RETURN-TO-SCHOOL PLAN

Updated 11/20/2020

Spring Hill’s plan is to start the school year in accordance with requirements from the Sonoma County Department of Health and Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) regarding school reopening. We are prepared to adjust as advised by public health officials in the months ahead and throughout the school year.

We are preparing for a robust in-person program when a waiver application process is available. We are also preparing for a robust distance learning program if needed. We’ll determine two weeks prior to the start of the school year, August 17, the best way to start the new school year based on all health requirements and advice.

Please find below our – Return-to-School Plan for in-person learning. 

Our goal is to focus on our students’ social and emotional learning and growth and offer the quality of individualized and advanced education to which we are committed.  The Spring Hill School’s teachers’ dedication and excellence, the low student:teacher ratio, prepared facilities and educational resources, and the school’s mission and vision to fulfill the promise of each child give our school the advantage to offer the best possible education during this challenging time.

We know that working and collaborating together will look and feel different during this time. We appreciate and count on our Spring Hill community’s strength to make this process supportive, positive, effective, and friendly allowing our amazing teachers to offer our precious children the education that Spring Hill is committed to with expertise, care, and love.

Warmly,
Shaharazad Hamidi
Head of School

Plan A: SPRING HILL RETURN-TO-CAMPUS PLAN (Concurrent with in-person learning, we will offer an Extended Learning Program – Distance Learning – to students who cannot attend school in person due to medical conditions or health risks.)

In Spring Hill’s Return-to-Campus model, we will welcome all students back to our campuses. Our return to in-person learning will require continued physical distancing, health screenings, accommodations for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, routine hygiene and sanitation practices, and Spring Hill community’s safe behavior agreement.

Please click on each heading to expand that section.

IDENTIFICATION & TRACING OF CONTACTS

Spring Hill’s Return-to-School plan will require:

  • Staggered arrival, dismissal, and pick-up times and procedures (allowing for physical distancing and required health screening review) – Specific details for each campus will be finalized and communicated with you before August 31.
  • Assigned alternative entrances and exits for different groups of students
  • Spring Hill families who arrange for carpools and shared rides to get to school need to follow the guidance offered by County health officials: carpool with the same stable group of people, wear face masks at all times, open windows to maximize air circulation.

Outdoor recess and play:

  • A revised recess schedule will be created to limit the number of students on the playground at one time.
  • In accordance with health and safety guidelines, students must play only with their designated group.
  • Recess will be supervised by each specific classroom’s team of teachers.
  • Students will be supervised and encouraged to keep their physical distance when playing.
  • Common playground toys will either be cleaned/disinfected between cohorts or not used at all.
  • Students are expected to follow the school rules and cooperate when instructed and directed.
  • Students are expected to adhere to all new procedures so the school can follow the guidelines for health and safety.
  • The outdoor play structures will be regularly cleaned.

Cohorts

Spring Hill’s planning minimizes crossover between students and adults in school buildings:

  • Spring Hill has a Kindergarten through 6th grade student population of 72 students. 
      • We have three campuses with a total of nine classrooms available for creating cohorts. 
      • We have assigned the three campus locations as follows: Grades K, 1, 2 at first campus; grades 3 and 4 at second campus; grades 5 and 6 at third campus. 
  • Students are assigned to a class/cohort that does not interact with other groups. 
      • Siblings in the same grade band will be in the same cohort.
      • Cohort groups consist of 8-14 students, each in their own designated classroom with 6+ foot clearance between student work stations. 
      • Cohort lead teachers will not work with other cohorts.
  • Recess and PE will be outdoor and in designated spaces with a staggered schedule.
  • Outdoor areas will be used as outdoor classrooms as much as possible for all grade levels. We are fortunate to have large, beautiful campuses that allow us to implement this plan. 
  • Outdoor recess and play
      • A revised recess schedule has been created to limit the number of students on the playground at one time. Each class will have their own recess time and designated play space.  Cohorts will not commingle during recess or breaks.
      • In accordance with health and safety guidelines, students will play only with their designated group
      • Recess will be supervised by each specific classroom’s team of teachers.
      • Students will be supervised  to keep their physical distance when playing.
      • Common playground toys will not be used.
      • The outdoor play structures will be regularly cleaned, power washed, and disinfected.
      • Students in our K-6 classes will have three designated outside play/learn periods daily.

Physical Distancing

The flexible design of our campuses’ classrooms and outdoor spaces, as well as additional classroom spaces that we have obtained for use during this time, and our low student ratios fully support guidelines for 6 feet distancing requirements between students and teachers established by the Health Department and SCOE. We have also added the following additional furnishings and protocols for safety: 

  • New individual desks to replace shared tables and set up in compliance with physical distancing requirements
  • All student desks have been arranged with six feet distancing between each other
  • Teachers will remain six feet away from students and each other. 
  • Plexiglass safety dividers will be used by each teacher in all classrooms and other environments.
  • PE activities will incorporate activities that do not require contact between students and that can be accomplished with 6 feet distancing requirements
  • Students will eat lunch in their stable cohorts and will be spaced with 6 feet between each student whether they are eating lunch outdoors or indoors (based on weather).
  • Signage has been installed at all campuses to designate 6 feet distancing.

Additionally:

  • Meetings between adults will be conducted virtually. 
  • Non-essential visitors will not be allowed on campuses or in classrooms. 
  • We expect to use virtual/video meetings instead of in-person meetings for any classroom educational experts and guest speakers.
  • Campus visitors (including parents) are not permitted during this time
  • Field trips are suspended until further notice
  • All administrative and teacher meetings with parents and the community will be conducted via Zoom or virtual meetings. In the rare occasion an in-person meeting must occur, all safety precautions and physical distancing guidelines will be followed.

Movement in the School

Arrival and dismissal has been carefully planned with staggered schedules to ensure the best scenario for cohorts/students to avoid close contact and mixing of cohorts as well as allow for physical distancing and required health screenings

  • Each cohort of 8-14 students has been assigned an arrival and departure time different from other cohorts at the same campus. 
  • Upon arrival (all students are transported to school in parent vehicles), students will wait in their parent’s vehicle until supervising faculty/staff signals the student to exit the vehicle.
  • Staff/faculty will conduct on arrival health screening for the specific student, which includes recording data and the use of touchless thermometers.
  • Students will proceed directly to the cohort classroom following the specific route and entrance for their cohort.
  • Students will use a designated handwashing station upon arrival at their cohort classroom. Additional handwashing stations are placed at the campuses.
  • Dismissal process will follow the same process. Each cohort will be assigned a specific dismissal and pick-up time and these will be staggered for each cohort.
  • Each cohort will be assigned a different route to use for entrance to and exit from classrooms for arrival, departure, recess, lunch, restroom visits, and outdoor activities.
  • Signage has been installed at all campuses to designate 6 feet distancing.

Lunch & Snack

  • Students will bring their lunches and snacks to school every day.
  • Classes will have lunch and snacks with their individual group in designated areas (outdoor spaces as long as it is possible due to weather).
  • Sharing of food will not be permitted. Birthday and special occasion treats are not permitted.
  • Each student should bring a snack separately packed from home. Please note soda beverages, sports beverages, juice, and candy are not allowed. We encourage our students to bring flat water, and healthy and nutritious snacks and lunches, minimizing sugary and processed foods.
  • Each student should bring a reusable water bottle to school every day, prominently labeled with the student’s name.
  • Please note that The Spring Hill School is a waste-free school. We recommend reusable food containers and minimal use of “single use” plastic. Labelling food containers is recommended. Please provide a clean cloth placemat and napkin each day.
  • Students will take home each day for disposal all trash from their lunches and snacks.

Our team of teachers is currently collaborating to create the overall integrated curriculum document for their grade bands in alignment with Spring Hill’s mission, vision, and educational programs. Teachers are designing and creating schedules for in-person and distance learning, including enrichment programs, in consideration of the health department’s guidelines/requirements for in-person and distance learning plans. Final details will be shared with you by August 24. School community events like assemblies will be held virtually.

  • Field trips will not be scheduled in the beginning of the school year. We’ll seek guidance from SCDH and SCOE regarding outdoor field trips when appropriate.
  • Our school advisors and learning specialists will work in person or through distancing learning with their students and families based on each student’s teachers’ recommendations and planning.
  • Faculty collaborative planning is limited due to the complexity of the scheduling. Teachers’ professional development will be scheduled appropriately throughout the school year during times that students are engaged with independent learning.

Accommodations for those Vulnerable to COVID-19 – Spring Hill Extended Program:

  • Spring Hill is committed to ensuring every student receives the full education offered through in-person learning if health conditions or circumstances prevent them from participating in in-person instruction. Spring Hill’s extended program is a distance learning program offered to those students until their circumstances allow them to return safely to campus.
  • The Spring Hill team of teachers is working through the summer to create a schedule for our extended program students who will need to start the school year remotely during in-person learning.  Final schedules will be shared with families before the start of the school year to assure all of our students’ well-being and excellent education.

Face Coverings/Masks

Spring Hill will adhere to research-based guidance from infectious disease experts. Students and staff will be required to wear face masks during the school day, maintain social distancing, and practice frequent hand washing.

  • All students and staff will be required to wear face masks to cover their nose and mouth at all times except while eating*. (Vented masks and gaiters are not permitted.)
  • Face masks will be worn both indoors and outdoors (except while eating).

*Parents please:

  • Choose comfortable, cloth masks that fit well for your child. The most effective way that we can prevent the spread of illness is a properly sized and properly worn cloth mask. Face masks with breathing valves are not permitted as they do not provide the proper protection for the user and those around them.
  • Bring an extra mask placed in a Ziplock bag with your child’s name clearly marked on the bag. We will keep this on campus for your child to use if needed.

We suggest families purchase a minimum of 5 cloth masks per child so they can wear a fresh one every day of the week. Please note that The Spring Hill School does not permit any clothing or accessories that promote inappropriate characters or words of violence in respect to our students’ health and our community’s respectful values.

Other Protective Equipment

  • Plexiglass safety dividers will e used by each teacher in all classrooms and other environments.
  • Spring Hill has purchased PPE for staff use or student use as needed, including disposable face masks, plastic face shields, and latex gloves.

Hygiene & Hand Washing

  • Routine hand washing/sanitizing will be built into the daily schedule upon arrival, before and after eating, after using the restroom, before leaving to go home, and as needed throughout the day.
  • New handwashing stations have been added to outdoor areas at campuses. 
  • Classrooms have sinks located for students and staff to use for handwashing.
  • Each classroom has access to restroom facilities that are equipped with sinks and soap.
  • Hand sanitizers are distributed in multiple locations in all classrooms and outdoor areas that will be used by students and staff.
  • Staff will supervise frequent handwashing and will reinforce with students the practice of frequent handwashing.
  • Students’ belongings will be separated and individually labeled. Sharing of materials has been discontinued. Students will have individual digital devices, writing utensils, notebooks, art supplies.
  • Students will bring lunches and snacks from home. No sharing of food is allowed.

Daily Health Screening – Students and Staff

  • All students and staff will be required to complete a daily health screening to include:
    • a touchless temperature check in the morning
    • reporting of any household members with symptoms of COVID-19
    • reporting of any possible exposure to the virus by the student or family
  • Students with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 will be required to stay home and follow monitoring or testing steps as required by the Health Department and SCOE.

Regular surveillance testing of staff to detect asymptomatic infections:

  • The Spring Hill School has contracted with Kyla, a private healthcare and testing provider, for twice a month surveillance testing of 100% of our faculty and school staff for detecting asymptomatic infections.
  • Kyla will provide surveillance and rapid testing to detect any possible asymptomatic infection among all school faculty and staff.
  • Additionally, staff will answer daily health screening questions. These questions ask if the employee has experienced any of the following: A new cough, an unusual headache, muscle or body aches unrelated to physical activity or strain, fever, chills, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, fatigue, new congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or a new loss of taste or smell. Also employees are asked if they have tested positive or knowingly been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • In the event an employee has not completed the daily questionnaire by 8:00 am (prior to coming to school), he/she receives a reminder call or text from the school’s Office Manager, Loryn Hatten, to complete the health questionnaire immediately. Should any employee not complete the morning health screening, the employee is required to stay home. Should an employee indicate that he/she is experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, he/she remains at home and is contacted immediately by Spring Hill designated staff who are trained in contact tracing to obtain all details about the symptom(s) reported prior to the employee coming to work at school to determine if symptom(s) reported are COVID-19 related.

Rapid testing of students and staff in the event of an exposure or outbreak:

Additionally, Kyla will also be our provider for rapid testing of students, teachers, and staff in the event of an exposure/outbreak. Kyla’s outbreak testing service guarantees rapid scheduling of testing. Test results are ready within 24 hours of testing. The process of scheduling the testing and obtaining testing results is guaranteed within 24-48 hours. 

Testing would take place on Spring Hill’s campuses, ensuring that all employees and students are able to access testing rapidly and easily. Test results are ready within 24 hours of testing.

In the event a student reports symptoms of COVID-19:

  • If the student is at school, student will be removed from class immediately. The student will be isolated (comfortably) in a designated place in the school office, continue wearing a face mask, and will be supervised by a designated staff member (who also wears a face mask) until the parent/guardian arrives to take the student home as soon as possible.  
  • The parent/guardian, or those authorized to pick up a student from school will be contacted immediately as soon as a student reports any symptoms of COVID-19 for a prompt pick up. The area where the student was isolated while awaiting pick-up will be cleaned and disinfected immediately in accordance with Health Department guidelines. The areas where the student was prior to reporting symptoms will be cleared of all students and staff and will be immediately cleaned and disinfected. The school owns two electrostatic disinfectant sprayers which are more effective at disinfecting than traditional cleaning methods. These would be used to clean and disinfect an area where a COVID-19 positive person has been. 
  • The Spring Hill School requires families to consult with the student’s physician if a student is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. In order to return to school, the student must provide a physician’s release. The school will strongly encourage the student to obtain a COVID-19 test as well. In any case, the student may not return to school until symptoms have subsided and he/she is fever-free for 24 hours without the aid of fever-reducing medication. Again, the student must furnish a physician’s release to return to school.

In the event an employee reports symptoms of COVID-19

  • he/she is required to isolate immediately and obtain an immediate COVID-19 test. 
  • While waiting for the results of the COVID-19 test, the employee must continue to isolate and not come to work until the results of a negative test are received and submitted to the school.
  • If the results of the test indicate a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, the employee must follow the isolation requirements of 14 days from symptom onset or test date, and until symptoms have subsided, and the person is fever-free for 3 days without the aid of fever-reducing medication. 
  • Contact tracing will begin immediately upon notification of a positive COVID-19 test result. 
  • An employee who tested positive for COVID-19 is required to take another COVID-19 test after the recovery period and provide a copy of the test result showing negative in order to return to work. 

Spring Hill will follow all Health Department protocols for closing a class or the entire school in the event of any COVID-19 cases.  

  • If a student has been exposed to COVID-19, the student’s parents/guardian will be notified through contact tracing procedures. Spring Hill will follow all requirements indicated by Health Department protocols and the school policies. We will ask that the student and his/her family members to obtain a COVID-19 test and will ask the student and the family to quarantine for 14 days from the date of the last contact with the infected person. Student and his/her parents need to provide a copy of the COVID-19 test with negative results to be able to return to school. 
  • If a student has a positive COVID-19 test, the student will need to follow all requirements indicated by the Health Department, Sonoma County Office of Education, and the school policies. The student and his/her family will be required to quarantine for 14 days and be symptom-free, and fever free for 3 days without the aid of fever reducing medication at the end of the quarantine period. The student and his/her family are required to take another COVID-19 test after the recovery period and provide a copy of the test results showing negative to be able to return to school. 
  • In the event that a student must quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19, the student will continue to have access to instruction via our robust distance learning program.
  • Additionally, Spring Hill will initiate school-wide outbreak/exposure testing through Kyla and will precisely follow Health Department protocols for closing a class or the entire school in the event of any COVID-19 cases.

Actions staff take when there is a confirmed case

If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 among staff or students, Spring Hill will follow protocols according to the Health Department and Sonoma County Office of Education and the school policies: 

  • Notify the Sonoma County Department of Health.
  • Isolate the case (staff or student) and exclude from school for 14 days from symptom onset or test date, and until symptoms have subsided and case is fever-free for 3 days without the aid of fever reducing medication (school will require a COVID-19 test with negative results for the staff member or student to return to school).
  • Begin immediate contact tracing:
    • identify contacts, 
    • quarantine & exclude exposed contacts (likely entire cohort) for 14 days after the last date the case was present at school while infectious, 
    • recommend testing of contacts.
  • Notify the school community pursuant to guidelines we have established in our communication plan, included in our original waiver application.
  • Disinfect and clean classroom and primary spaces where the student or staff member spent significant time.

Contact Tracing

The Spring Hill School has designated three full-time trained staff members as contact tracers in the event of exposure to COVID-19. These individuals have completed contact tracing training through Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Contact tracers are:

  • Karen Tarver, Assistant to the Head of School (karen@thespringhillschool.org)
  • Pamela Cross, Director of Operations & Finance (pamcross@thespringhillschool.org)
  • Tracy Walthard, Director of Enrollment & Marketing (tracy@thespringhillschool.org)

Through the contact tracing training, we have created detailed and extensive contact tracing resources .

Spring Hill contact tracers will begin immediate contact tracing procedures when notified of a confirmed case of COVID-19 among staff or students. Contact tracers at Spring Hill will also immediately notify the Sonoma County Department of Health and follow contact tracing procedures such as creation and submission of lists of exposed students and staff to the Health Department and notification of exposed persons. 

Designated staff person(s) for public health to contact about COVID-19

Karen Tarver and Pam Cross (contact information provided above) are also designated as public health contacts . 

In the event of a confirmed case of a Spring Hill student or staff/faculty member, we will initiate contact tracing procedures and follow the process outlined by the Sonoma County Department of Health:

  1. If we learn of a confirmed case/cases involving a student or staff member before being contacted by public health, we will contact public health via the school hotline number. We will ensure that FERPA protocols are being followed.
  2. In consultation with public health, we will decide whether a class or entire school closure is warranted, using guidance provided by CDPH. 
  3. Our COVID-19 Liaison will work with public health to conduct contact tracing and notify exposed students/staff following FERPA protocol for student information.
  4. We will follow public health determination as to whether quarantine and testing is necessary based on the length of exposure, number of people exposed, and closeness of contact.
  5. Spring Hill, where necessary, will communicate information about quarantine of affected class/es and cohorts to the affected groups.
  6. Spring Hill will notify the general school community without disclosing personally identifiable information of students or staff.
  7. Spring Hill will ensure proper cleaning of affected classrooms and common areas or the entire school campus before reopening.
  8. We will work with public health and await notification from them for when it is safe to reopen the classroom or school. Spring Hill will then make the final determination when to reopen based on CDPH guidance.

  • Increasing outdoor air circulation lowers the risk of infection by “diluting” any infectious respiratory droplets with outdoor air.
  • Classroom windows and doors will remain open during the school day. (Students should dress in layers for varying temperatures.)
  • HVAC HEPA filters will be routinely replaced.
  • All of our classrooms have extensive outside classroom spaces for learning and activities. Teachers will use these spaces extensively throughout the day.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting practices will be implemented every day in accordance with the guidelines provided by the CDC and the SCDH.
  • We will focus routine cleaning on frequently touched surfaces like door handles and classroom surfaces, etc.
  • Bathrooms will be assigned for use by specific classrooms and will be cleaned multiple times throughout the school day by teachers.
  • Routine cleaning will occur on frequently touched surfaces like door handles and classroom surfaces, etc. Timers will be set and these surfaces will be wiped down hourly.
  • Bathrooms will be assigned for use by specific classrooms and will be cleaned multiple times throughout the school day by staff. 
  • Classrooms will be deep cleaned at the end of each school day, and we have contracted with a cleaning service to provide this service for classrooms (indoor and outdoor spaces).
  • Additionally, we have two electrostatic sprayers to clean classrooms after students have left.
  • Each student will have his/her individual writing utensils, notebooks, art supplies, and books. If items must be shared, teachers will wipe/disinfect in an appropriate manner (e.g., wipe books and other materials) or will put away bulky items and these will not be used again for 72 hours.
  • Outdoor equipment will be wiped down between cohort uses.

Cleaning after a suspected or known case of COVID-19 will follow additional protocols as advised by public health officials.

As Spring Hill implements practices and procedures to ensure our safe and healthy return to school for our teachers, our students, and our parents, our efforts will only be effective if the families in the Spring Hill community are aware of and responsive to public health guidance as they conduct their lives outside of school. For this reason, Spring Hill asks that all members of our community sign a “Safe Behavior Agreement” and take actions that demonstrate their responsibility to their own wellness and the wellness of others, including but not limited to:

  • Please continue to practice social distancing, wear face masks, and stay in the habit of frequent hand washing when outside of school.
  • Get tested if you experience symptoms of COVID-19 or if you believe you have been exposed to the virus.
  • Self-quarantine if you have been in contact with someone who has or is likely to have the virus.
  • Avoid unnecessary travel and self-quarantine if this travel cannot be avoided.
  • Avoid large group gatherings and crowds where physical distancing and face covering guidance is being disregarded.
  • Observe routine medical practices, including annual check-ups and flu vaccines.
  • Communicate with the school if you travel, have come in contact with anyone testing positive, or if you or a family member has tested positive

 

The following expectations and procedures are in place to ensure that health safety standards are met.

Expectations for students:

  • Students will arrive on-time at school and enter the building from their designated entrances. In order for these arrangements to work well, it is very important for students and parents to stick to these times as much as possible.
  • Students enter the building without parents at their assigned entrance door.
  • Students must wash/sanitize hands when entering their classes.
  • Students bring only the minimum that is needed and take it all to the classroom.
  • Students will be signed into their classrooms by their teacherss.
  • Students will use the assigned toilet and sink.
  • One student at a time uses assigned restroom facilities.
  • Students must wash hands after using the toilet.
  • Students will be taken to the dismissal point by teachers. When the parent has arrived, the student will be dismissed by the teachers.

Expectations for parents

  • Parents will arrive at the assigned staggered start time and dismissal time – it is very important to keep to these times to encourage and assure physical distancing.
  • Parents will drop off the students at designated areas.
  • Parents are encouraged to allow their child to make the last part of the journey into school independently unless delivering a reluctant child.
  • Parents will pick up children at the designated areas.
  • Parents will communicate with the school if they travel or if they have come in contact with anyone testing positive or if any family members have tested positive.

Staff

  • Staff may enter through various entrances.
  • Staff must wash/sanitize hands when entering the building.
  • Staff will take their classes to the dismissal areas.
  • Staff will communicate with the school if they travel or if they have come in contact with anyone testing positive or if they have tested positive.

Expectations around use of materials

  • Teachers will maintain the sanitizing of the classroom and materials during the day.
  • Families will help their students to clean and disinfect their materials prior to bringing them to school in the morning.

Expectations around use of Chromebooks:

  • Devices will not be shared while using.
  • Devices (students and teachers) will be wiped before and after use with wipes.
  • Students and teachers will wash hands before and after use.

Classroom libraries closed. Instead:

  • Pre-K to Kindergarten: A small selection of books will be available daily. Once a child has read the book, it is put away in a basket. They will be cleaned at the end of the day and available to reuse after 72 hours.
  • Grades 1-8: Students have their reading book/s which they keep with their other belongings. Once a book is finished, it will be cleaned before it’s available to another student to read after 72 hours. Teachers may have a box of books relevant for the day which they use, clean, and pack away.

Over the last few months, we have all learned that no matter how well we plan for the future, some things are beyond our control. If at any time, state and local authorities change their recommendations for schools, Spring Hill will comply with the new regulations to ensure the safety of our students and their teachers, and our community. Our preparations this summer continue to allow us to move through different conditions. In preparation for that possibility:

  • Students in grades 3-8 have individual, 1:1 Chromebooks.
  • We purchased new language arts and math curriculums that support in-person, extended, and distance learning programs.
  • Our teachers and staff are participating in additional professional development this summer to enhance our educational plans.
  • We have contracted with an organization to assist teachers, students/families with technology support in the event we must move to a distance learning format.
  • Facilities are prepared for all scenarios.

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