Carnegie Mellon University

CMU Children's School
Health & Safety Protocols for Fall 2022

The Children’s School is open on campus at full capacity for the 2022-2023 school year, with undergraduate course observations and research back to in person activities.

Based on the lessons we learned during last year’s in-person programming, the scientific evidence about risk mitigation strategies, the availability of vaccines for all enrolled children, and the new CDC guidance, we have streamlined our protocols for the fall 2022 semester.

Please note that these plans will evolve in response to the changing pandemic situation and additional guidance from CDC, PA, and CMU leaders.

Our success last year resulted from everyone’s diligence in developing and following risk mitigation protocols so that each of us is “all in for each other”. We look forward to a similarly positive and productive collaboration among our educators, families, children, and the whole Carnegie Mellon community for the coming year.

All adults at the Children’s Schoolare fully vaccinated. We strongly recommend, but do not require, vaccination for children.

All families must complete a health assessment prior to coming to school each morning and only bring the child to school if all the health conditions are met. The morning assessment will be run through the FACTS digital student information system that we have adopted to handle our application, enrollment, tuition payments, scholarships, and much of our broad communication.

During the first month of school, everyone will wear masks while indoors, except during meals/getting drinks. Masks will not be required while outdoors. Families will provide the children’s facial coverings, at least 3 per day, and they will take them home for washing at the end of each day. The school will stock extra facial coverings in the event a family forgets to bring one.

After the first month, mask policies will be based on the level of COVID-19 transmission in Allegheny County, with masks required in high transmission, recommended during medium transmission, and optional during low transmission. After a COVID-19 exposure, masks are required for 10 days for everyone that was a close contact.

Because hand washing is the #1 preventive measure to avoid the spread of common diseases, we always explicitly teach, scaffold, and monitor hand-washing procedures that involve the use of liquid soap and running water, with vigorous and thorough rubbing for at least 20 seconds (the length of the alphabet song, sung twice), followed by paper towel drying. Our pandemic protocols involve additional handwashing before and after water play, sand play, and other sensory play.

Because health guidelines prohibit our serving food in communal ways, each child will need to bring a snack, a lunch, and a full water bottle to school, though water bottles can be refilled from our water coolers as needed. We will allow taste testing as part of lessons, with adults responsible for preparing and serving the food, and use of all recommended food safety guidelines.

Educators will continue to use the enhanced cleaning procedures for classroom materials and high-touch surfaces throughout the day. CMU will continue their usual overnight cleaning of bathrooms, sinks, floors, etc. throughout the school, as well as providing midday cleaning service for bathrooms, high touch areas, etc.

To enhance indoor ventilation, CMU installed screens on all of the Children’s School windows that open, as well as on the Kindergarten door to the Reflection Garden. We keep these windows open as much as possible. Carnegie Mellon also installed enhanced technology on the old HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system for the Children’s School spaces to improve indoor environmental quality. This bipolar needlepoint ionization system further improves the filtration and has been proven to deactivate the virus. With this enhancement on the HVAC system serving the Children’s School, the windows can be closed in extreme cold weather. CMU also provided the school with room air purifiers (one per 360 square feet of space) to reduce the risk of airborne coronavirus transmission.

Parent visits to the school will continue to be limited and scheduled. Each child may visit the classroom with one or more adult family members at a scheduled time prior to the beginning of school. During the school year, educators will offer opportunities for school visits to celebrate birthdays, attend parent-teacher conferences, etc., but we will wait to determine whether we can host large group events in person.

In the event of a confirmed diagnosis of a COVID-19 case at school, the affected individual must isolate for a period of 7 days and then wear a mask for 3 additional days. The close contacts in the class will not need to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status, so in person learning will continue as planned. All close contacts will, however, be required to wear facial coverings indoors, except while eating,for a period of 10 days, regardless of the county level of Coronavirus transmission. Testing is recommended if any symptoms emerge or on day 5, 6, or 7 for asymptomatic individuals.