From the Office of the Head of School
We were very blessed to begin the school year mask optional. As noted in the COVID-19 data found in your Viking Connect account, we have also been blessed not to have any large outbreaks on campus. However, given the current spread of COVID-19 in middle Georgia, we have decided the wise and proactive decision is to require masks for all of TEAM FPD and all students in grades 4-12, beginning on Monday, August 23. Masks will continue to be optional for those students in Pre-school through third grade. Masks will not be required when students are outside. However, three feet separation for social distancing will be expected. TEAM FPD and Viking Nation students will be expected to wear their masks over their mouth and nose. We will continue to emphasize handwashing and regular classroom cleaning of high-touch areas. In addition, the hydraulic sprayer will be used at least once a week in every classroom and common area on the FPD Campus.
This decision is based on the recommendation from FPD’s medical committee composed of doctors within our community who are actively reviewing the local trends and mitigating measures. While we have not seen any outbreaks on campus this year, the FPD medical committee encouraged this policy as a proactive measure in order to best ensure students stay healthy and enjoy the relationships that on-campus learning provides. Our biggest concern is exposure, and we know that a mask requirement greatly reduces exposure quarantines and ultimately, keeps students in school. Should you confirm you are Covid-19 positive, your response must be to call (contact trace) all those whom you may have exposed. Please report all exposures and confirmed Covid-19 cases to Nurse Katie Collier. This situation is fluid, unpredictable, and one that can potentially trend up or down. The mandatory masking requirement will be re-evaluated the week of September 6 (upon returning from Labor Day weekend).
We recognize that a large majority of TEAM FPD is vaccinated and many of our upper school students as well. While the risk of the vaccinated becoming infected is minimal, the research shows that it is still possible to become infected with Covid-19. Therefore, we will not delineate between vaccinated and unvaccinated. We also recognize that the issue of masking is divisive. Here in Viking Nation, we are about being “ONE [1Cor1.10]” and this will not divide us. We are simply going to ask that everyone wear a mask out of respect for one another.
I want to personally thank FPD’s Medical Committee for continuously advising FPD’s administration on best measures. Their guidance helped us successfully stay in school last year, and we know they have the best interest of our students and faculty in mind. This situation is fluid. Our top goal is to keep students on campus, safe, and healthy so they can continue having daily interactions with their friends and FPD’s amazing faculty. We appreciate the ongoing partnership, prayers, and support. That is what distinguishes the Viking Nation community. As always, my door is open, and I invite parents to email me or call me if they have any questions or concerns. #HeIsGreater!
Q: What are the guidelines for lunch?
A: First, we will be encouraging students to eat outside and maintain social distancing of three feet. Lunch tables will be limited to six per table with three feet of social distance between each student. Students will be expected to wear a mask whenever they are maneuvering around Viking Hall. Students will not have to wear a mask while they are eating. However, we are asking that everyone put on their mask when they are inside and done eating.
Q: What about the “FPD Back to School Health and Safety Guidelines” Plan? Does that still remain in effect?
A: Yes. The previously published “FPD Back to School Health and Safety Guidelines” plan remains in effect with regards to illness and requesting students to stay home any time they are ill.
Q: Will the Athletic Program follow the same guidelines?
A: The FPD Athletic Program, led by Coach Greg Moore, will follow the same guidelines. All athletes will wear a mask any time they are inside. For sports that are inside (volleyball for example), athletes are expected to wear a mask when they are not physically participating.
Q: For inside sporting events or activities, will spectators be able to attend?
A: Yes. However, all spectators will be required to wear a mask over their nose and mouth when inside and FPD school building.
Q: Can you guide us on the type of mask the students should wear?
A: Any mask (surgical, N-95, cloth) with straps will work as long as it covers the mouth and nose. gaiter-type face coverings will not be allowed. Students will be expected to have a mask upon entering school. Masks should be a solid color (no writing). TEAM FPD and students may also choose to wear a plastic shield.
Q: Can parents/guardians and visitors come into the school buildings?
A: Yes, but we will require all parents/guardians and visitors to wear a mask over their nose and mouth.
Q: Will FPD offer the Distance Learning Plan like they did last year?
A: No. The Distance Learning Program (DLP) will not be offered in the same manner as last year. However, based on our experience, we believe we can academically support students who are out due to a required quarantine. Your child’s principal and teachers will work with you if your child is out due to a required quarantine.
Q: Will the FPD attendance policy remain in effect through this required masking season?
A: Yes. We are expecting students to attend school. However, your child’s principal and teachers will work with you if your child is out due to a required quarantine or illness.
Q: If my student tests positive for COVID-19 or is exposed to someone who has COVID-19, what do I do?
A: Read and follow the quarantine guidelines in the
“FPD Back to School Health and Safety Guidelines” and call Nurse Katie Collier.
Q: Will we still have field trips?
A: Yes. We will address field trips in the same way we address our school. When inside, students will wear a mask. When outside, students may remove their mask but adhere to the social distancing requirement of three feet. If students ride a bus, they will be required to wear a mask. While we highly encourage students to ride with their parents, we ask students to wear a mask when they are riding with someone who is not their parents.
Q: Will we still have chapel and pep rallies?
A: Yes. We will have our scheduled pep rallies and chapels. All students in grades 4-12 will be required to wear a mask when inside for chapel or pep rally. Chapel speakers will not be required to wear masks when speaking. If we have inside pep rallies, cheerleaders will be required to wear masks unless they are conducting physical activity.
Q: Will the classroom set-ups change?
A: We feel like our teachers have done their best to socially distance their desks based on the room size. We will ask our teachers to re-evaluate this to best ensure social distancing. We will do our best to respect distances when conducting labs or group work.