An Important Announcement Concerning Our COVID Management Policy

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Since early 2020, Holy Trinity has implemented multiple measures to do everything we can to protect our students, families, and staff from contracting and/or spreading COVID-19. These measures include proactive steps to keep our campus clean and sanitized to reactive steps related to quarantining to avoid a school-wide shutdown. These protocols have worked. Over the past two years, our plans have allowed us to respond to a limited number of COVID cases without having to implement a school-wide quarantine. This is largely due to the support of our families and the efforts of our staff, of whom I am very proud. They have truly modeled our first key to delivering the Titan Experience: The Safety and Security of our Students and Staff.

In early fall 2021, I began a conversation with our Board of Directors with the goal of determining the factors that needed to be in place before we considered a change to our current mask requirement. This conversation started just before the Omicron variant became a significant event. As a result of Omicron, our conversation was paused until COVID trends based on the Omicron spread changed.

In January, with data related to the spread of Omicron suggesting COVID spread was declining, the Board and I revisited our conversation. The purpose of this message is to share the result of this conversation and its impact on how we will continue to manage COVID at Holy Trinity.

In determining Holy Trinity’s COVID management policies, there are a few specific items the school has decided to take into account. These are:

  1. The number of COVID positive cases that are currently reported in the school (students + staff)
  2. The 14-day new COVID cases trend as provided by Harris County Public Health (HCPH) and Houston Health Department (HHD) for Harris County
  3. The 14-day average use of ICU beds by COVID patients in Harris County as a whole and in local hospitals (Humble/Kingwood)

Currently, HTES does not have any positive COVID cases. The most we have had at any one time during the past 2 years has been 3. New case trends are also dropping. At the time of this message (February 8, 2022), new cases are dropping by over 100 per day. Finally, ICU bed use by COVID patients has dropped to under 23%.

Given the data trends outlined above, as well as the option for many families to receive widely available vaccines, Holy Trinity will begin transitioning from our current mask requirements to a less strict “mask optional” policy. This policy change will take effect on Monday, February 14, 2022. However, the school reserves the right to revisit and re-implement mask requirements under limited circumstances. The new mask policy and circumstances under which a mask requirement may be implemented is outlined below. You are encouraged to read the entire policy and contact me if you have any questions.

Wearing face coverings by visitors, staff, and students is optional for all, but encouraged for unvaccinated individuals

If your choice is for your child to wear face coverings, please let your teacher know and provide your child’s cloth face cover with the name of the child clearly marked on the mask. An extra cloth face covering should be sent to school in a closed and named ziplock type bag in case an extra is needed. A clean mask is to be worn each day. Sharing masks is prohibited. Face coverings found on campus that are not identifiable will be thrown away. Students and staff are to avoid touching another person’s face covering unless an emergency prompts such action. If someone comes into contact with another person’s covering, hand washing and/or sanitizing must be done immediately after touching the covering.

Under limited and strict conditions, a limited period of required mask wearing may occur. This is done to minimize the chances of a school-wide shut down and/or to support health care workers and facilities that may become overwhelmed by patients under severe conditions.

Conditions which could trigger a limited-time mask mandate

Conditions that are local to only our school population

  • 10% of the current onsite population (students and staff) are simultaneously COVID positive: This condition alone will trigger a 5-day mask requirement in order to minimize the possibility of a school-wide  shut down.

Conditions that are based on local data *(both are required to have a limited mask requirement put in place)

  • New case trends for Harris County are growing over a 14-day period
  • ICU bed use by COVID patients is at or above 50% for a 14-day period
    • This condition triggers an automatic review of data collected by hospitals local to HTES (Humble/Kingwood/etc.)
      • If the local data mirrors the county, this condition is met
      • If the local hospital data contradicts the county, this condition is NOT met

Our current policy on quarantining in case of close contact or if contracting COVID is still in place. The Board and I are keeping a close watch on the COVID trends and CDC recommendations. In addition to changing CDC recommendations, conditions that could cause us to amend our quarantine policy include the availability of vaccines for all students and if Harris County moves into threat level 2 or higher for at least 14 days.

We suspect a change in guidelines by the CDC may come as early as spring and are almost certain to be in place at least by the start of the 2022-2023 school year.

The past two years have been challenging for all schools. I am so very thankful for the patience, partnership, and cooperation that our families have shown. The strength of our Titan community has allowed us to not only manage COVID, but to thrive as a school in spite of it.

I recognize the emotional toll this time has taken on families. I, too, am a parent who cares deeply about my children’s education and safety. As a parent, and as a Head of School, there has been no shortage of difficult decisions made. In hindsight, some of these decisions were exactly right. Some missed the mark. However, they were all made with the best interests of our children in mind. In the end, I think that is the best we can ask of anyone: to be respectful, compassionate, and considerate of others and try to act on those virtues even when things are tough.

On behalf of the Board and the staff, I want to thank you again for your support. We will continue to monitor the situation and are prepared to act in the best interest of the children at our school.

With gratitude,

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