March 26, 2020
COVID-19 Notice to Community
Dear Parents, Guardians and Partners of Spaulding:
Serving our children and families in the safest way is of the utmost importance to the staff at Spaulding. The team at Spaulding continues to do amazing work so that the children who are educated by us and those who reside with us can be safe while we all navigate the coronavirus crisis. We have worked hard to stay deeply informed about what is happening around the world in anticipation of the protocols we should proactively institute to ensure the safety of the children and families we serve and the staff who support them 24/7. We mastered delivering our remote learning academic program for our day students, are working remotely with those we serve in the community, and have heavily focused on our residential students and the changes needed to keep them safe. As this situation evolves, we want you to be aware of our emergency response and actions we are taking.
Universal protocols have been in place for several weeks including everyone being advised to:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid being within 6 feet (close contact) of a person who is sick.
- Avoid shaking hands or even fist bumps. People will use various parts of hands to replace touching items with fingers.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow or better yet into a tissue that you throw away after each use.
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Avoid sharing drinks, smoking or vaping devices, or other utensils or objects that may transmit saliva.
- Stay home and avoid public places when sick.
In addition, we have tripled our daily disinfecting protocols, installed many additional hand sanitizer stations, and purchased a significant volume of disinfectant wipes which have been widely distributed. Our supply of personal protective equipment and gloves has been greatly increased.
We want to assure you we have a robust plan of action focused on keeping our residential and day students healthy, as well as staff and others. By strictly maintaining the protocols noted below, our goal is to prevent the spread of any viral illness, including the COVID-19 virus.
Over the past few weeks, we have continued to implement changes on campus in an effort to stay ahead of the curve to keep everyone healthy in general, and especially in our residential service programs. First, we have established many significant changes to our cleaning processes and our crews have been going through all our buildings more than daily to deep clean while our staff are using volumes of disinfectant wipes all day long. We also have Electrostatic Disinfection happening in every building not less than once a week – this is more than some hospitals are doing. Of course, we have been adhering to hand washing and hand sanitizer, along with social distancing to the extent possible while still caring for the children. Effective yesterday, as a preventive measure, all staff and all children who can tolerate it, are wearing masks. We realize people can have this virus and be asymptomatic, so we took this step in an abundance of caution.
Meals are now only served in the cottages and not in the Dining Hall so that we can keep kids together but not in large groups. Kids are enjoying making more meals together, but we are also trying to keep things as close to normal for them as possible. They go to school each day, play in the gym, and enjoy after school activities largely as they always have. Some children are on extended home visits, and for them, we are providing their services remotely.
Any child displaying either of the below symptoms will be closely monitored by our nursing staff and medical director. Students displaying such symptoms will be isolated in their rooms until symptom free for 48 hours.
- Moist productive cough
- Fever 100.6 or higher
Any of the following symptoms will also warrant monitoring and may also require isolation to cottage.
- Sore throat
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Generalized malaise
- Stomach upset
If a residential student begins to display any of the above symptoms during an off-campus home visit, we require that children be kept at home until they are symptom free for 48 hours. If this occurs, we will happily make arrangements for medication to be delivered to the student’s off-campus home. Currently, if a student returns to campus with any symptoms, they will be screened by a member of Health Services prior to returning to their respective campus residence. If the student displays any symptoms, Spaulding maintains the right to ask that the child be taken home.
Day students will also be subject to the same protocol. If a child is experiencing any of the symptoms above, please do not send them to school and call the school with your child’s symptoms by calling 603-286-8901 and we will direct your call accordingly. If a child comes to school with symptoms, we reserve the right to send them home until they are symptom free for 48 hours. They will also be screened upon return to the school.
For more information on how we are providing remote learning, please refer to the School Disruption Plan dated 3/16/2020 at the top of this page. Plans describing how education will be provided has been communicated to those who require this information.
Some time ago, we discontinued allowing visitors to campus. We know this impacted many families who now visit with their children by phone, FaceTime or other tele-means. We appreciate the difficulty of this remote visiting for our families, but trust that our ultimate goal is keeping the children on our campus as well as our staff healthy.
We also discontinued off-campus trips except for those in the outdoors without crowds or play equipment, such as hiking, sledding, and more. We also enjoy the occasional bus ride around town to take in a change of scenery with the kids. Luckily, we have nearly 500 beautiful acres, so the children are getting out and playing games, riding bikes and so much more, right on campus. In fact, our Adventure Instruction is happening now both after school and on the weekends. The creativity in these activities are endless and giving everyone something fun to look forward to!
- We have posted staff and visitor virus protocol notices at entry doors around campus. If someone actively exhibits signs of illness, staff may ask them to leave.
- All Spaulding staff are being updated daily on the health status for every student, as well as that of their co-workers for planning purposes.
- Travel restrictions and Return to Work protocols for all staff have been instituted.
- We are in contact with all student transport vendors regarding their virus control procedures and to alert them to our expectations.
- Parent and Guardian letter updates continue to be sent as the situation and our protocols change.
- We expect some changes to food services as we adjust to open serving ranging from access to the salad bar to perhaps minimized fresh food options. This may result in less food selections available, but these changes will ensure that the food available to students and staff on campus is safe.
- The rate of new student admissions and new staff onboarding may be reduced.
- We are actively canceling visitor meetings or trainings on campus, replacing many with conference calls or Zoom meeting options.
- We may see traditional student events on campus impacted too, and notifications will be provided as each date approaches.
We have truly made too many changes to list. We are urging everyone to stay well informed and providing regular updates to all our staff about all that is happening during this pandemic. We are also reinforcing the importance of using valid news sources and not Facebook, Twitter or other social media since they are unreliable. We realize that no one is immune, but we will get past this together. Please contact your family worker if you have any questions and know that we are here to help you.
While the path is uncertain and changes daily, we want you all to be assured we are taking every possible action to keep everyone safe and healthy. We hope you, your family and friends are well.
On behalf of all of the staff at Spaulding, please stay safe.
Susan C. Ryan
President and CEO