Response to COVID-19

Updated on May 6, 2021

Dear Members of the Birch Wathen Lenox Community:

We are excited to be back in the building, with students in all three divisions having the option of learning simultaneously in person for the rest of the year. Now that the guidelines for social distancing have changed from six feet to three feet of distance between desks, we have the space to safely coexist. Most of our teachers are vaccinated. We are continuing to follow Department of Health protocols, while guidelines are rapidly changing and the city is opening up. Research has shown that the risks of exposure at school are minimal, and when cases have taken place within our community, the transmission has so far taken place outside of school. Most importantly, we have been able to successfully quarantine specific classrooms and grades when necessary. 

We are able to carry out the reopening plan by employing surveillance testing:

Beginning the week of May 10, we will require all non-vaccinated individuals to provide a COVID-19 test by Wednesday of each week. You may get tested on any day from Sunday through Tuesday, but please do not send in results to the nurses later than Wednesday. This will allow the testing dates to remain consistent, and help the weekly surveillance plan to be successful, as it has been at many other independent schools. Rapid Antigen test results will now be accepted, in addition to Vault saliva or Lab-Confirmed Molecular PCR tests (still the “Gold Standard”). A Rapid testing option will facilitate more frequent testing, allowing us to keep the building open and safe for the remainder of the year. Fully vaccinated individuals do not have to be tested once two weeks have passed since their second vaccination. Weekly surveillance test results or photos of vaccination cards must be emailed to Judith Salavetz (jsalavetz@gbwl.org) or Tammy Hoffman (tammy.hoffman@gbwl.org). 

To take a Rapid test, you might still need an appointment. A good option is LABQ, a mobile testing service that allows you to remain outdoors, is covered by insurance, and offers a Molecular PCR test with fairly quick results. The Department of Health sites are free; below are a few links to help locate the right site for you:

https://labq.com/covid-mobile-testing/

https://www.northwell.edu/northwell-health-labs/locations/170-east-77th-street

https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-rapid-testing.page

The School will continue to follow the quarantine protocols as outlined by the Department of Health. In each instance of a positive case being reported, the School takes into consideration, and consults with the DOH on, the following: point of exposure and diagnosis, arrival of symptoms, contact tracing within the school, and vaccinations. The decision to close a class or division is based on the data collected in each case. All schools are required to cooperate with state and local health department contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine efforts, and act on warning signs about COVID-19 transmission.

We thank you for helping BWL to reopen safely during these challenging times.

 

Sincerely,

 

Judith Salavetz (jsalavetz@gbwl.org)

Tammy Hoffman (tammy.hoffman@gbwl.org)

BWL Administration (bwladministration@gbwl.org