Head of School Newsletter - May 7, 2021
Updates from Pandemic Response Coordinator Adam Ross
Moving into the Bright Sunlight of Yellow Tier
Remember my “light at the end of the tunnel” analogy several weeks ago? Well, at the time of writing, the sun was shining brightly, people were out and about enjoying the day at Patricia’s Green (where I took a mid-afternoon walk, even splurging to enjoy a scoop of Salt and Straw coconut-milk mint chocolate chip ice cream before heading back to the Oak campus to write this Adam’s Corner entry!). Seeing people maskless with relaxed guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals outside in this sunshine is a welcome sight. It really feels like a brand new world these days.
As of today SF officially moves into Yellow Tier in our city operations. The good news doesn’t stop there—currently 73% of city residents 16 years of age or older have received at least one dose of the Pfizer/Moderna dual jabs, and over half of residents are “fully vaccinated.” Even if we’re not at herd immunity in the city, we’re getting closer.
The funny thing is, though, Yellow Tier has changed little about our day-to-day operations at CAIS. Because kids are not vaccinated, we all still need to keep on our masks, continue to track symptoms in Magnus Health, maintain 6-ft distance (or, among kids, maintain 3-ft distance)—all of these layers of our risk mitigation are still necessary for the time being. The relaxation of safety protocols in yesterday’s guidelines are, for the most part, freeing for adults in businesses and public recreation activities—kids still need to be masked, maintain 3 feet distance from each other and 6 feet distance from adults, remain in cohorts, and engage in symptom tracking each day from home.
At the same time, there is some relaxation of guidelines for students, many of which pertaining to youth sports and play:
• All sports will be allowed for all ages
• Athletes in indoor high contact sports will be allowed to participate in other out-of-school programs
• Masks will still be required for youth sports with limited exceptions
• Vaccinated athletes and staff must continue to wear masks
For student play at school, we have limited shared items that are touched, like balls and other implements. Now, as long as students wash hands before and after these activities, student play may use these items with no additional restrictions. Unfortunately, unvaccinated students (which is all of our student body) still may only remove masks when eating and drinking, and only when distanced no less than six feet from people around them.
These new policies may seem like small potatoes compared to the mask-less outdoor freedoms that have come to us fully vaccinated adults. In the coming weeks, we will discuss implications for 12-15 year olds (and, hopefully soon, for 2-11 year olds) having access to Pfizer vaccines pending FDA approvals. Still more light at the end of the tunnel for our kids…
School Policy on Summer Activities for CAIS Students
We have received a request for guidance about whether or not it is OK to schedule group activities for students from a given grade level in the summer months. After discussion among our admin teams and in the CAIS Reopening Task Force, we have decided it is best that CAIS as a school not work either to sanction or not sanction these events, as they take place outside of school time and campuses. This is not to say we discourage get-togethers, and we acknowledge that it is important for children’s well-being that they have opportunities to socialize. What we do ask is that organizing parents take time to review and follow current SFDPH guidelines for safe gatherings, and to be open and transparent with other parents about these activities. This link will provide you with current and up-to-date guidance as it is available from SFDPH.
In our own planning for graduation and promotion ceremonies for Preschool, 5th grade, and 8th grade, we work to follow continually-updated guidance from SFDPH to ensure the safety of all participants. Parents organizing activities should know that convening a group for an activity safely will take considerable work, and other families may have questions about how child safety will be managed. If you are planning such an activity and wish to invite students from other families, here are some items to consider:
• What are your plans to keep students masked and distanced?
• Will food be served? If so, how will students eat safely?
• If someone becomes ill, how will you respond?
• Other parents might have questions about the event—are you open to speaking to them about your planning and addressing any concerns they may have?
I am happy to answer questions about current guidelines as you consider safe ways for your children to be together with classmates during the summer months. Please feel free to reach out before the end of the school year with your questions.
Pandemic Response Coordinator
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