COVID-19 Info

August 4, 2021

Last year, the mitigation strategies we put into place ensured that we saw zero spread of COVID-19 on campus. All faculty and staff will be fully vaccinated by the start of school, and as of August 3, 90% of our student body is either vaccinated or scheduled to be vaccinated by the start of school. (This figure does not include a few families whose forms have not been received as of August 3, so we expect it will continue to rise.)

The coronavirus pandemic continues to evolve, and with the guidance of the St. Louis County Pandemic Task Force back-to-school group, our COVID-19-related policies and protocols continue to evolve as well. Physicians on this task force represent the three major children's health systems in St. Louis: Cardinal Glennon, St. Louis Children's Hospital, and Mercy. In addition to this official guidance, the Independent Schools of St. Louis (ISSL) continues to coordinate a group of medical experts (all part of the Pandemic Task Force) who offer timely and relevant information to shape schools’ policies and protocols. Our goal is to create opportunities for our students to re-engage safely in activities, and we expect our practices may need to change as guidance from St. Louis County health officials and the CDC changes with local and national conditions.  

  • A fully remote option for attending classes (except in cases of COVID-19 quarantine)
  • Morning temperature checks—however, all students will complete and pass a daily self-reported screening form in the Orah app (formerly Boardingware) before arriving on campus each morning. 
  • Mandatory drop off in the circle: Students may be dropped off in the circle or at their assigned dorm rooms between 8:00-8:20.
  • A full day of academic, athletic, and co-curricular activities. We are still finalizing the schedule, but day students can expect their last obligation of the day to end between 4:30-5:00 p.m.; varsity practices may end later. (For the foreseeable future, teams will not be competing against other schools, and all off-campus co-curricular activities will be optional.) 


As of the end of July, we expect the following safety precautions to be in place at the start of the school year:
  • We strongly encourage all eligible students to get vaccinated. Vaccination is a critical tool in keeping our community safe, and it also has direct benefits to vaccinated individuals and their families (including not being required to quarantine after an exposure). Once COVID-19 vaccines are fully approved, we intend to revisit our vaccination requirements.
  • All students, both boarding and day, will fill out a daily self-reported screening questionnaire in the Orah app (formerly Boardingware) before arriving on campus each morning.
  • Masks will be required for students and teachers in classrooms and shared indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Social distancing will remain in place, and classroom desks will be arranged with a minimum of three feet of distance between students. Distance will be increased in dining spaces.
  • Students will have assigned seats in classrooms to facilitate contact tracing if needed, and one-way traffic in and out of classroom spaces will continue.
  • Vaccinated day students can share space in the dorms with vaccinated boarding students, but they may only visit their assigned room.
  • If students, teachers, or staff are experiencing symptoms not explained by another condition (fever, sore throat, cough, runny nose, congestion, GI upset, etc.), they must stay home, even if they are vaccinated. A parent/guardian should call the main office (314-843-4151) by 8:00 a.m. to report illness. Individuals should follow-up with medical professionals for testing as needed. 
    • Students with symptoms who feel well enough to attend classes  from home can be accommodated on Zoom. Please keep in mind, however, that classes are shaped for the in-person experience this year, so frequent virtual attendance will not lead to optimal learning.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols will remain in place, especially for high-touch surfaces.
  • Our food service partner, Pedestal Foods, will continue to align their food service practices with TJ’s safety requirements. Weather permitting, students will be encouraged to eat outdoors as much as possible, and social distancing in the dining room will be increased. 
  • Non-essential visitors will be permitted in school buildings by appointment only and must adhere to the school’s mitigation strategies (masking, distancing, etc.). 
  • We ask that day students be picked up or leave campus by 5:30 p.m. each evening. Parents should call the duty teacher (314-494-1038) if they are running late.
  • If a student is confirmed to have COVID-19, the St. Louis County Health Department will be contacted to conduct contact tracing. Staff who have been trained in contact tracing will also conduct a procedure. The school will inform families in the case there has been a known exposure. 
  • Students who have been confirmed COVID-19 positive can return to TJ by satisfying the conditions recommended by the CDC. As of July 2021, those guidelines are:
    • Persons who experienced symptoms and have been tested for COVID-19 may return to school if the following three conditions are met:
      • They no longer have a fever (without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and
      • Other symptoms have improved (for example, when cough or shortness of breath have improved); and
      • They have received two negative tests in a row, at least 24 hours apart, at least ten (10) days after the initial onset of symptoms.
    • Persons who are asymptomatic but test positive for COVID-19 may return when they have gone ten (10) calendar days without symptoms and have been released by a healthcare provider.
  • Students or staff should quarantine if they have been in close contact (within 6 feet of someone for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone who has COVID-19, unless they have been fully vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated, according to CDC guidance, do NOT need to quarantine after contact with someone who had COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms.
  • If a member of a day student’s household exhibits symptoms of COVID-19, is awaiting test results, or tests positive for COVID-19, any unvaccinated student must stay home to follow CDC quarantine protocols.

Posted to MyTJS, please find the Resource page for our 2021-2022 school year. We understand that you probably have additional questions, and we encourage you to continue to reach out to the faculty and staff.

Matthew R. Troutman, Ph.D.
Head of School

Archived COVID Communication

List of 3 items.

  • 08.21.2020 Communication

    Dear TJ Families, 

    The excitement for opening day continues to build. Faculty returned to campus on Monday and are continuing their preparation and training for the fall term. We are counting down the days until we can be together again (whether in front of a screen or in the classroom) on September 9th. Given current local conditions, our small size, and our commitment to daily screening, masking, social distancing, and hand hygiene, we are confident that we can provide day students a safe in-person experience
    A number of factors led us to this decision: 
    • Improving local conditions in St. Louis (you can find more information from the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s website at https://stlcorona.com/). 
    • Our mitigation and safety procedures that were articulated in previous plans. 
    • The confidence shared by medical professionals that mitigation strategies are an effective way to reduce risk. 
    • An ongoing partnership with other St. Louis schools with medical professionals to gather and share the most up-to-date information possible. 
    It is still our intent to welcome boarding students back to campus at the start of Q2. Boarding students should make plans to arrive on Saturday, October 17, 2020. We will then plan to keep TJ’s campus open through graduation on May 21. 

    Since our previous communication on August 6th, progress has been made in several of the following areas. 
    • Please log in to MyTJS to fill out the required forms for registration—these are essential for your child(ren) to begin classes.
    • Faculty have been hard at work to ensure that we can provide synchronous learning experiences  for  students, whether they are in person or on the other side of the world. 
    • Mr. Roth and Mr. Pesek have worked hard all summer to plan a new daily schedule for the first quarter that maximizes “face-to-face” learning at times that do not create excessive hardship for students in time zones around the world. Classes will take place between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CDT with supervised, socially-distant activities between lunch and 5:00 p.m. (For example, a student in Beijing will attend class between 9:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.) The specifics of the schedule are communicated in the attached plan.
    • We continue to plan for the return of boarding students on October 17 and to develop plans for helping facilitate travel. 
     Some other important notes for each family: 
    • All day school families are asked to complete this survey indicating their intention to attend classes in person or online. Knowing the number of students who will be on campus each day will have a major impact on classrooms and schedule planning. 
    • Now more than ever, it is essential that members of our community—students and staff alike—stay home if they are sick or presenting any symptoms of illness (e.g., cough, runny nose, fever). With classes accessible online, no one will miss out on instruction!
    • Our Community Health Pledge will be distributed via MyTJS for acknowledgment. 
    Linked below (and posted to MyTJS), please find the most updated plan for reopening. We understand that you probably have additional questions, and we encourage you to continue to reach out to the faculty and staff. As a reminder, I host weekly virtual office hours (Tuesdays at 8:00 a.m. CDT) and would love to see you there!

    Matthew R. Troutman, Ph.D.
    Head of School
    August Update TJ Plans for Re-Opening 2020-2021
  • 2019-2020 Information Regarding Remote Instruction

  • 2019-2020 Email Communications Regarding COVID-19

Important Hygiene Reminders to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19

  • Wash hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  • Sneeze and cough into a tissue if possible or a bent elbow if no tissue is available.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Don’t share drinks or food.
  • Stay home if you feel ill.

Thomas Jefferson School

4100 S. Lindbergh Boulevard
Saint Louis, MO 63127
P. (314) 843-4151
F. (314) 843-3527