United Friends School has made every effort to consider the advice and guidance of Pennsylvania’s leading health organizations. Our school’s administrative team has worked tirelessly with members of the faculty, Board, staff, and parent community in considering how to operate as safely as possible.

Decision-Making

While we focus on welcoming our students back to campus, the health and safety of United Friends School’s community will always be the first consideration in our decision-making process.

Our Health & Safety Plan is a collective “best-effort” at anticipating the needs of our community in a very complex time. We continually monitor the prevalence and spread of COVID-19 in our local area. Should cases in our community rise, or under the direction of state or federal mandates, UFS may have to move to remote learning or make modifications to this plan at a moment’s notice. The need for patience, understanding, support, and flexibility is something that we must ask of our parents, faculty and staff. 

Communications

We expect that there will be changes to our plans and procedures along the way, as conditions continue to evolve in our area and new guidance is given by the CDC, state and local health departments. Parents will be informed of any changes to our plan in a timely manner. In the event of a COVID-19 positive case within our community, the health department will be notified and inform guidance given to families on quarantining procedures. As of now, all contact tracing will be performed by the Bucks County Health Department.

Health & Safety

The health and safety of United Friends School’s students, faculty, staff, and community will continue to remain paramount as we lead and respond to COVID-19 in our community.

All faculty, staff, and parents are thoroughly trained in our updated health & safety policies and procedures. This is an all-hands approach and training will be ongoing throughout the school year.

Teachers will continue to facilitate and reinforce this learning at school. Children are adaptable and capable of learning these new processes. With much practice at home and at school, we are confident that they will become the experts in your family.

All families should closely monitor their child for symptoms synonymous with Covid-19. We must emphasize the importance of staying home when sick or when feeling run down. Gone are the days that one can give their child Tylenol and send them to school. If your child becomes sick with one of the three key COVID-19 symptoms (fever, difficulty breathing, cough) during the school day, he/she will be isolated in a designated room until a parent arrives. The ill child must adhere to UFS’s Exclusion from and Return to School policy.

Students and adults will establish good hand washing routines from our first day and wash their hands at least: upon arrival each day; before and after eating; before and after outdoor recess; before and after exiting the classroom.

Masks are mandatory for all adults as well as children in Preschool through 8th grade. Mask breaks will be built into the school day and will be scheduled by the individual classroom teachers.

We have gotten a few questions about the best masks for children to wear while at school. Your child’s mask should fit snugly around their mouth and nose at all times. Surgical masks are highly recommended. Cloth masks should be at least 2 layers. Gaiters are not recommended.

Cloth masks must be washed after each school day. Children should always carry at least TWO fresh/clean masks with them to school each day in their backpack.

On the first day of school, children should also bring in 2 extra masks, labeled, in a Ziploc baggie that their teacher will store in the classroom.

We have gotten creative with our classroom layouts and our classroom assignments. Our indoor instructional spaces have been configured to ensure proper spacing of at least three feet between students who will be seated at desks and/or tables.

This overall in-person strategy relies on maintaining self-contained groups, or “pods”, throughout the day to minimize interactions and potential spread of infection. Children will remain with their classmates in “pods” throughout the day. During outdoor recess, smaller pods will be combined. Teachers will work to maintain the social distance requirements.

United Friends School is once again partnering with Anywhere Testing & Phi Life Sciences to conduct pool testing to screen all members of our in-person learning community. Anywhere Testing & Phi Life Sciences partners with many other independent K-12 schools in our area and across the country. This is the same form of testing we did in January and UFS will absorb the cost of all testing.

The saliva-based PCR test for students, faculty and staff is non-invasive and self-administered on campus. I have attached testing instructions and an overview of the program below. Please carefully review all information and testing instructions. Note: There is no eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes prior to testing.

Testing is mandatory to ensure every member of our in-person learning community is screened. We strongly encourage you to participate in our testing on September 9th, but if that is not possible for any reason, you can elect to pursue your own PCR test dated on or after September 9th. Proof of a negative test must be provided to the School in order to return to school.

UFS recognizes that testing provides a limited benefit as it gives a snapshot on a single date that will help detect any virus present in the community at that particular time. Along with all of our other mitigation measures, including each family’s commitment to our school’s social contract, we believe that testing provides an additional layer of confidence during this time of increasing community transmission.

The lab will provide the results directly to you, via email. They will also be sent to me directly via a HIPPA-compliant delivery system. If your child’s results are positive, it is your responsibility to contact your family doctor for a follow-up. Further instructions about quarantining will be provided to you by the health department and the School. UFS does NOT follow Bucks County’s Modified Quarantine for a positive case.

UFS strongly recommends that all eligible community members be vaccinated against Covid-19. If your child is vaccinated, please forward a copy of their vaccination card to Roger.

Visitors, Lunch & Snacks

Visitors will have limited access to campus and must make arrangements with our Front Office Manager. The campus will be restricted to students, faculty, staff, and only essential visitors such as delivery persons and contracted service people. Parents will not be routinely allowed into buildings as we begin the school year.

Children will eat in their classrooms or outdoors. All food and beverages should be sent in from home. Lunch and snack will be the only times during the day that our students will be unmasked indoors. We have been advised to continue utilizing quiet lunches. Teachers will play podcasts, music, educational videos and/or read to their students to promote a calm environment that minimizes the spread of respiratory droplets.

Our Social Contract

United Friends School is working hard on mitigation strategies to provide our faculty and students a safe campus. Reopening our campus is highly dependent on the partnership of the community members. Although the risk of viral transmission cannot be completely eliminated, it can be lessened significantly by a social contract between all members of our community. Our unified commitment to adhere to this contract will be critical to help keep our in-person learning environment open as much as possible.

We expect all staff and families to be respectful of each other, to collectively safeguard the health and safety of others, and to abide by the policies, procedures, and orders related to COVID-19 implemented by the state, county, and school.

  • Use and reinforce mask-wearing, physical distancing, handwashing, and meticulous hygiene both inside and outside of school.
  • Limit exposure by avoiding large gatherings or situations in which people are not observing recommended behaviors, such as wearing masks and practicing physical distancing.
  • Observe routine medical practices, e.g., routine annual checkups, immunizations, and flu vaccines.
  • (For faculty & staff) Stay home when you are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • (For families) Keep your children home when they, or any member of your household, are sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Partner with faculty & staff to help children learn the Health and Safety protocols.
  • Limit the personal items your child brings onto campus each day and reinforce policies around not sharing of food, supplies, and other items with other students.
  • Notify UFS regarding sick household members or if any household members have had close contact (less than 6 ft for more than 15 min) with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Depending on the situation, your student may have to stay home for a period of time based on our most current medical advice.
  • Notify the school and undergo testing if you suspect your child or a household member has COVID-19 and await test results from home.
  • Be kind, attentive, and helpful to anyone around who may be in need of support in following safety health practices. Provide respectful and gentle safety reminders and suggestions to those who may need them, and respond graciously when others provide them.

Please understand that each of us are individually responsible for the common good of the school community. We strongly suggest that all community members adhere to our social contract in the 10 days prior to returning to campus. UFS will proactively communicate and, as necessary, take administrative action regarding the observance and enforcement of these expectations which may include a student or staff member not being able to participate in in-person learning / teaching.