COVID-19 Protocols for the 2021-22 School Year
AGS’s top priorities are to keep our students safe and to do all we can to ensure they are able to learn in person whenever possible. Students are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shots as recommended by the CDC. As of November 2021, faculty and staff are required to either have received the vaccination or submit negative test results on a weekly basis. In order to operate a fully in-person program and offer our students an experience that includes arts, athletics, collaborative activities, and more, we have implemented the following protocols:
- In alignment with recommendations from the CDC, masks are optional indoors for all students, faculty and staff, and visitors. Masks are optional outdoors for all community members. Visitors will be permitted on campus.
- We encourage frequent hand washing/sanitizing and implement appropriate cleaning procedures throughout our physical spaces, including special attention to high-touch spaces.
- Students should follow CDC recommendations regarding symptoms, close contacts, and quarantine. Our nurse, Monique Rodriguez, can assist you with questions pertaining to your family’s individual situation.
Everyone at AGS appreciates the support and cooperation of our families as we work together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. As public health guidance evolves, our COVID-19 Health and Safety Task Force may update our protocols to align with new recommendations and will keep you informed if any protocols change.
The AGS COVID-19 Task Force works to address policies, procedures, and logistics that help the school meet its aim of providing a safe and engaging in-person learning experience to our students in 2021-22. This task force makes decisions based on guidance from the CDC, the World Health Organization, and Georgia Department of Public Health. Key areas considered by the task force include:
- Health and Safety
- Teaching and Learning
- Student Life
- Faculty and Staff
Health and Wellness Pledge
All families must commit to supporting AGS’s health, wellness and safety protocols and must agree to keep students home when they are not feeling well, have COVID-like symptoms or have potentially been exposed. Each family is required to complete the AGS Health and Wellness Pledge, which is available through Blackbaud and must be completed with the other medical documents required for the start of school.
What do I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19, is showing symptoms, or has a confirmed close contact?
Any child exhibiting symptoms, testing positive, or with a confirmed close contact should stay home and not report to school. Parents should contact school nurse Monique Rodriguez as soon as possible to determine next steps.
Families are required to notify the school nurse, Monique Rodriguez, about any diagnosis of COVID-19. AGS will immediately notify families whose daughter may have been exposed via email. Only those AGS community members who were in close contact (exposed) with the infected individual will be informed, not the entire school or campus community.
Per CDC guidelines, a close contact is defined as anyone that was within six feet of an infected person, with or without a mask, for 15 minutes or more. If you take care of someone in your home who is COVID-19 positive, you had direct physical contact through kissing or hugging, you shared eating or drinking utensils, or if a person who is COVID-19 positive sneezed or coughed on you, you are considered a close contact.
If your student has close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19, please follow CDC and Georgia Department of Health guidance regarding quarantine. Contact AGS Nurse Monique Rodriguez for further guidance regarding your child’s quarantine.
How will my child continue her learning if she needs to stay home for a confirmed case of COVID-19, close contact, or symptoms of COVID-19?
Each faculty member has the necessary tools and training to conduct hybrid classes as needed. If a student is quarantining but still able to attend virtual classes, she will follow her normal schedule and attend classes via Zoom. Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19 quarantines and the priority placed on in-person learning, we are unable to guarantee that the virtual experience will exactly mirror the in-person student experience. Teachers will work closely with virtual students to ensure clear and realistic expectations from both parties.
Virtual learning is reserved for COVID-19-related situations only and should not be used for other purposes.
AGS evaluates requests for short-term virtual learning on a case-by-case basis. Any student choosing virtual learning will follow her normal schedule and attend classes via Zoom. While we are unable to guarantee that the virtual experience will exactly mirror the in-person student experience, teachers will work closely with virtual students to ensure clear and realistic expectations from both parties. If you have questions regarding your family’s circumstances, please reach out to Upper and Middle School Director Krista Parker and School Nurse Monique Rodriguez.
As of November 2021, all faculty and staff are required to show proof of vaccination or agree to submit weekly negative COVID test results from a licensed healthcare provider. AGS encourages all students to be vaccinated and receive booster shots within CDC guidelines.
98% of faculty and staff have received the full COVID-19 vaccine. Our student vaccination rate is approximately 82%.
Faculty and staff must either have proof of vaccination on file or submit weekly negative COVID test results. There may be occasions when AGS requests universal testing for faculty and staff as an extra precaution.
The Georgia Department of Health recommendation is to get your student tested when there is possible exposure or when the student is exhibiting symptoms. There may be occasions when AGS requests universal testing for students as an extra precaution, such as at the end of holiday breaks.
AGS families are welcome to use their preferred licensed healthcare provider for testing and vaccinations. The Viral Solutions site next door to the AGS campus is a convenient choice for many families and may partner with AGS to provide options for our families at times that universal testing is deemed appropriate.
Campus visitors, including parents and others, are allowed on campus during the 2021-22 school year. Masks are optional indoors and outdoors. No guest should come to campus while exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19.
As of January 2021 and until further notice, guest faculty and admissions visitors are required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the campus visit.
Faculty are encouraged to make arrangements for one-time guest speakers to visit via Zoom rather than in person.
All students are encouraged to use outdoor eating areas. Indoor alternatives are as follows: Middle schoolers eat lunch in the Middle School Dining Hall. Upper Schoolers eat in the Upper School Commons. Seniors with parental permission are allowed to leave campus for lunch. Any student may opt to eat in a supervised classroom.
Students are given the entire lunch period for eating and relaxation; however, students are expected to unmask only for the time they are eating. For socializing during the lunch period, masks are required indoors.
The Parents’ Circle has generously purchased additional outdoor seating and umbrellas for our outdoor dining tables to help us encourage outdoor dining.
We continue to offer performing arts and athletics opportunities to our students. As with our general protocols, athletics and performing arts protocols are designed with our students’ safety at top of mind. Since these distinct activities each require special considerations, families can expect to receive information regarding any special protocols directly from the teachers, coaches, or administrators overseeing these activities.
All students, faculty and staff, and visitors are required to wear a cloth mask or similar while on campus.
The following masks are acceptable:
- Single-use, disposable surgical, medical, or dust masks
- Washable cloth face mask, including neoprene masks
Please note that face shields or bandanas may not be used as substitutes for masks and that masks must be properly worn over the nose and mouth.
Yes, AGS classrooms and common areas are equipped with air purifiers installed in HVAC units. Every HVAC unit on campus is equipped with an ionization unit that ionizes the air to kill bacteria and viruses before being blown back into the room.
We use a combination of factors and metrics to decide if we need to adjust any of our protocols temporarily or for the duration of the year. While our decision may or may not align with other schools, we will consider government/state mandates, student and/or faculty absenteeism that may prohibit us from executing our mission in person, high risk of school/local/state spread of the disease, and guidelines provided by the CDC and local and state health officials.
The AGS Weekly, sent every Thursday while school is in session, is the school’s main vehicle for updates pertaining to all parents. Parents may also receive announcements regarding COVID prevention strategies via email from the Head of School.
In alignment with recommendations from the CDC, masks are optional indoors and outdoors for all students, faculty and staff, and visitors. This change in policy comes after a significant decline in the number of positive COVID-19 cases in both AGS and in the broader community. High vaccination rates among the AGS community were also taken into consideration for this policy change.
Per Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) recommendations, students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 and end isolation after 5 days will still be required to wear a mask for the remainder of the 10 days after they develop symptoms (or have tested positive but show no symptoms). In cases of exposure to COVID-19, vaccinated students and staff should wear a mask for a full 10 days after exposure. Those who are unvaccinated should quarantine at home for a period of 5 days and continue wearing a mask for the remainder of the 10 days. We will continue contract tracing when students are exposed to positive cases on campus or through AGS activities.
Our procedures for positive COVID-19 cases remain the same: If your child tests positive for COVID-19, contact school nurse Monique Rodriguez for guidance regarding your child’s isolation requirements and so AGS can conduct contract tracing. Your child’s requirements depend on factors such as their vaccination status and the latest CDC guidance. As always, please keep your child home from school if they exhibit possible symptoms of COVID-19.