The school is committed to safely supporting students' social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development. Our COVID-19 Task Force monitors San Francisco Department of Public Health developments and prepares for different scenarios.
During the 2020-2021 school year, students in Nursery through Grade 8 were on campus attending in-person classes in pods by October, after beginning with a combination of distance learning and outdoor classes. The high school students returned to campus by January in alternating weeks while continuing supplemental distance learning schedules.
In the 2021-2022 school year, we will return to regular schedules and class sizes for in-person and on campus learning. No distance learning option will be offered unless necessary due to COVID-19 developments.
- SFWS COVID-19 Protocols
- In-Person School
- Parallel Distance Learning
- Guidance for a Positive or Suspected Positive Case
1. What symptoms of COVID-19 should I be looking for?
- Fever, Chills, or Repeated Shaking/Shivering
- Sore Throat
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty Breathing
- Feeling Weak or Fatigued
- Loss of Taste or Smell
- Muscle Pain
- Runny Nose or Congestion
2. Are there helpful guidelines for symptom checking?
Yes. This NYT article is helpful.
Parents should be looking for new symptoms that arise, not chronic issues. Please inform the school in writing of chronic issues that may appear as COVID symptoms (hay fever, asthma, allergies, others).
3. Who do I contact if I or my child is experiencing symptoms?
Talk to your doctor. Inform the school: email@example.com.
4. How can I help the SFWS community prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- Follow school guidance according to the Parent and Guardian Agreement each family signed at the beginning of the school year:
- Keep children home with symptoms or sickness.
- Get yourself and your children tested when requested or when you suspect symptoms or exposure: https://sf.gov/find-out-about-your-covid-19-testing-options
- Maintain 6 feet of distance from others whenever at school.
- Wear a face covering and ensure children wear face coverings whenever in school.
- Teach your children proper handwashing techniques.
- Limit family social engagements outside of school.
- Parent and Guardian Agreement is included in the SFWS Pandemic Prevention and Response Plan.
- Together, our individual vigilance to follow the guidelines is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy and safe space for faculty, students, and families.
- Please also remember each family may meet the return of in-person school with feelings ranging from excitement, joy, and relief to uncertainty, anxiety, or fear. Families in our community have valid reasons for all these feelings, and it is our collective duty to hold all this diversity together.
5. Do I need to quarantine or get a COVID-19 test after traveling? (updated April 2021)
- San Francisco continues the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 as the virus is spreading rapidly in many parts of the country and around the globe. As such, non essential travel—including holiday travel—is strongly discouraged.
San Francisco Waldorf School is adapting the latest guidance to our school so that if your family chooses to travel by plane, bus, or other shared vehicles outside of the Bay Area during the holidays, we require your child to quarantine for 14 days at home before returning to in-person school. We strongly encourage receiving a negative COVID-19 test result as well. The quarantine does not apply to families driving out of the Bay Area to a family vacation, such as visiting Lake Tahoe, the beach, etc.The Travel Quarantine requirement has been lifted as of April 2021.
1. Why is SFWS moving to in-person school in the current situation?
SFWS is following City Health Official protocols and SF County guidance on when to reopen school safely. Our School committed to supporting the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of students, faculty, and families in the most supportive and healthy way possible, whether in person or via distance learning. We will balance our rigorous, SFDPH-approved risk-mitigation protocols with known benefits of in-person learning at school for children, faculty, and families.
2. What is the SFDPH guidance and support for schools?
Resources and directives available here.
3. What are the 3 main tactics SFWS school is using to stop the spread of COVID-19?
- Batching students in stable, trackable pods and tracking faculty contact with each.
- Monitoring symptoms, potential exposures, and cases on campus and at home, and clearly communicating with the community and SFDPH when cases or symptoms arise.
- Limiting time and exposure through personal hygiene, pods, face coverings, increased sanitizing and cleaning, physical spacing in classes and transitions, physical spacing for pickup and drop-off, increased outdoor time, ventilation from open windows/doors, portable and HVAC enabled air filters, canceling higher risk activities such as field trips and assemblies, and limiting non-essential visitors to campus.
4. What are pods?
- Pods are stable, small groups of children.
- Each SFWS Grade School class is split in half to create pods.
- Each SFWS High School grade class is split in four for main lesson to create the pods. Two pods of each grade main lesson group may have some crossover for track classes. This is the case for all Bay Area high schools.
5. Do I need to check myself and the student for symptoms every day before school?
- Yes. By coming to school every day, you are confirming your child is free from symptoms and exposure.
- Do not send your child to school if they have symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive.
6. What symptom screening is happening at school?
- Every visitor must sign in, acknowledging they are symptom-free following the checklist at each campus front desk.
- Teachers will evaluate each child when they greet them (no handshakes) every morning. If symptoms are noticed, children will be sent to the quiet/isolation room.
- Temperature will be taken at the front office if any symptoms are suspected.
7. Can my child come to school if I think they have symptoms?
- No. You must keep your child home with any symptoms.
- Inform school of existing conditions (allergies, asthma, chronic cough, etc.). Exceptions will be made for chronic conditions with prior communication to the school.
8. What is the guidance for face coverings?
Per SFDPH site visit and updated guidance, universal face covering and mask-wearing is required for all adults and children on all SFWS campuses, in front of the school, and at off-campus gatherings.
- Masks must be worn by all students, faculty, and staff at all times when indoors, except when eating as silently as possible. This includes even when one is alone in a room that others may use (such as in my office or in a classroom between pods). Employees and students should be outside, distanced from others, to take mask breaks. Exceptions allowed for drinking as needed.
- Ensure your child always has at least two face coverings in their backpack.
- Face coverings of all sizes are available for free from the front desk at each campus.
- Face coverings may be removed when eating and drinking (snack and lunch). Snack and lunch will occur outside as much as possible, maintaining physical distance (indoors or outdoors), and as quietly as possible.
9. What is the guidance for physical distancing?
- Remind your children to maintain
6 feet3-feet of distance between themselves and others. (updated April 2021)
- Desks are set to maintain required physical distancing in every classroom.
- Faculty will work to ensure physical distancing in a positive manner, following SFDPH guidance that acknowledges children in pods will sometimes play closer to each other during pod activities.
10. What are the plans for fresh air in classrooms?
- All windows and doors will remain open as much as possible.
- HVAC systems have been optimized to bring in fresh, filtered air into each space.
- Each room will have a portable air filter.
11. What do school entry and exit look like?
- All Adults and all children must wear masks during entry and exit and at all times on campus.
- Everyone must follow physical distancing tape/stickers in front of the school.
- KG-Grade 2 enter/exit through double doors near the front office.
- Grades 3-5 enter/exit through wooden double doors at the center of campus.
- Grades 6-8 enter/exit through the door behind the bake sale table or through the Dakin Hall foyer
- Everyone is expected to support staff in maintaining physical distancing.
12. Do the children need to comply with the guidance from all those signs on campus?
Yes. SFDPH requires all signs to be posted and followed.
13. How is SFWS handling COVID-19 testing? (updated April 2021)
Faculty will be tested at least once per month. This is more frequent than recommended by the state of CA and SFDPH.Faculty will be tested on an as-needed basis.
- SFWS is working with Agile Force to provide monthly, onsite (at High School) testing for faculty, students, and parents. We request 100 people participate each month for efficiency. All health insurance plans are accepted.
- (updated April 2021) Testing is provided for on-site for student athletes participating in SFWS after-school team sports.
14. How else is SFWS providing for a healthy and safe work environment for teachers?
In addition to all school health and safety protocol tactics (see above), regular testing, masks, face shields, plexiglass dividers, gloves, and other PPE is provided for all faculty. Requests for additional accommodations are met with a consistent process and individualized follow up.
15. What will happen when a teacher is sick?
The school will provide a substitute teacher from existing faculty or a limited number of regular substitutes.
16. Are teachers available for childcare outside of school time?
SFWS cannot facilitate childcare outside of school hours and is not responsible for protocols in those situations.
17. What about the flu shot?
CDC recommends a flu shot, but it is not required for school entry.
1. What is parallel distance learning at SFWS?
- For students unable to join in-person school due to COVID-19-related reasons, SFWS will provide a Parallel Learning Program. This will include synchronous, livestreamed lessons via Zoom for most classes and asynchronous material for classes that cannot be presented live for both in-person and online students (Games, Eurythmy, outdoor classes, others).
- Zoom links will only be provided for students participating in the program via MySFWS.
- Parallel Distance Learning is not for students absent due to a typical illness or planned travel (just like traditional SFWS school).
- Teachers will engage students in joining remotely or will follow up independently. Thank you for understanding in advance that livestreamed classes may not be as engaging as in-person school or Zoom classes in full distance-learning mode.
- Students using parallel distance learning are welcome to join their pods for outdoor education times.
1. When can my child return to school after having COVID-19 symptoms?
- After a negative COVID-19 test and being symptom-free for 24 hours
- Without a test, 72 hours without symptoms
2. When can my child return to school after a positive test result?
- 10-days quarantine after symptoms first appeared or positive test result obtained
3. When can my child return to school after being in close contact with someone who tested positive?
- 14-day quarantine after known contact with the infected person. Maybe shortened to 10-days if individual gets tested 5 days after exposure and test result is negative.
4. How is close contact defined?
- Close contact is defined as a person being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, even if wearing a non-medical face covering.
- Close contact does not include potential secondary exposure (for example, if a pod teacher is in close contact with a confirmed case, the person they had dinner with later that night in not considered a close contact, unless the pod teacher tests positive).
5. What should my child do if they are sick?
- Stay home and inform the school.
- If your child is at home sick, they should rest.
- If they are home for quarantine and recovered from symptoms, they may use the parallel distance learning option for school.
6. How will school communicate when symptoms are identified or suspected in a student, faculty, or parent?
SFWS will communicate via email with the pod (and anyone who may have had direct close contact) of potential symptoms and ask for increased symptom checking. Pod and school will remain open.
7. How will school communicate when a positive case is reported in a student, faculty member, or parent?
SFWS will communicate with the entire campus community of a positive case, without identifying the grade or pod in which the case was identified. Pods and others in close contact will be communicated with directly before the community email is sent.
8. Will the school share the identity of those who test positive?
No. In all instances, we will maintain the privacy of individuals even as we share critical health information with pods and the campus community.
9. When will school remain open or close due to symptoms or positive COVID-19 cases?
- If potential symptoms are identified, the person with symptoms will be segregated and sent home immediately to follow testing and isolation guidance (see above). School and pods will remain open for in-person learning. Classrooms, where symptoms are identified, will be disinfected immediately and again in the evening and following morning.
- If a student or faculty member confirms close contact with a COVID-19-positive case off-campus, that person will be segregated and sent home immediately to follow testing and isolation guidance (see above). School and pods will remain open for in-person learning.
- If a positive case is confirmed on campus, the pod and those in close contact will remain in quarantine for 14 days. The pod will be closed. Other classes will remain open.
- In-person learning will close if there are multiple cases in multiple pods or when at least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are positive or suspected cases within a 14-day period.
10. Will SFWS share information with the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) and other government agencies?
- Yes. SFWS will share positive case reports with SFDPH to support their disease contact tracing efforts. That will include names and contact information of those infected, along with contact information of pods and those in close contact as required.
- SFWS will also share numbers of reported positive cases (but not identities or contact information) with insurance, workers’ compensation, and other human resources agencies of the state.
- Level 1: no risk
- Level 2: low to moderate risk level
- Level 3: medium risk level
- Level 4: high risk level (distance learning)
Varying School Schedule (by grade levels):
Early Childhood: standard schedule with increased outdoor time and rotating indoor time
Grade School: rotating subject classes in blocks, revised main lesson every day
High School: students on campus and distance learning daily
- Staggered entry and dismissal across campuses
All-School class size, cohorts, faculty engagement:
- 10-14 students per class
- No desk partners
- Increase outdoor time
- No assemblies
- Limited teacher movement between cohorts
"We look forward to seeing students at school and have developed a plan to meet this moment. This is a rapidly changing situation, and we are prepared with a flexible framework."