Head of School Newsletter - January 29
SF Travel Restrictions Remain in Place
Earlier this week Governor Newsom and Mayor Breed each held press conferences updating citizens on changes to public health orders. This prompted some parents to reach out and inquire about travel plans during the upcoming February Break. Much like this week’s weather, though, I have to rain on this parade; nothing has changed with regard to travel for SF residents. This Wednesday, January 27, SFDPH issued the updated “Stay Safer at Home” Order which keeps travel restrictions in place and continues to require a 10-day quarantine for anyone traveling into the Bay Area—this includes CAIS families leaving the 10 county area for non-essential travel as defined by the DPH. (Importantly, please note that we cannot guarantee DL for families that leave the area for non-essential travel.) This order does not have an expiration date, which means it currently applies to February Break and beyond. Recognizing that this, for many, will not be welcome news, I must reiterate what I shared in the last newsletter:
The school’s protocols and policies—informed by science and public health advice—are working, and our kids are in school, learning. Please do not ask for exceptions. Everyone is important, everyone is special, but when it comes to your obligation to keep yourself and others healthy and safe, no one is exceptional. When we have to spend time addressing requests for exceptions, it is time we are not spending educating your children.
Viral transmission numbers are still high, and the new, more infectious strains of COVID are present in our state, so we must continue to rely on everyone to mask, practice good hygiene, stay apart, and stay safer at home. As we have seen with “All Clear” results on our saliva tests four weeks in a row now, these measures are working, and we can’t stop doing what works.
If the travel restrictions should change, we will let you know as soon as we hear. Thank you for your continued understanding and cooperation—it’s working.
Giving a Little Spit and Polish to our Pool Testing Protocols
We are so glad that we have gotten through the four weeks of January in the midst of the post-Holiday COVID spike with no positive cases for anyone in our community. Our new saliva testing protocol has been key here, and we hope that this extra protocol is bringing increased peace of mind to all of you too.
We also hope that the saliva collection process has gotten easier for your kids. We still have been seeing issues each week with some student samples, particularly with insufficient volume. For the record, it is not just the younger kids having trouble with this—more than half of our samples this week that had insufficient volume came from Middle School students!
So…here are some pointers and suggestions to make the saliva collection process go more smoothly.
• Many of you have shared that your kids have a hard time using the saliva straws. Mirimus has just shipped very large straws that you will find in next week’s samples.
• For children who have trouble producing saliva, a CAIS parent suggested having them smell a lemon or a pickle before producing their sample. These items naturally create a reaction in saliva glands.
• Another parent suggested having kids spit directly into a small bowl, and then carefully funnel saliva into the saliva collection tube.
• (Sorry if this one is, uh, a little vivid) Mirimus shared in their email communication to me today that “If there are bubbles in the collection tube produced during saliva self-collection, please wait until the bubbles settle to confirm that there is a minimum sample volume of 1 mL, or more than half filled.”
• Please ensure the green cap is tightly fitted. We have had a couple instances where tubes arrived empty to the lab, having lost their contents during shipping, presumably because of loose caps.
OK, I’ve been writing about saliva for nearly two months now. I promise a new subject starting in February. Stay healthy and safe, everyone!
Pandemic Response Coordinator
Questions? Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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