Educational Insights Blog

Fostering a safe learning environment for students, families, faculty and staff.

The Antioch School is committed to balancing the safety of our students, families, faculty and staff with our collective desire to have in-person school in September, if community conditions are conducive to doing that safely. With that as our goal, we have been working on our schooling plan. We have crafted this plan based on guidance from the Greene County Health Department, the Ohio Health Department, and the Center for Disease Control, and factored in family feedback to our survey, and the values that always inform the educational decisions at our school. The surveys were especially informative, and there were many topics where there was a consensus from our community – the desire for in-person school, daily temperature checks, hand-washing with safe soap, limiting of adults in the building, and maximizing the time your children spend outdoors.

The Antioch School has many advantages when it comes to maintaining a safe learning environment during the pandemic. For starters, we are a small school with small class sizes. Typical student enrollment is less than 60 students spanning Nursery (3 1/2 year olds) through the Older Group (up to 6th grade equivalent). The fewer number of students means less individuals available for contact, which means a safer environment.

Antioch School students also spend a significant amount of time outside every day. We also have outdoor classrooms that are used year round - even in winter! Outdoor learning has been an intricate part of the school since its inception. We know how to do it and do it well. Outdoor learning isn't an add-on to the curriculum because of COVID-19, it is one of the core principles of the Antioch School.

The school building itself has some advantages. Each classroom has direct access to the outside, so students can arrive/leave without ever having to go through crowded hallways. The classrooms also have tall ceilings and lots of windows - that actually open. In warmer weather it is possible to get cross ventilation throughout the school through strategic opening of those windows.

Antioch School Safety Plan for 2020-2021

Assessing Symptoms

  • Everyone will need to get tested the week before school starts. Students must have a negative test result before starting the school year. This is for baseline data and some screening benefit, although it doesn’t guarantee that exposure won’t occur after that.
  • Students will enter their classroom every morning through their room’s external door on the tire swing side of the building, and have their temperature checked with a no-touch thermometer by their teacher. Any adults who enter the building will have their temperature checked as well.
  • If a student, faculty or staff member has any of the following symptoms: fever of 100.4° F or higher, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headaches, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, cough, or an epidemiological link to a case of COVID-19, that individual must stay home and consult your doctor about when to get tested. Once you have a negative test and are healthy, you can come back to school. If you have a known or presumed case of COVID, follow the CDC guidelines for returning. Families should use their best judgement with regard to this policy and always keep sick children home from school, even if it is not likely to be coronavirus.
  • If testing is indicated by symptoms or an epidemiological link to someone with the virus, yet testing is slow to process, or unavailable, a two week isolation period will be necessary. Families must take this extra responsibility for ensuring that their child does not have coronavirus before they return to school. This is essential for maintaining the safety of the school community and helping us to remain open for in person school.
  • If a student, faculty or staff member tests positive, they will immediately inform the school. Whoever is determined to have been exposed to that person will need to isolate for two weeks. This may include an entire group, groups, or even the entire school. If a group or groups need to isolate at home, online instruction will be offered during that time.
  • If a member of a school family tests positive, children in that family will need to isolate for two weeks and not come to school.
  • If your family travels to one of the states identified by the Governor as a high infection area, your child will need to isolate at home for two weeks, before returning to school.

Personal Hygiene and Food

  • Students will be encouraged to engage in regular hand washing with soap (without fragrance or anti-bacterial agents).
  • Snacks and lunch food will only come from home. No school snacks will be provided, but Nursery will keep a stock of supplemental nutrition available if needed, and that food will only be handled and served by adults. School traditions will be upheld whenever possible and safe, and we will continue to allow students to prepare and eat food that is thoroughly cooked. Adults will serve the food after it has been cooked.
  • Lunches will be eaten outside whenever possible, or with increased social distancing inside when the weather precludes outdoor lunch.
  • The water fountain will be turned off, and all students will be asked to bring water bottles from home.

Cleaning of School and Environmental Mitigation

  • There will be regular and frequent cleaning of shared surfaces and items during and after school, with special care taken to address high-touch areas like doorknobs and bathrooms.
  • There will be more items stored and labeled individually for students and fewer communally shared supplies.
  • Window fans will regularly exchange the air in the building with outside air during warm weather.
  • Medical grade UV-C air sterilization and filtration systems will be used when the building will be closed up in the colder months.

Physical distancing

  • We will set up the school environment in order to encourage physical distancing. There will be marks on the floor for group gathering, fewer chairs around tables, and less furniture in the rooms in order to make more space.
  • We will be encouraging and planning for lots of outdoor time.
  • Field trips will be to outside locations only that allow for plenty of physical distance, and where we do not travel together in vehicles.
  • Any inter-group meetings and activities will be adjusted to provide plenty of physical distance, and will take place outdoors whenever possible.
  • Families and visitors will only enter the building when necessary, and will wear masks and have their temperature checked with a no-touch thermometer.
  • There will be designated pickup spots for each group in order to limit the amount of people waiting in one place or entering the school.
  • Music will only include things that can be done safely in our setting, like listening, dancing, and string and rhythm instruments.

Face Coverings

  • Masks will be required for all adults and children Kindergarten age and older in the building per the Governor’s order.
  • Masks will be encouraged for younger children who can wear them, especially in the building.


The Greene County Department of Health is still working on their guidelines for schools when it comes to the steps to take when a child or faculty member has tested positive for COVID. They expect to have that information available within the next few weeks. We are also discussing the possibility of school-wide testing with them if someone in our school were to contract the virus. We will share this information as soon as it is available.

There are two important disclaimers we need to include with our schooling plan. First off, it is very much subject to change. We may be forced to adjust the plan, or we may make a decision to do so based on changing circumstances or information. Secondly, it is important to acknowledge the risks inherent in sending your children to school. We are putting many processes, policies and recommendations in place in an attempt to keep everyone safe, but no plan can guarantee complete safety when there are so many factors outside of our control.

If you have questions or comments regarding any part of this plan, please contact us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we would be happy to discuss it with you.

Quick Contact

If you have questions, would like more information about the Antioch School, please use the form below or call  9 3 7 . 7 6 7 . 7 6 4 2.   Our address is 1160 Corry Street, P.O.Box 242, Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387.