COVID-19 Protocols

Telra Institute COVID-19 Protocols

Version:  September 20, 2021


COVID-19 presents an evolving challenge for schools, businesses, and other institutions. While the disease environment, treatment options, and public health guidance are in flux, we understand families want some clarity on expectations for the new school year so that they can prepare. With that in mind, Telra Institute has established this protocol to guide our school opening plan.


Our primary goals in establishing this protocol are:

  • Health and safety of our students and staff

  • Continuity of in-person learning in the Telra model

  • Allowing a “normal” school experience as much as possible

These goals naturally involve trade-offs, and our challenge is to find the right balance among these goals as community conditions and data about COVID-19 change.

Tier System (on hold)

Note: On Aug 23, Mecklenburg County put in place a face-covering mandate which supersedes the Tier System. 

Telra’s evaluation of the COVID contraction risk faced by its students and staff will be informed by a version of the NC COVID-19 County Alert System applied to the residence areas of our enrollment. This system uses three metrics—case rate, the percent of tests that are positive, and hospital impact—to gauge the degree of community spread and assigns a color-coded tier:

Red: Critical Community Spread

Orange: Substantial Community Spread

Yellow: Significant Community Spread

Light Yellow: Moderate Community Spread

Green: Low Community Spread

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Implementation Detail on Key Protocols

Face coverings

  • Telra encourages teachers to use outdoor time to provide students with frequent mask breaks and to enable mask-free time each day. We will use opportunities during recess, lunch, PE, and outdoor learning (as lesson plans and weather permit) to maximize “face” time. 

  • In circumstances where face coverings are required, individuals should follow the mask specification guidance provided by the CDC. i.e., a 2+ ply fabric worn over the nose and mouth.

  • Face coverings are required on school buses by CDC Order.

  • Students with a bona fide medical or behavioral condition that prevents proper mask usage can be exempted from wearing a face covering. Securing an exemption requires the completion of a Telra Face Covering Exemption form, signed by a medical authority, and reviewed and approved by the School Administration Team.

Physical distancing

  • Telra classrooms are configured such that grades K-1 will typically have ~3 ft of spacing while grades 2-3 will have 5-6 ft of spacing.

  • However, children do move around and this distancing cannot be guaranteed at all times, which is why we employ multiple layers of protection

  • Students will be assigned seats in classrooms and at lunch tables to minimize exposure to nearby classmates


  • All Telra classrooms are outfitted with HEPA air purifiers capable of 5-6 air changes per hour.

  • Teachers are instructed to crack windows and doors to increase ventilation, but they have the discretion to close them if it interferes with a comfortable classroom environment

Sanitization and hand washing

  • High-touch surfaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly.

  • Proper and frequent hand washing will be modeled and encouraged.

  • Water fountains remain, for the time being, closed. We ask all students to pack enough water for the day, including extra if they participate in an afterschool program.

Stay at home if you are sick

  • Students or staff should not come to (and will not be allowed on) campus when they are sick or showing symptoms of being sick. Students or staff who present symptoms consistent with COVID, including congestion, fever, cough, sore throat, vomiting, or diarrhea, will be required to leave school until they meet the return to school criteria defined in the NC Strong Schools toolkit:

    • Option 1: A negative test for COVID-19 or an alternative diagnosis. (A negative antigen test may be used to satisfy this criteria if the person has a low likelihood of COVID-19 infection, e.g., no known or suspected exposure, fully vaccinated, or recent COVID-19 infection.)

    • Option 2: 10 days since the first day of symptoms and at least 24 hours since the person had a fever and other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

  • Telra will require all staff and families to complete an attestation that they understand the symptoms of COVID-19 and that they must inform the School Administration Team if the staff member or student has exhibited these symptoms, tested positive for COVID-19, or been in proximate contact with anyone who has tested positive for or had symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.

  • School staff will check student temperatures with a quick forehead scan upon arrival by car or bus. We will monitor this operation and make adjustments if necessary.

Quarantine and return to school

  • Positive individuals: If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, they will be required to quarantine away from school. The return to school protocol will be determined based on the StrongSchoolsNC toolkit (or other updated health guidance). Currently, this protocol requires all of the following

    • At least 10 days from the start of your symptoms (or the date of test if you don't have symptoms)

    • and - It has been 24 hours since your fever is completely gone (without using medicine)

    • and - Your symptoms are improving.

  • Exposed individuals

    • Consistent with the most recent StrongSchoolsNC toolkit, vaccinated staff members are exempted from quarantine in the event a colleague or student tests positive for COVID-19. Similarly, students are exempted from quarantine if a classmate tests positive, provided all students were wearing face masks.

    • For this reason, it is imperative that all students wear face coverings consistently and properly. COVID-19 cases are inevitable, and we want to minimize the number of children impacted by any quarantines.

    • Outside of the exemptions described above, quarantine duration guidance for "close contact" is as follows:

      • 14 days from the last exposure, unless

      • 10 days since last exposure and no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring, or

      • 7 days since last exposure, no symptoms, and a negative COVID-19 antigen or PCR test taken no earlier than day 5

Close contact

  • Close contact is typically defined as within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes cumulatively over a 24-hour period

  • In a school environment, children are not considered close contacts if they are properly masked

  • The guidance does not distinguish between indoor and outdoor for these purposes. Individuals in close proximity for extended times, even outdoors, can be considered close contacts.

  • A few common outside-of-school situations are presumptively close contacts:

    • Living in the same house

    • Ridesharing in the same vehicle

    • Playdates without masks


This protocol will continue to be updated as we deploy additional tools and resources to reduce risk and maximize flexibility and resilience of our learning model.


If you have questions or comments, please reach out to us directly at