LHP COVID-19 RESPONSE

Updated February 15, 2021

Greetings all! We hope that all of our Highlander family had a wonderful, restful, and healthy Winter Break!

As previously planned, our faculty and staff members returned to campus today and are preparing to welcome students back to school tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16.

A few quick reminders for everyone…

If your family traveled during this break, please review the Florida Department of Health and CDC guidance on precautions for returning home as published in our pre-winter break email dated February 5, 2021. In particular, this guidance recommends:

“After returning from your trip, CDC advises travelers to get tested 3-5 days after returning home. If choosing to not get tested, travelers should stay home for ten days after travel. Additionally, travelers should avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether they get tested or not.”

For LHP students and staff members who get tested, you may return to school upon a negative test result, or you should quarantine for ten days following a positive test result.

Whereas the school is not requiring universal testing or quarantine unless Highlanders are symptomatic or exposed to someone who has tested positive, we expect our families to take the necessary proactive precautions to ensure their children’s, and ultimately our entire Highlander Family’s safety, by closely following CDC and Florida Department of Health guidance.

Additionally, all Highlanders returning to school will be required to wear masks indoors and outdoors. The only exceptions to this rule are when students are eating, drinking, or participating in heavy physical activities. Beginning Tuesday, February 16, Lower School students will also be required to wear masks in their classrooms and keep their masks on even when seated behind plexiglass dividers. These prudent and recommended precautions will provide multiple layers of protection for our students, faculty, and staff members.

If you have any questions about our health and safety protocols or need to report a positive test or exposure, please contact Marissa Johansen at mjohansen@lhps.org or 407-206-1900 ext. 1234.

We sincerely appreciate your unwavering support, personal precautions, and dedicated partnership to successfully finish the school year strong and healthy. Finally, we eagerly look forward to seeing our Highlanders back at school – and on Digital Campus – tomorrow morning.


Updated February 5, 2021

Wow--what a terrific start we’ve had to the Spring semester, and the wintery weather we’ve had this past week is the perfect precursor to our beloved Winter Break tradition. Before we head into a welcomed week away from school, I would like to urge the Highlander Family to embrace the shared responsibility we each have for the collective safety of all students and employees at LHP.

More specifically, we hope that all Highlander families will strictly adhere to proven CDC guidance and continue to follow these simple rules:

  • Avoid large gatherings whenever possible
  • Wear a mask unless eating or drinking
  • Keep a distance of at least 6 feet from others
  • Wash your hands often

If you plan to travel during this break, we ask that you also follow the new Florida Department of Health guidelines (International & Domestic Travel). Additional CDC and Florida Department of Health resources for travel can be found on the LHP COVID-19 Web Page.

Compliance with COVID protocols is essential as we continue our fight against the pandemic. Our school nursing staff continues to work countless hours implementing proven and well-known safety measures, compassionately caring for our students, and diligently contact-tracing when a COVID case occurs.  Regrettably, a few families have allowed increasing fatigue, a lack of understanding, and general unhappiness with COVID-driven lifestyle changes, to result in argumentative exchanges with our staff when their child needs to be picked up from school or quarantined.  Not only is this conduct unprofessional and unhelpful, it needlessly puts other students and employees at risk, and it fails to meet expected standards of conduct by our Highlander family, including love, genuine concern, and mutual respect.  Furthermore, it is unacceptable and runs counter to the expectations found in the LHP Health-Protocols and the commitment made in the student enrollment agreement.

To restate the requirement, if a school nurse or administrator contacts your family for COVID symptoms, exposure, or other health issues, you are expected and required to pick up your child from LHP within 30 minutes of receiving that call.  Whereas our nurses and administrators are a valuable resource to your family and can answer questions you may have about the quarantine process, they are not authorized to allow your child to be on campus if your child has COVID-19 symptoms or has been contact-traced for exposure.  Nothing - not even a negative test - will change this decision.  FYI, some members of the LHP family have experienced negative COVID test results within the first 10 days of exposure that ultimately resulted in a positive case on day 11,12, or 13, and could have exposed or infected others.  These results affirm our decision to continue using the CDC-recommended 14-day quarantine period as our standard for exposure or illness.  We appreciate, expect, and depend on your full compliance with immediate pickups and quarantining requirements.

Although not contemplated at this point, if CDC recommendations change, we will adjust as prudent and send out an all-school communication to inform you of the change.  Furthermore, please remember that quarantining is not just staying home from school; it is a strong recommendation to remain as isolated as possible for the full quarantine period in order to help preclude any spreading of the disease.  

One day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, we’ll look back at this difficult time and be grateful to be past it.  Right now, however, we are still very much “in the fight.”  Although COVID-fatigue is a reality, we must remain diligent, determined, and committed to the health and safety of all Highlanders.  Thank you for keeping our community in mind as you plan and engage in activities that will rest, re-energize, and restore you and your family during this Winter Break.


Updated January 6, 2021

Orange County is experiencing an alarming number of cases, and our local hospitals are planning for more ICU patients due to spikes in COVID hospitalizations. Below are LHP's non-negotiable precautions and exposure guidelines.

  1. Fill out the daily health screening accurately every day. Do NOT come to campus feeling sick or having any symptoms listed on the daily screening.
  2. Wear a mask.
  3. Physically distance (at least 6 feet apart) when possible.
  4. Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer if needed.  
Lake Highland will continue to follow a strict 14-day quarantine period, encouraging Highlanders to closely watch for symptoms during the full 14 days after exposure. A negative test will not shorten the quarantine period, whether exposed or infected. 

If you have any additional questions about COVID-19 or potential exposures, please contact our Health Care Coordinator Marissa Johansen.

407-206-1900 ex. 1234 | mjohansen@lhps.org


Updated December 3, 2020

Although many of us were excited yesterday when CDC announced possible changes in quarantining guidelines, it was not a clear cut ‘go-ahead’ to abandon current protocols and throw caution to the wind. In fact, since the start of the pandemic, CDC has recommended that those who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 quarantine for 14 days after exposure. Quarantining helps prevent the spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they have the virus. CDC continues to recommend quarantining for 14 days as the best way to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

After reviewing and analyzing new research and modeling data, CDC has now identified two acceptable alternative quarantine periods which they announced yesterday. Under these options, quarantine can end after ten days without a COVID-19 test if the person has reported no symptoms, or after seven days with a negative test result if the person has reported no symptoms. These options are merely the next best alternatives for those choosing not to follow the stated recommendation of 14 days. LHP fully supports the unambiguous preferred option of a 14-day quarantine period.

These alternative options have been shared with public health agencies across the country so that they can determine how long quarantine periods should last in their jurisdictions based on local conditions and needs. Everyone is strongly encouraged to follow the specific guidance from their local public health authorities about how long they should quarantine, and for us, that authority is the Florida Department of Health (FL DOH). As of 4:00 PM ET today (Thursday, December 03), FL DOH has made no changes and still recommends a 14-day quarantine period, encouraging people to closely watch for symptoms for the full 14 days after exposure.

That all said, and in an effort to maintain the best possible safety environment for our students and employees, LHP will continue to follow the current CDC and FL DOH recommended guidelines of a 14-day quarantine for anyone confirmed exposed (via contact tracing) to the COVID-19 virus from now through the holiday break. We will reassess the situation after January 04, 2021, and based on current conditions, agency guidelines, and existing caseloads, we will consider new/updated guidelines for our students and employees.

Additionally, you should know that the biggest threat to our students and employees continues to involve off-campus, and in most cases, non-school related activities. Frankly speaking, we have too many people becoming complacent (COVID-fatigued). If we want to keep our school open, we must do better at following proven guidelines (masking, hand washing, social distancing, and timelyhonest, and accurate medical reporting). If you feel ill or believe you may have been exposed, you should stay at home, stay isolated, and get a medical diagnosis. Please understand that many people are counting on your responsible actions to keep themselves, their families, and our school open. Therefore, I urge you once again to be diligent in following proven and widely known safety guidelines as you enjoy the upcoming holiday period/festivities. Our nurses’ team has shared the following document as a detailed reminder of the best, safe practices for safely navigating what are projected to be tough pandemic months of December, January, and February.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/checklist-household-ready.html.


LHP continues to carefully monitor the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our planning and response efforts remain focused on protecting the health and safety of our students and employees while continuing our crucial educational mission.

As a matter of policy, we want to remind you that if a circumstance arises where your child has been exposed to COVID-19 while on campus, we will personally contact your family to let you know. We continue to follow the standards recommended by the Center for Disease Control, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Education, and our Advisory Team of Physicians for additional guidance on whether to quarantine, get tested, or return to school. However, due to privacy considerations, we will not be sharing any information regarding positive cases or exposures (numbers or names) to the broader Highlander community. Additionally, LHP will not be administering any medical testing on campus. Please ensure that you are familiar with our published health protocols for further details on our policies and procedures. Thank you for faithfully completing the daily online health screenings and daily checking your child’s temperature before coming to campus. The end result of those actions, plus strict adherence to personal hygiene (hand washing), physical distancing, and mask-wearing, remain our best defense against this potentially devastating virus.


PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS ON OUR CAMPUS

We continue to be grateful for your partnership in the 2020-21 school year. Please remember, the primary line of defense in limiting exposure to COVID-19 is the daily at-home health screening and temperature check required before coming to school. Do not bring your children to campus if they have a temperature above 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit, are medicated to reduce a fever, or exhibit any of the following symptoms: fever, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new cough, new loss of taste or smell, new onset of severe headache, or diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain. 

In addition to requiring Daily Health Screenings for students and employees, we have concentrated efforts on prevention and precautionary measures on both campuses, including:

  • Completing mandatory faculty and staff training before returning to school
  • Daily temperature checks before students enter their classrooms or participate in co-curricular activities, such as athletics
  • Implementing age-appropriate mask and physical distancing policies
  • Adding plexiglass dividers in classrooms and cafeterias
  • Hiring additional sanitizing crews to disinfect both campuses each night after our regular cleaning crews complete their operations
  • Continuing aggressive sanitation measures by our Facilities crews to thoroughly clean and frequently wipe down commonly touched surfaces, including desks, doors, public spaces, and bathroom fixtures
  • Stocking all classrooms and offices with sanitizing supplies 
  • Implementing daily treatment of all classrooms and offices with hospital-grade virucide 
  • Installing 75 hand sanitizing stations throughout school
  • Educating students and employees about best hygiene practices to help decrease the spread of viruses
  • Posting educational notices about hand-washing techniques, covering one’s mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoiding touching one’s eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home if sick

TRAVEL

School-Sponsored Field Trips
All school-sponsored field trips are suspended until further notice.

Travel for Families
LHP families and employees who plan to travel should regularly monitor the following resources:

With guidance from the Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Education, and the Florida Council of Independent Schools, we strongly recommend that you self-quarantine for 14 days before returning to school if traveling on a cruise ship.