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 COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that this global health emergency is ongoing and that many in our school community are still at risk until the COVID-19 vaccine is available to children of all ages. 

The Coronavirus Response Team 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. In consultation with our local county health officials, the State of New Jersey Department of Health, experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and other infectious disease experts, we have made a number of decisions regarding the 2021-22 school year. As was true last year, we are taking a layered approach to health and safety. Vaccination, social distancing, and proper ventilation combined with good hand hygiene and staying home when sick will limit viral transmission and keep our community healthy. Please check back throughout the year, as we will keep this page updated. 

Guiding Principles
Guiding Principles

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.
  • Although there will always be an element of risk to convening in person, we believe that in-person learning is a priority. Our goal will be to mitigate, not eliminate, that risk and create the healthiest environment possible in which children can learn.
  • 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.
 
COVID-19 Information Sources

CRT is monitoring several key sources for information and guidance on COVID-19:

CRT is also tracking several indicators from our local counties, region, and the state, among other sources:
Community Responsibilities

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. Although the worst of the global pandemic seems to be behind us, there are still many unknowns and much of our community remains vulnerable. As responsible members of the MFS community, my family will:

  • Monitor my child(ren) daily for symptoms and keep them home when sick.
  • Pick up my child(ren) promptly from school should they become symptomatic during the day.
  • Communicate openly and in a spirit of partnership with the school about my child(ren)’s health and any possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Follow any health and safety requirements set forth by the school.
  • Keep my child(ren)’s health records current with the nurse’s office.
  • Exercise empathy, assume good intentions, and withhold judgment or bias towards anyone for their vaccination status or mask-wearing choice.
Health & Safety

The CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health agree that layering preventive measures is the best way to protect the community, especially those who are not fully vaccinated. Which layers we employ will depend heavily on the level of COVID-19 transmission in our region, as well as vaccination coverage rates both in our region and in our school. As these numbers shift and change throughout the year, we may adapt some of these layered mitigation strategies to balance both the health and well-being of our community and as much of a typical school experience as possible.

Vaccination
Although Moorestown Friends School does not require students to be vaccinated at this time, we strongly encourage anyone eligible to get vaccinated. Achieving high levels of COVID-19 vaccination among our community members is one of the best ways for us to resume normal operations. Eligible students may find vaccination sites near them on this website or from a network of clinics in Burlington County. Currently, students who are 5 years or older are eligible to get vaccinated.

MFS requires that all school personnel are vaccinated in compliance with our employee vaccination policy.

According to the CDC, there are a number of situations in which vaccinated individuals may follow different health procedures than unvaccinated individuals. For example, vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine should they be deemed a close contact of a case of COVID-19, as long as they remain asymptomatic. MFS is requesting a vaccination status form and related documentation from all students and staff, so that we know which health procedures and protocols to follow. If we do not receive documentation of vaccination status, we will assume the individual is unvaccinated and will follow all protocols for unvaccinated individuals. Documentation of vaccination may be emailed to nurse@mfriends.org and this form must be completed as soon as vaccination is complete.

Masks
As of March 7, 2022, Governor Murphy lifted the mask mandate for K-12 schools in the state of New Jersey. As a result, Moorestown Friends School does not require the use of masks indoors as long as we remain at a moderate (yellow) or low (green) COVID risk level. MFS is deeply committed to honoring and supporting the choice of any student or adult to wear a mask at school and will ask that we all respect the unique and personal circumstances that may dictate someone’s choice.

In accordance with the DOH, there are a few instances in which masks will still be required or we may need to temporarily return to universal mask-wearing at MFS:

  • Returning from isolation/quarantine – If a student or employee returns to school during days 6-10 of their required isolation/quarantine period, they must wear a mask indoors and outdoors until the end of day 10.
  • Illness at school – If an individual comes down with COVID-like symptoms while at school, they will be asked to wear a mask until they are picked up by a parent/guardian.
  • Outbreak – In the unlikely event that we have an active outbreak of COVID on campus, we may temporarily return to requiring masks in the activity, grade, or division where the outbreak took place in order to control any increase in cases.
  • Elevated community transmission – Should our region return to a high (orange) or very high (red) risk level, we may return to universal masking until the context improves.

Note that masks are optional on school buses to/from school or school activities. It is recommended that all students and employees carry a mask with them, should they choose to mask in certain circumstances. Disposable masks can also be found at the front desk, divisional offices, and the nurse’s office.

Physical Distancing
As per the CDC and DOH guidelines, Moorestown Friends is able to maintain the recommended three feet of distance between students in a classroom setting in most cases. During lunch time when students may be eating in classrooms or in the lunchroom, we will maximize the distance available and increase air flow. Whenever possible, we will encourage groups to eat outside and take advantage of favorable weather and a spacious campus. 

Symptom Assessment
We ask that all families keep their children home if they exhibit any signs of illness in order to keep the entire community healthy. A student should 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 (of 100.4 or higher), cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of smell, or new loss of taste.

In addition, if an unvaccinated child has had close contact with a COVID-positive individual, if a household member has been diagnosed with COVID, or if they have traveled internationally, you will be required to keep your child home and contact the nurse’s office. In some circumstances, even if a child is vaccinated, you may be asked to keep your child home and contact the nurse’s office, so that we can determine if your child should come to school. 

Hygiene, Cleaning, and Disinfection
MFS will continue to follow standard procedures for routine daily cleaning and disinfecting with EPA-registered products for use against COVID-19. Particular and frequent attention will be paid to high-touch surfaces, such as desks, countertops, door knobs, water-filling stations, and bathrooms. Child-safe hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes will be available in all classrooms, offices, and shared spaces for use during and between classes, as needed. Students will be encouraged to wash their hands throughout the day and minimize the sharing of high-touch materials, especially those that may be more difficult to clean.

Ventilation and Air Flow
When weather permits, teachers and students will be encouraged to maximize the use of our outdoor spaces on campus for class, recess, and lunch. While indoors, we encourage open windows to circulate air, and most classrooms are equipped with child-safe fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows. Last year, we conducted a complete assessment of our heating and cooling systems and upgraded our filters to MERV-13 pleated filters, which work up to 30 times more effectively than fiberglass filters. Classrooms with more limited access to fresh air have been equipped with air purifying machines.

Travel Policy

updated March 14, 2022

Domestic Travel

The CDC recommends delaying travel until you are up to date on COVID vaccines. Moorestown Friends School does not require any quarantine for students or employees returning from domestic travel. It is recommended, though, that unvaccinated individuals get tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days after travel. As always, you should monitor your child for any COVID-19 symptoms and keep them home from school if they are feeling unwell.

International Travel

If a fully vaccinated student or employee travels internationally, there is no need to quarantine after returning home. The CDC does, however, recommend getting tested for COVID-19 with a PCR (viral) test 3-5 days after travel and self-monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms. 

If an unvaccinated student or employee travels internationally, they must:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 with a PCR (viral) test 3-5 days after travel.
  • Quarantine at home for a full 5 days after travel, even if they test negative.
  • Quarantine for a full 10 days if they choose not to get tested for COVID-19.

If an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days, they should follow recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals, except they do not need to get tested for COVID-19 after travel unless they show symptoms.

COVID Response

Response to Symptomatic Students
Should a child exhibit COVID-like symptoms while on campus, they will be sent directly to the Moriuchi Room in Stokes Hall, which has been designated our COVID isolation room and they will be asked to wear a mask. The space is a short-term and private isolation room where our nurse can assess the student and determine if they should be picked up from school to go home. 

Response to COVID Cases
If a child or household member receives a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, we ask that you contact the school immediately. Once the school learns of a positive case, we will ask you to identify any potential close contacts, which are defined as those within six feet of someone with suspected or known COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes in a 24-hour period. Unvaccinated close contacts will be asked to quarantine at home for a designated period of time. Vaccinated close contacts (with proper proof of vaccination status on file with the school) who do not exhibit any COVID-like symptoms will not be required to quarantine. 

If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in the school among either students or employees, the MFS COVID-19 dashboard will be updated. 

Isolation/Quarantine Timeframes

The New Jersey Department of Health follows the CDC’s guidelines for recommended isolation and quarantine timeframes for schools. In short, anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, must isolate for at least 5 full days, followed by continued masking for an additional 5 days, indoors and outdoors, as long as symptoms resolve. Any unvaccinated close contact of a COVID-19 case may qualify for the Test to Stay Program, which allows a close contact to return to school if they test negative, as long as they continue to wear a mask indoors and outdoors for a full 10 days from contact (see details of the Test to Stay Policy here). Individuals who cannot successfully and consistently wear a mask properly will need to isolate/quarantine for the full 10 days. 

What You Need To Know:

Someone regardless of vaccination status who tests positive for COVID-19 or simply has COVID-19 symptoms who has not yet been tested and has no documented alternative diagnosis:

  • Stay home and isolate from other people for at least 5 full days (day 0 is the first day of symptoms; if asymptomatic, day 0 is the day the test was performed).
  • If symptoms resolve (fever-free for 24 hours without medication and other symptoms improve), isolation can end after 5 full days (they can return to school on day 6 with clearance from the school nurse).
  • If symptoms persist (fever or other symptoms have not improved), continue to isolate until fever-free for 24 hours without medication and other symptoms have improved. It is recommended that symptomatic individuals get tested for COVID.
  • If a student returns to school anytime between days 6 and 10, they must wear a well-fitting mask at all times (indoors and outdoors, including athletics and extracurricular activities). The division director will work with the student to ensure they can safely have lunch and snack at a distance from their peers.

Someone was exposed to COVID-19 (close contact) and is unvaccinated:

  • See the Test to Stay Policy to determine if an individual is eligible for this program.
  • If not, a close contact must stay home and quarantine for at least 5 full days. If no symptoms develop, they can return to school on day 6 with clearance from the school nurse.
  • Individuals must wear a well-fitted mask for 10 days since contact (indoors and outdoors, including athletics and extracurricular activities).
  • It is recommended to get tested even if you do not develop symptoms at least 5 days after you last had close contact with someone with COVID-19.
  • Exceptions: No quarantine needed if the unvaccinated individual tested positive for COVID within 90 days of the exposure. Vaccinated close contacts do not need to quarantine unless they develop symptoms, at which point they should stay home and get tested for COVID-19.

Important: In all cases of a reduced isolation/quarantine, a community member must receive clearance from the nurse’s office before they can return to school.

Test to Stay Policy
Campus Life

Lunch Program
Moorestown Friends School will have a full lunch program available to students and staff. There will be an increased amount of pre-packaged foods for students who wish to streamline the lunch experience with grab-and-go options. There will also be hot food options, sandwiches, salads, soups, and healthy snacks available. We will maximize physical distancing in the lunchroom to the extent possible. Students may also eat outside if weather permits.

Transportation
Bus transportation must follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC for public transportation. Currently, masks are optional on buses per the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health. MFS will allow up to two students per seat while our regional risk level remains low or moderate (green or yellow) but will reduce to one student per seat should the risk level increase to high or very high (orange or red). 

Music
Singing will be permitted indoors with masks optional, while maximizing physical distancing. Wind instruments are permitted indoors while the risk level remains low or moderate. These practices may be modified if our policies change throughout the year. 

Physical Education
Physical education classes will be held outdoors whenever possible. When physical education classes are held indoors, masks will be optional.

Field Trips & Overnights
Daytime field trips are permitted and all COVID protocols will be in place on bus transportation. Overnight trips are currently permitted but COVID vaccination is required of participants. MFS is currently only running overnight trips that have a local option (such as Intensive Learning), so that students who may not be vaccinated can actively participate in a learning experience.

Extended Day, After-School Supervision, and After-School Clubs & Activities
We will continue to have Extended Day for Lower School students (before/after school), Lower School clubs and activities (after school), and After-School Supervision for Middle and Upper School students. Students will be spaced out to the extent possible and all health and safety protocols used during the school day will be followed. Families should note that although there is a separate space for Lower School students in the Dining Hall Commons, students will not be cohorted and may safely interact with students from other classes. 

Visitor Policy (February 2022)
Parents, guardians, and visitors may enter the school buildings by appointment only, and these meetings may take place during the school day and after school hours. If we host conferences, events, or performances, parents/guardians will be welcome to attend in person. It is our sincerest hope and priority to get to a point where visitors are welcome back inside more frequently in an effort to continue to connect our community. Updates to our visitor policy will be provided as circumstances change. Until then, a table will remain outside of Stokes Hall where parents/guardians may leave items for their children such as forgotten lunches, water bottles, or other supplies. When dropping items off, parents/guardians will be asked to email the divisional office as well as the student’s teacher/advisor to coordinate pick-up of the item. 

2021-22 COVID-related School Communications

Masks Recommended
May 17, 2022

MFS Moves to Test to Stay Policy
May 10, 2022

COVID Reminders and Mitigation
April 26, 2022

Important Post-Spring Break Updates to COVID Protocols
March 16, 2022

Updated Guidance and Mask Optional Beginning March 8
March 3, 2022

COVID Case Report / Conclusion of Weekly Testing
February 17, 2022

COVID Cases Report
February 11, 2022

Update on COVID Protocols
February 10, 2022

MFS Weekly COVID Testing To Conclude February 16
February 8, 2022

Weekly COVID Cases Report
February 4, 2022

Weekly COVID Cases Report
January 28, 2022

Revised Quarantine Guidelines and Phasing Out Weekly COVID Testing
January 25, 2022

Weekly COVID Cases Report
January 21, 2022

Weekly COVID Test Results and Change to Isolation/Quarantine Policy
January 14, 2022

Re-entry COVID Test Results – School Open Monday, January 10
January 9, 2022

Re-entry Testing Status Report and Return to School Monday, January 10
January 7, 2022

Next Steps in Re-entry Testing
January 5, 2022

Important Changes to Return-to-Campus Plans
January 1, 2022

Important Information for the Return to School January 3
December 30, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
December 15, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification and Weekly Testing Results
December 9, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
December 6, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notifications and Weekly Testing Results
December 2, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
December 1, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
November 30, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notifications
November 29. 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
November 23, 2021

COVID Testing Results
November 18, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
November 12, 2021

COVID-19 Testing Results
November 11, 2021

Nov. 16 COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for Ages 5-11 – Now Open to Siblings
November 8, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification and Testing Results
November 4, 2021

MFS To Host COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for Students Aged 5-11 – Tuesday, November 16
November 3, 2021

COVID Testing Results
October 28, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notifications
October 25, 2021

October 28 Flu Shot Clinic – Now Open to MFS Families and Friends
October 22, 2021

COVID Testing Results
Octobet 21, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
October 15, 2021

Flu Shot Clinic and Thanksgiving Travel Policy
October 15, 2021

Case Notifications and Important Notice
October 14, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
October 13, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification and Weekly Testing Results
October 7, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notifications and Weekly Testing Results
September 30, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification and Weekly Testing Results
September 23, 2021

Information About Weekly COVID Testing
September 21, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification and Weekly Testing Results
September 16, 2021

Final COVID Reminders for the Start of School
September 6, 2021

New Vaccination Requirement for MFS Employees
September 1, 2021

COVID-19 Case Notification
August 31, 2021

COVID-19 Testing: Information and Required Consent Form (for Preschool – Grade 6)
August 26, 2021

Announcing Final Return-to-School Plans
August 23, 2021

Reminder: Required COVID-19 Vaccination Status Form
August 10, 2021

First Look at Return-to-School Plans
July 26, 2021

Notice of COVID-19 Vaccination Status – Response Requested by August 6
July 23, 2021

 

Questions and concerns may be sent directly to the Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) at crt@mfriends.org.

Coronavirus Response Team: Danielle Dayton, 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
Psychology Today

Just For Kids: a Comic Exploring the New Coronavirus
NPR

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:

Will My Child Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Crisis?

Helping Kids Face the Challenges of Reopening

Managing Anxiety During Reopening

Additional Articles:

Kids Feel Pandemic Stress Too. Here’s How To Help Them Thrive