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2021-22 School Year Updates

Updates and information about The San Francisco School’s 2021-22 school year in response to COVID-19

Updated January 4, 2022.

UPDATED PROTOCOLS due to Omicron (summary)

  • Stay home if ill. We continue to recommend that students and staff with COVID-19 symptoms stay home from school and get tested to help us keep our community safe. 

  • Only students and staff are allowed on campus. If there is a need for a visitor to come on campus to engage with staff and/or students, the visitor must provide proof of vaccination and take an antigen test prior to entering campus. 

  • We recommend a well-fitting, high-quality mask (e.g., surgical-style mask, KN95 or KF94), rather than only a cloth mask. Cloth masks are still acceptable at each family’s discretion. Please send your child to school with at least one back-up, and remind your child to wear the mask over both nose and mouth. Outdoor masking will continue to be optional.
  • Students and staff who test positive for COVID-19 must immediately inform the school (nurse@sfschool.org) and isolate for 5 days. They may return after 5 days if they have: a negative test collected on or after day 5, no fever (without medication), and other symptoms are improving. 
  • We will revert to outdoor-only singing, eat outdoors when possible, and hold mixed-grade gatherings outdoors depending on activities.
  • In case of close contact exposure at school,
    • Students who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine.
    • Students who are not fully vaccinated are eligible for modified quarantine.
    • All close contacts, regardless of vaccination status, should test on the day of exposure and again on Day 5. If supplies allow, SFS will provide the tests (we will make every effort to do so).
  • While the current wave of infections is high, please refrain from having indoor playdates or sleepovers, and minimize prolonged and unnecessary indoor contact with others. Time together outdoors continues to be encouraged.

 _____________________

The San Francisco School prioritizes the health and safety of its students, staff, and families and complies with the mandates and guidelines of the California (CDPH) and San Francisco (SFDPH) Departments of Health, including the SFDPH’s Programs for Children and Youth  and Guidance for TK-12 Schools for In-Person, On-Site Instruction for School Year 2021-2022.  

TRAVEL/SCHOOL BREAK GUIDANCE. As some families travel and attend large gatherings this holiday season, we will institute the following protocol, effective immediately, for all students and staff after every school break of a week or longer and for unvaccinated individuals after any travel involving mass transportation (e.g., air travel).

All staff and students, regardless of vaccination status, must test twice after breaks of a week or longer: once on the day before returning to classes and again on the third day back at school (e.g., Sunday and Wednesday). 

SFS will provide at-home tests for use after breaks. Every family should have already received one BinaxNOW test kit. We will distribute additional tests to families with multiple students. (If the School requires you to use any of these tests prior to Thanksgiving, we will replace them. If you use them for other reasons, please replace them yourself).

If families are traveling at other times during the school year, unvaccinated students/staff must follow this same protocol after any trip involving mass transit. 

Please secure your own tests for this purpose.

We hope that this shift in our travel protocols gives staff and families the flexibility they need while also keeping our community safe and healthy.

COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS. Please make decisions not only for the wellbeing of your family but also for our entire school community. 

VACCINATIONS. SFS now requires all school-based adults to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with the exception of individuals who obtain a medical or religious exemption. 
 
We urge all eligible students (ages 5 and older) and all SFS family/household members to get vaccinated at their earliest opportunity. We encourage all eligible family/household members to get boosted, too. SFS will continue to assess the possibility of requiring the vaccine for eligible students.  To make an appointment, go to: https://sf.gov/get-vaccinated-against-covid-19.

Please keep your child’s vaccination record up to date in Magnus. After each dose, upload a photo of your child’s vaccination card (or screenshot of the electronic record, available here) to the immunization form section in your child’s Magnus account (Student Health Tracker → Immunization Form → Add Files).

COVID TESTING. The school will also perform immediate testing of any symptomatic staff or students with a rapid antigen test and subsequent PCR testing if needed. All test results should be uploaded to Magnus and require approval by the school nurse prior to returning to school. 

DAILY HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS. Please keep your child home if they are sick. Keep this list of COVID-19 symptoms handy. If your child is sick or has any of these symptoms contact the School Nurse (nurse@sfschool.org ) and have your child tested for COVID-19. Families are expected to continue to self-screen daily at home for symptoms.

Masks 
– All staff and students are required to wear face masks indoors. We recommend a well-fitting, high-quality mask (e.g., surgical-style mask, KN95 or KF94), rather than only a cloth mask. If a high quality mask is not tolerated by the student, cloth masks are still acceptable at each family’s discretion. 

Please send your child to school with at least one back-up, and remind your child to wear the mask over both nose and mouth. Outdoor masking will continue to be optional. 

Outdoor masking is optional for Kindergarten - 8th Grade students and staff, while Preschool students and staff will mask outdoors. 

Lunch and recess 
– Eating will take place outdoors when possible. Students eating indoors will maintain as much space as possible.  

Programmatic Mixing of Grades – Cross-grade activities will be held outdoors whenever possible.

Ventilation – The ventilation was upgraded last summer and all classrooms have MERV-13 or MERV-18 filtration systems as well as portable HEPA air filters which will be kept on while indoors. During wildfire season, carbon filters will be used to decrease volatile organic substances. We will keep windows and/or doors open whenever feasible and comfortable to maximize natural ventilation. The use of outdoor space will be maximized whenever possible.

Campus Visitors – Only students and staff are allowed on campus. If there is a need for a visitor to come on campus to engage with staff and/or students, the visitor must provide proof of vaccination and take an antigen test prior to entering campus. 

Safe transportation practices – Students who carpool with other families should remain in stable groups. Please treat the vehicle as an indoor space, open windows, turn the fan on high and set to outdoor air, and wear face masks. When taking public transit, CDPH requires everyone to wear face masks, including those who are fully vaccinated.

COVID CASES ON CAMPUS & MODIFIED QUARANTINE. In the event of a COVID case at school, SFS will follow the SFDPH’s guidance for schools (summarized here ). If there is an exposure on campus, all staff and students within the class will be tested and may be permitted to attend school as part of a modified quarantine as long as they do not have symptoms. Unvaccinated contacts will be tested twice a week during the COVID positive individual’s quarantine has ended.

AIR QUALITY POLICY. Our school nurse monitors the Air Quality Index (AQI) throughout the day and works in conjunction with school administration to ensure a safe environment for staff and students. 

  • When AQI exceeds 100 (orange, unhealthy for sensitive groups), preschool/kindergarten students will be brought indoors. 
  • When AQI exceeds 150 (red, unhealthy) all students will be brought indoors, and if necessary, we may consider school closure. 
  • When AQI exceeds 200  (purple, very unhealthy) school will close.

THE COVID TASK FORCE

James Harding - Music Teacher and Faculty Trustee
Tiffany Fong - Athletic Director, Health and Wellness Teacher, and parent to George (K)
Kim (Burke) Fabiani - Kindergarten Co-Head Teacher
Laura McGourty - Upper School Counselor, SEL Coordinator, and parent to Raeya (K)

Neeta Takhar - Family Association Past Chair, and parent to Rohan (5th)
Darpun Sachdev, MD - SFDPH Clinical Prevention Specialist, and parent to Celina (1st) and Aristu (6th)
Prassana Jagannathan, MD/PhD - Infectious Disease Specialist, Stanford Medical School, and parent to Mika (7th)

Kate McElvaney - Head of Lower School
Laura Post - Strategic Initiatives Manager, and parent to Lila (8th) and William (’17)
Carly Reiter - Director of Design, Engineering, and Technology
Steve Morris- Head of School, and parent to Harper (4th), Mason (’21), and Rowan (’19)