- 08/21/20 Community Health Update
- 08/12/20 Email to students/parents from Asst Head of School Kenny Sholl
- 08/05/20 Email to Students from Head of School Lee Burns
- 07/08/20 Email from Head of School Lee Burns
- 05/20/2020 Email from Head of School Lee Burns
We are delighted to begin school this week and are glad to see our students who are attending in-person and online. It is evident from their enthusiasm and “smiling eyes” that boys are glad to be here. This is the first of weekly updates that students and parents will receive from the Student Health Center with news and information about our community health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone on campus is adjusting well to our health and safety protocols, paying particular attending to The 5 W’s:
Wear a face covering.
Watch and keep your social distance at 6 feet.
Wash and disinfect your hands regularly.
Be mindful of Where you are regarding your off-campus social footprint.
Check your Wellness every morning.
I want to stress that the more everyone follows these hygiene and safety practices, the better possibility we have to keep our school community together on campus.
Pre-school Quarantine and Testing
Thank you to everyone for complying with the two primary requests we made regarding keeping those who were contagious from coming onto campus at the start of school. Our pre-school quarantine and testing requirements were successful in ensuring as best we could that everyone who came to campus this week was healthy. We are thankful for our partnership with Galen Medical in providing PCR testing. Initial community testing identified positive cases of COVID-19, many of which were asymptomatic. Anyone who tested positive completed isolation before coming to school on campus. Because of our required testing before the start of school, we were able to keep all of the individuals who tested positive from coming on campus.
Base Camp Daily Health Screen
We appreciate that the vast majority of students, faculty, and staff are logging-in every morning to report their temperature and take the short health survey with Ascend, the Base Camp health screening tool. Each morning the Student Health Center receives the list of those who have been recommended to stay home and we call them to talk through their situation. We also receive a report of those who have not completed their daily health screening and we follow up with them as well.
All school community members are required to complete the Ascend health screening every day including weekends and also days when not on campus for any reason. Boys who have elected to be virtual for the entire semester do not have to complete the daily health screening. If your son is virtual for any shorter time period, he must continue to complete the daily health screening when he is attending school virtually. We believe this daily health screening to be an essential component of our risk mitigation so keep up the good work!
Positive Case and Contact Tracing Protocol
Our health and safety protocols are in place to help keep the number of positive cases on campus low. When an individual tests positive for or presents symptoms consistent with COVID-19 on campus, we will implement procedures to isolate them until they can make arrangements to go home to isolate or quarantine themselves for 10-14 days. We will begin the contact tracing protocol. A member of McCallie’s contact tracing team will interview the person who has tested or is suspected positive to identify people with whom they have been in sustained close or high-risk contact. Subsequently, if through the contact tracing interview with the person who has tested positive your child is identified as having been exposed, a member of our contact tracing team will notify you and your son. Those who have been exposed will need to quarantine at home for 14 days, even if they are not showing symptoms. We are in regular communication with the Hamilton County Health Department and will follow its guidance and recommendations regarding managing cases within our school community.
Constantly Changing Circumstances
Information regarding the coronavirus is changing all the time. We will continue to monitor the situation and adapt our protocols and procedures as warranted. Two pieces of information that are new this week are below:
If you have any questions about our protocols, the Ascend app, or your son’s health, please feel free to call us at the Student Health Center: 423-493-5640
Kristen Smith, RN, BSN
Student Health Services, Director
August 13, 2020
Dear Parents and Students,
As part of our preparations for reopening school, McCallie has partnered with Base Camp Health’s Ascend software platform to help us perform the health screenings that are part of the new daily routines during the Coronavirus pandemic. Some of you have already been participating in these daily health screenings during summer programs and athletic practices. We are hoping our partnership with Base Camp and the software application will make this process easier.
Beginning Tuesday, August 18, each morning before school and on weekends as well, students MUST log into the Ascend platform, answer a few questions (takes less than 30 seconds), and find out the recommended course of action based on CDC guidelines and McCallie policy. Students MUST take their temperature each day prior to completing the screening and enter that when prompted. We are requiring the boys to login each day of the week to help us with protocols and such.
Thursday, August 13, Basecamp will send an email to students with more details about how to log in. We worked with Basecamp on emailing parents directly as well, but were unable to make it work without significant glitches. So, please be sure your son checks his email for this information.
Later that evening, and perhaps in the wee hours of Friday morning, Basecamp will send an email to students only with the student’s credentials. If you are unsure about the login procedure, please send an email to helpdesk@McCallie.org. However, directives to report to campus or stay at home as a result of the questions answered on the platform should be reported to our Director of Student Health, Kristen Smith, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a cloud-based platform and not a smartphone app. If you experience any difficulty accessing the login screen, you may always go to the Base Camp homepage and select login. Our tests have shown that accessing via laptop or desktop browser seems to be more consistent than when using a smartphone.
Thanks so much for your help as we prepare to safely open school with our boys on campus and not in front of screens!
Assistant Head of School
I’m excited to see you and for the start of school on August 18.
It will be good for us to be together again soon. Since none of us has ever started a school year in a global pandemic, I want to send out some important information and guidance to you in a succinct and straightforward way. Your parents are getting a lot of emails and participating in Zoom meetings, but I want to make sure each of you understands the conditions under which we hope we will be able to return to school and stay in school safely.
It is essential that you not only understand our plan, procedures, and protocols, but that you follow them fully, including those in the days before school begins. Attending McCallie is both a privilege and a responsibility. You have duties to each other and to McCallie, and following them for the safety and good of others and the school is not simply our expectation, but it is the right thing to do.
Living with the reality of Coronavirus and its possible negative health consequences for our friends and loved ones, especially those with underlying risk factors, will test our patience, comfort levels, and our resolve. I have every confidence that this will be a moment where we live our values of Honor, Truth, and Duty to the fullest for the greater good of our school community.
Starting as a Healthy Community
In order to give ourselves the best chance to lessen the possibility of community spread of Coronavirus on our campus, we expect all students, faculty, and staff to self-quarantine from August 8 to August 18. To self-quarantine means to self-impose restrictions and limitations on your contact with other people and other environments for the greater good of the community when school starts. This means only being in contact with your immediate family at home. Trips outside of your home should be limited to absolutely essential needs (and you should wear a mask and social distance if you must go out for an essential reason). This means sacrificing some things like birthday parties, club sports, eating out, or hanging out with friends for the window of August 8 to 18 — again, for the greater good of the community. Your family might have a trip planned right before school starts. You may be in a different location but you can still limit your interactions to your immediate family. If you fly on an airplane between August 8 and August 18, we will require you to take additional precautions, including undergoing additional testing for the Coronavirus.
All students, faculty, and staff will get tested for Coronavirus before classes begin. The test must be a Polymerase Chain Reaction (“PCR”) test. Test results must be dated August 7 or later. We want everyone to be tested on August 7 or later so that we can have a baseline indicator of the level of infection in our community as close as possible to the start of school. If you’d rather be tested here on campus rather than elsewhere, you may make an appointment for a test in August. Here is a link for you or your parents to sign up.
New Daily Requirements
The Coronavirus is so contagious that we must take extreme precautions to keep from spreading the virus. We will not be able to guarantee that no one gets infected; members of our community will get the virus. We can, however, conduct ourselves in a way that limits the chances of our infecting someone else or our being infected from someone else. Below is a list of things that we must all do as a community.
You will each morning in your home or dorm room take your temperature and report it and the answers to several brief health questions on an app.
You will wear a face covering that properly covers your nose and mouth any time you are inside a building on campus or outside in a situation where you cannot maintain a social distance of 6 feet. Not wearing a face covering is not an option for any of us.
You will wash or sanitize your hands with gel frequently. New gel dispensers have been added all around campus.
You will maintain a social distance of 6 feet. Desks and other furniture around campus have been moved and marked with reminders to keep distance.
You will refrain from sharing items with one another and from eating after one another.
You will stay home if you have any symptoms associated with Coronavirus. The symptoms include fevers, chills, headache, muscle or body aches; sore throat, cough, congestion, runny nose; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; fatigue; nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea; a loss of taste or smell.
You will comply with the procedures and protocols as directed in different circumstances like when traveling on buses, in the dorms, while standing in line, etc.
If we as a community can be vigilant and disciplined, we stand a greater chance of having the opportunity to be together on campus to learn and to get back to some sense of normalcy and routine. I don’t like wearing a mask or staying awkwardly so distantly from people, but I do them regularly. If taking these precautions allows us to be back at school, I think we can all follow the protocols and enjoy learning and being together.
We are family at McCallie, and there is a tremendous sense of brotherhood here. We can—we must—demonstrate our brotherhood and unity by taking unpleasant and sacrificial actions to show that love and care for each other and our school.
See you soon.
Head of School
I hope that you and your families are finding ways to enjoy the summer despite the COVID-19 pandemic. For the last few weeks, it has been wonderful to have boys back on campus for summer camps. Following the social distance and hygiene guidelines has not put a damper on the fun and friendship boys relish in.
On Monday, the Hamilton County Health Department issued a mandatory mask/face covering ordinance to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order goes into effect from July 10 through September 8. We had already identified wearing masks as an important tool in keeping our community safe during this pandemic. As cases rise in our area, I want to reiterate some of our plans for the safe opening of school this fall.
Classes are scheduled to begin on campus on August 18.
We have carefully audited our spaces and will be able to accommodate our regular courses while maintaining safe social distances in the classrooms. All classes will also be offered on Zoom so that anyone who has elected to participate virtually or is in quarantine because of being exposed to the virus can keep up with their studies.
We traditionally conduct many back-to-school activities and orientations before classes begin. Based on up-to-date information on the coronavirus in our area in early August, we will let you know whether these meetings will take place in-person or on Zoom. Also at that time, we will remind you of the safety protocols and procedures we will follow should those meetings take place in-person.
All campus facilities will post mask requirements, hand-washing reminders, and social distancing markers. We will observe social distance and safe food handling during meals in the SAC, offering grab-and-go options and opportunities for boys to eat outside while the weather is good. The Dining Hall will be used as an overflow space for classrooms and arranged so that social distance is maintained.
Maintaining the health and safety of our campus community is our highest priority.
We will require that everyone returning to campus in August show negative COVID-19 test results. Tests should not be conducted any earlier than August 7 so that we can ensure we have current community health information.
We will be offering testing on campus in early August (scheduling details to follow). Test information will be shared confidentially with each family and with our Health Center. We are offering on-campus testing for convenience. We will accept test results from other testing locations.
We will not require antibody testing in the fall because the testing is as readily available nor deemed as reliable as we would like.
We will continue to carefully monitor the information and guidelines being provided by medical experts and by local, state, and federal government offices and agencies.
New safety and health routines will be enforced.
Everyone will be routinely required to wear a school-approved mask. As of now, the masks are not available. We will let you know when they arrive in the Bookstore.
Faculty, staff, and students will report body temperature and engage in a health screening each morning on an online platform. Only students and employees showing no symptoms and a normal temperature will be allowed to participate in on-campus learning and activities. We will be sending out instructions in early August regarding the online platform.
Frequent hand-washing, sanitizing of high-touch areas, and social distance will be routine.
Chapel, assemblies, and other large gatherings will be held following social distancing guidelines outside, in large spaces like the SAC, or virtually even though we are on campus.
Many details are still unknown because this pandemic is ever-evolving.
We will follow the mandates, requirements, and executive orders issued by governments and agencies as they are responsive to the current situation with the virus. Sports will resume in the fall according to TSSAA guidelines which are still developing. Should any sport not be able to run, a variety of extracurricular activities and after school options will be available on campus as well as virtually.
Anyone who feels unsafe returning to campus should let us know so that we can make arrangements for students to take classes and participate remotely as fully as possible.
Links to COVID-19 information and resources are provided below.
Because the situation remains fast-moving and fluid, we must continue to be flexible and responsive to current information. Our well-discerned plans, in other words, will be subject to change as we learn the state of the virus at the beginning of August. The situation is too dynamic right now to be certain of our course of action. As we get closer to the start of school, you will be hearing from me and other school administrators more frequently with current plans and details. Until then, know that we are anxious to get back together in-person.
We miss your sons, seeing them grow, learn, and discover new things about themselves and the world around them. The sense of togetherness and brotherhood we have in the McCallie community fuels and nourishes us. One thing we have learned during this time is that our unity transcends campus and in-person interactions. Even so, being together is preferred and we will make that happen as safely as we possibly can. We are counting on everyone’s partnership and full cooperation with safety protocols and procedures.
We will see you soon!
Lee Burns '87
Head of School
Two months ago while the COVID-19 pandemic was growing rapidly, McCallie transitioned to remote learning. I am grateful for and amazed by the success of that quick pivot. Our teachers demonstrated their talents in designing learning experiences that reflect our high academic standards and commitment to intellectual growth. Boys adjusted to and engaged in the online learning environments and worked hard. As parents, you have been great partners, displaying patience and support. As a school community, we maintained the centrality of relationships and our commitment to mission and values. We have been flexible and resilient. The spirit and love of McCallie have manifested themselves in many ways during these challenging days.
I want to share with you some preliminary plans for our next school year. We have been working diligently in recent weeks to contemplate and prepare for our next school year. You can see at the end of this email a graphic that shares a working framework and some of our essential task force questions to help guide our thinking and planning.
In making and implementing any plans, we hold the safety of boys as our highest priority. We will continue to carefully monitor medical and other professional experts’ information, as well as guidelines or requirements as they may be provided by local, state, and federal government offices and agencies. There are still many unknowns, so let me stress that at this time declaring definite plans is neither possible nor wise.
All that said, we are preparing for on-campus learning, with the first day of classes being Tuesday, August 18.
Returning to on-campus learning will require a number of steps and procedures by students, parents, faculty, and staff. It is essential to our moving forward to have firm commitment and strong partnership from everyone to act in unified and disciplined ways to protect oneself and others. Given our school culture in which we are accustomed to showing discipline in attacking challenges, I am confident that we can adapt our behaviors so that we can have school on campus safely. We ask that you join us in conveying to your sons the seriousness of complying with and obeying these new safety measures.
Below are some of these protocols and actions we envision as of now. We will be communicating more throughout the summer.
Before School Begins: Testing
Every boy, along with faculty and staff, will be required to be tested for SARS-CoV-2 and the antibodies that develop after a COVID-19 infection. Test information will be shared confidentially with each family and with our Health Center.
We plan to have medical staff on campus from August 1 through opening day to conduct tests. We will have a sign-up system in place by the middle of July.
We will not accept tests done before August 1 because it is essential that we have current health information for each school community member.
Each boy, along with faculty and staff, also will be tested during the school year for SARS-CoV-2 and its antibodies (unless a previous test indicates the antibody is present).
There will be daily, early morning screenings of body temperatures and other symptoms before classes begin, to be recorded by each student and employee on an online platform we will monitor. Only students and employees showing no symptoms and a normal temperature will be allowed to participate in on-campus classes and activities.
Everyone will be required to wear approved, school-issued masks on campus.
Every student, as he enters classrooms, will be required to use hand-sanitizing gel from a dispenser mounted to the wall by the door.
We will adhere to strict social distancing guidelines for separation in classrooms and throughout the campus. Since we have small class sizes, many large classrooms, and abundant facilities, we will be able to conduct all of our classes spread throughout our campus. This will keep us from having to limit or rotate days and weeks in which students can be on campus as many schools may have to do.
High touch areas like our seats and desks will have to be wiped down with a disinfectant product before each use.
Hallways will be one direction only, and we will look to limit the number of students in the hall at one time.
Further Considerations In Process
We anticipate using our large Sports and Activities Center (SAC) for lunch so we can maintain social distances. Meals will be hygienically served.
Bathrooms will have more motion-sensitive flushers and faucets, and there will be limits on how many students are in there at once.
Chapel, assemblies, and other large gatherings will be held following social distancing guidelines in large spaces, such as the SAC, the quadrangle, or Spears Stadium. Or, some may be held virtually.
Athletics and after school activities are being re-imagined by a task force. We are researching still-developing recommendations and guidelines from state and national athletic associations as well as medical experts regarding how and when team sports can return. We expect to increase our extracurricular activities, including lifetime fitness and life skills programs. The same hygiene protocols that will exist in our academic buildings will be applied to athletic areas, such as training rooms, workout areas, and practice fields.
Dormitory policies will include strict guidelines for social distancing, room configuration, room inspections, and number of students in a bathroom at the same time.
Our Health Center is being reconfigured this summer to create separated spaces. We will implement positive COVID-19 protocols and isolation facilities.
Contingency plans will be in place for, if necessary, a return to remote learning.
Restrictions and protocols will be in place regarding potential visitors to campus.
We recognize and respect that some parents and students may not feel safe or comfortable in returning to campus in August. For those who feel unsafe returning to campus, we will make arrangements for students to take classes remotely and will install the necessary technological equipment over the summer to enable this.
There is much uncertainty, but of this I am certain: we will make careful, thoughtful, and collaborative decisions based on the safety of your boys and the values of McCallie. We will promote not just their physical safety, but their psychological and emotional safety as well. The sense of brotherhood and belonging at McCallie gives us all a foundation of safety. We are better together. We are wired for connection and relationship, and we need one another. Thank you for partnering with us as we help your sons navigate the journey from boyhood to manhood. It is an honor to walk alongside them, and with you, to be a lifelong resource and friend. I will continue to be in touch with you over the summer as information and our plans become clearer.
Hoping to see you soon,
Lee Burns ‘87
Head of School