LHP COVID-19 Response
October 18, 2021 Update
We confidently began this school year with ongoing enhanced precautions to prioritize the health and safety of every Highlander. These safeguards have served students and employees well as shown by our successful and safe completion of the first quarter of school. We continue to routinely assess the evolving health environment, medical trends, and the overall status of the pandemic to ensure we have the best possible protocols in place for ensuring the health and safety of our students, employees, and campus visitors.
We also remain incredibly grateful to the remarkable team of medical experts (our school nurses, local pediatricians, and childhood infectious disease experts) who’ve helped keep LHP continuously safe and open since the start of the pandemic. They consistently advise us on both the physiological and psychological impacts of the pandemic, and work closely with our administrative staff in developing the school’s preventative/protective protocols.
Following our most recent consultation with this team of experts, LHP has decided to modify mask protocols in the Middle and Upper Schools beginning November 1, 2021.
Middle and Upper School (Grades 7-12)
With a majority of the Middle and Upper School students vaccinated, the incredibly low transmission rates seen in grades 7-12 during the first nine weeks, and the vaccination rate for the county being in the 70th percentile, LHP’s medical team has advised that we are in an excellent position to make a change to the school’s mask policy. Therefore, beginning November 1, 2021, masks will be optional indoors for all Middle and Upper School students, employees, and guests to those campuses. In the interim, students, employees, and all campus guests in Middle and Upper Schools will remain masked indoors (i.e., through October 31, 2021).
For now, current Lower School mask protocols will remain in effect with no changes. This age group has the highest transmission rates in the state and is still not yet widely eligible for vaccination. Therefore, through the end of the calendar year, students in grades PreK-6, along with Lower School employees and visitors, will continue wearing masks indoors to protect our highest-risk student population, and our devoted faculty members who are faithfully “exposed” to the children each day. Students will continue to eat snacks and lunch outdoors, with the cafeteria operating at 10% capacity for Lower School students.
Every Highlander – students, employees, and visitors – must bring a mask to school daily. Additionally, masks must be worn by anyone entering the Lower School buildings and those in close proximity to Lower School students. Finally, masks will continue to be worn by all students and employees during larger group gatherings and activities, such as Unity Meetings and school assemblies.
As with every decision the school has made regarding the pandemic, we continue to carefully assess CDC and Department of Health guidance along with state, county, and school-wide transmission rates. Coupled with remarkable support from our medical advisory team, we remain highly confident in our COVID protocols and steadfastly committed to the health and safety of every Highlander. LHP will also continue with rigorous cleaning protocols throughout all areas of the school. Hand sanitizer, masks, and sanitizing wipes are widely available across both campuses. In addition, the COVID-19 Task Force will remain engaged to evaluate the ongoing efficacy and impact of the school’s policies. As transmission rates continue to drop and our youngest Highlanders gain access to the vaccine, we will reassess and adapt LHP’s policies as possible, and swiftly communicate any changes to the larger Highlander family.
Thank you for your continued support, and willing partnership to help assure another great school year.
Preventative Actions on Our Campus
Please remember the primary line of defense in limiting exposure to COVID-19 is monitoring your child for symptoms. 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.
The school continues to concentrate efforts on COVID-19 prevention and precautionary measures, including:
- Ongoing faculty and staff training
- Continuing thorough sanitation measures by our facilities crews to frequently clean and wipe down commonly touched surfaces and public spaces, and bathroom fixtures
- Wiping down classroom furniture throughout the day
- Using electrostatic sprayers to deep clean classrooms and offices as needed
- Stocking all classrooms and offices with sanitizing supplies
- Installing 75 hand sanitizing stations throughout school
- Educating students and employees about best practices in hygiene to help decrease the spread of viruses
During the 2020-21 school year, LHP became one of the first schools in the nation to be designated as a GBAC STAR™ facility, based on the school’s exceedingly high standards for cleanliness and sanitation. A rigorous review from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) of our cleaning practices resulted in this prestigious facility designation for our 42-acre campus. What began as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic has become best practice for our school as we continue to partner with and learn from GBAC.
Lake Highland faculty and staff are moving forward with planning field trips for the 2021-22 school year. We will assess each trip individually to create a safe, fun, educational, and memorable experience for Highlanders. More information will be provided as the trip date nears.
If traveling domestically, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate, and get tested if you develop symptoms. COVID-19 symptoms include fever (above 99.9 degrees Fahrenheit), chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
If traveling internationally, please follow CDC guidelines.
BACK TO SCHOOL PLAN
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- CDC: Coronavirus Cases in the U.S.
- U.S. State Department Travel Advisories
- Johns Hopkins CSEE Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases
- Florida Department of Health
- Florida Department of Education