2020-21 School Year & COVID-19 Information
We would like to remind you, as we plan for the return to in person instruction, if your child or any family member has any symptom at all, has tested positive for COVID-19, or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, your family must write to email@example.com
- Update - September 4, 2020
- Update - September 1, 2020
- Update - August 6, 2020
- Update - July 30, 2020
- Update - July 20, 2020
- Update - July 13, 2020
- Town Halls - July 7 and 13, 2020
Dear Wornick Families,
As we shared with you earlier this week, Wornick recently received a waiver from San Mateo County allowing our school to reopen for in person learning for TK-6th grade students starting on September 14th. Over the past few months, we have continued to develop and revise our reopening plans in accordance with changing health conditions, evolving regulations, environmental factors, and educational best practices. We are proud of the remote learning program we have delivered and are encouraged by the positive experiences our students, teachers and families have had with our educational program thus far.
Receiving the waiver is not the only factor in our decision to bring back students. We applied for a waiver because we believed that our health and safety plan was strong and that our school size, relative to larger school districts, would benefit from the flexibility of being able to reopen on our own schedule. After significant discussion, planning, and committee work, we have decided to begin phasing our students in for in person instruction on September 14th. In reaching this decision, we considered the following factors:
We want to make sure we are bringing our students back in a thoughtful and measured manner. We also want to be realistic about the scale of adjustments to in person learning that we can execute in an effective and educationally beneficial manner. Therefore, the next phase of our plan is to bring back our entire TK-Kindergarten program for a full day of in person instruction beginning on September 14th. In person instruction for our students will combine outdoor instruction with indoor instruction in well ventilated spaces in accordance with our health and safety protocols. During our first two weeks of in person instruction we will closely monitor our:
- Health and Safety Protocols to ensure we are implementing them in the most effective and comprehensive manner
- Hybrid Learning Program to ensure that students at home are able to learn effectively and meaningfully alongside students in the classroom
Two weeks after our TK-Kindergarten students return, we plan to bring our 1st grade students back to campus on September 29th. As we bring our youngest students to campus we will continue to evaluate our in person learning measures and fine tune our hybrid learning. If conditions allow, we will continue to phase in older students. We will provide another update on a timeline for grades 2 through 6 by September 25th.
To assist our school in planning for in person learning, we need all families with students in TK-1st grade to complete the survey informing us whether you plan to send your students to school for in person instruction. TK/Kinder/1st grade parents will be required to attend a parent orientation on September 10th at 8pm to review all of the requirements to return to in person learning.
For all families, it is important to note:
- We cannot guarantee that there will be no cases of COVID-19 in our community. What we are embarking upon is an effort to provide in person instruction in a manner that minimizes risk of transmission. We are relying upon the diligence of all of our families to adhere to our plan and county requirements to assist in minimizing risk.
- The waiver process does not apply to 7th and 8th grade. Under the new color-coded tier system set forth by the Governor on August 28th, San Mateo County is in the "purple" tier. To open without a waiver or for 7th and 8th grade, San Mateo County has to be in the lower "red" tier for 14 days.
- If air quality is poor, we may have to transition to remote learning if we are unable to use outdoor spaces or leave windows open.
- There may be other triggers that require us to return to remote learning, such as exposure to COVID-19, a confirmed case, or human resource/operational requirements.
- For this initial phase, drop off times will be assigned and will be between 8-8:30am. Pickup times will be assigned and will be between 2:45 and 3:15pm on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday; 12-12:30pm on Wednesday, and 2:15-2:45 on Friday. When we phase in more grades, we anticipate using the full hour of pick up that we originally shared in our reopening plan (8:00-9:00am and 2:45-3:45pm).
- To accommodate the pick up times on Fridays, starting September 25th, Kabbalat Shabbat will be at 3:30pm. Please note there will be no Kabbalat Shabbat on September 18th for Erev Rosh Hashanah.
In writing this note to you all, I'm aware of the diverse viewpoints, desires, needs, and perspectives that exist in our community. In being a community day school, we balance your voices that you have shared with us throughout the summer in addition to the many considerations we included in moving ahead with our reopening plan. I want to offer the words of Rabbi Donniel Hartman on the notion of pluralism to help frame the communal considerations we continue to take into account in reopening our school:
A community's ability to live with difference is enhanced in direct proportion to the rich variety of ways in which it is able to assess diversity. Without some measure of pluralism, difference is always classified as someone being right and someone wrong. It requires an act of significant self-restraint, humility and largesse of spirit to declare that one thinks the other opinion to be wrong, yet nevertheless, to fight for its right to not merely exist, but to grow and influence others.
I share these words to remind us of the remarkable uniqueness that exists at our school and of our power to respect the different choices and values of our community members. We know that some families would like us to pursue a slower path to reentry and some would like us to phase our students in quicker. Our school holds these perspectives alongside our numerous other health and safety, operational and educational considerations in reopening.
We thank you for the trust you have placed in us and for your continued partnership,
Dear Wornick Community,
I wanted to send you a brief update on our reopening plans. This morning we received word from San Mateo County that our waiver application for TK-6 in person learning was approved by the California Department of Health. We were among the first schools in San Mateo County to receive approval.
We know that you have many questions about what this means for your students. This waiver does not mean that we are reintroducing in person instruction for our TK-6th grade students immediately. As our recent communications have stated, the current health conditions favor a phased reentry approach. We will continue to work alongside our health and safety committee to bring students back in a safe way. Our original timeline for communicating with you all has not changed. We will be sharing an update on TK-2nd grade on September 4th and will update the rest of the school on 3rd grade and above as soon as we have more information.
Thank you again for your support and partnership,
Our county was placed on the state watchlist on July 29 for failing to meet the criteria of having less than an average of 100 new cases per 100,000 people over a fourteen day period. As of August 3rd, our county's fourteen day average was roughly 140 cases. Being on the watchlist means that a school cannot open for in person instruction. In order to be eligible to resume in person instruction, schools must be located in counties that are off the watchlist for a minimum of fourteen consecutive days. At this point, it seems statistically improbable that our county would be off the state watchlist by August 25th when our first day of school is planned. Importantly, while the state has announced the possibility of waivers that may allow for exceptions even for schools in counties on the watchlist, San Mateo County has not yet determined this process nor published its waiver application yet. We have expressed interest in receiving a waiver application from the county so we can evaluate what is required. At this point we do know that waivers will only be available for students through 6th grade. This means that as long as we are on the state watchlist, there is no path for 7th and 8th grade students to return for in person instruction.
Based on the information we have today from the State Department of Education, the County Department of Health, and current infection rates, we believe that we need to make decisions about how our school year will start for the sake of our teachers who need clarity on how to plan for the first few weeks of school, for our parents who will need to adjust their schedules, and for our students who need clarity on what learning will look like in a few weeks.
As of today, we are committing to beginning the year in remote learning for 3rd through 8th grade through September. The first possible day of in person instruction would be Monday, October 5th. For K-2, we will start remotely while we work through the waiver process. We will provide an update by Friday, September 4th. We are currently awaiting confirmation from the County Health Department as to whether TK can begin in person (falling outside the waiver process), and will provide an update before August 11th. Additionally, we are working with the County Health Department to be able to offer in person community building activities and social emotional programs for students in small groups. In all cases, we will have to evaluate current circumstances at the time, and what is in the best interest of our community.
Please see our Communications page for a video from our Head of School and further details. We will continue to keep our community updated.
As we communicated to our families on July 29, we received word that San Mateo County was added to the state watch list on July 29th. Per state order, this means that schools must open for remote instruction only until the county has been off the watchlist for fourteen days. We anticipate that there will be additional guidance from county health officials in the next few days. Local officials will need some time to develop the processes and systems that will guide us going forward. We are evaluating all of our options, including any possible waiver process, and we will soon be sharing how we will be moving forward in light of this development. We thank you in advance for your patience as we work through this process.
As you may have seen in the news, Governor Newsom made an announcement setting forth stricter regulations for reopening. With regard to health, hygiene, masks and distancing, our requirements already exceed that proposed by the governor. Of note, however, is the requirement surrounding county metrics, which are beyond our control. In order to open, Governor Newsom is requiring that the county not be on the state watch list for 14 days. One of the factors that would put a county on the watch list is if the county has not had 14 days of declining number of COVID-19 cases. Additional metrics can be found here, and are related to the required number of tests conducted per day per 100,000 population, testing positivity percentage, percent change in 3 day average of COVID-19 positive hospitalized patients, percentage of ICU beds and ventilators currently available.
We will continue to monitor these metrics for San Mateo County and advise how this will affect our planning. At this time, we will continue to plan for all options: in-person, hybrid, and full remote learning.
As it currently stands, due to the size of our student body and the classroom and outdoor space we have on campus, we are currently planning for Wornick to be open every day to every student. We know that not every school will have this privilege and we feel blessed that our school will be in a good position to be open. At the same time, school will look very different until a vaccine and treatment for COVID-19 are developed. Many aspects of a typical school day will look different. San Mateo County has articulated four pillars that will guide school openings: health and hygiene, masks, physical distancing, and limited gatherings. Each of these pillars will require that we establish protocols, purchase equipment, explore alternative learning spaces, configure classrooms, adjust our schedules, and much more. It will be a long summer for the Wornick administration and the dozens of teachers who have volunteered their time to help us plan for the coming school year by serving on planning committees and task forces.
We held two town halls on the evenings of July 7th and 13th, at 8 pm over Zoom for parents to learn more about our planning as it develops and to provide the opportunities to ask questions. All planning is of course subject to change, but to view a copy of the slides presented at the town halls, please click below: