COVID-19 Awareness and Information
Our mission, values, and a commitment to the health and safety of our community members are central to how Moorestown Friends School is navigating decisions surrounding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). We recognize that people all over the world are being affected by this virus, and we are guided by both real-time information from experts as well as our core value of respect for all human beings.
The Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) is charged with monitoring, evaluating, and responding to the changing COVID-19 landscape and has created this page to serve as an ongoing resource for the MFS community. We thank you for your partnership as we make decisions with the best interests of our students, faculty/staff, and families in mind.
Click here to visit the archived Return to School 2020 web page which includes the Return to School Plan and MFS@Home Remote Learning Summary.
Guiding Principles and Assumptions
The following principles will guide our leadership team as we make the best decisions possible for our community.
- Our top priority is the collective health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and families. We will strive to make decisions that can be sustained by all community members over the course of the school year.
- Clear and regular communication with our community is critical for maintaining trust and ensuring the smoothest experience for all involved.
- Our foundational Quaker values of integrity, community, equality, and stewardship will be core to how we make decisions. We are committed to maintaining a strong educational experience for our students through the pandemic and will make sound financial choices to ensure the long-term sustainability of the institution for generations more.
- The “power of small”–as a small school, we will adapt as needed to meet the changing situation and to reduce disruption for students.
- Remaining inclusive in our decision-making will help us best address the needs of our diverse constituents.
- In order to balance the educational and health needs of our community, we understand that unless all families and employees are under strict quarantine, there will always be an element of risk to convening in person. Our goal is to mitigate that risk and create the healthiest environment possible in which children can learn.
- The school year will look different from what we have known in the past and may include some combination of virtual, face-to-face, and hybrid learning, as waves of infection impact our geographic area.
- We will operate on campus only if it is in alignment with our local and state authorities and if we can successfully and reasonably follow the CDC guidelines available at the time.
- Moorestown Friends expects a phased re-entry to the school year and will prioritize getting our youngest learners (Lower School – Preschool through Grade 4) on campus as much as possible, as they require the greatest hands-on support to grow and adapt to the changing environment.
COVID-19 Information Sources
CRT is monitoring several key sources for information and guidance on COVID-19:
Health and Hygiene
At school, students and employees can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining healthy behaviors, including regular handwashing, the use of face coverings, good coughing etiquette, social distancing, reduced mixing between groups, and limited sharing of supplies or materials. Staying home when exhibiting any signs of illness is particularly important and we ask that all families adhere to this request. MFS will work hard to ensure children remain connected to their classrooms, and teachers will make reasonable adjustments to support students’ continued learning. In this way, no one will need to take the risk of coming to school when sick. All of these layered tactics will mitigate the overall risk to the community.
Please refer to the Return to School 2020 web page for much more information.
Family Health & Wellness Pledge
Family Health & Wellness Pledge: 2020-2021 School Year
As a Moorestown Friends School family, we understand that our community is deeply interconnected and we all
play a critical role in keeping the MFS community healthy and safe.
As responsible members of the MFS community, my family commits to the following:
- Recognizing the stressful nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, I will exercise patience with others, assume
good intentions, and aim to be a part of the solution.
- I will not support or participate in discriminatory behaviors related to COVID-19 and will engage
respectfully with all community members. Discrimination towards people of a particular background or
towards those who have been in contact with the virus is not acceptable in the community.
- I will complete a daily symptom survey for each child prior to arriving on campus.
- I will keep my child(ren) home if they show any signs of illness associated with COVID-19 or if the daily
symptom assessment app indicates I should do so.
- I will keep my child(ren) home if they, others in our household, or someone close to my child (babysitter,
extended family, etc.) are exposed to or test positive for COVID-19. I will notify the school immediately.
- I will keep my child(ren) home if anyone in my household or close to my child is awaiting COVID-19 test
results until the outcome is known.
- I permit the school to administer a temperature check or other appropriate medical assessment when
necessary. In the event my child(ren) show(s) symptoms of illness, I will promptly pick them up from
school to go home.
- I will provide my child(ren) with an approved face covering on a daily basis, knowing that they cannot enter
campus without one.
- I will follow federal, state, and local orders regarding social distancing and other measures to prevent the
spread of COVID-19, knowing that my activity outside of school will potentially have a direct impact on
those at school.
- I will abide by the New Jersey incoming travel advisory that all individuals entering New Jersey from states
with a significant spread of COVID-19 should quarantine for 14 days after leaving that state. I will also
avoid non-essential travel whenever possible.
- I will practice and reinforce healthy behaviors outside of school, including regular handwashing, the use of
face coverings, good coughing etiquette, social distancing, and reduced mixing with others when possible.
- I will keep medical information for my child(ren) current with the school
I understand that during this global pandemic, what my family does outside of school could impact the health of
other students, faculty, staff, and families. It is my responsibility to honestly, and in a spirit of partnership and
goodwill, honor the commitments above. If my family is unable to uphold these commitments, I may be asked by
the school to have my child learn remotely for a period of time. Because only one signature is required on this
form, I pledge that every parent/guardian of this child has read, understands, and commits to the responsibilities
outlined in this Pledge.
[Families sign via myMFS portal]
In light of the global pandemic, Moorestown Friends School discourages non-essential travel during the 2020-21 school year. As part of our community pledge, we recognize that what we do outside of school has a direct impact on our students, faculty, and staff who attend school each day. In an effort to minimize impact on our community as well as impact on individual students and their education, we ask that families carefully consider any travel plans this year.
If a student travels to an area of high community transmission for COVID-19, they will be asked to quarantine at home for 14 days. If they are feeling well during that time, they can attend school remotely. High transmission areas are defined as follows:
- Domestic Travel–any states that are on the current travel advisory list issued by the State of New Jersey.
- International Travel–any country that is designated by the CDC as Level 3 or higher on the risk assessment scale.
- Cruises–the CDC recommends that cruise travel be deferred for the time being.
If a household member (including returning college siblings) returns from an area of high community transmission and is without symptoms for COVID-19, but the student has not traveled, the student may continue to attend school. If the traveling household member exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, they are encouraged to visit their physician and seek a COVID test. The student will be asked to stay home until the results of the test are known.
Frequently Asked Questions
Under what conditions would you consider moving to Modified Remote or All Virtual Learning?
At any time, we may be asked by the state or the county to move to remote learning, should the community spread of COVID-19 rise to concerning levels. At times, the Governor makes decisions that affect public schools only; other times, decisions affect all schools, including independent institutions. There may be times when the state or county allows for in-person learning, but Moorestown Friends School may determine that remote learning is safer for our community. This decision would always be made in consultation with our local department of health. There are a number of important factors that would influence our decision to move to a modified program or All Virtual Learning.
- If the state, county, or infectious disease experts recommend moving to remote learning, all or in part
- If we have inadequate staffing on-campus to support an in-person program
- If there are local outbreaks connected to our community or if cases of COVID are impacting school-aged children at increased rates in our area
- If there are two or more cases of COVID-19 on our campus within a 14-day period and the local department of health recommends closure depending on the circumstances of the cases
- If rates of community spread of COVID-19 rise to concerning levels in our county or region (Southwest region of New Jersey is defined as Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, and Salem counties)
- The State Department of Health defines a “moderate” COVID-19 activity level as up to 10 new daily cases per 100,000 as calculated over a 14-day period and/or 3%-10% positivity. A “high” activity level is over 10 new daily cases per 100,000 or over 10% positivity.
- Should we see county rates (primarily Burlington and Camden counties) in the 7-10 new daily case range or 5% or more positivity rate, MFS would be in close contact with our local department of health to understand the root cause and to consider moving to a more hybrid or all remote learning model. Cases consistently greater than 10 new daily cases per 100,000 would likely lead to all virtual learning.
- We will be looking at how quickly cases are increasing, ICU capacity in our region, and the rate of transmission, with greater than 1.0 being of concern.
- Moorestown Friends School is consulting a variety of sources for the latest metrics, including the New Jersey Department of Health, Covidactnow, and the Harvard Global Health Institute, as well as county and regional data.
It may be determined that complete campus closure is not necessary, but that de-densifying the campus or prioritizing our youngest students may be more advisable, given the circumstances.
Are face coverings required?
When worn correctly and consistently, face coverings can help slow the spread of COVID-19, together with other preventive actions and social distancing. In accordance with recommendations from the CDC and the State of New Jersey, Moorestown Friends School requires that face coverings be worn by students, employees and guests at all times indoors, unless they are under two years of age or have difficulty breathing. Any student or family requesting a medical exemption to the face covering requirement may take advantage of the MFS@Home learning option. Although the school will provide a cloth face covering for every student, families are encouraged to have a supply of comfortable cloth face coverings that are at least two layers and fit securely around the nose and mouth. Students should wash their face coverings daily, and it is advised to have a back-up face covering available at school or in backpacks, should one get soiled or wet during the day.
What types of face coverings are permitted?
There are a variety of cloth face coverings to choose from on the market, but MFS requests that coverings be a minimum of two-ply material that securely covers the nose and mouth without gapping on the sides. Disposable face coverings can be used if they meet these same requirements. Face coverings with exhalation valves or vents will not be permitted, as they allow air to exit through a hole in the material. Bandanas, neck gaiters and other coverings that are one layer are also not permitted. It is important to select face coverings that your child can tolerate for an extended period of time, so consider ear loops, ties, and materials that are breathable and gentle on the skin. Please refer to the dress code section of the Family Handbook, as the same guidelines that apply to selection of clothing will also apply to face coverings. Note that face shields are not a substitute for a cloth face covering.
Can students and employees take breaks from their face coverings?
While indoors, face coverings may only be removed briefly during meals when social distancing can be maintained, although outdoor lunch will be encouraged. For young students who have nap time as part of their day, they may remove face coverings since social distancing between mats will be ensured. Face coverings may be removed outdoors only if more than six feet of social distance can be maintained.
Will MFS be doing universal testing of students and employees?
Currently, the CDC does not recommend universal testing of asymptomatic individuals in a school setting. One-time or universal entry testing could miss COVID-19 cases in the early stages of infection, and it could miss exposures that happen after testing. In consultation with our local department of health and our nurse’s office, Moorestown Friends may recommend a student or employee follow up with their health care provider to consider testing if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 and may have known exposure.
When will my child(ren) be asked to stay home from school?
Individuals with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported, ranging from mild to severe. There is no single symptom that is uniquely predictive of COVID, and symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Possible symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following: Fever or chills; Cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; Fatigue; Muscle or body aches; Headache; New loss of taste or smell; Sore throat; Congestion or runny nose; Nausea or vomiting; Diarrhea.
Parents should not send students to school when sick. After completing the daily symptom assessment, a student will be asked to stay home if they exhibit:
- At least two of the following symptoms: chills, shivers, myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion, or runny nose; OR
- At least one of the following symptoms: fever (100.4 degrees or higher), cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of smell, or new loss of taste.
Parents should keep their child(ren) home if they or anyone in the household has been diagnosed or has been exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, if the child has traveled to any location with high rates of community transmission, they will be asked to quarantine at home for 14 days.
When can my child return to school?
If a student stays home or is sent home with symptoms of COVID-19, you must send to the nurse’s office either a negative COVID test or a medical note with an alternative diagnosis in order to return to school. In addition, the student’s fever must be resolved for at least 24 hours without fever reducing medication and other symptoms must have improved. If a student has tested positive for COVID-19 or is a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, they will receive explicit instructions from the nurse’s office on when it is acceptable to return to campus.
What will happen if there is a positive case of COVID-19 on campus?
If a child or family member of a child receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, we ask that you contact the school immediately. Once the school learns of a positive case–either student or employee–we will notify the local health department and they will begin the contact tracing process in collaboration with the school. Close contacts are defined as being within six feet of someone with suspected or known COVID-19 for at least 10 consecutive minutes. If the school cannot determine whether individuals have met this criterion, an entire cohort, classroom, or other group may need to be considered exposed, particularly if people have spent time together indoors. As long as routine cleaning and disinfecting have been done at least daily, additional cleaning measures are not necessary unless the COVID-19 positive person is in school on the day the school officials learn of the positive test. If this is the case, MFS will close off areas used by the person who is confirmed positive, open windows to increase air circulation in the areas, and wait 24 hours before cleaning and disinfecting all affected areas. In consultation with the local health officials, the school administration will determine what closure (classroom, division, school), if any, would be necessary.
Will I be notified if there is a potential exposure or positive case of COVID-19 on campus?
If there is a potential exposure to COVID-19, the school will notify students, families, or employees who have been identified as close contacts. If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in the school–either student or employee–the entire parent/guardian population will be notified. In all cases, confidentiality will be preserved as required by state and federal laws. Out of respect for those involved, we ask that community members not speculate or spread misinformation surrounding suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
How will contact tracing work at the school?
Contact tracing is a strategy used to determine the source of an infection and how it is spreading. Close contacts are defined as being within six feet of someone with suspected or known COVID-19 for at least 10 consecutive minutes. If there is a positive case among students or employees, the school will provide to the local department of health any information on the types of interactions (close contacts, length of contact) the person may have had with other people in the building or on the campus. If the school cannot determine whether individuals have met this criterion, an entire cohort, classroom, or other group may need to be considered exposed, particularly if people have spent time together indoors.
How will the nurse’s office work this year?
Two rooms will be used to manage all medical needs. The nurse’s office will handle all non-COVID-related needs. The Moriuchi Room in Stokes Hall has been designated our COVID isolation room. This room is outfitted with floor to ceiling plastic panels for three separate spaces: a space for evaluation and two isolation bays for COVID symptomatic students or adults. The space is a short term isolation room where suspected cases will stay awaiting immediate parent/guardian pick up.
What outdoor spaces are being provided for learning, lunch, or other activities?
We have identified more than ten spaces on campus grounds where outdoor classrooms can be held. Some sun shade sails and canopies will be installed to provide more shade and shelter for comfort. On a daily basis, teachers will take into consideration class content and technology needs, which will guide their decision on outdoor learning.
Previous School Communications
Thanksgiving Travel Survey and Winter Break Information
October 30, 2020
Video – Prioritizing Health & Safety Outside of School
October 29, 2020
COVID-19 Case Notification
October 29, 2020
Quick Reference November Calendar and Important Notes
October 28, 2020
COVID-19 Case Notification
October 28, 2020
COVID-19 Case Notification
October 26, 2020
COVID-19 Case Notification and Important Schedule Information
October 25, 2020
COVID-19 Case Notification
October 23, 2020
COVID-19 in School Settings: Expert Guidance
October 21, 2020
COVID Cautions: Gatherings and Flu Season
October 7, 2020
A Message from Julia de la Torre
September 29, 2020
MFS To Enter Full Modified Remote Learning on September 29
September 22, 2020
A Request for Your Feedback
September 17, 2020
Fall Athletics Roadmap
September 10, 2020
Return to School 2020 Video and Save the Date for Head’s Greeting
September 4, 2020
Daily Health Screenings
September 2, 2020
E-News: Back-to-School Information
September 2, 2020
Drop Off and Pick Up Video and Information
September 1, 2020
Chromebook Loan Agreement & Acceptable Use of Technology Policy
September 1, 2020
Questions and concerns may be sent directly to the Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coronavirus Response Team: Julia de la Torre, Jenel Giles, Meredith Godley, Evan Haine-Roberts, Noah Rachlin, Jen Raue (School Nurse), and Mike Schlotterbeck.
Resources for Parents and Guardians
We recognize that supporting students to understand the changing situation surrounding Coronavirus can be a challenge. We hope the following resources give you a starting point for talking to your children about the issue.
How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus
New York Times Parenting
How to Talk to Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus
Explaining the News to Our Kids
Common Sense Media
Teens, Tweens & Quarantines is a virtual Minding Your Mind presentation by Jon Mattleman for parents and caregivers.
Articles by the Child Mind Institute: