Message from the Administration

January 1, 2021

As we greet each other in the opening days of this long-awaited new year, our optimism about more normalized days to come is balanced by a collective understanding that this truly tiresome period of Covid-19 in our lives remains very much so an open chapter. As has been the case since the beginning of the pandemic, we move onward into 2021 with the same expression of gratitude for the discipline, commitment, and risk mitigation efforts put forth each day by staff, students, and families. The SDFAS campus has remained open since August 28, 2020, the school offering both in-person and distance learning program options. When our city returned to the Covid purple tier in mid-November, SDFAS implemented mandatory PCR surveillance testing on a weekly basis for all on-campus persons (children and adults). Results are reported within a 24-to-48 hour time window with testing taking place on campus through a partnership with the UCSD Excite Lab and cost covered by the school. On testing days, parents can choose to come to the campus parking lot to perform the non-invasive anterior nasal swab for their child(ren) or else request a trained SDFAS staff member do it.

All students will move temporarily to distance learning (for two days) on Monday, January 4 and Tuesday, January 5, to allow time to test and receive back results for all on-campus students and staff. The SDFAS campus reopens on Wednesday, January 6 with approximately 85% of our student body learning in-person and 15% from home.

De la part de toute l’équipe SDFAS, nous vous souhaitons nos meilleurs voeux pour cette nouvelle année! Happy New Year!

SDFAS – La Jolla Light Press Coverage

November 14, 2020  “Who’s learning on campus and who isn’t? Data show private-public school divide in San Diego County” 

November 11, 2020  ” ‘We can make it work’: UC San Diego lab bringing low-cost testing to local schools” 

August 31, 2020  “Back to school, online and on campus: Local public and private schools welcome students in different ways”

August 28, 2020  “Back to school in baby steps: La Jolla private schools prepare for return to campus”

August 20, 2020  “5 La Jolla private schools get county waiver approval to reopen”

June 19, 2020      “Back to school: La Jolla campuses prepare to welcome students back in August”

Return to Campus – Document Review & Required Acknowledgement Form

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FORM (Parents must print, sign and return by PDF or hard copy to SDFAS prior to your student’s return to campus.)

The acknowledgement form certifies that you have reviewed and agree to abide by all that is set forth in the following documents:

  • Covid-19 Prevention & Reopening Plan: click here
  • Parent-Student Handbook 2020-2021 (Revised and Updated): click here
  • Covid-19 Addendum to Parent-Student Handbook: click here
  • Acceptable Use Policy (Technology) – Grades 3-8 only: click here
  • Overview of the 1-1 Chromebook Program – Grades 3-8 only: click here

Return to Campus – Videos

  • Video of Drop Off – Preschool (click here)
  • Video of Drop Off – Kindergarten (click here)    
  • Video of Drop Off – 1st & 2nd Grade (click here)
  • Video of Drop Off – 3rd – 8th Grade (click here)
  • Video of the Campus – “Socially Distanced Spaces” (click here)

Return to Campus – Logistics

  • Staggered Arrival/Dismissal – Preschool (click here)
  • Sign-In Procedure using Procare – Preschool (click here)
  • Staggered Arrival/Dismissal – Elementary & Middle School (click here)
  • Daily Schedule – Preschool, Kindergarten & Elementary (click here)
  • Daily Schedule – Middle School (click as follows for  6A    6B   7A    7B    8A    8B )

First Days Back on Campus – How Did It Go?

During our first week back on campus we experienced better-than-anticipated success with:

  • Staggered arrival and dismissal at multiple campus entry points
  • Passive and active screening procedures (Magnus Health app)
  • Staggered recess and lunch periods
  • Lunch outside: use of “surf desks” (click here) (one for every single K-6 student)
  • Required mask-wearing for students in K-8 with designated outdoor “mask free” zones for temporary breaks from them
  • Hand washing / hand sanitizing habits & routines                     
  • Physical distancing practices, campus circulation plan, & campus signage
  • Disinfection campus-wide of high-touch surfaces
  • Enhanced sanitation (increase from one custodial worker to three…)
  • Fresh air circulation & other HVAC/air quality enhancement

SDFAS Parent Connect forum

As parents, we may well feel the need to connect with each other during this prolonged period of uncertainty. Let’s share what is working for us and our families and how we’ve overcome challenges as we adapt to the current situation. Others among us might then benefit from any tips or advice. Happy posting! Click here to enter the SDFAS Parent Connect Forum.

Financial Challenges During COVID-19 Crisis

We recognize that this unusual period will create financial challenges for multiple businesses and for some families.  The school is therefore making available special financial aid for families experiencing hardship due to loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 crisis (application available here). The school will also give pro-rata credit for unused after-school activities, extended care packages, clubs, trips, transport and Girard Gourmet meals at the end of the calendar year. However, because the school continues to operate virtually and to incur all the costs of teacher salaries and the campus, we are not in a position to offer tuition refunds.


Enrollment contract withdrawal without a full 2020-2021 tuition obligation needed to occur by June 1, 2020 (less $1,000 per child deposit retained by the school).

Communication Archive

Head of School’s Written Updates 2020 – 2021

Head of School’s Video Messages 2019-2020

Head of School’s Written Updates 2019-2020

Covid-19 Resources

Please find below the resources and updates related to the COVID-19 pandemic that we have shared with our community since January 2020 as well as news and information about the spread of Covid-19 in our city, state, nationwide and worldwide.

Mindset During Coronavirus Social Distancing

General Resources

Ressources en Français

Pedagogical Resources for Parents

Covid-19 Prevention, Response & Reopening –  Planning Teams


  • Meet regularly in-person or by Zoom
  • Conduct research, plan, prepare and respond as needed
  • Designate responsibilities and establish timelines and priorities
  • Ensure information sharing between Board and Administration
  • Make decisions collaboratively and/or with consultation
  • Provide regular updates to the community

Guiding Principles

  • Reopen in the safest way feasible while at the same time maintaining a steadfast commitment to our school’s mission and core values
  • The health, safety and wellbeing of students, employees and families come first and take priority over everything else
  • Prefer in-person on-campus learning when permitted by local authorities and at the same time offer a high quality distance learning program
  • Act, educate, and communicate with clarity, respect and transparency
  • Be flexible, creative and adaptable.

Board Level Covid-19 Emergency Response Team

  • Mark Rosenblum, Head of School
  • Emmanuel Poulain, Director of Finance & Operations
  • Kyndra Leach, Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Fernanda Coelho, Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Peter Westlake, Treasurer of the Board of Trustees
  • Etienne Chaponnière, Secretary of the Board of Trustees
  • Janice Murabayashi, Trustee

Administrative Level Covid-19 Prevention & Reopening Task Force

  • Mark Rosenblum, Head of School
  • Emmanuel Poulain, Director of Finance & Operations
  • Isabelle Gilet, Director of Enrollment Management, Marketing & Communications
  • Francis Carlier, Director of Elementary
  • Marion Addo, Middle School Coordinator
  • Sophie Ricouard, Academic Director of Pre-Elementary
  • Babeth Esterly, Administrative Director of Pre-Elementary
  • Anna Forester, RN, School Nurse PK-8

Covid-19 Risk Mitigation Consultation Team  (Public Health, Medical, Legal, Technology)

  • Francesca Torriani MD, Professor of Clinical Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at UCSD (Former SDFAS Trustee & Parent)
  • Hala Madanat, Vice President for Research and former Director of the School of Public Health at SDSU (SDFAS Parent)
  • Lisa Lowe Hiller MD MPH FACEP, Emergency Physician & Clinical Instructor at UCSD Health, VA San Diego & Sharp Memorial (SDFAS Parent)
  • Alexis Nahama DVM, SVP – Corporate Development at Sorrento Therapeutics & President – Art Animal Health (SDFAS Trustee & Parent) 
  • Ellin M. Ruffner, LCSW, Disaster Mental Health Manager, American Red Cross, Retired Clinical Social Worker
  • Kurt Oreshack ESQ, Partner at Breakwater Law Group, LLP with expertise in life sciences, healthcare & biotechnology (SDFAS Trustee & Parent)
  • Artun Kutchuk, Product Management at Alexa Artificial Intelligence developed by Amazon (SDFAS Trustee & Parent)