March 7, 2020
Dear Families, 

As the news and information about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our region is
quickly evolving, and our school’s dedicated response team continues to monitor the situation closely. As of Thursday, March 5, while there have been 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County, the Maryland Department of Health current guidance is for all schools and programs to continue as usual. Should this guidance change, we will adapt our operations and communicate the changes as quickly as possible. Our priority, as always, is the health and safety of our students and staff.

Today, I am writing to update you on our prevention and preparedness plans:

  1. Cleanliness: We have increased cleaning in high traffic and eating areas, with a focus on cleaning frequently touched surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, countertops, etc.). 
  2. Hygiene: Our teachers have adapted their daily classroom routines to allow additional time for hand-washing at several points in the school day. Where it seems practical and helpful, we are also encouraging students to use hand sanitizer prior to or after some group activities. 
  3. Academic Technology: The Proviseur is coordinating with our academic leadership and information technology teams to rapidly prepare the implementation of student remote/distance learning.
  4. Resources: School messages, including our previous messages about this health situation, as well as other resources about COVID-19 are available via the school’s website. This informational page is being updated regularly.

Our objective is to ensure that our students maintain their academic progress and continue to advance in their studies in case of the temporary closing of our school buildings. Our academic leadership and teachers are working on differentiated learning plans based on student grades and subjects being studied. Teachers are writing plans using online learning apps, Google classroom, and additional materials that could be sent home. There are also resources being shared with us from our French pedagogical partners. 

In any distance-learning scenario, parents and caregivers will be important partners. It will be important that students have a quiet learning space and are encouraged as they adapt to this different style of learning. We will provide additional resources and support at a later time, if necessary.

I want to also call to your attention several procedures in place in order to help keep our community members healthy:

  1. Illness: Please stay home when sick and don’t return to school or work for at least 24 hours of being fever-free without the use of medication. Students will be sent home who are ill. Please use this attendance form to report your child’s absence. (Information received is confidential.)
  2. Self-isolation: As announced in our previous messages, we ask students who have visited high risk areas (Level 3 or 4 regions as defined by the CDC and/or guidance from the AEFE) to return to school only after a 14-day period has elapsed following their return to the US. As of March 7, 2020, the list of regions is as follows: China, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, Iran, and the regions of France of l’Oise, la Balme Haute Savoie, Morbihan. This policy will also be applied to visitors to our school’s campuses, for example visiting students, parents, and guest speakers.
  3. Reporting COVID-19 illness: If you are keeping your student out of school for any reason related to COVID-19, please contact one of our nurses for a confidential discussion. We have designated Leslie Timperman, RN (Forest Campus) at (301) 798-4606 / timpermanl@rochambeau.org, Capucine Bouye, RN (RWD and Bradley campuses) at (301) 798-7123 / bouyec@rochambeau.org, and Ike Relacion, Human Resources Manager at (301) 798-4802 / relacioni@rochambeau.org as liaisons for parents and employees that wish to voluntarily share information about potential exposure to COVID-19 and/or to seek guidance on where to turn for care in this evolving situation.
  4. Recovery from COVID-19 illness: Any student who has had symptoms related to COVID-19 (fever, cough, and shortness of breath) needs to be symptom-free for 24-hours and have a doctor’s note before returning to school. Our school support teams along with Health Services are monitoring attendance closely and working with families that have concerns related to COVID-19. 

In making decisions about school event cancellations, our risk management team is considering
multiple factors including the recommendations of public health officials and the smooth running of the school.
 
I thank you for your attention to this message, your understanding and cooperation. We will continue to provide regular updates as we continue to closely monitor the situation and encourage checking the Rochambeau’s coronavirus webpage for information. 
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