Back-to-school Guidance: Highlights

*posted on behalf of the LSAT parents and PTA executive committee / cross post to Maury listserv

Hi Maury friends,

Woohoo! We are so thrilled to be here at this moment with all of you: this wonderful, exciting, highly-anticipated last-weekend-before-the-start-of-a-new-school-year moment!

There’s a lot of swirl right now regarding back-to-school protocol, and we know that having one place to look for information can make our hectic lives much easier. As parent members of the Local School Advisory Team (LSAT) and the PTA executive committee, we’ve put together a list of a few key guidelines we hope our community will willingly and graciously adhere to in order to protect our children, teachers, staff, and ultimately, our own families. We recognize there might be varying thoughts around this guidance. This note is not meant to be a commentary on the guidance, but rather a clear communication about what the current guidance is. This guidance is subject to change.

Please take the highlights below with a “we’re all in this together” mentality. Let’s get this right in order to have a safe, successful school year!

Covid testing in school –

As of yesterday, the mayor announced students will be automatically eligible for symptomatic and random asymptomatic COVID-19 testing. This test will be a non-invasive saliva-based PCR test instead of a nasal swab. More information on this new development may be found here. Nearly 100% of Maury in-person students participated in the testing program last year.

Proper face masks for children –

Face masks should fit well and stay on your child’s face. DCPS policy states: “Face masks should consist of two (2) to three (3) layers of tightly woven fabric that fit snugly against the sides of the face, and they must cover the nose and mouth.” Neck gaiters and bandanas are expressly mentioned by DCPS as not meeting this criteria. Let’s take the burden off our teachers to enforce this issue by ensuring our children wear appropriate masks that fit properly. Any child in need of a mask or wearing a mask that does not meet the criteria will be given a disposable mask from the school’s supply.

Mask wearing for adults during pick up and on the playground –

Regardless of vaccination status, DCPS policy states that anyone on school property must be masked, and this includes the playground. Please wear a mask everywhere on and around the school campus, to include outside places like the nearby sidewalks. If children stay after school, whether inside the building or on the playground, masks should continue to be worn.

Travel outside the area –

Current guidance from the Mayor’s office discourages travel outside of the area during the school year. If your child does travel outside the VA-DC-MD area, the guidance also recommends self-quarantining upon return and states: “Three to five days after returning, individuals should get a COVID-19 test. If the test is negative, the self quarantine can end after the seventh day. If no test is performed, unvaccinated individuals should self-quarantine for 10 days.”

Drop off and eating breakfast at school –

Free breakfast is provided for every child at school beginning at 8:15am, however, due to COVID protocols while eating, breakfast will be a more structured time than in previous years. If your child eats breakfast at home, please do not drop them off before 8:30am.

**Here is the new daily COVID tracker children should show at the door upon arrival.**

Do not send sick children to school, even if symptoms are mild –

Gone are the days when a sniffy child with a low-grade fever could be given some medicine and sent off to school. Children who show signs of illness should stay home. Below is the guidance from DCPS.

Getting COVID tested in DC –

If your family needs to get COVID tested or you would like to proactively get tested (you do NOT need a reason or known exposure to get a FREE test), here are two links to find a testing location near you:

We hope our community we will deeply embrace this year our Maury five stances – empathy, flexibility, optimism, persistence, and resilience – as we accept the challenge of doing school during such a time as this. We are grateful to be in community with this group of parents, guardians, caretakers, teachers, staff, volunteers, and children. Let’s do all we can to take care of one another!

There will be a September LSAT meeting and a PTA meeting (date/time TBD) where all are invited to attend to continue the discussion about reopening and back-to-school, among many other important issue items.

Go Cougars!

Maury LSAT parent members and the PTA executive committee

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