Frequently Asked Questions
What is COVID-19?
- COVID-19 is a disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’ The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
- Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19.
How does COVID-19 spread?
- The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing). Individuals can also be infected from and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and touching their face (e.g., eyes, nose, mouth). The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.
Source: World Health Organization
Questions From Our Community
There are many unknowns surrounding this rapidly evolving situation and we thank you for your patience and partnership as we navigate it. Below we’ve included some answers to questions recently asked by our community. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and concern and strive to keep the dialogue transparent and our community healthy, relying on the best resources available including the CDC and CA Dept of Public Health.
Updated March 11, 2020
Are grade-level trips and class field trips being canceled?
- We are continuing to evaluate grade-level trips on a case by case basis. Currently, we have postponed the grade 7-8 trip to Italy and all faculty professional development to be held in Reggio Emilia this Spring. Your Division Head will be communicating other event updates directly.
- Field trips to large facilities that may qualify as a mass gathering or that require public transportation are currently on hold. Smaller field trips will continue to be evaluated on a case by case basis and communicated by your Division Head.
What does "enhanced" cleaning mean?
- Disinfecting solution - a dilution of 1/4 cup of clorox in a gallon of water - is used to wipe down "high touch surfaces" like doorknobs, handrails, water fountains, light switches, phone/printers/elevator buttons/alarm pads are disinfected mid-morning during the school day
- Restrooms are cleaned and disinfected mid-morning during the school day, including disinfecting all toilets, sinks and mirrors, urinals and stall doors.
- Cafeterias are swept and mopped after morning breakfast and lunch
- Trash is removed after each meal, and garbage cans are cleaned and disinfected after lunch.
Does La Scuola have plans for a school closure?
Per the CDC, we will be making school dismissal and cancellation decisions in coordination with our local health officials. We have been communicating with the SF Health Department and collaborating with other Heads of School from the Bay Area and the CA Independent Schools about keeping our community safe and preparing for potential school closure, and, most importantly, how we ensure that student learning remains educational and engaging if we move to an online format due to potential mandated school closure. While we have no current plans for a school closure, according to the CDC’s FAQs for K-12 Schools, a school may need to shut down for 14 days, or possibly longer, if a student or staff member attended school before being confirmed as having COVID-19. Dismissal and event cancellation decisions will be considered on a case-by-case basis using information from health officials about the local conditions. Our teaching teams are in close collaboration developing remote learning plans appropriate to each grade level that will be shared by Division Heads.
What happens when there is a school closure?
- Our Leadership and Learning teams have developed Continuity of Education Plans that will continue to engage our students and maintain their learning through alternative methods should La Scuola be advised by health authorities to close our campuses. These remote learning plans will be shared by each Division Head.
- As the CDC states, If schools are dismissed, schools can consider the following steps:
- Temporarily cancel extracurricular group activities and large events.
- Discourage students and staff from gathering or socializing anywhere.
- Discourage gatherings at places like a friend’s house, a favorite restaurant, or the local shopping mall.
- Ensure continuity of education.
- Temporarily cancel extracurricular group activities and large events.
Updated March 5, 2020
What is La Scuola asking of community members (faculty, staff, families) that have traveled to a CDC-defined high-risk area?
If you have known exposure to someone who tested positive to COVID-19 or has visited an area identified by the CDC at Level 3 or higher, we ask that you follow CDC guidelines for self-quarantine. Anyone in our community (staff, parent or child) that travels to an area identified by risk Level 3 or higher will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days from the date of their return and ensure they are illness symptom-free per CDS recommendation prior to their returns. We ask that you please communicate directly with our Head of School, Valentina Imbeni or Director of Administration, Dani Sollberger.
What will La Scuola do if we are informed by the local health authorities including the CA Department of Public Health and the SF Department of Public Health of an immediate threat, known risk or positive case of COVID-19 in our community?
- We will take immediate action to pause classes, share plans for online or remote learning as appropriate per grade level and communicate swiftly with our families.
What should I do if I am concerned about the well-being of someone in my family?
- We ask that you seek immediate advice from your healthcare provider. See these Facts about COVID-19.
What does La Scuola do when someone on campus shows signs of illness?
- For students on campus that are showing symptoms of illness, faculty and staff will follow the usual protocol by removing the student from class, asking a parent or guardian to pick them up and asking the families to wait until they are symptom-free before returning to school. We use thermometers on each campus to determine if someone has a fever. We ask that anyone that has shown symptoms of illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath to send in a doctor’s note prior to returning to school.
Can you please let me know if members of our community have traveled to areas identified by the CDC as Risk Level 2 or 3?
- We are not at liberty to disclose private information about La Scuola employees or families in our community for legal reasons. We can assure you we are taking the enhanced precautions that the CDC recommends, which you can find here for those that travel to Italy and other international destinations. Please let us not forget to treat each other with kindness, respect, and solidarity and hold on to the values that our community stands out for.
Updated March 2, 2020
What is La Scuola doing?
- Following guidance from the SFDPH, California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
- Increasing messaging about core disease prevention and respiratory and hand hygiene.
- Providing suggestions for schools and families on how to talk to children about COVID-19.
- Exploring options to provide continuity of learning for students in the event of quarantine or school closure.
What can students, families and staff do?
- Be aware of symptoms of illness and stay home if you are not feeling well.
- Continue to follow best practices for prevention of the spread of viruses, including COVID- 19 and the common cold or flu: wash hands frequently; do not touch eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands; cover mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing; and get a flu shot.
- Respect the privacy of students and staff, and take steps to prevent discrimination.
- Parents and guardians, ensure your contact information is up-to-date in the event that large group notifications are sent by phone, email, and text message. More information.
- Keep yourself up-to-date on what the SFDPH, California Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggest.
- Discuss your child’s questions and concerns with them and help them practice good prevention. Depending on your child’s age, some helpful resources may include: “Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus” and “How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus.”
If a case is detected that impacts a school, what are some possible steps we might take?
- Work with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to evaluate exposure risk and make decisions regarding quarantine.
- The decision to close a school would be made on a case-by-case basis in collaboration with the Department of Public Health, and would take into account the general safety of all students and staff.