COVID-19 Recent News & Updates

COVID Updates and Resources

Dear DA Families, Colleagues and Upper and Middle School Students,

In yesterday’s DA Family Conversation, we focused entirely on health and safety topics. Click here to see the video, which will be archived with videos of all 2021–22 Family Conversations on the Veracross Parent Portal

Below is our 2021–2022 policy for communicating COVID cases. With these guidelines, we are striving to balance consistency and public health-minded transparency with a recognition of the unique circumstances of each case and respect for the privacy for students, faculty, staff and families. We have already employed this policy in two cases about which we learned last night.

  • Directors will communicate any and all confirmed positive COVID-19 cases among DA students, faculty or staff via email to close contacts and affected groups. Relevant contacts and groups will be identified on a case-by-case basis by the relevant administrators, Nurse Consultant and (when appropriate) the Durham County Department of Public Health. All DA employees will be notified of every confirmed positive COVID-19 case among these groups.
     
  • Every Friday, the school will report weekly student and/or faculty/staff confirmed positive COVID-19 case totals by division or department (current and cumulative) on a dashboard, which is available via your Veracross Parent Portal. This makes schoolwide data available to all community members - even those not directly affected.
     
  • I will send to the entire community any needed messages with urgent or time-sensitive policy/protocol updates, or to report clusters, group quarantines or closures.

While we are not currently mandating vaccination, we strongly recommend that all community members be vaccinated as soon as they are eligible. The numbers below confirm that our community has taken the pandemic seriously and sees that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and among the most powerful layers of personal and collective protection against this virus.

  • Among all 259 DA faculty and staff, 97% are fully vaccinated. 
  • Among faculty and staff who interact regularly with students, 99% are fully vaccinated.
  • Among Upper School students, 96% are fully vaccinated.
  • Among 7th and 8th graders, 88% are fully vaccinated.

The number of vaccinated students creeps upward each week — as Middle Schoolers turn 12; as students realize how many of their peers are vaccinated; and as people make appointments, get their first shots, wait three weeks, get their second shots and upload their vaccination cards to Magnus.

Recognizing that the Delta variant is highly communicable and that breakthrough infections are increasingly common, we will continue to rely on the combined effects of our mitigation strategies. You can review DA’s COVID-19 protocols and resources via the links below. These are live documents that will evolve with emerging data and changing circumstances:

As always, we welcome your health-related questions at health@da.org.

Thank you for your continued collaboration. While we know there are challenges ahead, we have the resources, relationships and resilience to meet them.

With gratitude and resolve,

Michael Ulku-Steiner
Head of School