As of this writing, we are approaching 80% of eligible San Franciscans being fully vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccination of staff, eligible students, and household members is one of the most effective ways to decrease the risk of COVID-19 in TK-12 schools. Vaccinated adults and teenagers help protect younger children who are not yet eligible for vaccination.
CAIS will require proof of vaccination for all employees except those with legitimate legal exemptions that are medical or religious in nature.
CAIS strongly encourages all students and family members eligible to be vaccinated to do so.
CAIS will continue collecting information about student vaccination status; it will be treated with confidentiality in accordance with HIPAA regulations.
The Pandemic Response Advisory Team will consider requiring vaccination for all eligible students (i.e., currently age 12 and above).
Only visitors essential for instruction or school operations will be allowed on campus, and they will need to show proof of vaccination. Parents, whether vaccinated or not, will not be allowed into campus buildings.
Risk Management Plan 2021-2022
“Just as I wear a mask to protect you, and you wear a mask to protect me, remember that the decisions you make impact others’ children, and the decisions others make will impact your children.”
Last Updated August 24, 2021. This reflects our best thinking up to this point and we are constantly working on it. Updates will be shared here and via newsletter.
The seven pillars of our risk management efforts—Vaccination, Testing, Masking, Ventilation, Hygiene, Screening, and Culture and Community Obligation—follow the best practices recommended by public health authorities (see the CDC’s personal prevention strategies) to reduce the chance of exposure to the virus. Below are details of the efforts we are making in these areas, and more, to reduce the risk of transmission.
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Risk Management Plan
- CAIS will resume weekly saliva batch testing for all unvaccinated employees and students.
- All employees—regardless of vaccination status—will be tested the week of August 16 before the start of school.
- All students—regardless of vaccination status—will be tested at school the week of August 30.
- Families are strongly encouraged to have children tested before the start of school on August 25.
- Face coverings must be worn indoors and outdoors, except for eating, by all people at all times regardless of vaccination status. This exceeds DPH guidance, but we are following it during the surge and until further notice.
- CAIS will keep a supply of disposable masks at the front desks of all campuses
- Persons exempted from wearing a face mask due to a medical conditions must wear a face shield with a drape on the bottom, or other non-restrictive alternative, if their condition permits it (For exemptions to face masks, see CDPH Face Mask guidance and CDPH TK-12 guidance).
- We recommended that families of Preschoolers work with their children over the summer on acclimating to wearing a mask. Our experience this past year is that children became used to it very quickly.
- Families are required to provide face coverings for their students. People entering CAIS campus facilities may not wear masks with vents, as they allow the wearer to expel aerosols into the environment. Additionally, clear face guards may be used, but not as a substitute for face coverings.
- Additional PPE may be indicated and required for other employees (e.g., health coordinator, people at higher risk for illness from COVID-19, cleaning staff, etc).
- Students should not wear gloves.
CAIS will hold activities outside as space and schedule permits, especially snacks/meals and exercise.
Windows will remain open to increase natural ventilation with outdoor air when health and safety allow. When possible, room doors will be left slightly open to promote flow of outdoor air through the indoor space.
We will continue to use portable air cleaners (HEPA filters) in classrooms at all three campuses to provide one more level of air filtration.
During wildfires or other times when air quality is poor (AQI 150+), CAIS will prioritize maintaining healthy air quality indoors. Our school may remain open even if we need to close windows or decrease outdoor air intake by our ventilation system during these times. We shall continue other precautions, especially wearing face masks, and using portable air cleaners (HEPA filters).
- Enhancements were made to the HVAC system for the purpose of optimizing ventilation.
- CAIS will continue to promote hand washing throughout the day, especially before and after eating, after using the toilet, and when entering or leaving a location.
- NCIS will ensure adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors, including soap, tissues, and hand sanitizer.
- Additional sinks and hand-sanitizing stations are available at multiple locations on all campuses.
- Before the start of school and throughout the school year, CAIS encourages parents to introduce their children to the healthy hygiene practices that students will follow at school, e.g., distancing, face coverings, hand washing, sneezing and coughing into sleeves or tissues, limited face-touching, etc. (see CDC Tips for Talking with Children).
- Faculty and staff continue to teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices in school.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- CAIS/NCIS will continue routine cleaning.
- If a campus location has been occupied by a +COVID-19 within the last 24 hours, CAIS will clean and disinfect the spaces occupied by that person during that time.
- All students and employees must stay home if they are sick.
- Families are obligated to check their child(ren)’s symptoms each morning at home before coming to school. Cooperation is essential, as CAIS has discontinued symptom screening with the Magnus Health smartphone app. Staff, students, and families should know the symptoms of COVID-19. People must stay home if they have any of the following symptoms:
- Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
- Severe headache
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell that started in the last 10 days Children may say that food “tastes bad” or “tastes funny.”
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- If your child DOES have any of the symptoms above:
- Keep them home from school
- Contact your child’s doctor and ask for a COVID-19 test for your child.
- Family members of students and staff should get tested promptly if they have symptoms of COVID-19. This will lower the risk of infection spreading to people in your school.
- Inform the CAIS Health Coordinator at email@example.com that your child is sick.
- Students who become sick at school will be sent to the health coordinator or division assistant, and CAIS will require parents/guardians to pick up their children. Children will be walked outside to be picked up; parents/guardians may not enter any school building to pick up their children.
- Employees who become sick at school must notify their supervisor and leave school immediately.
- Individuals exhibiting the above symptoms should be tested for COVID-19 and notify the school of the results.
- Conditions for returning to school following any illness are described below, under “Returning to School After Illness or Home Isolation.”
- Home Isolation is called for in the case of a positive COVID test result for an individual OR for a person with whom they have Close Contact. Close Contact is defined as being < 6 feet apart for 15 minutes in the same day.
- See SFDPH guidance on “What to do if your child was exposed to COVID-19 and was not fully vaccinated”
These three bullet points are based on solid data regarding the extreme rarity of in school transmission when other health and safety measures are followed:
- Students in the same class or group as a +COVID-19 case must quarantine only if they are known to have spent 15 minutes within 6 feet of the +COVID-19 person (i.e., the whole class of students is not automatically required to quarantine).
- Students with outdoor exposures at school must quarantine only if the exposure happened while seated with no face-covering, or during high-contact sports.
“Modified Quarantine” (applicable only to students and only for in school exposure)
CAIS students who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have close contact in an indoor classroom setting at school can leave quarantine to attend school if both the student and the infected person were wearing face coverings for the duration of their exposure and all of the following criteria are met:
- They remain asymptomatic
- Continue to wear a face covering while at school
- Undergo twice weekly COVID testing with negative results; PCR is recommended but rapid antigen testing testing is acceptable
- Avoid all out of classroom activities including extracurricular activities and out of school programs
The duration of modified quarantine is 10 days. Modified quarantine is only applicable for CAIS students who were exposed at school, i.e., not at home or in other non school locations. Faculty and staff should follow standard quarantine guidance.
“Standard Quarantine” (applicable to all adults, some students per below)
- All unvaccinated adults must undergo a 10-day standard quarantine.
- For unvaccinated students, if one of the parties was unmasked during exposure, or if the exposure occurred outside of school, the close contact must quarantine from all activities (including school) for 10 days (this can be shortened to 7 days if testing was conducted after day 5 and is negative).
- Monitoring of symptoms should continue for 14 days total regardless of timing of return to school.
- Fully vaccinated adults who are exposed (ie, close contact) do not need to quarantine as long as they do not develop symptoms. CDC recommends (though SFDPH does not require) testing for exposed, vaccinated adults 3-5 days after exposure.
Family members who cohabit with an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 are considered primary close contacts.
It is the duty of parents and guardians to disclose to CAIS if they, their children attending CAIS, or anyone else with whom the child cohabits have tested positive for COVID-19 or if their child attending CAIS is a primary close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
It is the duty of employees to disclose to CAIS if they or anyone else with whom they cohabit have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they are a primary close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.
When CAIS learns of a positive COVID-19 test or primary close contact among our students or employees, we will communicate this information with the impacted families and employees and report it to the SFDPH as required. In sharing the relevant information that we know, we will respect the privacy rights to which all individuals are legally entitled (for example, we will be able to identify grade and cohort but not specific individuals). See “Communication” section below for more details.
If your child is tested for COVID-19, they can return after
- A negative COVID-19 test AND
- 24 hours with no fever, without taking medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), AND
- They are starting to feel better. Their symptoms do not have to be completely gone.
This is usually the fastest way for your child to go back to their school or program. You must show proof of your child’s negative test, for example, the test result or a message from your clinic or test site that the test was negative. When your child is tested, let the clinic or test site know that you will need this.
If your child is not tested, or their COVID-19 test is positive, they can return after
- 10 days have passed since their symptoms first appeared AND
- 24 hours with no fever, without taking medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) AND
- They are starting to feel better. Their symptoms do not have to be completely gone.
Exceptions: Doctor’s Note or Clinic Note
Sometimes a child’s illness is clearly due to another cause, like strep throat or hand-foot-and-mouth disease. In this case, your child’s doctor or clinic may give you a note saying that your child may go back to their school or program without a COVID-19 test. This does not mean that your child does not have COVID-19. Many children with COVID-19 do not have any symptoms. It only means that a clear cause other than COVID-19 was found for your child’s symptoms. If your child has a note from their doctor or clinic saying that they can go back to school, the school should accept the note without a COVID-19 test. The note can be an email, electronic message or part of an after visit summary.
- We ground our work moving forward in the success achieved during 2020-2021, during which we had no in-school COVID-19 transmission, but have enjoyed strong enrollment, extremely low employee turnover, and documented results that show no learning loss in Chinese nor in English.
- Our pandemic planning prioritizes the greatest good for the greatest number. The individual sacrifices required for the good of the group are small, but the benefits are huge.
- Knowing that plans and rules will not automatically change culture or behavior, CAIS actively works to articulate, explain, and encourage healthy behavior among students, employees, and families, both in and out of school. We strive to foster a collective spirit in which we take care of ourselves, our fellow CAIS community members, and people in the wider community. This requires the support and participation of all CAIS community members.
- It is essential for the health and safety of all of us that we place trust in the adults in our community—both CAIS employees and parents and guardians—to follow best practices both in and outside of school for managing the risk of transmission as recommended by public health officials and indicated in the CAIS Pandemic Response Plan. More than ever, our personal behaviors affect the health of our entire community.
- All CAIS parents, guardians, and employees are asked to sign agreements to follow health practices in and out of school as recommended by public health officials.
- As indicated above, CAIS teaches and reinforces responsible pandemic behavior in class (e.g., hand washing, sneezing, coughing, masks). We know that adopting these behaviors has positive effects on our children’s ability to navigate the global future.
CAIS endeavors to communicate important information regarding COVID-19 risk management, learning, and teaching via a limited number of centralized channels:
Communication will occur to the extent possible on a regular, predictable schedule; Newsletters will be sent biweekly and cais.org/covid19response will be updated as new information becomes available.
CAIS will continue to solicit valuable input from community stakeholders on important issues and decisions.
- CAIS follows the protocols developed by SFDPH (see Quick Guide for Suspected or Confirmed COVID-19) around communicating suspected and confirmed COVID cases for students and employees. Some important items to note from the Quick Guide:
- Per this guidance, CAIS will no longer be sending messages to classes about suspected symptoms.
- For cases of close contact, CAIS will exercise the notification option to alert the community only when a close contact must stay home.
- SFDPH’s Quick Guide details Modified vs Standard Quarantine as well as the special circumstances around close contact designations at a school setting.
- Physical distancing and cohorting are not required. SFDPH has relaxed requirements for these two measures as they are lower priority than other prevention strategies such as vaccination, face coverings, handwashing, and ventilation that allow for a full return to in-person instruction.
- The 150 Oak campus remains divided into exclusive-use spaces assigned to either CAIS or French American/IHS, forming two sequestered “macro cohorts.” This includes instructional spaces, offices, entrances, corridors, stairwells, elevators, and restrooms. Students and employees of each school will be limited to their own exclusive-use spaces thus limiting contact between schools. CAIS students and employees must enter the building through the Hickory Street entrance. The Oak Street entrance will remain exclusive use for French American/IHS.
- CAIS will continue to avoid large gatherings of community members in indoor spaces.
- Please see Learning and Teaching for the updates on school day specifics in light of SFDPH’s evidence-based relaxation of distancing and cohorting requirements.