Compass COVID-19 Plan
Director’s Note: Compass had a successful 2020-21 school year with no reported cases of COVID being contracted in our classes, clubs, or activities, despite logging more than 20,000 face-to-face, in-person hours over nine months. Throughout the year, Compass families acted carefully and erred on the side caution in their attendance and participation in classes through conscientious decisions such as keeping children at home at the slightest sign of sniffles or sore throats and voluntarily skipping a week of classes if they had knowingly traveled to an area with high rate of infection. Families’ care demonstrated that they were diligent about wanting to keep Compass open and safe. We ask that the same prudence be used as we begin the 2021-22 school year. Following is Compass’s 2021-22 COVID Plan which consists of our 5 P’s: Program, Protocols, Precautions, and Personal Protection. This plan is a dynamic document that will be updated as new information and studies become available.
- Class SizeThe maximum size of most classes is 10-12 students with some classes that will have just 6-8 students. (The average Compass class enrollment has been 9 since the program’s inception in 2012.)
- Dedicated SpaceCompass’s facilities are in a commercial building, under a full-time lease. The facilities have complete oversight and management by Compass, including Compass-directed cleaning. This allows us to have more control over sanitation measures and to prevent additional, unknown people and outside groups from passing through our space.
- Building CirculationCompass’s facilities are based on an open concept plan with perimeter classrooms and large, open common spaces instead of hallways. This prevents bottlenecks and crowding that comes with narrow passageways. Students have ample space to gather near their classrooms without crowding exiting students.
- Fewer Classes, Five Days Per WeekFewer classes at any one time, limited class size, classrooms located in two suites, and classes spread out over 5 days means that Compass has smaller student cohorts and overall smaller gatherings than we have had in the past. In the era of COVID, the less-populous and spread-out attendance will naturally limit large group congregation which is one strategy and preventing virus transmission.
- Limited Parent/Guest Waiting Areas Compass has some Commons spaces for waiting parents and siblings. When those spaces are full, waiting parents and siblings will be encouraged to explore the many nearby restaurants, shops, parks, library, rec center, and playgrounds. Priority use of the Commons is given to the parents of 5-7 year-olds who must remain on the property. Compass may have to establish a one-person waiting per student rule. As much as we like to visit with the families of our students, we may have manage the number of waiting parents, siblings, and guests in the facility.
- Room AssignmentsFinal classroom assignments will be adjusted before the start of classes based on final enrollment to allow the most space per student.
- Online ClassesFor Fall 2021, Compass is offering 7 online classes which will be taught in a synchronous (live), virtual classroom. Compass classes have always been hands-on, interactive, engaging, and experiential, and classes for K-8 in particular, are designed to be face-to-face. In the event of a community mandate to close, some of our interactive classes would be able to transition to a temporary online format, and some would not. In that unlikely event, Compass, in conjunction with instructors, would decide class-by-class whether to move online for a period of time, to delay the start or continuation of the class, or cancel the class in its entirety. If a class is held in-person, Compass will not offer a concurrent, online option for that class. (i.e., Compass will not offer an option for live streaming, videotaping, or recording a class that is being held in person.)
- HVAC UpgradesDuring the summer of 2021, both of Compass’s suites underwent significant upgrades to the HVAC systems, including upsizing service and air circulation to all spaces and increasing the amount of outside air that is cycled throughout the building.
- Supplemental HEPA Air Filtration/SanitizingTo supplement the professionally maintained commercial HVAC system, all classrooms and commons areas are served by separate, plug-in HEPA air filters/ UV-C combo units to further filter, circulate, and sanitize the air. HEPA air filters are placed to serve every 300 SF, so larger spaces have more than one. Filters are replaced on a regular basis.
- Cleaning/SanitizingClassrooms: Each teacher is provided disinfectant wipes and is asked to wipe table tops with before and between each class, before the next group of students has entered. Common Area Surfaces: Compass staff wipes restroom vanities and tabletops in Common Areas throughout the day with disinfectant wipes. Washable Surfaces: Most of Compass’s classrooms and commons are finished with resilient tile flooring which can be cleaned and sanitized more deeply than carpeted floors. The limited amount of carpet is shampooed on a regular basis. Furniture surfaces have been selected to be wipeable instead of upholstered. Janitorial Services: Compass has professional, paid, daily janitorial services.
- Sick PolicyThe Compass sick policy states, “Students, siblings, or parents/guardians should not come to Compass classes, activities, or events if they have had any signs of contagious or communicable illness such as a vomiting, diarrhea, fever, persistent cough, sore throat or runny nose within the last 48 hours. A student who becomes ill in class or has a persistent cough will be asked to leave class, put on a disposable face mask (supplied by Compass), and be picked up.”
- Parking Lot Sign-In/Daily Screening Parents of students ages 8+ can elect to drop their children off in the designated drop-off zone and check their child(ren) in via their phone. This eliminates the need for parents to park, walk in, and sign in, only to leave again (reducing the number of extra people coming/going). Compass’s student check-in system includes some simple daily screening questions about COVID exposure, fevers, coughs, diarrhea, etc.
- COVID ExposureStudents, siblings, parents/guardians, or instructors who have been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 are asked to self-isolate and not return to Compass for two weeks. Any student, family member, instructor, staff member, or guest who tests positive for COVID-19, with or without symptoms, are asked to advise Compass so others in classes can be notified of a potential exposure.
- TravelCompass families, teachers, or staff who have travelled to an area with high rate of COVID infection, participated in a large group event (concert, rally, etc.), or attended a gathering with many individuals whose vaccination status is unknown, are asked to voluntarily “skip a week” to make sure that they were not inadvertently exposed to COVID.
- Parental RemindersParents will be our partners in ensuring that children are reminded about refraining from touching, hugging, sharing snacks/drinks, and respecting personal space/boundaries with other students while at Compass. In addition, parents are expected to remind students about thorough hand-washing, the correct way to cover coughs/sneezes, and not to touch their mouths and faces.
- Face Masks
Since the majority of children at Compass are under age 12 and cannot yet receive the COVID-19 vaccine, Compass will require that all unvaccinated individuals (students, siblings, parents/guardians, visitors, teachers, staff) wear masks until they have achieved immunity through completion of their vaccines. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their child(ren)’s masks are properly fitted, clean, dry, have appropriate air flow, and that children can put their masks on and take off on their own, know to wash their hands before touching/adjusting their masks, and can participate in class without playing with or adjusting their masks.
Compass acknowledges Virginia’s amended Executive Order 72 (rev 7) and permits those adults and teens who are fully vaccinated to choose whether or not they wear a mask indoors at Compass.
Even when mask recommendations are eased for various groups and different activities, Compass will continue to be a supportive and inclusive environment for anyone who wishes to continue wearing face coverings. (May 18, 2021)
1. Individual teachers who have underlying health issues or comorbidities, despite having been vaccinated, may require all students in their classes (ages 12+) to wear masks. Employment rules protect teachers from having to disclose their medical information, so if a teacher notifies families that masks are required in his/her class, all students will be required to wear masks, regardless of the students’ vaccination status.
2. Cooking/Baking Classes: Because of the nature of collaborative cooking/baking and sampling of the day’s recipes, all students in cooking/baking classes will be required to wear masks, regardless of the students’ vaccination status, in addition to all other sanitation and hygiene measures specified for these classes.
3. Under Age 3: Children under the age 3 are not required to wear masks if they are not able to tolerate them.
4. Eating/Drinking: Individuals may remove their masks if they are eating/drinking in the Commons areas.
5. Nature Quest Classes: Masks are not required in the outdoor Nature Quest classes, but students are welcome to wear masks if their families prefer.
6. Physical Fitness Classes: Individual instructors of fitness-based classes (Krav Maga, FUNctional Fitness, or Fencing) can permit students to remove masks during vigorous exercise if the instructor has notified parents and parents have given permission for their individual child to un-mask. Students in these classes should still bring masks to class for the instructional and non-vigorous portions of class.
7. ASL Classes: Students who must wear masks in the American Sign Language classes (due to teacher’s preference, vaccination status, or family’s preference) are asked to purchase a mask with clear insert panel that are sold (on Amazon, for example) for communicating with the Deaf and hard of hearing.
8. Medical Exemption: Individuals who have medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask are exempt, and health privacy laws protect these individuals from having to disclose their medical condition.
1. Some people might ask why Compass does not fall under the definition of a school as it relates to wearing masks. From a zoning standpoint, Compass is defined as a learning center. Under Virginia’s Executive order 72, Rev. 7, Compass is considered an “Instructional Setting” (section 2.b.i.A). The important distinction is that most schools have compulsory attendance requirements, five days per week, for full days with much larger class sizes, resulting in much longer and greater exposure to others. Compass’s model as a drop-in learning center means families can chose the amount of small group, in-person time they are comfortable with and build in as many breaks as they need.
2. Compass’s COVID policies, including requirements for masks, may be amended with little to no notice if state law changes or further mandates are placed on businesses/learning centers.
3. Compass’s COVID policies, including requirements for masks, will be changed when vaccines for youth under the age of 12 are widely available giving parents a full range of choices in how they protect their families.
- Hand Washing Students will be asked to wash or sanitize their hands immediately upon entering a classroom. Before taking a seat or touching supplies, students will be expected to wash their hands with soap and water (in rooms with sinks) or with alcohol-based hand sanitizer (in rooms without sinks).
- RestroomsCompass has self-contained restrooms that are not shared with any other building tenants. The number of plumbing fixtures exceeds code requirements, and the additional sinks facilitate additional hand-washing. Restroom doors have foot will pedals to allow people to open and exit restrooms from within without using the door handles.
- GlovesThe use of disposable gloves is strongly discouraged among students, siblings, parents/guardians, or teachers except when required for a particular science experiment or art project. Frequent and thorough hand-washing or use of hand sanitizer is encouraged over disposable gloves which can provide a false sense of security to wearers.
- Sanitary Supplies Stand-mounted hand sanitizer dispensers are located near the entrances and Commons areas. Tissues will be provided in each classroom to cover coughs and sneezes.
- Temperature ScansTemperature scans are not routinely performed or required for daily entry. However, any Compass student, sibling, parent/guardian, teacher, or visitor can request to have their temperature taken with a no-touch temporal thermometer at the front desk as an added precaution. Any individual with a fever will be asked to leave or be picked up promptly, however, Compass takes no responsibility for interpreting the results of these measurements or making medical recommendations.