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Ask The Doctor: Covid-19 and Reopening La Scuola

Thursday, July 16, 2020


"The good news is that our test positivity rate continues to least 10 times lower than communities in Florida and Texas."
"There's a lot of things we can do that are low to moderate in risk reduction. I think we should do all of them simultaneously to be as safe as possible."

We were very honored to have Sanjay Basu, MD, Ph.D., a current La Scuola parent, and infectious disease epidemiologist and internal medicine physician, join us on July 16 for a special Q&A session with La Scuola parents to talk about the impact of COVID-19 and our plans to reopen campuses in August.

Below, Head of School Valentina Imbeni talks about how reopening for in-person learning has always been La Scuola's goal, and reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics also supporting Prek-Grade 5 students returning to the classroom.

Ciao La Scuola,

I am talking to you from Dogpatch today, always the happiest place in town!

I want to thank you for attending the talk by Dr. Sanjay Basu, a La Scuola parent and infectious disease epidemiologist. We had 160 participants and so it was truly a privilege to listen to Sanjay share his data and findings from around the world on the safety of reopening of PreK-8 schools.

The reopening of our space for in-person learning has always been a goal of La Scuola and we are very reassured that the data is supporting our decision. The American Academy of Pediatrics is also supportive of this, and while there is some discussion around college and high school students because of their age, that’s a completely separate conversation. The PreK-8 space seems to be safe and I think the benefits of having these ages groups in school outweigh the risk. Obviously, risk assessment is personal and Sanjay reminded us that there is no such thing as zero risks. For students that may have unique health concerns, or parents as well, we will be offering an online learning option, the details of which will be shared next week by your Division Heads. If that is the route you are going to take, please stay tuned for more information.

I also want to comment on the recent decision by San Francisco Unified School District to not reopen their schools for in-person learning this fall. An independent school like us is a very different type of environment. We are smaller, we have more resources and therefore we are able to open within the safety guidelines that were published by the City of San Francisco Health Department last week. It will be a real challenge for our public schools which is a great shame for all the students who will be unable to return to class this fall.

The health and safety of our entire community is our top priority. Sanjay also reminded us that we must be very cautious making sure the adults at school are protected because he also shared that transmission typically doesn’t come from children but from adult to adult. I think that all of us as a community continuing to take precautions and follow the guidelines that we published is going to be the key to a healthy La Scuola in the fall.

Please continue to send us your questions. You asked many great questions today, and if there are more, or if it went unanswered, you can send them now and they will be published on our Covid-19 FAQ page.

We will continue to be in compliance with the guidelines we receive from the California Health Department and the San Francisco Health Department. If the City of San Francisco Health Officer decided that we need to go into shelter-in-place, we will obviously comply with that decision. But once again, we are not regulated by SFUSD but we are regulated by the City of San Francisco.

With that, I hope you have a fantastic weekend. We are now in the third week of Summer Programs, it’s very exciting and it’s great to see many of you here. We look forward to seeing all of you in person next month.

Ciao and Grazie!

Valentina Imbeni, Ph.D.
Head of School