• Friday, July 31, 2020

Reopening CAIS - Weekly Update July 31

This week’s newsletter again is long—it contains a great deal of detailed information; I encourage everyone to find time to read the portions relevant to you in their entirety.


Deadline for 2020-2021 Child Care Registration

Child care needs are one of the main drivers of our cohort creation, along with sibling considerations and families who wish to stay in distance learning even when school is open for in-person learning. Accordingly families must complete their fall child care registration by this Sunday, August 2 at 8:00 p.m. using the UltraCamp links below. Families who anticipate only needing child care at any time in the spring should contact Auxiliary Program Director Kevin Lee by email by that same deadline.

Preschool (Waller Campus) - Sign-up link for full day care in fall through Winter Break 

K-5th (Oak Campus) - Sign-up link for full day care in fall through Winter Break 

6th-8th (Turk Campus) - Sign-up link for full day care in fall through Winter Break  


To DL or Not to DL, That is the Question…

On Tuesday, July 28 we received a communication directly from the San Francisco Department of Public Health that addressed many of the outstanding issues surrounding schools reopening for on-campus, in-person learning. Not surprisingly, the communication was neither definitive nor prescriptive on all issues.   

SFDPH did reaffirm that programs for children ages 0-5 could open for on-site, in-person care and learning. Consequently, Chu Hsi and Britta continue to plan to welcome Preschool children back to the Waller campus on Wednesday morning, August 26, with strict, required best practices in place around screening, cohorting, hygiene, and face coverings (they will share details at the Preschool parent Zoom meeting next Friday, August 7 at 4:00 p.m.).

The communication also specifically pointed out that Dr. Tomás Aragón, San Francisco’s Public Health Officer, has not amended the San Francisco Stay Safe at Home Order, stating that “K-12 schools are currently not permitted to open.” My personal reading of this is that SFDPH is foreshadowing that schools will not be permitted to open in the foreseeable future—I may, of course be incorrect in this reading. “Foreseeable” has come to be a problematic term, obviously, as things change almost daily, and seeing out even a couple of weeks has become very challenging. CAIS Scenario Planning Task Force members are engaging closely with high level DPH leadership this afternoon to explore any additional measures and preparations to enable CAIS to resume in-person instructions safely. Of course you will be informed of any developments.

The SFDPH communication also noted that if and when the San Francisco Stay Safe at Home Order is amended, there are two paths to reopening schools for in-person learning. The first, as many of you know, is that San Francisco County must be off the State’s COVID-19 monitoring list for 14 consecutive days. On Wednesday and Thursday of this week we were meeting all the thresholds. If those trends hold true for today, then we will be off the list tomorrow (at this writing, today’s figures have not been posted). The second path is that CAIS may apply for a waiver from the county.

We are still awaiting information about the process for a waiver application—details were not included in Tuesday’s SFDPH communication. As I have written before, we will apply for the waiver, but with no knowledge about the requirements, timeline, or even what the waiver would allow us to do, it would be reckless for me to speculate about what this might mean for CAIS. It does seem to me that the term “waiver” is somewhat of a misnomer. A waiver sounds a bit as if health requirements have been waived. In fact, it appears as though the process is going to put the readiness of each school and district under much more focused scrutiny by the SFDPH. This would be a good thing; we would receive direct validation from the public health officials whose guidance we respect and trust. Presumably this would give our families and our faculty more confidence.       

It is important for everyone to keep in mind that according to the communication, neither of the above paths is open to us or any other school until the San Francisco Stay Safe at Home Order is amended, and the communication specifically pointed out that it remains in place, unchanged. I know the uncertainty is frustrating and upsetting for many in our community and in other school communities throughout the city. I wish it were otherwise.

It is with this information that I head into the weekend, watchful of any new developments. As promised, on Monday, August 3 we will announce whether we intend to begin school on Wednesday, August 26 in distance learning mode or if it makes sense to continue waiting it out.        


Adam’s Corner
Updates from Pandemic Response Coordinator Adam Ross

Here is an update on work that has been taking place to get our faculty and our campus spaces ready for reopening over the past week.

• Ordering and testing HEPA air filters for classroom use, and receiving PPE equipment for faculty and staff use from FEMA and from personal donations
• Reviewing the Magnus Health COVID-19 School Software release, which came out on Wednesday. My goal is to have information for families on using Magnus Health online apps in the coming week.
• Finalizing Return to School Agreements for students and families
• Meetings with all CAIS faculty and staff to discuss building improvements and risk mitigation protocols for on-campus instruction
• Wifi upgrades at Oak to support 1gb bandwidth

As we did in June, I will be taking part in next week’s parent Zoom info sessions. I am happy to answer any questions you have about our Reopening CAIS preparations. I look forward to seeing many of you there! 


REMINDER: Zoom Town Halls Next Week

Division heads will be joining me next week for a series of Zoom meetings scheduled by grade (see links below). We know that you likely have lots of questions about our August 3 decision date and our Reopening CAIS planning in general. While we ask that you please submit them using the form links below in advance so that we can prepare, do know that there will also be an opportunity for questions at the meeting. 

Monday, August 3, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
2nd and 3rd Grade Parents Dialogue with Kimberly Kaz and Jeff Bissell
Zoom Link
Submit questions

Tuesday, August 4, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
4th and 5th Grade Parents Dialogue with Kimberly Kaz and Jeff Bissell
Zoom Link
Submit questions

Wednesday, August 5, 4:00-5:00 p.m. 
6th-8th Grade Parents Dialogue with Joe Williamson and Jeff Bissell
Zoom Link
Submit questions

Thursday, August 6, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Kindergarten and 1st Grade Parents Dialogue with Britta Pells and Jeff Bissell
Zoom Link
Submit questions

Friday, August 7, 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Preschool Parents Dialogue with Britta Pells, Chu Hsi Tseng and Jeff Bissell
Zoom Link
Submit questions 

  • Chinese American International School

    www.cais.org

    Early Childhood Division (Preschool) | Alice A. Carnes Center
    42/52 Waller Street 
    415-655-9362

    Early Childhood Division (K-1)
    and Lower School (2-5)
    150 Oak Street 
    415-865-6000 

    Middle School (6-8)
    888 Turk Street 
    415-349-7201 

    San Francisco, CA 94102