Our Response to COVID-19
Campus & Community Safety
DCD’s Plans for Campus & Community Safety during COVID
We are pleased to provide you this information and resource site regarding DCD’s plans for in-person learning. As outlined in the Fall 2020 Back to School guide, the school’s leadership team and COVID-19 Response Planning Team worked to prepare for three primary scenarios to provide our students a safe and meaningful return to school: on-campus learning with enhanced safety measures in place; a hybrid approach that combines on-campus schooling with distance learning; and a comprehensive distance-learning program for all students.
We are confident that our on-campus learning plan is safe and planned in full compliance with all state guidelines. As we all know, and you will see in more detail below, school looks quite different this year, and we look forward to continuing to collaborate closely to ensure that our students continue to grow, learn, and thrive while maintaining the health of our community.
It is important to note that because the trajectory of the pandemic remains uncertain, we also need to be prepared to pivot to one of our alternative scenarios if the state mandates a change or the situation in our school population requires it. It has been truly inspirational to see how everyone at DCD rallied around our unexpected transition to distance learning in the spring, and we know our community is ready to grapple with whatever new challenges come our way this year – thank you, in advance, for your partnership in this unprecedented undertaking.
Maintaining Community Health and Safety
Below we describe the physical and policy changes DCD has undertaken to help ensure a safe school environment, and we ask for your partnership in ensuring compliance with these protocols as well as all state safety guidelines.
Winter Plans for In-Person Learning
DCD’s plan for inclement weather – either rain or cold – follows the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines and best practices related to health and safety. The following measures have been put in place to keep our students and staff safe during the winter:
We will continue to use the pod model for the foreseeable future, likely even until the end of the year, since it is providing students with variety, consistency, and a team of adults and peers who know them well.
DCD has retained air-quality experts to assess our systems and advise on our air quality as we enter the winter months. To meet or exceed the guidelines established by DESE, our air filtration and HVAC systems have been upgraded to ensure constant recirculation of fresh air throughout the buildings. Our system completely replaces the air several times per hour. HEPA air purifiers with UV lighting and ionizers have been installed in all classrooms and bathrooms throughout the building.
During the colder months, we will also continue to leave classroom windows open at least two to three inches, adjusting the heat as necessary, to ensure that fresh air continues to flow into the building from windows to supplement the exchange of our HVAC systems.
While we will continue to use outdoor spaces whenever possible during the winter, we have also reconfigured some of our classroom spaces to accommodate the need for more indoor learning and to improve some of the existing spaces. These changes primarily impact the Middle School, where we have redesignated some of the classrooms to ensure that all classes that normally meet outside will have an appropriate indoor space on a regular basis and to provide additional flexibility for some classes that currently meet in the Primary Gym.
Additional Surveillance Testing
In addition to the surveillance testing we will conduct following the Thanksgiving break, DCD plans to conduct another round of testing following Winter Break, in January. This will help to ensure that students, faculty, and staff who return to campus have tested negative and will provide a new baseline safety profile of our community that will help guide our decision-making about continuing in-person learning.
The school’s COVID-19 Response Team, and especially our Health Office, are closely monitoring the state and town data on cases and community transmission. While the overall state numbers in recent weeks are moving in a concerning direction, we believe the measures DCD has put in place can permit us to remain open for in-person learning, provided we all remain committed to community safety.
Click here to read the full message from Head of School Allison Webster.
Updated Health Policies
Everyone in the DCD community – faculty, staff, students, parents – shares responsibility for our collective health and safety. Please click here to read the school’s updated health policies governing our protocols for keeping our community safe and responding to illness or exposure to the virus.
DCD Community Care Pledge
It is critical that all members of the DCD community adhere to the highest standards and commit to carefully monitoring their health, wearing face masks, washing and sanitizing hands frequently, and complying with all state and local safety regulations, both on campus and outside of school. All families have completed the DCD Community Care Pledge agreeing to do their part to keep our campus and community safe.
Everything You Need to Know in the Time of COVID
School Calendar and Schedule Adjustments
While we have published the school calendar for the full year, we recognize that changes may be needed regarding events and other activities as we navigate this challenging year. Some key changes to the calendar for this year include:
- December 18: Holiday Assembly and Start of Winter Break
- December 19 – January 3: Winter Break
- January 4: COVID-19 Testing for the DCD Community
- January 5: Distance Learning Day (while we await test results)
- January 6: Target Date for Return to In-Person Classes
Additional Information & Resources
For current DCD parents, to access links to DCD’s hybrid and distance learning plans, please visit the Resource Board on the parent portal. Please note, you will need to log into MyDCD to access the Resource Board. You can also click on the following links for more information: DCD Staying Connected page and the DCD Tech Tips slide presentation.