Health and Safety
Enhanced Health and Safety Measures for Our Return to Campus
A Shared Responsibility
Families and staff play a vital role in helping the school maintain safety on campus. The number one safety measure is to keep a child home if they are sick or for staff to stay home if they are sick. We want to work with families and staff to support our students' and staff’s adherence to safety measures while they are on campus as well as at home. To support this effort, prior to the start of on campus school, we will provide extensive training as well as an orientation to all staff, parents, and students on all safety/health procedures and to ensure the safest and smoothest transition to campus. As a community that prioritizes health and safety, we must all do our part to adhere to state health recommendations and regulations to control disease transmission and potential future outbreaks.
Moreover, there may be times when we will ask families/staff to comply with broader safety measures and we greatly appreciate your cooperation in this regard. Diener will incorporate enhanced COVID-19 safety measures for our return to campus that align with CDC as well as State and local guidelines, outlined below and subject to change.
Diener administrators are responsible for overseeing all staff and students and their adherence to all COVID-19 related procedures and policies. Laurie Aaronson and Alicia Evers are responsible for overseeing the daily health screening. Laurie Aaronson and Kathy Chumas are responsible for overseeing parent adherence to all COVID-19 related procedures and policies.
Failure to comply with any COVID-19 related procedure and/or policy will be subject to appropriate consequences outlined in the Staff and Parent Acknowledgment.
Each morning, before arriving on campus, staff will be required to complete a daily wellness screening through a link to a google document. This will include taking and recording their temperature (no more than 3 hrs prior to arrival) and answering a set of questions about symptoms and possible exposure to COVID-19. Completing the daily wellness screening should take no more than 2 minutes and will be an essential part of our overall health and safety plan.
Students will be required to complete the daily wellness screening and have their temperature taken at drop off/carpool line in the morning by Alicia Evers and Laurie Aaronson (or another Diener administrator).
A student/staff member may be asked to stay/return home and seek medical attention/quarantine if:
- A temperature of 100.0 or higher is recorded
- The answer to any question is YES
- Student or staff has traveled out of Maryland, Virginia, or D.C. and did not get tested for COVID upon return
We have carefully examined our physical spaces and how we organize and run the school day. Best practices such as social distancing, limiting transitions, and ensuring good hygiene at all times are paramount for optimal safety and will be enforced here at Diener. We realize that social distancing may not always be feasible and therefore, we will practice and maintain all additional safety measures during this time.
When the weather permits, we plan to utilize outdoor space as much as possible throughout the day. Classes such as Fitness may be held outdoors. When students are indoors, windows may be kept open to provide additional ventilation.
All staff and students will be required to wear a mask at all times indoors with the exception of eating/drinking and designated mask breaks. Masks will also be required outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
This is a key part of the plan as mask-wearing protects others and protects oneself. Diener has a large supply of masks on hand for both students and staff and will continuously be available at all times. Students or staff may choose to wear their own masks from home, but in all cases, masks must be worn. The school does not assume liability for any masks provided. If a student or staff chooses to bring/wear their own mask, the mask must: be made with multi-ply fabric, fit snugly over the nose and mouth area, not be loose or open, and must be worn with straps over the ears or tied around the back of the head. Wearing gaiters, scarves, or bandanas as masks will not be allowed. In addition, masks with ventilation will also not be allowed. Diener encourages students and employees to find an appropriate fitted mask and practice wearing them for extended periods leading up to on campus school. This will help ease the wearing of them throughout the school day.
Diener’s schedule allows for mask breaks for certain periods during the day. These mask breaks will be taken outside (when feasible) or while sitting at their desk with sneeze guards and appropriate social distancing is in place.
The CDC recommends for each person to clean their hands often, either with soap and water for 20 seconds or a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Diener will require all staff/students to wash their hands at the following times:
- Upon entering/exiting a classroom or office
- Before and after eating/drinking
- After a facemask has been touched/taken off
- After using the bathroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching a shared surface area or supply/material
- Before touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
All Diener classrooms have a sink and soap dispenser for hand washing. In addition, there are 1-2 sinks in each bathroom that staff/students can use. When soap and water are not accessible, students and staff will be required to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Diener has a large supply of hand sanitizer (gel, spray, wipes) on hand for staff/students’ use and will be replenished when necessary. Each classroom/office will have a hand sanitizing station outside of the entrance to the room and anyone entering/exiting the room/office will be required to use the sanitizer. All staff will carry a travel-size hand sanitizer with them at all times, as well.
All classrooms will have no more than 15 people in the room at one time (no exception).
All classrooms will be set up to allow for social distancing (at least 6 ft) while students are at their desk/seat. All student desks will have a sneeze guard mounted to the desk as an extra layer of protection. Faculty and staff may also have a sneeze guard mounted to their desk. If a rectangular table is being used in the classroom, students will be seated at each end with a sneeze guard in the middle of the table.
Students will stay in their homeroom “cohort” for instruction as much as possible during the school day. Should any student(s) have to travel to another room, the chair and desk will be cleaned and sanitized before and after use.
All students will be provided with individual/personal basic school and art supplies as well as manipulatives and fidgets.
There will be no sharing of these supplies.
If any supply (game, activity, whiteboard, etc.) has been used in the classroom, it will be thoroughly washed and sanitized before the next use. Each classroom will have a dirty bucket in their classroom. Once a material has been used by an individual, the material will be placed in the dirty bucket. At the end of the day, all dirty materials will be cleaned and sanitized using an appropriate disinfectant. Once the dirty materials have been cleaned, sanitized, and dried, the material will be placed back in the classroom for the next use.
Diener has a large supply of disinfecting wipes and spray that can be used on all surfaces. In addition, we have purchased 2 UV Disinfectant Light wands to use on smaller surfaces. All high touch surface areas (bathrooms, doorknobs, light switches, hand railings) will be cleaned and sanitized AT LEAST every 2 hrs by custodial staff. Diener administrators will clean all high touch surface areas AT LEAST every 2 hours in between the time(s) the custodial staff has cleaned. Teachers will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces in their classrooms throughout the day. Sprayers will be used to disinfect any outdoor surfaces that need it after each use.
In addition to the daily screening, Diener has updated the health policy to adhere to the CDC and state recommendations that include the following:
- Any student that exhibits ANY of the following symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell, fever of 100.0 or higher, chills or shaking chills, muscle aches, sore throat, headache) will be brought to an isolated health room that is monitored by a staff member in full PPE wear. This student will be sent home to seek medical attention. Parents (or authorized person for pick up) must pick up the student within 45 minutes of initial call. **Proper communication and notifications will be made accordingly.
- Any staff member that exhibits ANY of the following symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, the new loss of taste or smell, fever of 100.0 or higher, chills or shaking chills, muscle aches, sore throat, headache) will be sent home to seek medical attention. **Proper communication and notifications will be made accordingly.
- Any student that needs medication/emergency medication/medical attention for anything other than COVID-19 symptoms/first aid will be brought to a private area in the classroom to be given aid by a certified medication technician.
- Diener has Thermal Scanners for fever detection to be used (if needed) during the school day.
- The isolated health rooms for students experiencing any symptoms will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized after each use. This room is directly beside an exit door where parents will come to pick up.
Families and Staff are required to report:
- A positive case of COVID-19 in the household.
- A positive case in anyone who had close personal contact with you/your child.
- Symptoms of COVID-19 like illness.
- Student or staff travels outside of Maryland, Virginia or D.C.
- Household member travels outside of Maryland, Virginia or D.C.
- Diener will not allow anyone other than students and staff members to enter the building (including parents and visitors).
- Diener will not be using/sharing any other building on campus.
- Upgrades to our HVAC system to include MERV-13 air filters have been installed for improved circulation.
- Air purifiers have been placed in all classrooms and isolated health rooms.
- Teacher Workroom/Break Area supplies and equipment will be cleaned and sanitized between each use.
- All water fountains in the building will be taped off and not used. Students and staff will be using individual water bottles throughout the day.
- Hallway traffic will be limited and monitored and overseen by a designated staff member.
- Bathroom(s) traffic and use will be limited to two people at a time (middle stall closed for students) and monitored and overseen by faculty and staff.
- Lockers will not be used at this time.
- Lunch and snack will be provided by parents daily and eaten in homeroom at the student’s desk or outdoors (when feasible). Students will have access to the microwave but only homeroom teacher(s) may operate the microwave.
- Vans will not be used for the transportation of any student or staff member.
- Students and staff will be required to use a mask outdoors at all times when social distancing is not possible.
- Students and staff must maintain social distancing while using the playground.
- Each class will have a designated area/equipment to use for recess.
- All playground equipment will be cleaned and sanitized after use using a sprayer.
Proper signage will be placed in all areas of the Diener School facility, including but not limited to hallways, classrooms, offices, bathrooms, etc.
Signage will include:
- Social Distancing floor markers placed on floors
- Proper handwashing technique
- Practicing good hygiene (wash your hands, wear a face cover, cover coughs/sneezes, social distancing)
- Reminder to keep 6 ft. apart
- COVID-19 related tips for the protection of spreading germs
Please be sure to keep your phone with you at all times and check email regularly.
- Laurie Aaronson and/or Kathy Chumas will communicate with the community about current local conditions and school protocols and policies as needed.
- Phone calls will be made regarding the health of individual students. An email will be used for all other communications, including emergency alerts.
- All families will be alerted immediately if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in the school community.
- Anyone (student or staff) who has had direct contact with a known confirmed case of COVID-19 will be alerted immediately.
The Diener School strongly discourages non-essential travel at this time. All travel outside of Maryland, D.C., or Virginia must be reported to Laurie Aaronson.
STUDENT/STAFF TRAVEL POLICY: Any staff member or student who travels out of state (excluding Washington, DC and Virginia), no matter the positivity rate, must get a COVID-19 test within 72 hrs. of arrival back in Maryland (D.C. or Virginia) and self-quarantine until NEGATIVE test results are received. Staff member or student may choose to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival back in Maryland/DC/VA instead of taking test. No student or staff member will be allowed to return to Diener without a NEGATIVE test result or 14-day quarantine.
FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD MEMBER TRAVEL POLICY: If a family/household member must travel, plans must be communicated with the school. Any family/household member should follow The Maryland Department of Health Travel Advisory Guidelines (no action required for student/staff member at this time).
The Maryland Department of Health strongly recommends that all Marylanders refrain from nonessential travel outside of Maryland due to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in other states. In addition:
- Any Marylander returning from out-of-state or any out-of-state traveler should either get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival in Maryland or within 72 hours before travel to Maryland. A list of test sites can be found here: (https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/symptoms-testing).
- We encourage out-of-state visitors to be tested within 72 hours prior to arrival and to cancel travel if they receive a positive result. Visitors waiting for their test results should stay at home between the time of their test and their arrival in Maryland or to self-quarantine at their hotel.
- Any Marylander who travels to a state with a COVID-19 test positivity rate above 10% should get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. The District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Virginia are exempt from this recommendation. A list of state COVID-19 test positivity rates can be found here: (https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#testing) (COVID-19 Tests Performed by State - Commercial and Reference, Public Health, and Hospital).
- Essential workers, as previously referenced in the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel’s COVID-19-04 Interpretative Guidance, are exempt from the quarantine recommendation if they are returning or traveling to Maryland to perform essential work, as well as employee commuters who leave/enter the state on a daily basis and have work-based COVID-19 screening procedures.
The Diener School will not be participating in any field trips outside of the building.
Student will be dropped off and picked up outside of the building, in a carpool line around the main entrance circle. Each classroom on the first floor has a direct door to the outside and students in these classrooms will only use their designated classroom door. All students whose classroom is on the second floor will be entering/exiting through two designated doors. A staff member will assist to ensure that no more than one person is entering/exiting at a time.
If a student is going to be dropped off late or picked up early, the parent/guardian must call Diener’s main office to inform us of the late arrival/early pick up. A staff member will either meet the student who is dropped off late and escort them to their classroom or escort the student who is leaving early out of the building to ensure no outside visitors enter Diener.
Diener's Dedicated COVID-19 Contact
In the event a student, staff member, or student/staff household member has a confirmed case of COVID-19 or related symptoms or has been told to quarantine/isolate by a medical professional OR to report upcoming travel, please contact:
Laurie@thedienerschool.org or call (301) 299-4602