COVID-19 Health & Safety Protocols

CFA Health and Safety Procedures in Response to COVID-19

The procedures have been revised on September 5, 2022, and are subject to further revision and changes.


COVID-19 is mostly spread by respiratory droplets released when people talk, cough, or sneeze. The virus may spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose or mouth, causing infection. That's why personal prevention practices (such as handwashing and staying home when sick) are important practices covered in this Health and Safety Manual.

Any scenario in which many people gather together poses a risk for COVID-19 transmission. While children generally experience mild symptoms with COVID-19, and, to date, have not been found to contribute substantially to the spread of the virus, transmission from even those with mild or no apparent symptoms remains a risk.

Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms of COVID-19 may include but are not limited to:

  • Fever or chills- fever is defined as temperature of 100.4 or higher

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Congestion or runny nose

  • Coughing

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Sore throat

  • Headache

  • nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Relying upon guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), and the New Hanover County Health Department, we have developed the following policies in order to take measures aimed at maintaining a safe environment that lowers the risk of viral spread.

Guiding Principles

We have and will continue to be guided by CFA’s Mission and Core Principles as we keep the safety and well-being of our students, faculty and staff at the center of our planning and decision-making.

The Health and Safety Committee focuses on all aspects of the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and community when outlining CFA's policies. The Health and Safety Committee is comprised of the following individuals:

Head of School, Chair: Ed Ellison

School Nurse: Amy Croom

Division Directors: Carla Whitwell, Stephanie Medcalfe, Lynne Kenney

Middle and Upper School Counselor: Elizabeth Gibbs

Assistant Head of School for Finance & Operations: Shana Barclay

Board of Trustees Chair: Connor Keller (CFA Parent)

Physician: Dr. Peter Kane (CFA Parent & CFA Trustee)

Physician: Dr. Trip Meine (CFA Parent & CFA Trustee)

Physician: Dr. Elizabeth Meine (CFA Parent)

Assistant to Head of School: Jennifer Czyzyk

Further Guidance and Directives: As we develop plans to deliver the highest quality educational experience for our students in uncertain and fluid times, we continue to follow:

Rights and Responsibilities within the CFA Community

Rights — Every student, teacher, or staff member should be known, valued, and cared for. This fundamental right accompanies membership in CFA’s school community. It implies we all have a right to expect both emotional and physical safety. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this means members of our community can reasonably expect a heightened level of concern for their physical health as well as their social-emotional wellbeing. While it is possible that students, teachers, or staff members will be exposed to COVID-19 in the course of their work or studies, everyone is entitled to expect that reasonable precautions will be taken to prevent this from happening.

Responsibilities — Our commitment also implies that members of our community should know, value, and care for others. This means our interactions with others—friends and strangers, students and adults—should be self-aware, respectful, and courteous. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this means complying willingly with rules and policies designed to keep our community safe and healthy. This means thinking of others, appreciating that their risk tolerance might be lower than ours, and adjusting our behavior with sensitivity and respect. This means respecting policies and expectations, even when inconvenient to ourselves.

In some communities, measures taken to prevent COVID-19 infection have ignited conflicts between the liberty of individuals and perceptions of the common good. We do not expect this conflict to plague CFA’s school community. Rather, we expect our respect for and sense of duty to others to be visible in myriad ways, including the following:

  • How all members of our community and visitors to our campus wear masks when required, wash and disinfect their hands frequently, and mind physical distancing norms;

  • How all members of our community and visitors to our campus follow self-screening guidelines for symptoms of illness and refrain from coming to campus when symptomatic;

  • How all members of our community and visitors to our campus interact with each other in and out of the classroom, and take responsibility for maintaining a healthy environment;

  • How all members of our community and visitors to our campus treat others—teachers, nurses, custodians, office administrators, maintenance staff, etc.—as people worthy of their respect and deserving of safety themselves; and

  • How all members of our community and visitors to our campus comply with self-quarantine rules regarding COVID-19.

The challenges of our “new normal” will be compounded if we are unwilling to change and adapt our behaviors. COVID-19 has disrupted life as we knew it. To navigate this public health challenge, mutual respect, trust, and a deep sense of our reciprocal obligations to one another will continue to be essential.

Campus Operations Scenario Planning

Depending upon government regulations and expert recommendations, CFA will operate under the following four scenarios.

Green – Normal school operations with all students on campus.

CFA will practice healthy hygiene and encourage students and staff who are not well to stay home from school.

Yellow – All students on campus with increased safety mitigation.

CFA may institute additional safety measures, including symptom monitoring for everyone entering the school building; students and staff will wear surgical masks or N95 masks; students do not leave campus during the school day; non-essential visitors not allowed in school buildings; food service modified; students do not eat lunch in the cafeteria. (More details below)

Red – Remote Learning for students in Grades 1 – 12.

CFA will comply with official mandates, but will plan to have LE-K students receive instruction on campus according to regulations governing childcare facilities. CFA will also endeavor to have additional grades in lower school receive instruction on campus in accordance with the law.

Monitoring for Symptoms

Conducting regular screening for symptoms and ongoing self-monitoring throughout the school day can help reduce exposure. Staff and students are encouraged to self-monitor for symptoms such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other possible signs of COVID-19. If a student develops symptoms throughout the day, they must notify an adult immediately.

Accommodations for Students Required to Isolate due to COVID-19

CFA will provide asynchronous instruction for students who are absent from school due to quarantine requirements. Students will not have the option to learn remotely for family travel or short-term illness.

Handling Suspected, Presumptive or Confirmed Positive Cases of COVID-19

CFA will:

  • Immediately isolate symptomatic individuals to the clinic at the school, and send them home to isolate.

  • Require the symptomatic person to wear a surgical mask while waiting to leave the facility.

Face coverings will NOT be placed on:

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.

  • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face

  1. Returning to School Following a COVID-19 Diagnosis

CFA staff will adhere to the following process for allowing a student or staff member to return to school:

  • If your child has COVID-like symptoms, please keep them home from school. Although we are no longer contact tracing, we urge you to test your child if they have symptoms, a known exposure, or both.

  • Community members that test positive will be asked to stay home 5 days from the onset of symptoms or the positive test date.

  • On day 6, students and employees may return to work wearing a mask for days 6-10. The first day of symptoms or the positive test date is day 0.

  • Please let our school nurse know when you have tested positive for guidance on when your child may return to school.

  • If a student or employee is asymptomatic on day 6 or sooner, has been fever free for more than 48 hours (without fever reducing medication), and has two sequential, negative rapid antigen tests, 48 hours apart, they may forgo wearing a mask on days 6-10.

Social Distancing and Minimizing Exposure

Social distancing has been key to decreasing the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing ("physical distancing") means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. CFA will follow local, state, and CDC guidelines when applicable to social distancing. Should CFA decide to operate in the Yellow scenario above, CFA may issue social distancing guidelines.

Cleaning and Hygiene

Washing hands with soap for 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer reduces the spread of disease including COVID-19. To support increased cleaning and hygiene during the school day, CFA will continue to encourage hand washing and personal hygiene such as covering coughs and sneezes.

Mental Health Considerations

The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for students and families. The concern for the health of an ill family member or loved one, the cancellation of some activities and events, the fear of contracting the virus, and concern for our global health can lead to depression and anxiety. CFA values the mental health of our students, as academic success is dependent on social-emotional wellbeing.

CFA has school counselors available for students and families. As it relates to COVID-19, our counselors will provide the following:

  • Individual/group counseling for students

  • Consultation for parents

  • Advocacy with teachers and administration

  • Guidance curriculum lessons per grade

  • Referral for testing and counseling

In establishing our practices, CFA counselors have referred to directives from the following agencies and institutions:

Center for Disease Control: CDC: Coping with Stress during the COVID-19 pandemic

American Psychological Association: APA: What to expect during COVID-19

Anxiety and Depression Association of America: ADAA: Managing COVID-19 Anxiety

School Counselor Contact information:

Elizabeth Gibbs: Middle and Upper School


Carrie Peed: Lower School