Coronavirus Updates

Reminders and Policy Updates for Shift to Mask-Optional

On Monday, February 21, Trinity will move to our mask-optional policy for students. Since my last letter, local and school infection rates have declined markedly, and we are two weeks closer to the end of flu and cold season. Contact tracing guidelines have also changed from health department officials, which will be reflected in how we trace exposures. These changes are detailed below. 
In this letter I wish to remind parents of points to consider when making a masking choice, and reinforce to all that each family decision must be respected community-wide.
Considerations for Families: 
Please consider the following when making your family decision to wear masks indoors:
  • Audit and monitor the local infection rates, which can be found here. Health Department officials recommend masking with current regional infection rates. Look at the needs of your family and their health. 
  • Acknowledge the social and emotional needs of your child for masking. Some students will be more comfortable with masks on in some situations and not in others. Examples include small classrooms, classes that are highly subscribed, and known instances of COVID positive cases in a social group to name a few. 
  • Adjust to changing infection rates and circumstances both on and off-campus. Have conversations when your family believes masking is necessary and when it is not.
  • Act by choosing to be masked or unmasked to fit your child and the current situation.
  • PLEASE NOTE: It is not practical for teachers to reinforce your decision in class. It is up to your student to follow your family’s instructions.
Contact Tracing Changes:
Due to the updated VDH guidelines of February 11 and a mask-optional environment, we will no longer be contact tracing individuals. Instead, we will notify families by email of potential exposure in their student’s classrooms so that families can make an informed decision about masking and testing. It will not be practical to communicate through phone calls given the longer list of those being notified in a classroom.
If notified, we ask that parents and students do the following:
  • If you have symptoms stay home and get tested. Report these test results to the school nurse, Suzanne Winefordner
  • Consider testing on day 5 following an exposure independent of whether you have symptoms. If you would like to use Test Here, we have special access for Trinity students and families for testing.
  • In cases where we have a definitive  close contact exposure in the classroom or on campus, you will be notified by the school and will receive more detailed information
  • All students who test positive for COVID must mask on campus to return on days 6-10 of isolation per VDH guidance. This includes all athletic practices and contests. They may also elect to stay home for the full 10 days.
Reporting and Monitoring of Cases:
We ask all families to report both outside positive cases and/or quarantine situations to the school nurse for guidance on when to safely return to school. 
VDH will still be in partnership with the school in the event of an outbreak, which is defined as three more more related cases. In the event of an on-campus outbreak, VDH will advise the school on increased mitigation measures. In such an occurrence, vaccinated students would have clear advantages over unvaccinated students when it comes to quarantine protocols.
Trinity’s COVID dashboard will continue to reflect the most relevant information for families.

Additional Reminders:
  • Teachers will stay masked. The Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) has tied employee masking to local infection rates. When infection rates drop to predetermined levels, teachers may have the option to go mask optional.
  • It is still required by law for students to be masked on school transportation. 
  • Trinity values civility, empathy, and a strong sense of what it means to be part of any community. While we do not anticipate issues between those who choose to mask or choose a mask-optional path, we do insist in the strongest possible terms that students respect the choices of others. In the hallways, classrooms, on campus or off, or on social media, family choices must be honored.
Lastly, Trinity will adjust as is necessary. Our community has been adaptable, flexible, and cooperative in ways which has allowed us to have fewer interruptions to our school life.  We hope that variants continue to be mild and we are encouraged by the falling rates in our region. Currently things are looking good and we have zero cases. 
We want to thank parents and students for their cooperation, understanding, and patience. Spring is coming, the days are getting warmer and there is much to look forward to in the coming months with traditions that close out our year from athletics, to field trips, prom, and graduation.