New Village School Reopening Safely
The health and safety of our New Village community is our priority right now! This page will continue to be updated with the latest policies and procedures as we work to adhere to the latest county and state guidelines. These are guidelines for returning to school in-person, however if any student is not able to attend classes in person, due to exposure or contraction of COVID-19, quarantine mandates, public health concerns or is unable to adhere to these guidelines, distance learning will be offered to those students.
All activities are consistent with and will adjust to changing applicable state and local Public Health orders.,
When we return to on-campus learning each grade will be a stable cohort. As much as possible, teachers will operate outdoors, prioritizing safety and distancing.
We will continue to offer distance-learning options for students who are unable to be on campus.
Health and Safety Protocols
The New Village School is continually in close contact with the Department of Public Health and the Marin County Office of Education for the latest health and safety guidance regarding COVID-19. As a school we will do our part to reduce the risk of infection and outbreak for our faculty, staff and community through the following measures:
- Health Protocols
- Social Distancing
- Campus Disinfection
All faculty and staff will be expected to follow Public Health Guidelines for physical distancing, face coverings, hygiene, and will be prepared to help students adapt to the new procedures. We will follow the Marin County Public Health Protocols on the onset of symptoms, potential exposure, and/or close contact with an individual tested positive for COVID-19 through their cohort exposure scenarios.
Cleaning and Disinfection
All staff will be trained in the use of cleaning and disinfecting products and will clean and disinfect their own outdoor work areas and materials, and any common areas they use throughout the day. A professional cleaning crew will clean and disinfect nightly as well.
- Classrooms/Offices:Faculty/Staff will disinfect high-touch areas in outdoor classrooms/offices such as desks, tables, chairs, and door and gate handles
- Restrooms:Each cohort will have their own restroom and hand wash station. Restrooms will cleaned periodically during the day by teachers. All bathrooms will be and disinfected by a professional cleaning crew each evening.
Stable cohorts will be established to minimize the spread of the virus and support contact tracing. Cohort details are as follows:
- Cohorts will consist of about 10-15 students, depending on class size
- Each cohort will have a unique drop-off and pick-up location on campus to keep cohorts from merging
- Classes will take place entirely outside and students will wear masks
- Cohorts will not mix with other cohorts
- If classes cannot take place outside, due to air quality, we will shift to our preliminary indoor learning model. In this model:
- Cohorts will be moved indoors based on AQI in the morning
- AQI will be monitored throughout the day. If the AQI drops below 150, some outdoor time is OK. If it drops below 100, school will be outdoors as much as is practicable that day.
- Classrooms, bathrooms and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned, disinfected and sanitized between the two groups
- Each grade will have their own classroom appropriate to cohort size and bathroom
- All classrooms are equipped with a HEPA Air Filter
- All students will have their own desks and will remain 6 feet apart and facing forward.
- All students will wear masks at all times, unless eating and drinking.
Cohortingentrance, Egress, and Movement Within the School
- Assigned drop off locations outside
- For the time being, students should not enter the school building (unless their cohort has an assigned bathroom in the building)
- Signage will be provided to direct the flow of movement within the school to minimize any contact between cohorts
- Parents will be asked to follow the Visitor Policy
Face Coverings and Other Essential Protective Gear
Public health officials have made it clear that good hygiene and face coverings will be the most critical pieces for mitigating COVID-19 spread and keeping schools open.
All staff and students in grade three and above will be required to wear face coverings while on campus, and will be asked to stay home if they do not comply. Students from grades K-2 are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings, and will be supported and taught how to wear them properly. If any student cannot wear a face covering, those families will need to reach out to the school before school starts, to come up with a plan on how to support that student.
Health Screenings for Students and Staff
Daily home health screenings for all students are required before coming to school each day. These include temperature checks and a health screening questionnaire. After doing a daily health screening on your child, please initial their wellness log on the correct date. Students should bring their wellness log to school, and show the teacher before entering the outdoor class space. Faculty and staff will fill out the Daily Teacher/Staff Wellness log and have their temperature taken first thing as they arrive at school.
Staff and Students Exhibiting Symptoms
Protocols will be in place for staff or students who exhibit flu-like symptoms during the day. These will include isolating the student or staff members until they are able to leave campus, and working with the Health Department to determine reentry criteria and the possibility of individual, family, or cohort quarantines. Faculty, staff, and students who present fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, have come in contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home to self-isolate and recuperate. Students who develop COVID-19 symptoms during the day will wait in an observation room until an approved adult arrives to pick them up.
Signs or symptoms may include:
- Muscle ache
- Loss of taste or smell
- Vomiting or diarrhea
Healthy Hygiene Practices
Frequent hand washing will be required of students and adults. Six mobile hand washing stations have been purchased and will be assigned to each cohort. Hand sanitizer will also be available for students and staff. Hand washing routines and expectations for students will be reinforced by teachers.
Hand washing should happen before entering a class-space (even outdoors), before and after eating, before and after going to the bathroom. Faculty and Staff will follow these hand washing practices as well.
Identification and Tracing of Contacts
The following actions will be taken if there is a confirmed case in our community:
- The school’s Public Health Liaison, Kiki Wykstra, should be notified immediately
- The school will consult with the Health Department to make quarantine decisions
- The Management Team will notify the school community
- The Public Health Liaison will share attendance and location records with the health department for contact tracing purposes.
- The Public Health Liaison will serve as the designated contact person for the school
Outdoor classroom spaces will be used initially. If we move to learning inside the classrooms, all the rooms have been reconfigured to meet the current health department distancing guidelines of 6-foot separation between students and 6 feet between staff and students. Bathrooms and hand washes will be available for each cohort, to minimize students congregating in or near bathrooms.
Staff Training and Family Education
During the coming staff work week (August 24–28) faculty and staff will be trained in all hygiene protocols. Training will be given by our Public Health Liaisons (Kiki Wykstra and Mitchell Danielson). Families will be educated by teacher communications.
Testing of Students and Staff
Per health department recommendations, staff will be tested prior to the start of school and every month. If testing is not provided at school, staff will be asked to get tested through their health care provider or through local testing centers.
We ask that all students who are returning to school in-person also get tested prior to the start of school.
If students or staff show symptoms of COVID-19 they may be asked to provide clearance from their health care provider before returning to campus. While awaiting test results, students and staff will be asked to stay at home, where they can participate remotely.
Testing of Students and Staff
The New Village School will follow county health recommendations regarding when to close campus and transition to distance learning. Current Marin County guidelines for closing campus are as follows:
- A school would be required to close if at least 5% of the student body and staff are diagnosed with Covid-19 within a 14-day period
- An entire school district may be closed if a quarter of its schools have been closed due to Covid-19 cases within two weeks
The Management Team will communicate with parents, staff, and students about any exposures at school through email, letters, and parent Zoom calls. All privacy requirements will be taken into consideration.
Classroom Preparations(Phase Iii: Moving Inside)
We have well ventilated classrooms, with windows and doors. Classrooms have been set up for maximum air flow, which includes opening windows and doors, and using HEPA air filters and fans as necessary.
We have assessed the use of all classroom, non-classroom, and outdoor spaces. If we move inside, each cohort will have a designated classroom space. For now, we have plenty of outdoor learning spaces (the gardens, the knoll, the green space next to the breezeway, the land in Novato and the Sausalito waterfront). After all, the world is our classroom.
Drop-off and Pick-up
Student drop-off is between 8:15-8:30 am. Student pick-up is between 3:15-3:30. Parents should stay in their vehicles and pull-into their grade-specific drop-off/pick-up locations in the mornings and afternoons. Students will be escorted by teachers to and from the vehicles.
We are following the No Visitors guideline during school hours recommended by the Department of Health. The exception being any outside essential workers providing necessary services that are pre-scheduled in advance before coming into school premises (i.e., copy machine technicians, plumbers, building/site subcontractors, learning support etc.).
Parents are asked not to enter campus at drop-off and pick-up. Teachers will meet students at their designated drop-off locations.
- If a parent or guardian must enter the campus for a student pick-up, Mitchell Danielson, should be contacted in advance. He will explain the procedure and set up a safe waiting area for the student
- Substitute teachers will be allowed on campus once they have been trained on all applicable safety protocols
- We are keeping daily records of students, teachers, staff, contractors, and visitors who enter campus. These records will allow for efficient contact tracing should the need arise
We ask that families exercise vigilance in following all public health orders when students are not on campus. We will rely on our community to follow the County Public Health guidance at home and on campus. Without adherence to these ordinances, virus mitigation becomes far more difficult.
Some guidelines for optimum behavior outside of school:
- Stay within your child(ren)’s cohort as much as possible outside of school.
- Your child may participate in one other county-approved cohort outside of school
- Do not carpool with anyone outside of your child’s cohort.
- Avoid large social gatherings.
- Avoid all unnecessary travel; self-quarantine for 14 days following air travel and/or if potentially exposed to COVID-19.
The more we work together to follow safety guidelines both in and out of school, the healthier we keep our community.
We are understanding of, and sympathetic to, the child-care needs of families and acknowledge the creation of “home pods” being formed while participating in distance learning. The New Village School is not in a position to organize these home pods as they trigger significant liability and accreditation issues for us as a school. However, our recommendations for those considering forming such home pods are as follows:
- Follow all health department safety protocols
- Align pods with our cohorts as much as possible to minimize exposure risks
- Make them accessible to all families
This is certainly a lot of information to process. I hope it provides reassurance and clarity. It may also raise new questions for you. Please feel free to reach out to Kiki (kiki@thenewvillageschool) and Yana (yana@thenewvillageschool) with any questions about safety procedures and guidelines.
We’ve also included a Family Video Training on our internal, distance-learning website. All families must watch this before school begins. It is important that we all have an understanding of our protocols, how we can protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 and other illnesses, proper use of face coverings, social distancing and hand washing.
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC) COVID-19 Prevention and Treatment information
- California Department of Public Health information on COVID-19
- Marin County Office of Education COVID-19 information and communications
- Marin HHS COVID-19 Resources
- CDC Handwashing videos
We will keep this manual updated with the most current information.