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.


By reading and completely understanding this protocol, we can all be part of keeping ourselves and the ones we care about safe. Please read the following protocol and feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.


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


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: January 22, 2021


“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 b 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.



General Safety Guidelines During The COVID-19 Pandemic

  • All students, staff, teachers and visitors must wear masks at all times while on the Equity campus.

  • 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.

  • There will be no direct sharing of books, materials, food, or drinks between students, teachers, or staff. Any materials that need to be shared (such as books, technology, assignments, etc.) will be properly disinfected before being received.

  • 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.

  • For the foreseeable future Equity will not be holding school wide emergency evacuation drills for earthquakes and fires. Drills will be carried out in small groups only.

  • 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

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


When should you self quarantine?

Equity expects that you should self quarantine after any travel outside of Guatemala and when any member of your household either presents with COVID-19 symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, or is in close contact with any person who has tested positive for COVID-19.


Travel Quarantine Protocol:

  • Anyone traveling outside of Guatemala will not be allowed onto the campus until 14 days after the date of entry. (Example: You arrive in Guatemala on January 15th. Day 1 of quarantine is January 16th (Jan. 16th+14 days of quarantine = Jan. 29th) Return to school date: Any day after January 29th.

  • All travel outside of Guatemala should be reported to the Equity administration.

  • Exceptions to the 14 day travel quarantine:

    • Any student who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may return to campus immediately upon returning to Guatemala (with the exception of the first return after being vaccinated - see “Protocol For Vaccinated Students and Staff” below) . All COVID-19 safety protocols still must be followed while on campus regardless of vaccination status.

    • If a family wishes to shorten the quarantine period, they may volunteer a PCR* test taken on day 5 after returning. With a negative result taken on day 5, the student may return to campus immediately (Example: You arrive in Guatemala on Jan. 15. Day 1 of quarantine is Jan. 16. Day 5 is Jan. 20. The student may return to campus on Jan. 21).


Exposure/COVID-19 Positive Test Results:

  • Any student, teacher, or staff member who has either come into contact with a COVID-19 positive person will be expected to self-quarantine for a MINIMUM of 14 days since last contact.

    • If a family wishes to shorten the quarantine period, they may volunteer a PCR* test taken on day 5 after last contact with the COVID-19 positive person. With a negative result taken on day 5, the student may return to campus immediately (Example: The last contact was on Jan. 15. Day 1 of quarantine is Jan. 16. Day 5 is Jan. 20. The student may return to campus on Jan. 21 with a negative test shared with Equity).


  • Any student who has a COVID-19 positive person living in their household will be expected to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days after the COVID-19 positive person tests negative. NOTE: Negative test results and/or letter from doctor MUST be shared with the EAS administration in order to re-enter the Equity campus.

    • If a family wishes to shorten the quarantine period, they may volunteer a PCR* test taken on day 5 after the COVID-19 positive person tests negative. With a negative result taken on day 5, the student may return to campus immediately (Example: The COVID-19 positive person tests negative on Jan. 15. Day 1 of quarantine is Jan. 16. Day 5 is Jan. 20. The student may return to campus on Jan. 21with a negative test shared with Equity).


  • Any student, teacher, or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19 may not enter onto the Equity campus until a MINIMUM of 20 days has passed since experiencing the last COVID-19 symptom. In order to re-enter the Equity campus a letter from a certified doctor needs to be submitted to the EAS administration indicating that the person has a negative COVID-19 test result.

    • If a family wishes to shorten the quarantine period, they may volunteer a PCR* test taken on day 5 after experiencing the last COVID-19 symptom. With a negative result taken on day 5, the student may return to campus immediately (Example: Your last COVID-19 symptom is on Jan. 15. Day 1 of quarantine is Jan. 16. Day 5 is Jan. 20. The student may return to campus on Jan. 21 with a negative test shared with Equity).


* NOTE: The ONLY test Equity will accept in order to shorten quarantine times is a PCR test. When taken 5 days after last risky behavior or exposure, these tests are over 99% accurate.


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. Once vaccinated, to ensure that the vaccinated person did not contract the virus prior to being vaccinated, the student or staff must follow the “Travel Quarantine Protocol” upon their first return to Guatemala. For all subsequent trips or exposures to COVID-19 positive people, no quarantine will be required.


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.

COVID-19 Positive Students/Staff on Campus


We have grouped all of our classes into “pods”. These “pods” share recess times, teachers, and/or classrooms. In the event of a COVID-19 positive case in a “pod”, the ENTIRE “pod” and all teachers who worked with that pod will be asked to quarantine for fourteen (14) days after the last contact with the COVID-19 positive person. After these fourteen days, if no COVID-like symptoms occur, the pod may return to campus.


In the event that two distinct pods within either the Elementary school or Upper School have active COVID-19 positive cases at the same time, the entire Elementary or Upper School will be required to quarantine for fourteen (14) days. Being that the Elementary and Upper School do not share common areas or teachers, they are treated as two distinct campuses.


However, if there are four (4) or more active COVID-19 cases in the entire school combined, the entire school will close for a fourteen day quarantine period.


If the person who is COVID-19 positive has ridden to or from school in the same vehicle (school bus or private vehicle), the entire population of that vehicle will also be asked to quarantine for fourteen (14) days.

EAS Special Activities

Even during the times of the Coronavirus outbreak, Equity will strive to continue to unify our community through our series of unique and popular special activities. Being that we do not currently know what the “risk level” will be, nor do we know what government regulations will allow, the Equity administration is working on various plans so that no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can continue our tradition of maintaining community through our activities. As the activities draw closer in date, we will release our plan for each activity with our community. As will all updates and changes, we will be sure to inform our entire community of the change through both our “Equity In A Flash” newsletter as well as through this website.


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.

  • Disinfecting mats are placed at the entrances and in strategic locations around the Equity 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.

  • Teaching areas will be cleaned and disinfected before there is a teacher change.

  • 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.

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


  • Classroom Books- There will be no classroom libraries, the main library will have books available for students to read at home, and the Library Protocol will be followed.

  • Text Books- Each student will have their personal set of books and they will remain at home for the duration of the school year. The math textbook will be the only one that will be taken home and brought to school (4th grade to 6th grade), but will not be shared.

  • 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 will generally remain in one classroom throughout each day. Teachers will rotate between grade levels.

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

  • Students may only use one-pocket, book bag style bags for books, technology, clothes, and all personal items. These bags should easily fit in the designated storage areas.

  • Students may not share materials, books, food, nor drinks with other students or teachers. Any item that needs to be shared (books, technology, written assignments, etc.) will be properly cleaned and disinfected prior to being shared.

  • Classes may only allow one student at a time to leave the classroom for any reason (Note: if there is a true emergency, teachers reserve the right to alter this policy)

  • Cell phones will no longer be collected by EAS staff. Students must turn off cell phones upon entering the campus and leave them off for the duration of the school day. Cell phones should be stored in the students’ bags and not removed for any reason throughout the day.

  • Eating Protocol-

    • 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.

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

Library/EAS Book Protocol

All EAS library books that are used by students will be quarantined in the EAS library book “oven ” until the proper temperature/time has been met to render the COVID Virus inactive.

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.

  • Disinfecting mats are placed at the entrances of the Equity campus.

  • 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 and disinfected 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)

Recess (Outside Play) Protocol

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

  • Equity will allocate separate bins of equipment for each class, to be used only during recess. All equipment will be cleaned between recess periods.

  • “Play Zones” will be marked out to reduce the number of children who are in contact with each other and safely distance while using shared equipment.

  • 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 activate Equity’s “COVID Emergency Response Protocol”


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: March 19, 2021