Like last year, we plan to layer several types of health and safety protocols in a research-based fashion – combining measures like vaccinations, masking, symptom screening, distancing, improved ventilation, hand-washing and the reduced intermixing of students to mitigate the risk of potential virus transmission on campus. Public health officials and medical experts have stressed this remains important for the 2021-22 school year, even as new understandings of COVID-19 and the availability of vaccines will permit a much greater degree of normalcy in our school operations than last year.
Throughout, our goals remain protecting the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff; providing our Bears the best possible uninterrupted in-person program throughout the year; and nurturing the relationships and sense of community essential to the Baldwin experience. We will continue to monitor public health guidance and consult with medical experts, so we can update the below as appropriate. We appreciate the community’s support and flexibility as we navigate this next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic together and with the best interests of our students, faculty and staff in mind.
Baldwin’s academic and co-curricular programming will be in person this fall. As previously shared, there will be no option to learn virtually this year. Learning supports will be in place if public health officials require a student to isolate because of testing positive or to quarantine due to being unvaccinated and exposed to COVID-19.
In both instances, documentation of a student’s positive PCR test or requirement to quarantine must be provided to Baldwin’s Wellness Coordinator to ensure effective coordination of independent learning support. Please see here for more information about this plan.
We strongly encourage COVID-19 vaccines for all students who are eligible. For reference, the latest vaccination guidance from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) can be found here.
Vaccinations are a key mitigation measure for our School. They are beneficial for students’ health, mitigate the risk of potential interruptions to students’ in-person learning, and help ensure we have as “normal” a school year as possible despite the ongoing pandemic.
For example, there are different quarantine requirements for vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19. Vaccinated individuals who are exposed to COVID-19 but asymptomatic do not need to quarantine and, instead, can remain in school.
Please know that unvaccinated students may be subject to additional health and safety protocols (e.g., testing or masking in situations where masking is optional for vaccinated individuals), in accordance with public health guidance and recommendations from medical experts.
To ensure we can effectively monitor vaccination levels and mitigate public health risks for our school community, all students must confirm their vaccination status (i.e., provide proof of vaccination or share intention to vaccinate or not vaccinate when eligible) via the Magnus Health online portal.
As of August 1, 2021, Baldwin is requiring all faculty and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Health and Safety Protocols
The protocols below reflect our plan for the start of the 2021-22 school year. As usual, we will continue to consult with public health officials and medical experts to update these protocols throughout the year based on the latest medical guidance and public health mandates.
In accordance with the latest CDC and Montgomery County Office of Public Health guidance, faculty and staff are required to wear a mask on campus regardless of their vaccination status, unless they are eating or drinking or they are outdoors and socially distanced at 6 feet or more.
The Montgomery County Office of Public Health recently released new guidance recommending wearing a mask outdoors, regardless of vaccination status, if you cannot stay 6 feet apart from people who do not live in your household. Given this new recommendation from public health officials, Baldwin is making slight modifications to our outdoor masking policy. At this time, community members will be asked to wear masks outdoors when they are not 6 feet apart. This includes student activities such as Lower and Middle School recess, outdoor classes with spacing less than 6 feet between students, on the sidelines of our athletics fields when not spaced 6 feet apart (and not actively participating in the athletic activity) and when transitioning around campus in groups.
Masks are required when riding on school buses or vans to or from campus and are mandated by public health authorities on public transportation. For carpools and ride-sharing, mask wearing and open windows are recommended when individuals are not from the same household and/or are unvaccinated.
Our Athletic Director will share with student-athletes any guidance regarding mask protocols for sports practices and games before the start of preseason.
Like last year, masks must adhere to CDC recommendations for non-medical grade cloth face coverings, so must be a 2-ply cloth mask with no valve. Gaiters are not permitted. Students must supply their own masks.
In accordance with the latest CDC guidance, all of Baldwin’s classrooms will be arranged to ensure social distancing of at least 3 feet. This will maximize the benefits of in-person learning for all our Bears while supporting the level of social distancing that helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To support effective contact tracing should the need arise, assigned seats and seating charts will be used in every class.
While a “close contact” for the purpose of COVID-19 contact tracing is generally defined as someone within 6 feet of an infected individual for 15 minutes or more, the CDC and Montgomery County Office of Public Health updated its definition of “close contact” for students at school. In an indoor classroom setting, if a student (Student A) has been within 3 to 6 feet of another student (Student B) who is infected for 15 minutes or more and both students are wearing masks, then Student A does not need to quarantine.
Like last year, daily symptom checks will be required by all students, faculty and staff. It is essential that should a student become symptomatic, all families maintain close adherence to Baldwin’s sick policy.
The Daily Symptom Check will be conducted via a form on our Magnus Health app-based system. In order to ensure the Check is both useful and efficient, we have modified the form this year. It now includes three essential COVID-related screening questions. For families with multiple students at Baldwin, there will be an option to complete this form for all of your daughters at once. More instructions about this process are forthcoming.
We ask that every student, faculty and staff member, regardless of their vaccination status, complete the Daily Symptom Check prior to arriving at campus each day. Regardless of her vaccination status, if your daughter is symptomatic, she will not be able to attend school that day.
Good personal hygiene and increased handwashing remain important parts of our health and safety plan. Hand sanitizing and handwashing stations remain in place throughout campus, and students will be educated about the importance of good hygiene. Handwashing and the use of hand sanitizer will be part of students’ daily routine at school.
Lower School students will participate in guided handwashing before meals and snacks and at other times as deemed necessary by classroom teachers.
Middle and Upper School students will be reminded to wash their hands and to use handwashing or sanitizer stations placed throughout the school.
Like last year, there will also be signage throughout school to remind students of these protocols.
Like last year, ventilation of campus spaces will be prioritized throughout campus. Windows and doors will be kept open during the school day as weather permits, and window fans will be used to help circulate air in classrooms and other spaces. Ultraviolet light sanitation remains in place across campus, as feasible.
Because outdoor learning proved beneficial both as a risk mitigation measure and as part of Baldwin’s academic program, faculty will continue to hold classes outdoors as much as possible. Adjustments made to our 2021-22 school year calendar and our plan to start classes a week early and extend winter break a week longer will help us maximize outdoor learning.
For the Lower School, we will continue to hold learning activities in the spaces outside of each grade’s classroom.
For the Middle and Upper School, we have furnished three outdoor learning areas around campus and are installing permanent outdoor wireless internet access in these locations.
Students in all divisions will also have access to Baldwin camping chairs (for Middle and Upper Schoolers) or seating cushions and lap desks (for Lower Schoolers), so their teachers can flexibly use outdoor areas around campus.
Enhanced cleaning procedures remain in place across campus to ensure school spaces are cleaned and sanitized more often.
Professional cleaning staff will disinfect high-touch areas (e.g., door knobs, light switches, faucets, railings) during the day and after hours. Cleaning supplies will also be readily available to all faculty and staff to use at their discretion, in their classrooms and other spaces.
Enhanced cleaning protocols will occur after dismissal, including the use of electrostatic technology to disinfect hard-to-reach areas.
In accordance with the latest guidance from Montgomery County Office of Public Health, we have updated our quarantine and isolation requirements as follows:
Students who are vaccinated against COVID-19 do NOT need to quarantine after an exposure to another person with COVID-19 if they meet ALL of the following criteria: they are fully vaccinated AND they have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.
Students who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 and remain without symptoms, will need to quarantine for 10 days after exposure determined to be a close contact OR they can be tested 5 days after exposure determined to be a close contact in order to return to school after 7 days with a negative PCR test.
Any student (regardless of vaccination status) who becomes symptomatic after an exposure will be asked to get a PCR test to determine their quarantine and/or isolation period.
Students who test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for 10 days from onset of symptoms and/or testing date AND be 24 hours with no fever AND have improvement of symptoms before being cleared to return to school.
Like last year, we will follow the CDC’s guidelines as regards quarantining after domestic or international travel. We will monitor these public health requirements and adjust this aspect of our protocols as needed to comply with state and national travel guidelines.
It is incumbent on any family choosing to travel to monitor the CDC and Pennsylvania Department of Health websites for information about specific travel destinations and potential mandates to quarantine after travel.
Vaccinated student with symptoms and NO known exposure to COVID-19:
Negative PCR OR Rapid Antigen test AND
24 hours fever free AND
Improving respiratory symptoms.
Vaccinated student with symptoms and known exposure to COVID-19:
Negative PCR test AND
24 hours fever free AND
Improving respiratory symptoms
Unvaccinated student with symptoms:
Negative PCR test AND
24 hours fever free AND
Improving respiratory symptoms.
Improving respiratory symptoms means no frequent cough that requires medication, and no copious nasal secretions.
Per Montgomery County Office of Public Health, over the counter, at-home rapid antigen tests are not accepted in order to return to school. The results of a rapid test are only acceptable if performed under the supervision of a healthcare provider. This includes rapid tests performed by your pediatrician, local pharmacies or urgent care clinics.
Contact tracing remains a key tool we will use to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This process involves identifying people who have tested positive for COVID-19, determining with whom they have been in close contact, and notifying these contacts to determine next steps to contain the potential spread of COVID-19.
To assist in this process, we require that families (or faculty and staff) notify our Wellness Coordinator if their daughter is (or they are) suspected of having COVID-19 or are getting tested. Families should send results of required PCR tests to our Wellness Coordinator.
Public health mandates require that we report positive cases and identify close contacts to the Montgomery County Office of Public Health.
Like last year, we will require PCR tests as a return-to-campus requirement for any students, faculty or staff suspected of having COVID-19. We will not do surveillance testing on all students nor will we conduct testing for all students, faculty and staff for COVID-19 prior to the start of school. We will continue to consult with medical experts regarding the role that testing plays in our risk mitigation strategies this year.
To start the 2021-22 school year, there will be restrictions for visits to campus and inside campus buildings during school hours and at other times when students are present.
We ask that parents and guardians not come to campus unless invited to an event (e.g., performances or athletics competitions) or to a scheduled in-person meeting with Baldwin faculty, staff or administrators. Plans for parent events like academic evening will be shared closer to each event; depending on public health guidance at that time, these events may occur outdoors or in a virtual format.
We will continue to review our visitor policy throughout the year and update this aspect of our protocols per guidance from public health officials and medical experts.
If invited to campus, visitors will be required to complete a Daily Symptom Check using a form that will be available online. Please return to this page of our website shortly for that form. This Daily Symptom Check form will be collected when you arrive to campus and check in at a designated entry point.
Please recall that we also have a security screening process in place for all visitors to campus buildings.
All visitors to campus must check in at a designated entry point (Residence Reception Desk, Lower School Main Entrance or Athletic Center Main Entrance) using a driver’s license or other form of government-issued identification. There, visitors will be scanned into our security system and receive a visitor lanyard to wear for the duration of their time on campus.
Unlike last year, we will not cohort by grade. However, in light of the fact that our younger students are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, we are limiting interactions between students in different divisions.
Your daughter’s activities will largely occur within the area of campus designated for her division:
ECC and Lower School classes and programs will take place in the ECC or Lower School areas, which includes use of the Lower School specials classrooms such as the DREAM Lab and Lower School art, music and science rooms.
Middle School classes and programs will take place in our newly updated Middle School spaces in the Residence. Upper School classes and programs will take place in the Schoolhouse. Middle and Upper Schoolers will also use the Science Building, the Art Wing and designated Performing Arts classrooms on the Residence ground floor.
All students will also use the Athletic Center and Simpson Center for Performing Arts, as well as outdoor facilities around campus. In these areas, classes and programming will be scheduled to minimize interactions between older students (i.e., those who are more likely to be vaccinated) and younger students (i.e., those who are not eligible to be vaccinated).
Individual students may join a class in another division if dictated by her schedule. For example, if a Middle Schooler takes an Upper School course, she will join that class in person in the Schoolhouse. However, to start the school year, there will not be large gatherings across divisions (e.g., all-school assemblies) and students may not “hang out” indoors in buildings designated for another division. During the school day, Baldwin’s Anne Frank Library in the Schoolhouse will be for Upper Schoolers, and Middle Schoolers will have designated study spaces in the Residence.
This year, lunch will be provided in a modified “Grab and Go” format for those who wish to purchase a meal. To minimize lines, gatherings and delays, our dining services provider (CulinArt) will offer an assortment of freshly made, packaged lunch options that can be pre-ordered online or, for Middle and Upper Schoolers, can also be purchased on the same day, in person. As usual, students may instead bring lunch each day.
For Lower Schoolers, “Grab and Go” lunch options will be available for pre-purchase online using a credit card. Orders must be received no later than 5 p.m. the evening prior and will be delivered directly to your daughter’s classroom each day. There is no option to purchase lunch in-person or the same day for a Lower Schooler, as these meals will be packaged in advance for delivery to each Lower School classroom.
For Middle and Upper Schoolers, these “Grab and Go” options will be available in our Dining Room. They can be pre-ordered online until 5 p.m. the evening prior using a credit card or purchased in person, in our Dining Room during lunch period, using MyKidsSpending.
Please note that no microwave will be available for student use.
Additional information about the menus for our “Grab and Go” pre-ordered lunch options, plus how to order and pay, will be shared in a later update.
Outdoor eating will be prioritized this fall, with students using camping chairs or seat cushions to enjoy lunch on our fields. To start the school year, the Dining Room will not be used as a space to sit and eat. During inclement weather, Lower Schoolers will eat in their classrooms, Middle Schoolers will eat in designated Middle School Residence spaces and Upper Schoolers will eat in the Schoolhouse.
Please remember that school starts at 8:20 a.m. for the ECC and Lower School. ECC and LS carline drop-off begins at 8 a.m. There is no option to drop off Lower Schoolers early, as there will be no adult supervision before 8 a.m.
Please remember that school starts at 8:15 a.m. for Middle School. Middle School students may arrive on campus starting at 7:45 a.m. Upon arrival, Middle School students must go to the second floor Museum rooms until they are sent to their first period classes at 8:05 a.m.
Please remember that school starts at 8:15 a.m. for Upper School. Upper School students may arrive on campus starting at 7:45 a.m. Upon arrival, Upper School students should go to their assigned homeroom classrooms.
Please see our 2021-22 campus map for the location of each division, as well as traffic patterns during morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up. Note that we no longer have grade-specific entrances.
This fall, we look forward to the gradual and intentional resumption of after-school programs, as appropriate by division.
For Lower School: The Baldwin Buds after-school program will resume at the start of school, offering fee-based care for Pre K - Grade 5 students, Monday - Friday from dismissal until 6 p.m., on a scheduled or drop-in basis. Lower School students who will be picked up by or with their Middle and Upper School sibling may attend Buds free of charge until their sister’s dismissal at 3:30 p.m.
More details about Baldwin Buds, including how to sign up and logistics for picking up your daughter from our new Buds location in the Residence, will be provided closer to the start of school.
For Middle and Upper School: Middle and Upper School students remaining after school with no sports or other adult-led activities may work in the Anne Frank Library from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday - Thursday, and until 4 p.m. on Friday. Middle and Upper School students will work in separate areas of library, designated for each Division during this time. Students using the library after school should be picked up at the North Door.
We are planning for co-curricular programs to be as close to normal as possible this year. We anticipate there will be some health and safety protocols in place for these activities, in accordance with the latest guidance from public health officials and medical experts.
Performing Arts: Plans are under development to ensure we can provide in-person performing arts programming in each division. At this time, we are planning for in-person plays, musicals and concerts. Locations, health and safety protocols and spectator policies will be informed by community disease levels and guidance from health officials.
Mitigation strategies to minimize potential virus transmission may include the use of outdoors spaces, masks, physical distancing and instrument bell covers. More information will be shared about these plans closer to the start of school.
Physical Education/Athletics: We are committed to providing our robust Physical Education (PE) program, plus practices and interscholastic competitions for our Athletics Program. Additional details regarding division-specific and sports-specific plans for these programs will be forthcoming from our Athletic Director and Division Directors.
These plans will also be adjusted over time to reflect the changing needs of each sports season and to account for the latest guidance from public health officials.
For Lower Schoolers, playgrounds and athletics fields around campus will be in use during recess and at other times. The daily schedule has been modified to ensure there will be fewer students on the playground at a given time, to help maximize social distancing during this recreational period.
For Lower Schoolers, plans for our Learn to Swim Program are still under review. We will update families on our plans for this aspect of our program closer to the start of school.
The Baldwin School Store will remain online for the 2021-22 school year. All orders will be available for pick-up by appointment or shipment. For questions, please email School Store Manager Christina Forrest.