COVID-19 Safety Plan, Updated January 11th
Update January 11, 2022
We are continually checking in with our advisory team from CHOP, and we are learning more and continuing to do better. We want to be transparent that our standards for COVID safety are high out of a strong desire not to have COVID from Makom keep any of our children out of school. This is one of the most stressful, exhausting moments in American history to parent, and we want to help in every way we can! This shift in our plan is a reflection on our understanding of Omicron’s quick spread and shorter incubation period. Two weeks ago when we wrote the previous version, we needed a plan that could hold us through a mixture of Delta and Omicron cases. Now that we are dealing almost entirely with Omicron, we can adjust our plan.
Now that we are dealing with almost exclusively with Omicron, we have been advised that if there is someone who tests positive in your home, you can wait 5 days after their positive test and then test remaining members of your family. We are still asking that this be a PCR test. We know this is limited at CHOP, and we’d encourage you to look to Curative or other testing resources to get this PCR test. We are still treating all exposures or positive tests at a household level. If anyone in your household has been exposed, your child should not be in attendance at Makom.
Positive test in your household 5 days contagious + 5 days wait + PCR test. If negative, return to Makom programming.
Positive test in your household 5 days contagious + 10 days wait. No testing needed. If there are no symptoms, return to Makom programming.
(Previous plan: Positive test in your household 10 days contagious + 5 days wait + PCR test. If negative, return to Makom.)
It’s 2022, and rather than relaxing our safety plan as everyone got vaccinated, we are in the midst of a very challenging Omicron surge. This is not what any of us wished for the new year!
We are pleased to share that by January 3, all of our students will be fully vaccinated, and all of our staff will be fully vaccinated and boosted. We are so grateful for the ways that you have stepped up to get your children vaccinated and keep us in the loop as exposures and symptoms have arisen through the school year. Since we know that the vaccine has limited efficacy on the Omicron variant, we are following advice not to loosen our safety plan at this time and strengthen it in the face of the specific strategies Omicron uses for community spread. You can expect another update to this plan in 4-6 weeks. We are hopeful not to work in this paradigm long term.
- Send your child in a high-filtration mask by January 17(not just a cloth one). More on this below.
- Send warm layers! We’ll be outside or have doors/windows open all afternoon.
- Exposures are still being assessed by household. If anyone in your household is exposed to someone within 48 hours of testing positive, has confirmed COVID-19 or symptoms, or is waiting on a test for exposure or symptoms, no one in your family can attend Makom Community, regardless of vaccination status.
- End of day dismissal is outdoors only until we are through this surge. We are not inviting any extra people into our space right now.
- Positive PCR test for a child or staff member who was at Makom will have all students and educators doing remote learning for the duration of that quarantine.
- We’re taking a break from Family Shabbat Celebrations until case numbers are more under control.
Wearing High-Filtration Masks
All students, educators, and parents will continue to be masked when indoors at Makom Community. By January 17, please make plans for your child to be in a high-filtration mask. That means a KN95, KF94 or high-filtration washable mask like Enro or Happy Masks. See this article for more information on where to source high-filtration masks that are advanced enough to work against Omicron. Please have your child(ren) practice wearing these new masks at home so they know how to adjust them and keep their noses in their masks. We know that simple cotton masks are not enough in the face of Omicron. This article can help you find great mask options for this next phase of the pandemic: https://chalkacademy.com/cloth-masks-for-kids-and-adults/
All of these masks are multi-layer, ear-loop or tie behind your head style masks. Surgical masks are not sufficient at this stage.
We understand the limited availability of testing right now, so these cases will list a testing and no testing variation.
- Quarantine for Symptoms that may be COVID-19
- When a person has symptoms that could be COVID-19, they need to quarantine. That means staying out of Makom programming and taking a PCR test if possible. If the PCR test is negative, they can return to Makom Community when they are 48 hours fever free. (See the next case for testing positive.)
- If you cannot access PCR tests, you will need to wait to return to Makom Community until your child has been fever free for 48 hours and 10 days since onset of symptoms. Given the level of communal transmission, we are treating this as a presumed positive.
- Positive PCR Test Confirming COVID-19
- If your child(ren) test positive for COVID-19 on a PCR test, they have to stay out of Makom Community programming for 10 days. Day 1 begins on the date of the positive test. Children or staff must quarantine for 10 days AND have been fever-free without fever reducers for 48 hours.
- Exposed to a Confirmed COVID-19
- If your child(ren) are exposed to COVID-19 at Makom Community or elsewhere, they will need to stay home in isolation. They can take a PCR test on day 5-7 and then return to Makom programming with a negative test
If you cannot access PCR tests, isolate at home for 10 days and return to Makom programming as long as your child has no symptoms.
All parents will answer these questions for the people in their household or pod. All parents or caregivers will answer these questions on behalf of their children and their household or pod. Note: We are continuing to assess exposure at a household level. If anyone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive, no one in your household may attend Jewish Enrichment or School’s Out Camp programming.
- Are you or anyone in your household experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms? (Fever/chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea)
- Has anyone in your household been exposed to someone with confirmed or presumed COVID-19?
- Is anyone in your household waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test?
Please plan to respond by 12pm via text on any day your child will be attending Jewish Enrichment. If we haven’t heard back from you by noon, we’ll give you a call. We can only pick up your child from school with this symptom checking information for your household/pod.
As children and staff arrive each day, they will come in, put their things down, and go straight to wash hands before doing any other activities in our space.
Snacks & Singing
Since we have early reports that Omicron has transmitted outdoors, snack will happen outdoors while kids are walking to Makom Community or seated in our outdoor space with children 6 feet apart from each other. When staff prepare snacks, they will wash hands first, wear gloves, and continue to be masked as they do any food preparation work. All snacks will be served with serving utensils or gloved hands, by an adult.
Tefilah will be indoors with a priority on ventilation. That could mean students in the Ionic Street classroom in Center City with the doors wide open for fresh air or the center room in South Philly with the doors wide open for fresh air. *Warm layers will be helpful for this too.
Cleaning & Ventilation
Each classroom (students and staff) will be assigned to a single bathroom. We have regular professional cleaning. Each classroom is fully equipped with a HEPA filter that is kept running 24 hours a day. When possible, we will keep classroom doors or windows open for additional ventilation.
As always, we want to keep parents in the loop about what is going on with their kids! We will let you know if there is a known positive case at Makom Community. We will share the age group the child or staff member is in so you have a good understanding of how likely it is that your child was (or was not) exposed.
Reminder: Parents are agreeing to inform Makom Community immediately if…
- Your child has COVID-19 symptoms.
- Your child has come into contact with someone COVID-19-positive or presumed positive. Close contact means 15 minutes or more within a 6ft indoor distance of someone symptomatic, presumed COVID-19 positive, or confirmed COVID-19 positive.
- Their child is waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test.
Parents who knowingly do not report these issues to Makom Community are subject to their child’s removal from Makom Community programming.
Responding to observed symptoms
If we observe a child or staff member with symptoms that could be COVID-19, they will be quarantined in our space until they can be picked up, outdoors with a staff member if possible. We understand that we are still in the midst of cold and flu season. If your child has any two symptoms, no matter how mild, we ask that you not send them to Makom Community. Even if what they have is a cold and not COVID-19, sharing it among our students and staff would keep more people out of our programming. We are trying to make sure to keep as many of us at Makom as possible. If a child is symptomatic at Makom, parents will be called immediately. We ask that you pick up as soon as possible in this scenario. A symptomatic staff member will be sent home immediately.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and they were at Makom Community within 48 hours of that positive test, that entire Makom location will stay home and participate in remote learning until:
- Person who tested positive is out of programming for 10 days from positive test and can return then, as long as symptoms have improved and they have been fever free without fever reducers for 48 hours.
- Students and staff exposed have stayed home and taken a PCR test on day 5-7 since exposure OR quarantined at home for 14 day and are symptom-free.
This is the case regardless of vaccination status for the duration of the Omicron surge. We will update you as this unfolds when we can return to not needing to quarantine vaccinated individuals. Because of the way that all our Center City classrooms are connected and our South Philly students combine groups, we will quarantine together as a site if a symptomatic child tests positive.We will offer daily remote learning on zoom. We are exploring what else we can add to supplement remote learning.
A student or staff member with symptoms that could be COVID-19 needs one of these to return to Makom Community’s in person programming:
- A negative PCR test and 48 hours fever-free without fever reducers
- To stay home until it has been at least 10 days since symptoms first appeared AND they have had no fever and been off anti-fever medication for 48 hours AND symptoms have improved.
In case of exposure
If your child’s elementary school grade or classroom is sent home due to exposure, they also need to stay home from Makom Community. If one sibling in your family is sent home due to exposure at their school, we are asking you to keep home all the children in your family from Makom programming.
All of our staff and 5+ year old students will be fully vaccinated by early January. This includes boosters for staff. In a case where a vaccinated student or staff member is exposed, they are not permitted to continue at Makom regardless of whether they are symptomatic. This is growing out of recommendations from our medical team around the vaccinations’ limitations in the face of Omicron.
Thank you for helping to keep our Makom Community students, teachers, and families safe during this strange and stressful time. We’ll hold each other through this and find lots of joy together, even amidst this ongoing stress.
- A student in my child’s grade at school tested positive for COVID-19. The school did not tell us which class the child was in or that we are a close contact. Can my children attend Makom?
- Since you were not informed that you were a close contact, you may still be at Makom Community for programming.
- Our school has a test to stay policy. If our child tests negative on an at-home test, can they still attend Makom after exposure?
- Sorry, no. We are learning that rapid tests only give us about 7 hours of information. If you test at 7am, and your child gets to Makom at 3:30pm, we are already beyond the 7 hour window where we are confident about the information that provides. If your child is exposed, they will need to quarantine at home before returning to Makom programming.
- What happens if our family of vaccinated parents and children learns that we were exposed to a fully vaccinated individual who tested positive for COVID-19?
- If none of you have any symptoms, follow quarantine described above.
- If you have symptoms, get tested, quarantine, and be in touch with your doctor.
- What happens when my child has a runny nose during cold and flu season?
- A runny nose is just one symptom, so they can attend Jewish Enrichment. If they arrive at Jewish Enrichment, and share with an educator that they have another symptom, or an educator observes another symptom, we will call you and ask you to come pick up your children immediately. Then you would need to follow quarantine procedure.
- If I pick up my kids from Jewish Enrichment because an educator observes two or more symptoms or my child is complaining of not feeling well with two or more symptoms, when can they return to Jewish Enrichment?
- After 14 days OR
- After 7 days + negative test taken on day 5 or afterward
If you ever have any questions about possible exposure or if your children can attend Jewish Enrichment, please call us! We are here to get through this together.