COVID-19 Info

August 8, 2022

TJ is dedicated to protecting all students and staff and mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Our goal is to maintain effective in-person learning and engagement in activities while minimizing the impact of the virus on our vulnerable community members and on community resources. All guidelines are based on the most up-to-date CDC recommendations and will be updated as new information is made available from the St. Louis County health officials and from the CDC.

Click here to view the action plan for 2022 - 2023.

Updates will continue to be posted in the News section of MyTJS and here on the website.

Archived COVID Communication

List of 6 items.

  • 05.19.2022 Communication

    With increasing COVID rates in St. Louis County, the area is now classified as a medium-risk level zone, as defined by the CDC. TJ is dedicated to protecting all students and staff to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, so we have made the following updates to our health and safety policy that will be in effect for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. Please review it carefully to learn how you can assist us in our continuous efforts to create the safest possible learning environment for our students. 

    This policy will go in effect beginning Thursday, May 19, and may be updated as new information is made available from St. Louis County health officials and from the CDC. As always, you will be notified when updates are made.

    Health and Safety Precautions

    All students and staff will be expected to follow these safety precautions in order to protect themselves and others from Coronavirus:
    • Masking will be required for students and staff in classrooms and shared indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. 
      • Day students are only allowed in the dorm room to which they are assigned, and day and boarding students must remain masked when in their shared dorm rooms together.
      • Masks will not be required to be worn outdoors or when eating or drinking.
    • Since lunch periods create the greatest risk of exposure, students will continue to attend their assigned lunch time and sit in their assigned, distanced seats at lunch. Eating outdoors will be encouraged, weather permitting.
    • Students may only consume food or drink in the dining hall—never in classrooms or other indoor public spaces.
    • All students, both boarding and day, should continue to complete their daily self-reported screening questionnaire in the Orah app (formerly Boardingware) before arriving on campus each morning.
    • Students and staff should practice good hygiene by:
      • Regularly washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
      • Avoid coughing/sneezing into your hands. Use a tissue or your upper sleeve.
      • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
      • Avoid contact with anyone with respiratory illnesses of any kind.
    • Enhanced cleaning protocols will remain in place, especially for high-touch surfaces, such as desks, tables, countertops, and doorknobs.
    • All indoor events will require masking. Currently, there are no plans for an occupancy limit.

    If you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who is positive with COVID-19:

    Staff or students who develop unexplained symptoms or who have been exposed to COVID-19 should refer to our symptom decision tree flowchart to determine the best course of action. If you have any questions, please reach out to Nurse Jordan at jkivrak@tjs.org.

    View the symptom decision tree flowchart.
  • 01.07.2022 Communication

    January 7, 2022 - Based on the most recent guidance from the CDC and from local health officials, we have created a flowchart to simplify our community’s understanding of protocols related to symptoms, exposure to Covid-19, and positive cases.

    Currently, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 seem to be upper respiratory and gastrointestinal. Please be watchful for such symptoms and stay home when unwell. Additionally, we offer these updates and reminders:
    • Properly fitted masks are our best means of protection, and we will continue to expect full compliance with TJ’s universal masking policy. 
    • Since lunch periods create the greatest risk of exposure, students must sit in their assigned seats and at the proper distance from other diners.
    • Students may only consume food or drink in the dining hall—never in classrooms or other public spaces. 
    • Day students are only allowed in the dorm room to which they are assigned, and day and boarding students must remain masked when in their shared dorm rooms together.
    • For the time being, boarding students may not ride in cars or visit the homes of day students.
    • Athletic competitions are cancelled through January 31 (or later if local conditions dictate).
    • SAC optional events may continue on a case by case basis, depending on safety protocols in place at particular venues (e.g., vaccination requirements, size of venue).
    • We will only switch to virtual learning in the event of staffing shortages.
    The meeting with Dr. Rachel Orscheln, Director of Ambulatory Pediatric Infectious Diseases at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and Dr. Sheyda Namazie, the Executive Director of Clinical Value Programs at BJC HealthCare on January 6 served as positive reinforcement that TJ has the recommended protocols in place. Moreover, a community as vaccinated as ours (98%) is highly protected against severe outcomes. The doctors described this moment as a “gray zone time,” meaning that guidance will continue to change. We will be nimble in incorporating new recommendations into our policies and practices, and we remain—as always—committed to creating the safest possible learning environment for our students.

    View the symptom decision tree flowchart.
  • 2021-2022 Health and Safety Precautions

    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
  • 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.

Start Your TJ Journey

The best way to get to know TJ is by spending time on campus, meeting our students and experiencing our classes. See our community for yourself at one of our open houses, shadow days, or let us create the perfect visit just for you.

Thomas Jefferson School

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