COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) Information
Updated Friday, March 27, 2020
Alabama Waldorf School campus will remain closed through Friday, May 22.
AWS at Home distance-education will continue! Parents/guardians, please stay tuned to newsletter and emails from teachers with further information.
In order to stay abreast of the complex and evolving situation in the United States and to exercise best practices in safeguarding our community, Alabama Waldorf School is remaining in constant communication with government and educational organizations. For the most detailed and up-to-date information on COVID-19, we encourage you to visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health.
We strongly advise all AWS families to follow precautions from public health officials to practice social distancing and to not travel. Please email Rachel Baay if you or a family member have contracted coronavirus.
COVID-19 Messages from the AWS Administration:
Message to the Alabama Waldorf School Community, January 29, 2020
World Health Organization (WHO): This website has general information on the novel coronaviruses, a video, and an infographic about preventing the spread of viruses.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC): This website covers symptoms and diagnosis, transmission, presentation in children, and prevention and treatment. It also has travel updates.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Alabama Waldorf School closing?
Yes. Alabama Waldorf School will be closed through May 22.
How will the decision be made to close the school?
The health and safety of our students, staff, and families is our top priority. While AWS monitors other school closings including Jefferson County Schools, Birmingham City Schools, and other independent schools, AWS makes decisions independently based on the school’s unique needs and situation, as well as guidance from external agencies.
In the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in our community, the school will work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alabama Department of Health, the Jefferson County Department of Health, and health professionals to determine the best course of action, following all public health protocols.
Under what circumstances will the school close?
If a case of COVID-19 is identified in the AWS or surrounding community, we will follow local and/or state health authorities’ recommendations or orders to close. We may, out of an abundance of caution and in consideration of the school’s unique needs and situation, close even if health officials don’t deem it necessary.
What can a parent do to prepare for a school closure?
We encourage you to follow this advice:
Plan alternative childcare arrangements for children in case school is dismissed early and/or closed.
Talk to friends, neighbors, and other parents about sharing childcare duties if your children are well, but school is closed.
Talk to your employer about working from home or shifting schedules in the event of a school closure.
What about school events, gatherings, and trips?
We will make decisions about holding or canceling events based on the updated information from health officials. Please watch for messages from AWS with important updates. Any changes will also be noted on our school calendar. In the event of an outbreak, to increase your chances of staying healthy, it is best to avoid crowded settings, especially if you are over 60 years of age or have chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or a weakened immune system.
What can a parent do to prepare for an outbreak of COVID-19?
Because the situation is very dynamic, we encourage you to stay up-to-date with the latest information and recommendations from health officials (see list of health organizations, above).
How will my child’s education continue in the event of an extended school closure?
Our faculty and staff are in communication with AWSNA and SAIS (our accrediting agencies) and working on ways to prepare lessons, assignments, and resources that will allow our educational program to continue as much as possible in the event of an extended school closure.
When should I keep my child home from school?
Do not send your child to school if you suspect they may be ill or have exhibited any of the following signs or symptoms:
An elevated temperature of 100 degrees or more during the last 24 hours.
Vomiting within the last 24 hours.
Repeated episodes of diarrhea within the last 24 hours.
Chills, loss of appetite, unusual fatigue, and/or lingering headache.
A significant amount of nasal discharge, particularly if the discharge is yellow or greenish in color.
A persistent cough.
A significant sore throat.
If you suspect that you or your child has a serious communicable disease, you must notify the school so we can comply with reporting requirements.
Those who believe they may have been exposed to or infected with the novel coronavirus should seek medical care right away. Before you go to a clinic, doctor’s office, or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms. Also please notify the AWS office.
What happens if my child feels sick while at school?
While we usually monitor ill students for a period of time, given the circumstances, parents will be immediately called to pick up their child as quickly as possible.
What can families, students, and school personnel do to keep from getting sick and spreading COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following actions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Stay home when you are sick (and do not return to school until you are fever-free for 24 hours without medication). We ask you to strictly adhere to this policy.
Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
What additional steps is the school taking at this time?
The customary practice of a handshake at the classroom door between the teacher and students is suspended until further notice.
The school is taking extra care with cleaning and disinfection processes, with particular attention to common surfaces.
Additional cleaning of common surfaces by faculty and staff is happening at regular intervals throughout the school day.
All faculty and staff are required to maintain appropriate hand-washing and sanitizing protocols upon entering the building and throughout the day.
We continue to be in close communication with government agencies as well as other independent schools, and will keep you updated as things change.