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Impact of New Reopening Guidelines from Gov. Newsom

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Dear La Scuola Community,

I hope this finds you well. I am writing tonight to address the new K-12 guidelines for schools shared by Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday and what it means for La Scuola now that San Francisco has been added to the state health watch list.

Under Newsom’s updated guidelines, the specific metrics schools must meet to open in-person learning and remain open include:

  • Schools can reopen only when their county has been off the monitoring list for 14 consecutive days.
  • Schools should revert to remote learning when multiple cohorts have cases or five percent of students and staff test positive within a 14-day period.

This announcement doesn’t currently impact the remaining two weeks of our Summer Programs or our plans to reopen our PreK early childhood education program on August 4. We are confident that our Campus Reopening Plan shared last week adheres to the guidelines provided by the California and SF Health Authorities and that it prioritizes keeping everyone safe, healthy and engaged in in-person learning.

While our goal is to welcome students back on August 11 (Kindergarten-Grade 4) and August 12 (Grades 5-8), ultimately, we are in the hands of the City and State health officials. If San Francisco is not on the watch list 14 consecutive days prior to these start dates, it is our intention to be on campus. If not, our start date may have to be delayed. We are continuing to work on enhancing our online learning experience and will continue to offer more professional development to our teachers so that we can quickly transition if needed. We will be thinking of creative ways to engage our younger elementary students and offering them opportunities to gather in person.

We understand SFUSD closed its schools because they are unable to meet safety requirements by the State. We are fortunate that we can meet the safety needs of our community (students and teachers) and we have carefully watched EU countries safely opening classrooms in a pandemic. The data was nicely summarized by La Scuola parent Dr. Sanjay Basu in his presentation on July 16. We continue to be disappointed by decisions that negatively affect the youngest children in San Francisco. Together with other Independent schools, we are exploring how to apply for a waiver.

We will be sending a survey to all parents in the coming days asking you to share your thoughts and feelings about our Reopening Plan and any other ideas you may have. In the meantime, we can all do our part to flatten the curve by continuing to follow city guidelines, avoiding large gatherings, and wearing a mask.

I was delighted to be at school during the Summer Program as were many of your teachers. Like you, many of us are parents who are trying to make a plan for our children and yours. We are grateful to have La Scuola’s community with us as we navigate these stormy seas.

We will continue to update you as more information is available and we look forward to seeing you soon. 

Buona Serata,

Valentina Imbeni, Ph.D., Head of School
La Scuola Leadership Team & Covid-19 Board Task Force