Equity American School

COVID-19 Protocol

Overview

At Equity, we have always taken the safety of our community to be something of utmost importance. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in our response to the COVID-19 virus and pandemic. Using the most up-to-date scientific research along with current governmental regulations, the Equity administration along with medical professionals have created the following protocol to help ensure that we are doing our part to help keep our community safe and slow the spread of this potentially deadly health threat.


The Equity American School’s protocol is in adherence to the guidelines established by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health.


Note: Being that COVID-19 science is ever-evolving, Equity will be updating our protocol and this website as needed. When an update has been made, we will inform our community via the Equity Flash email.


Website Updated: August 3, 2022


“We’ve Got This!”

Rights and Responsibilities of EAS Members

Rights


Every student, teacher, or staff member is known, valued, and cared for. This fundamental right is instilled as a member of the EAS school community. It implies we all have a right to expect both emotional and physical safety. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this means members of our community can reasonably expect a heightened level of concern for their health and wellbeing. We must all recognize that there is a risk factor in which students, teachers, or staff members may be exposed to COVID-19 in the course of their work or studies, everyone is entitled to expect that every effort and reasonable precaution will be taken to prevent this from happening.


Responsibilities


Our commitment also implies that members of our community should Know, Value, and Care for others. This means our interactions with others—friends and strangers, students and adults—should be mindful, respectful, and courteous. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this means complying willingly with rules and policies designed to keep our community safe and healthy. This means thinking of others, appreciating that their risk tolerance might be different than ours, and adjusting our behavior with sensitivity and respect. This means respecting policies and expectations, even when inconvenient to ourselves.

Health Ministry (Ministerio de Salud )
Risk Indicator

This risk indicator will be our guide until supplanted by any future official guide or decree from the Guatemalan Government.


Learning Models

In anticipation of ongoing and evolving challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Equity has developed and adopted three potential models for learning. The model used will be solely based on the assessment of risk as declared by the Guatemalan Health Ministry.


Distance Learning Model / 100% Virtual Learning for a High-Risk Environment

(Table Color: Red)


This is the same model our community experienced beginning in the final months of the 2019-20 school year: our campus is closed and school remains open through remote learning experiences. Students attend school virtually through synchronous and asynchronous lessons, activities, and projects. Students collaborate online, but not with the same frequency as in regular school experience. Safety conditions dictate that Equity’s campus must be closed.

Hybrid Learning Model “A” (Table Color: Orange)


This model combines face-to-face learning with coordinated online experiences. This model recognizes that Distance Learning does not provide the social interaction most students desire; therefore, a hybrid model provides face-to-face learning for four hours in the mornings and an additional scheduled two virtual hours in the afternoons. This model introduces physical distancing (4 square meters/student) and a possible student density reduction as key strategies to further reduce exposure within our community, while at the same time providing face-to-face interaction between students and teachers. In this model, all students will be given the opportunity for equal amounts of face-to-face time on a weekly basis.

Hybrid Learning Model “B” (Table Color: Yellow)


This model is the same as model A with the exception of allowing a student density of up to one student per 2.5 square meters of space in each classroom.

Face-to-Face Learning Model (Table Color: Green)


This is a traditional school experience with students attending school in person five days a week. Students interact with peers and teachers in a more “pre-COVID-19” fashion where students attend classes while on campus and are assigned work accordingly. The learning that happens off campus is mostly in the form of homework, essays, or projects. Preventative hygiene policies are implemented in combination with realistic physical distancing guidelines. The risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 is considered low enough that greater student density on buses, in classrooms, and in other shared facilities is appropriate.

Notes On Vaccinated Persons

  • People will be considered “fully vaccinated” after 14 days of receiving the final dose of the vaccine (example: If the final dose was administered on the 3rd, day one is the 4th and full vaccination will be on the 17th).

  • Vaccinated people will only be considered as “fully vaccinated” if a copy of the person’s vaccine card has been shared with the Equity Administration.

  • Vaccinated people must follow ALL Equity COVID-19 protocol except where specific exemptions are listed below.

General Safety Guidelines During The COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Masks

    1. Mandatory mask use in classes or offices

    2. Mandatory mask use inside all buildings

    3. Optional outside/open air when proper distancing can be observed

    4. All students, staff, and visitors must wear masks when riding on Equity busses.

  • All students, staff, and visitors must follow Equity’s COVID-19 Protocol at all times while on campus.

  • All students, staff, teachers and visitors are subject to a temperature screening upon entering the campus. Any person with a temperature above 37.5°C (99.5°F) will be denied entry to campus.

  • Any students, staff, teachers or visitors exhibiting Covid-like symptoms or presenting with a temperature above 37.5° C (99.5° F) will be removed from campus immediately.

  • Anyone exhibiting an above normal body temperature or not abiding by the Equity Covid Protocol will not be allowed on campus for any reason at any time.

  • All deliveries of materials, water, etc. will be thoroughly cleaned and properly disinfected prior to being stored or put to use.

  • Spitting in public, leaving gum under desks, not disposing of used tissues properly, and leaving a mess in public areas or bathrooms are all strictly prohibited on campus. Any violation that directly risks the health and safety of another can be grounds for indefinite removal from campus and possible expulsion.

  • All students, teachers, and staff will be responsible for providing their own facial tissues. Classrooms and offices will no longer be stocked with facial tissue for communal use.


Self Quarantine and Reporting Rules

When should you self quarantine?

Equity expects members of our community to self quarantine after any travel outside of Guatemala, when any member of the household either presents with COVID-19 symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, is in close contact with any person who has tested positive for COVID-19, or has themself tested positive to COVID-19.

People Suspected of Having COVID-19


With the emergence of new COVID strains, as a safety measure it is recommended that anyone experiencing any COVID-like symptoms should immediately remove themselves from group activities such as attending school and remain in isolation while the symptoms persist. If these symptoms persist, a COVID test is recommended.


People experiencing COVID-like symptoms should remain at home until the symptoms have passed and the person remains symptom-free without the use of medication for a minimum of 3 days.


One should assume they may be infected with COVID if they:

  • Had contact with someone who is COVID positive

  • Has been in close contact with people outside of their immediate bubble/household for more than 15 minutes at a time

  • Traveled on public modes of transportation (airplanes, busses, trains)

  • Spent more than 15 minutes in closed spaces without having a mask on (eg. restaurants, gymnasiums, bars, etc.)


Note: No student, teacher or staff member who is exhibiting any COVID-like symptoms will be allowed to remain on campus for any reason and will be asked to remove themselves as quickly as possible.

The following self quarantine and reporting rules are expected to be followed by all members of the Equity Community. These rules must be based on the honor system and are designed for the health and safety of all Community members.

Exposure to a COVID-19 Positive Person

The student or teacher must observe a five (5) day quarantine from last contact with COVID+ person (if complete isolation from the COVID positive person was observed).

  • If the student shows NO COVID symptoms, s/he may return on day 6.

  • If the student shows COVID symptoms they must remain off campus for the length of symptoms +5 days. This time can be shortened by volunteering a negative test result (Antigen or PCR)


If complete isolation from the COVID+ person was not possible, the student must quarantine for five (5) days after the COVID+ person experiences the last COVID symptom or tests negative (Antigen or PCR).

  • If the student shows NO COVID symptoms, s/he may return on day 6.

  • If the student shows COVID symptoms they must remain off campus for the length of symptoms +5 days. This time can be shortened by volunteering a negative test result (Antigen or PCR)


If a person who is in the home with a COVID-positive person wishes to volunteer a negative test result (antigen or PCR), they may return the day after the COVID-positive person tests negative if they themselves show a negative test result.


Classes will NOT be quarantined in this situation. The parents of the class will be informed of the situation so parents can make their decision if quarantine is warranted.

For Unvaccinated/Not Fully Vaccinated People

Quarantine at home maintaining a distance from the COVID-19 positive person for at least five days after the COVID-19 positive person’s positive test result**.


If no symptoms appear by the end of day 5, the student/teacher/staff may return to campus.


If any COVID-like symptoms appear during quarantine, the student/teacher must isolate immediately and follow guidelines for “People Suspected of Having COVID-19”

For Fully Vaccinated People*

Note: “Fully Vaccinated” classification is dependent on the vaccine administered.


Quarantine at home maintaining a distance from the COVID-19 positive person for at least three days after the COVID-19 positive test result**. If no symptoms appear, the student/teacher may return to campus.


If any COVID-like symptoms appear during quarantine, the student/teacher must isolate immediately and follow guidelines for “People Suspected of Having COVID-19”.


*Note: Equity will ONLY consider someone “fully vaccinated” if proof of a completed vaccine regimen has been provided to the Equity administration.

** Note: If no COVID test result is available, then “day 1” is when the person suspected of having COVID has one full day where no COVID-like symptoms appear and no medicine of any kind is taken.

COVID-19 Positive Test Result (Regardless of Vaccine Status)

  • COVID Positive Student

  1. COVID positive students may return to campus on the 6th day after experiencing their last COVID-like symptom.

  2. If students wish to return to campus earlier they may volunteer to share a negative test result (PCR or antigen).


  • COVID Positive Class Member (Teacher or Student)

  1. In this situation, only the COVID positive person will be required to quarantine.


Classes will not be closed due to a COVID positive person. The parents of the class will be informed of the situation so parents can make their decision if quarantine is warranted.

Travel Quarantine Protocol

International Travel Quarantine (over land or air)

  • There will be no quarantine for fully vaccinated students.

  • There is a three (3) day quarantine for unvaccinated students.

  • There is no quarantine for students whose family members have traveled internationally.


COVID-positive Person on Busses


  • If a bus rider is COVID positive, only the COVID-positive person will be quarantined.

  • The parents of the remaining bus riders will be informed of the situation so parents can make their decision if quarantine is warranted.


Notes:


If a student shows any COVID-like symptoms it is required that they remain at home until symptoms disappear. Students showing any COVID-like symptoms will not be allowed to remain on campus.


Students who must remain at home for any COVID-related issue will be allowed to join classes virtually.

Protocol For Vaccinated Students and Staff

For students and staff who have received the COVID-19 vaccine it is expected that proof of vaccine administration should be shared with Equity to be considered “fully vaccinated”.


Please note: As long as Equity is not in Green according to the Guatemalan Health Ministry (Ministerio de Salud), all vaccinated people must still follow the general COVID-19 safety protocol as outlined while on campus to help avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus to non-vaccinated community members.

Personal Safety

  • All visitors must wear masks and adhere to all of Equity’s safety protocol while at Equity.

  • All visitors, students, teachers and staff must submit to a temperature check upon entering the campus.

  • All students and staff MUST wear properly fitting, cloth or surgical quality masks (disposable blue out white in) at all times while at Equity, or on Equity transportation.

  • A proper physical distancing of 4-6 feet (1.5-2 meters) must be maintained at all times while at Equity.

  • All desks are single occupancy with plexiglas “sneeze shields” installed on three sides for added protection.

  • Minimum spacing requirements will be maintained according to the Health Ministry color code table.

  • All common areas, doors/handles, and bathrooms will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

  • Classrooms will will have appropriate materials to disinfect.

  • All hand washing stations and sinks are forearm and elbow operated, and are stocked with liquid soap at all times.

  • Proper hand washing (soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds) should be frequent and is mandatory after leaving washrooms before entering a classroom.

  • When using alcohol gel, it should be applied and rubbed on hands for a minimum of 20 seconds.

  • Doors should be propped in such a way so that they can be more easily opened and closed without the use of hands.

Student Training

  • All students will be trained in the use of Personal Protective Equipment and personal safety protocol. Including:

    • All students will be trained in proper handwashing techniques

    • How to maintain a safe physical distance between other people both inside and outside

    • How to care for personal space and “Sneeze Guards”

    • What to do in the event of a possible contamination of Personal Protective Equipment

    • Ability to put on and take off protective masks

Staff and Teacher Training

  • All staff and teachers will be vigorously trained in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Including:

      • Wearing/Use of masks

      • How to care for personal space and Sneeze Guards

      • What to do in the event of a possible contamination of Personal Protective Equipment

      • Protocol for aiding students with Personal Protective Equipment

  • The proper cleaning and disinfection of work spaces

  • The proper protocol for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 medical concerns

  • Proper “Track and Trace” reporting methods

Classroom Guidelines - Elementary

  • Eating guidelines -

      • Families will provide facial tissues and alcohol gel (70% alcohol by volume minimum) for students to use as needed for cleaning. These materials will be stored in the students desks. Teachers will inform parents when the students are in need of replacing these materials. (Containers of gel should be for personal use only and not exceed a 6oz size)

      • Students must clean and disinfect their desks and wash their hands prior to and after eating.

      • All used tissues must be placed in the trash bins located in the classrooms.

      • All trash generated needs to be placed properly in trash bins by the person generating the trash.

      • No food/drinks may be shared or traded.

      • All students and staff must provide all their own eating containers and utensils.

      • Each student must return empty food/drink containers to their personal bags immediately upon finishing eating.

  • Students may not bring toys or stuffed animals to school.

  • Students may only use backpacks that they are able to carry and use independently. These bags should be small enough to fit comfortably in the student’s personal work area.

Classroom Guidelines - Upper School

  • Students are responsible for the cleaning and disinfecting of their personal work spaces

  • Eating Protocol-

      • Students must clean and disinfect their desks and wash their hands prior to and after eating.

      • All used tissues must be placed in the trash bins located in the classrooms.

      • All trash generated needs to be placed properly in trash bins by the person generating the trash.

      • No food/drinks may be shared or traded.

      • All students and staff must provide all their own eating containers and utensils.

      • Each student must return empty food/drink containers to their personal bags immediately upon finishing eating.

Any containers left at school will be immediately disposed of in the school’s trash NO EXCEPTIONS.

Library / EAS Book Protocol

The General Safety Guidelines During The COVID-19 Pandemic will be followed.


Arrival / Departure Protocol

  • All students taking EAS transportation will have their temperature tested prior to entering the bus.

  • All students using EAS transportation will be given hand gel upon entering the bus.

  • Students must wear approved masks while on EAS busses.

  • All students arriving at school will have their temperature checked immediately upon arrival. Once a student has cleared the temperature check, the student’s car will be cleared to leave.

  • Students will be responsible for carrying all of their personal belongings from their vehicle into the school.

Cleaning Protocol / House and Grounds

  • Bathrooms and common areas will be cleaned on a regular basis.

  • All teacher areas will be cleaned and disinfected upon change of teacher and as needed.

  • Student areas are to be cleaned regularly (for younger students staff will assist)

  • When student groups must change classrooms, each room will be properly fumigated and all surfaces disinfected prior to the new student group entering the room

Recess (Outside Play) Protocol

  • Students and staff must maintain a proper 6 foot (2 Meter) physical distance

  • Equity has a newly restructured recess schedule to have smaller groups outside at any one time.

EAS Transportation / Busses

  • All riders on busses are subject to temperature check prior to riding on an Equity Bus.

  • All riders must wear approved masks at all times while on the bus.

  • Eating and drinking on busses is STRICTLY prohibited.

Contact Tracing

Select teachers and staff have taken online courses focusing on efficient and effective contact tracing methods and protocol in the event of a COVID emergency at school or amongst our community.

Onsite Health Services

  • Equity will have an onsite medical professional to deal with common and COVID type concerns.

  • In the event of a COVID emergency, the medical professional will be called to help activate Equity’s “COVID Emergency Response Protocol” when needed.

Sources

Ministerio de Salud Pública y Asistencia Social, Guatemala (Health Ministry)

https://www.mspas.gob.gt/covid-19/coronavirus-2019-ncov.html


Ministerio de Educación, Guatemala (Education Ministry)

https://aprendoencasa.mineduc.gob.gt/index.php/protocolos-para-el-regreso-a-clases/


The World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva Switzerland

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cdcresponse/index.html

Site Publication Date: July 3, 2020Last Update: August 3, 2022