Hamden Hall Country Day School

Educating students in PreSchool through Grade 12

COVID-19 Policies and Protocols 2021-2022

Hamden Hall is proud to have offered a full year of in-person learning and experiences during the 2020-2021 school year. With that in mind, we are excited to return to our beautiful campuses and continue our commitment to excellence within our classrooms. 

Our plan is to once again remain flexible and respond accordingly as we move through the school year.  That said, as is permitted in following local state and federal guidelines, we do expect to return to a more “normal” school day to better foster the Hamden Hall Experience for all students and faculty members.

We believe our Reopening Task Force and Board of Trustees Health Committee have established protocols and procedures that best mitigate exposure and provide a safe environment for our community members.  That said, we will continue to monitor all facets of our school community as they pertain to Covid-19 to alter our operating model as restraints are imposed or lifted based on any evolving situations.

COVID-19 Task Force

Hamden Hall Board of Trustees
Robert J. Izzo, Head of School
Benny Arpine, Director of Human Resources and Risk Management
Helen Barnstable, Co-Director of the Upper School
Chris Buckley, Front-End Developer
Lorri Carroll, Director of Lower School
Brian Christman, Director of Middle School
David Doyle, COVID Coordinator/ Director of Athletics
Catelin Fee 2004, Early Childhood Director
John Greenawalt
, Upper School Dean of Students
James F. Hunter 1980, Director of Facilities
Janet B. Izzo, Director of Admissions
Keith Kaliszewski 1998, Director of Enrollment Management
Ryan Madden, Director of Technology
Dawn A. Miceli, Director of Advancement
Kimberly Gold Porto 1987, Co-Director of the Upper School
Bruce Rich, Director of Summer Programs
Theresa Valin, School Nurse
Dr. David Riccio 1970, Board of Trustee Health Committee
Dr. Bayo Afolalu, Board of Trustee Health Committee
Dr. Annmarie Golioto, Board of Trustee Health Committee
Mr. Clement Lewin, Ph.D., Board of Trustee Health Committee
Dr. Meena S. Moran, Board of Trustee Health Committee

Health and Safety

List of 8 items.

  • Daily Health Screening

    All employees and students, regardless of vaccination status, are required to complete a daily Ruvna screening certifying that they are symptom free and may safely attend school. Parents should complete the screening for their student. A student or employee should stay home if they have been given medication to reduce a fever or to suppress a cough in the last 24 hours. Please call school nurse Theresa Valin at 203.752.2605 for additional guidance.

    Upon arrival each morning, Middle and Upper School students who are not vaccinated are required to enter through Taylor Gymnasium where a staff person will verify that their Ruvna daily health screening has been completed. The Lower School office will provide additional details regarding school arrival for PreSchool - Grade 6.  

    Symptomatic individuals, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who have been deemed close contacts of Covid-19 confirmed individuals, will be referred for Covid-19 testing. Individuals should contact the Nurse’s Office.
  • Illness at School

    In the case of students or employees presenting to the Nurse’s Office with any of the following symptoms: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, congestion, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell; the student’s parent/guardian will be contacted and asked to promptly pick them up and the employee will be sent home.

    The student will be separated from the rest of the student body in the School’s isolation room until parent/guardian pick-up. Belongings for students will be brought to the isolation room by the divisional administrative assistant or other designated individual. The parent/guardian will pick up the student at the exterior door of the isolation room.

    The nurse will identify the location(s) of the student or employee that day (classrooms used, seating, and transportation used). This information will be maintained to support contact tracing in case the individual tests positive for Covid-19.

    The Nurse’s Office will advise the parent/guardian or employee to obtain a Covid-19 test for the ill individual and may also advise follow-up with a medical provider for evaluation.

    The parent/guardian or employee must inform the Nurse’s Office of any positive Covid-19 diagnosis. The Nurse’s Office will report diagnosed cases of Covid-19 to the Quinnipiack Valley Health Department, as well as to the Covid-19 Coordinator, Division Head, and the Head of School.

    The Nurse’s Office will guide the parent/guardian or employee as to a return-to-school date.
  • Consecutive Day Absence Policy

    Two Day Consecutive Absence Due to Illness Policy:

    If a student is absent for two consecutive days due to illness, notify the Health Office. The following steps will be required in order for the student to return to campus:

    ● If their primary care physician is consulted, the student may return to campus once their primary care physician provides a clearance note to return to school.
    OR
    ● If the primary care physician is not consulted, the student must take an at-home Covid-19 test and report the results to the Health Office. The student may return to campus once the symptoms have resolved and have had a negative At-home Covid-19 test. For any student who tests positive, the Health Office must be notified immediately and the student must remain home per quarantine guidelines
  • Mask Policy

    Hamden Hall will continue with our indoor mask mandate policy through Friday, March 11, 2022. Starting on Monday, March 28, students and staff will no longer be required to wear masks in any of the school buildings.  Unless notified otherwise, students will still be required to wear masks on school buses as it is a federal order issued by the CDC.

    The CT DPH retains the authority to impose a universal mask mandate if there is a local or statewide need due to an outbreak. Hamden Hall also maintains the authority to institute mask wearing due to local conditions.
  • Quarantine/Isolation

    Any individual, regardless of vaccination status with any of the following symptoms must immediately isolate and report their symptoms to the Nurse’s Office: fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, headache, diarrhea, nausea/vomiting, congestion, runny nose, or loss of taste or smell. The individual must be cleared by the Nurse’s Office to return to school.

    Isolation guidelines for individuals who test positive for Covid-19:
    Students and staff who test positive for Covid-19 must be isolated from school for 5 days from the onset of symptoms or 5 days after testing if asymptomatic. Day 0 is the day symptoms began or the day of the positive viral test (for people with no COVID-19 symptoms). Students and staff may return on Day 6 if there are no symptoms or later when the individual is fever-free for at least 24 hours and other symptoms are significantly improved. They will be required to wear a mask for days 6-10.

    Quarantine guidelines after exposure to Covid-19:
    Families are required to adhere to the following quarantine guidelines for students and staff who have been notified of certain higher-risk close contact exposures (e.g., household exposures, crowded social gatherings).  

    Unvaccinated Individuals - Any unvaccinated individual deemed to be exposed to a higher-risk close contact must quarantine for 5 days from the last date of exposure. On Day 5 test for Covid-19 (either self-test or at a test site), if negative, return to activities on Day 6 or later and wear a mask when around others through Day 10. If positive, follow isolation guidelines for individuals who test positive for Covid-19.

    Vaccinated Individuals - Vaccinated individuals are not required to quarantine but they must report the exposure to the Nurse’s Office and monitor for and report any symptoms to the Nurse’s Office and obtain a Covid-19 test five days after the exposure (either self-test or at a test site). If negative, continue wearing a mask when around others through Day 10 of known exposure. If positive, follow isolation guidelines for individuals who test positive for Covid-19.
  • Travel Policy

    Hamden Hall follows CDC and CT Dept. of Public Health Travel guidelines. Prior to travel, families are advised to check state and federal websites for updates.

    Note: Hamden Hall will monitor current conditions around school vacations and may consider a remote week after the breaks.
  • Vaccination Policy

    All Hamden Hall employees are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, unless granted a medical or religious exemption by the School. Hamden Hall strongly recommends that families vaccinate all eligible students against Covid-19. 

    The school does not require eligible students to be vaccinated as a condition of attendance to the regular academic school day. However, students eligible for the vaccine are required to be vaccinated in order to participate in Upper School athletics, theater, chorus, or instrumental programs. Middle and Upper School athletics are optional.

    The school will evaluate medical and religious exemption requests on an individual basis. In order for a student to be considered for a religious exemption, Hamden Hall requires proof that he or she was previously granted a vaccine exemption on religious grounds and that this exemption is on file with Hamden Hall or a previous institution on or before April 27, 2021, which is when the State of Connecticut put in place new guidelines regarding religious exemptions.

    The nurse's office will keep a record of students’ Covid-19 vaccination information on file. Parents will be required to upload a copy of their child’s vaccination card to our Magnus Health Portal. A student will be considered unvaccinated until the school receives verification.
  • Visitor Policy

    During the school day, parents are allowed on campus but not in classroom buildings unless it is for a pre-arranged meeting with a teacher or administrator. All other individuals who are not students or employees, as well as groups who rent space from Hamden Hall, will be required to adhere to the following visitor policy for the safety of the entire community:

    Only visitors attending pre-scheduled events and meetings will be allowed on school grounds. Upon arrival, visitors will be required to check-in at the appropriate office and complete a health screening, which may include proof of vaccination or the negative result of a Covid-19 test. Any visitor who answers “yes” to any of the screening questions will be denied entry. Approved essential visitors, such as contractors and vendors, will be scheduled outside of school hours as much as possible. Unless notified otherwise, as of March 28, 2022, face masks will be optional for visitors. 

Facilities

List of 3 items.

  • Campus Building Systems and HVAC

    All building HVAC systems were serviced this summer. Like last year, HVAC systems contain MERV-13 filters in the air handlers on all campuses.
  • Health Facilities / Nurse Staffing

    The Lower School Art Cottage serves as the school's health center. Claudia Murtagh, RN, joins Theresa Valin, RN, in our nurse’s office. 

    Students experiencing symptoms of illness will be assessed by the school nurse. If determined that a student is experiencing Covid-19-related symptoms, the individual will be placed in isolation and sent home. Return-to-school guidelines and clearance by a primary care physician must be met before an individual may return to campus. Students and staff who are symptomatic are required to be masked prior to entering the Nurse’s Office.
  • Personal Hygiene and Facility Cleaning

    In general, we will continue with all of the personal hygiene mitigation strategies put in place last year. The school’s cleaning service will again clean classrooms and common spaces to the level they were cleaned last year. Faculty should notify Jim Hunter if they feel that an area is not being cleaned adequately.

The School Day

List of 9 items.

  • After-School Programs

    In-person Extended Day and other after-school programs will resume. All Covid-19 protocols apply.
  • Athletic Center and Spectators (subject to change based on CT DPH guidelines and recommendations)

    Spectators will be allowed to attend athletic events.  Masks are optional while spectating indoor or outdoor sports. 
  • Athletics

    Hamden Hall Middle and Upper School athletics will be optional.

    Students eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine are required to be vaccinated in order to participate in Upper School athletics. 

    The school will evaluate medical and religious exemption requests on an individual basis. In order for a student to be considered for a religious exemption, Hamden Hall requires proof that he or she was previously granted a vaccine exemption on religious grounds and that this exemption is on file with Hamden Hall or a previous institution on or before April 27, 2021, which is when the State of Connecticut put in place new guidelines regarding religious exemptions. Hamden Hall will make every effort to reasonably accommodate a student-athlete with an approved medical exemption or a previously approved religious exemption. 

    Upper School Athletics
    Due to various Upper School league and competition regulations, participation in interscholastic athletics will only be allowed for vaccinated Upper School students. This means unvaccinated student-athletes will not be eligible to play unless they have a religious or medical exemption on file with the school.
  • Food Service

    Subject to state and health department guidelines for food service in schools, we will move to a more normal lunch service, including offering both cold and hot lunch options. Middle and Upper School students and employees will be able to be served from the hot food line and be able to choose from several prepared salad options. FLIK employees will continue to follow Covid-19 safety protocols. 

    For the Lower School, lunch will continue to be delivered to PreSchool - Kindergarten. Students/parents will continue to make their selections from the online menu. For students in Grades 1 - 6, students have the option of eating lunch in the cafeteria or their classroom. Students in Grades 1 and 2 will continue to pre-order so that Flik is prepared for their arrival in the cafeteria at their designated time. Students in Grades 3 - 6 will make their selections upon their arrival in the cafeteria.   
  • Learning Spaces

    We will use the main campus and the Davis Street campus for the academic day. The Skiff Street Athletic Complex will be used primarily for Middle and Upper School athletics. The portable classroom building used during the 2020-2021 academic year on the Skiff Street campus has been relocated to the main campus and will be used by the Middle and Upper Schools. 

    Classroom seating for students in Kindergarten - Grade 12 will be at least three feet apart. During the fall and spring months, tents will be added to the main campus so that students and faculty may spend as much time as possible outdoors throughout the school day. 

    The Lower School will return to its regular structure, with all students continuing to learn on campus. Other than our Early Childhood program, Lower School classes will not be divided into smaller cohorts. However, the School is prepared to return to the cohort structure should there be a need to do so for safety reasons.

    Middle and Upper School students will also return to their regular classroom spaces. However, we will continue to use the larger classrooms on the Davis Street campus for juniors and seniors and will use the two large portable classrooms for larger classes.  Additional details about the daily academic schedule will be shared by the division heads. 
  • Performing Arts

    Most school music and theater productions are scheduled to occur in 2021-2022, following the most current Connecticut and CDC safety protocols. To run the Performing Arts program while also satisfying health and safety guidelines, the school will continue to use innovative approaches to allow for participation. That said, unvaccinated Upper School students may not participate in regularly scheduled theater, choral, and instrumental group classes or rehearsals. The school will make every attempt to include unvaccinated students in the performing arts programming with the understanding that the health of the student body as a whole is our top priority.
  • Pick-up/Drop-off

    Additional details about daily pick-up and drop-off of students will be shared by the division heads.
  • Remote Learning

    While our plan is 100 percent in-person learning, we will have our remote learning capability ready. Remote learning and teaching will only be available to those who need to isolate or quarantine due to illness or exposure to Covid-19, upon approval by the School. Although our school technology allows students and faculty to remain connected to their classrooms during specific, short-term situations related to isolation or quarantine, in some cases it may not be the ideal long-term learning environment for students. If a student has an extended absence due to a Covid-19 related quarantine illness or exposure, a parent may request for their child to move to a remote learning plan. Parent requests must be made in writing and be approved by the division director. If approved, the school will put the remote plan in place within three business days. The quarantine period is determined by the school.

    Hybrid Learning Option: As determined by the school, the school may decide to offer students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 the option of either in-person learning or learning remotely. Remote learners may not participate in after-school activities, including athletics, theater, etc.  
  • School Trips

    We expect day field trips to resume during the 2021-2022 school year; however, the planning of these trips is contingent on current conditions.

    Participating students must follow Hamden Hall safety policies, as well as the policies of partner organizations.

Communication

List of 1 items.

  • Overview

    Hamden Hall is committed to regular and transparent communication. If you have any questions about the upcoming year, please do not hesitate to contact the appropriate administrator. 

    COVID-19 Dashboard
    Hamden Hall monitors positive COVID-19 cases and close contacts for our school community among all students, faculty, and staff. In addition, we continue to monitor any potential transmission of the virus both on and off campus. The Hamden Hall Covid-19 Dashboard will be updated at the end of each week and include the number of students and employees who have tested positive. 

    Families should contact COVID coordinator David Doyle or school nurse Theresa Valin if a student tests positive or if you have questions about protocol with regard to COVID-19. You may also contact your student's division head or Mr. Izzo with any questions.

    Division Heads will communicate regularly with families and students to provide divisional information and resources.

    While our preference is to hold most meetings and events in person, depending on current conditions, the School will consider the use of Zoom for some meetings.

    The School will continually assess our operations and protocols and will modify or change procedures as needed.

Hamden Hall Country Day School

About Us

Hamden Hall Country Day School is a nurturing and inclusive community with a dynamic learning environment that promotes academic excellence by understanding each child and fostering their individual growth.