New school year brings new Covid rules

All Dana Hall students and staff are back on campus for the 2021-22 school year. While weekly Covid testing and the completion of daily reach forms are no longer required by Dana Hall, the administration continues to enforce mask wearing indoors and proper hand hygiene protocols to protect the community from the transmission of COVID 19. Masks are no longer required while outside, or while eating or drinking at a table in the Dining Hall.

Director of Health Services Pia Manna has been working closely with the administrative team to create and implement Covid-19 protocols for the community to follow at school. Ms. Manna stated the biggest change from last year is the vaccine, adding that, “our campaigning for all boarding students to get vaccinated has been well received.”

Due to the high percentage of vaccinated students and staff, as well as current public health trends, weekly surveillance Covid-19 testing is no longer necessary. Community members who show Covid-19 symptoms or who are unvaccinated, as well as those who are defined as a close contact of someone who has tested positive for the virus, will still be provided with Covid-19 testing at Dana Hall. Moreover, if an individual student feels they need to be tested, Dana Hall is able to administer a test.

Rayray Afif ‘24 said, “I think Dana has done a great job creating and enforcing protocols to keep all the students and faculty safe.” Among other things, people are pleased with the more relaxed social distancing rules this year. Sophia Langlois ‘24 said, “I am really excited about not having to follow the 6-foot rule anymore.”

When asked about the end of the pandemic, Ms. Manna said, “I have no guess as to when life will return to normal, because at the beginning of this thing it was supposed to be two weeks. The vaccine was a big step forward in ending this pandemic, but it is only progress as long as people continue to do their part in keeping the community safe in and out of school.” Sophia said the teachers are really good about reminding them of the rules and keeping the school safe for everyone.

However, according to several students, people aren’t continuing to follow safe practices off campus and haven’t been wearing masks outside of school to the extent the school thinks. One student said, “people are coming to school sick without going to get tested.”

Ms. Manna added that, while the school is not currently administering weekly testing, that does not mean that it will not be brought back if necessary. 

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