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COVID Updates and Resources

Most Recent Update | September 9, 2021

Good news for Opening Day
We opened the school year with a truly successful testing day: 99 percent of our students and staff participated, and there were NO POSITIVES.

Ongoing Weekly Testing

In partnership with the Onondaga County Health Department and Quadrant Laboratories, MPH will begin weekly, randomized testing of 10 percent of our students and employees on Friday, September 17.

Consent for Ongoing Weekly Testing
Please remember that by your having set up a profile for yourself (MPH employee) or your child(ren) with Quadrant laboratories, you have given MPH consent to test you (MPH employee) or your child(ren) as part of a randomly selected 10 percent of students and employees who will be tested at school on a weekly basis.

The self-administered saliva testing will take no more than 5 minutes and will be conducted at the beginning of snack time (to make sure no one has eaten or drunk anything for 30 minutes before the test). Testing during snack time will ensure no disruption to the academic schedule. Our youngest students will always be accompanied for testing by a familiar teacher.
If you do not wish to give your consent to MPH to participate in randomized weekly testing, you must opt out by sending an email

to by Wednesday, September 15.

To Prepare for testing
Do not eat, chew gum, drink, use mouthwash or use any tobacco products for 30 minutes before testing.

Hydrate well earlier in the day before you test to prevent dry mouth.

If you (MPH employee)/your child(ren) are vaccinated, bring a copy of your vaccination card(s).

If you (MPH employee)/your child(ren) are not vaccinated, bring nothing.

If You Did Not Participate in On-Campus COVID-19 Testing September 7
Thank you for testing elsewhere and sending us your results in time for the start of school. Because randomized, on-campus testing of students and employees will continue weekly for the foreseeable future, we need everyone to set up a profile with the testing laboratory.

If you have not already set up a profile for yourself (MPH employee) or your child(ren) with the testing laboratory, please do so here no later than September 15. For detailed instructions, please watch this minute and a half video.
Thank you for your partnership in safeguarding the health, safety, and wellbeing of our whole community.

Update | September 3, 2021

MPH 100% Testing Day | September 7, 2021

The Onondaga County Health Department will be providing the Clarifi COVID-19 Saliva Test and has scheduled our COVID-19 testing for the morning of Tuesday, September 7. This test will take no more than 5-10 minutes. We are aware that some of us may be out of town, observing Rosh Hashanah, or honoring other commitments that day. If you will NOT be able to come to school for testing on September 7, please see the section below entitled, “What if I cannot be on campus for COVID-19 testing on September 7?”

For those who will be able to come to campus for testing, please note the following schedule and plan to arrive according to your child(ren)’s designated time slot if possible. Families with children in multiple divisions may arrive together irrespective of their particular division’s designated timeframe.

  • 8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. | Pre-K students and any others who may need extra support
  • 8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. | Lower School
  • 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. | Middle School
  • 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. | Upper School (arrive no later than 10:45 a.m.)

MPH employees may come whenever it is convenient between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

Update | September 2, 2021

Dr. Shannon Magari Leggat Community Conversation

Epidemiologist and former MPH Board member and parent Dr. Shannon Magari Leggat share her expertise through a new presentation, The Science of COVID-19, the Delta Variant and What Lies Ahead on September 2 at 7 p.m. Watch the conversation below.

Update | August 20, 2021

Watch the MPH Community Conversation from August 19

Head of School Dave McCusker was  joined by Lower School Head Amy Abdo, Middle School Head Matt Spear, and Upper School Head Fred Montas to discuss COVID-related procedures and guidance for the upcoming year.

Update | August 17, 2021

MPH Social Compact and Plan for the 2021-2022 School Year

{select image above to view printable Social Compact document}

“Manlius Pebble Hill School engenders a sense of belonging for all community members by honoring each individual. MPH supports the personal growth of every student and colleague, appreciating that each of us is freely bound in a social compact that ensures we are mindful of one another and that we act with our collective interest in mind.

Our Mission and Core Values are posted prominently in every MPH learning space and office. The introduction to our Core Values, quoted above, encapsulates the ethos of the MPH community: every person is a valued part of an interconnected whole, and each individual’s actions affect everyone in the community.

From the beginning of the global pandemic crisis in March 2020, we have tested the strength of the MPH social compact on a daily basis and have found it to be both trustworthy and effective. During 2020-2021, MPH staff, students, and their families worked together to safeguard the health and well-being of every member of our community. By doing so, we were able to achieve a remarkable feat: launching and sustaining safe, effective, daily, in-person teaching and learning for the entirety of the school year in spite of the global pandemic emergency. To learn more about our efforts last year, view the 16-minute documentary film MPH: Making Pandemic History


Building upon this strong foundation, the MPH Social Compact and Plan for the 2021-2022 School Year is designed to guide our community through the ongoing pandemic to ensure that teaching and learning continue with maximum safety and minimal disruption. This plan is based upon the successful MPH Social Compact and Plan for the 2020-2021 School Year, on our community’s hard-won experience, and on the following official guidance:


Communication and Questions 

MPH will communicate regularly with families to ensure a well-informed partnership. Please check this webpage frequently for updates and instructions. If you have questions about health protocols, COVID testing, or any pandemic-related procedures, please do not ask your child’s advisor, division head, or coach. Instead please submit questions to the Health and Safety Team (formerly the Pandemic Response Team), which will be able to respond most quickly. Directing questions to the Health and Safety Team will allow advisors, coaches, and division heads to concentrate on delivering the best possible education to your student.

COVID-19 Variants and MPH Health Protocols

The Delta variant of COVID-19 has become the primary concern for the coming school year because of its higher rates of transmissibility. MPH will continue to safeguard the health and well-being of the community by employing the layered prevention strategies recommended by health officials to slow the spread of the virus. These include, but are not limited to, our established health protocols such as:

  • Screening and monitoring individual and community health
  • Urging those who display any signs of infectious illness to stay home and get tested 
  • Requiring face coverings for everyone – regardless of vaccination status – while indoors
  • Cleaning and disinfecting daily
  • Maintaining heating ventilation and air conditioning systems to ensure they are delivering filtered, fresh, conditioned air throughout all buildings
  • Facilitating the use of outdoor spaces as much as possible
  • Encouraging recommended physical distance
  • Promoting good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Timely contact tracing in combination with quarantine and isolation
  • Supporting the vaccination process for all community members as vaccines become available
  • Providing screening testing as available through the Onondaga County Health Department

What Is Required of Me/My Child to Safeguard the Health and Well-being of the MPH Community?

Note: MPH will not use the Magnus App this year.

The MPH social compact is like a chain that is only as strong as its weakest link. The strength of our defense against the virus relies upon the active engagement and faithful partnership of each of our employees, students, and families. Please read this entire document carefully and check back to this webpage regularly for updates. Talk with your child(ren) about what to expect and work together to prepare ahead of time to meet expectations of attending school safely and responsibly.

Daily Health Assessment (DHA) Attestation

The Daily Health Assessment Attestation, which replaces last year’s Magnus Health app DHA, is a required practice for each student and family each day of school.

The DHA Attestation can be printed here.


ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL (for regular school days)

The earliest that students in grades K-12 may be on campus is 7:50 a.m.

Please do your best to arrive within these timeframes (we understand that some families have children in more than one division):

  • Pre-K students only | Rolling drop off beginning at 7:30 a.m. | Parents /guardians should park at the Center for Early Learning (CEL) and escort their child(ren) to the entrance
  • Lower School (K-grade 5) | 8:00-8:10 a.m. | Drop off at Phoenix entrance
  • Middle School students | 7:50 a.m. | Drop off at McNeil entrance
  • Upper School | 7:50 a.m. | Drop off at Phoenix entrance
  • Students must be dropped off on campus at their division’s designated entrances (not across the street in the church parking lot or along Jamesville Road)
  • Pre-K/CEL families should use only the lane and parking spaces in front of the CEL
  • Buses should use only the bus lane | please do not drop off students in this lane, even if there are no buses present
  • Students who walk, ride bikes, or drive themselves should arrive according to the designated times and entrances above


  • PreK students only | Rolling pick up anytime between 3:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. | Parents/guardians should park in the CEL parking lot and escort their child(ren) to the car
  • Lower School (K-grade 5) | 3:00 p.m. | Pick up at the gym entrance (across from the tennis courts), and use Poole Road exit
  • Middle School students | 3:15-3:25 p.m. | Pick up at the gym entrance (across from the tennis courts), and use Poole Road exit (Middle School students who are not picked up by 3:25 p.m. go to After Hours)
  • Upper School students | 3:15-3:25 p.m. | Pick up from the Phoenix entrance
  • As with arrivals, Pre-K/CEL families only should use the lane and parking spaces in front of the CEL
  • Buses only should use the bus lane | Please do not pick up students from this lane, even if there are no buses present
  • Students must be picked up on campus, not across the street in the church parking lot or along Jamesville Road

ATHLETICS (See Co-curricular Activities)


  • Lower School: Students will have masked/distanced music classes and dance classes as well as strings lessons | band (wind) instrument lessons: TBD
  • Middle and Upper School:
    • Chorus is only open to vaccinated students.
    • Students will always wear masks when singing indoors.
    • Wind instruction is open to all students, regardless of vaccination status.
    • Rehearsals will be outdoors whenever weather permits.
    • Unvaccinated students will not play wind instruments indoors.
    • 6ft spacing will be used indoors and outdoors.
    • Indoor rehearsals will be limited to 25 minutes at a time, with a 10-minute break in a block to allow for ventilation.
    • Stand-alone air filters must be on during and after instruction.
    • In the band room, theater, and choral room the HVAC system has been brought up to MERV-13. MPH is also supplementing the MERV-13 with 2 Intellipure units and fresh air from open doors (depending on weather and temperature).


  • Lower School: Extended Day will be offered Pre-K through 5 from 3:00-5:30 p.m. | students in PreK will be in the CEL. Students in K-5 will be in the Dining Hall and/or Bradlee classrooms
  • Middle School: After Hours will be offered for students in 6th-8th grades and will finish by 5:30 p.m. | the After Hours program will be held in the Barn


Face coverings must be worn by every person on the bus, regardless of vaccination status.


Until further notice, the Campus Store remains closed in accordance with MPH health and safety protocols.


MPH adheres to CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfection.


As of this writing. MPH Co-Curricular activities are TBD. Given the ever-changing nature of the virus, as well as what we learn as we monitor the many variables of the pandemic, MPH will continue to seek the guidance of local health officials and provide updated guidance based on science and data. 


Cohorts (self-contained, pre-assigned groups of students) will be maintained as much as possible to reduce the number of interactions. In some cases, students in different grades will interact across grades or divisions (e.g. some clubs, differentiated math or language classes, and After Hours Care).


As of this writing, MPH Community Programs are TBD. Given the ever-changing nature of the virus, as well as what we learn as we monitor the many variables of the pandemic, MPH will continue to seek the guidance of local health officials and provide updated guidance based on science and data. 

CONCERTS (See Co-curricular Activities)


MPH will determine the safest way to conduct parent / teacher conferences as we approach their date in November.


When a person tests positive for COVID-19, MPH seeks immediate guidance from the County Health Department and communicates with the wider community promptly and transparently. Many times, an infected individual is notified before the County contacts the school. If this is the case, please notify the Health and Safety team as soon as possible. Please do not assume that the county will contact MPH. For details on case investigation and contact tracing for isolation and quarantine, please refer to the OCHD’s Guidance for K-12 School Reopening for the 2021-2022 School Year.


The DHA is our community health screening tool and a foundational part of MPH’s social compact by which we each take responsibility for monitoring our own health, every day, to safeguard the overall health and well-being of the entire MPH community. Completing the DHA is required of every person – student, employee, visitor, or vendor – for admittance to campus.  

See the section above headed “What Is Required of Me/My Child to Safeguard the Health and Well-being of the MPH Community?”

DISTANCE LEARNING (See also Simulcast Access)

MPH continues to be nimble and adaptive to changing circumstances. MPH will conduct classes in person as long as we can do so safely; the primary mode of instruction in 2021-2022 occurs on campus and in person. Distance learning and simulcast access of classes may occasionally be necessary and can occur in one of three ways:

  1. There may be times when the health and safety of the community or school requires all instruction to move off campus. In those cases, classes will follow the distance-learning schedule posted on the MPH website. Families should be prepared to pivot to distance learning if necessary.
  2. Students who are either diagnosed with Covid-19 or quarantining, but feel well enough to follow their classes online, may access the simulcast of their classes following an email from their caregiver to their division head.
  3. In exceptional cases, students may access the simulcast during an excused absence from school. Their caregiver must make a formal request in advance by email for approval by their division head.

Other reasons, such as late mornings, fatigue, anxiety, or lack of transportation, do not qualify for access to MPH’s simulcast. Also, students who are too sick to come to school should focus on getting well and should not participate in online learning.

A student’s continuing access to the simulcast will depend on their responsibility for their school work and their productive use of the simulcast.


Read the 2021-2022 MPH Dress Code.


MPH continues to prioritize the overall well-being of students, teachers, employees, and families to create the mental, social, and emotional space for academic learning to occur. Understanding the vital importance of every community member’s sense of belonging, MPH will continue to emphasize education around issues of diversity and equity, and practice inclusion of all members of the community.  MPH intentionally creates space in the daily schedule for community members to reduce stress through a variety of ways, including practicing self-care and care for others, spending time outdoors, and staying socially connected with friends and colleagues.


All students, employees, and visitors must wear approved face coverings (no gators gaiters or scarves) whenever indoors. When an individual staff member is alone in an office or classroom and behind a closed door, face coverings may be removed.

When outdoors, individuals may choose to wear face coverings or remove them; in either case they must be mindful of physical distancing. OCHD recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated, as well as fully vaccinated people if they or someone in their household are immunocompromised,  wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings. As MPH continues to monitor community spread and vaccination rates, we will make adjustments to this protocol that are reasonable and responsible.


As of this writing, we are awaiting guidance from the Onondaga County Health Department.


Good hand hygiene is key to our ability to prevent spread of illness/disease. The importance of washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer continues to be emphasized. Hand sanitizer is available in all classrooms, hallways, and other common areas throughout the school.


Last year, employees and parents used an app (Magnus) to complete the Daily Health Assessment (DHA) for themselves/their child(ren). MPH will not use the app this year. Instead, the DHA screening will be completed as an attestation. For details, please see the section entitled, “What is Required of Me/My Child … etc.” above.

MASKS (See Face Coverings)


Large meetings continue to be held virtually instead of in person.


As of this writing, plans for Lower, Middle, and Upper School lunches are still being developed. What is certain:

  • All snacks and lunches will be prepared by our own dining services staff who are aware of allergies and food preferences, and are best able to prepare meals for the whole school population
  • Pre-K meals will continue to be delivered to the CEL
  • Meals will be eaten outdoors (weather permitting) or indoors with appropriate physical distancing in effect
  • The sharing of food is prohibited
  • In order to maintain food allergy safety, food should not be brought or sent in from home or ordered / delivered without permission from the school nurse
  • If your child is unable to eat food prepared by our dining services staff, you must provide a doctor’s note to that effect to the school nurse


As we continue to maximize our use of outdoor spaces throughout the year, students and staff should come prepared for the weather.


Parents/guardians should refrain from coming to campus for the foreseeable future. Forgotten items may be dropped off in the vestibule of the Phoenix lobby. When a visit is pre-arranged, parents/guardians will follow the guidance under “VISITORS AND VENDORS” below.

PERFORMANCES (See Co-curricular Activities)


Desks and other furniture are arranged to allow for as much distance as possible between students while adhering to current recommendations.  Students and staff will continue to avoid gathering in hallways or around lockers. The rule is if you are in a hallway talking, it is best to be walking.


MPH continues to complete fire evacuation drills and lockdown training as required by New York State guidelines.  Specifics of each training may be slightly altered to maintain safe physical distancing while still achieving the intent of the exercise.

SIMULCAST ACCESS OF CLASSES (See also Distance Learning)

SOCIAL DISTANCING (See Physical Distancing)


As of this writing, we are awaiting details from the Onondaga County Health Department. Testing continues to be one of our best methods of keeping the community safe. Early indications are that MPH will conduct weekly, randomized testing for 10-20 percent of all students and staff, regardless of vaccination status, for the first several weeks of school at least.  We will streamline the testing process with universal consent (forthcoming) and designated testing space so that there is minimal disruption to the school day.


Tours are conducted either virtually or after school hours with visitors adhering to all health and safety protocols.


Vaccination is the leading public health strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic. MPH encourages everyone who is able to receive a vaccine to do so as soon as it becomes available. Vaccines are widely available and can be located hereAs of this writing, children under the age of 12 are ineligible for the vaccine. With this fact in mind, every member of our close-knit MPH community will be especially mindful — on and off campus — of the health and well-being of every other member of our community. We are all in this together until we are all out of it together.


Visitors and vendors continue to be required to sign in and complete a paper Daily Health Assessment (DHA). Any visitor entering campus will be escorted to and from their destination with an adult host.