Read Matt’s Full Message Here: August 5, 2020 – UC Families
The intent of this note is to provide important updates to the start of the school year. There will be other updates as we approach the start of the year. The facts:
The Waiver Process
Trinity will assess and apply for the Waiver that would allow our Kindergarten to Grade 5 students to be on campus. We are in touch with the San Mateo County Office of Education and the waiver process is still forthcoming for county schools. With any process in bringing students back on campus, the health and safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff is our top priority. State information on the Waiver process can be found here: Waiver Process: California Department of Public Health.
First Day of School Changed from August 19 to August 26
We had prepared for a full return to campus on August 19. Our planning process changed in a substantive way when San Mateo County was placed on the watch list and Trinity moved from approximately 2 students per class in distance learning to the entire Upper Campus. Therefore, the first day of school will be August 26. Essential in this modified process will be two days where students will onboard with their teachers – on August 24 and 25. I know this is a significant change for families and may present further challenges for parents with children on both campuses. I apologize for the inconvenience. Nevertheless, we must plan the optimal learning path for our students. With the entire faculty and staff returning on August 12, we need additional time to prepare the program through continued professional development and training as well as orienting the students.
We feel it is essential that students have the opportunity to meet their teachers, see their classrooms, become oriented to the learning process and distance learning, pick up materials (such as iPads), and run through a couple of safety protocols before the start of the year. To that end, a sign-up will be sent next week and students will come to campus at different intervals on August 24 and 25. Parents/Guardians are encouraged to be with the student. If families are not comfortable with their children coming to campus, we can make alternate arrangements for the pick up of materials.
A reminder for Kindergarten and New Families on August 20 we will have Kindergarten Orientation at 1:00 and New Family Orientation at 2:15 (details to follow)
The Daily Schedule
The daily schedule at Trinity will be a full-day schedule with the exception of not having Extended Care to start the year. The Trinity faculty has been working very hard to extend and enhance the learning process for the students. For those of you who were at Trinity last year, we had Distance Learning 1.0 (two weeks) which was asynchronous learning to ensure predictability and support through Google Classroom. This was followed by Distance Learning 2.0 (10 weeks) which was synchronous and the Seesaw learning platform was adopted and executed as well as larger community gatherings. We are now preparing Distance Learning 3.0 where we understand the strengths and limitations of being screen dependent contrasted with screen referenced. To use but one example, a textbook and a workbook serve as references, prompts and at times extended work for learning, our iPads should serve a similar purpose although still a vital one. The Trinity Distance Learning Plan is here Trinity Distance Learning Plan and a sample of a daily schedule is here Sample Upper Campus Schedule.
Interest in Social Pods
We absolutely know that students learn in social constructs and this includes physical proximity. A number of families have asked if the school can facilitate social pods for the students to be in physical proximity and/or recommend outside groups for activities that may serve the same purpose. While we await further guidance from the county on what is allowed, we will continue to explore models where there is the potential for small social pods. Currently, this is something being discussed among my professional and local networks although there does not seem to be a near term school solution. We will continue with virtual group activities (ie Bingo, Chapel) and look to expand our offerings in this area.
What Can You Find Below?
- Academic Program: Information about student learning during COVID;
- Facilities and Hygiene: Information about on-campus health and safety;
- Whom to contact if you have further questions in any area.
I. Academic Program
Q: What “Cohort” Model Will Trinity Use on the Upper Campus?
- The Upper Campus will use “Stable Cohorts.” The intent of the Stable Cohort is to create as stable an environment as is practicable by reducing numbers of students and the movement of students across campus. Key to this cohort is that face coverings are worn at all times and physical distance is maintained.
- A Stable Cohort refers to a defined group of students whose size is dictated by the ability to implement physical distancing within the classroom or primary learning setting and is typically 12 to 16 students. This type of cohort allows for necessary and practical considerations in a student’s educational program. For example, a Stable Cohort may have more than one teacher during the instructional day, and students, though assigned to a particular area of campus, may move to classrooms as necessary to access required courses.
- In the Stable Cohort model at Trinity, Specialists Classes may use outdoor learning spaces for one-on-one or small group work, or, if utilizing an indoor space, may choose to rely on a strict disinfecting protocol between sessions.
Q: What “Cohort” Model Will Be Used on the Lower Campus?
- The Lower Campus will utilize “Bubble Cohorts.” In this cohort, ECP students will be placed into groups of no more than 12 with assigned teachers during the day. In this model, students must stay within the bubble for a period of at least three weeks.
- Masks/face shields are required on the Lower Campus. While we understand that per public health, very young students are not technically required to wear masks, we believe it is in the best health interest of our entire community for them to do so. We know that in some cases, preschool children will remove masks – still, our goal at the outset is to prepare them to wear one. Thank you for your help here!
- The Bubble Cohort provides for a smaller group of ECP students and classroom teachers to exist within a defined location, with no mixing between any other groups or individuals for a period of three weeks. Teachers and staff must remain solely with their Bubble Cohort, and if a child is absent, their space may not be filled by another child new to the cohort. An additional staff member certified to serve as a substitute should be included as part of the Bubble.
Q: Will there be Specialty Classes (ex: Art, Music, Design Thinking, Spanish Science, Service Learning)?
- Yes, there will be Specialty Classes, which are an integral part of the curriculum on both campuses. To minimize both the sharing of materials and instructional space, speciality classes will be offered outdoors, via Zoom and, when appropriate, indoors.
Q: How will playground use, recess and lunch take place?
- We have revised recess and lunch schedules to provide increased time for outdoor activities while limiting the number of students on the playgrounds and ensuring social distancing. On both campuses, lunch will be eaten in the classrooms.
- Importantly, on the Lower Campus, playtimes will be staggered to maintain bubble cohorts.
- On the Upper Campus, the playground and activity spaces will be segmented to accommodate the stable cohorts.
Q: How will classrooms be set up?
- Upper Campus: Using Stable Cohorts and depending on the overall class size, each class will be socially distanced in a single classroom or two classrooms. Each classroom has been measured and learning space, notably desks, will maintain the 6 foot social distance model.
- Lower Campus: Using Bubble Cohorts, four classrooms will be utilized including two in Angus Hall (Pine and Laurel) and two in Trinity Hall- Good Shepherd Room (Trinity Tierra) and the Upper classroom (Trinity Agua). While students do not need to maintain the social distance in the bubble constancy, the classrooms may not mix in student and teacher composition. Each Lower Campus classroom will have two teachers.
Q: If the entire school moves to distance learning, what can we expect?
- If we go to distance learning at any point during the 2020-2021 school year, we will offer full-day classes virtually. We will be taking the feedback we received and what we learned from distance learning in the spring to create an even more robust distance learning program. It will include increased daily interaction between teachers and their students.
Q: How will we best provide distance learning students who choose *not* to return to campus?
- Using our learnings from the spring, we plan to offer a full-day, enhanced distance learning program for students. We are currently designing this program, and it will, in part, be informed by how many students opt to participate in distance learning. We will have more information on our distance learning offerings in the coming weeks.
Q: Can you help us understand which tools and educational technology platforms you’ll be using for distance learning at Trinity? Will it be the same as it was last spring?
- We will use many of the same tools as we used in the spring – such as Seesaw, Google Classroom, and Zoom – but we will use our learnings from the spring and plan to offer a full-day, enhanced distance learning program for students. We are currently designing this program, and it will in part be informed by how many students opt to participate in distance learning.
Q: How will students’ bubbles/cohorts be communicated?
- We will detail each class’s cohort group clearly prior to the reopening, likely by August 14. In addition to the bubbles/cohorts, logistical information including protocols for dropoff, pickup, and other reentry information that we know will be important to parents and to the smooth operation of school prior to the beginning of the reopening.
Q: How do we orient students and parents for “a new normal”?
- For the Upper Campus: We will be hosting parent information sessions via Zoom on the 13th, 14th, and 17th of August prior to the start of school. There will be four sessions; (Kindergarten, First/Second Grade, Third/Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade). The Kindergarten session will be integrated with the orientation session we usually host before school starts for our Kindergarten families, on August 17th. You’ll receive more information about the timing of these events in the coming weeks.
- For the Lower Campus: Teachers have prepared a “social story” to help students understand what school will be like when they return in the fall. Social stories help prepare children for new experiences by describing how something might look or feel using pictures and words. By making a special Trinity social story available to parents prior to the start of school, our hope is that parents may have a chance to use the story to talk about returning to school, together. In addition, we will do a comprehensive orientation for families on August 18th.
- Teachers will be using Zoom to interact with their cohort of students the week before school starts.
Q: What will Chapel look like?
- Chapel is an important, centering part of the student day, a gathering of the community, and a place for spiritual renewal and includes both campuses. While we are still planning Chapel for the fall, it will likely be an extension of the remote model we used in the spring. We will look at Chapel as a full community offering and will include parents, grandparents and friends to join the students. We will likely increase the remote Chapels in the fall to twice or three times a week.
Q: Can students participate in after school, non-Trinity activities once school starts?
- On the Upper Campus, we realize that many of our students have extracurricular activities and friends outside the Trinity community. However, for the health and safety of our entire community, we strongly encourage students to limit their interaction outside their Trinity “cohort” as much as possible once school begins. This helps ensure that we’re minimizing the number of germs that are brought onto our campus.
- One the Lower Campus, we will reiterate the importance of maintaining bubble constancy after school for health and safety.
Q: What is our policy for substitutes?
- In order to ensure that we can continue to offer a 5-day per week program, we may need to use substitutes from time to time. We are currently creating a list of “known” substitutes, people we have worked with regularly in recent years, as well as speaking with our substitute database provider, Swing Education, about their testing protocols. We understand that having healthy substitutes on campus is critical, and we will work hard to ensure that they meet our high bar for safety.
Q: What happens if teachers in a classroom are sick?
- We may need to use substitutes from time to time (See: What is our policy for substitutes). We are currently creating a list of “known” substitutes, people we have worked with regularly in recent years, as well as speaking with our substitute database provider, Swing Education, about their testing protocols. We understand that having healthy substitutes on campus is critical, and we will work hard to ensure that they meet our high bar for safety. If we are unable to contract with substitutes who meet health and safety standards, we may need to temporarily move the class to a distance learning model until the teacher(s) are healthy and able to return to the classroom.
Q: Will there be multiple drop off and pick up on both campuses?
- On the Upper Campus, we anticipate three dropoff points — by the Office (our historical dropoff location) as well as by Lehman Hall (closer to the back part of our parking lot).
- On the Lower Campus: Pine & Laurel Rooms- will drop off/pick up at the entrance to the playground. Trinity Hall classrooms, Tierra and Agua students will be dropped off outside Trinity Hall. Pickup will be in the parking lot.
Q: How will students who pass the morning temperature check be identified?
- We will use a check-in/tracking system and no student will be allowed on either campus without a temperature check. Students who have “passed” their temperature checks will receive a green “sticker” to wear on their uniform. Touchless thermometers have been purchased for this purpose.
Q: How will bathrooms be assigned for students?
- Each Grade Level will have a dedicated bathroom to use.
Q: Can we offer Extended Care?
- Not initially. Students must be kept in stable groups with a faculty member present, and a designated space for each group of students must be available on campus. This makes providing Extended Care extremely challenging. We realize this may cause difficulty for parents who rely on EC, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
- Please note that as always, on the Upper Campus we are offering after school Enrichment Classes (now via Zoom), which occur in the home, typically in the late afternoon.
- Lower campus extended day hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Q: Will you offer a hot lunch program?
- Not initially. For safety, food should be brought from home. As always, students should not share food. We know that hot lunch is important for many of our families, and we will reevaluate at an interval early in the school year.
II. Facilities and Hygiene
- Who can you talk to about this?
- Matt Allio, Head of School and Covid-19 Operations Lead
- Ed Lee, CFO and Covid-19 Operations Co-Lead
- Anna Quijano, Office Manager & COVID Facilities and Supply-Chain Coordinator
- Pal Thinnappan, Director of IT and Emergency-Preparedness Coordinator
Q: Are families required to quarantine before returning to school?
- For the health and safety of our entire community we strongly encourage students to limit their interaction with others 14 days prior to returning to school. This helps ensure that we’re promoting stable environments conducive to community health. It also helps ensure that school can continue in person, if applicable.
- We do require families that have traveled by air, out of state or out of the country to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to school.
- We realize that every family’s situation is different, however, and requiring quarantine for everyone isn’t possible.
Q: Will there be informational signage on each campus?
- Absolutely. We will have external signage on health protocols throughout both campuses. This includes student-friendly, CDC and Community Care Licensing issued signs for student bathrooms and classrooms – all with the goal of promoting consistent hygiene practices for our entire community.
Q: What training will be provided for faculty and staff prior to the first day?
- In addition to standard back-to-school training for CPR and First Aid, our entire faculty and staff will receive comprehensive training in COVID-19 safety and management the week upon their return. This will be held by Joffe Emergency Services, a national training group that specializes in emergency response training.
Q: What is the cleaning schedule for high traffic areas?
- For both the Upper Campus and Lower Campus, rotational sanitation and disinfection will occur throughout the day for common spaces (high-traffic areas) such as railings, and doors.
- We have contracted with Galaxy Maintenance for school day service as well as the evening disinfection and thorough cleaning.
Q: What is the mask protocol for students/staff?
- Masks/face shields are required on both campuses, for everyone.
- For the safety and comfort of each student and staff member, we will ask everyone to choose a mask that best fits them and bring it to school.
- While we understand that per public health, very young students are not technically required to wear masks, we believe it is in the best health interest of our entire community for them to do so. We know that in some cases, preschool children will remove masks – still, our goal at the outset is to prepare them to wear one.
- We encourage parents to begin “practicing” mask wearing at home, steadily increasing the duration of wearing time as school approaches, to make the transition back to school as seamless as possible.
- Important: If your child has respiratory, sensory or other needs that may require special attention, please reach out to your campus director.
- For younger grades (Early Childhood, Kindergarten, Grade One), where seeing mouths may provide comfort and help with clearer communication, we have ordered “clear” masks for teachers. We will also have a limited supply of “clear” masks on hand for students in these grades, should they be required.
- Trinity will always have extra masks on hand for students and/or staff members in the event of a missing/damaged mask.
- We recognize that asking children of any age to wear a mask for extended periods of time is challenging, and we thank you in advance for all of your efforts to help!
Q: What is the disinfecting procedure for a reported student or staff case?
- We will follow stringent CDC guidance, which specifies that the area(s) visited by the staff or student should be immediately closed off.
- After 24 hours, the area and any materials used by the individual will be cleaned and disinfected before the space can be reoccupied.
Q: Will you have a nurse on staff?
- Like many schools our size, we do not have a full time nurse on staff. However, our Office Manager and Lower Campus staff are trained in First Aid, CPR, and will receive specialized, comprehensive COVID-19 management training.
- In addition, we are partnering with The Village Doctor, a local medical group in Portola Valley, to provide counsel for school leadership, host bi-weekly parent coffees, provide parent education in our publications such as the Trinity Talk, and more.
Q: Are tests required for all staff before returning on August 12?
- Yes, we will require that all staff receive a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to work this fall.
Q: Are you using an app for contact-tracing?
- While there are currently apps available for contact-tracing, none at this time have proven to be reliable enough for the school setting – although we continue to monitor this space. Of course, individuals can elect to voluntarily use available contact-tracing apps.
Q: Is there a critical number of cases within our community that would cause us to close?
- Any counties on the California state “watch list” will not open for distance learning; as of 7/24 San Mateo County is not on the watch list. We are aware that there is a “waiver” option that schools can apply for that would allow them to remain open even if a county is on the watch list. We are currently investigating what may be possible, with the ultimate goal of keeping our entire community healthy.
- For Upper Campus, when 2 or more cohorts have positive cases, this would cause an onsite school closure with a full transition to distance learning.
- For Lower Campus, guidance stipulates that if any student or staff tests positive in the class, the class will be closed for onsite learning. After 24 hours, the affected locations will be disinfected then the class could, if applicable, return after 72 hours.
Q: What is the communication protocol if a student or staff has a confirmed case of COVID?
- If a student or staff member has a confirmed case of COVID-19, communication will occur with others who have been in contact with that person, as well as local health agencies. Any potentially exposed individuals will need to monitor symptoms and will be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning back onsite. Please note that Trinity will maintain student, family, and/or staff confidentiality throughout this process.
- Any space used by this individual will be cleaned and disinfected. Additionally, the space where this individual spent prolonged time may be temporarily closed off.
Please find answers to key questions that we reviewed at our initial reopening sessions in June; note that answers may change with updated information.
Q: When is Opening Day? August 19th, 2020. The Lower Campus will begin with half day sessions on the 19th, with regular full day sessions starting on August 27th.
Q: How will the school be disinfected and cleaned? Disinfection, cleaning, and ventilation are an ongoing component of our reopening readiness in addition to: daily, regular cleaning of all surfaces and objects after use; air filtration will be serviced and assessed in partnership with each church; classrooms and offices will be regularly ventilated by staff; surfaces and objects will be regularly cleaned with disinfectant.
Q: Will masks be required? Yes. Parents will be asked to provide masks from home, both for hygiene reasons and to ensure student comfort. Some students with sensory, respiratory or other needs may require exceptions.
Q: Are visitors allowed on campus? Non-faculty/staff adults are not allowed on campus. While we love our community, this includes parents, for hygiene reasons, and to reduce the spread of germs. Parents should speak with teachers over the phone or via Zoom wherever possible. For the time being, tutoring will need to be remotely.
Q: How will drop-off work? Students will have temperatures taken at drop-off with parent(s) waiting in the car. If normal (<100.4 degrees F), parent may depart. Students with temperatures 100.4F+ will depart with parent until they have a normal temperature for a period of 48 hours without medicine/fever reducer. Lower Campus note: the Preschool will have a staggered drop-off to allow for social distancing (8-830A and 830-9A).
Q: How will you keep students from spreading germs during the day? We’ll use a concept called “bubble constancy.” This means that each student will have a small “social bubble” of peers that they move around with, to minimize the number of people they come into contact with. “Bubbles” are no more than 10 students on the Lower Campus, and likely no more than 12 on the Upper Campus.
Q: What will a typical day look and feel like for our student(s)?
- Upper Campus: Instruction will be offered 5x/week. While we would love to see everyone back on campus, we understand some families may continue to choose distance learning and we will support those decisions. We’ll use the practice of “bubble constancy,” described above, in which classes are roughly split in half and have a dedicated space and are supervised by a combination of their homeroom teacher and their teaching assistant. Specials classes will be offered outdoors or via Zoom. Desks will be socially distanced: rooms have been measured to ensure desks can be spaced 6’ apart.
- Lower (Preschool) Campus: Instruction offered 5x/week, although some families may continue to prefer distance learning. We’ll use the practice of “bubble constancy,” described above, which is also a requirement from Community Care Licensing. Preschool students will be split into groups of no more than 10, with assigned teachers throughout the day.
Q: Will there be “Specials” (ex: Art, Music, Design Thinking, Science, Service Learning) classes? Yes, these are an integral component of our curriculum. To minimize both the sharing of materials and spaces, Specials classes will be offered outdoors or via Zoom.
Q: How will you help ensure the safe use of materials? The school will choose materials that can be easily cleaned. All school materials must stay at school and no home materials should be brought to school, with the exception of school library books. Wherever possible, students will be given their “own” set of materials to use. iPads, laptops, computers must not be shared; devices will be regularly cleaned.
Q: How will playground use/recess be impacted by social distancing? We have created revised recess schedules to provide increased time for outdoor play, while limiting the number of students on the playground. Lower Campus playtimes will be staggered to maintain bubble constancy.
Q: Will you be offering a hot lunch program on the Upper Campus? In an effort to minimize visitors to campus and germs, we will not be offering hot lunches. We hope to resume this program as soon as possible.
Q: Will there be an Extended Care Program? Not initially. Students must be kept in small, stable groups with a faculty member present, and a designated space for each small “bubble” group of students must be available on campus (see “bubble constancy”, above, which promotes good hygiene). This makes providing Extended Care extremely challenging. We realize this cause difficulty for parents who rely on EC, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We greatly appreciate parents’ flexibility and understanding during this unprecedented time.
Q: Will there be a distance learning alternative for families not comfortable returning? Yes; every family has a different risk tolerance and set of circumstances. We will support each family’s decision.
Q: Will faculty and staff be trained specifically for Covid-19 risk minimization? Yes, this is a core priority prior to the start of school.
Q: What is the protocol if a student or staff member is diagnosed with Covid-19? If a student or any member of a student’s household is diagnosed with COVID-19, the school must be notified at once for contact tracing and to communicate with others. Students must quarantine at home until they are cleared for school re-entry by a doctor.
Q: What happens if there is a resurgence of the virus in the fall? We will again be ready to move to a distance learning model. As we did previously, we will look to public health agencies to make final decisions about learning models.