Head of School, Christian Sullivan, updates the Bullis community on COVID testing results, protocols, and September on campus.
Safety Protocols 2021-22
Updated On August 18, 2021
Our Commitment to Safety
Bullis is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students and faculty. We are adhering to CDC guidelines, State and County recommendations, and consulting with our own panel of medical and legal experts. Multiple preventive measures are in place on campus, and student, faculty, and all campus visitors will be expected to follow safe practices at all times.
- The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, and community is our utmost priority.
- Bullis has demonstrated this duty of care and safeguarding of our students and staff for decades and always will.
- We are committed to keeping our community safe and educate our students in a manner that is as close to our regular Bullis experience as possible.
- First day of school: Wednesday, September 1, 2021
- School will be five days per week with a normal schedule.
- The mode of education offered will be in-person and on campus.
- Remote education will be offered to individuals in exceptional circumstances only. Last year, our remote learning program was second to none and we will continue to provide a world-class education to those students who will be remote.
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Prior to the opening of school, we will require that all parents, students, and faculty read, sign, and honor the Bullis Community Wellness Pledge, which is accessible on Magnus. This commitment to safe health practices will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community and protect the well-being of all.
- All students and faculty will be required to monitor their health and stay home when they are sick.
- All unvaccinated individuals will be required to use the Magnus App to track relevant health data by completing the daily health screening each weekday.
- Vaccinated individuals will not need to complete this daily screening in the Magnus App.
Under the MD K-12 screening program administered by the Department of Health and State Department of Education, we have partnered with Capital Diagnostics to provide free COVID-19 testing on campus for all Bullis students and faculty.
- Test results will be emailed within 48 to 72 hours. If you have not received your child's test results within that time, please contact Capital Diagnostics directly at (301) 498-0340 to make sure that the email address they have on file for you is correct.
- Problems registering at Capital Diagnostics? Please call (301) 498-0340
Before School Starts
- On Monday, August 30, all students and faculty will be tested for COVID-19.
- Anyone not testing on campus on the 30th will need to present a negative result from a PCR test taken within the 72 hours prior to the start of school.
- All students and faculty are required to receive a negative test result before the start of school.
- We have arranged COVID-19 testing every week at school for all students and faculty.
- Students will be tested on separate days by their team assignments (days are subject to change).
- Blue Team and Lower School students will test on Mondays.
- The Gold Team will test on Thursdays.
- If students or faculty are unable to attend regular testing days scheduled on the Bullis campus, they will be required to test on the other on campus testing day that same week or make arrangements for an individual COVID-19 PCR test off-site.
As well as obviously keeping our community safe, we are highly motivated to help our students and employees avoid unnecessary quarantining or isolation, hence the protocols we are putting in place. For your information, below are the updated guidelines that we are subject to by Montgomery County Health Department.
Isolation is the separation of people with COVID-19 from others. People in isolation need to stay home and separate themselves from others as much as possible. Sharing food, utensils, bathroom facilities and sleeping quarters, as well as contact with pets, should be avoided.
- Individuals that test positive for COVID-19 will need to isolate for at least 10 days from the earlier of the start of their symptoms or the date of their positive test.
- Under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), Bullis is required to report positive COVID tests in our community and we work with the Montgomery County Health Department to identify "close contacts" of positive COVID-19 cases that may have occurred within our community and determine next steps.
- A "close contact" is someone that has been within six feet of an infectious person for a cumulative 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period unmasked OR someone that has been within three feet of an infectious person for a cumulative 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period when both are properly masked.
Quarantine is for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 because they were in close contact with someone with COVID-19. These people may or may not get sick. People in quarantine should stay home as much as possible per the guidelines below, limit their contact with other people, and monitor themselves closely for symptoms of COVID-19.
- No quarantine if the exposed individual is vaccinated, but they are required to monitor for symptoms for a period of 14 days and quarantine/test if they become symptomatic.
- Quarantined individuals may exit quarantine on the 8th day after the last date of last exposure if they can produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 5-7 days after the last date of exposure. They are still required to monitor for symptoms for an additional six (6) days and to quarantine/retest if they become symptomatic.
There is a renewed mask mandate in Montgomery County. At Bullis,
- Masks must be worn by everyone, vaccinated or otherwise, when indoors and on campus.
- Masks must be worn properly, covering the mouth and nose at all times, and faculty and staff members will be on hand to monitor and remind students and others to wear masks correctly.
- Masks do not need to be worn outside, but students and faculty should maintain physical distancing of at least three feet when unmasked outside and preferably more.
We will reevaluate the mask protocol regularly and will refine it as soon as it's safe to do so.
- We will require all to remain three feet apart. This distance has been reduced per the CDC.
- Indoor and outdoor furniture is being arranged to support physical distancing of at least three feet between individuals, and barriers have been installed as appropriate when distancing cannot be maintained.
- Teachers and staff will be visible during passing time to help oversee the physical distancing during changes in classes.
Bullis currently requires all students to be vaccinated against:
- DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, Rubella)
- Hepatitis B
- Varicella (Chickenpox) grades K-7 and x1 for grades 7-12
- Tdap booster between age 11-13
- Meningococcal (MCV4) between age 11-13
COVID-19 Vaccination FDA Approval
When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) fully approves a COVID-19 vaccination, it will be required for all Bullis employees and eligible students.
- Currently available vaccines are approved only on an emergency basis.
- The estimate from the CDC and the FDA is that the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine will be fully approved for those 12 years old and above around Labor Day. That timeline is uncertain.
- There is no current vaccine approval for those younger than 12, and even when one is approved on an emergency basis, full approval is likely to be months after that.
- Both the CDC and the AAP strongly recommend that all eligible persons receive a vaccination for COVID-19. Vaccination is a prime tool for keeping our entire community safe.
A majority of current employees and Upper School students are already vaccinated. We urge every eligible individual (student and employee) who is not currently vaccinated to receive a vaccination as soon as possible.
*Once full authorization of a vaccine is confirmed by the FDA, all eligible individuals will be required to have their first vaccination shot two weeks after the authorization announcement, and their second shot at the indicated time after that.
Please help us by checking that you have uploaded/completed the following in the Magnus app:
- Vaccination Card: Everyone should provide notification of their vaccination by uploading their vaccination card and any health forms into the Magnus App
- Signed Bullis Wellness Pledge
- Signed Consent to Test and Treat forms
We intend to run a full athletic and physical education program.
- Masks will be required inside, but as much as possible, all activities will take place outside.
- Students are permitted to engage in their outside-school teams and activities.
We intend to run as full a program as possible.
- When singing inside, masks will be required, and students will be physically distanced by 6 feet.
- Wind instruments will be equipped with purpose-made covers that act as masks.
- In studio art (and other activities) students will be permitted to share equipment and resources.
- Cleanliness and hygiene will continue to be emphasized but increasing evidence has shown that most transmission of COVID-19 is through aerosols, not touch; it is important that we concentrate on the protocols that make a difference and not waste effort on those that have limited effectiveness, if any.
Last year, we asked our families to follow local and national guidelines and directives with regard to travel, but we chose not to mandate personal outside behavior as a requirement for students’ attendance. Again, we ask families to use common sense and follow public health guidelines and directives, but there is no specific Bullis requirement about travel.
- What happens in the case of positive COVID-19 test result in the Bullis community?
- If my child has been in contact with someone who is COVID positive, will I be contacted?
- What if my child develops symptoms during school?
- Will class sizes allow for physical distancing?
- Does Bullis provide campus sanitation specifically for COVID-19?
- Is handwashing and using hand sanitizer still important?
- What is the ventilation system like at Bullis?
- Will Bullis continue to use outdoor spaces as classrooms?
- Are visitors allowed on campus?
- Will the 1930 Grille/Cafe be open?
The Head of School, Christian Sullivan will provide regular updates throughout the year. As we monitor the local and regional situation and adhere to regulatory guidelines and directives in the coming weeks, we will continue to refine our safety protocols. The progression of the pandemic is uncertain, and we must remain nimble and flexible in considering how best to educate and keep our students safe in the coming year.