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.**
Covid-19 Reporting Dashboard 2021-22
This data will be updated weekly on Mondays for the previous week. Positive cases are also reported to San Mateo County Health and the state. Notifications will be provided to the school community via email.
|Week||Wornick Students & Professional Community Members|
|Jan. 10, 2022||2|
|Jan. 3, 2022||1|
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.
- 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,
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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.