COVID-19 Information

2021–2022 COVID-19 Protocols

These plans may be updated to comply with evolving applicable government health mandates. We will continue to follow the recommendations from the CDC and Pennsylvania Departments of Health and Education. We have sought, and will continue to seek, advice from area hospital- and university-based medical experts.

Guiding Principles

As we approach this year together as a school community, all members of the community—students, families, faculty, and staff—will be asked to commit to these shared goals and expectations:

1. Each of us has a responsibility to others in the community to adhere fully to the School’s health protocols and guidelines—staying healthy and safe this year will require a shared community effort.

2. All of us need to stay flexible as we respond as a school community to an unpredictable time.

3. We all need to acknowledge, and accept, that school may look different—at Ellis, in Pittsburgh, and around the world—as we all weather this pandemic. These times ask much of all of us, and we will ride through them together with great success if we continue to practice patience, flexibility, and kindness and give each other grace. Our children will be watching all of us as we do so. Our greatest hope is that our students' memories will be filled with moments of great learning, both about the academic content and skills that infuse our program, but also about how a caring community comes together in challenging times.

Health Protocols

Given the ever-changing nature of public health guidance, regulations, and other circumstances related to COVID-19, these protocols are subject to change without notice.

Our goal, as always, is to provide a healthy and safe school environment for all our students, faculty, and staff. We are excited that we will be able to do many things on campus this year that were simply not possible last year. We will continue to review and revise our protocols throughout the year as vaccines are developed for younger students and case incidence changes in our local area. As we start the school year, we will be operating with the following mitigation measures.

Please read the full health protocols below:

List of 5 items.

  • Symptom Screening

    We will not be using the Magnus App this year, but we will require all families to self-screen their students at home each day. Students, faculty, and staff, regardless of vaccination status, must stay home if they experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 and contact their healthcare provider for further evaluation and testing.  

    The following are COVID-19 symptoms according to the CDC and Allegheny Health Department:
    • One of the following: fever of 100.4F or above, a new cough or shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. 
    • Or two of the following: unexplained fatigue, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
    Students, faculty, and staff cannot return to campus until a physician clears them with documentation of a negative COVID-19 test result or an alternative diagnosis and has sent that information to the School Nurse.

    As always, if students or faculty/staff have any infectious illness, they should stay home until they are 24 hours free of fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. They may return to school at that time, without documentation, if symptoms are not consistent with COVID-19. Please inform the School Nurse of any infectious illness.
  • Mask Policy

    Consistent with the CDC's recommended masking guidelines released on February 25, 2022, The Ellis School will be shifting to a mask-optional approach for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors beginning on March 7, 2022.

    As recommended by the CDC, we will continue to require individuals with COVID symptoms to stay home, seek testing, and isolate as advised by our School Nurse. We will expect anyone with a known exposure to COVID to wear a mask at all times at school for 10 days post-exposure. Please note that students traveling on public transportation or public school transportation will need to follow those entities’ mask guidelines.
  • Classroom Spaces

    Lower and Middle School classrooms will be configured with 3-foot social distancing. As was the case last year, surfaces throughout the school will be disinfected regularly and increased ventilation will be maintained. Hand sanitizer will be available in all spaces and students will be reminded and encouraged to wash and/or sanitize their hands frequently.
  • Lunch

    Students in kindergarten through grade 12 will have lunch in Alumnae Hall. Pre-kindergarten students will eat lunch in their classrooms. We will continue to be a nut-free campus and ask that any lunches brought from home are strictly nut-free.
  • Visitors

    We are excited to be able to welcome visitors back to campus this year. In order to minimize risks to our students, we will continue to use virtual programming for some events that are primarily information-sharing and focus on being on campus for events that allow us to connect with each other as a school community.

COVID-19 Exposure Protocols

In alignment with CDC guidelines as of December 27, 2021, regarding isolation when someone tests positive and quarantines for close contacts:

  • Anyone who tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, must stay home for five days. They can return to school on the sixth day if they have no symptoms, but must wear a mask anytime they are around others for an additional five days.
  • Close contacts should wear a mask around others for 10 days but may come to school if they have been boosted or completed a two-dose vaccine within the last six months or received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine within the last two months. All other close contacts should quarantine for five days and can then return to school, wearing a mask around others for five more days. All close contacts must get a COVID-19 test on day five. PCR tests are preferred, but rapid or at-home tests are acceptable if PCR tests are unavailable.