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Dr. Krejcarek Shares Expertise to Help Schools Reopen Safely

Dr. Krejcarek Shares Expertise to Help Schools Reopen Safely

A new how-to guide to reopen K–12 schools across the country is based on real-world experiences of school and public health leaders. President Ann Marie Krejcarek is one of only two independent school heads to contribute her expertise.

Informed by her experience designing and implementing Convent & Stuart Hall’s successful on-site COVID-19 testing program, President Ann Marie Krejcarek shared her insights and key learnings in a new how-to guide created for educators, school leaders and public health partners across the country.

The playbook, produced by Testing for America with support from The Rockefeller Foundation and the Skoll Foundation, is based on the experiences and evidence shared by over 90 school leaders. With many schools and districts still doing remote learning only or slowly shifting to hybrid instruction, the playbook offers step-by-step guidance to design and roll out an effective testing program and reopen safely. Dr. Krejcarek is one of only two independent school heads to contribute her expertise.

“The playbook refers to a ‘swiss cheese model’ where layers of mitigation steps lead to higher confidence in holding in-person school,” Dr. Krejcarek says. “Knowing that students, faculty, staff and others have been screened reduces one of the highest risks of introducing infections into a community, so testing often and as extensively as possible is key.”

Dr. Krejcarek was interviewed to help researchers “understand the promising practices, challenges and opportunities to improve K–12 Covid-19 testing programs,” according to a summary of the project included in the playbook. Dr. Krejcarek’s insights draw from her experience guiding Convent & Stuart Hall, with the support of Capsid Consulting, through the pandemic while instituting a wide range of mitigation measures, including a robust testing program. Weekly on-campus testing offered for students, faculty, staff and families since September, and a reporting system that tracks required testing at age-appropriate intervals, has proven to be a crucial tool for protecting the school community.

The day-to-day practice of implementing a testing program is complex, Dr. Krejcarek says, adding that forming a group to lead the program, developing relationships with local public health organizations, working with vendors, creating a data management plan and following response protocols for when a community member tests positive or has symptoms, are all keys to why Convent & Stuart Hall was able to safely return to in-person instruction as soon as the San Francisco Department of Public Health would allow.