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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: February 11, 2022

Revised Covid Protocols

March 3, 2022 - Mask-Optional Protocol

You are probably aware that on February 28, the City and County of Durham announced that they will remove the indoor mask mandate, effective Monday, March 7, 2022. The NC Toolkit is scheduled to be updated on that same day. With this change, along with the new guidance from the CDC and the governor’s recent recommendation, Trinity will move to a mask-optional protocol starting on March 21, 2022. We will send a further, more detailed communication early in the week of March 14, clarifying our new protocols as masking becomes optional on campus. There are a few things we know already about this plan:

  • Some of us will continue to wear masks. Please respect, support, and encourage those who do.
  • It will be the responsibility of parents to communicate with their children if they want them to wear a mask. The school cannot be responsible for enforcing parental preferences about masking.
  • Those who return to school after five days of Covid quarantine will be required to mask for five additional days, according to the CDC guidelines.
  • In the future, we may need to return to stricter protocols (including masking) if we are required to do so by mandate or if we see reasons for such in our own community health data or in the community at large, based on the best public health guidance we have at that time.


Changes to the Symptom Screening Protocols

February 4, 2022

We are currently seeing many students with a single symptom—especially sore throat, nasal congestion or fatigue—test positive for Covid.

In the best interest of all, please do not send your student to school with ANY symptoms, even if they receive a green checkmark from Ascend.

Students with any one of the Covid symptoms below may not attend school:

  • Fever of 100.0 or higher
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • New onset of cough
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Nasal congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

If your student has any of the symptoms listed above, here are the requirements to return to school:

  1. If your student has a negative rapid antigen test: They must stay home until they receive a follow-up negative PCR/molecular test result and are fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication AND have felt well for 24 hours.
  2. If your student has a negative PCR/molecular test: They must stay home until they are fever free for 24 hours without medication AND have felt well for 24 hours.
  3. If a health care provider issues an alternative diagnosis and determines that no COVID-19 test is necessary, your student may return to school, following normal school policies, once they are fever free without medication for 24 hours and have felt well for 24 hours. The health care provider is not required to provide details of the specifics of the alternative diagnosis.

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 indoors
  • 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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– Joshua 1:9