Reopening Our Campus

Health and Safety

Important Phone Numbers

Erie County Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline

Nichols Health Office and School Nurse Michelle Derenda:


There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself is to avoid exposure to the virus. The following are the best ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

List of 7 items.

  • About COVID-19

    COVID-19 is an illness caused by a virus that can spread from person to person. Symptoms can range from mild or no symptoms to severe illness, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure. Symptoms may include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea. You can become infected with COVID-19 by coming into close contact with an infected person, from respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, or by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.
    Read More
  • Avoid close contact

    Maintain six feet of distance between yourself and people who are sick, and people who don’t live in your household.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently

    Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly. Including your electronitc devices.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes

    Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or use the inside of your elbow. Throw used tissues in the trash, and immediately wash your hands or use hand sanitizer afterward.
  • Cover your mouth and nose

    Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face mask in public and around people who don’t live in your household, especially when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Monitor your health daily

    If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and follow CDC guidance.
  • Wash your hands often

    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

Mental Health, Behavioral and Emotional Support Services and Programs

List of 8 items.

  • Mental Health, Behavioral and Emotional Support Services and Programs

    The Nichols Counselor/Wellness teachers will adapt in-person counseling and classroom Wellness classes to meet New York State guidelines for safety and social distancing from a trauma informed and social emotional learning (SEL) platform. We recognize both students and teachers have and will experience a significant amount of change and are sacrificing “normal” behaviors for the common good. The counselors will collaborate with the school community to provide a safe and trusting environment for all involved.
  • Individual Counseling

    In-person sessions will have to be kept to a maximum of 15 minutes with students if held in our offices. Sanitization will occur between consecutive student sessions, and there will be a set amount of time with no students in the offices should consecutive sessions need to occur. Outside space will be used as often as possible. If more than a brief session is required, we will have to move to a larger space or continue by using a confidential Zoom or phone call. This space will need to be planned out. Virtual counseling will be available during a hybrid or online school protocol via Zoom. CORE Team members will follow the same protocol. Counselors will work closely with the school nurse, teacher and administration to address any needs or emergency issues.
  • Group Counseling

    “Lunch bunch” groups are an integral component to the 5/6 program. Students will continue to participate in these groups during lunch on campus and virtually, if necessary.
  • Social Emotional Learning (SEL)

    Social Emotional Learning (SEL) refers to the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
    Within the Trauma-Informed/SEL framework, the counselors will guide our school in helping to provide an atmosphere where individuals feel validated while we coach everyone in how to make responsible choices for community safety. We will offer teacher training to become a trauma-informed school, to learn about student mental health, teacher self-care and teacher burnout and social and emotional learning.
  • Trauma-Informed School

    The guiding principles of a trauma-informed school are that we work as a system to reduce likelihood of re-traumatization. Trauma can take many forms and we need to bring to light that students and teachers experience massive change over the last few months. Leading with a trauma-informed framework means ensuring safety, choice, collaboration, trustworthiness and empowerment. The concept is similar to “universal precautions,” in treating the entire community with dignity and inclusion, while recognizing that a student’s adverse situation or inability to cope will likely affect their ability to learn.
  • Wellness Classes

    Given that the counselors do not have classrooms, Wellness is taught in borrowed rooms. Nichols will provide a designated space for each counselor to put down items for teaching so as not to use the classroom teacher's desk. Smartboard items will need to be sanitized prior to use. Students will need to be assigned personal wellness textbooks as opposed to a classroom set. Wellness teachers will follow the Nichols classroom protocols.
  • Programming

    Off-campus speakers will not be permitted to appear at Nichols. Any Wellness programming will take place in safe places and will be integrated within regular academics through teacher training.
  • Data

    Identifying needs is a priority since the New York State plan suggests using data to drive the program. We will develop student and parent surveys to assess social/emotional and mental health issues and concerns.

Important Phone Numbers

Erie County Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline

Nichols Health Office and School Nurse Michelle Derenda:

Travel Advisory

Those under a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travel to high-COVID-19 areas for longer than 24 hours are not allowed to come to Nichols School.

About Us

Nichols School is a nationally recognized college preparatory coed independent school with a 128-year history.