Health & Wellness
Before we can educate our students, we must ensure that they are protected and well—goals that are even more important during a pandemic. As we begin the 2021-22 school year, we remain focused on three needs: the safe repopulation of campus, ongoing health monitoring for the adults and students of the Solebury School community, and protocols and practices to mitigate/prevent the spread of infection to the best of our ability while allowing for a successful, in-person learning experience.
As the pandemic wanes, our health and wellness protocols for the 2021-22 school year:
- Are created with safety for our community in mind, including protecting our community’s medically vulnerable, and coupled with the preference to return to all in-person learning;
- Reflect current conditions and understandings—and will be thoroughly reviewed in mid-August. Any changes will be communicated promptly;
May change based on new information, government mandate, safety concerns, or changes in environment.
As is true with any form of illness, it is impossible to totally eliminate the risk of infection. However, thanks to safe and effective vaccines, we can significantly reduce the life-altering impact of many illnesses, including COVID-19. Protecting our community from COVID-19 is as important as protecting us from other preventable diseases such as measles, meningitis, and hepatitis B. Just as the state of Pennsylvania requires vaccinations against those diseases for entrance into secondary school, Solebury School is requiring that our students and employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year.
For the protection and safety of the Solebury School community, we are requiring proof of CDC- or WHO-approved vaccination against COVID-19 as a condition of attendance for the 2021-22 school year. Documenting your student’s vaccine on their required physical examination form (found behind the portal in registration documents) will provide the information needed.
There may be instances where an exemption to this requirement may be granted.
Students and employees with valid medical reasons precluding vaccination, as well as those with established, sincerely long-held religious beliefs that preclude receipt of a vaccination, may apply for an exemption from the vaccine requirement. Please contact Leila Crooks, Director of Health Services, or Tom Wilschutz, Head of School, for more information on the process of applying for an exemption. Students and employees who do not have either a vaccination card or an exemption on file will not be permitted to attend classes, school-related activities or be employed at Solebury School.
As now recommended by federal, state, and local entities, face masks are required for students, employees, and visitors in all indoor spaces and common areas as we begin the school year. This requirement will be revisited throughout the school year. Employees are not required to wear a mask when alone in workspaces or classrooms. In addition, face masks are not required in residential dormitories for the people who live there or are dorm parents at this time. These are home spaces for our residential students.
A couple of important points to note:
- Masks will be part of our new normal;
- Having a mask on does not mean that an individual is not vaccinated—many people may prefer to wear a mask when around people outside their home;
- Masks may be worn intermittently due to respiratory illness, allergies, etc.
Solebury School has joined the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Project ACE-IT Program, enabling us to utilize point-of-care rapid antigen tests on campus. Please complete this form for your student and submit it to our Health Center. Given the high vaccination rate of our community (96+%), our testing protocol will be selective at this time and will include:
- Unvaccinated/not fully vaccinated students and employees with vaccine exemptions will be tested weekly;
- Any individual with COVID-like symptoms will be tested immediately;
Other select groups as determined necessary by the School—for example, students and employees attending the overnight Proctor trip at Camp Bernie.
Indoor Room occupancy:
We are increasing our room occupancy back to pre-pandemic levels in classrooms, the Dining Hall, the PAC, Crib, Athletic Center, Library, and all other spaces on campus. We will also keep in place our improved ventilation and air filtration efforts—including open windows in most occupied spaces. We will continue to prioritize cleaning all spaces on campus, including those with high occupancy rates.
Return to campus for students:
Day Students - Orientation begins on September 9, 2021. See the schedule here. All students must submit proof of being fully vaccinated or have obtained a vaccine waiver before reporting to campus (see Vaccines above).
Boarding Students - See here for Move-In dates and Orientation schedule. All students must submit proof of being fully vaccinated or have obtained a vaccine waiver before reporting to campus (see Vaccines above). Boarding students with a vaccine waiver will undergo an eight-day testing protocol prior to entering the dorm— contact Leila Crooks for details by August 15. For international students, travel advisories or restrictions from state or federal entities will be considered and likely followed. Please contact Leila Crooks or Leah Hall-Hansen if you have any questions.
Visitors to campus:
Our campus is open for invited visitors and we ask them to check-in at the front desk of the Administration building when they arrive on campus. All visitors to campus must follow the school’s policies and procedures when on campus and may be asked to disclose their vaccination status.
COVID-positive diagnosis for employees or students:
While we expect that COVID-positive diagnoses will be minimal (given our high vaccination rate on campus), the possibility of cases does exist. All employees and students are required to disclose to our Health Office if they have received a positive COVID diagnosis, if they are unvaccinated and a close contact of a positive COVID diagnosis, and/or if they are quarantining because of a COVID exposure.
Solebury School will follow these protocols for any student or employee who is a close contact or who receives a positive COVID test result during the school year. We will once again notify students, parents, and employees of a positive COVID diagnosis for students or employees and share information as appropriate with Bucks County Department of Health and the State of Pennsylvania as required.