The most important part of this reopening plan is the focus on health and safety for all members of our community. Although our primary goal as an educational institution is to provide students with the best academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular experiences possible in an on-campus setting, we cannot do this if we are unable to ensure that members of our community are—and, just as important, feel—safe while at school.
With the health and safety of our entire community in mind, we will be instituting several new protocols and procedures for the 2020–21 school year, and more details on each of these will be shared closer to the start of the school year.
- FACE COVERINGS: A face covering (cloth or disposable mask) will be required for all students in 1st through 12th grades, as well as all faculty, staff, and campus visitors. Face coverings will also be strongly recommended for all prekindergarten, junior kindergarten, and kindergarten students. USM will provide one solid, navy face mask (with adjustable ear loops) per child at the start of the school year, and it will have an area on the inside of the mask to write the child’s name. Families are encouraged to purchase additional face coverings that their children feel comfortable wearing, as a clean or new disposable mask will be required each school day. Face coverings are an extension of the USM dress code, and should be free of letters, numbers, logos, and symbols to ensure a distraction-free experience. It is suggested that all families begin the process of introducing face coverings with their children prior to the first day of school. Children should feel comfortable putting on, wearing, and taking off their own masks. We will have additional disposable surgical masks available as needed. “Mask-break” times will also be planned as part of each school day.
- HAND WASHING AND SANITIZING: Hand-washing and sanitizing protocols will be instituted throughout the school day, and children will be educated and regularly reminded about these protocols. Hand sanitizer stations will be placed at each of the student drop-off entrances and in other locations.
- DAILY HEALTH SCREENINGS: Parents or caregivers will use the PikMyKid app, which will include taking the child’s temperature at home prior to arriving at school or boarding USM buses each day. If a child fails the COVID-19 screening procedure, which, among other things, could occur with a temperature of 100 F or higher, then that child must stay home and be evaluated by a physician. A COVID-19 test may also be required prior to the child’s return to campus. Faculty and staff will also use an online screening tool prior to their arrival at school each day, following similar procedures.
- STUDENT DROP-OFF PROCEDURES: USM will not be offering a before-school program this year, and parents or caregivers will be expected to use the appropriate car circles for student drop off.
- STUDENT PICK-UP PROCEDURES: To minimize large gatherings of children at the end of the day, the Preschool, Lower School, and Middle School will use the PikMyKid app, which will allow family members to electronically notify the school of their arrival in the appropriate car circle at the end of each school day. Once confirmed, this arrival will appear on classroom smart boards. The classroom teacher will then dismiss that child to the appropriate pick-up area (with faculty assisting in the hallways). This program will also be used for USM busing, after-school program pick up, and parent or authorized caregiver pickups of students for mid-day appointments.
- DISPLAY OF SYMPTOMS AND ISOLATION PROTOCOLS: In addition to the parent or caregiver temperature check as part of the daily health screening, faculty and other staff will check student temperatures at least one additional time during each school day using no-touch infrared thermometers. Any child with an elevated temperature (100 F or higher) will be sent to the nurse clinic to have the temperature verified. If it is confirmed to be 100 F or higher, the child will be isolated in a dedicated area of the school, with supervision, and parents will be contacted to pick up that child immediately. If a parent cannot confirm pick up within 45 minutes, then the child’s emergency contact will be notified of the need to pick up that child. A nurse will walk the student out to the car from the Tower Center entrance (below the tower in the front circle) in order to minimize the spread of the virus that could occur from walking through other parts of the school.
- USM BUS TRANSPORTATION: All bus drivers and students in 1st through 12th grades will be required to wear face coverings while on the bus. All other younger students will be strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while riding the bus. Students will sit in assigned seats, with one rider in the window seat position in an alternating zig-zag pattern across the aisle whenever possible. More than one student will share a seat if they are from the same household. When necessary, all bus seats will be used with only one rider per row sitting in the window seat position. Additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures will be used before each bus route, including the disinfection of “high-touch” areas, and hand sanitizer will also be available on every bus. We will continue to work with our busing partners in the Mequon-Thiensville School District and Nicolet Unified School District to learn about and communicate their updated busing procedures and enhanced health and safety protocols for the 2020–21 academic year.
Frequently asked questions will be available soon.