Shady Side Academy's COVID-19 response is informed by local, state and national public health guidance and data. The health and safety of our students, employees and their families are our highest priorities.
- Symptoms & Screening
- COVID-19 Case Protocols
- Ventilation & Hygiene
- Lower School Lunches & Assemblies
- Parents & Visitors
- Remote Learning
- COVID-19 Health & Safety Team
- SSA strongly encourages all eligible community members to get vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 as soon as they are eligible. However, the vaccine is not required for enrollment or employment.
- Parents should upload their child's most recent COVID-19 vaccination card to Magnus Health by Aug. 1, 2022, and re-upload an updated card whenever the child’s vaccination status changes, by following the instructions below:
- Log in to the Veracross Parent Portal and click the gold Magnus Health button.
- On the Magnus Health Front Desk, click the link for the child's Student Health Tracker.
- Scroll to the question "Is your child fully vaccinated for COVID-19 (2 weeks past the final dose)?” New families should click Yes and follow prompts to upload an image of the child's card. Returning families should click Edit, then Clear Answer to delete the previous card uploaded last year, then click Yes and follow prompts to upload the latest card.
- Allegheny County Vaccine Provider Map
- At this time, masks are optional for students, employees and visitors on all Shady Side Academy campuses and SSA-operated buses and vans. Please note that public school district buses follow the masking policy of their district and not of SSA. However, SSA mask policies may change in response to public health guidance and/or data.
- Community members who test positive for COVID-19 or are identified as a close contact must follow masking guidelines listed in the Case Protocols section below.
- Well-fitting surgical, KN95 or N95 masks are recommended over cloth masks to provide maximum protection for both the wearer and those around them.
- Students and employees should self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms daily.
- Individuals with a temperature of 99.5 F or above or at least two of the following symptoms – chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea – should stay home from school and follow up with the school nurse and their physician, regardless of vaccination status.
- If your child becomes sick or symptomatic at school, please pick them up within an hour of notification. Boarders must be picked up by their local host/guardian within 24 hours of notification.
- Students or employees with a fever or two or more symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status, should stay home, contact the school nurse, and follow up with a physician to determine if they should be tested for COVID-19.
- If a test is not recommended, the student or employee may return to school when fever-free for 24 hours (below 99.5 F without fever-reducing medication) and symptoms have improved.
- If a test is recommended and the student or employee is symptomatic with two or more symptoms, a physician assessment or a negative test is required for return to school.
- If a household member is awaiting COVID-19 test results, unvaccinated students and employees should stay home until the test result is received.
- Positive COVID-19 cases must be reported immediately to the school nurse, who will provide guidance to the family and report the case to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD).
- Students or employees testing positive must stay home and isolate for at least 5 days. If after 5 days you are asymptomatic or your symptoms are resolving (including 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications), you may return to school on day 6, but must continue wearing a mask around others for 5 additional days.
- Employees should contact HR Director Kathy Stanton regarding protocols for logging COVID-related days off in Paycom.
A close contact is someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 consecutive minutes or more, starting 2 days before symptom onset, or for asymptomatic cases, 2 days before they were tested. Exception: In the PK-12 indoor classroom setting, the close contact definition excludes students within 3 to 6 feet of an infected student where both students were engaged in consistent and correct use of well-fitting masks and other prevention strategies were in place. This exception does not apply to adults.
School nurses will not notify close contacts of positive cases in grades K-12; instead, nurses will encourage those testing positive to reach out to close contacts directly to notify them. Two exceptions:
- For positive cases in pre-kindergarten, the nurse and teachers will assist families in identifying and notifying close contacts due to the young age of the students.
- For positive cases in the boarding community, the nurse will notify any boarding students who are close contacts.
- If You Are Identified as a Close Contact:
- If you are unvaccinated, or age 18 and up and haven't yet received a booster shot, you should quarantine for at least 5 days (day 0 through day 5) from the date of your last close contact.
- You do not need to quarantine if you are in one of the following groups:
- Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days after your last close contact.
- Get tested at least 5 days after your last close contact, unless you had confirmed COVID-19 in the last 90 days and recovered. If you live with someone with COVID-19, get tested right away and again 5 days after the person has completed their isolation.
- Watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 10 days after your last close contact. If you develop symptoms, isolate and get tested.
- Families do not need to notify anyone other than the school nurse that an absence is COVID-related.
- SSA will post weekly case reports on the COVID-19 web page, listing the number of positive student and employee cases reported on each campus in the previous week. The report will only include individuals who were on campus beginning two days before symptom onset or the positive test.
- If there are multiple cases in a class or grade, SSA will email parents in the class/grade to recommend increased vigilance for symptoms.
- School buildings utilize HVAC maximum outdoor air intake and airflow settings, as well as open windows and/or fans to maximize fresh air flow.
- HVAC systems utilize high-efficiency MERV filters, changed quarterly, to reduce particles in the air.
- Good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette is taught and reinforced with students.
- Touchless hand sanitizers are located in classrooms and common areas.
- At CDS & JS, grades 1-5 will resume eating lunch in the cafeteria, while lunches will be delivered to PK-K classrooms. Choosi will no longer be used to order lunches in advance.
- CDS & JS assemblies may be held in person or virtually, depending on COVID-19 community level and case data. In-person assemblies will be held outside as weather permits.
- Local Host: Every boarding student must identify a local host, within a four-hour driving distance of campus and in the United States, who can pick them up within 24 hours if they become ill, or in the event the dormitories must close. If a student is unable to stay with a local host or go home, SSA will partner with WholeRen Group to arrange for a local host to stay with the student at a hotel at the family’s expense.
- Dorm Access: Only dorm residents, residential life faculty and authorized personnel are allowed access to the dorms. Day students and boarders who do not live in the building do not have access. Parents and family members may visit, but should not be in rooms or common spaces for long periods of time.
- Masks: The masking policy inside the dorms will be determined by the most up-to-date COVID-19 health guidelines. All boarders should bring several masks to school.
- Illness: Boarders feeling ill should visit the Health Center, where the school nurse will determine if a COVID test is necessary and if so, administer a rapid test and/or coordinate with Residence Life staff to obtain a PCR test off campus. Boarders requiring isolation due to illness will stay in the Health Center until cleared to return to the dorm or, if necessary, picked up by their local host or a family member.
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining hall with grab-and-go options available. Weekly community dinner is held most Mondays.
- Individual remote learning solutions will be offered on a case-by-case basis only for students with long-term, health-related absences documented by a physician. These solutions may be synchronous or asynchronous based on individual circumstances. Requests for remote learning must be made to the school head’s office; do not contact teachers directly. The school head’s office will coordinate with the child’s teachers to determine the appropriate solution given the grade level, classwork and timeframe.
- On occasion, entire classes or campuses may shift to remote learning due to rising COVID-19 case counts, an extended weather event, or a campus or local emergency such as a water main break.
Shady Side Academy's COVID-19 response is guided by the thoughtful work of the COVID-19 Health and Safety Team, a task force composed of administrators across all four campuses.
- Bart Griffith Jr. ‘93, President
- Dr. Jennifer Asmonga, Head of Lower Schools
- Dr. Armani Davis, Chief Talent Recruitment & Development Officer
- Paul Francioni, Director of Facilities
- Lillian Grate, Chief Equity, Inclusion & Community Relations Officer
- Chad Green, Dean of Student Life, Senior School
- Melanie Haynes, Director of Nursing
- Dek Ingraham, Executive Director of the Hillman Center and Senior School Performing Arts Chair
- Jody Kokladas, Innovative Teaching & Learning Facilitator
- Debi Mauder, Director of Administration & Planning
- Bayh Sullivan, Chief Enrollment Officer
- Amy Nixon, Head of Middle School
- Jim Reeder, Director of Campus Safety and Security
- Jim Rohr Jr. '92, Chief Financial & Operations Officer
- Jen Roupe, Chief Communications Officer
- Trixie Sabundayo, Head of Senior School
- Dr. Ali Saras, Chief Development Officer
- Sean Simmons, Director of Athletics
- Kathy Stanton, Director of Human Resources
- Diana Toole, Chief Marketing Officer
- Nate Verbanets, Director of Auxiliary Programs
- Tim Winner, Director of Educational Technology