2020-21 School Year & COVID-19 Information
On Thursday, January 14, the state of California issued a new 52-page document that updates requirements for on-campus instruction. The issuance requires additional changes to our Health and Safety protocols including an increase in cadence testing for students. Our COVID-19 Safety Plan and additional resources for parents listed above were updated and posted on February 1, 2021.
We would like to remind you, as we have all grades back on campus for learning, 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, to please write to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing the circumstances of your family member's or student's illness or exposure to ensure that we are able to make informed and safe decisions about who to allow for on campus learning.
- Update - January 22, 2021 (Update on Middle School Return to Campus and New "State Safe Schools for All" Guidelines)
- Update - December 30 (Testing, Remote Week, and Return to On-Campus Learning)
- Update - December 3, 2020 (Governor's New Order and Plan for On-Campus Learning)
- Update - November 29, 2020 (Health Reminders, Purple Tier, & Middle School Remote Only Dates)
- Update - November 24, 2020 (Updated Rainy Day Policy and Plans Should County Enter Purple Tier)
- Update - November 18, 2020 (Updated Health and Safety Protocols)
- Update - October 23, 2020 (Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks, and Hot Lunch)
- Update - October 22, 2020 (Wornick Student Covid-19 Testing Information)
- Update - October 9, 2020 (Phasing In Students for On-Campus Learning, Required Surveys & Parent Session for Grades 6-8)
- Update - September 23, 2020 (Phasing In Students for On-Campus Learning, Required Survey & Training Session for Grades 2-5)
- Update - September 14, 2020 (Update on on-Campus Learning, Social Events and Air Quality)
- Update - September 4, 2020 (Phased Reopening Update)
- Update - September 1, 2020 (Update on Waiver and Reopening)
- 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,
We have two updates to share with you regarding the status of our outdoor tents as it relates to the return of Middle School students, as well as the new guidelines outlined by the state to continue to offer on-campus instruction. Please read this email carefully as it contains important information about new testing requirements.
New Outdoor Tents and Return to On-Campus Learning for Middle School
As we shared early on Tuesday morning, the majority of our outdoor tents slated for Middle School use were irreparably damaged. Anticipating a possible continued need for outdoor classrooms in the fall, we came to a decision to invest in sturdier tents for our campus. On Wednesday, we sourced more weather-resistant tents and made a very significant investment beyond our initial budget to ensure on-campus safety and learning for the foreseeable future. These heavy duty tents are another significant cost that our school is undertaking to provide on campus learning to our students. The combined cost of sourcing, delivery and installation is expected to be between $40,000-$50,000. Our school will need to raise funds to meet this additional cost. If you feel moved to give towards this expense, we will have a "fund a need" opportunity during our virtual gala on March 7th towards this cause. We thank you in advance for your generosity.
We expedited the shipping of our tents to arrive as soon as possible and they are scheduled to be here on Thursday, January 28. With rain in the forecast next week, we cannot find a way to bring Middle School on campus next week without the use of the tents. The tents will take 3-4 days to assemble and secure. We have arranged for contractors to begin work the moment the tents arrive. We anticipate Middle School students' return to campus will occur on Monday, February 1 or Tuesday, February 2. We are committed to providing an update when the tents arrive on our campus and we will then decide on a firm date for our return to on campus learning in middle school.
In compliance with our testing program, all Middle School Students must produce a negative COVID-19 test dated between January 19th and January 29th, in order to return to on-campus learning. Please email results to email@example.com by Sunday, January 31.
Positive Case of an Off-Campus Learner
We wanted to share that there was a positive case of one of our off-campus learners. The student has been asymptomatic. As this student was not on campus, there was no contact with anyone on our campus. The family will complete their quarantine outside of school. We thank this family for their transparent partnership and we are keeping them in our thoughts.
New State Safe Schools for All Requirements by the State of California
On Thursday, January 14, the state of California issued a new 52-page document that updates requirements for on-campus instruction. The issuance requires additional changes to our Health and Safety protocols. The previous "waiver" under which we were covered through the county is no longer valid and we need to submit new applications due by February 1st to the state. We do not anticipate these changes to interrupt our daily learning program. At the same time, we are seeking clarity on the framework and may have to adjust on-campus protocols to adhere to the new requirements. Please note: the San Mateo County Office of Education shared that there are currently no plans to require schools that are currently open to close or to do a blanket closure.
There is one change that our Health and Safety Committee has already processed and decided to pursue. The new guidance recommends an increase in testing frequency while San Mateo County remains in the purple tier. Starting February 1, all students are required to produce two negative tests per month in their assigned cohorts. Please note that this does not change the current testing cadence for Middle School students, but doubles the cadence for TK-5th grades.
The new student testing schedule with increased cadence is as follows:
Week of January 25 - Group 3 & 4
Week of February 1 - Group 1 & 2*
Week of February 8 - Group 3 & 4
Week of February 15 - Group 1 & 2
Week of February 22 - Group 3 & 4
Week of March 1 - Group 1 & 2
Week of March 8 - Group 3 & 4
*Group 2 was originally scheduled for January 25. In an effort to align with Middle School's schedule, the testing for Group 2 for the Lower School was moved to the week of February 1. If you scheduled your Group 2 student's test the week of January 25, we will accept this for the week of February 1.
Our team is exploring ways to make testing easier to access for all students. We understand that testing results are taking longer and companies like Virus Geeks are doing their best to accommodate people as fast as they can. ;We will continue to update you if additional testing resources should become available.
In partnership and health,
Dear Wornick Community,
I hope this email finds you well and you are having a restful and enjoyable winter break. I am personally very encouraged by the photos and news of vaccinations that are popping up on my social media feeds. It is a very heartening sign that 2021 could be a much better year than 2020. It has been an honor and a privilege to navigate these turbulent times with a community as special as Wornick and I am grateful to every teacher, staff, student, parent, and community member who came together to support our school, our students, and our families during this challenging time.
This email contains a few updates about our return to on campus learning, required testing, as well as some new guidelines around hybrid learning.
Remote Week + Return to On-Campus Learning
As planned, our entire school will learn remotely from January 5-8, following winter break (January 4 is a staff development day). Pending school wide testing, we will resume on campus learning for TK-5th grade students on January 11. In order to be eligible for on campus learning you must:
- Produce a negative COVID-19 test for your student administered between January 5-8.
- Your negative COVID-19 test was administered at least fourteen days after airplane travel, a multi-family gathering, or any activity that does not comply with the Bay Area Counties Holiday Recommendations. If you travelled, gathered, or engaged in any activities that do not fall within these guidelines you must wait fourteen days prior to having your student take a COVID-19 test and only return once the test is negative. If someone in your household travelled, gathered, or engaged in an activity that falls outside the recommendations, but your student did not, the household member must also take a test after a fourteen day quarantine.
- Your test results must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 10 for your student to return to on campus learning on January 11.
Wornick will be offering a Kyla test on January 8 from 2-3:30 pm for all Wornick staff and any pre-registered students. If you have not pre-registered for a Kyla test you may not test through Kyla at Wornick. If you have any questions about whether you are pre-registered with Kyla, please contact Pam Bodin at email@example.com.
Please note, test results have recently been delayed. If you are able, please plan your COVID-19 test as early in the testing window as possible to ensure your students are eligible to return to on campus learning as soon as possible.
The following are some free options available to San Mateo County Residents. As of today, there are spots open with each of these testing sites for next week:
San Mateo County Testing through Curative: https://www.smcgov.
Virus Geeks Testing in San Mateo: https://my.virusgeeks.
Project Baseline: https://www.
If you do not have a negative test result before the evening of January 10 have your student learn through the remote hybrid option until you have your negative results. Please notify your teacher and firstname.lastname@example.org if your test results are delayed and you will be starting remote on January 11. If your student is in middle school there is no need to produce a test this week unless you are registered with Kyla. If you are registered with Kyla feel free to join the school wide testing on January 8. Otherwise, if your student is in middle school please look out for another communication from the school next week.
Continued Vigilance around Health and Safety Protocols
The number of COVID-19 positive cases have continued to be very high in San Mateo County and across our state over winter break. It is incumbent upon all of us to do our absolute best to limit the spread by reducing gatherings, wearing masks, social distancing, and following county and state guidelines. Given the extremely high number of cases in the county and across the state and the expected continual rise following winter break travel and activities, we are asking you to exercise caution and practice diligence around any other group, pod, or cohort your student may be a part of outside of Wornick. Positive cases or potential exposure to positive cases will continue to disrupt our students' education. We know that every family must do what is necessary for themselves, but we are asking that you do what you can to limit your students' exposure outside of school.
Over winter break, a Wornick staff member tested positive for COVID-19. Their exposure resulted from contact with a household member during winter break who contracted the virus through travel. The staff member and their household member are both recovering and experienced only mild symptoms. Our Health and Safety advisors have recommended that outside of the staff member, there is no reason for any student or staff they were in contact to be notified or stay away from school, since it is clear that the contact occurred after winter break had begun. The staff member will complete their quarantine outside of school and return to Wornick when we receive clearance from our medical advisors.
Following up on the positive case we had in 4th grade a few weeks ago, we received a full slate of negative tests from the student's cohort and teachers who worked with that cohort. We tested our entire community of students and staff over the last two weeks of school and had only negative tests apart from the one positive case.
Hybrid Learning Policy
As we complete our first semester of learning, our administration had the opportunity to reflect on the success of our hybrid learning program. We feel confident in the continued success of our long term remote learners who are joining our classes on a regular basis from home. One area of challenge has been our temporary remote learners who often have to join the class remotely unexpectedly due to health and safety guidelines or expectedly due to family travel. As such, we are sharing the times when students can effectively join remotely as well as time when remote learning is beyond the scope of the program beginning January 11.
Hybrid learning is not practical for students vacationing or taking unexpected days off from school. Teachers meticulously plan lessons and materials for high student engagement and learning. Without the proper notice and setting, materials and student attention are reduced, thus making learning challenging for both the student and the class. In these instances, we ask that you notify email@example.com that you are taking a vacation and will not be attending classes. You may request work to be completed independently while away, however this will be dependent on significant notice and the lessons during your student's absence.
Students are encouraged to participate in the hybrid learning when:
- They are home sick and feel well enough to participate in the school day.
- There is a family life event, such as a death or birth in the family.
- The student(s) must quarantine per the Wornick Health and Safety Plan.
In all of these instances, parents would notify firstname.lastname@example.org and their teachers to arrange for a supply pick up of materials to support hybrid learning for the off campus learning days.
Because most middle school work is presented digitally through Google Classroom with limited materials, students are encouraged to attend class when:
- They are home sick and feel well enough to participate in the school day.
- There is a family life event, such as a death or birth in the family.
- The student(s) must quarantine per the Wornick Health and Safety Plan.
- They are away from school for a prolonged absence (more than 2 days).
For any health or safety absence, please notify email@example.com and for any prolonged absence, please notify Nicole Haire at firstname.lastname@example.org. If the absence is sudden, a materials pickup or delivery can be arranged, however in most circumstances, students will have all necessary materials with them.
I want to wish you all a happy new year. May 2021 bring us health, stability, and peace,
Head of School
Dear Wornick Community,
Today, Governor Newsom announced a new Regional Stay-At-Home order should the Bay Area region drop to less than 15% ICU capacity. This order differs from the restrictions that went into effect in March. Due to new information about COVID-19, established health and safety guidelines, and decreased risk of spread within schools where the community follows protocols, the state of California is allowing on campus instruction in regions where the Regional Stay-At-Home order is in effect, if they have already been open for on campus instruction. As such, our current plans remain unchanged and TK-5 students will continue to learn on-campus, with an option for students to learn remotely.
Our Health and Safety Committee continues to meet regularly and make determinations about the best course of action for our school. Although we are allowed to remain open, we remain concerned about the rising case numbers in our county and we are urging our families to continue to remain vigilant about following county and state orders. As we announced in Sunday's email communication, due to the county moving to the purple tier 7th and 8th grade are moving to off-campus learning as of Monday, December 7. The 6th grade will move to off-campus learning as of Monday, December 14. We continue to plan for a remote period for all students from January 5-8, following winter break. We find ourselves in an evolving and unpredictable health and safety situation and we will continue to keep everyone updated should anything change.
The results of the parent survey and the proven effectiveness of on-campus learning encourage us to take every measure to continue on-campus school. We thank you for continuing to do your part to follow local and state guidelines to ensure the safety of our Wornick community.
Dear Wornick Community,
We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and that you were able to recharge, reflect, and rest with your family members during the break.
Reminder: Bay Area Holiday Gathering Recommendations
As you are likely aware, COVID-19 cases are rising and are predicted to continue to rise due to colder weather and increased holiday gatherings. On November 18th, we communicated that if families travelled by plane or attended gatherings for the holidays that did not follow the Bay Area holiday gathering recommendations, then those students must stay at home for fourteen days following their return from air travel or the date of their gathering. To that end, we have added a question to our daily health check that asks whether you have attended a gathering that does not follow the Bay Area counties' guidance.
San Mateo County Named to Purple Tier
Yesterday, San Mateo was placed in the purple tier in California's tiered COVID-19 reopening plan. The purple tier is the most restrictive tier, and accompanying this shift is a new stay-at-home order from 10 pm to 5 am to limit the spread of the virus. This shift is a reflection of rising COVID-19 rates in our county and reflects an 85 percent increase in COVID-19 positive cases between October and November.
Middle School Return to Remote Only Instruction Dates
As previously announced, Wornick's Health and Safety Committee decided that if San Mateo County was placed back in the purple tier, 7th and 8th grade students would return to remote-only instruction within one week and 6th grade students would return to remote-only instruction within two weeks. As a result, if San Mateo County remains in the purple tier, 7th and 8th grade students will return to remote-only instruction on December 7th. Recognizing that 6th grade students are still adjusting to Middle School learning, 6th grade students will return to remote-only instruction on December 14th.
Our students, teachers, and our entire community rely on our collective diligence to sustain continued, effective in-person, and remote learning programs. Thank you for continuing to do your part to ensure the best possible education for our students.
In partnership and health,
Dear Wornick Community,
This communication includes an update to the rainy day policy and a reminder of the Middle School plan should the county move to the purple tier.
Update to Rainy Day Policy
Based on last week's rainy day experience, we have revised procedures for Middle School. In the event of unexpected rain, we will proceed as we did last week with students having lunch and snack in the tents, leveled Middle School Math and Hebrew will be on Zoom, and lower school Hebrew will meet in their cohorts in their assigned classroom with native and non-native students together.
However, should there be anticipated rain in the forecast, grades 6-8 will learn remotely to maximize their learning experience. The number of transitions in tent usage on rainy days is operationally very challenging to sustain when we have all of our grades on campus. If we move to full remote in middle school we will let all parents know by 7:00 pm the day before and hot lunch will be credited to your account if you have ordered for that day.
Should San Mateo County Return to the Purple Tier
Our school's Health and Safety Committee is continuing to closely monitor the health situation as it develops nationally and locally. As previously communicated, should the County of San Mateo move back into the purple tier:
- Grades 7 and 8 will move to full remote learning within one week of the announcement
- Grade 6 will move to full remote learning within two weeks. Since grade 6 is still new to the Middle School environment, this schedule allows time for students to adjust back to remote learning.
- TK - grade 5 will continue with on-campus learning.
If the purple tier designation is announced while students are on break, a course of action will be determined by our Health and Safety Committee and we will communicate the plan to you.
While we are hoping that the rise in cases is temporary and numbers will begin trending downwards soon, we are also preparing for the possibility that they will continue to rise. For TK-5, should the level of community transmission reach a point that the Health & Safety Committee deems it unsafe for on-campus learning, the school has the discretion to institute a period of remote learning. Any decision will take into account state and county guidance, level of community spread, human resource capacity, community feedback, as well as any other relevant factors.
We are committed to a hybrid program that includes most of our students choosing daily on-campus learning and feel very fortunate that our teachers and students have been so successful this year in this mode. However, with cases rising locally and nationally, we must be prepared for all scenarios. We appreciate your understanding of this evolving situation.
As we head into this Thanksgiving break, I encourage you to read Health Officer Scott Morrow's November 23rd statement, which discusses the recent surge in cases and urges us all to do our part.
Wishing you a restful and healthy Thanksgiving,
Dear Wornick Community,
This communication will include information about the evolving health and safety landscape, Thanksgiving and Winter Break, revised air travel policy, our testing program, and results from our most recent survey.
Health & Safety Guidance
The last few weeks have seen a sharp increase in COVID-19 positive cases, hospitalizations, and fatalities. While the Bay Area had stayed relatively isolated, in the past few weeks we have seen a dramatic rise in COVID-19 positive cases leading to a number of state and local announcements including a sharp shift in the tiered status of most counties in the state. Our Health and Safety Committee has been in constant conversation to determine how to keep our community safe amidst shifts in the COVID-19 landscape. As we approach Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks, I wanted to take a moment to review health and safety protocols and announce some changes especially in light of recent recommendations and local changes. Our objective remains the same, to provide an outstanding educational experience for all of our learners while continuing to do the utmost to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
On Monday, San Mateo was placed in the red tier while most California counties were placed directly in the most restrictive purple tier. While our Wornick community follows strict on campus guidelines, we are aware that gatherings between different households may occur during upcoming breaks. The 10 Bay Area Counties have explicitly defined gatherings that are permissible and include the following recommendations:
- No more than three households
- Gatherings should happen outdoors
- Families should remain distanced during the gathering
- Gatherings should be limited to two hours
- Multiple gatherings with different stable cohorts are not allowed
If you plan to attend or host a gathering in addition to your family unit, please review the California Department of Public Health mandatory requirements here. If you travel by air or if you feel that you attended a gathering that does not follow the Bay Area Counties' Holiday Recommendations, or may have exposed your family, please have your student stay home for fourteen days before returning to on campus learning.
New California Air Travel Advisory & 14 Day Quarantine
On October 9th, our Health and Safety Committee moved to offer an expedited option to reduce the time away from in person learning for travelers and offered a seven day period followed by a negative test. At the end of last week, California issued a new travel advisory advising travelers to self quarantine for fourteen days and avoid all non essential travel. After reviewing the guidance and consulting with county officials Wornick's Health and Safety Committee moved to remove the expedited option and fall in line with the state guidelines. If you or someone in your household travels, you can only return to on-campus learning after fourteen days away and if you and your household are symptom free. We realize this is a shift from our previous communications and may impact your travel plans. However, our discussions with county officials and recent local and state level decisions make it clear that we are in a dynamic situation and travel poses a significant risk as rates of infection continue to rise across the country.
Thanksgiving, Winter Break, and Remote Learning
In October, after conducting a survey, our Health and Safety Committee decided to not impose a period of remote learning after Thanksgiving and to impose a four day remote learning period after winter break followed by a baseline schoolwide test. We did this to give families notice and time to plan their travel and winter break plans. However, the health landscape has changed. While we are not planning a period of remote learning after Thanksgiving break, we need students to learn remotely for fourteen days if they:
- Attend a gathering that does not follow the Bay Area Holiday Recommendations
- If they or someone in their household travels by plane
We are not currently adjusting the plan for winter break and remote learning. We are still requiring a test to be completed between January 2nd and 8th and we are still planning to offer only remote learning between January 5th to 8th. However, the change to the travel policy now means that if you want to return to in-person instruction by January 11th, you need to return to the Bay Area by December 28th. If your student or someone in their household returns to the Bay Area by flight after the 28th, your student needs to avoid in-person instruction until 14 days after the return flight while having no symptoms. We also want to be clear that the situation is fluid and we will need to continue to assess our return to in-person instruction. Our Health and Safety Committee will continue to convene leading up to winter break and will follow expert advice and official recommendations in determining what a return to instruction after winter break looks like.
Our school has been conducting weekly tests for our staff for three months and is three weeks into our new student testing program. We wanted to remind everyone that tests are not an indicator that the individual being tested does not have COVID-19. The goal of our testing program is to compliment our health and safety protocols by identifying possible asymptomatic cases. We need to continue closely following our health and safety protocols which require families to keep students home if anyone in the home is experiencing symptoms until they receive clearance from email@example.com. Tests are not 100% accurate and accurate tests only capture the subject's status for the moment they are tested. Additionally, the subject may have the virus in the early stage but the test cannot detect infection until high levels of the virus accumulate. For symptomatic cases, incubation period is 3-14 days, but symptoms don't appear until 4-5 days after exposure. A contagious person may be contagious 48-72 hours before experiencing symptoms or experience no symptoms at all. The following article contains an important clarification about the difference between PCR and Antigen tests and their accuracy here.
We recently asked you to complete the Wornick Family Survey to assess our health and safety protocol and your student's experience during this academic year. I want to share some key findings from the 103 parents who responded: Our families have overwhelming (97%) confidence in our health and safety measures. 94% of families shared that they are pleased with how this year is going for their students. Nearly every response indicated that our parents are committed to the success of Wornick. Please know that we read every piece of feedback that we receive. It is helpful to hear how we can continue to improve our program and gratifying to hear how successful this school year has been for our families and students.
On a brighter note, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and gratitude. This year reminds us that nothing can be taken for granted, and to be thankful for even the smallest of blessings. Since this year's Thanksgiving plans will not be traditional, we want to see your family's creativity. Please share with firstname.lastname@example.org what you did this year to make it memorable.
Please click below to view a Thanksgiving message and discussion of this announcement.
As always, thank you for everything you do for our students and community as a whole.
Dear Wornick Community,
This email contains important information about Thanksgiving break, Winter Break and an update on our Hot Lunch program.
In San Mateo County and across California, independent schools have been in conversation around instituting planned remote learning periods between Thanksgiving and Winter Break. These planned remote periods are intended to account for an increased risk of COVID-19 exposures due to increased levels of travel, indoor gatherings and an uptick in virus levels as flu season sets in. Some of our peer schools have announced planned remote-only instruction from Thanksgiving through a week after scheduled Winter Break.
This week, our health and safety team reviewed a number of pieces of information, including the survey that was conducted two weeks ago where families and faculty indicated their likelihood of air travel and indoor gatherings during Thanksgiving and Winter Breaks. Based on our collected data and the guidelines by the county, we have determined the following course of action:
Thanksgiving Break Plan:
- Survey results do not indicate that a significant number of our community members are likely to travel by flight or attend indoor gatherings during Thanksgiving break. For that reason, we see no need to institute a planned remote learning period after Thanksgiving break. However, please note that if someone is travelling by flight to your home, or if someone in your household travels by flight, your student will need to learn remotely for 7 days after travel and produce a negative COVID-19 test before returning to in person instruction. We are also asking our families to exercise caution, follow county guidelines, and not send their students to school if they or any household member has any symptoms.
Winter Break Plan:
- Survey results do indicate that a significant number of our community members are likely to travel by flight or attend indoor gatherings during Winter Break. Additionally, many of our teachers have put off travelling this year to prioritize on-campus learning. We feel it is important to allow our teachers the opportunity to visit loved ones across the country, some of whom are elderly or ill. For these reasons, we will institute a planned four day remote learning period after Winter Break (Monday, January 4 is a professional development day with no school in session), as well as a negative Baseline COVID-19 test requirement for on-campus learning, regardless of whether your student travelled.
- Baseline COVID-19 testing requires approximately a one week window from travel to testing. For this reason, we ask that you return to the Bay Area with only your family unit by Saturday, January 2. If you choose to return later, please have your student do remote learning for one week from return followed by a negative COVID-19 test before returning on-campus.
- Anticipated remote learning: Tuesday, January 5 - Friday, January 8
- Baseline COVID-19 testing:
- Kyla users will take an on-campus test on Friday, January 8 (more details to follow)
- Non-Kyla users will be required to test between Monday, January 4 and Friday, January 8 and produce the negative test results, provided any traveling families test seven days after returning to the Bay Area.
- Anticipated on-campus learning will begin anew on Monday, January 11
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate the best way to keep our Wornick students and faculty safe, while being mindful to accommodate for time spent with loved ones.
Hot Lunch Program
- We are pleased to announce the Hot Lunch Program will begin for students on Monday, November 9. Students will have the option to take part Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (no hot lunch Wednesdays due to early dismissal).
- There will be a new online ordering system, where you will be able to select which days to order lunch for your student and pay online. As before, this service is $8 per meal. More details will follow.
- As with all of our programs, there will be additional health and safety protocols during the lunch distribution to ensure the safety of our students and faculty. We may have to make adjustments to the program in order to maintain our standard of care.
Thank you for being flexible as we navigate this unprecedented school year. Of course, all of this is subject to community spread remaining low and the health and safety committee's determination that it is safe to continue on-campus learning. As always, please reach out to us if you have any questions.
Dear Wornick Families,
As we shared last week, Wornick is implementing a testing program as the next phase in our health and safety program. Our school has been conducting weekly tests since early August of our professional community members and other adults who regularly work on our campus. In recent guidance and communications with San Mateo County's Department of Health, officials have encouraged schools that have opened for in person learning to proactively pursue testing programs for students to support the health and safety programs of our schools. Indeed, they have communicated to us that if public schools open for in person learning, there will almost certainly be a testing program for students. The Department of Health and County Office of Education have also encouraged us to investigate and pursue rapid testing options as they come to market.
Student testing is an additional layer to our current health and safety programs. Our families need to continue to be diligent about reporting household members who are experiencing symptoms, keeping students at home until they have received clearance from our health team, and reporting any possible COVID-19 positive contacts to email@example.com. We also need to continue to maintain our strong social distancing and health program at our school to reduce the possibility of transmission. The main goal of the student testing program is to identify any possible asymptomatic cases in our community who might enter campus, by testing every student who is learning on campus at least once a month.
Our office will divide the families who are learning on campus into four groups. Each group will be assigned a testing window of one week per month, during which students are required to get a negative test and submit their results to firstname.lastname@example.org. Families must test within this weekly window. Esther Gillette will email you with your group (1-4) and dates.
There are three options for a student taking the test. Below is a brief overview of the options, as well as a link to our website with additional details.
Option 1: On-Campus at Wornick (select Wednesdays)
Our school is offering a testing program through Kids for Kyla, a private testing provider that has been conducting the test of our professional community since early August. Testing through Kyla is free for families who have medical insurance through Kaiser or $75-85 per test for those with other insurance. Kyla provides an Antigen test (a lower nasal swab) that typically produces results within 24 hours. To sign up for this option, please click here.
Option 2: Through San Mateo County Testing at the San Mateo County Event Center
San Mateo County is offering testing free to all families that live within the county and are 5+ years. Testing takes place Monday - Friday at the San Mateo County Event Center. If you do choose this option for your child, you will be required to take the extra step to email results to email@example.com no later than the Monday after which the test was taken. Medical insurance is not required for this test. If you have coverage, they will bill your insurer. This test is an oral mouth swab.
Option 3: Private Testing at Your Preferred Site
We understand that your family may have a preferred practitioner or place of testing. Families may choose to test through an outside private provider or through their current health provider. Both PCR and Antigen tests (including rapid tests) are acceptable. If you do choose this option for your child, you will be required to take the extra step to email results to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than the Monday after which the test was taken.
For more comprehensive details for each option, please visit our Student Testing Resources page on our website.
Thank you for your partnership in helping us protect the health and safety of our community,
Dear Wornick Community,
Moadim L'Simcha! It was so wonderful to see you all at our pre-Simchat Torah celebration yesterday! I hope you can all join us along with your family for Kabbalat Shabbat today at 3:30 pm. Please invite your grandparents and special friends.
Please read through this entire message as there is information about:
- Middle School return to on campus learning
- Hot Lunch Program
- Airplane Travel Policy
- Thanksgiving and Winter break
- Student Testing Program
Middle School Families
A) We are writing to you at the end of a full week of integrating our 2nd and 3rd grade students while preparing for the return of our 4th and 5th grade students next week. As we anticipated when we last wrote to you, this Tuesday, San Mateo County completed fourteen consecutive days on the red tier, which allows us to bring our 7th and 8th grade students back for in person learning. We learned this week that we needed to submit an additional request to the County Department of Health to bring back 7th and 8th grade students. While we have not heard back yet about approval, we are optimistic that we will receive it.
Pending approval from the County, we are planning to complete the final phase of our return to on campus learning for our 6th-8th grade students on October 19th. It is important to note that our Health and Safety Task Force determined a threshold for returning to remote learning for our middle school students. If the County is placed in the purple tier again, we will have 7th and 8th grade students return to complete remote learning within a week of that classification. Our 6th grade students will return to complete remote learning within two weeks of that classification. Our rationale is that current research indicates that middle school students can transmit COVID-19 at similar rates as adults. If rates of community spread rise, we want to ensure that we are limiting the possibility of transmission at Wornick.
Ahead of our return to on campus learning of middle school please ensure that you do the following:
- Complete the survey by October 11th at 9:30 pm to indicate whether your student will be learning off-campus or on campus.
- Attend a mandatory orientation on October 15th from 8-9 pm for students and parents in middle school regardless of whether you will be attending in-person or off-campus.
- Review the health and safety protocols in our reopening plan to ensure that you are familiar with our guidelines and requirements for learning at Wornick this year.
- Follow all County guidelines including not engaging in indoor gatherings with those outside of your household, and wearing a mask when outside of your home and you are within six feet of others.
- Receive a flu vaccine if returning to in-person learning before October 15th, and submit receipt to email@example.com.
For ALL Families
B) Our School is exploring the possibility of bringing back our Hot Lunch Program in the coming month. Please fill out the survey if you are learning on campus or plan to return to on campus learning this year to help us plan for the return of hot lunch.
C) This week our Health and Safety Task Force revised our Airplane Travel Policy. Please note that if any member of your home travels via airplane or you have a guest visiting who travelled by airplane, you must keep your students at home for seven days AND all those who travelled via airplane must produce a negative COVID-19 test dated at least seven days after travel. If you do not want your airplane travelers to get a COVID-19 test, the previous time period of fourteen days still applies. Please note it is only the airplane travelers who must be tested. This does not include your student if they did not travel via airplane.
D) In concert with our peer schools, our school is assessing the impact of travel and gatherings during Thanksgiving and Winter break on our on campus learning program. We would appreciate you completing the survey indicating your plans for those breaks to assist us in our planning.
E) Our school is putting the finishing touches on a required COVID-19 student testing program for our on campus learning to complement our weekly staff testing program. We are hoping to announce details of this program in the coming week, please look out for that information.
Dear Wornick Community,
As we finish our 8th day of on-campus instruction for our Kindergarten students (in addition to our TK students), and near the return of our 1st grade students, we have learned a great deal about our in person health and safety practices and our hybrid learning program. As we have previously shared, it was the recommendation of our Health & Safety Committee, as well as the County, to phase in students beginning with our youngest students so that we could get students on campus who needed it most, adjust planning based on lessons learned from the students who need the most assistance, and adjust the hybrid learning model for those continuing to learn remotely, all while protecting the health of teachers, staff, and community. This has been no small task, and we are grateful to our teachers and staff who have worked tirelessly to make it happen.
We feel prepared to continue phasing in our older students in a safe and controlled manner. As we look ahead to the month of October, we want to announce the dates of our 2nd through 5th grade students returning to campus for families choosing on-campus instruction.
Return dates for 2nd - 5th grade for on-campus instruction
Assuming that health and safety conditions allow, Wornick's plan is to resume on-campus instruction for 2nd and 3rd grade students on October 5th, and 4th and 5th grade students on October 13th. Students in these grades will learn in a combination of well-ventilated indoor spaces and outdoor spaces.
Required survey for parents in grades 2-5 - Please complete by September 28
All parents of students in grades 2-5 are required to complete the survey by September 28, so we can appropriately plan for pickup/drop off, as well as those opting to continue learning remotely.
Required parent session for grades 2-5 - October 1, 8pm
Ahead of our return to on campus learning, there will be a required session for all parents in 2nd through 5th grade on October 1st from 8:00 to 9:00 pm. It is imperative that at least one parent from each family attend this session.
Required action steps for ALL parents
We advise you to reread the health and safety plan to familiarize with yourself with the requirements of being on campus. It is crucial that all families follow these guidelines closely to ensure the health and safety of the community.
If your student is coming on campus for learning or for a social, we are asking for parents to fill out the Health Screening form the night before. This will help us as we scale up the drop off and pick up logistics. If your family's health status changes overnight, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.
We strongly encourage you to do the following:
- Follow all county orders and refrain from any non-essential activities that involve being exposed to other groups of people outside your household
- Always wear a mask when you are outside of your home
- Get your students into the practice of wearing a properly fitted mask for extended periods of time (this will make the transition much easier on your child, and will help our teachers immensely)
- We are requiring that all students attending on-campus learning or on-campus socials get a flu shot by October 15
Schedule change for ALL families as of October 5th
For all families, please note that on October 5th, we are changing to a drop off hour of 8-9 am and pick up hour at the end of the day (2:45-3:45 Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays; 12-1 Wednesdays; and 2:15-3:15 Fridays). This means that Havdallah will be at 9 am on Mondays and T'fillah will be at 9 am on Thursdays. All families in TK-5 will receive a drop off/pick up time next week.
A gentle reminder that to accommodate the hour long pick up time on Friday, as of this Friday, September 25, Kabbalat Shabbat will be at 3:30 pm. These times are already reflected in your student's calendar.
Plan for smoke days
We are grateful that the air quality has recently been much improved. However, there may be additional smoke days. In the event of poor air quality days, we will do our best to notify families by 7 pm the night before. Because our on-campus learning plan requires well-ventilated indoor spaces and smoke days would prevent the opening of windows and doors, our current plan would be for students to learn remotely that day. We are actively looking at remedies to alleviate this issue.
County status update
Yesterday, San Mateo County was moved from the purple tier to the red tier on the state monitoring list. This does mean that if our county stays in the red tier for fourteen consecutive days, our 7th and 8th grade students may be eligible to return (as of right now, they are not eligible to return per government order even under the waiver). Wornick will continue phasing in students into our on campus learning program as long as it is safe to do so. We will make an announcement about the status of Middle School returning to campus by October 9th.
Being on the red tier is positive news for our county as it reflects a continued downward trend in community spread and infection rates. Regardless of our county's infection rates, we need to continue being diligent about our health and safety practices. Around the world, countries that have loosened restrictions continue to see increased infectious rates as their populations become more relaxed with health and safety protocols. Wornick is a relatively small community. Our goal has been to open in a manner that will allow for a sustained safe on-campus program. The actions of each individual in our community matter, and this will only work if everyone does their part.
We appreciate your continued partnership,
Dear Wornick Families,
I want to thank all of you who joined us for a wonderful Shabbat dinner on Friday. I want to thank the PTO, our Wornick team, and all the volunteers who made the event so wonderful.
I wanted to close the loop on the news I shared with you all last week regarding the positive cases in our community. Following the news that all the close contacts of the COVID-19 positive individuals who had been on Wornick’s campus, tested negative, we reopened our campus to our professional community on Friday morning.
Our school has been busy preparing for the return to on campus instruction for our youngest students. Unfortunately, the poor air quality has remained in the Bay Area longer than we had expected. Our health and safety plan relies on outdoor classrooms as well as outdoor air ventilation in our indoor classrooms to establish learning spaces that reduce the possibility of transmission. Our team is ready and eager to open for on-campus learning for our TK-K students. Unfortunately, due to the prolonged poor air quality we cannot open our campus for TK and Kindergarten in person instruction tomorrow. It is not safe for young students to be exposed to poor air for an entire day and the forecast for tomorrow is above 150 AQI on airnow.gov. Given that the air quality could improve at midday tomorrow we will announce a decision about the 4th grade social event scheduled for tomorrow afternoon by 11am tomorrow morning.
Our school is dedicated to continuing to move forward with in person learning as soon as possible. We hope that air quality will improve and we will be able to open our campus for instruction on Wednesday for TK and Kindergarten. The delay to on-campus learning for our Kindergarten students does not push back our phasing in of 1st grade on September 29th. As we shared previously, we will share an update on the return of 2nd through 6th grade on September 25th for on-campus learning. All of our communications and COVID-19 information can be found on our website at https://www.wornickjds.org/
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: