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Pandemic Protocols

This page outlines our plans and procedures for conducting school during the
COVID-19 pandemic. As new information becomes available, this page will be updated.

Updated: January 13, 2022

Toolkit Updates - January 13, 2022

We are clarifying the following policies per the Strong Schools NC Toolkit revisions. In some of these cases the Toolkit leaves us with options, and the updates below reflect the options we are choosing.

  • Quarantine rules: The new guidelines stipulate a five-day quarantine period for anyone who has tested positive for Covid. Students and staff may return to school after five days if they have been symptom-free for 24 hours.
  • Close contacts:
    • A person does not need to be excluded from school if they have had no symptoms after being a close contact of someone with COVID-19, if they belong to one of the following groups:
      • They are 18 years of age and have received their primary series AND booster, if eligible.
      • They are between the ages of 5-17 and have completed a primary series of COVID-19 vaccines. Boosters are not required to meet this exception for this age group.
    • Those who are unvaccinated who have had an exposure at home or in any unmasked setting must quarantine for five days. They may return on day six if symptom-free for 24 hours. A PCR or antigen test is recommended on day five but not required. Those with exposures that happened in masked environments may stay in school.
  • Boosters and quarantining: Students under 18 years old are not required to quarantine if they have completed a primary series of vaccines; boosters are not required for them. For persons 18 years of age and older, boosters are required (where eligible) to avoid quarantining.
  • Correct masking is especially important right now. The updated NCDHHS Toolkit guidelines rely on proper masking for protection, sometimes in lieu of previous longer quarantines.
  • Contact tracing: Since the new guidelines emphasize proper masking as sufficient protection against exposure, and since we are masking inside and outside at school, no student or staff member should be considered a close contact for exposure at school. This is a new understanding of exposure, and it means that our school nurse will no longer ordinarily do contract tracing for in-school exposures. We are especially focused on household exposures.

Summary of 2021-2022 Pandemic Protocols

  • We require all students to report their vaccination status to the school nurse. Please share a copy of the vaccination card once your student has received their second dose. When your student receives a booster, please share an updated copy of the vaccination card with the nurse at that time.
  • We practice universal masking for everyone on campus both indoors and outdoors.
  • Daily health screenings through Ascend are required.
  • Classrooms are arranged to maintain 3-foot distancing (in most cases).
  • We prioritize outdoor spaces for snacks and meals, weather permitting.
  • We require regular handwashing and maintain hand-sanitizing stations around campus.
  • As a school we follow the most current guidelines of the Durham County Health Department, NCDHHS, and CDC. This includes following their guidance for student and employee quarantines as any cases or possible exposures occur. As pediatric vaccines become widely available, a student’s vaccination status will determine his/her specific quarantine requirements.

Handling Possible, Suspected, Presumptive, or Confirmed Positive Cases of Covid-19

Symptoms: Students, teachers, and staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care. Staying home when sick is essential to keep infections out of school and prevent spread to others.

Occurrence of any of the symptoms below while a student, teacher, or staff member is at school suggests the person may be referred for diagnostic COVID-19 testing or evaluation:

  • Fever (temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher)
  • Sore throat
  • Cough (for people with chronic cough due to allergies or asthma, a change in their cough from baseline)
  • Difficulty breathing (for people with asthma, a change from their baseline breathing)
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • New onset of severe headache, especially with a fever

Diagnosed: People who are presumed to have or who are diagnosed with COVID-19 must stay home until they meet the criteria for return to school. Staying home when sick with COVID-19 is essential to keeping COVID-19 infections out of school and preventing spread to others.

Exposure: It is also essential for people who are not fully vaccinated to quarantine after a recent close contact with someone who has COVID-19.

  • Infected individuals must quarantine for five days. They may return to work or school on day six if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms have resolved and there has been no fever for 24 hours prior. All must wear a mask for an additional five days.
  • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated but exposed will now quarantine for five days. They must also wear a mask for five days after their return. We will follow the CDC’s definition of “fully vaccinated.”
  • This new guidance allows us to withdraw the requirement that all spring-sport student-athletes be vaccinated. The shorter quarantine and other provisions help us avoid the long and burdensome quarantines that we experienced in the late fall.

Update 1/13/22:

Contact tracing: New guidelines emphasize proper masking as sufficient protection against exposure, and since we are masking inside and outside at school, no student or staff member should be considered a close contact for exposure at school. This is a new understanding of exposure, and it means that our school nurse will no longer ordinarily do contract tracing for in-school exposures. We are especially focused on household exposures.

Encouraging Vaccination and Booster Shots

Achieving high levels of Covid-19 vaccination among eligible students, as well as teachers, staff, and household members, is one of the most critical strategies to help schools safely maintain full operations.

Vaccination is currently the leading public health prevention strategy to end the Covid-19 pandemic. People who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are at low risk of symptomatic or severe illness, including hospitalization or death. A growing body of evidence suggests that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 are also less likely to have an asymptomatic infection or transmit Covid-19 to others than are people who are not fully vaccinated. In most settings, people who are fully vaccinated can safely resume activities they did before the pandemic. We recommend that everyone who is eligible for a booster shot receive one. It provides the most possible immunity to COVID-19.

Trinity's policy is that faculty and staff are not required to share protected health information. In order to protect the privacy of those who choose not to share this information, all faculty and staff have been asked not to share their vaccination status.

Vaccinations for Athletes

Starting with the spring sports season (mid-February of 2022), we will require all Trinity athletic team members to be vaccinated. Athletics at Trinity are very important for the formation of young students, and we value them greatly. But teams do pose a higher risk for the spread of Covid (close contact on courts and in huddles, buses, and practices), and the negative impact of Covid on in-person learning can be significant.

This winter season, we have experienced a large number of required quarantines which could have been avoided if all student athletes were vaccinated. The burden on teachers and parents to manage a wave of quarantines is immense, and it is not fair for us to continue to impose on them the burden of unvaccinated athletes. This decision is consistent with our policy not to require vaccinations for enrollment, as athletics is a voluntary program and not a required part of a Trinity education.

Update 1/13/22:

Updated quarantine guidelines have allowed us to withdraw the requirement (see above) that all spring-sport student-athletes be vaccinated. The shorter quarantine and other provisions will help us avoid the long and burdensome quarantines that we experienced in late fall 2021.

StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit (K-12)

Last updated Updated January 10, 2022

Trinity School follows the most current guidelines of the Durham County Health Department, NCDHHS, and CDC. The StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit informs our policies and procedures related to the pandemic.

Download the PDF

Find up-to-date articles, studies, news, and more about COVID-19 vaccines at the UNC Health COVID-19 Vaccine Hub.



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