Dear Bullis Families,
While I had not planned to write to you until the New Year, I also need to update you regarding how the pandemic continues to impact our community and our continuing efforts to educate our students safely and support the community.
COVID Spread in the Community and the Cancellation of Athletic Activities for the Duration of the Winter Break
Since I last wrote on 12/17, an additional 3 faculty and 10 students tested positive through on-campus testing on 12/22 (this testing was primarily directed to faculty and winter athletes) and an additional 5 faculty members and 21 students have informed us that they have tested positive. In addition to these cases, we have been informed of other family members outside the immediate community of faculty and students who have tested positive in the past week. Not surprising for a community with an overall vaccination rate of 94%, the cases we are seeing are generally breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated individuals.
In light of these additional COVID cases, we are suspending all additional athletic activities (practices and games) for the duration of the break.
COVID Testing on 12/27/21 Open to Extended Bullis Family Members with Advance Registration
As you know, our regular COVID tests are paid by state funds and are restricted to Bullis students and employees. At the same time, we recognize that testing systems across the region are currently strained. We are partnering with Capital Diagnostics (CapitalDx) to offer outside testing of the larger Bullis community (students, faculty, and the family of students and faculty) on Monday 12/27/21, provided family members are appropriately registered as described below and they accept the financial obligation for the testing and provide health insurance information for billing purposes. If you are interested or think you will be interested, please register now as this will enable CapitalDx to print labels for this group and judge staffing appropriately. No additional registration is required for students and faculty.
Testing is scheduled on 12/27/21 from 12-3 pm in the Blair Lobby.
This is a one-time initiative. We are not generally able to provide testing for family members and will not be able to test family members during the scheduled testing after the holidays when we will begin testing all students and employees twice a week. If you are interested in information on other testing sites, please visit: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/testing.html.
For family members of Bullis students and employees to participate in Bullis’ COVID testing on Monday, 12/27/21, they must register with CapitalDx today at the following link: https://capitaldx-patient.limsabc.comm/#/ using the site code: BULLISFAM. Each individual you would like tested needs to be registered separately. The registration should provide that individual's insurance information and the email address where their results should be sent. (Please note: Positive test results will be shared with the Montgomery County health department and the Bullis administrators that assist the County contact-tracing teams.)
If you learn you were exposed to COVID, the CDC recommends a test on day 5, 6, or 7 after exposure (date of exposure is Day 0) as approximately half of cases will start presenting by this time. Testing before this time in the absence of COVID symptoms will likely simply give a false sense of security. Even after a negative COVID test, you should be carefully monitoring for COVID symptoms for a full 14-day period after the date of exposure as it can take up to 14 days for the disease to develop. If you develop COVID symptoms, you should self-isolate and retest.
Returning to School After Break
As described earlier, the schedule for returning from the break is as follows:
- Monday, January 3rd: No School. Faculty professional development day will be carried out remotely as no one will have been tested on campus yet.
- Tuesday, January 4th: No School. Every faculty member and student that has not tested positive for COVID within the past three months* must be tested at school. Testing will be available from 8:15 am to 2:45 pm in the Blair Lobby.
- Wednesday, January 5th: No School. (Results from testing arrive throughout the day.)
- Thursday, January 6th: School resumes for those with negative test results, and all faculty and students will be tested in school again.
- Going forward, we will PCR-test everyone twice a week - on Mondays and Thursdays. This will allow us to ensure, as much as possible, that people who are infected are not on campus.
*As individuals that have contracted COVID can continue to shed viral particles even after they are no longer infectious, anyone testing positive for COVID should inform the School Nurse so that we can document the case and enforce in-school testing appropriately going forward.
Happy holidays to all, and I look forward to seeing you in 2022.
Christian G. Sullivan
Head of School