On Friday, I went about a not particularly scientific but quite interesting analysis of our indoor spaces in the AMP Building.
On Monday, March 1, we transitioned from a hybrid to a HyFlex model. All grades are on campus on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday is an at-home learning day for all grades except Pre-K and K, who have a half-day on campus followed by at-home classes in the afternoon. We continue to support all families’ needs and to offer a synchronous remote option for those who need or wish to remain learning from home.
Weekly PCR testing is required for students and unvaccinated staff who plan to access on-campus learning. As a convenience to our students, staff, and family members in those households, we will be offering weekly on-campus PCR COVID-19 pooled testing.
Pooled Testing Parent FAQs
We are in the process of developing the responses to frequently asked questions that have been sent to us by parents, and you can find answers to some questions below. If you have questions that haven’t been posed and answered here, please let us know.
Can children really effectively self-swab?
Absolutely. Children can effectively self-swab. Some schools and districts have been using pooled testing for months, and there are no indications that their results have not been reliable—which is to say that Ginkgo reports no cases of undetected positives. They do have positive cases come up (particularly in larger schools and districts), so there is evidence that self-swabbing is working in their system.
Will there be supervision of the testing by someone who knows the students?
There will always be folks in the room who know the students and who can guide them through the collection of self-swabs. Our understanding is that self-collection quickly becomes routinized because children are less likely to accidentally poke themselves in an uncomfortable way with the swab.
With parents increasingly vaccinated and moving toward more indoor activities, is it safe to be getting results so slowly?
We will send our samples to Ginkgo overnight the same day that we collect them, then they will take the next day to process the results. So we will get results the 2nd day after collection, which is right when we receive results from PMC. In other words, there should not be a slowdown at all.
Will teachers participate in pooled testing?
In order to maintain cohorts in our test pools, we will have nine pools in total. This will allow us to test on-campus adults at no extra cost and with no additional outlay of community resources (except a few swabs). We think that it is very unlikely that vaccinated adults will test positive, but given these other factors, it makes sense to include staff in the testing.
Are these tests as reliable as the individual tests?
The pooled tests are PCR tests, just like the individual tests, so they are equally as reliable.
So it has now happened. For the first time since we returned from Winter Break, we had had a positive test result from our weekly testing, and we now have a group of students and a teacher quarantining. Given our conversations with the family in the past day, it would not be surprising to find out that this was a false positive. But whether it is a false positive or not, it gives us the opportunity to discuss some of what this means for us.
Life at Green Acres has been going smoothly, with the exception of the weather. This year brought new meaning to “dry January,” as we had few days of precipitation and little worry about snow, sleet, or ice. February seems to be making up for the shortfall. For Rebecca and me, this has made for a challenging situation, as we are forced to make weather decisions that we previously relied on Montgomery County to make when they were not teaching and learning remotely. We are doing our best to make the safest decisions for our community, understanding that being at school is important but being safe is more important, and acknowledging that learning from home is not ideal but is sometimes necessary. In the mornings, we are in communication with staff members from different parts of the county to understand what the conditions are, and we are using our best judgment to determine what is safe.
COVID Testing Statistics | Week of 5/3
All pooled testing samples were negative.
*The COVID-19 Taskforce has determined that adult staff members who have been fully vaccinated with two weeks since their second dose of the vaccine (or have had two weeks since the single Johnson & Johnson shot) will no longer need weekly individual COVID-19 tests to work on campus. We still require that these staff members complete their MyMedBot each morning—and that they should quarantine and get tested if they present with two or more COVID-19 symptoms.
Below, we've listed the circumstances under which Green Acres offers remote (at-home) learning during the 2020–2021 school year. We offer instruction in a dual platform mode (teaching learners at home and learners at school simultaneously) when:
- A family has decided that their child will be learning from home consistently for an extended period of time and has informed the school about this.
- A child needs to be quarantined in accordance with Montgomery County Health Department guidelines.
- A family has reason to believe that their child may have been exposed to COVID19.
- Metrics for Return to Virtual Instruction
- Community Agreement: For Families | For Staff Members
- Magnus App Download Instructions
- Community Handbook Addendum v4
- Management of a COVID-19 Event at Green Acres School v2
- Academic Plan for 2020-2021
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