Roadmap to Reopening
Principles in Reopening Plan
As we move into the 2020-21 school year, we ask for your partnership in supporting efforts to keep our community safe. It is our collective duty to engage in low-risk, responsible activities and behaviors both on and off-campus.
Our campus reopening plans are guided by the following principles:
- Fostering the physical and emotional well-being of our students and our community. Moments of connection where our students can be together is critical now more than ever.
- Offering the exceptional education we have always delivered. The educational experience and our curriculum have not changed and will entail Italian language immersion, International Baccalaureate Units of Inquiry, and our Reggio Approach, with the same learning outcomes as before.
- Relying on our flexibility and empathy as we leverage our expertise in dynamic teaching to adapt as we learn and grow through this experience.
- Mutual trust in and from our community to respect our social contract by adhering to the health and safety protocols we have shared.
- Deferring to science and data from a vast network in conjunction with local and national guidelines
Covid-19 Prevention & Mitigation Plan
Below are the steps we are taking to ensure your children continue to receive high-quality educational and social-emotional experience in a safe environment on campus. These measures and recommendations have evolved to focus on mitigating droplet transmission between adults, a primary method of Covid-19 prevention in addition to keeping surfaces clean through enhanced cleaning and frequent hand washing to break transmission. As we learn more through research, data, national and local guidance evolves, we will continue to make updates.
Social Distancing Protocol Posting
On our campuses, we follow Social Distancing guidelines and practices outlined in Appendix A - SFPHD Social Distance Protocol Checklist (Health Officer Order No. C19-07g). This notice has guided our protocol and procedures with regard to signage, education and training, sanitizing measures and protective measures to ensure faculty and staff stay home or leave work if sick, wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing and prevent unnecessary contact on campus. This notice is displayed at the entrances of our campuses.
Risk Acknowledgement Form
We require a signed copy of the SFDPH Risk Acknowledgement Form for all families who wish to return to campus. This document will be shared electronically with families and may be returned via hard copy or digitally. The form will be kept on file by our administrative team in a secure manner.
Cleaning & Disinfection
Shared surfaces will be regularly cleaned and disinfected with EPA-approved anti-COVID-19 disinfectants, and use of shared items will be minimized. Specifically:
- Classrooms, break rooms, bathrooms, and other common areas including all shared surfaces will be cleaned multiple times throughout the day.
- Janitorial crews will continue to perform thorough cleanings each evening and deep cleanings will take place weekly at each campus.
- EPA-approved Quat20 is used for cleaning at the recommended dilution. We will continue to monitor recommendations and adjust accordingly.
- All faculty and staff will have easy access to cleaning spray or wipes for any immediate needs.
- We will provide dedicated classroom materials and supplies by cohort including some items individual to the student.
- Materials and toys that cannot be cleaned appropriately will not be used in the classroom. Books and other paper-based materials like mail or envelopes are allowed and do not need additional cleaning or disinfection.
- Only washable bedding is permitted as applicable.
- Belongings will be kept separate from each other to the greatest extent possible.
Stable Student Cohort
Students will be kept in small, stable cohorts with fixed membership that stay together for all activities (e.g., instruction, lunch, recess) as documented on cohort rosters, and minimize/avoid contact with other groups or individuals who are not part of the cohort. The school follows all attendance procedures and record-keeping that reflect fixed membership in each cohort. Each cohort has a designated classroom space indoors and designated learning & recreation space in outdoor campus space.
- Childcare Providers are currently required to limit the size of their cohorts to groups of 14. This number may be revised. Cohorts for grades K-6 have been redesigned to allow smaller class size of between 10 - 14 students each. Cohorts will not exceed our standard class size of 18.
- Children will be kept with the same cohort each day unless a change is needed for a child’s overall safety and wellness.
- Same grade-level siblings will be assigned to the same cohort as possible.
- Staff are scheduled to teach the same cohort to the greatest extent possible.
- Interactions between the cohorts on campus will be minimized to the greatest extent possible and gatherings of multiple cohorts are eliminated.
- Learning and activities, including mealtime, will be moved outdoors to the extent possible.
- Special subjects such as art and music are currently being planned to minimize interaction.
- Sports with shared equipment or physical contact may be played, but only within the same stable cohort and maintaining physical distancing as possible.
On-Campus Social Distancing Protocols
Space and routines will be arranged to allow for at least 6 feet of physical distancing of students and staff. We will complete, widely display signage on common doors, and follow the SFDPH Social Distancing Protocol. In addition:
We are fortunate to have large outdoor spaces on campuses and will facilitate learning outdoors to maximize the use of this space. This year, students will spend roughly twice the amount of time outdoors on a typical day. Designated outdoor areas for each cohort are creatively designed for academic learning, physical education (PE), environmental studies, lunch and recess weather permitting. Tables, chairs and any shading will be provided for instructional activities when needed. Access to the school garden will be scheduled.
Entrance, Egress & Movement within School
Our approach to arrival, dismissal and on-campus movement will reflect precautions designed to minimize interactions between students, parents or caregivers, faculty and staff, outlined below.
General Drop-Off and Pick-Up Guidelines
- Arrival and drop-off times will be staggered to limit contact between families.
- Individuals entering campus must stay 6 feet apart, stickers placed on the ground to indicate proper spacing while waiting.
- Students will be dropped off outside the school building and directed toward the health screening station.
- All family members and caregivers are required to wear face coverings when dropping off or picking up children.
- We discourage adults from congregating during drop off or pick up.
- The same family member or designated person is encouraged to drop off and pick up the child every day. If this is not possible there can be no more than two adults dropping off and picking up a child. Grandparents and other older relatives are highly discouraged from picking up children.
Preschool: Dogpatch Campus
- Entrance: Student arrivals times are scheduled by age group in 3 different time slots of 15-30 minutes. Entrance is at the 851 Tennessee gate, which provides direct access to our yard. The cohorts gather in designated areas of the yard together with their dedicated teachers. The cohort moves to the classroom at the end of their time slot or when all the students have arrived. Each cohort has a separate entrance to their classroom since all the rooms have direct access to the common yard.
- Egress: Student dismissal times are scheduled by age group in 3 different time slots, 15-30 minutes each. Teachers lead their cohort to the yard right before their assigned time slot and gather in the same designated areas of the morning. Parents and/or Caregivers will wait, 6ft apart outside of the school gate and administrators will dismiss one child at the time.
- Movement within school: the school layout organically allows us to avoid interaction within the school building with a minimal staggering of class schedule in place. All classrooms have an adjacent dedicated bathroom and direct access to the common yard.
Grades K - 2: Fell Campus
- Entrance: Student arrivals times will be scheduled by fixed cohort to minimize/avoid contact with other groups or individuals who are not part of the cohort. The school has provisioned for a second entrance to the school, using a side gate. The main entrance moves students up the front staircases to the first and third-floor classrooms. The side gate entrance moves students to the play yard on campus, from which students enter the second-floor classrooms. Signage will be clearly posted and adults will be positioned to manage movement of students and staff to avoid close contact and/or mixing of cohorts. Accommodations will be made for any student that requires it.
- Egress: Student dismissals will be scheduled by fixed cohort to minimize/avoid contact with other groups or individuals who are not part of the cohort. Both modes of egress will be used (similar to daily arrivals). Parents and/or Caregivers will follow established protocol for either waiting 6ft apart (outside of school entrance) or arrival by car (stay in car).
- Movement within school: There are two stairways from first to third floors. Each stairway will have a designated direction. When passing in hallways, as indicated by floor markings, everyone must stay to the right and they should politely encourage others to do the same. At places where students congregate or routinely wait in line, we have marked spots on the floor or the walls 6 feet apart to indicate where to stand. Lockers or cubbies for students' belongings may be located inside or outside the classroom: in both cases, routines will be in place for staggered access and signage will be posted indicating 6 feet of distance.
Grades 3 - 6: Mission Campus
- Entrance: Student arrival times will be scheduled by fixed cohort to minimize/avoid contact with other groups or individuals who are not part of the cohort. The school’s main gate on Shotwell, closer to the school loading zone will be the designated entrance and cohorts will gather in designated areas of the yard together with their dedicated teachers. The cohort moves to the classroom through a one way set of stairs that lead to both the first and second floor: each cohort enters at a specific time, staggered by 5-10 minutes. Signage will be clearly posted and adults will be positioned to manage the movement of students and staff to avoid close contact and/or mixing of cohorts. Accommodations will be made for any student that requires it.
- Egress: Student dismissals will be scheduled by fixed cohorts and at staggered times to minimize/avoid contact with other groups or individuals who are not part of the cohort. Parents and/or Caregivers will follow established protocol for either waiting 6ft apart (outside of school entrance) or arrival by car (stay in car).
- Movement within school: There are two stairways leading from the yard/basement level to the first and second floors. Each stairway will have a designated direction. When passing in hallways, as indicated by floor markings, everyone must stay to the right and they should politely encourage others to do the same. At places where students congregate or routinely wait in line, we have marked spots on the floor or the walls 6 feet apart to indicate where to stand. Lockers or cubbies for students' belongings may be located inside or outside the classroom: in both cases, routines will be in place for staggered access and signage will be posted for waiting 6 feet apart
Face Coverings & Essential Protective Gear
We understand the widespread use of face coverings can significantly reduce the spread of infection.
- All faculty and staff are required to wear a face covering that covers both nose and mouth while on campus. This includes family members and caregivers waiting outside to drop-off or pick-up children. Consistent face covering use by adults is most important in preventing the spread of COVID‐19.
- Students in 3rd grade and above (age 10 and over) are required to wear a clean face covering while on campus. This will be supported by teachers and in-class routines.
- Students in 2nd grade and below (age 2- 9) are strongly encouraged but not required to wear a face covering. This will be supported by teachers and in-class routines. Any child under 2 years old is an exception and will not wear a face covering due to the risk of suffocation.
- Children eating and napping are not required to wear a face covering.
- Face coverings may be removed during active outdoor exercise when students are spaced 6 feet apart. We may also have designated “face-covering free” moments in the day as long as physical distancing is in place.
- In all school settings, students with documented medical or behavioral recommendations are exempt and will be seated 6 feet away from other students. These students should not be excluded from class if they cannot consistently wear a face covering; we will work with these students’ families and teachers to develop and implement a personal safety plan.
- We have purchased reusable face coverings for all faculty and staff.
- Extra disposable face coverings will be available for students, faculty, and staff as-needed. We encourage everyone to bring their own clean, reusable face covering.
- In addition to face coverings, plastic face shields will be available for faculty and staff members on an as-needed basis. Face shields may only be worn in addition to their face covering.
- We understand the importance of seeing teachers’ faces during instruction, especially in a bilingual environment. We are exploring options that may make it easier for students to see teachers’ mouths, such as by using clear masks, especially for our younger students.
Health Screening for Students & Staff
We ask that every member of our community be diligent and disciplined in monitoring for symptoms, daily. For our younger students, this responsibility falls to the parent or caregiver. Any staff, student or household member exhibiting any illness symptoms must stay home and communicate with school immediately.
Screening for Our Students
- All families are required to take all children's temperatures before arrival on campus.
- Health screening stations will be set up outside the entrance of each campus for temperature checking and symptom screening.
- Teachers will be equipped with thermal thermometers to check or recheck the child’s temperature if a reading is not reported upon arrival. All faculty and staff conducting health screenings will wear appropriate PPE (face mask and face shield) per SFDPH guidelines.
- Staff will ask parent(s)/caregiver(s)/staff the following questions in addition to a visual. If the answer is “yes” to any one of these questions, the individual will not be permitted to enter the campus, and will be separated from others and sent home immediately.
- Has your child had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19?
- Does your child have any of these symptoms?
- Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher) or chills
- Sore throat
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Not being able to taste or smell, or saying that things taste or smell different (within the last 10 days)
- Nausea or vomiting
Please Note: A runny nose and any pre-existing conditions (i.e., frequent migraines) are not currently considered symptoms by SFDPH.
If Your Child Feels Ill at Home
Please do not come to school. Please communicate immediately with your Campus Manager (PreK: firstname.lastname@example.org or K-8: email@example.com) and we will share step by step instructions provided by SFDPH for your particular situation. Current symptoms to look for are listed above.
- School staff will check all individuals for signs of illness. Any child who fails the screening and presents with symptoms or fever will be sent home and required to follow SFDPH guidelines for self-quarantine and self-isolation and may only return after they have completed self-quarantine or self-isolation.
- Any child who becomes ill during the day will be isolated in a designated location until a parent or caregiver can pick them up. We strongly encourage families to revisit their family pick-up strategy to ensure an adult can make themselves available for pick up should the need arise.
- Signage is posted prominently on campus to reinforce this message.
Screening For Our Faculty & Staff
- Any adult who fails screening or becomes ill during the day will need to leave immediately. If they cannot leave immediately, they will be isolated in a designated location until arrangements can be made for departure.
- We have implemented a new Badge System across campuses. Each morning all faculty and staff will swipe in and be prompted to answer above screening questions upon arrival.
- Campus Managers are assigned to provide additional verbal health screening checks to each faculty and staff member on campus.
- Staff who develop symptoms of illness will leave work as soon as possible and will follow SFDPH guidelines for self-quarantine and self-isolation and may only return after they have completed self-quarantine or self-isolation.
- All staff members will be provided this Health Screening form which will be sent digitally prior to re-opening and will be asked the following questions each day:
Within the past 10 days, have you been diagnosed or tested positive for Covid-19?
Do you live in the same household with, or have you had close contact* with, someone who in the past 14 days has been in isolation for, or tested positive for, Covid-19?
Have you had any of the following in the last 24 hours?
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- fever of 100.0° or greater
- muscle or body aches
- sore throat
- persistent runny nose
- new loss of taste or smell
If you have any of the above symptoms or said yes to any of the above questions, please contact your supervisor via email for direction.
Healthy Hygiene Practices
- Children who pass the health screening will wash their hands with soap and water or clean their hands with hand sanitizer as they enter.
- Hand washing for students and staff will take place often and routines have been adjusted so staff and children will wash their hands frequently, including:
- Immediately after arriving,
- Before and after eating,
- Before naptime (if applicable)
- After going to the bathroom or diapering, and
- After wiping noses, coughing or sneezing.
- Handwashing stations and / or hand sanitizer (kept out of the reach of young children and supervised) will be provided throughout campuses and accessible from every classroom.
- Continued best hygiene practices will be in place to prevent the spread of infection, including covering one’s coughs and sneezes and washing hands frequently.
- Handwashing supplies will be replenished throughout the day to ensure soap, paper towels and hand sanitizer do not run out.
- Signage emphasizing good hygiene including the importance of washing hands for 20 seconds frequently throughout the day will be posted on each floor of both campuses.
Identification & Contact Tracing
- We have assigned a designated staff member, our Pandemic Coordinator and Director of Administration, Dani Sollberger, to work closely with our Division Heads and Campus Managers to ensure full collaboration and compliance with SFDPH contact tracing protocols.
- Stable student cohorts are designed to ensure smooth facilitation of contact tracing.
- We will use the following process for identification, contact tracing and communications
If the school is informed about a confirmed positive case from an individual, the following steps are taken:
- School acknowledges the case and explains next steps to the individual including providing instructions while the individual waits for test results.
- School reports case to SFDPH using Site Information Gathering Tool
- Our Pandemic Coordinator will use the SFDPH Childcare Hub for communications : Phone: (415) 554-2830 Press 1 for COVID-19, then press 6 for Schools Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- School communicates with the confirmed case’s cohort and any other contacts using Close Contact Advisory always maintaining the confidentiality of the original positive case as required by Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- The Close Contact Advisory letter contains important details including: the need to stay home for 14 days, precautions before a hospital visit, a strong recommendation for testing and actions to be taken if the test proves positive, including not attending a different program.
- SFDPH contact tracing team calls confirmed case, cohort and other contacts.
- After discussion at the Leadership Team level, the school uses General Exposure Advisory to communicate to all stakeholders in the community about the confirmed COVID-19 case, respecting confidentiality. When we notify all school staff, families, and students that an individual in the school has a confirmed case of COVID-19, we cannot disclose the identity of the person as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- School systematically documents, communicates, then archives the case.
We will follow SFDPH guidelines shared on August 7, 2020 for testing, home isolation and quarantine measures and returning to school. Per the protocols, “close contact” means people in your home, and people who take care of you or who you take care of. Also considered “close contacts” are people who stayed within 6 feet of you for more than 15 minutes, or who had direct contact while they were not wearing a facemask, gown, and gloves.
For pods or cohorts of children under 12 years age, all staff and children in the same pod or cohort as the person with COVID-19 are considered “close contacts”. “Close contact” also includes people who live with, take care of, or are taken care of by the person with COVID 19. This includes siblings, other family members, and caregivers. Additional situations that involve “close contact” include carpooling, eating together, and socializing together outside of the program.
If a student or staff member has Covid-19 symptoms
The individual will be sent home for at least 10 days and testing will be required prior to returning to campus. The school must be notified of the results and will work with the individual on a campus return date in conjunction with SFDPH. The cohort will remain open and no specific communication with the health department is required.
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19
SFDPH will be notified immediately to facilitate contact tracing. The individual must isolate at home for at least 10 days after first symptoms occurred or from test date if asymptomatic. Close contacts at school (cohort and affiliated faculty and staff) identified and will be notified with a Close Contact Advisory that they must quarantine for 14 days after the last date the person was at school. All other staff and families on campus will receive a General Exposure Advisory. Testing for the cohort will be required and the cohort will close for 14 days after last exposure. Non-exposed cohorts remain open. La Scuola will work with individual and cohort on a campus return date in conjunction with SFDPH.
- Student or staff member may return 10 days after testing positive AND symptoms have improved and if it has been at least 24 hours hours since the last fever without the use of fever reducing medications.
- If a student or staff member tests negative after experiencing symptoms, he or she may return to school if there has been no close contact, symptoms have improved, if it has been at least 24 hours since the last fever without the use of fever reducing medications AND test results are shared with the school.
If a student or staff member has close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case
The individual will be sent home, Home Quarantine steps and testing will be required. The individual must remain home for 14 days from last contact. If close contact is unavoidable i.e., you are in the same household and cannot isolate, the quarantine period will increase to 24 days, 14 days of quarantine plus an additional 10 days after the individual’s isolation period. Test results must be presented to the school. A negative test would not shorten the quarantine period of 14 days. The cohort remains open and staff and families will be sent a General Exposure Advisory.
Sibling / Family Member Policy
Currently, the SFDPH and CDC have no quarantine requirements for any siblings or family members that have been close contacts of an individual that has tested positive (what is referred to as a “contact of a contact”) unless they also test positive. The quarantine requirement only applies to those that have had close contact with an individual that has tested positive (what is referred to as a “close contact”).
In collaboration with SFDPH, the COVID-19 Task Force, the Board Executive Committee, and our Leadership Team, we have adjusted our Sibling / Family Member Policy to the following:
In the case of a cohort closure due to a positive case of COVID-19, all family members in the household will be asked to stay at home until the student in the closed cohort and all family members in the household can show documentation that they have tested negative for COVID-19 or have completed a 14-day quarantine.
Family members (siblings, parents that work at school, etc.) not directly exposed and requiring quarantine per SFDPH policy may return to campus immediately after they receive a negative COVID-19 test provided they:
- Have had no close contact with any individual who has tested positive for COVID-19
- And that they remain COVID-19 symptom-free
Below you will find a brief description of the steps we take, in collaboration with SFDPH. All families, faculty, and staff will follow isolation and quarantine practices that include:
- 10-day isolation for the individual that tested positive.
- 14-day quarantine from the day of last exposure to the positive individual, for all others in the cohort and any close contacts (defined by SFDPH as anyone who has spent 15 minutes or more, unmasked, within 6 feet of an individual who has tested positive.)
- Report any child that develops any symptoms while in quarantine immediately.
- Get tested for COVID-19 and receive a negative test result. This will not shorten the quarantine time, but is performed to enable contact tracing and inform other close contacts of any subsequent cases to quarantine.
- Confirm no close contact with any other individual who has tested positive for COVID-19.
- La Scuola will carry out a deep cleaning of the cohort’s room, and all common areas and high touch surfaces used by the class in compliance with SFDPH protocol.
Physical Distancing Measures
In the Classroom
- Measures will be in place throughout classrooms including in-class physical distancing, increased ventilation through open windows and air filters, dedicated classroom materials and supplies by cohort including some items individual to the student.
- In classrooms, we space students 6 feet apart. When space is limited, 4-6 foot distancing may be permissible.
- Teachers must always maintain 6 feet of distancing. Portable barriers / partitions available for designated specialists on each campus.
- Desks for students in Grades 2 - 5 will be seated approximately 6 feet apart, face in the same direction to the extent possible so students do not sit facing each other unless a physical barrier is present. Students in Grades K - 1will be seated 4 to 6 feet apart with shields in place.
Physical Distancing Practices
- New occupancy limits calculated based on space and posted for classrooms and common spaces including bathrooms.
- Meetings will be conducted virtually throughout the year including faculty and staff meetings, professional development, parent-teacher conferences, etc.
- In offices, desks will be arranged 6 feet apart and barriers will be placed on each desk.
- Administrative staff that typically rotate between campuses will be assigned to one campus to the extent possible given the role.
No Visitors on Campus
- No parents, caregivers or family members will be allowed on campus while children are present. If a visit is necessary (contractors, etc.) individuals will be screened and will be required to follow all protocol including wearing a face covering at all times, washing hands frequently and abiding by all social distancing measures in place. Any frequent visitors will be asked to follow the Covid-19 testing guidelines we have in place for our faculty and staff.
Ventilation & Windows
We mitigate the risk of poor ventilation and low room air exchange, and maximize the use of windows and ventilation systems to maximize intake of fresh air and minimize recirculated air, based on Harvard’s “Schools for Health”
We recognize the importance of increasing air circulation indoors and will be keeping windows open as appropriate throughout the day, ensuring outdoor learning is maximized in the daily routine, and taking measures to improve our HVAC and forced air systems as follows:
- At our Dogpatch campus, we have an HVAC system with Merv 13 filters in place which will be replaced every two months. In addition, each classroom is equipped with an air purifier with HEPA filters changed 1-2 times per month and are efficient for 800 square feet, the maximum size of our classrooms.
- At our Fell campus, we rely on a large number of large windows to cool the space / circulate the air and a steam / radiator heating system. There is no forced air in the building. Each classroom is equipped with an air purifier with HEPA filters changed 1-2 times per month and are efficient for 800 square feet, the maximum size of our classrooms.
- At our Mission campus, we rely on a large number of large windows to cool the space / circulate the air and a forced-air heating system throughout. The furnaces will be equipped with Merv 13 filters. Each classroom is equipped with an air purifier with HEPA filters changed 1-2 times per month and are efficient for 800 square feet, the maximum size of our classrooms.
Community Health Pledge & Our Collective Responsibility
In reviewing and signing this Community Safety Pledge, we acknowledge the role each of us plays in maintaining a healthy and safe environment and commit to following the recommended guidelines presented.
In addition to this pledge, we require the following of all our community members including faculty, staff, students and families:
- Ensure you are social distancing and engaging in socially responsible activities when you are not on campus. If you think you may have engaged in an activity where you may have been exposed, stay home, and monitor symptoms for 14 days.
- We require all community members to follow health authority guidance on personal interactions and social activities, errands, going out, and travel
- Follow best practices in keeping our children safe including low-risk activities
- Reinforce good hygiene practices.
- Review and sign all recommended documentation including the Community Safety Pledge and Risk Acknowledgement Form prior to coming on campus.
- Anyone who has traveled outside California, traveled internationally, or by plane, must quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus. By limiting travel to within California, we all remain under CA State guidance for the prevention of Covid-19.
- We strongly urge our community to stay local to the SF Bay Area and recommend that anyone who chooses to travel outside the Bay Area or to areas with high levels of Covid-19 transmission or engages in activities that would put anyone at higher risk of contracting the virus that causes Covid-19 stay at home to quarantine for 14 days before returning to campus.
- If you need to travel beyond the Bay Area to other parts of California for non-leisure reasons, it's our expectation that you assess the data in that county and carefully consider whether traveling there will add meaningful risk to our community. For any such necessary travel, we strongly recommend you consider this travel guidance from the CDC.
Staff Training & Family Education
- Our staff will receive regular Covid-19 mitigation training during Professional Development and Faculty meetings throughout the year.
- Our entire community has access to resources posted on our website and will receive additional communications via email from our Leadership Team .
- Copies of new protocols, procedures, and other appropriate signage will be regularly updated, posted on each campus and shared with the community.
- We will continue to educate all staff and families on evolving protocols and requirements.
- We continue to update the FAQ section of our website.
- For any additional information or to submit a question, please reach out to our Director of Administration and Covid-19 Staff Liaison Dani Sollberger
For Staff Specifically
- All staff have been instructed orally and in writing to not come to work if they are showing any signs of illness.
- All staff have been provided a copy of our planning and preparations documentation digitally and hard copies are also available on campus.
- Physical distancing will be emphasized and supported while on and off campus.
- All teachers and staff will have access to hand washing stations and are required to wash hands at the start and end of each shift, after sneezing, coughing, eating, drinking, using the restroom, helping a child use the restroom, changing a child’s diaper or soiled clothes, when changing tasks, and frequently during each shift. Hand sanitizer will also be provided.
- All staff will be provided with appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and will be instructed to wear clean face coverings at all times when at work. Face shields will be available.
- We recommend that all staff change clothes and/or shoes before or upon arriving at home after a shift in order to reduce the chance of their clothing or shoes exposing anyone in the household to the virus. La Scuola requests that staff working at the preschool have a change of shoes at school and that they change into them upon entry.
Covid-19 Testing of Students & Staff
- All teachers and staff must be tested prior to returning to school; ideally within 7 days of returning in person and no more than 14 days per SFDPH. This applies to any La Scuola employee that is scheduled to be on campus.
- We have implemented a workforce testing program to ensure our faculty and staff are tested on a monthly basis with 50% of employees testing every two weeks. This frequency may be adjusted due to new recommendations, requirements, or operational considerations. This testing is for asymptomatic screening.
- View local testing options that accept health insurance or order an at-home testing kit that accepts health insurance via Pixel, which is a high-sensitivity at-home PCR testing system that automatically reports results to SFDPH and CalREDIE and guarantees test results within 72 hours. We are continuing to evaluate testing options and will update accordingly.
- All staff have been provided a virtual orientation, written documentation, and electronic documentation to use their health coverage (currently a Kaiser HMO plan) to meet testing requirements. As we are a school that collects tuition, we provide documentation of our commitment to cover costs of all testing, through use of primary health care providers (Kaiser) which we have confirmed reimburses the Pixel at-home testing kit.
- Any employees who are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 are required to arrange for testing and to follow SFDPH protocol immediately. Our Pandemic Coordinator will guide each employee through the process so they understand what exactly is required.
- Families must notify La Scuola immediately if their child(ren) has any symptoms of Covid-19, has been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid-19, or has tested positive for Covid-190, and will work with Pandemic Coordinator to follow SFDPH protocol for self-isolation and quarantine, including getting tested.
If Someone Tests Positive
- Notify La Scuola immediately if a student or staff member tests positive or has been exposed to someone that tests positive for Covid-19. We have assigned a designated staff member, our Pandemic Coordinator and Director of Administration, Dani Sollberger, to work closely with the individual to ensure full collaboration and compliance with SFDPH contact tracing protocols.
- Per SFDPH Guidance, we will notify and work with SFDPH in taking appropriate actions and precautions.
- SFDPH will help us determine if the classroom, cohort, or school needs to be closed. Note, schools with smaller and more contained cohorts are less likely to require school-wide closure.
- Individual must follow self-isolation and self-quarantine guidelines set forth by SFDPH and only return to school as outlined by guidelines.
Data & Evaluation
We have an assigned Pandemic Coordinator who is the liaison with the San Francisco Department of Health and is the main point of contact for all students, families, faculty and staff with regard to monitoring effectiveness of infection prevention and control measures, identification of illness, absences and contact tracing, response protocols, documentation and follow-up processes, and data collection efforts to measure and monitor transmission. The Coordinator works closely with SFDPH and will record, track, follow up with and report any positive cases.
Plans for Simultaneous Distance Learning
We have identified simultaneous Distance Learning strategies for any students with underlying health conditions; students who may be in isolation or quarantine; and / or students who choose to remain off-campus long-term and learn from home.
Short-Term Distance Learning
Specific accommodation for students or cohorts that are in short-term isolation or quarantine for any reason will be made on a case-by-case basis depending on the student’s health needs. Asymptomatic students will, using school-issued Chromebooks as grade appropriate, follow a schedule of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities that is aligned with the in-person learning program from home.
In the case when the cohort is still open, this may include joining an existing cohort that is already in Distance Learning or streaming into on-campus classes and regular 1-1 online consultations with the student’s teaching team and advisor. Emphasis will be placed on developing key skills and understandings to allow the student to return to on-campus learning without being penalized for missed daily on-campus practice. In the case that a student is unable to continue regular study in one or more curricular areas during the short-term absence from school, a remediation plan will be developed by the student support team within one week of the student’s return to campus. The plan’s duration will not exceed 1.5 times the student’s absence (assumed to be three weeks).
Long-Term Distance Learning
La Scuola is prepared to provide Long-Term Distance Learning in parallel with on-campus learning to meet the needs of students who remain away from campus for longer than the standard isolation/quarantine periods (assumed to be two weeks). Students in this track will be supported to meet the same grade-level learning outcomes as their on-campus peers. In the case that students in this cohort are mixed-age, students’ work will be directed by individualized learning plans developed by the Distance Learning Coordinator in coordination with the support services team. Individualized learning plans will aim at the same learning goals as the student’s grade level cohort though learning topics and materials may be different as agreed in advance in writing by teachers and parents. The Division Head will give final approval to each individualized learning plan.
In the case that there is a sufficient number of students in the same grade to form a remote learning cohort, group learning will be organized along the principles that guided the successful all-school remote learning practice in Spring and late-Summer 2020. At the elementary level, a teacher will be assigned to lead this group. Learning goals will be identical to same-grade on-campus learning. The distance learning teacher will have the same prerogative to shape curriculum plans to meet group needs as on-campus teachers. At the middle school level, students in Long-Term Remote Learning will work according to long-term learning plan agreed to by the school and family (aligned with grade-level learning goals), stream into classes as appropriate, and consult regularly 1-1 with the multi-subject teaching team.
Triggers for Switching to Distance Learning
A return to Distance Learning will take place should 5% percent of students and staff on campus test positive within a 14-day period. We have an assigned Pandemic Coordinator who is the liaison with our local health department and is the main point of contact for any questions regarding practices, protocols or potential exposure. The Coordinator will record, track and report any positive cases. Any closure decisions will be made in consultation with SFDPH and will be consistent with privacy requirements such as the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
- In effort to be transparent with our community and share updates as we have them, we have outlined and implemented a detailed communications plan.
- La Scuola sends weekly video messages from our Head of School to our community with an update on various aspects of the program, operations and any timely and relevant news that impacts our school.
- Division Heads provide campus-level updates each week with classroom and grade-level direction and opportunities for feedback from parents.
- Since January 30, we have sent 33 weekly communications from the Head of School and more than 50 messages from our three Division Heads. We have conducted five surveys with families and two with faculty and staff.
- An archive of the external-facing communications is available for reference on our Covid-19 Resources & Updates website. Division Head messages are available upon request and are not posted publicly because they contain sensitive information.
- Surveys are conducted regularly with our community to better understand thoughts about returning to in-person learning and general sentiment given the circumstances.
- Our Leadership Team frequently hosts question and answer sessions, “virtual coffees” and other virtual events to facilitate dialogue and provide the opportunity to ask questions and share thoughts. These events also serve as a forum to share detailed information with our community that impacts their student learning. Questions are documented and used to inform the FAQ section that is regularly updated.
Equity and inclusion is an active and ongoing process that aims to increase access and engagement in learning for all students by identifying and removing barriers. We believe that reopening our campuses, especially for our younger students, is the greatest equitable approach for our community. With equity as the cornerstone of our Reggio Emilia philosophy, La Scuola continues to support the whole child socially, personally, and academically, whether in person or remote. Through these critical services, we serve a broad range of our families, many of whom are essential workers.
- In March, we established a Covid-19 Relief Fund that enabled our families to keep their children enrolled, especially those impacted by the pandemic, which we believe is the best way to fully support the growth and development of our students.
- Special accommodations and distance learning plans are in place for the vulnerable or high-risk members of our community (please reference our Plans for Simultaneous Distance Learning above). These plans rely on synchronized learning with dedicated teachers, supplemented with asynchronous learning, including weekly check-ins with students and their families as a small group or one-on-one and as needed.
- Learning materials and tools (including school-issued Chromebooks for grade 3 and above) are provided so students can have full access to the program and fully participate.
- We’ve supported families and staff members to ensure access to high-speed internet access as well.
- Social-Emotional Support (SEL) provided by our two SEL specialists allows us to focus on the social-emotional and academic learning of our students, identifying those at high risk or struggling, creating frequent touchpoints and communicating with families and students, one-on-one to address their personal, social and academic growth in collaboration with their teachers.
- We focus on the mental health and wellness of all our students through weekly assemblies, grade-level gatherings that provide opportunities for connection and socializing with classmates that complement structured learning times.
- Covid-19 training, resources and education opportunities are shared with all students and families. We continue to adjust these resources in relation to the specific needs of a family.
Resources We Rely on to Guide our Planning
- San Francisco Department of Health
- SFDPH Guidance related to Childcare, Schools, and Programs for Youth
- Reopening TK-12 Schools for In-Person, On-Site Instruction Preliminary Guidance for School Year 2020-2021
- SFDPH Guidance related to Childcare, Schools, and Programs for Youth
- Isolation and Quarantine Guidance - SFDPH
- Interim Guidance: Out of School Time Programs
- Tip Sheet: Reducing COVID‐19 Risks for Learning Pods
- COVID‐19 Health Checks for Children
- FAQ: Contact Tracing at Schools, Childcares, and Programs for Children and Youth
- When Someone has Suspected or Confirmed COVID‐19: Quick Guide for Schools
- California Department of Health
- California Department of Education
- Center for Disease Control