Frequently asked questions

Isolation for POSITIVE INDIVIDUALS

How long does my child need to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19?

At ECFS, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for five days. The first date of symptoms, or the date of positive COVID-19 test administration if asymptomatic, is considered “day 0”.

  • If at the end of five days in isolation, the individual is asymptomatic, is not immunocompromised, and has not had a fever in the past 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications, they may end their isolation and return to school on day six, regardless of vaccination status. A negative COVID-19 test is not required to discontinue isolation.

  • If at the end of five days in isolation, the individual remains symptomatic, their isolation must continue until they are asymptomatic including fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. A negative COVID-19 test is not required to discontinue isolation.

How long does my child need to isolate if they test positive for COVID-19 and are immunocompromised?

The CDC continues to recommend a 10-day isolation for positive individuals with weakened immune systems.

What if my child began to develop symptoms mid-way through the 5-day isolation?

In accordance with NYS DOH policy, if an individual begins isolation asymptomatic and develops symptoms during the course of their isolation, the 5-day isolation period will start over from the date of symptom onset.

Who do I tell if my child is still symptomatic on day 5 and requires additional time in isolation?

If your child is symptomatic, please be in touch with your divisional nurse and covid@ecfs.org on day 5 to inform us if they will require additional time in isolation or if they are asymptomatic and eligible to return on day 6. This will allow us to communicate accurate information to your child's teacher or dean. If your child is currently asymptomatic, or we do not hear from you on day 5, we will assume your child is returning to school on day 6.

Is a test required to end isolation?

No, a negative test is not required to end isolation.

Does my child need to wear a mask when they return on Day 6?

Yes, the NYS Department of Health requires masks to continue to be worn from day 6 through day 10 after returning from a 5-day isolation.

Why is a negative test not required to end isolation?

Our team continues to center our planning around the safety of our students and employees and strives to design mitigation strategies that reflect the most up-to-date science and public policy.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 tests are best used early in the course of illness to diagnose COVID-19 and are not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate the duration of infectiousness. Some people may remain positive by Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAATs) (e.g., RT-PCR) long beyond the period of expected infectiousness. The significance of a positive or negative antigen test late in the course of illness is less clear. If an individual has access to a test and wants to test, the best approach is to use an antigen test towards the end of the 5-day isolation period.

Does my child need to complete gateway or screening testing now that they've been positive?

No, your child does not need to complete gateway or screening testing for 90 days following their initial positive test result.

What does my child need to do if someone in their household has tested positive for COVID-19?

Individuals may be required to remain home if exposed to a member of their household who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the positive individual is unable to isolate away for the duration of their infectious period. These cases should be reviewed individually with your divisional nurse’s office.

If unvaccinated: The unvaccinated student must quarantine for five days from the date of the latest close contact with the positive individual. The student may return to school on day six if asymptomatic. In lieu of quarantine, unvaccinated students may elect to participate in our "Test to Stay" program described under "Quarantine".

If vaccinated: The exposed student does not need to quarantine and may attend school, however, families should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and should complete at-home COVID-19 testing for three days immediately following the latest exposure. These test results do not need to be supplied to the divisional nurse's office unless they are positive. Students may pick up at-home test kits from their divisional nurse's office.

Because continuous or ongoing household base exposure presents a higher risk of transmission, students returning to school, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a well-fitting face covering until they have reached 10-days from the date of the latest household exposure.

My child contracted COVID-19 between their first and second vaccine dose, what should we do?

Families with children who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may be required to further delay their second dose and should speak directly with their child's primary care provider.

Why shorten the isolation period from 10-days to 5-days?

The CDC and the New York State Department of Health revised their recommendations for the duration of isolation for positive individuals from 10 days to five days. The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of COVID-19 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the one to two days prior to the onset of symptoms and the two to three days after.

Will there be remote learning for students placed in isolation?

Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower

In the event that a student has to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure and their class remains in school, their teacher(s) will assign daily, asynchronous work. Their teacher(s) will also provide daily, virtual check-ins to support their asynchronous work and answer any questions they may have. The focus of their asynchronous work will be their academic subjects taught in the classroom (math, language arts, social studies), and specialists will not provide asynchronous work. For students absent for any other reason (regular sickness, travel, appointment, etc.), asynchronous work and teacher check-ins will not be provided. As in a typical, pre-COVID-19 year, make-up work will be provided upon their return to school.


Middle School

In the event that a Middle School student has to isolate due to COVID-19, their teachers will assign daily, asynchronous work. By the second day of the isolation, all homework and classwork will be posted on the teachers' respective Google classroom pages. The grade dean will have daily, virtual check-ins with the student throughout the isolation period and will help the student arrange a schedule of synchronous virtual meetings with classroom teachers to support their asynchronous work and answer any questions they may have. When possible, students in isolation can participate in synchronous group work with classmates, though there will be no hyflex teaching (teachers instructing in front of a camera). For students absent for any other reason (regular sickness, travel, appointment, etc.) asynchronous work and teacher check-ins will not be provided. As in a typical, pre-covid year, make-up work will be provided upon their return to school.


Upper School

Once the Form Dean and AP for Academic Life receives notification of a student in isolation or in quarantine due to exposure, the Dean will reach out to the family, the student, and his/her/their teacher to discuss options for students to complete work. Once the Form Dean has contacted everyone, the Form Dean will compile a spreadsheet with information with the preferred methods that students will complete academic work for each course. Faculty will provide one of three options for students to complete academic work based on course structure and student's health:

  • Asynchronous assignments: Students will check Google Classroom and complete assignments asynchronously. The student will receive any resources, notes, or readings directly from the teacher. The Form Dean will coordinate a document of assignments for the student.

  • Limited livestream: The teacher will set up a livestream for the student to listen into the class. The students will passively listen and will not be able to participate or be on camera. The teacher will set up a livestream link and will share it with the student. This option must be approved by the teacher, the Form Dean, and the AP for Academic Life and will only be available for students in active quarantine or isolation because of COVID-19 exposure.

  • Structured schedule of one-on-meetings with teacher: The teacher will coordinate with the student to schedule structured one-on-one times during the week. The student and teacher will coordinate with the Form Dean to schedule.

Regardless of the selected option, students must check in with the teacher at least one time over the course of the isolation or quarantine period via Google Meet. The student must contact the teacher directly to set up that meeting.

How do these policies apply to employees?

Employees must adhere to the same policies as described above.

quarantine FOR EXPOSED INDIVIDUALS

Does my fully vaccinated child need to quarantine if exposed to a positive case?

All fully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19 may continue to attend or work at school regardless of booster status as long as they remain asymptomatic.

Fully vaccinated individuals exposed at home should follow the household-based instructions listed below.

The NYS Department of Health recommends that individuals who are fully vaccinated, are eligible for a booster but not yet boosted, and are exposed to a positive case observe an at-home quarantine for five days when not in school.

Does my unvaccinated child need to quarantine if exposed to a positive case?

Unvaccinated students exposed to COVID-19 may continue to attend school, extracurricular activities, and afterschool programs but should quarantine at home when not at school. Additionally, these students may not participate in activities that involve students from other schools (e.g. athletic games) for 10 days following their latest contact with the positive individuals.

These students must also participate in our "Test to Stay" program in order to continue attending school. Unvaccinated students must receive a negative at-home rapid antigen test in the morning prior to arriving at school for three consecutive days following the notification of exposure. Results do not need to be reported to your divisional nurse's office unless they return a positive result. Families in need of at-home rapid antigen test kits should contact their divisional nurse's office.

A family may, however, elect to complete a full 5-day quarantine if they do not wish to participate in the "Test to Stay" program.

Is a test required to end quarantine for those not participating in "Test to Stay"?

No, a negative test is not required to end quarantine.

Will unvaccinated Pre-K students be required to quarantine following exposure?

No, unvaccinated Pre-K students may participate in the "Test to Stay" program as described above. Pre-K families will be notified if the potential close contact exposure occurred while in school.

What if my child begins to develop symptoms following a known close contact?

If symptoms appear following a known exposure, the individual should isolate and seek COVID-19 PCR or laboratory-based antigen testing. In this situation, the individual may return to school once the negative COVID-19 test result is received and symptoms have resolved.

My child was previously positive in the past 90 days, do they need to quarantine?

No, individuals previously positive in the past 90 days do not need to quarantine regardless of vaccine or booster status as long as they remain asymptomatic.

If my child is quarantined, do my other children have to quarantine?

No, a contact of a contact does not have to be quarantined.

My child is fully vaccinated but was exposed. What should they do?

The CDC continues to recommend testing five to seven days after close contact with a positive individual and to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.

What does my child need to do if someone in their household has tested positive for COVID-19?

Individuals may be required to remain home if exposed to a member of their household who has tested positive for COVID-19 and the positive individual is unable to isolate away for the duration of their infectious period. These cases should be reviewed individually with your divisional nurse’s office.

If unvaccinated: The unvaccinated student must quarantine for five days from the date of the latest close contact with the positive individual. The student may return to school on day six if asymptomatic. In lieu of quarantine, unvaccinated students may elect to participate in our "Test to Stay" program as described above.

If vaccinated: The exposed student does not need to quarantine and may attend school, however, families should monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and should complete at-home COVID-19 testing for three days immediately following the latest exposure. These test results do not need to be supplied to the divisional nurse's office unless they are positive. Students may pick up at-home test kits from their divisional nurse's office.

Because continuous or ongoing household base exposure presents a higher risk of transmission, students returning to school, regardless of vaccination status, should wear a well-fitting face covering until they have reached 10-days from the date of the latest household exposure.

When is someone considered "fully vaccinated"?

A person is considered fully vaccinated with vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 infection ≥2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or ≥2 weeks after receipt of a single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

Will there be remote learning for students placed in quarantine?

Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower

In the event that a student has to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure and their class remains in school, their teacher(s) will assign daily, asynchronous work. Their teacher(s) will also provide daily, virtual check-ins to support their asynchronous work and answer any questions they may have. The focus of their asynchronous work will be their academic subjects taught in the classroom (math, language arts, social studies), and specialists will not provide asynchronous work. For students absent for any other reason (regular sickness, travel, appointment, etc.), asynchronous work and teacher check-ins will not be provided. As in a typical, pre-COVID-19 year, make-up work will be provided upon their return to school.


Middle School

In the event that a Middle School student has to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure, their teachers will assign daily, asynchronous work. By the second day of the quarantine, all homework and classwork will be posted on the teachers' respective Google classroom pages. The grade dean will have daily, virtual check-ins with the student throughout the quarantine period and will help the student arrange a schedule of synchronous virtual meetings with classroom teachers to support their asynchronous work and answer any questions they may have. When possible, students in quarantine can participate in synchronous group work with classmates, though there will be no hyflex teaching (teachers instructing in front of a camera). For students absent for any other reason (regular sickness, travel, appointment, etc.) asynchronous work and teacher check-ins will not be provided. As in a typical, pre-covid year, make-up work will be provided upon their return to school.


Upper School

Once the Form Dean and AP for Academic Life receives notification of a student in isolation or in quarantine due to exposure, the Dean will reach out to the family, the student, and his/her/their teacher to discuss options for students to complete work. Once the Form Dean has contacted everyone, the Form Dean will compile a spreadsheet with information with the preferred methods that students will complete academic work for each course. Faculty will provide one of three options for students to complete academic work based on course structure and student's health:

  • Asynchronous assignments: Students will check Google Classroom and complete assignments asynchronously. The student will receive any resources, notes, or readings directly from the teacher. The Form Dean will coordinate a document of assignments for the student.

  • Limited livestream: The teacher will set up a livestream for the student to listen into the class. The students will passively listen and will not be able to participate or be on camera. The teacher will set up a livestream link and will share it with the student. This option must be approved by the teacher, the Form Dean, and the AP for Academic Life and will only be available for students in active quarantine or isolation because of COVID-19 exposure.

  • Structured schedule of one-on-meetings with teacher: The teacher will coordinate with the student to schedule structured one-on-one times during the week. The student and teacher will coordinate with the Form Dean to schedule.

Regardless of the selected option, students must check in with the teacher at least one time over the course of the isolation or quarantine period via Google Meet. The student must contact the teacher directly to set up that meeting.

Where can I learn more about the contact tracing process?

Please visit the "Contact Tracing" tab below.

How do these policies apply to employees?

Employees must adhere to the same policies as described above.

Symptomatic FOR SYMPTOMATIC INDIVIDUALS

What happens if a student or employee is sick?

Any student or employee who is sick must stay home. The School must follow guidance from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for allowing an individual to return to school after exhibiting signs or symptoms consistent with COVID-19. A symptomatic individual may return to school when at least one of the boxes below is met.

OPTION A

  • Individual isolates until they receive a COVID-19 test; and,

  • Documented negative COVID-19 test result**; and,

  • Symptom resolution, including no fever, without the use of fever or pain-reducing medication for 24 hours.

** Symptomatic individuals may receive any type of COVID-19 viral test; molecular test (such as a PCR), provider-based antigen test, or at-home test. If using at-home tests, two negative at-home tests taken at least 24 hours apart are required to return to school.

OPTION B

  • Individual isolates until they receive a COVID-19 test; and,

  • Documented positive COVID-19 test results; and,

  • It has been at least five days since symptom onset, or five days since the date of the test if asymptomatic; and,

  • Symptom resolution, including no fever, without the use of fever or pain-reducing medication for 24 hours.

Per NYS DOH regulation, if the individal begins isolation while asymptomatic and develops symptoms before the end of day five, the five-day isolation period starts over at onset of symptoms.

OPTION C

  • Individual isolates until they are evaluated by a healthcare provider or produce documentation; and,

  • Documented diagnosis by a healthcare provider of a known chronic condition with unchanged symptoms (e.g. chronic headaches, seasonal allergies) or a confirmed acute illness (e.g. laboratory-confirmed influenza, strep-throat); and,

  • Symptoms have resolved according to the usual guidelines for that diagnosis.

OPTION D

  • If a COVID-19 diagnostic test is recommended but not done, and there is no alternate diagnosis, the individual must remain home for at least five days since symptom onset; and,

  • Symptoms have resolved, including no fever, without the use of fever or pain-reducing medication for 24 hours.

What type of test is required to return to school following symptoms?

Symptomatic individuals may receive any type of COVID-19 viral test; molecular test (such as a PCR), provider-based antigen test, or at-home test. If using at-home tests, two negative at-home tests taken at least 24 hours apart are required to return to school.

If my child is in the Nurse's Office with symptoms awaiting pickup, can they be tested on campus before being sent home?

If your child is in the Nurse's office with symptoms awaiting pickup, the nurses will endeavor to have your child tested while onsite if 1) Everpoint is on-campus that day, and 2) Everpoint has an available Nurse who can walk to the division's Nurse's Office.

If my child is sent home with symptoms, can we arrange a test with Everpoint rather than seeking testing elsewhere?

Yes. Please email covid@ecfs.org and we will provide you with information about when Everpoint will be on campus. We will then arrange a time with Everpoint for them to meet your child at your vehicle/outdoors to conduct the test. Test results are generally received within 24-48 hours.

Does my child need to wear a mask in the Nurse's Office?

Yes, masks remain required by the NYS Department of Health while in any school-based health center including the Nurse's Offices and Isolation Rooms.

vaccinations

Why require COVID-19 vaccination in schools?

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe infection, and a growing body of evidence suggests that people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit COVID-19 to others than people who are not fully vaccinated.

What if my child reaches the age of eligibility for vaccination mid-year or over the summer?

Should your child become age-eligible during the academic year, we require that the primary vaccination series be completed within 60 days of becoming eligible.

Will ECFS consider religious or medical exemptions?

ECFS will consider requests for religious and medical exemptions on an individualized, case-by-case basis:

  • ECFS is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and supportive experience and recognizes observance of faith as it pertains to the practice of immunization. Families wishing to seek a religious exemption should complete this form and return it to covid@ecfs.org no later than Friday 8/5.

  • Medical exemptions may also be granted upon receipt of this form, completed and signed by a licensed healthcare provider, outlining the medical condition(s) contraindicating COVID-19 vaccination. Families wishing to seek a medical exemption should complete the form and return it to covid@ecfs.org no later than Friday 8/5.

Do new families need to submit vaccination records of age-eligible children?


Yes, newly enrolled families of age-eligible students should submit a photo of their child’s CDC Vaccination Record Card along with their immunization form no later than Friday 8/5.

Are booster doses required?


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster dose for children aged 12 and older. While booster doses are not currently required for students or employees, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend booster doses for all individuals aged 12 and older. Parents or guardians should upload an updated copy of their student’s COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to the Magnus Health portal once a booster dose is received.

Are 5 to 11-year-olds required to be vaccinated?

Yes. As included in our message on Monday 7/26, students who become age-eligible during the academic year are required to begin their vaccination series within 60 days of becoming eligible. Students ages 5 through 11 should have completed their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Sunday 1/2. Families should continue to follow the manufacturer and vaccine site's recommendations regarding the completion of the second dose by Sunday 1/23, 21 days following the initial dose. Once completed, families should upload a copy of their child's COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card by following the instructions found at the bottom of this page.

My child contracted COVID-19 between their first and second dose, what should we do?

Families with children who have recently recovered from COVID-19 may be required to further delay their second dose and should speak directly with their child's primary care provider.

Are all employees fully vaccinated?

Yes, with few exemptions, all faculty, staff, and contractors are now fully vaccinated.

Are all age-eligible students fully vaccinated?

Yes, with few exemptions, all age-eligible students in Kindergarten to 12th Grade are now fully vaccinated.

If my child is vaccinated, will they need to participate in on-campus screening testing?

Yes, at this time, all students regardless of vaccination status will participate in on-campus screening testing.

When is my child considered "fully vaccinated"?

A person is considered fully vaccinated with vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 infection ≥2 weeks after receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) or ≥2 weeks after receipt of a single dose of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

What happens if my child experiences side effects following vaccination?

Vaccinated individuals may experience side effects following their COVID-19 vaccination including pain and swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache. The CDC offers additional resources about what to expect after getting the vaccine here.

The New York City Department of Health has issued additional guidance regarding the return to school for individuals who are experiencing post-vaccine side effects. Individuals with symptom onset occurring more than three days following vaccination must follow our standard return-to-school procedures outlined above.

For individuals with symptom onset less than three days after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine:

  • If symptoms include cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, fever, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, students must follow our standard return-to-school procedure which may include testing or a physician’s note.

  • If the only symptoms are fatigue, headache, chills, or muscle or joint pain, students may return to school without a negative COVID-19 test if symptoms resolve within two days. If symptoms persist beyond this timeframe, students must follow our normal return-to-school procedure.

If my child is vaccinated, will they need to quarantine following exposure to a positive case?

All fully vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to an individual with COVID-19 may continue to attend or work at school regardless of booster status as long as they remain asymptomatic. Please see the "Quarantine" tab for additional information.

How do I submit my child's vaccination record?

On the computer:

  1. Log into your Magnus Health account.

  2. Go to the Student Health Tracker.

  3. Next to the Immunization Form, click “Edit”.

  4. It will ask you if you would like to add an additional page or form. Click “Yes, continue”.

  5. It will ask you if you have already obtained and completed the form. Click “Yes, submit”.

  6. Click “Upload” to add a copy of your student’s COVID Vaccination Record Card.


On the mobile application:

  1. Log into the Magnus Mobile V2 app and click "Student Health Tracker".

  2. Click "Immunization Form".

  3. Select “Add Files” then hit "continue".

  4. Click “Add File” to add a copy of your student’s COVID Vaccination Record Card. Select the file you just uploaded and then hit “Submit.”

Excelsior Pass indicates that my vaccination has expired.

Please delete the pass then re-load your information. The expiration date should then be extended to the proper timeframe.

Who do I talk to about a bill I received from the on-campus vaccination clinic?

Please contact Assistant Director of Campus Services, Ivan Lovjer, at ilovjer@ecfs.org

contact tracing

What happens when the School learns of a positive COVID-19 test?

Once the School is notified of a positive in-school or external COVID-19 test, we immediately begin our contact tracing process. Our process takes information from PowerSchool (student/faculty schedules), bus routes, before school and after school programming (including athletics), interviews, visitor access logs, and other on-campus activities. Once we have gathered this information, we apply the criteria used by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOH) to direct quarantine for the affected unvaccinated members of our community who may have been exposed.

We review all quarantine information with the NYCDOH epidemiologist who is assigned as the case investigator to ensure that our quarantine group is an appropriate one. Should there be any reasons to include or exclude someone from quarantine, we immediately communicate such a message.

Who qualifies as a close contact?

Close contact is defined as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual five-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). In the K–12 indoor classroom setting or a structured outdoor setting where mask use can be observed (i.e., holding class outdoors with educator supervision), the close contact definition excludes students who were within three to six feet of an infected student if both the infected student and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time. This exception does not apply to teachers, staff, or other adults in the indoor classroom setting.

Other people may be considered close contacts in certain situations, such as when physical distancing cannot be consistently monitored or maintained (such as on the school bus, younger children who are unable to remain apart, and during sports or recreational activities).

What does the School do when they learn that an unvaccinated individual may have been exposed to COVID-19?

As outlined in A Guide to Reopening Our School, the School takes the necessary steps to quarantine those unvaccinated individuals in the affected class, activity, or bus route. When an unvaccinated child has potential exposure, the School notifies parents/guardians individually to quarantine according to New York City Department of Health guidance or participate in our "Test to Stay" program.

Given that many students in Pre-K are not yet age-eligible for vaccination, the entire class will now be notified should a single individual test positive within the classroom.

What does the School do when they learn that a vaccinated individual may have been exposed to COVID-19?

Following modifications from New York State earlier this year, we have reevaluated our contact tracing policies to better focus our team’s time and resources. While the COVID-19 Response Team will continue our contact tracing exercises to compile data and monitor trends, identify potential sources of transmission, and quarantine individuals who are not fully vaccinated, we do not typically notify families of fully vaccinated students of a potential exposure.

During periods of increased COVID-19 cases, vaccinated students will receive an exposure notification if:

  1. Exposure occurred in a setting with a higher risk of transmission (e.g. sleepovers, carpools, play-dates, individually named by positive case); or,

  2. They are a student at Fieldston Lower or Ethical Culture in a classroom that has at least two confirmed positive cases. In this case, the entire classroom will be notified of potential exposure.

Students and employees should continue to monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 each day and participate in our on-campus screening testing.

Will we be notified of positive cases in our community?

Beginning Friday 2/11, we will be suspending our weekly COVID-19 case summary communications. Families may continue to view our COVID-19 cases through the New York State COVID-19 Report Card which is updated daily. We will continue to send regular COVID-19 updates to the community as our mitigation strategies shift or as positive case rates require.

How does the caseload impact masking decisions?

The New York State COVID-19 Report Card remains a helpful tool for community members to gauge the number of cases in their respective divisions to help better inform personal masking decisions. Masks will also become required in Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower classrooms when two or more active positive COVID-19 cases have been identified.

Shifts in mask mitigation strategy are based on student and employee absentee rates, trending number of students or employees sent home due to potential illness, the number of students or employees exhibiting symptoms, student and employee positivity rates, and the rate and types of transmission.

How many COVID-19 cases has ECFS had to date?

Updated information and metrics about COVID-19 in the ECFS community are available through the New York State COVID-19 Report Card.

How do I read the New York State COVID-19 Report Card?

  1. Visit the New York State COVID-19 Report Card

  2. Select "Private Schools"

  3. Begin to type the word "Fieldston" and four options will appear.

    1. Ethical Culture Fieldston Middle School is Fieldston Middle

    2. Ethical Culture-Fieldston School is Ethical Culture (see 33 Central Park West address)

    3. Ethical Culture The Fieldston Lower School is Fieldston Lower

    4. Ethical Culture Fieldston School is Fieldston Upper

  4. View the "School Reported COVID Data" chart

On-campus screening TESTING

What kind of test is being conducted?

The School will be conducting Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests. Families have the option to choose between a saliva-based swish test, which involves swishing a sterile saline (saltwater) solution for 30 seconds and spitting it into a vial, or an anterior nares swab which goes approximately 1/2”–3/4” inside the nostrils. The School will continue to work with Everpoint Health, a provider of COVID-19 testing solutions, to oversee the testing process.

How often will my child be tested?

Screening testing remains an important layer of our COVID-19 mitigation strategy and will continue in an abridged version this spring. The majority of our positive COVID-19 test results continue to be identified through families and individuals who sought testing externally. Beginning Monday 2/7, students at Fieldston Lower and Ethical Culture will be tested biweekly, with the exception of Pre-K students and students with valid medical or religious exemptions who will continue with weekly testing. Screening testing will continue on a biweekly basis for students in the Middle School and Upper School.


We continue to work with our partners at Everpoint Health to ensure screening tests are conducted expeditiously with minimal disruption to the student schedule.

Can I receive a copy of my child's test result?

No notification will be made if your child tests negative. If your child tests positive, you will receive a call from a physician who will explain the results and advise you on next steps. Families wishing to receive a copy of their child's negative COVID-19 test result for use at out-of-school activities may contact covid@ecfs.org for a copy of the result. Please note that on average, test results will be provided to ECFS 24-48 hours after the sample is collected.

How do I change the type of COVID-19 test that I chose for my child?

Please email us at covid@ecfs.org to change the type of test.

I supplied my insurance information and received a notice from my insurance company that this test is not 100% covered. Will I be responsible for the remainder?

No. If you provided your insurance information when registering for testing, you may receive an EOB (Explanation of Benefits) from your insurance company informing you of the amount that is covered by your plan. ECFS will be responsible for the remainder of any testing costs that are not covered by your insurance.

How do I provide insurance for in-school COVID-19 testing?

The cost to procure, administer, and provide laboratory analysis is included in our reopening costs, and no out-of-pocket costs will be incurred by families. However, in an effort to reduce the economic impact to the School, we ask that if you have insurance, you provide a photo of the front and back of your child’s insurance card to jgalarza@ecfs.org. We are grateful to the families who have already taken this step to help defray the costs related to our testing program.

Will the results of my child’s test be disclosed to ECFS?

Our testing program relies on the School knowing test results so we can manage individual positive cases and the potential impact of community spread. Families will submit a consent form through Magnus to indicate their permission for Everpoint Health/Greenwich Medical Partners to perform a COVID-19 test and share the results of the COVID-19 test with ECFS. All test results will be kept in strict confidence and not disclosed to any other parties.

What happens if my child tests positive?

You will receive an initial call from EverPoint Health. The School will then contact you about the next steps and when your child will be able to safely return to campus. Please see the "Isolation" tab for additional information.

Can I submit a test from our medical provider instead of the in-school testing?

Testing for COVID-19 is available through medical practitioners and other local options like major pharmacies and/or testing centers. These tests are valuable in diagnosing the symptoms of an illness you or your child may be experiencing. Should a situation require such, it may be necessary to disclose the results of these tests to the School. In order to ensure the most uniform and consistent reporting for our testing program, we will not accept the test results from an external provider in lieu of in-school testing.

What if I don’t want ECFS to test my child?

Testing is a requirement so that we can maintain a safe environment. Absent any necessary compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), students are required to participate in screening testing. Parents or guardians requesting an accommodation of this nature should make their request in writing to covid@ecfs.org.

Does my child need to complete gateway or screening testing if they were previously positive for COVID-19?


No, your child does not need to complete gateway or screening testing for 90 days following their initial positive test result.

Is Athletics continuing to test student-athletes before league contests?


No, the Ivy Preparatory School League no longer requires the rapid antigen testing of student-athletes on the day of contests against a league school. Student-athletes will continue to participate in our regular biweekly screening testing.

Where do I sign the Everpoint Testing Waiver for students?

The Everpoint Health testing registration for students may be found here.

Where do I sign the Everpoint Testing Waiver for employees?

The Everpoint Health testing registration for employees may be found here.

What were other key considerations?

We recognize that testing represents a snapshot in time and that availability of testing and turnaround of testing results would be key considerations for our community. We also knew that ongoing testing would be prudent to help monitor our community's health and proactively identify asymptomatic cases.

Where do I direct specific questions about PCR testing or the testing process?

Please direct questions about the testing process to Everpoint Health at ecfs@everpointhealth.com.

Where do I learn more about Everpoint Health?

Everpoint Health develops tailored COVID-19 testing solutions to meet the needs of day and boarding schools, colleges, universities, businesses, and other organizations. Everpoint Health is the sister company to Greenwich Medical Partners, a premier concierge practice led by internist Dr. Caleb Moore. Further information can be found on their website: www.everpointhealth.com.

TRAvel and RETURN FROM recesses

Can we travel over weekends or holidays?

The School expects families to comply with any New York State or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) travel directives.

What are the requirements for returning to New York following domestic travel?

There are generally no quarantine, work furlough, or testing requirements for domestic travelers.

What are the requirements for returning to New York following international travel?

New York State and CDC recommend delaying international travel until the traveler is fully vaccinated. Currently, the NYS DOH does not require quarantine, work furlough, or testing requirements for international travelers. If traveling internationally, check with your destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers. Follow all entry requirements for your destination and provide any required or requested health information.

What type of test will the School accept for returning from recesses?

The School will accept any FDA-approved/emergency use authorized test (Vault, binaxNOW, ellume, PCR, rapid, etc.).

Are at-home tests accepted?

Yes, the School will accept any FDA-approved/emergency use authorized test.

Does my child need to submit a return-from-recess test if they were previously positive for COVID-19?

No. If your child was positive in the past 90 days, they do not need to submit a return-from-recess test.

Campus services including school buses & dining services

Are face masks required on the school bus?

Face coverings are no longer required on the school bus in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Will vaccinated students be able to take different Selby routes home for after-school activities?

Beginning Monday 9/27, Middle and Upper School students are permitted to ride alternate afternoon routes as long as there is the capacity to do so. Afternoon requests no longer need to be pre-arranged with Selby. If there is no capacity on that afternoon’s route, the student will be required to board their pre-assigned afternoon route. Students boarding alternate afternoon routes will be tracked by signing in on that afternoon route’s daily seating log.

Beginning Monday 2/7, Fieldston Lower and Ethical Culture will reintroduce the play-date policy that allows students to ride different afternoon buses when seats are available. These requests should be coordinated through your divisional transportation coordinators: Bella Namack at Ethical Culture and Tania Miraz at Fieldston Lower.

Are students permitted to eat/drink on the school bus?

No eating or drinking is permitted on the school bus.

What additional safety measures are in place on the school bus?

  • Windows and roof hatches will be opened to increase ventilation when temperatures are above 45oF.

  • Selby employees will undergo daily pre-arrival screenings and will be required to wear personal protective equipment at all times. Selby will provide PPE for all employees as well as hand sanitizers for all staff in dispatch offices, employee rooms, and bus garages. Transportation staff will be encouraged to wash their hands with soap and water before and after AM and PM runs to stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections.

  • School buses will be cleaned and disinfected at the beginning of the day, end of the day, and between each route that utilizes the bus.

What is the plan for students not adhering to safety measures on the bus?

Selby drivers and ECFS employees continue to remind students of school bus safety strategies. Students who do not adhere to these standards will receive an initial warning from their divisional leadership and a notice will be sent to the student's family. Students who continue to violate these requirements are subject to suspension or termination of their bus ridership.

Are employees permitted to ride the school bus?

To protect the health and safety of our students and to ensure there is adequate capacity on our buses, employees are only permitted to ride morning or afternoon buses when the bus company has confirmed that there is the capacity for them to do so.

Can students purchase "one-way" bus tickets at FM/FS if they do not have a Selby contract?

Beginning Monday 2/7, Middle and Upper School students without a Selby bus contract may purchase “one-way” tickets from the Middle School or Upper School office for afternoon service. For additional information on “one way” tickets, please contact your divisional transportation coordinators: Kaitlin Wright in the Middle School and Sandra Wang in the Upper School.

Is there a contingency plan for school buses should there be a driver shortage?

We are working with our partners at Selby to ensure a contingency plan is in place to account for driver call-out/illness. Should we experience a shortage, Selby would initially pull drivers from their charter services division to backfill and prioritize home-to-school routing. We are also evaluating contingency operations including staggered arrivals and combined dismissals.

Where can I find health and safety information for NYC Department of Education Buses?

NYC Department of Education (DOE) Bus Protocols may be found here.

How will lunch be provided this year?

Here are some of the school-wide dining services plans for this year, and below are specific changes by division.

  • All utensils and flatware will be disposable products with priority given to compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable products.

  • Chefs will continue to develop unique cycle menus in the fall, winter, and spring.

  • Menu staples, including vegetarian options and allergen meals, will remain unchanged. The main hot lunch, “Homestyle Meals,” will continue to include a protein, starch, and vegetable.

  • We recommend that students who are unable to independently identify allergen labels on placards or menus enjoy the Clarity meal each day. Clarity provides a nutritious meal comparable to the Homestyle station featuring seasonal food availability.

Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower

With limited space to physically distance in our dining halls, students will eat meals in their respective classrooms, or if weather permits, outdoors. Lunch meals will be pre-ordered by parents each week through myMealOrder, individually packaged and labeled in disposable containers, and delivered to the students’ classroom. Daily snacks will be provided at Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower in pre-packaged containers. Bulk containers (e.g., a tub of Goldfish) will not be available.

Given the scheduling requirements and size of our dining facilities at Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower, we do not anticipate any significant changes to the pre-order and delivery program this semester.

Middle School and Upper School

In order to de-densify some of our ad-hoc lunch spaces in the Middle/Upper School, we will be reopening the Middle/Upper School Dining Hall seating area beginning Monday 2/7. Given the low risk of transmission from surfaces and shared objects, the self-service salad bar and deli station will also reopen with continued adherence to our cleaning and disinfection protocols.

The traditional breakfast program in the Fieldston Middle/Upper dining hall has returned for the 2021–2022 school year.

If families are concerned, can students bring outside food for lunch?

In order to maintain an environment where allergens are controlled, students at Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower are not permitted to bring outside food to campus without a note from their child's primary care physician. Middle School and Upper School students are permitted to bring nut-free snacks with them to campus. Please see our divisional Student & Family Handbooks for more information about snacks.

Why are there only cold food options at Ethical Culture?

This summer, our Facilities team undertook work to replace the building’s gas meter and existing gas line. While the work has been successfully completed, the School continues to await operational approval from the New York City Department of Buildings. While we await this approval, the 6th-floor kitchen is unable to utilize gas-fed equipment — including the range and oven. Our Facilities team is working closely with our mechanical engineers to ensure this approval is received as expeditiously as possible.

For the coming weeks, Chef Victoria and the Dining Services team have reimagined our menu with a focus on fresh and seasonally-inspired cold offerings including grain, protein, and vegetable bowls, along with a daily variety of specialty wraps, sandwiches, and salads. As in years past, we will continue to provide vegetarian and allergen-free offerings each day.

health and safety including masking, distancing, closures, and ventilation

What is the mask policy at ECFS?

Governor Hochul has lifted the Commissioner’s Determination on Indoor Masking, which previously required indoor masks at all schools in New York State. ECFS moved to a mask-optional policy effective Wednesday 3/9.

Are there any specific end-of-year event mitigation requirements for guests?

To facilitate the safest possible environment for our students and families, all attendees should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have recently received a negative test result in the past 72 hours. Individuals experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should remain home. While face coverings remain optional at ECFS, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends the use of face coverings in all public indoor settings and crowded outdoor settings.

Is anyone still required to wear a mask?

Yes. Students in Pre-K and employees working with this grade are still required to wear masks while indoors. We are continuing to monitor guidance from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and will provide an update to the community should this order be changed.

At what other times do individuals still need to wear a mask?

Students and employees who return to school following a 5-day COVID-19 isolation are still required to wear masks indoors through day 10. Masks also remain required while entering one of our divisional Nurse’s Offices or Isolation Rooms. Masks will remain near the entrances to these spaces to provide easy access.

How does the caseload impact masking decisions?

The New York State COVID-19 Report Card remains a helpful tool for community members to gauge the number of cases in their respective divisions to help better inform personal masking decisions. Masks will also become required in Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower classrooms when two or more active positive COVID-19 cases have been identified.

Shifts in mask mitigation strategy are based on student and employee absentee rates, trending number of students or employees sent home due to potential illness, the number of students or employees exhibiting symptoms, student and employee positivity rates, and the rate and types of transmission.

What does the "high" alert level designation from the NYC DOHMH mean?

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) elevated the city’s COVID-19 alert level to “high,” representing an increase in community spread and developing pressure on the local healthcare system.

In moving to a “high” alert level, the NYC DOHMH recommends that individuals:

  • Stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, including primary doses and boosters.

  • Wear a face mask in all indoor public settings and crowded outdoor spaces.

  • Consider avoiding higher-risk activities (e.g. crowded indoor gatherings).

  • Get tested following the development of COVID-19 symptoms or recent exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

  • Follow appropriate isolation and quarantine guidelines, including staying home when sick.

  • Continue to practice strong respiratory and hand hygiene.

While ECFS will continue to offer a mask-optional policy at this time, we encourage families to consider their personal and household risk status when making individual masking decisions. The COVID-19 Response Team is continuing to implement targeted masking requirements based on classroom, grade, or divisional COVID-19 positivity and transmission metrics and will continue to monitor both internal and regional data as we consider our masking policies.

How are you preparing students for a mask-optional policy?

In the days leading up to Wednesday 3/9, faculty will be facilitating conversations in homerooms at Ethical Culture and Fieldston Lower and in Middle and Upper School advisories to discuss this change with students. The general theme of these conversations will revolve around respecting each other's choices, not pressuring other students to wear a mask or not, and not judging or making assumptions about each other's personal choices. These conversations will also reinforce that students should speak with trusted adults should they have questions or concerns.

Schools around the world have relied on evolving medical guidance over the past two years as we have all changed our daily routines and habits to protect ourselves from COVID-19. In a similar way to how we have trained ourselves to wear masks, we will need to rework our decision-making process about wearing a mask when it is not required. Each individual’s decision on that remains their own and we will continue to provide KN95 masks to faculty and staff who wish to utilize them.

Are masks still required on the school bus?

No, masks are no longer required on the school bus.

Are masks still required at indoor evening events, concerts, or competitions?

No, masks are no longer required at indoor evening events, concerts, or athletic competitions.

Does the NYC extracurricular vaccine requirement apply to ECFS?

No, NYC DOHMH clarified that the recent order requiring children participating in after-school activities and extracurriculars to be vaccinated by December 14, does NOT apply to nonpublic schools. Per NYC DOHMH: "At this time, the Commissioner’s Order regarding vaccinations for kids participating in high-risk extracurricular activities, etc. pertains only to DOE and Charter schools."

What is the plan for physical distancing this year?

Physical distancing has been reduced to a minimum of three feet between students.

Physical distancing of six feet will be required for Pre-K students only:

  • During vocal music, wind instrument, and aerobic activities

  • While eating/drinking, when space permits

How will you protect those who are at high risk in our community?

According to the CDC, some members of our community need to take extra precautions in order to protect themselves. Additional information about populations at higher risk for severe illness can be found here. Reasonable accommodations are made for those members of our community who cannot engage in school activities, whether those are academic, co-curricular, or related to other programming. Families should speak to their child’s divisional principal; employees should speak with Human Resources.

How do students complete the required daily health screening before coming to school?

Beginning Monday 12/6, we have suspended the use of the Magnus Health COVID-19 questionnaire, though we may reinstate this requirement if needed in the future. We can forestall reinstating this requirement by following common-sense precautions each morning. Unvaccinated individuals who have been exposed to a positive case and anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and notify their divisional nurse’s office.

Are parents, guardians, caregivers, and visitors allowed on campus?

In general, parent, guardian, caregiver, and visitor access will be significantly limited and subject to all COVID-19 protocols and procedures. To facilitate the safest environment for our students and employees, all visitors must be fully vaccinated or have received a recent negative COVID-19 test result in the past 72 hours prior to entering any building. In general and whenever possible, meetings should be held using video or teleconferencing to reduce the density of congregations.


Critically necessary visits include, but are not limited to:

  • Pre-arranged, individual-household tours with the Admissions team

  • Final stage interviews for employee candidates

  • Pre-arranged parent/guardian-administrator or parent/guardian-teacher meetings

  • Attendance at pre-approved events hosted by the Office of Institutional Advancement and Alumni (OIAA)

  • Select volunteers’ attendance at pre-approved events

  • Deliveries

  • Regulatory inspectors


Given the outdoor spatial restrictions at Ethical Culture, families arriving by foot should follow signage indicating pedestrian flow and ingress/egress to the building.

What should guests expect when attending an event on campus?

To facilitate the safest environment for our students and employees, all visitors must be fully vaccinated or have received a recent negative COVID-19 test result in the past 72 hours prior to entering any building. While all guests should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received a recent negative test for COVID-19, we will no longer be checking these requirements upon entry unless otherwise specified in the event invite.

Guests are not required to wear masks while indoors or outdoors unless 1) it is specifically required on the event invite, 2) the guest is entering a health office, or 3) the guest has recently exited a 5-day isolation but has not yet reached day 10. Guests are strongly encouraged to wear a face-covering if they have been recently exposed to COVID-19 in the past 10 days.

Guests should endeavor to keep a distance of at least three feet between members of other households at all times and should continue to practice healthy hygiene/respiratory practices during the course of their attendance. Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 should remain home and not attend the event.

How will you manage student restroom use?

Restroom use will be staggered by encouraging students to avoid restrooms during class changes and instead use restrooms by being excused from class. Signage has been posted to remind users of physical distancing and hand washing. Lids have been added to all toilet seats. In terms of cleaning and disinfection, particular attention will be paid to restrooms to ensure they are regularly cleaned and disinfected throughout the course of the day.

Will students be allowed to use lockers?

Locker use will be limited whenever possible. Lockers will be assigned in a manner consistent with physical distancing to allow the maximum possible distance between students using their lockers. Students should use their lockers to store necessary books and materials and avoid carrying an unreasonable number of books or materials throughout the day.

Will you still be conducting fire drills and lockdown drills?

Yes. Education Law § 807 requires that schools conduct eight fire evacuation and four lockdown drills each school year. When planning drills, consideration will be given to how ECFS can modify our drill procedures to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and employees safe in an emergency; however, because steps must be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills, it will be necessary for ECFS to conduct drills in the 2020–2021 school year using different protocols (i.e., using a staggered schedule and physical distancing) than the customary ones.

Regardless of the modifications used when conducting a drill, students will be instructed that in an actual emergency requiring evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining physical distance in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.

What will trigger a full or partial closure of the School?

The following would trigger a full or partial closure of ECFS:

  • As ordered by federal, state, or local regulations;

  • As recommended, following a consultation with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene;

  • Quarantine of a number of dining services employees whose absence would preclude the School from providing dining services;

  • Quarantine of a number of bus drivers whose absence would preclude the School from providing transportation services;

  • Quarantine of a number of employees whose absence would preclude the School from providing adequate supervision or instruction;

  • Quarantine of a number of nurses whose absence would preclude the School from providing medical supervision;

  • 20% of students/employees under quarantine or isolation at the Upper School would constitute an automatic closure of that division. The closure of the Upper School may trigger the closure of the Middle School should conditions necessitate;

  • 20% of students/employees under quarantine or isolation at the Middle School would constitute an automatic closure of that division. The closure of the Middle School may trigger the closure of the Upper School should conditions necessitate;

  • 20% of students/employees under quarantine or isolation at Ethical Culture or Fieldston Lower would constitute an automatic closure of that division.

The School reserves the right to close campuses or divisions for in-person learning should it be deemed prudent based on a number of variables within our school community, city, and state.

Will ECFS close its campuses if New York City public schools close due to increasing COVID-19 positivity rates?

The School will not make decisions in lockstep with the New York City Department of Education.

As outlined in A Guide to Reopening Our School, we will certainly abide by mandated governmental guidance or direction regarding closure for independent schools. We will communicate further details to you through our School Messenger emergency notification system should we be mandated to close our campuses and activate fully remote learning.

What will cause the School to transition to the fully remote learning option?

Unless a full closure is warranted to protect the health and safety of our community (as described in the question above), the School will endeavor to decrease the scale or scope of in-person education prior to initiating a full transition to remote learning. These reductions will help to eliminate the number of students on campus and time students may spend on campus and include the temporary suspension of in-person athletics, after-school or before-school programs, and courses.

How is the School approaching ventilation?

For buildings with central air conditioning systems, the School’s certified HVAC contractor has installed the highest-rated MERV filters that meet the current New York State requirements. For rooms with window air conditioners and split unit (ductless) air conditioners, the School’s certified HVAC contractor has installed the highest appropriate filters based on unit specifications. To date, the CDC guidance has recommended increasing outdoor air to rooms like this by opening doors and windows. Ventilation will be increased with outdoor air to the greatest extent possible.

The School will schedule HVAC filter changes based on manufacturer guidelines and in consultation with our certified HVAC contractor. The School will make replacements with the highest rated MERV filter that can be accepted by the unit. Staff will be equipped with proper PPE when working with HVAC filters.


In classrooms that don't have access to HVAC ventilation, the School will provide air purifiers which have HEPA 13 air filters. These filters are commonly used in a biomedical capacity and are tested to remove 99.9% of particles down to 0.1 microns.


Where possible during peak use times, doors will be latched in an open position to minimize necessary contact.


Additionally, the School will ensure that:

  • all systems are working properly and are code compliant;

  • diffusers, exhausts, and unit vents are not blocked or obstructed by cabinets, books or other materials;

  • routine maintenance and inspection schedules are strictly adhered to;

  • bathroom exhaust systems are running 24/7;

  • systems are running longer on days in which school is in session;

  • building air is flushed at least two hours prior to and one hour after occupancy;

  • window and/or box fans are used to cross ventilate rooms to exhaust stale room air in the absence of mechanical ventilation;

  • window based air conditioning units are set to the outdoor air setting rather than the recirculate setting;

  • devices are sized appropriately with the correct clean air delivery rate (CADR);

  • units that feature ionizers, precipitators, or ozone generators are not utilized;

  • units can deliver at least two air turnovers per hour for typical school classroom sizes; and,

  • units are CARB and Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) certified;

My child missed an immunization for a vaccine other than the COVID-19 vaccine due to the pandemic. Do I need to reschedule a missed immunization?

NYSDOH expects any students who missed doses of vaccines due to COVID-19 to receive any overdue doses within 14 days after entry into the 2021-2022 academic year, regardless of in-person or remote school attendance; this may be extended to 30 days for students transferring from out-of-state or another country.

How do employees register for Digital Chalk?

Digital Chalk is the online training platform utilized to complete many of the required COVID-19 compliance training and additional training required by the New York City Bureau of Childcare. Employees may set up an account by following the instructions below.

  1. Visit ecfs.digitalchalk.com.

  2. If you are already logged into your ECFS Google account, you will be automatically logged into DigitalChalk. Otherwise, you will be prompted to log in with your ECFS credentials.

  3. Once logged in, you will be prompted to accept the terms of service and enter some additional information. The only required field is division.

general approach

What is the approach for the 2021–2022 academic year?

  • Prioritize the return of 100% in-person learning with safety at the center of our planning.

  • Our plans are designed with scalability in mind to ensure our policies reflect the most up-to-date scientific evidence and guidance, while also considering the reality of rising community transmission rates.

  • To prevent transmission within our community, we continue to implement a layered mitigation strategy encompassing many of the policies introduced over the past year.

  • Expect a fall planning communication from us later this month.

What did we learn from 2020–2021?

  • A layered approach to mitigation including pre-arrival screenings, face coverings, physical distancing, screening tests, and contact tracing has been effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 within our community.

  • Patience and flexibility from our families were essential as we navigated the many unknowns together.

  • We strived to communicate details as accurately, holistically, and quickly as we could.

  • The scientific and medical guidance evolved quickly and was responsive to international trends.

  • National and state-level guidance led our decision-making processes.

Who is the School consulting with for guidance about reopening?

This plan was developed in accordance with the New York State Department of Education Health and Safety Guide for the 2021–2022 School Year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools, the Interim NYSDOH Guidance for Classroom Instruction in P-12 Schools During the 2021–2022 Academic Year, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene COVID-19 Health and Safety Information for New York City Nonpublic and Charter Prekindergarten (Pre-K) to Grade 12 Schools with additional information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

We remain in close contact with our medical director, NYC DHMH epidemiologist, and are attending briefings with physicians at ISM for up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccine, the Delta variant, and the role children play in the transmission of COVID-19 to ensure our return to in-person learning keeps safety at the center of our planning.

How are we supporting students during the transition back to full-time in-person school from both social/emotional and an academic perspective?

  • The ECFS faculty and staff are keenly aware of the impacts that the past year and a half has had on our students.

  • As American Academy for Pediatrics Chairperson Dr. Sonja O’Leary has said, “We need to prioritize getting children back into schools alongside their friends and their teachers — and we all play a role in making sure it happens safely.”

  • The divisional teams are prepared to support students in a variety of ways and additional information will be shared in the principals’ forums.

What are the key components of the ECFS Community Health Pledge that we should be mindful of?

You can read the full ECFS Community Health Pledge here. When safety measures are lax or flouted, individuals are making choices that put us all at risk. To keep our community safe and our School open, EVERYONE must adhere to the ECFS Community Health Pledge and in particular uphold behaviors when not on campus:

As members of this community, each individual student, faculty, and staff member commits to the following when off campus:

  • Recognizing that the behavior of our community members off campus directly influences the risks that students and employees take by coming to campus.

  • Continuing to adhere to the safety measures outlined by the CDC to reduce the spread of the virus, such as limiting the circle of one’s social contacts, practicing safe physical distancing, wearing a mask when in public when required, and frequent handwashing.

What would you like our community to focus more on this year?

The past year and a half was difficult for our families to navigate through as we supported one another through many unknowns. Focusing this year on engagement with one another and our great community seems to be the most fitting way to celebrate the metaphorical embrace of our beautiful, diverse, and caring School.