In partnership with Ochsner, Dunham has developed safety protocols that require consultation with your family’s primary care physician and testing for COVID-19 under certain circumstances. When physicians must be consulted and testing is required, a clearance from the PCP and test results must be received before a student will be allowed to return to school programs. The following procedures are in place to help safeguard the entire Dunham community:
As a part of our partnership with Ochsner health professionals, Dunham is committed to providing a safe on-campus experience for all students and staff. Through that partnership, Dunham employs both a full-time nurse, Connie Jenkins, and a full-time, certified athletic trainer, Tyler Guillot. Both of these professionals work under the direction of Dr. Jeff Burnham, our Ochsner school physician. Our medical professionals will work with Dunham parents to ensure the safety and wellness of our students. Every family will be asked to partner with the school by submitting the Parent Partnership & Wellness Agreement. Please take a few moments to review and submit the online agreement.
Effective May 3, 2021, students in grades 3-12, faculty, and staff, will continue to wear masks in interior spaces, including classrooms, but will no longer be required to wear them outside. Due to the structure of our Middle and Upper School final exam schedule and the physical distancing that will be in place, students will not be required to wear masks while completing exams. Parents and other guests who come on campus for any reason, including end-of-the-year events, are not required to wear masks outside but must wear them for any events or meetings that take place inside. We want to make it clear, however, that the option to wear a mask at all times remains in place for anyone who prefers to do so.
Students in grades PK-2 are not required to wear face coverings. Student face masks must meet the guidelines set forth by Ochsner for visitors to its medical facilities. We will follow the same guidelines at Dunham. Students may not wear face shields, bandanas, neck gaiters, or face masks with valves. Teachers may wear face shields only during direct instruction and must wear face masks at all other times.
The Dunham School will continue to operate safely through the practice of more frequent cleaning and sanitization, hand washing, and social distancing wherever possible. Hand sanitizing and washing stations are located throughout our campus. In addition, students will be required to bring their own hand sanitizer to school each day. The daily schedule has been adjusted to allow for these changes. Dunham will continue to educate students about safe hygiene practices. To promote social distancing, class orientation and desk arrangements have been adjusted slightly to meet federal and state guidelines. With smaller class sizes, these changes will not impact our ability to operate normally and teach effectively using traditional Dunham methodologies.
Beginning May 3, 2021, we will no longer administer temperature checks at the beginning of each school day for students, faculty, and staff. As always, we ask that families monitor their children for symptoms of illness and keep them home if they are sick or have fever.
In the event a student manifests symptoms, including fever, during the school day, the student will be relocated to a separate area, apart from other students, until a parent or guardian arrives to pick them up. If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, families will be notified in an appropriate manner. Lower school families will be notified if a student or staff member in their child’s home room class tests positive. Middle and Upper school will be notified if another member of their advisory or lunch group tests positive. If any member of an athletic team tests positive, the entire team will be notified.
Students will continue to be served a high-quality lunch from SAGE Dining, but all meals will be served in takeout boxes. Dining hall occupancy will be significantly reduced to meet guidelines. Students will eat in the Rollins Family Dining Hall or other assigned dining locations around campus. Until further notice, we cannot accommodate parent visitors for lunch. To ensure that students with food allergies or sensitivities receive dietary appropriate meals, student health forms must be submitted by July 31. After reviewing the health forms, our school nurse will notify SAGE Dining about dietary restrictions. The families of students with food allergies or sensitivities will then receive an email communication directly from SAGE Food Service Director Lauren Guy. Additional information about our food services health and safety protocols, can be found in SAGE's Reopening Procedures for The Dunham School.
According to state guidelines, certain fine arts courses such as band and choir can resume in Phase 3. While we remain in Phase 2, those fine arts courses will be adjusted to provide instruction in music theory and appreciation until the traditional performance aspect of the Dunham fine arts programs can resume.
Physical education and activities will take place in all grade levels as a part of the school day. In order to maintain social distancing guidelines, Middle School students will NOT be dressing out for physical education classes. Students will NOT be required to wear masks during recess, P.E. class, or athletics. A modified physical education curriculum will be implemented and remain in effect until restrictions are lifted. To ensure the safety of Dunham students, all equipment used for recess, physical education courses, and for athletic teams will be cleaned regularly. We will follow LHSAA guidelines and protocols with regard to Middle and Upper School team sports and will communicate updates with student-athletes and their families.
We have redesigned carpool procedures to eliminate students clustering in close proximity. We will use a new technology system called Safe Dismissal to move students efficiently from classrooms to cars. Additional details will be communicated by your Division Head. Aftercare and study hall will continue to operate. As a reminder, students may not be dropped off at the DAC.
Large group gatherings (such as chapel, morning meetings, and similar activities) have been redesigned to allow students to experience these events in their homerooms or advisory classrooms. Most will take place via live stream or video recordings. No field trips will take place until considered safe by state health officials.
In an effort to limit outside contact, we ask that parents only enter divisional offices to check a student in or out or conduct school business by appointment (example: parent/teacher conferences). If parents enter campus buildings for any reason, face coverings are required.
As a seven-time Apple Distinguished School with an innovative and creative faculty, Dunham has the resources and proficiency to continue to provide the highest quality educational experience for every student. As we resume face-to-face instruction in August, we are confident that the safety measures we have put in place will ensure a positive and effective learning environment. Dunham will provide excellent instruction in our classrooms and provide content for students who are absent for short periods of time while in quarantine. Should the governor move the state back into Phase 1, Dunham stands ready to resume distance learning, once again, with excellence. Should your family desire to investigate fully online learning now, please contact your division head for information about Dunham Virtual Academy. Parents can rest assured that no matter what phase of reopening we are in, every Dunham student will receive an exceptional, personalized education.