2021-22 School Year & COVID-19 Information
**Please note that Wornick's Health and Safety Plan will be updated as conditions evolve and families will be notified accordingly.**
Health Reporting Reminder
We would like to remind you that 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.
- May 22, 2022 - Thank you for coming to Wornickfest/Update on masking
- May 15, 2022 - Masking Update
- May 9, 2022 - Indoor Masking Required For This Week
- April 8, 2022 - Updates on COVID Protocols, Testing After Break, and Reminders
- March 11, 2022 - Health and Safety Update - Mask Update Effective 3/21/22
- February 28, 2022 - 2022-2023 School Year Important Announcements
- February 22, 2022 - Health and Safety Update
- February 10, 2022 - Update to Outdoor Masking
- January 25, 2022 - Health and Safety Update
- January 17 - Wornick Health and Safety Update
- January 10, 2022 - Health and Safety Update
- January 5, 2022 - Health and Safety Update
- January 2, 2022 - What to expect (at Wornick) when you're expecting (a fourth wave of COVID-19)
- December 28, 2021 - IMPORTANT Wornick Updates for Return to School After Winter Break
- November 2, 2021 - Wornick COVID-19 Vaccine Update Notice
- August 20, 2021 - Clarification and Addendums to the Health and Safety Plan
- August 10, 2021 - Follow Up from Town Hall: Health and Safety Plan for 2021-22
- August 3, 2021 - A Few Updates with More Information to Follow
Dear Wornick Community,
Thank you for all making Wornickfest so beautiful today. Thank you to the PTO leadership, admin and professionals and volunteers who put in hours of volunteering to make today so special.
We are going to continue masking indoors this week as we continued to see the impact of cases on our classes this past week. Masking outdoors for classes not exposed will continue to be optional.
With an eye on our end of year events we will reevaluate this policy with two weeks to go again. We continue to believe that optional unmasking indoors is important enough that we should continue to leave the possibility open for the remainder of the year. At the same time we want to ensure teachers and students have the best chance of being on campus for these final important weeks.
Dear Wornick Community,
I hope this email finds you well. It is sad to be writing on the heels of another weekend of senseless violence in our country. The hate filled rhetoric fueling these cruel acts is shocking and disturbing. May our country be filled with peace, calm and tranquility.
Thank you for your partnership as we have navigated rising cases in our community and many students and professionals quarantining at home. We continued to see positive cases in our community last week both among students, professionals and household members.
We will keep our masks indoors for this week through May 20th. I will send an update to the Wornick community on Friday May 20th regarding the following week. With four weeks left in school we would certainly like to return to the mask optional policy if possible and we will communicate a change in policy as soon as we feel it is appropriate.
Last week however we had significant numbers of students home who were positive or symptomatic and unable to join. We have many year end events across grades and we don't want our students to miss out on the opportunity to celebrate those milestones in school.
Dear Wornick Community,
In the past few weeks, the number of individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 in our community has increased. This has included siblings and parents but also several professionals and students. In the last two weeks, 9 professionals and students tested positive and this morning we already reported another two cases to two different classes. As of now, a number of classes at Wornick have been exposed and are masking and undergoing extra testing through the next week. Although our routine PCR testing has been successful in catching cases, the vast majority of cases have emerged through antigen testing following symptoms presenting.
Symptoms for our community members have been mild to moderate, and we are sending a Refuah Shlemah (speedy recovery) for all community members who are recovering from COVID now. The impact of getting COVID-19 continues to be very disruptive for classes and students. It is not ideal to miss 5-10 days of school at this point in the school year. It is challenging for parents to miss work to support the isolation of their positive students, especially with cascading spread through numerous siblings in a household. So many classes have significant milestone events coming up that we have planned for in person that we want our students to be able to attend.
We have made the decision to remask all students and professionals indoors through the end of this week. We do hope that this move will be temporary as we believe that the benefits of unmasking are significant for our students. Our hope is to return to our mask optional policy as soon as possible and we will update the community before Monday, May 16th on the mask policy.
Our health and safety advisors have recommended thinking about masking like the use of an umbrella. When it is raining, we open up the umbrella to protect us from the rain and when the weather is better we can put the umbrella away. In San Mateo County, like other Bay Area counties, we recently moved back into the moderate tier of community spread. We will of course watch our community numbers closely as well as those in the larger community to determine next steps.
In health and partnership,
Dear Wornick Community,
There is information below on updated COVID-19 protocols and testing reminders for after break.
I want to open with a note on the recent events in Israel and in Ukraine. The continued terrorist attacks in Israel have been painful to hear about. So many of our families have relatives and close friends in Israel. Our students learn about Israel on a regular basis and our love and understanding for the mosaic that is Israeli society, make it especially challenging to hear about the senseless violence that is claiming so many lives and impacting so many others. We pray that these terrorist attacks stop immediately and hope that the citizens of Israel will find peace and quiet very soon.
Of course, the war that continues to rage on in Ukraine is painful to watch as well. The events in Mariupol and Bucha are haunting reminders of the worst capacities of mankind. The reality for our families with relatives in Ukraine has not changed and our hearts go out to everyone affected. We pray that this war ends immediately and work begins to rebuild the destruction and losses that Ukrainians have suffered.
Post Passover Break Testing
In addition to our regular PCR testing that we plan to continue when students return from Passover break, we would also like all students to complete a rapid-antigen test on the morning before they return to school. Our school has rapid antigen tests available for each student should you not have one at home. We are distributing antigen tests to every student on Wednesday, April 13th for their backpacks. If you have multiple children at school the tests will be placed in the backpack of your youngest student. If you do not need an antigen test please email Esther Gillette (email@example.com) and let us know. If you need an antigen test and you are not here on Wednesday, April 13th, please email Esther to arrange for a pick up on April 21st between 10am-12pm.
Antigen tests should be taken between Sunday, April 24th at 7pm and Monday, April 25th at 8am. Please snap a photo or bring it with you to drop off. If your student walks or bikes to school then email it to Esther Gillette by 7:30am.
Changes to quarantine requirements for exposures to COVID
Following updates to the CDPH COVID guidelines for schools, we have updated our quarantine guidelines for students who are exposed to COVID-19. Here is a copy of our new guidelines for quarantining.
Quarantine requirements following exposure to a COVID-19 positive individual:
Individuals who are exposed, regardless of vaccination status, may continue attending school as long as they:
- Are asymptomatic;
- Wear a well fitting mask for 10 days following the date of the last exposure, except when eating;
- Isolate from the positive individual (assuming the positive individual is household contact);
- Test on day 5 following the last date of exposure unless they have had COVID-19 in the past 90 days; and
- Monitor for symptoms. If symptoms develop they should isolate and get tested.
Quarantine following air travel for unvaccinated students
Please note that the CDC quarantine guidelines have not changed for unvaccinated individuals. If you are unvaccinated and you are traveling by air you must quarantine for five days and test between days 3 and 5 after air travel.
A reminder that remote learning will only be available for students who are quarantining due to exposure or travel. Students who are jet lagged and need to stay home or whose trips extend past Passover break may not join classes remotely.
Continued Planning for On-Campus Parent Opportunities
We truly enjoyed seeing so many parents enjoy being on campus for the Gala. As Covid protocols evolve, we continue to plan for opportunities for parents to be on campus and we look forward to sharing more about that when we return from the Passover break.
Dear Wornick Community,
As many of you know, the state and county health departments recently announced a shift in masking guidance. San Mateo County still recommends masking in schools but no longer requires it. After careful consideration, our health and safety committee has decided to follow San Mateo County Guidance effective March 21. This means that students and professionals who choose not to wear a mask indoors may remove their masks with some conditions (detailed below).
Our school’s decision was based on a number of factors, including:
- Wornick’s high student vaccination rates (~90%)
- Our effective policies keeping symptomatic students out of school and maintaining a healthy environment
- Low case rates nationally and locally,
- The significant benefit we feel unmasking provides our students socially, developmentally, and educationally outweighs the previous need for masks given the reduced risk of transmission and general mildness of cases
All of these reasons provide us with the opportunity to begin the difficult task of socializing the concept of unmasking indoors.
Continued Weekly Testing and Safety Protocols
We will continue to test our community weekly during this transition as an added layer of protection. All other safety protocols remain in place as well.
Though the county does not recommend contact tracing any longer, our school will continue reporting to each grade level if there is a positive case in the class and offer the opportunity for increased testing. Our health and safety committee wanted to emphasize that there may be positive cases and that should not be viewed as a failure as we move into a phase of living with Covid.
When Indoor Masking Will Be Required
Students will need to remain masked indoors in a number of circumstances:
- We will allow two classes to be in the Ulam for Tefillah; those students will wear a mask during that time,
- When students are 48 hours post-symptoms but have a negative test and have returned to school, those students will wear masks while they still have resolving symptoms,
- When there is an exposure in a class we will no longer be following the “modified quarantine guidelines” for unvaccinated students. Our understanding of the county guidelines are that unvaccinated students who are in an unmasked environment are not eligible for a modified quarantine. This means that unvaccinated students will need to learn remotely for five days following an exposure at school and remain masked for the following five days upon returning (assuming they produce a negative test result).
- When vaccinated students have had an exposure to someone who has tested positive and have produced a negative test, those students will wear a mask for 5 days. Unvaccinated students who have an unmasked exposure to a positive person must quarantine for 5 days per CDPH guidelines.
- After air travel, vaccinated students will need to remain masked indoors for five days. Following CDC guidelines unvaccinated students will need to quarantine for five days after air travel and need to produce a negative test between days 3-5.
- Guests on campus who come indoors during school hours will remain masked.
Our health and safety committee also wanted to communicate that we reserve the right to require masks indoors (and potentially outdoors as well), if case rates increase significantly or if our understanding of transmission shifts.
Partnership & Respect
As we saw when we allowed students to unmask outdoors, a significant number of students and professionals will likely continue to keep their masks on. We know that some will unmask outdoors and mask indoors or choose to mask in certain settings. We are announcing this change in policy 10 days ahead of the change to give you each time to speak to your students about your family choice. We have a diverse community of opinions and beliefs about health and safety and we will respect the individual choices our students make. We will speak with each class about respecting individual choices and about the dignity of each student. Of course, please communicate with your teachers and copy firstname.lastname@example.org if you want your student to remain masked.
Our school counselor and director of learning support will be working with our teachers and students to support this transition. We recommend having a conversation with your students about this change before March 21. Here is a wonderful resource around unmasking in schools. We also ask that you speak with your students about respecting other students' choices about keeping masks on or unmasking.
Dear Wornick Families,
We hope this email finds you well.
Like many of you, we saw the news issued today that the mask mandate will be removed in California schools after March 11. This represents a very significant shift in the pandemic. Please give us some time to receive guidance from the state and county and process the changes with our health and safety team. We will continue to keep in mind best practices in child development and health and safety as we consider the diverse perspectives of our community including teachers, students, and families.
Re-Enrollment Confirmation for the 2022-23 School Year
Next Monday, our FACTS portal will open to process forms for your students' continuous enrollment at Wornick for the 2022-2023 school year. You will receive an email on March 7 with instructions to update household information and sign forms for next year. Your packet must be completed by March 14. It is very important that you complete these forms to ensure your child has confirmed their enrollment for next year. We are blessed with a significant number of applications this year and we may not be able to offer your student a spot if their enrollment is not confirmed by March 14. If you are not returning, please indicate that you are withdrawing in FACTS by clicking the button on the landing page when you open FACTS.
COVID-19 Vaccine Policies for the 2022-23 School Year
For the benefit of our students’ learning and development, our school’s leadership is targeting continued progress towards removing COVID-19 restrictions. Our school has an extremely high vaccination rate among our student body, with nearly 90% of our students fully vaccinated. Our vaccination rates as well as our strong protocols, including testing and keeping symptomatic students out of school, make us optimistic that we will be able to do so safely.
Our school has been closely following the state and county guidelines regarding COVID-19 safety and vaccinations. In October 2021, Governor Newsom announced that the COVID-19 vaccine would be added to the list of required immunizations once the vaccine receives full FDA approval. Our school currently requires that students 12 and older be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 while allowing for personal, medical, and religious exemptions. This decision was made at the end of the last calendar year as we anticipated the challenges of overnight trips involving flights, sports teams at the PJCC, and full participation in our school programs. We expect that the COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 12 and older will receive full FDA approval by the start of the 2022-23 school year, and will, therefore, become a statewide requirement. Our school will fully comply with the state order including potentially limiting the types of exemptions given.
Our school plans to fully comply with the state requirement for students five and older when that requirement takes effect as well (likely January 2023 but it is not yet known with certainty). Until that time, unvaccinated students may need to continue testing at a higher frequency than other students and may face some limitations on programs they are able to take part in. We are more frequently encountering field trip sites, overnight class trip programs, and institutions that we partner with that require vaccinations for participation. Wornick will not be modifying our programs for unvaccinated students and there may be some programs that will not be available for unvaccinated students. We are grateful that we are in a community that has such high vaccination rates, and we are also leaving open the possibility of requiring the vaccine for students aged 5-11 ahead of the state timeline should our health and safety committee determine that is necessary.
We look forward to your partnership in the 2022-23 school year,
Dear Wornick Families,
Last week represented an exciting week for our entire community as we took a step towards normalcy in removing masks for outdoor activities. Our students are slowly getting accustomed to this new reality and we saw a range of responses from our students as they each navigate this change at their own pace. In our school wide testing last week, we had one positive asymptomatic case with no evidence of any spread so far in the community.
As COVID-19 case counts drop significantly, our health and safety committee approved a return to pre-Omicron protocols. There are a few important changes to note around students who are symptomatic but test negative and household members who are symptomatic and test negative.
Effective immediately, students may return to school if they have been symptomatic and had one negative antigen test as long as their symptoms have resolved. Students must still stay away during the duration of their symptoms and should stay away from school for 48 hours following improvement of those symptoms.
If a household member is symptomatic and produces a negative antigen test, the student may continue coming to school so long as they are asymptomatic.
Our school will continue the weekly PCR testing during this time for all students. We will likely continue weekly PCR testing for the next few weeks as we complete our transition to outdoor unmasking and case counts continue to decline. We believe this layer of measures will be a strong foundation as we navigate a larger landscape of receding health and safety measures in the county, state, and nationally.
Thank you for your continued partnership,
Dear Wornick Community,
Before winter break, our health and safety committee had begun planning for an easing of some of our COVID-19 measures to support greater student interaction, social emotional learning, and a return to the important community-centered programming that make our school so special. This includes unmasking outdoors and bringing back more all-school gatherings. The Omicron wave threw a curveball at us and caused us to temporarily pause implementing those changes.
Over the last few weeks, we have seen a number of significant changes in our community. Vaccination rates among our students have significantly increased. At the moment, close to 87% of our students are fully vaccinated. In addition, our understanding of this variant and the virus continues to evolve. We understand that this variant is milder and the percentage of hospitalizations and severe illnesses are significantly lower compared to previous variants.
As we complete the second year of this pandemic, our north star remains our students in every way. While there are many aspects of the pandemic that we need to continue to be cautious about, the cost benefit analysis of continued restrictions weighed against the social, emotional, and developmental needs of our students needs to be considered. After careful consideration and consultation, we will be removing the requirement for all students to wear masks outdoors effective February 14th. With high vaccination rates, declining COVID-19 infections in the community, and an evolving understanding that the risk of outdoor transmission remains extremely low, we believe that this is the right next step in balancing all of our students’ needs. In the first few weeks of this change, we will continue PCR weekly testing and will reevaluate the need for that frequency among vaccinated students in the coming weeks. Please note:
- Students who want to continue wearing masks outdoors may continue to do so. If your students are in TK-3, please inform your classroom teacher and email@example.com if you would like your student to wear a mask.
- TK/K will be given special hanging organizers outside their classroom to house their masks when they shift to outdoor learning and activities.
- For all grades, please talk to your student about how they can plan to keep track of their mask and put it back on when they line up to go inside. For example, they could wear it on their wrist, or keep it in a pocket of the lunch box or backpack.
In the coming months, our school will communicate changes that will bring parents back on campus more frequently for important community building activities, outdoor tefillot that involve multiple grades, and volunteer opportunities.
Please note that while San Mateo County will be easing its universal indoor mask mandate for vaccinated individuals on February 16, they are still strongly recommending people take precautions including getting vaccinated and boosted, staying home and testing when symptomatic, and wearing masks in indoor public spaces and crowded settings. Indoor masking is still required in congregate settings including public transportation, healthcare settings, and K-12 schools.
Wornick is a community that contains diverse perspectives, cultural and political backgrounds, and beliefs. It’s one of the things that makes our community so special. Unsurprisingly, our perspectives on what the next steps our school should take in this pandemic are also diverse. The leadership of our school has always tried to strike a balance between our core values and these diverse perspectives. We appreciate your respectful partnership as we chart a path forward.
Dear Wornick Community,
I’m writing to share some important health and safety updates, including:
- Updates on recent testing in our community
- Updated county guidelines
- Changes to the isolation policy for positive individuals
- Changes to the modified quarantine policy for unvaccinated individuals
Our school community is continuing to weather this difficult wave of COVID-19. Although we have seen some of our community members test positive, frequent testing and close adherence to protocols has meant minimal interruptions to our classrooms and we have not seen evidence of transmission on our campus. We thank our entire community for their resilience through this time. It appears that case numbers are beginning to go down so hopefully we are close to the end of this wave.
In our last schoolwide PCR testing from Thursday Jan 20th, we had over 200 negative PCR tests with no positive results. One individual did become symptomatic over the weekend and tested positive on an antigen test.
Last week, our student body passed the 80% threshold for being fully vaccinated. We have a number of other students who have received first and second doses and we anticipate approaching 85% soon.
New County Pandemic Framework
Yesterday, we received new guidance from San Mateo County. Our health and safety team has adopted a few changes in light of this new county guidance, and we will be updating the health and safety plan to reflect the same.
Updated Isolation Policy for Positive Individuals
The CDC, CDPH, and most recently San Mateo County Office of Education updated guidance on isolation periods for COVID-19 positive individuals. Accordingly, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 may return to school six days after the onset of symptoms or test positive (the first day being day 0) if they meet the following conditions:
- They are asymptomatic.
- They take two consecutive antigen tests (on separate days) on day 5 or later and have a negative result. For example, tests should be taken on days 5 and 6, or 6 and 7.
Update to Modified Quarantine for Unvaccinated Individuals
The county also updated its recommendations for a modified quarantine for unvaccinated individuals. Starting immediately, unvaccinated individuals who receive exposure notifications from close school contacts may continue to attend Gesher while in modified quarantine. The county still does not permit these students who are in modified quarantine to attend after school sports.
Individuals who are close contacts of positive household members need to continue to quarantine for five days following exposure and test on day five or later. We are seeing many individuals test positive towards the tail end of this time period. If you are a close contact of a positive individual in your household, but have tested negative, please know that your length of time in quarantine could be longer than 5 days. This is especially the case if a new household member tests positive, as your five days from exposure restart when a new infection begins in a household.
As a final reminder, individuals who test positive may skip routine PCR testing for 90 days following infection, unless they are exhibiting symptoms.
Thank you for your continued partnership,
Dear Wornick Community,
I'm writing to you on the heels of a frightening Shabbat in Colleyville, Texas. We are extremely grateful that the hostage situation was resolved with none of the synagogue attendees being harmed and we are in awe of the bravery of the first responders and Rabbi Cytron-Walker. I will be sharing reflections on this weekend's events in my head notes in the Wornick Weekly.
I wanted to send a brief update on our health and safety measures as we navigate another week of this COVID-19 surge. Last week a community member tested positive after experiencing symptoms. It does not appear that case caused any community transmission from our testing protocols so far. An additional community member tested positive as part of our surveillance testing. All testing from the cohorts affected have thus far not turned back any positives (we received roughly 150 negative tests from our Friday batch).
- Our health and safety committee has determined that we will continue with weekly all school testing. Tests will be distributed on Thursday and need to be returned on Friday morning.
- Following the new CDC masking guidelines, our health and safety committee has approved a new masking requirement. Effective Monday January 24th, all students must wear a surgical mask, an KN95 mask or a KF94 mask. We have included some links to some approved masks below. Please look for a NIOSH approval or an FDA approval on the masks you purchase. Cloth masks will no longer be approved. It is essential that your children's masks are well fitting and not loose. Our school will have back up masks if your student doesn't have the correct mask. Please change your students' masks as soon as you have them available.
- Our health and safety committee has chosen to maintain the 10 day isolation period for COVID positive individuals out of an abundance of caution. Due to the smaller but still significant possibility of continued contagiousness during Days 6-10 and the need for consistent wearing of a tight-fitting mask during that time period (which can be a challenge for some of our children), our medical advisors believe that it is prudent for all students and staff to continue to take advantage of remote learning for the full 10 day isolation period. Of course, this policy is being evaluated regularly and, if a change in policy is adopted, we will communicate it immediately.
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you do not need to take part in our surveillance PCR testing for 90 days. You should only test if you are symptomatic.
- It is crucial that you keep your student home if they have any symptoms including even minor symptoms (runny nose, headaches, etc.). Test your students and your family frequently if any symptoms are present in the home.
Overall, our school leadership and medical advisors feel like our health and safety practices are working. When there is a positive case in any group or cohort, an email is sent out to all close contacts and we conduct additional PCR testing immediately. In each of these cases it appears that we are mitigating transmission at school.
Thank you to all the families who have submitted their vaccination status. If you have not done so, please send your vaccination status to firstname.lastname@example.org immediately. Although omicron is infecting vaccinated individuals as well as unvaccinated individuals, emerging data is demonstrating that vaccinated individuals fare far better than unvaccinated. It has been widely reported in the media that vaccines prevent hospitalization or severe infection. However, the data also demonstrates that it significantly reduces the likelihood of infection.
In TK-8th grade we are approaching 80% full vaccination (2 weeks out from the second dose, with boosters for eligible students). Many families have chosen to begin vaccination in the last week and we urge all of you to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Our doctors believe that higher vaccination rates at our school will significantly benefit our school's ability to operate and thrive through these variants.
In health and partnership,
Dear Wornick Community,
Thank you all for continuing to follow our health and safety guidelines. We have many students and teachers who returned to campus today after clearing our protocols. In our first round of testing after winter break, a significant number of students and community members tested positive for COVID-19. In addition, a number of students stayed home after experiencing symptoms, reporting close contacts, or traveling by air. We had a significant number of students learning remotely in the first week of school after break. Having students and professionals stay home, even for a few days, is what will be essential for our ability to keep school open in a safe and healthy way in the long term. The second round of PCR testing that we conducted on Thursday evening saw a significant decline in positive results. At this time, we have one positive test and one pending positive test in two different grades. We have notified any student that may have been a close contact of a positive individual but we have no evidence at this time that there has been any transmission at school.
A couple of important reminders/announcements for this week:
- Please upgrade your student's mask per our most recent recommendation. If you haven't already changed your student's mask from cloth to medical grade, N95 or KN95, or a double mask (disposable mask covered by a cloth one), we strongly recommend you do that. A new mask requirement could be implemented in the coming week.
- Please send your students proof of COVID-19 vaccination or booster to email@example.com. We know that many students received their first dose or a booster in the last week. If you have not yet sent proof of vaccination, a member of the health team may reach out. There are different protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals and we need to have a record of your student's status. Based on the information we have so far, over 70% of our student body is fully vaccinated with many more who have received first and second doses and are close to being fully vaccinated.
- If your student is above the age of 12 and received their second dose more than 6 months ago, they need to receive a booster dose to be fully vaccinated. This definition of being fully vaccinated is based on CDC and CDPH definitions. The requirement will go into effect for students above the age of 12 on February 1st.
- Our school will continue with weekly all student/professional PCR testing, regardless of vaccination status. Your student will receive a test on Thursday. Please bring it back completed no later than Friday morning.
We believe the health and safety measures we are taking are working and we thank you all for your commitment to following these protocols and keeping our community safe.
Dear Wornick Families,
Thank you for your incredible partnership and support during this week. Our administration, educators, parents, and students all came together magnificently to restart school after winter break. I also want to thank our substitute teachers who stepped in beautifully to instruct our students this week. Yesterday, reports indicated that national COVID-19 cases topped one million. As we have shared before, we believe we have a few tough weeks ahead and our school will do whatever possible to keep our students in school and cohorts open.
Our health and safety committee is requiring another negative PCR test from all students and professionals to come back to school on Monday. We will distribute PCR tests tomorrow (Thursday) to be taken on Thursday evening and returned to school on Friday. Results should come in on Saturday and negative PCR tests are required to attend school on Monday. We are temporarily moving to weekly tests for students and professionals while COVID-19 rates remain high.
We had a significant percentage of positive tests in our last batch of PCR tests. Thankfully, our community members are mostly experiencing mild to moderate symptoms. We hope for continued health and healing for them. Testing is an important layer of safety in helping reduce transmission at school.
Please continue to be diligent in keeping your student(s) home if they are experiencing any symptoms, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and wait to return until you are cleared by an administrator. Should they need to be home, they can join class on Zoom, actively listen, and participate when appropriate. To do so, please have your student go to calendar.google.com and log in with the student credentials and the Zoom links for their classes are in their calendars. For any questions, please email Ms. Brouwer at email@example.com.
Thank you again for your partnership and support as we navigate this time,
Dear Wornick Community,
The national and local COVID-19 numbers have continued to skyrocket since I last wrote to you. While there is concern across the country of hospitals and healthcare institutions being overwhelmed, there are continued positive signs including experts seeing milder symptoms and predictions that the apex of this wave will be reached in early January. The data continues to underscore the importance of vaccinations and that we need to buckle up for a couple of difficult weeks.
Testing For Return to School on Tuesday
Testing before returning to school is crucial so please ensure that if you haven't already picked up your test, you receive a PCR test either on campus (on Monday between 8:30-11:30am and you will test in the parking lot) or at a provider of your choosing. For those who picked up tests Friday and tested Sunday through CityHealth, tests must be returned to school by Monday at 11:30am to go to the lab. Please note, CityHealth wait times are long at the moment and they are going as fast as possible. Families are reporting waiting online for a testing slot for up to 90 minutes. Stay online. Repeated logging in slows down the process. PCR test results must be received by Monday night in order to attend school in person on Tuesday, January 4. Especially if your test results come in after 8pm on Monday night, please bring a physical copy of your negative test results on Tuesday morning if you tested outside of CityHealth.
I also want to let you know that since I last wrote to you, an increasing number of professionals, including classroom educators, and families have tested positive for COVID-19, despite taking precautions.
On Campus Learning
As an administration we have made the decision to keep our school open for on campus learning, in line with recommendations from San Mateo County Office of Education and San Mateo County Health. We will be doing so with fewer educators, but it appears that many of them will be able to return starting next week. We are prioritizing on campus learning and not shifting to remote learning, because we believe we have effective health and safety protocols in place, robust testing, vaccination rates in our county are at 94% of county residents 12 and over, and in-person learning is crucial for our students' social-emotional and academic development.
Here are some reminders and what to expect next week and in the coming weeks as we navigate this wave of COVID-19:
Your students will likely have substitute teachers. We will utilize four regular substitutes who have already worked at Wornick this year and are fully vaccinated (including boosters). If we have exhausted our substitutes, administrators like Ms. Haire, Mr. Eilath, Ms. Brouwer, Ms. Walklet, and others with classroom experience, may step into the classroom in addition to specialists. Quarantining teachers may join classrooms to teach remotely while a teacher or another Wornick staff member facilitates on campus learning.
- We will be extremely vigilant about health and safety measures. There will be strong enforcement of mask wearing both indoors and outdoors. Expect your student to be sent home if they are showing any symptoms, including mild ones. As a reminder, two consecutive days of negative antigen testing is required to return to school following symptoms, OR a single negative PCR test.
- Cohorts or grades may have to go remote for periods of up to ten days. If there is evidence of transmission in a cohort or a grade, or if we reach critical levels of not being able to staff a particular grade, we may send a cohort home for remote learning for ten days while staff and students complete their quarantine period. If schoolwide staffing is low, we will prioritize TK-2 on campus learning.
- Hybrid learning will be available for quarantining or symptomatic students. Students will be able to join via zoom from home if health and safety protocols prohibit them from attending school. We will not be able to send home materials. Our professionals will be working double time in these next few weeks and we are unable to support a material exchange or prepare materials for remote learners.
- No Chavurot this week; We will pause Chavurot that were planned for this Friday as many staff leaders may be out and we want to reduce sustained student mixing across grade levels where possible.
As we navigate through these next few weeks let's collectively do our best to prioritize the health and safety of our community and sustained on-campus learning. Even when times get tough, I'm asking you all to assume good will, and understand that educators and administrators are doing their best in these times. We will assume good will as well; we know how hard it is to navigate unpredictable schedules for parents and changing requirements. We have done this before and we can get through these times as a community.
L'shalom (Towards wholeness)
Dear Wornick Community,
This email contains important updates including:
- New testing requirements before returning to school
- Updated quarantine requirements
- New testing protocols for symptomatic individuals
- Changes to our masking recommendations
I hope this email finds you well and you and your family are able to relax and recharge during this winter break. I know that many of you have been alarmed by the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country and the world due to the spread of the Omicron variant. While we are still learning about this variant, we know that it appears to be milder, especially among vaccinated individuals and at the same time it appears to be highly transmissible. We continue to encourage you all to get your students vaccinated if they have not yet received vaccination. Vaccinated individuals including children appear to be less likely to contract and spread the virus.
Uploading your vaccination record
Before winter break, our administration began working with our health and safety team to chart a path to return to more "pre-pandemic" activities in the early spring. We remain hopeful that this variant will not veer us away from this objective. In anticipation of those changes, our health and safety team has asked all parents to email their students COVID-19 vaccination records (if they have not already) to firstname.lastname@example.org. These records are kept confidential and will not be shared with your student's teacher or class. In the future, we may share the percentage of vaccinated students in age groups (elementary vs middle school for example) as we announce changes to programs. Additionally, the percentage of vaccinated students will inform the decisions of the health and safety team as they decide which activities and programs might resume in the spring, so uploading your student's records is essential. At the moment, we continue to strongly recommend that all students aged 5-11 receive their vaccines as soon as possible. For students 12+, the vaccine is required unless you have received an approved exemption.
Additionally, we are making a change to our vaccine requirements for professionals and volunteers. To be considered fully vaccinated, you must have received a booster dose (assuming you are eligible to receive one). In accordance with our Health and Safety guidelines, all volunteers must send their updated vaccine card to email@example.com in order to volunteer.
Testing before returning to school on Tuesday, January 4th
While we know that for most, catching the Omicron variant remains mild, guidelines for COVID-19 positive individuals and unvaccinated close contacts still require quarantine periods. The impact of positive cases in our classrooms would still likely have a substantial impact on our academic program. We know that we have a substantial number of students and families who traveled over winter break. We are already hearing from community members, including our professionals, who have taken precautions but who are testing positive or are learning about close contacts with positive individuals. Our overarching goal in moving forward is to be able to continue to run an effective academic program and maintain a productive and healthy learning environment.
Our Health and Safety Team has determined that a negative PCR test will now be required before returning to school on January 4th. This is a shift from our previous plan to distribute PCR tests through CityHeath on the first day back at school. You have two options to complete your student's testing requirement before returning to school:
1. You may schedule a PCR test through a provider of your choice. The test must be taken on either Sunday, January 2nd or Monday, January 3rd to be eligible to return to school.
2. The other option will be to test through Wornick's CityHealth program. On Monday between 8.30am and 11.30am we will be staffing outdoor testing in the Wornick parking lot. Students may come to Wornick between those hours and use either your device or one of our laptops to have your test administered by CityHealth's PA. At 11.30am we will take all of the tests directly to the lab to receive results before the start of school on January 4th.
For those of you who want to avoid the lines or testing outdoors on Monday you may pick up a test at Wornick on Friday between the hours of 10am and 2pm and test with CityHealth online at any time on Sunday (9am-4pm) or Monday morning. If you are choosing this option please reach out to Esther Gillette and bring your tests back before 11.30am on Monday, January 3rd.
We know that some of you have scheduled travel on January 3rd and you may not be able to test on January 3rd. Remote learning will be available for any student who is unable to complete the testing requirements and we will admit students late in the day if their tests are not complete before the start of the school day.
Omicron variant and new testing requirements
Our community will need to be resilient in the next few weeks as we navigate the spread of Omicron. Our priority will be to ensure that our students are able to learn effectively and we are able to maintain normative learning environments for them. Our belief is that the spread of the variant in our community will be disruptive for our students and will create staffing challenges for our school. Our policy changes that we are considering are intentional in trying to maintain on campus learning for our students. We are working to create contingency plans if we have large numbers of teachers who are unable to attend school due to quarantine requirements. We ask for your understanding and flexibility as we navigate what might be a challenging time for our students, teachers, and families.
We are making a shift in our testing policy for symptomatic individuals. If your student or any family member has any symptoms of COVID-19 (runny nose, sore throat, fever, muscle soreness, fatigue, sneezing) your student will need to stay home until the symptomatic individual has two consecutive days of negative antigen test results OR a single negative PCR test. A student cannot return to class unless their symptoms have improved. We anticipate this change (of requiring two consecutive days of negative antigen test results for symptomatic individuals) to be temporary while we navigate this wave of the virus.
Updated Quarantine Guidelines
Yesterday, the CDC updated it's quarantine guidelines for COVID-19 positive individuals, reducing the required quarantine for COVID-19 positive individuals and unvaccinated close contacts. The California Department of Health and Department of Education have not yet adopted these changes. We anticipate we will receive a communication from them soon and if they do change quarantine guidelines our Health and Safety Team will evaluate them.
To remind you of our protocols, unvaccinated individuals who are close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual must undergo a modified quarantine. During the modified quarantine, they may continue to attend school if they are asymptomatic and test negative twice weekly. During this time they may not attend any other activities outside of school.
Vaccinated individuals who were close contacts may continue attending school if they are asymptomatic.
The emerging guidance and recommendations on masks are suggesting that only wearing cloth masks are not as effective against the new variant. The strongest protection against the variant is an N95 mask or a KN95 mask. If those are not available to you, we strongly recommend wearing disposable masks with a cloth mask as a second layer on top. Cloth masks, especially those that have been washed more than ten times are not recommended during this time.
Our school has been able to offer our students a strong educational program and keep our classes going throughout the past 20 months. Strong guidelines and a community of families that stick to our protocols have been instrumental in helping our students continue to learn. We feel confident these guidelines will help minimize disruptions to our learning through this wave.
In partnership and health,
Dear Wornick Community,
This email includes updates on the COVID-19 vaccine for all of our students and requirements for our students aged twelve and above.
Pfizer Vaccines for Students Aged 5-11
After more than eighteen months of living with COVID-19, the pending approval of vaccines for students aged 5-11 represents a significant milestone in moving back towards normalcy and holds with it the hope of loosening restrictions. Vaccines have proven to significantly reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19, and preventing serious illness and hospitalization. In San Mateo County, the County Office of Education and County Health Department have been working to prepare for the emergency approval of the Pfizer vaccine for students aged 5-11. Sites across the county will be offering vaccines in November and the full list of locations will be available here.
Our Health and Safety Team is closely following the rollout of vaccines for 5-11 year olds and we are encouraging all eligible students to get vaccinated as soon as possible. When your student gets vaccinated, please send a copy of your vaccination card to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be added to your student's vaccination record.
Vaccine Requirements for Students 12 and Above
In early October, Governor Newsom announced that the COVID-19 vaccine would be added to the list of required vaccines for all students attending California schools. The announcement indicated that the requirement would take effect immediately following full FDA approval of the vaccine (for the specific age group that received full approval). This requirement for students 12 and above could take effect by January 1or July 1 depending on the timing of full approval, and all public and private schools will be required to comply. The order gives schools and school districts the freedom to move at a faster pace as many schools have done, and we believe that it is the correct time to do so. Our medical team is in agreement and believes this is a necessary and important step to keep our community safe. Therefore, Wornick will be requiring vaccines for all students aged 12 and up. We will ask all eligible students to be in compliance by December 1st (with complete vaccination by January 4th), and copies of vaccine records be sent to email@example.com.
For students turning 12 during this school year, we are requiring that they be fully vaccinated within three months of their 12th birthday.
Students 12 and above seeking an exemption should email firstname.lastname@example.org to request additional information. Students 12 and above who receive a medical, religious, or personal belief exemption for the vaccine will need to comply with certain restrictions for participation in school programming.
One restriction applied to students 12 and above is related to our campus partner's, the PJCC's, parallel policy requiring that all individuals above the age of 12 must be vaccinated in order to enter the PJCC starting December 1. Most relevant and immediate is that they will not be able to participate in after school sports at the PJCC (basketball this season). Additionally, they will not be able to enter the PJCC after school starting December 1, 2021.
Other restrictions will be applied including not being able to attend overnight trips involving air travel, limitations on participation in other extracurricular activities, and if our school moves away from requiring masks outdoors or in other certain circumstances, it is very likely that our health and safety committee in alignment with our medical advisors will require those students with exemptions to continue wearing masks. More frequent testing will also be required for students who have exemptions.
We believe and strongly encourage vaccinations for the safety of our students. We believe they are safe and will play an important role in keeping our students in school. Our medical advisors are available and enthusiastic to speak with any family who has concerns about our policy or who wants to understand more about why vaccinating your student is important.
It is important to note that once the state rolls out their vaccination requirements, (leading up to the first semester after full approval), there may be changes to the requirements or exemption process.
Thank you for your partnership in keeping our community safe,
Yesterday we met with the Health and Safety Team and they recommended a clarification and adjustment to our Health and Safety Plan. An addendum will be added to the document to reflect these items. In light of the continued unknown around the Delta variant, we have decided to move to twice a month testing for our community. We will test 50% of each cohort each week, so each student will test two times per month. These screening tests must be PCR. You will receive a dedicated email from the office with your group assignment and dates regarding when your student's results need to be received.
Additionally, when a student has a sibling who is awaiting a Covid test result due to symptoms or being an unmasked close contact, the student must stay home until the sibling student's test result comes back negative. We suggest keeping a supply of FDA approved home tests for symptomatic cases. Responsive testing for symptoms only can be antigen or PCR tests.
We continue to ask all families to make the safety of the Wornick community a priority, and be responsible community citizens and follow the guidelines outlined in the CDC, California Department of Health, and San Mateo County. Please also remember to keep your child home if they or a sibling has any symptoms including but not limited to fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, aches, loss of smell/taste, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, or diarrhea. In that event, please notify email@example.com, get a Covid test, and wait to return to school until you have clearance from an administrator.
Thank you and we look forward to a successful academic year.
Assistant Head of School
It was so nice seeing everyone who attended the town hall last night! We appreciate our community's thoughtful, intentional questions and feedback around keeping our community safe. View the presentation slides here. Parents are required to sign and acknowledge the Health and Safety Plan by August 15, but you must first sign up for the Facts system. We will notify you when the form is ready on Friday. If you have not signed up for Facts, please do so within the email you were sent last week.
We have drafted the Health and Safety Plan that can be viewed here. Please note: this is a working document and things may change as we assess current conditions. Should conditions change as determined by our Health and Safety Committee, San Mateo County, or the CDPH, we will notify parents and our community. We will revise this document as necessary.
We hope to see you this Friday at Kabbalat Ruach!
Dear Wornick Community,
We received the San Mateo County's framework for reopening on Friday, July 30. The recent local guidance, which is based on state and federal guidance, prioritizes masking, health and hygiene, testing, keeping symptomatic individuals away from school, and contact tracing. In contrast to last year, the plans do not emphasize cohorting or social distancing, based on research that shows that transmission can be reduced if other safety measures are followed. We plan to provide a full update to our Covid Health and Safety Plan after we consult with our Health and Safety Team in light of these updated guidelines. We will share the finalized plan with you ahead of the town hall on August 9 at 8pm.
Below are high-level highlights of our plan:
- At this time, masking will be required indoors and outdoors while on campus, or participating in Wornick-related activities. Students will only unmask to eat snack and lunch, which will be outdoors.
- Ventilation will be maximized through HEPA filters in every room, and windows will be open while class is in session.
- Though we will not be doing staggered drop-offs as we did last year, health and hygiene are key. We will continue to have stations for hand washing and sanitation. Time will be allotted for students to wash their hands before, during, and after school. We trust our community to be transparent when a member of the community is ill. No daily questionnaire will be required. Please advise firstname.lastname@example.org if your child is experiencing any symptoms and keep your child at home until you have received clearance from our office.
- Regular testing will be a priority. As stated in the Wornick Weekly, testing will be required for students and professional community members prior to coming back to campus. A negative test should be produced within 5 days prior to the first day of school on August 24. Please schedule your test for your student. Results should be sent to email@example.com by 5 pm on Monday, August 23. If your student is attending a Middle School Sports Boot Camp or Hebrew Ulpan class for transfer students, a negative test must be taken between August 11 and 15. Results should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 pm on Sunday, August 15.
- Regular testing will be required during the school year. Cadence of testing to follow.
- Gesher is scheduled to take place for this academic school year. Please refer to FACTS to sign up. Additional details regarding Gesher operations will be provided at the Town Hall and in our finalized Health & Safety Plan.
- Limited volunteers will be allowed on campus. All volunteers must be vaccinated and complete the form via FACTS in order to be considered.
We look forward to seeing you at the zoom Town Hall on Monday, August 9 at 8pm. E-vite to follow.