Waldorf School of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Pandemic Response Timeline
Waldorf School of Pittsburgh has created this page in the interest of sharing all important health updates about COVID-19 as it may impact our community. This page will be updated with our response to the developing situation as a school, as well as provide links that may prove helpful in deciding on your family’s individual response.
Last Update: August 24, 2022
January 20, 2020
CDC confirms the first case of COVID-19 in the U.S.
PHOTO: PROVIDENCE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER
March 6, 2020
WSP adds Novel Coronavirus resource page to school website, sends community email communicating that the page has been created proactively as part of school’s response plan to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Plan being developed based on recommendations from the CDC and Allegheny County Health Department, as well as dialogue with our accrediting bodies, the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS) and the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
March 13, 2020
WSP sends detailed response from COVID-19 Task Force which has been closely monitoring the situation and have been proactive in making contingency plans. WSP announces campus will be closed for at least the next 10 school days, beginning Monday, March 16.
March 17, 2020
WSP Faculty and Administration organize full scale materials pick-up outside for families in preparation of online learning for full school.
March 18, 2020
WSP launches online learning for students, being one of the first schools in Allegheny County to start distance learning.
March 11, 2020
WHO declares the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. In an Oval Office address, President Trump announces that he is restricting travel from Europe to the United States for 30 days in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus.
March 13, 2020
President Donald J. Trump declares a nationwide emergency. Gov. Wolf announced the closure of all schools in Pennsylvania for at least two weeks.
March 19, 2020
PA Stay at Home Order goes into effect at 8 pm via PA Governor, Tom Wolf.
April 3, 2020
At a White House press briefing, CDC announces new mask wearing guidelines and recommends that all people wear a mask when outside of the home. Administration is now recommending Americans wear "non-medical cloth" face coverings, a reversal of previous guidance that suggested masks were unnecessary for people who weren't sick.
April 6, 2020
WSP COVID-19 Task Force addresses plan for the rest of the year.
April 13, 2020
Most U.S. states report widespread cases of COVID-19.
April 17, 2020
PA Governor Wolf unveils plan for PA reopening, relief and recovery.
April 28, 2020
The United States passes one million confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.
April 29, 2020
WSP receives approval and receipt of Federal PP1 Grant (Payroll Protection One Grant) to allow continued operation and payment of employees.
May 7, 2020
WSP announces it will not host summer programming including Camp Waldorf and Little Friends. PA and Allegheny County under stay-at-home orders due to being in the Red Phase of PA reopening. No tuition will be charged for June–August for Little Friends students.
May 20, 2020
WSP COVID-19 Task Force renamed to Return to School Committee to reflect its commitment and focus. Key assumptions: health and safety, finances, school programming and community. Team ensures that all aspects of school operation are in accordance with local, state, and federal public health mandates and guidelines. Initial thirteen page document details tasks and considerations for safe operation of school.
May 21, 2020
CDC updates to its website earlier this month to explain that touching contaminated objects or surfaces doesn’t seem to be a significant mode of transmission. Notes that as many as 35% of people with COVID-19 are asymptomatic but 100% as infectious as those with symptoms.
June 12, 2020
WSP announces launch of virtual summer camp for July 2020.
June 5, 2020
WSP Class of 2020 Car Parade to celebrate graduates with numerous faculty and staff participants. Pre-recorded, virtual graduation held online via Zoom the following day.
WSP prepares for in-person instruction for the 2020–2021 school year with every enrolled student in mind including: capping class sizes, improving outdoor spaces for increased learning time outside, completing the 8th grade classroom, outfitting each classroom with HEPA air filters and additional sinks where possible, hiring a full-time cleaning staff person, and $10k WIFI improvement on campus.
June 11, 2020
The United States passes 2 million confirmed cases of the virus, according to Johns Hopkins.
July 6-10 & July 13–17, 2020
WSP hosts virtual summer camps with morning sessions for Early Childhood engaging in stories, yoga and music. Afternoon sessions for Grades including cooking, alumni led art classes and parent professional hosted drama sessions.
July 17, 2020
Letter to WSP community sent detailing safety measures and plan to return to learning including purchasing tents to offer a large portion of instruction outside and installing sinks in several classrooms for ease of regular hand-washing. Additional hire of a full-time employee to ensure frequent cleaning in our buildings and application for grants to help with some of the additional costs we anticipated. Tentative plan to start school in-person is set for August or in distance learning on September 1, if needed.
July 23, 2020
CDC releases new science-based resources and tools for school administrators, teachers, parents, guardians, and caregivers for safe school reopening.
July 24, 2020
WSP Health and Safety Plan shared with WSP community. Faculty Chairs share Three Learning Options grid and Distance Learning Approach in preparation for the 2020–21 school year.
August 14, 2020
After 3.5 hours of meeting, the Return to School Committee made a recommendation and the Board of Trustees unanimously voted that the best decision for WSP is to start the school year with six weeks of distance learning (detailed in our Learning Options document) beginning on Tuesday, September 1, 2020 as stated in our current school calendar. Our anticipated return to in-person whole class instruction with the option of parallel learning is October 12.
WSP focuses on preparing campus for return to in-person instruction, HEPA filters added to rooms, outdoor tents added to create outdoor classrooms, play yards separated to host specific Early Childhood Pods, addition of outdoor sinks added. Pandemic Team began working with BranchPattern to understand best practices of air filters in classrooms.
October 12, 2020
WSP returns to campus for in-person learning with option for parallel distance learning option for families. Temperature checks happen upon arrival with handwashing and masks available. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocol begins with full-time custodian. After-school care is suspended due to social distancing, mixing of classes/pods, and staffing.
Late October 2020
Pandemic team partnered with BranchPattern to create an AQED (Air Quality Enhancement Design) for the school utilizing BranchPattern’s FIRE (Facility Infection Risk Estimator) tool.
Early November 2020
In response to needing speedy and cohesive contact tracing, WSP secures trained and certified contact tracer, David Konefal-Shaer, for the school.
November 13, 2020
Social Distanced Michaelmas and Lantern Walk is held with class pods scheduled at various times throughout the evening. Walk happens around campus and the block of our Bloomfield neighborhood.
December 4 & 5, 2020
WSP hosts successful virtual Winter Fair Night Market, a facebook live event with sale, auction, and raffle for adults. “Winter Fair in a Box” hosted the following day online via Zoom and website with interactive crafts, cooking demonstrations, and sing-along, replacing in-person Winter Fair events.
December 14, 2020
US officials announce the first doses of the FDA emergency use authorized Pfizer vaccine have been delivered to all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
March 16, 2020
Allegheny Health Network opens drive-up collection sites for COVID-19 testing and three are in the Pittsburgh region while the fourth is located in Erie.
December 15, 2020
The FDA authorizes a second coronavirus vaccine made by Moderna for emergency use. "The emergency use authorization allows the vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years and older," the FDA said in a tweet.
WSP replaces classroom and high traffic area HEPA filters with hospital grade RabbitAir HEPA Filters.
January 3, 2021
AQED Plan (Air Quality Enhancement Design) first implemented and CO2 monitoring started to mitigate COVID-19 spread. The AQED was created by mapping each classroom taking statistics such as ceiling height, placement of windows (north facing, east facing, etc), number of windows, number of HEPA filters in the classroom, as well as maximum occupancy of classrooms to create a percentage of risk of transmission assuming there is one person COVID-19 positive in the room. CO2 monitors show real time CO2 levels that are wirelessly transmitted to our Facilities Manager’s office every ten minutes. Teachers are able to continuously monitor a classroom’s CO2 levels and adjust their days accordingly, turning on exhaust fans, increasing HEPA filter speed, or moving to their outdoor classrooms as needed.
January 6, 2022
WSP asks families and staff to upgrade their masks. WSP will provide disposable surgical masks for adults and children. Noting that disposable KN95, N95, or KF94 masks are even better. All employees at WSP are asked to wear a KN95/KF94 mask. During the month of January due to increased COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County, parallel learning is offered to families on a week-to-week basis, if chosen.
February 27, 2021
The FDA grants emergency use authorization to Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine, the first single dose Covid-19 vaccine available in the US.
March 8, 2021
CDC announces that fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks.
March 9, 2021
This week, WSP had a successful 2-year focused revisit for our accreditation with Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools (PAIS) and Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
March 11, 2021
Exactly one year after the start of the pandemic, WSP’s first round of teachers began getting vaccinated as Pennsylvania prioritized the allocation of the J&J vaccine for PreK–12 educators and school support staff. J&J vaccine is offered in coordination with our Intermediate Unit and Moderna vaccine is offered with a partnership with Wilson’s Pharmacy, a local independent business.
March 19, 2021
CDC announces kids in school can socially distance from 3 feet instead of 6 feet. This seems to happen in coordination with the availability to vaccinate teachers with the newly available Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
May 1, 2021
Ribbon cutting ceremony for Heartwood Annex, for state-of-the art green classroom for Grade 8. A socially distanced May Fair with timed tickets follows, this is the first WSP fair on campus since 2019. Virtual online options offered for both events.
June 10, 2021
WSP school year ends for most programs and grades. Commencement takes place in-person at Heartwood Annex Amphitheater and via Zoom. The Little Friends program remains open for two additional weeks at no additional cost to enrolled families. Campus is closed to programming after June 24.
March 21, 2020
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first rapid point-of-care COVID-19 test, that can deliver results in less than an hour.
WSP Administration adds Coronavirus to topic of agenda, mirrors discussion with school leadership and faculty. WSP COVID-19 Task Force is created and made up of Administration and Faculty Chairs. Preparation for consultation with health experts begins.
March 4, 2020
Administration and School Leadership start looking at Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA) discussion group for COVID-19 emergency plans and continue to look at key questions for consideration for the school including leadership and action steps, health and safety, financial and legal, program and pedagogical, events and trips, and decision making delineation. WSP COVID-19 Task Force schedules weekly, ongoing meetings.
November 17, 2020
The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the first COVID-19 diagnostic test for self-testing at home and that provides rapid results.
January 19, 2022
The Biden Administration begins distributing at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to Americans for free.
AQED Plan updated to reflect new COVID-19 variants and number of students in rooms for the 2021–22 school year. Return to School Committee changes name to Pandemic Team to reflect school has been in session for the 2020–21 school year and focus has shifted to continued mitigation and safety efforts. Contact tracer now sits on the Pandemic Team and attends weekly Zoom meetings.
Global public health and development specialist and MD in infectious disease become advisors to the Pandemic Team for the 2021–22 school year.
August 3, 2021
According to figures published by the CDC, the more contagious Delta variant accounts for an estimated 93.4% of coronavirus circulating in the United States during the last two weeks of July.
August 23, 2021
The FDA grants full approval to the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older, this is the first coronavirus vaccine approved by the FDA.
August 27 & 28, 2021
WSP invites families back to campus for Beautification Weekend, requiring all families adhere to WSP Health and Safety protocols, including masking and providing proof of vaccination.
September 2, 2021
WSP hosts Back-to-School night virtually for the second year in a row.
November 2, 2021
CDC endorses ACIP recommendation that children ages 5 to 11 years be vaccinated against COVID-19 with the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric vaccine.
December 10 & 11, 2021
WSP hosts second annual Winter Fair Night Market. “Winter Fair in a Box” hosted for the second year in a row the following day online via Zoom.
December 18, 2021
Omicron variant is the most dominant strain of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
December 27, 2021
The CDC shortens the recommended times that people should isolate when they've tested positive for COVID-19 from 10 days to five days if they don't have symptoms — and if they wear a mask around others for at least five more days. The CDC also shortens the recommended time for people to quarantine if they are exposed to the virus to a similar five days.
December 29, 2021
The Biden-Harris Administration has brought two new over-the-counter, at-home COVID-19 tests to the U.S. market.
January 3–4, 2022
WSP moves to distance learning for two days following Winter Break in a proactive move to prevent spread after holiday travel/visits, asking families to monitor for symptoms. Rapid tests are given to all of our employees to use before they return to campus. WSP families are strongly encouraged to take a rapid test before returning to school even if the household is fully vaccinated to prevent asymptomatic spread.
January 31, 2022
The FDA grants full approval to Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine for those ages 18 and older. This is the second coronavirus vaccine given full approval by the FDA.
February 7, 2022
Successful return of Morning Garden Toddler class, all students under 2 years old attend with a guardian.
February 28, 2022
Successful return of Morning Garden Infant class. First indoor class with students under one year old with a guardian since the fall of 2019.
March 4, 2022
Pandemic Team announces a more phased approach to easing our COVID-19 safety protocols. Allegheny County, moves to the "green" (lowest risk) level, in which the CDC recommends that masks be made optional, rather than required, in all indoor settings, including schools. Review of indoor masking is ongoing.
March 7, 2022
WSP changes some protocol in keeping with CDC guidance including: elimination of outdoor pods for both Early Childhood and Grades; Early Childhood classes may have circle time inside and help with snack prep; elimination of three feet distancing between desks/seating and other social distancing practices to the maximum extent feasible in the Grades; and a move from a 10-day to a 5-day quarantine after exposure.
March 9, 2022
WSP moves to mask optional for all outdoor campus activities—includes both Early Childhood and Grades.
March 29, 2022
The FDA authorizes a second booster of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines for adults 50 and older. That same day, the CDC also endorsed a second booster for the same age group.
April 22, 2022
By using the CDC’s COVID-19 community level map and recommendations for prevention as a barometer, WSP announces its plan to extend a mask optional policy for all indoor areas beginning the Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Masks will be required indoors if and/or when the Allegheny County COVID-19 level is "high". Masks will be optional indoors when COVID-19 levels indicate "low" or "medium". Decision is made with full support from all lead teachers, full time faculty members, and full time administration.
Safe return of middle school special programming including, weekly Eighth Grade Buddies with First Grade, middle school class play of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Grade 8 trip out of state (Finger Lakes region in New York).
May 10, 2022
WSP enacts a mask optional policy for inside spaces on campus provided Allegheny County remains at "low" or "medium" on the community level map.
May 14, 2022
Safe return of WSP May Fair without limiting attendance. Food vendors and bake sale returns.
May 17, 2022
The FDA authorizes a booster dose of Pfizer/BioNTech's Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 at least five months after completion of the primary vaccine series. On May 19, the CDC also endorsed a booster dose for the same age group.
June 10, 2022
WSP school year ends for all but Little Friends. Commencement takes place with an in-person ceremony at Heartwood Annex Amphitheater with a return to a traditional reception afterwards hosted by the current Grade 6th and 7th students and families.
July 1, 2022
The Little Friends program moves to a 10 month only program and has its last day on campus.
November 29, 2021
CDC recommends that everyone over 18 years old who received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine receive a COVID-19 booster shot 6 months after they are fully vaccinated.
June 12, 2020
Return to School Committee is reconfigured to include the Administrative Team, the Leadership Team, and the Executive Committee. The Director of Research, Medicine Institute, AHN and Co-Director Autoimmunity Institute and Leadership Team of the COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Pittsburgh Project (C2P3) joins Return to School Committee as a health and safety expert for the 2020–21 school year.
The WSP Pandemic Team is now called The WSP Infectious Disease Team.