Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the official name given by the World Health Organization (WHO) to the disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that surfaced in Wuhan, China in 2019 and spread around the globe. 

People who have been infected with COVID-19 respond in different ways— some report mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. Others experience severe symptoms and may be hospitalized from the disease. 

Efforts to mitigate the disease have included “social distancing,” masks, and stay-at-home mandates. By early 2021, scientists had developed effective vaccines, and countries around the globe were focused on quickly vaccinating as many people as possible. But there was more to learn, especially with the identification of new SARS-CoV-2 variants (new strains based on mutations in the sequence of the genetic code of the original virus). Meanwhile approaches to treating the disease are still evolving.



Isolation for Positive Individuals as of 03/01/2024

As a result of significant decreases in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made changes to guidance related to COVID-19. 

Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 no longer need to stay in isolation for five days. Instead, individuals may return to normal activities if their symptoms are mild and improving and it has been 24 hours since the individual's last fever, without the use of fever reducing medications.  A negative test is not required to return to normal activities. 

Upon return to normal activities, individuals are recommended to remain cautious by wearing a mask and keeping a distance from others. 

Quarantine for Exposed Individuals as of 03/01/2024

There are no requirements for exposed individuals. Recommendations emphasize that people should still try to prevent infections in the first place, by getting vaccinated, washing their hands, and taking steps to bring in more outdoor fresh air.

Additional information is now available under the CDC's Respiratory Virus Guidance which includes flu and RSV. 

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Anyone can have mild to severe symptoms. Possible symptoms include, Fever or chills, Cough, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Headache, New loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Congestion or runny nose, Nausea or vomiting, Diarrhea.

Mitigation Strategies

What is the mask policy at ECFS? 

ECFS has moved to a mask-optional policy effective 3/9/22.

What is the plan for physical distancing this year? 

Physical distancing has been eliminated.

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. 

What is the plan for screening testing this year?

We have discontinued the on-campus COVID-19 screening testing program, though we may reinstate this mitigation strategy if needed in the future. 

Do unvaccinated individuals still need to be tested weekly as previously required by the NYC DOH?

No, this order has been suspended and is no longer in effect.

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: 


Does ECFS require vaccination?

Over the past several years, our commitment to a COVID-19 vaccination mandate has been instrumental in safeguarding the health and well-being of our school community. With nearly 100% of our students and employees being fully vaccinated, we proudly joined the city's efforts in promoting accessible and timely vaccinations for all. While we recognize the ongoing importance of vaccinations in advancing community health and safety, we find ourselves in a different phase of our COVID-19 response compared to when these requirements were initially established.

Recently, the federal public health emergency declaration has come to an end, alongside the global public health emergency status declared by the World Health Organization. In alignment with various federal, state, and local partners, including the New York City mandate for municipal employees, we have made the decision to conclude our COVID-19 vaccination mandate effective for the upcoming 20232024 school year.

As we transition into this new phase, it is essential for families to stay informed by consulting the latest COVID-19 vaccination guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We encourage everyone to consider voluntary COVID-19 vaccinations and remain vigilant in adhering to regional COVID-19 information. We will continue to monitor our internal COVID-19 metrics and the New York State Immunization Requirements for School Entrance/Attendance and will communicate any pertinent updates should the need arise. 

What are Bivalent Boosters?

The updated (bivalent) boosters are called “bivalent” because they protect against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5. Previous boosters are called “monovalent” because they were designed to protect against the original virus that causes COVID-19. They also provide some protection against Omicron, but not as much as the updated (bivalent) boosters. The virus that causes COVID-19 has changed over time. The different versions of the virus that have developed over time are called variants. Learn more about variants of the COVID-19 virus. Two COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna, have developed updated (bivalent) COVID-19 boosters.

CDC recommends that people ages 5 years and older receive one updated (bivalent) booster if it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID-19 vaccine dose, whether that was:

People who have gotten more than one original (monovalent) booster are also recommended to get an updated (bivalent) booster.

Does my child need a third dose to complete a primary series? 

Children and teens ages 5 through 17 years who are moderately or severely immunocompromised will need a third dose to complete their primary series, as well as boosters if eligible. Children and teens with a weakened immune system should get:

However, children six months to four years old will require 3-doses if completing a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination. 

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. 


A Guide to Reopening Our School was originally created in July 2020 to provide our lower schools, middle school, and upper school, as well as their employees, contractors, students, and parents/guardians with precautions to help protect against the spread of COVID-19 during the 2020–2021 academic year. In anticipation of the 2021 - 2022 school year, we issued an update intended to align our operations with the most recent recommendations and guidance on how to prioritize safe in-person learning while adhering to layered mitigation strategies.

These two reopening plans were 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, the NYSDOH Updated Isolation & Quarantine Guidance, 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).