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School Reopening Webinar Questions & Answers

School Reopening Webinar Questions & Answers
Dec 9 2020

Although we do not have a return date set for in-person learning, we updated our community on Thursday, December 3 of our progress and plans for reopening. Our webinar recording is available for you to watch at your convenience. We have also written out and answered all of your questions asking during the event. Don't forget to check out our School Reopening Document for additional detail and information. 


School Reopening Webinar Q&A


What is the date of return?
We currently do not have a set date of return. At the earliest, Alameda County must move off the purple tier followed by two consecutive weeks in the red tier before we are allowed to consider the return to in person classes.


Why will desks be placed 4-6 feet and not 6 feet apart?
Our goal is to place desks 6 feet apart in classrooms. Based on the number of students in each class/classroom during Hybrid mode, Alameda County Public Health Department states that it is permissible to relax the 6 feet recommendation if it ensures all students receive classroom instructions. In addition all desks will be faced forward only.

How will lunch be handled?
Students will eat lunch outside. While they are actively eating or drinking they can remove their masks. Our lunch provider will be operating and lunches served in individual containers will be available for purchase.

Are the sophomore, junior, and senior classes split up alphabetically?
Students will be split up alphabetically, not by grade level.

How many days on campus will students have?
Everyone will get two days on campus. The Blue group is the first half of the alphabet (A-Le), all students. The Orange group is the second half (Li-Z).

Why are teachers only getting testing once every two months?
State and Alameda County recommendations suggest testing of all school employees “periodically” as testing capacity permits and as practicable. We work under the guidance of the Diocese of Oakland as well and they currently “require” that all employees working on campus (including teachers) be tested once every two months on a rolling basis, and that 25% of all employees working on campus are tested every 2 weeks. This guidance may change.

So if someone at school comes down with covid, it is not necessarily mandatory for you to notify the entire school? Even without disclosing names?
Currently communication to the SJND community is not required upon receiving notification of a Covid positive case, although we will immediately notify Alameda County as required. Beginning January 1, 2021 all employees who were at the school (i.e. worksite) during the infectious period who may have been exposed to Covid-19 will receive communication. In addition all “close contacts” will receive a separate communication to tell them to quarantine.

Will distance learning classes follow the same schedule that we currently have? Or will the second semester begin with that hybrid schedule you shared?
The Hybrid schedule will only go into effect when we are in Hybrid (in person) learning.

Will all teachers return to in person instruction? How will you handle teachers who may opt out of returning to teach in person due to health or other issues?
If a teacher cannot work in person and has received prior authorization to work remotely a permanent substitute/proctor will be present in the physical classroom to supervise and assist students in person.

Are there classes during the transition weeks?
There will be no classes during the transition weeks.

What is your contact tracing protocol?
Are you adding contact tracers?
Are you training the kids to disclose close contacts?
Principal Julie Guevara is Covid Site Liaison, Kris Venturini is Covid Liaison with Alameda County and Dessiree Lozano as Contract Tracer assisting Ms. Guevara and Ms. Venturini. We will inform Alameda County of all “close contacts” of any Covid positive individuals and assist the County as they ask. During onsite Orientation we will inform students and all employees that should they become Covid positive to fill out the SJND Covid Form which includes listing all close contacts. 

What is the plan in band class for students who play a wind or brass instrument?
All band and choir classes will be held outdoors weather permitting. SJND has purchased additional fask masks, bell covers, filters and sanitizing equipment for each band student. Brass and woodwind instruments will use special instrument covers.

Could those classes that can’t fit 6’ be moved to larger classes or reduce how many on campus student can attend.
Yes, we will be utilizing all spaces and moving classes into larger rooms such as Notre Dame Hall and Chestnut Street as necessary. Exact locations depend upon how many students choose to do in-person learning.

Will school bus transportation be available in Hybrid mode?
Whether or not we will have bus transportation is still being determined and we will have a clearer understanding closer to our return date.

How long after Alameda county turns to red will the school begin sending out the survey and begin the hybrid model process?
As Alameda County case numbers decrease and we are in the red tier the school will consider the option for our hybrid model or continued distance learning. The school will send out a survey for families to choose to opt-in for in-person instruction or continue with distance learning when we feel the data is needed to move forward with our reopening plan.


Schools were allowed to open in November but SJND decided against it, so if you are given the okay by Alameda County during 2nd Semester like you were in November, what will be the determining factor for the SJND to decide to open?
There are several factors that will help us determine a transition to a hybrid model such as Alameda County guidelines, Diocesan guidance, timing, and impact on learning.

If you opt out of in person initially, can you change to in-person down the road? Maybe as weather warms up for additional ventilation, for example?
Yes, if you opt-out initially you can opt-in at the midpoint of our hybrid program.

How will students be monitored to ensure that they are wearing masks all the time except when eating or drinking? Is there enough staff to monitor this?
All employees have been trained in the new protocol and will receive additional on campus orientation as will all students during the Transition weeks. Teachers and staff will be monitoring students throughout the day. In addition we have Safety Monitors who will be performing visual checks every morning before a student enters one of the buildings on campus. These Safety Monitors will also be positioned outside along our walking paths to ensure that students are keeping physical distancing and wearing their masks.

Will Pilot Pods meet at lunch so incoming freshmen, who don’t know anyone, will have someone to eat with?
Yes, Pilot Pods will meet at lunch to help connect grade 9 students with each other. In addition to Pilot Pods, Link Crew leaders will also be hosting lunch socials to get to know their ninth grade groups and do more team building.

What will happen to students with combined grade classes?
Students will be allowed on campus based off of the alphabetical order of their last names, not based off of grade levels.

Will you regulate the type of mask worn by the students? Will you allow bandanas and gaiters?
Yes, in our School Reopening document we have detailed our mask guidelines. For example, bandanas and gaiters are not permitted.

Will everyone, including teachers/staff be filling out the health screenings?
Yes, anyone arriving on campus will need to complete the health screening form prior to arriving on campus. The “green” health screening certificate will need to be shown visually as part of the morning check-in process. In addition we will reconcile the spreadsheet tracking of the Health Screen form to all students and staff present each day on campus and will follow up with anyone who might have been missed.

Do teachers have to log their symptoms via the health screening app everyday?
Every time someone comes on campus they will fill out the health screening form. If they are not coming on campus that day, they do not need to fill out the health screening form. See answer above as well.

If a student opts to continue at home, how will the teacher and that student be able to actively engage?
Our classrooms will be fully equipped with technology necessary to seamlessly stream and interact with our distance learning students.

How many teachers have opted to not teach in person?
At this time, the number of teachers who will continue to teach remotely and are not able to teach in person, is undetermined.

Will the elementary school be managed the same way? Are they on the same timeline?
SJES has already begun on campus instruction. You can read their Reopening document located on their website at SJES Reopening Plan.

Is opt-in required for participation in sports?
No, it is not required, you can still participate in sports while doing distance learning.

If a student opts in to going to school, can they only attend certain classes on their designated day (ie. showing up for first period (labs) in person and online for second)?
No, students who opt in must be present for all classes on the days they are required to be at school in person.

Will the bathrooms be used?
Yes, we will have all bathrooms on campus (except the locker rooms) open on campus with a maximum capacity of 1 or 2 listed on each door depending on the size of the room. In addition we will allow students to use what once were single stall “Faculty only” bathrooms to help with the flow of traffic. Teachers will get priority between passing periods. We have hot water and soap in every bathroom and have added paper towels in all and disabled blow dryers.

Is opting in to in-person classes binding? If a student tries out coming to campus and they do not feel comfortable, do they have to continue coming before that second survey?
Students may opt-out anytime. However, they may not opt-in at any time other than during the mid-point mark of hybrid.

What about zero period?
There is only one zero period class (Ensemble Workshop). Ms. Cekola will determine meeting dates for these students, likely during Flex period(s).

For families with more than 1 student, do all students have to all participate in the hybrid OR all doing remote learning? Or can each child decide?
Each child can decide.

Is there a maximum number of students who can opt in on campus daily?
We have divided our students alphabetically based off of their last names to create two balanced groups that will be able to come on campus 2x per week. We will be able to accommodate all students in each group should 100% of them opt in.

Is there any chance of kids going back to school 5 days a week?
Our goal is to eventually return to a 5 day in person school week. But we will be doing so in phases.

With various instructional times in place(depending on the model and what is followed), have teachers been able to estimate what percent of the curriculum they expect to cover this year?
Our teachers have modified their curriculum to focus on essential learning outcomes due to this unprecedented school year. Learning outcomes that are non-essential (or “nice-to-have”) have been eliminated this year.

What happens if a teacher tests positive?
We will instruct them to immediately isolate, fill out the SJND Covid Form where we will get additional information to provide to Alameda County including close contacts.

Will in-person attendance be mandatory for the students?
No, you will be sent a survey closer to our reopening date to determine your comfort level. If, at any time, you feel unsafe, or your situation changes, you may opt-out of in person learning.

With two more weeks of no school/classes - how does the school plan on ensuring that students get a full education in their classes and the school meet state requirements? Especially for students who will be taking AP classes.
Our teachers have modified their curriculum to focus on essential learning outcomes due to this unprecedented school year. Learning outcomes that are non-essential (or “nice-to-have”) have been eliminated this year. AP Teachers will have the option of giving additional practice work in their classes over the transition weeks. We also anticipate that the College Board will announce a modification of required content as they did last Spring.

Why does orange group get late start, but blue group does not?
The Blue and Orange groups will switch their assigned in-person days at the midpoint of our hybrid model.

Is there anything we can do as parents to help support the school and staff when the hybrid model occurs?
Please review the reopening document with your student so that there is a clear understanding of the expectations, seriousness and responsibility each member of our community has to themselves and one another. Continue to practice the health and safety protocols of wearing masks, physically distancing and regularly washing hands. If your student exhibits any symptom, please have them stay home. Be sure to purchase a thermometer if you don’t already have one and download the Daily Health Screening application to your student’s phone so that they complete it every time they come onto campus.

For the orange 2 bell/class schedule on Fridays, can the student still go to school at 8:00AM, even if the first class starts at 10:15AM?
Students may not be on campus until their first class at 10:15AM, unless they have a meeting/appointment scheduled with a teacher, counselor, or administrator during Office Hours. If there is a special circumstance that you have a question about please contact our Dean of Students, Mr. Chris Crisolo, at ccrisolo@sjnd.org.

What has been the impact (social/emotional, etc.) to students being in lockdown status since March of this year and with no clear timeline of when students will be returning to campus?
The impacts vary greatly from student to student, and family to family. Some students are thriving and some are getting by, and some are struggling a great deal. Our commitment as a school is to have all of our adults - administrators, teachers and counselors, reaching out to students to check in and see how they’re doing and what support they might need. Then we use all of our resources to help in the best way we are able. This is not easy for any of us, but we are here to provide caring support. Please reach out to us if you or someone you know could use it.

How will you enforce the rules when students are hanging around, playing around by removing their masks and fake coughing, as well as congregating?
As mentioned earlier, in addition to all teachers monitoring very closely during class, we will have Safety Monitors outside during passing periods and at lunch to ensure adherence with the new protocols and procedures.

What if more than 50% of the students opt-in to return to on-campus learning? What will the process be to choose who attends on-campus and not?
We have divided our students alphabetically based off of their last names to create two balanced groups that will be able to come on campus 2x per week. The first group will be invited on campus the first two days of the week and the second group on the last two days of the week.

Are you going to allow the vented masks?
No, vented masks will not be allowed.

So students who aren’t on campus will be able to still attend online? Will a webcam be set up for them to view the classroom?
Students who continue to learn from home will be able to stream and attend their classes live and in real time.

How will seniors be allowed off campus to eat at the local restaurant, Blue Dot?
Seniors will not be allowed off campus to eat at local restaurants such as Blue Dot or be able to go to Encinal market.

If classes are delayed for the transition, is the school year being extended?
The school year will not be extended. Our teachers will continue to modify their curriculum to focus on essential learning outcomes due to this unprecedented school year.

Is the PSAT being offered?
The PSAT alternate date is January 26th. However, we are still awaiting updates from the College Board to see what other options may be available.

Will the current Spring Break schedule be changed because of the transition weeks?
At this time, no adjustments will be made to Easter break. We will communicate any changes there may be as we get closer to our reopening.

When will you have confirmation from Alameda County that this hybrid model is okay for go ahead?
Alameda County has acknowledged receipt and registered our Reopening document.

You say that you will assess the situation if someone come down with COVID, however what would constitute an entire school shutdown?
SJND will follow the metrics established by the California Department of Public Health for closing again and returning to distance learning due to COVID-19. These metrics that result in us switching from Hybrid to Distance Learning are as follows:
  • 5% of students and teachers in a classroom test positive for the virus, the classroom would be closed, followed by 14 days of quarantine.
  • 5% positive testing rate of total students and teachers, the entire school would have to close, with everyone subject to 14 days of quarantine.
The state, county and/or the Local Health Officer may also determine school closure is warranted for other reasons, including results from public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.

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