Dear Trinity Community,
We hope that you and your family are enjoying this summer. We are writing now to communicate about plans for the fall at Trinity School, in light of the current and anticipated status of the COVID-19 virus. We want to thank the Nerve Center for its strong work this past year in guiding our community through many decisions; it was a great blessing to be in person for school. For the coming year, we anticipate a smaller number of decisions, but we will still be managing the impact of the pandemic on our community, and we want to communicate with you clearly about our plans.
As we prepare for the 2021–2022 school year, we will continue to monitor the levels of community spread of COVID in our surrounding counties. We will also continue to follow the most current guidelines of the NCDHHS as published in the Strong Schools NC Public Health Toolkit, which is updated regularly. This has been our guiding document throughout last year, and we will continue to use it as a guide as we make decisions regarding our in-person learning for this school year.
Below are our anticipated protocols for the upcoming school year. We are expecting an update to the toolkit later this summer, and we might need to make some adjustments based on that update. Below is what we know so far.
Anticipated Health Protocols for 2021–2022
- We will continue to 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. It is likely that as pediatric vaccines become widely available, a student’s vaccination status will determine his/her specific quarantine requirements.
- The NCDHHS toolkit does not have any spacial requirements, but the newest CDC guidelines indicate that universal masking and three-foot distancing will permit safe in-person learning and mitigate the risk of transmission this fall. So at this point we expect that we will continue universal masking for all on campus, and we are planning for classrooms to be set up to maintain 3-foot distancing in most cases. Some classes will have distancing of less than 3 feet to allow for small-group work and classroom activities.
- We will continue to modify our traditional protocols and practices to avoid large, community-wide indoor gatherings.
- We will likely continue to prioritize outdoor spaces for snacks and meals, weather permitting.
- We will continue to require regular handwashing and maintain hand-sanitizing stations around campus.
- We will continue the daily health screenings through Ascend.
Anticipated Class Sizes, Cohorting, and Facility Use
- Masking and 3-foot distancing will permit a return to our more traditional class sizes: up to 18 students in TK–grade 3 classrooms, and no more than 18–20 students in our larger classroom spaces in grades 4–8.
- Students of all grades will use traditional classroom spaces for most classes.
- Outdoor mixing of students will continue to be expanded. Some limits on indoor mixing between class cohorts are likely to continue in order to minimize the number of possible quarantines should a case occur on campus.
- We are likely to continue daily staggered arrival and dismissal times for the Lower School and Middle School to minimize the crowding of students on sidewalks and hallways during peak arrival and dismissal times. Starting and ending times for each division will be as follows:
- Lower School – 8:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.; doors open at 8:00 a.m.
- Middle School – 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; doors open at 7:45 a.m.
- Upper School – 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m.; doors open at 8:00 a.m.
- We expect that our fall athletic season will resume on time with our traditional offerings, though following recommended risk-mitigation strategies, such as masking (indoors) and distancing. We will evaluate and determine later this summer whether we can offer school-provided transportation for athletics again in the fall.
Anticipated Vaccine Expectations and Requirements
- As a school, we firmly believe in the scientifically proven efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, and we’re pleased that a substantial majority of our faculty and staff (over 95% to date) have chosen to be vaccinated. We strongly encourage all in our community to consult with their physician and obtain a vaccine if advised to do so.
- We are not currently requiring vaccines as a condition of employment or enrollment. We respect that vaccination is a private medical choice, and we request that parents not ask employees, other parents, or students about their personal vaccination status.
This is just a preliminary glimpse of current plans for the fall. However, these plans may change between now and the start of school in August. We will have more decisions to make between now and then, and we will communicate all the details for the fall in another message in early August.
Thank you for your partnership with us. We look forward to a great year together.
Associate Head of School
In partnership with the NC Study Center, Trinity School is honored to host Dr. Mark Noll to teach this summer’s local Regent College course. Dr. Noll is one of the most renowned living church historians.
The course will examine the prominence of the Bible in American history from the American Revolution through the Civil War. It emphasizes especially the long and bitter debates over whether Scripture allowed for the American system of enslavement, the different patterns of biblical interpretation found in Black and White communities, and the widespread deployment of Scripture during the Civil War itself. Beyond discussing important matters of national history and the history of Christian faith, it will also consider how awareness of this history may help believers study, understand, and follow the Scriptures today.
Monday (7/26): The Centrality of the Bible in Early US History
Tuesday (7/27): The Bible and Slavery as a Perpetual Source of Conflict
Wednesday (7/28): The Bible in Black and White (alternative hermeneutics)
Thursday (7/29): The Bible during the Civil War
Friday (7/30): Long-Term Consequences