COVID-19 UPDATES

Mission Excellence at SDFAS during Covid-19

Two and a half years ago, our lives were turned upside down. Faced with extreme uncertainty, SDFAS families placed their trust and confidence in us. Undaunted, the school responded with creativity, clarity of vision, and the courage to act. SDFAS will be remembered as one of the very few schools in San Diego that was able to successfully offer its full-day, full-week program on CAMPUS for ALL interested families as of that first day of the 2020/21 school year. Faced now with ever changing variants and the ebb and flow of waves of cases in the county, SDFAS is no less focused on program excellence within an intelligently risk-mitigated campus environment. And, whatever lies ahead from here, SDFAS remains unwavering in its commitment to deliver an exceptional bilingual education within a vibrant international community, preparing students to become confident, responsible, and engaged global citizens.


Full Covid-19 Plan for 2022/23

Click HERE


Responding to Covid-19

Philosophy and Guiding Principles

Philosophy: Take into consideration with utmost respect the perspectives and opinions of every member of our school community, and notably find middle ground between risk-aversion and risk-tolerant community members. Be adaptable and make adjustments as deemed necessary based on evolving nature of the Covid-19 situation in our County. 

Guiding Principles

  • Reopen using effective risk-mitigation policies, procedures, and protocols 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 are our top priority
  • Prefer in-person and on-campus learning when permitted by local authorities and at the same time offer, when necessary, a high-quality distance learning option.
  • Act, educate, and communicate with clarity, respect, and transparency. 
  • Be flexible, creative, adaptive.

Close Contacts

Whenever a Covid-positive is identified on campus, all parents / guardians in that class (or larger cohort if relevant) will be informed of possible exposure. This follows the new County guideline for “Group Contact Tracing”.

Close Contacts: STUDENTS

  • Students may continue to attend school on campus.
  • Students must wear a KN95 mask indoors for 5d following the exposure.
  • Students must conduct an at home antigen test 5d following the exposure.
  • Should they develop Covid symptoms at any time, they should go/stay home and follow the SDFAS policy for symptomatic students 

Close Contacts – COVID POSITIVE CASE IN HOUSEHOLD

  • The student/staff member who has a covid positive person living in their household must be quarantined for the duration of the positive person’s infectious period of 5 days.
  • The student/staff member must conduct an at home antigen test 5d following the exposure.
  • The student/staff should not be in contact with anyone outside their household for the duration of their quarantine
  • It is highly advisable that the positive person remain as separate as they can from the rest of the family. Ideally they should eat, bathe and sleep in separate rooms.
  • Should they develop Covid symptoms at any time, they must inform the school nurse and follow the SDFAS policy for symptomatic students

Close Contacts – STAFF

  • Staff members may continue to work on campus.
  • Staff members must conduct an at home antigen test 5d following the exposure.
  • Staff members must wear a KN95 mask indoors for 5d following the exposure.
  • Should they develop Covid symptoms at any time, they should go/stay home and follow the SDFAS policy for symptomatic staff members

Cohorts

Students are permitted to mix across grade levels without restriction.

Events

Events are allowed without restriction.

Masks

SDFAS is pleased to offer child and adult sized N95, KN95, surgical, and cloth masks for students and staff. 

Masks for students 

Masks are strongly recommended for all students indoors. Masking will be required for students who have been exposed to a covid positive person. In this instance masks must be worn indoors through 5d following the exposure.

In PK, staff will reinforce the rule in age-appropriate ways, assist students in-age appropriate ways, train students in age-appropriate ways, and collaborate closely with parents, all while keeping in mind CDSS guidelines as concerns the protection and safety of young children.

Masks for staff

Masks are strongly recommended for all staff indoors. Masking will be required for staff who have been exposed to a covid positive person. In this instance masks must be worn indoors through 5d following the exposure.

Unvaccinated staff members, if ever there are any, are required to wear an KN95 mask indoors and outdoors, provided regularly by the school. N95s are also available for all staff members and are recommended for staff who are at higher risk of severe illness or who cannot safely distance from household contacts at higher risk.

Face coverings for students with medical conditions or disabilities

Students with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from being able to wear a mask will be provided with accommodations. This determination will be made on a case-by-case basis consistent with the School’s policy on reasonable accommodation of students. 

Safety monitoring of masking 

SDFAS employees are directed to monitor the use of masking for students who are 8 years of age or younger to ensure that they are able to breathe without choking or suffocating.

Positive Covid-19 Cases (Isolation)

Isolation (5d), campus return, and exemption from testing (90d)

Any student or staff member diagnosed with COVID must remain in isolation for at least 5 days. They may return to school once they test negative with an at home antigen test, they have been fever-free for the last 24hrs without fever-reducing medications, and their symptoms are improving. Upon return they must wear a KN95 mask at all times while on campus through day 10, and staff must eat lunch alone.

Students/staff who test positive for COVID are exempt from screening/testing for 90 days following their positive test, as they are presumed immune and may continue to test positive for those first 90 days.

Physician’s note to return to Physical Education or Sports League (once authorized)

All COVID-positive students grades 2 and up must have a letter from their doctor officially clearing them to resume physical activity and Physical Education class. This is because there have been cases of cardiac events after students have been diagnosed with COVID due to vascular inflammation. 

Siblings who are immediate household members of any COVID positive individual

The sibling who has a covid positive person living in their household must be quarantined for the duration of the positive person’s infectious period of 5 days. The student/staff should not be in contact with anyone outside their household for the duration of their quarantine. It is highly advisable that the positive person remain as separate as they can from the rest of the family. Ideally they should eat, bathe and sleep in separate rooms.

Social Distancing

Students will be encouraged to physically distance to the degree feasible and reasonable (not necessarily 6ft), especially when eating, and when lining up for any reason and including the lunch line.

Surveillance COVID Testing

Students

It is strongly encouraged that all students conduct an at home antigen test weekly, either Sunday night or Monday morning prior to the start of school. Only positive results must be reported to the school. Antigen tests are available for pick up at the front desk.

Staff

All staff members are required to conduct an at home antigen test weekly, either Sunday night or Monday morning prior to the start of school. Only positive results must be reported to the school. Antigen tests are available for pick up at the front desk.

Symptomatic Students

Symptoms of COVID include: fever (temperature >100.0F), cough, shortness of breath, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, new loss of taste/smell, new and unexplained headache, muscle or body aches, poor feeding or poor appetite.

Return to school clearance following symptoms requires the following:

  • Two negative covid antigen test results obtained at least 12hrs apart
  • The student has been fever-free for 24hrs without medication that lowers a fever
  • The student’s symptoms must be improving

If symptoms manifest at home:

If your child is experiencing symptoms of COVID at home (regardless of vaccination status), please keep your child at home and email the school nurse, your student’s teacher, and your child’s division director. 

If symptoms are observed on campus:

If a student is observed to have a symptom of COVID on campus, they will be isolated immediately in the infirmary. Parents (and, if unreachable, one of the student’s emergency contacts) will be called and expected to make arrangements to come and pick up the student as soon as possible (within an hour to the extent possible). The student will remain isolated and under the supervision of the school nurse (or if unavailable, by a designated administrator or staff member).  Further instructions will be provided to the parents over the phone and in writing, including instructions on how to get their students tested at no cost to the parents. 

Serious injury or illness:

For serious injury or illness, the nurse, an administrator, or anybody else on the scene will know to call 9-1-1 without delay. Medical attention will be immediately sought if COVID-19 symptoms become severe, including persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face. The SDFAS school nurse will regularly consult the CDC’s webpage for updates and further details.

Travel Policy

All students and staff who engage in non-local travel* must complete an at home antigen test 3-5d following their return to San Diego. Only positive test results must be reported to the school. At home antigen tests are available at the front desk.

*Non-local travel is defined as including any of the following:

  1. Travel beyond 120 miles from an individual’s place of residence.

  2. Travel outside of the State of California or outside the country regardless of proximity to both borders*

The above conditions define NON-LOCAL travel as (a) regardless of the means of transportation by land, air, or sea and (b) regardless of vaccination status.

Vaccination Policy

Students: Vaccination is strongly encouraged

Covid vaccination for students is strongly encouraged and not mandatory. If you have questions regarding vaccine safety, please contact the school nurse to discuss the risks and benefits for your child. SDFAS reserves the right to revisit or change this possible at its sole discretion at any time.

If your student has been vaccinated over the summer please send the school nurse a photograph of their completed Covid vaccine card.

Covid Vaccine Webinar RECORDING: SDFAS held a webinar on Covid vaccine safety, efficacy, and Q&A for students ages 5-11, we have the full webinar recording here for you.

 

Employees who have direct student contact

The covid vaccine is mandated for all employees who have sustained direct contact with students on a daily basis (teachers, assistant teachers, administrators, substitute teachers, etc.), subject to legally required exemptions. Boosters are strongly encouraged. Any staff member qualifying for a legally permitted exemption is required by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to be tested for Covid twice weekly with an at-home antigen tests and must be masked with an KN95 while indoors. 

Employees who do NOT have direct student contact

Vaccines are strongly urged for those without direct student contact are eligible (janitorial staff, maintenance/facilities, security, consultants, etc.), and are evaluated on a case by case basis. A worker in a school who is not vaccinated is required to test twice weekly with an at-home antigen test, and must be masked with an KN95 while indoors. This is monitored and enforced by the School.

Ventilation

  • Continuous CO2 monitors in every classroom
  • Corse-Rosenthal Boxes in every classroom
  • Windows and doors are open as much and as often as feasible
  • MERV 13 air filters installed in the air ducts
  • Lunch held outside school-wide and daily except in the event of rain

Visitors

Visitors, volunteers, etc. are strongly encouraged to wear a mask indoors. See below for the vaccination policy for volunteers who are regularly on campus.

Volunteers

All adults approved to be on campus (volunteers and individuals from external organizations) who provide services to SDFAS are subject to the vaccine mandate and must comply with SDFAS COVID masking policy.

Additionally, all volunteers who will be working on campus more than 16 hours/week must undergo a fingerprint scan through AliveScan. Please contact the school nurse to obtain the form (and instructions) before making an appointment with AliveScan. Please find attached a comprehensive checklist of what you need to provide in order to volunteer at SDFAS. Enclosed HERE is the required “Declination of Influenza Vaccination” form for volunteers.

NOTE: A CONFIDENTIALITY OF MEDICAL INFORMATION ACT (“CMIA”), must be signed before a person shows a school employee their vaccination card or shares any other private/personal Covid-19 related health information. This form is available HERE. (All parents must complete this form by August 25 regardless).


Communications Protocol:  Positive Covid Cases & Close Contacts

Please click here for more information

The below communications will be sent as soon as is feasibly possible, and in the following chronological order, dependent on the responsiveness of parents, contact tracing, and available information.

  1. Notification. Communication from the School to the positive COVID case and their parents/guardians as per below:
    1. If you receive a positive COVID test result for your child, please call the school immediately at 858-456-2807 and email the school nurse.
  2. Contact Tracing. Contact tracing will be conducted on an ongoing basis with the COVID positive student and their parents to determine the extent of any exposure (ASAP, close contacts will be contacted as they are discovered through contact tracing).
  3. Communication #1: Containment. Parents of the COVID positive student will be asked to keep the student at home until they have completed their required isolation (ASAP).
  4. Communication #2: Exposed Persons. An email will be sent to the exposed students/staff detailing instructions regarding testing and masking requirements.
  5. Communication #3: All SDFAS Community Notification. Communication via email will be sent out to the entire community. 
  6. Reporting: County of San Diego Department of Public Health Services (if PK, also to CDSS community care licensing) will be contacted by the School Nurse & Pandemic Coordinator in her role as Country liaison.


Pandemic Coordination & Response

Pandemic Coordination & Response

School Nurse & Pandemic Coordinator

The person responsible to implement and monitor this plan is: Marilyn Rakow, School Nurse and Pandemic Coordinator (mrakow@sdfas.org) reachable by phone at 858-456-2807 ext 309. In her absence and in the following order:  Director of Campus Operations, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Curriculum, Division Directors, Director of Enrichment, Front Office Manager, Head of School, and Director of Finance. 

COVID-19 Response Team

The School Nurse & Pandemic Coordinator (designated SDFAS Liaison with local health authorities), Head of School, Director of Campus Operations, Dean of Faculty, Dean of Curriculum, Division Directors, Director of Enrichment, School Counselor, as members of the School’s COVID-19 Response Team, are together responsible for responding to COVID-19 concerns (and each authorized to act in the absence of the School Nurse & Pandemic Coordinator). As per above, staff, students, and parents will be instructed to contact them in the absence of the School Nurse and Pandemic Coordinator to consult, verify protocols and their implementation, or respond to any Covid issue that arises. 

Responsibilities

  • Document and track potential exposures and positive cases
  • Conduct on-campus contact tracing
  • Notify local health officials and provide them with the requested information, including lists of names, contact information, school functions for staff as needed
  • Notify parents via school email communication as soon as is feasible and as detailed further below in this plan, if and when communication is warranted


Media Coverage:  SDFAS in the La Jolla Light

SDFAS in the La Jolla Light


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2020/21

2019/20

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