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

    All students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear face masks on campus whenever they are indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will not typically be required outdoors but individuals will always be supported if they choose to wear one. Masks will be required whenever individuals are riding to or from school, field trips, or athletic events on public or school transportation. This mask policy goes into effect immediately, so all preseason athletes will be expected to wear masks whenever indoors or traveling for practices or games with the team.
  • 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

    Lower and Middle School students will eat lunch outside whenever possible. When inclement weather prohibits eating outside, students in these divisions will eat socially distanced in their classrooms or other division spaces. Upper School students will have lunch in Alumnae Hall. 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. All visitors will be required to wear masks—indoors and outdoors—whenever they are on campus during school hours, regardless of vaccination status. This includes spectators at outdoor athletic events. Outside of school hours, for events that do not involve students, adult visitors will be required to wear masks indoors.

COVID-19 Exposure Protocols

List of 3 items.

  • If a student shows signs of infectious illness consistent with COVID-19 while at school:

    The School Nurse will care for the student in an isolated room and call the parent or guardian. Parents will be expected to come get their child within one hour of being contacted and will be asked to contact healthcare providers for evaluation and a COVID-19 test. If the student tests negative for COVID-19, they may return to school when the doctor has cleared them and documentation of clearance and negative results have been provided to the School Nurse.
  • If a student or faculty/staff member tests positive for COVID-19:

    They must isolate at home for 10 days after their first symptom begins, remain fever-free for 24 hours, and have their symptoms of COVID-19 show signs of improving. All three of these requirements must be met. The loss of taste and smell can persist, but need not delay the return to school. If students or faculty/staff were on campus when symptoms began, contact tracing will begin and all close contacts of the ill student or faculty/staff member will be informed of possible exposure. The Allegheny Health Dept will be notified of all close contacts.
  • If a student or faculty/staff member is a close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19:

    • In the event of a close contact, please notify the School Nurse as soon as possible. 
    • Updated CDC definition of close contacts among students in a school setting: a student who is at least three feet away from a student with COVID-19 in a K-12 indoor setting does not qualify as a close contact as long as both students are wearing masks properly.
    • Fully vaccinated faculty, staff, and students who are close contacts do not have to quarantine but should get tested 3-5 days after exposure. They must wear masks indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until they receive a negative COVID-19 test result. All test results and documentation clearing them to return to campus must be provided to the School Nurse.
    • Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated will be asked to quarantine as well as seek medical attention and COVID-19 testing. Regardless of test result, they must quarantine at home for 14 days after exposure and watch for symptoms. Options to shorten quarantine provide acceptable alternatives of a 10-day quarantine or a 7-day quarantine combined with testing and a negative test result. The Allegheny Health Department will work with close contacts and the School Nurse to determine if quarantine can be shortened.