Community Committment (Revised July 2022)

Athena Pandemic Protocols
2022-2023 School Year

This is our most recent Community Commitment. We will continue to revise our protocols as needed and able, and will provide written notice of any changes that are made.

Our world’s current culture of caution dictates now more than ever that it is imperative we work together as a community. Whether we are ON or OFF campus, we are counting on everyone in our community to be mindful of their choices and adhere to the guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Austin Public Health.

Each classroom’s community is a delicate ecosystem unto itself, and yet part of the greater whole of Athena. We ask that as you read the following, you keep in mind all the human beings your choices are affecting.

Prior to Your First Day of School
Whether or not your child is at home with you, traveling, or enrolled in a camp, we ask that you be mindful of following all CDC guidelines beginning at least five days prior to when school starts, and that your child take an at-home antigen test the morning of their first day of school.

Mask Wearing on Campus
The protocol for Low and Medium Community Levels:
  • Masks are optional outdoors for all adults and children;
  • Masks are optional indoors for all adults and children.

The protocol for High Community Levels:
  • Masks are optional outdoors for all adults and children;
  • All adults, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks when indoors with children;
  • All Primary children must wear masks while inside during work time (children do not wear masks while napping);
    • All Primary children need to bring a clean mask to school every day (or five on Mondays).
    • The guides continue to conduct lessons around masks, why we wear them, and why they are important to keep ourselves, our friends, and our family members safe.
    • The guides will conduct frequent check-ins with their students.
    • If we notice your child’s mask does not fit properly, we will provide one that does.
  • Tots children are not required to wear masks.

Mask resources, Athena student-approved: Martex Health, Bailey Blue, Happy Masks

Temperature and Health Checks at Home
Before school each morning, check your child’s temperature and symptoms. If your child has a temperature greater than 100° F or two or more of the following symptoms: cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose or congestion, fatigue, chills, muscle aches, loss of smell or taste, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, please notify the front office at (512) 494-6237 and do not send them to school until they have received a negative Covid test result.

Symptoms at School
A student presenting with Covid symptoms while at school will be sent to the front office while they await pick up by an authorized adult. We ask that you arrive within 30 minutes of notification that your child needs to be picked up. Please make sure Athena has up-to-date information about emergency contacts and adults that are authorized to pick up your child from school.
  • Anyone with a fever (100° F and greater) must not return to school until they are fever free without the aid of medication for 24 hours and have proof of a negative Covid test.
  • If a child could not attend school due to an illness with Covid-related symptoms, a negative Covid test result is required for readmittance to Athena.

Positive Cases for Staff Members and Students
If a staff member or student tests positive for Covid, they/their parents are required to notify the school immediately by emailing Please answer the following questions in this email:
  • Is the positive person symptomatic? If so, what are their symptoms and when did they start?
  • When was their positive test administered? Was it a PCR test or an at-home antigen test?
  • Did they have known exposure?
  • Is anyone else in your household symptomatic or testing positive?
Staff members and students who test positive must quarantine for at least five days from the date symptoms developed or they tested positive. If your physician recommends a longer quarantine, please adhere to their advice.
  • Individuals who test positive may not return to school until their symptoms are resolving, per CDC guidelines.
  • Athena will report all positive cases to Austin Public Health and Child Care Licensing.
Any time there has been possible exposure to a classroom caused by a staff member or student testing positive, Athena will notify the affected families, communicating all necessary information, outlining the plan, and preserving the anonymity of the positive person. 

Exposure for Staff Members and Students
Athena reserves the right to modify our quarantine and testing protocols based on the specific details of each known exposure. Our goal is to minimize disruption to our students’ learning, while continuing to keep our community as safe as possible.

Per the CDC’s Test to Stay (TTS) protocol, any vaccinated or unvaccinated student who has been exposed to Covid may stay in school without a period of quarantine if physical proof (a photo with a date/time stamp is fine) of a negative at-home antigen test result is presented to Admin at drop off every day for five days. The test must be taken the morning of each drop off, meaning the child must test negative every day for five days to continue attending school. Alternatively, the child may quarantine for five days, with a test taken on day five, before returning to school.

Defining Quarantine 
Quarantine means isolation from others and only leaving the house for essential needs. It also means that when you are around anyone not living with you, you are outside and either masked or more than six feet apart. It is essential that everyone involved agrees to the rules of engagement and conditions of quarantine, risk, and informed consent as we try to keep each other safe. Parents, guides, cleaning staff, everyone who sets foot on campus needs to agree to maintaining the agreed upon practices for quarantine and risk management. 

Suggestions for Talking about Risk and Consent 
We are all learning new skills in initiating and being responsive to conversations about safety, risk, and consent. It is ideal that we enter into these sensitive conversations from a place of informed consent and equity. Ideally we recognize that everyone has lived a life and incurred injury and betrayal regarding consent and informed consent. We will each come to these conversations with a different set of expectations and the more transparent we can be about this from the beginning the more likely we are to arrive at a place of mutual understanding. Start from a place of genuine curiosity, perhaps even a checklist of what you need to discuss to keep you on task, and remember to listen carefully as you speak.

Anytime you travel you take on a bit of unknown risk. We ask that you be mindful of following all local and CDC guidelines anytime you travel, and that your child take an at-home antigen test the morning of their first day back to school.

Extracurriculars and Camps 
If your child is enrolled in a group care setting throughout the year, we request that the group care is adhering to the guidelines set forth by the CDC.

Our protocols are subject to change regularly as we learn more about the virus, the variants, and how they impact our community. We commit to continue to improve or modify our protocols in order to protect you, your children, our teachers, and our staff. We commit to continue to work very closely with our medical and public health advisors, and to practice honesty and transparency in our communication with you. We will do our best to give our community at least one month’s notice in the event of a policy change that affects our families.