• Friday, July 17, 2020

Reopening CAIS - Weekly Update July 17

Survey on Distance Learning Interest

If school is allowed to reopen for on-campus learning in the fall of 2020, we anticipate there may still be some families who would like to opt into a full distance learning program should it be offered. By Monday, July 20 at 10:00 a.m., please fill out this survey (it will take less than one-minute) for each of your children by grade/division enrolled at CAIS.

Your answers do not represent a commitment, but rather your best indication at this time. As we plan how to dedicate staffing and resources in the fall, it would be helpful to know how many families would be interested in distance learning only, should this be offered. If there is a significant contingent of families who would opt into a distance learning only program, CAIS would dedicate more resources and personnel towards robust online learning. 

Survey for ECD: Preschool through 1st Grade Families

Survey for Lower School: 2nd through 5th Grade Families

Survey for Middle School: 6th through 8th Grade Families 

Awaiting the Change in Public Health Orders

From the earliest days of planning for the return to school in August, we have emphasized that we believe children belong in school, on campus, and we have been in the mode of planning to reopen provided that local government and public health orders allow it. We have been greatly aided by the Guidance issued by the San Francisco Department of Public Health last week which tells us what measures will help us mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission and infection. Yet, the ultimate decision as to whether or not we may open school does not lie with CAIS—the SFDPH Guidance only tells us how to proceed if we receive the green light to open—a call that should be made by San Francisco Public Health Officer Thomas Aragon. This is of course frustrating to parents, faculty, and staff who crave clarity—I know I fall into this category. Just today, Governor Gavin Newsom shared the statewide guidance and announced that schools may not open unless the county in which they are located is off the state’s monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. When questioned about whether State regulations apply to independent schools such as CAIS, the Governor indicated that his remarks applied to both public and private schools. Following the Governor’s press conference, San Francisco County was placed on the State monitoring list because of the recent rise in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

In the absence of a clear path forward, CAIS continues to develop and refine plans for multiple scenarios: 1) a full-time, on campus learning model, 2) a hybrid model with a combination of on campus and distance learning, and 3) a distance learning model.

I want to reiterate here that it is our strong preference that students return to campus for school on August 26, and our plan for this is in adherence to the SFDPH Guidance. We will, of course, be closely watching San Francisco’s COVID-19 related statistics as well as the decisions of our local public health and government officials. We will communicate all important information to our community as we learn it.

It is important to note that the DPH Orders, Directives, and Guidance as well as the Mayor’s and Governor’s policies apply, at this point, to K-12. Preschool is governed by different regulations, which we are awaiting. We remain hopeful that we will be permitted to welcome our Preschool students to campus, and we have a plan for small, self contained cohorts with dedicated teachers. We have hired additional Preschool faculty for this purpose.    

Many of you have, no doubt, heard the news that SFUSD will begin the school year in distance learning mode, as will some other large California districts. In our Reopening CAIS document we list a number of organizations whose guidance we will follow when making important decisions about health and safety. SFUSD is not among them. Therefore, we will not be following SFUSD’s decision, and at present our plan is to begin school on campus as planned if we are given permission by public health and government officials. Our decision will be based on SFDPH orders for K-8 and the Department of Social Services orders for Preschool.

As you know, SFUSD and other school districts face complicated challenges that we do not—resources being chief among them. I acknowledge that this fundamental inequity is heartbreaking, a sentiment that I know many of you share. An article in The New York Times shines a light on the dynamic throughout the country, with many independent schools possibly being able to provide opportunities for in-person learning when neighboring public schools unfortunately cannot. This has prompted me to reflect—humbly—on how fortunate we truly are.    

For Folks Who REALLY Like Details

Our Reopening CAIS pages on the school website contains “high level” information. This is by design so that it does not get hopelessly bogged down in granular details. However, I recognize that many CAIS community members like the minutiae, so I am going to catalog a number of concrete measures that we have taken over the last week or two:

• We have purchased the Magnus Health Portal software that we will use for student, faculty and staff symptom screening via a mobile app.
• We have purchased 41 handheld infrared thermometers for classrooms and four higher quality ones for the School Nurse and Health Aides for a second reading if the first reading in the classroom is high.
• We are interviewing finalists for our new School Nurse/Community Health Officer position.
• We are installing a total of 34 additional sinks for hand washing across all three campuses.
• We are installing wall mounted hand sanitizer dispensers on all campuses and have purchased 220 gallons (833 liters, 1,600 斤) of hand sanitizer ( >70% alcohol content). 
• We are making upgrades to our HVAC systems, including the trial use of MERV 13  filters at 888 Turk and MERV 15 filters at 150 Oak which surpass California Department of Public health recommendations. We are investigating individual air purifiers for the Waller Preschool campus. 
• We have received and are evaluating a variety of transparent face coverings and face shields for faculty.
• We have hired additional staff to serve smaller cohorts of Preschool students which we think will be required.
• We are retrofitting adult restrooms at the Waller Preschool campus to comply with licensing requirements for additional cohorts and classrooms.
• We have purchased six high quality partitions for the 150 Oak 3rd floor library in order to utilize that space for classrooms in order to enable more distance between people.
• We are altering some classroom entrances to avoid interaction with French American students and staff—we love our neighbors, just don’t want to share germs :-) 
• We have purchased 10 Swivl Cameras for live streaming of Middle School classes for students who cannot attend classes.

Keeping in Touch with CAIS Community Questions and Concerns

In addition to inviting families and faculty to share questions with Pandemic Response Coordinator Adam Ross at any time, we will be hosting Zoom meetings in the coming weeks for faculty as well as sessions for parents and guardians to stay up-to-date on the evolving plans for Reopening CAIS. Schedule and Zoom access details will be shared shortly next week. 

A Proud Math Tradition

For as much as things changed in the latter part of 2019-2020, it’s always comforting to see the traditions that continue, such as CAIS students’ annual success in the Math Kangaroo international competition. Conducted online May–June 2020, the 23rd annual Math Kangaroo competition attracted participation from 57 CAIS students in third through eighth grades. The math competition attracted over 31,000 students in the United States and over 6 million students in 50+ countries. It is one of the largest math competitions for 1st-12th grade students. 

CAIS volunteer Math Kangaroo Managers Dan Chen and Rong Pan shared, “This year, 12 students placed nationally in each of their respective levels. Congratulations to all the participants and winners.” 

Class of 2025
Avery B. placed 11th Nationally at Level 3
Ella H. placed 17th Nationally at Level 3
Roshan C. placed 20th Nationally at Level 3 

Class of 2024
Andersen E. placed 2nd Nationally at Level 4
Sophia M. placed 8th Nationally at Level 4 
Sydney L. placed 20th Nationally at Level 4 

Class of 2023
Newton D. placed 12th Nationally at Level 5
Riley J. placed 16th Nationally at Level 5

Class of 2022
Daphne G. placed 10th Nationally at Level 6
Drew B. placed 16th Nationally at Level 6
Emilia Z. placed 16th Nationally at Level 6 

Class of 2021
Trey W. placed 14th Nationally at Level 7 

Each of these students will receive a Certificate of Excellence and a Math Kangaroo winner’s magnet. For placing in the Top 10 of their levels, Andersen, Sophia, and Daphne will also receive a puzzle. Andersen will receive a medal as a Top 3 winner. Congratulations to all!



  • Chinese American International School


    Early Childhood Division (Preschool) | Alice A. Carnes Center
    42/52 Waller Street 

    Early Childhood Division (K-1)
    and Lower School (2-5)
    150 Oak Street 

    Middle School (6-8)
    888 Turk Street 

    San Francisco, CA 94102