational experience while keeping our community healthy. As the pandemic continues to unfold, so does our understanding of the virus, its variants, and the implications for operating a school. In response to this evolving situation, our safety protocols continue to be informed by guidance from national and local governments and are developed in close consultation with medical experts and independent school leaders across the country. 
 
We will continue to monitor the national and local landscape of COVID-19 and the impact of its variants, and will adjust our plans as needed. We will make decisions throughout the year as appropriate based on several factors including the activity of our own community.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR 2022

The following information, published in March 2022, provides an overview of our current focus, processes, and reminders.

Our Direction Moving Forward 
Our current strategy, contingent on state and local requirements or changing trends, can be defined as a thoughtful de-escalation of testing and masking, as well as a return to more normal operations. We have made the following decisions because of several factors including our campus vaccination rate (99%), the steady decline in cases in our community.

Testing: Following a round of testing issued at the end of Spring Break, Hopkins will not be continuing with weekly testing for students, faculty, and staff. The School does however have rapid tests available to take home when needed.

Masking: Effective March 28, 2022, Hopkins will be a mask-optional campus. This applies to all members of our community as well as guests. Masks will also be optional for those riding buses. 

Daily Operations: Effective March 28, 2022, in-person assemblies, lunch protocols, and furniture placement throughout campus will be restored to pre-pandemic arrangements.

As always, our health and safety protocols could change in the future. 

When to Stay Home
We ask you to monitor symptoms of your child on a daily basis and keep them home in the event that they are unwell and exhibit symptoms of illnesses. Below is a list of signs and symptoms of illness which may be of concern, two of which may warrant COVID-19 testing and/or contacting your healthcare provider for further guidance.
    •    Fever above 100.6 F
    •    Excessive or harsh cough
And any two of the following symptoms: 
    •    Fatigue
    •    Muscle or body aches
    •    Sore throat
    •    Congestion or runny nose
    •    Nausea or vomiting
    •    Diarrhea 
The above information will certainly assist us in reducing the spread of illness and keeping our community safe.

Quarantine and Isolation Policy
On December 27, 2021, the CDC announced that it was shortening the recommended isolation time for people who test positive for COVID-19 to five days. Hopkins has adopted this same policy. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 5 days, and may return to school activities on day 6 or later, when fever-free for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are significantly improved. They will then need to be vigilant about wearing a mask at all times when around others for an additional 5 days (i.e., through day 10). 

If your child tests positive for COVID-19, please notify the school immediately by emailing contacttracing@hopkins.edu.

Contact Tracing
We have adopted the current CDC and Connecticut Department of Public Health’s (DPH) policy regarding contact tracing. The policy is as follows: “Because individual-level contact tracing is a tool that becomes less effective when community transmission levels are high, the Connecticut Department of Public Health recommends that schools begin to refocus the activities of health staff away from the investigation of relatively low risk in-school exposures and toward the identification, early isolation, and clinical management of students and staff with active symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.”  As such, Hopkins will not be identifying close contacts of positive cases, but will continue to notify the community about cases as they arise.

Remote Accommodations 
As in-person learning remains a priority, we will not be offering a “remote option” in an official capacity. However, as our student handbook states, “the School recognizes two limited circumstances in which a Remote Accommodation may be considered. Students with a Serious Health/Medical Condition (such as testing positive for COVID-19); and students who have been granted the accommodation due to a unique unavoidable circumstance that prevents them from attending school in person."
 
Hopkins has since added a third accommodation for when a student is in an immunocompromised household (meaning someone in the home who is immunocompromised). If this is the case, the student is eligible for the remote option accommodation. 
 
In all cases, the request for a Remote Accommodation must be in writing and requires the approval of the Dean of Academics and the relevant Head Adviser. All decisions regarding Remote Accommodations remain at the discretion of the school.

It is important to note that those who are granted the Remote Accommodation will have the opportunity to observe class but should not expect a full virtual Hopkins experience. Teachers will be instructed to keep their focus on the students in the room and the in-class activities planned for the day, and will include any virtual student(s) to the extent possible. Some courses that are entirely built around hands-on, in-person activities — such as certain arts and science classes — may not be suitable for Remote Accommodations.

Encouraging All Eligible Community Members to Receive a Booster Shot
The scientific data has become increasingly clear that booster shots improve vaccine effectiveness against COVID-19. As the CDC has stated, “the recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19.” In order to protect the health and safety of our community as best we can, we require all eligible faculty and staff members to receive a booster vaccination shot unless exempt for a medical or religious reason. At this time, we are strongly encouraging all eligible students to get a booster as soon as possible but are not currently mandating them. 

Athletics
The Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) recognizes that vaccination for spring sports is the safest way to mitigate risk, reduce the spread of COVID-19, and ensure the health and safety of all student-athletes, coaches, staff, and fans. Thus, all FAA student-athletes, coaches, and athletic trainers must be fully vaccinated in order to participate in FAA Upper School spring sports. 
 
Individuals who have a medical or religious exemption will be allowed to participate.
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Hopkins is a private middle school and high school for grades 7-12. Located on a campus overlooking New Haven, CT, the School takes pride in its intellectually curious students as well as its dedicated faculty and staff.