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COVID-19 Safety Plan

Updated October 2021

The following safety plan is based on recommendations by the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and other sources regarding the prevention of COVID-19 in schools. We will update this plan as new information about the virus emerges or as new guidelines are released by the state and local health departments. What follows is based on the most up-to-date science available.

Vaccination

Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to decrease the risk of COVID-19 in schools. Fully vaccinated* adults and teenagers help protect younger children who are not yet eligible for vaccination. Synergy School requires proof of vaccination for all teachers and staff, as well as substitute teachers and parents who volunteer in the classroom and/or attend meetings and events on campus. Students who are vaccinated are asked to also provide a copy of their vaccine card.

*Fully vaccinated means two weeks have past since completion of a vaccine series.

Face Coverings

All adults and students, even if fully vaccinated, are required to wear face coverings while at school to prevent the spread of infection. This includes family members and caregivers dropping off and picking up students.

  • Face coverings or masks must cover both the nose and mouth at all times.
  • The school strongly encourages the use of medical grade surgical masks, KF94, KN95, or two-or-three-layer cotton masks.
  • Students and staff who are unable to wear a mask because of documented medical contraindications must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom, as long as their condition permits it.
  • Face masks with valves (exhalation valves or vents) are prohibited in the school since they do not prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Other face coverings prohibited include tea towel or dishcloth, cotton t-shirt, natural silk, scarf or bandana, and one-layer neck gaiters.
  • Face shields will not be used in place of face coverings, except by students and staff who have a medical exemption.
  • The school will keep a supply of face coverings for individuals who have forgotten to bring one. Anyone not exempt from wearing a mask will be excluded from campus if they refuse to wear one provided by the school.
  • Fully vaccinated adults do not need to wear a mask in a private workspace as long as no students are present.
  • Face masks are not required outdoors, but recommended and encouraged by the school.
Ventilation and Windows

The school will maximize the use of windows, exterior doors to yards, interior doors to the hallway, and the ventilation system to maximize intake of fresh air and minimize recirculated air. Every classroom has windows that open to the outside and doors to hallways for cross-breeze. Some classrooms also have doors with direct access to the yards and others have skylights.

When windows and doors must remain closed because of poor air quality as in the case of recent wildfires, each classroom and office will use portable air purifiers with HEPA-filters. Classrooms are equipped with Blueair Blue Pure 121 Air Purifiers. The larger Big Room has a Blueair ProXL purifier. The building’s heating, ventilation, and air condition [HVAC] system has been equipped with MERV-13 filters.

The HVAC fans will be set to run even when a room doesn’t need to be heated or cooled. The timer will be set to run the system 1-2 hours before the building opens until 2-3 hours after everyone has left the building, including custodial staff.

Illness & Exposure Policy

Anyone who has symptoms of infectious illness, such as influenza and COVID-19, must stay home and consult their healthcare provider for testing and care. Symptoms can include fever, chills, cough, difficulty breathing, fatigue, body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea. Completing a daily health screening form is no longer required.

  • If a student is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or any infectious disease, that student must stay home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours without medication.
  • The siblings of a student who is sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or any infectious disease must remain at home, unless they do not have symptoms and are tested twice weekly by the school.

A child who is sick at school will wait for pickup in a designated area with their masks on. When a parent or caregiver arrives, the child will walk outside to meet their pickup person, if possible, since children are most often infected by an unvaccinated adult in their home.

Close Contact in School

  • A close contact is anyone who stayed within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes over the course of a day. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting two days before they have any symptoms or test positive.
  • Students who are not fully vaccinated and have close contact in an indoor classroom setting can leave quarantine to attend school if both the student and the infected person were wearing face masks for the duration of their exposure and all the following are met:
    • They remain asymptomatic
    • Continue to wear a face mask while at school
    • Undergo twice weekly antigen testing with negative results
    • Avoid all extracurricular activities

Close Contact Out of School

  • Students not fully vaccinated must follow a 10-day standard quarantine. This can be shortened to 7 days if PCR testing on day 5 is negative and no symptoms develop. Monitoring of symptoms should continue for 14 days total regardless of timing of return to school.

Testing Positive for COVID-19

This illness and exposure policy also applies to staff and their children who attend Synergy School.

 

COVID Testing

Synergy School will continue to provide testing using antigen (15-minute results) and PCR (1-2 day results) tests.

Periodic Testing: On-site surveillance testing using BinaxNow antigen test kits will continue for both the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Anyone who tests positive will be given a PCR test administered by the school, then sent home. If a person without symptoms has a positive antigen test, but a negative PCR test, that person is considered NOT to have COVID-19.

Testing for Symptoms/Exposures: Students and staff who display symptoms at school will be tested, then sent home. If exposed to someone with COVID-19 at school, they will be asked to test themselves at home using test kits provided by the school. Those who are fully vaccinated or have had COVID-19 in the last 3 months do not have to quarantine after close contact as long as they do not have symptoms.

Per state guidance, there is a modified quarantine for unvaccinated students who have close contact at school. They can continue to attend school if:

  • Both the student and the infected person wore face masks consistently and correctly
  • The student continues to appropriately mask, as required
  • The student is tested twice a week during the quarantine period
  • The student does not develop any symptoms that are new or unexplained by another condition

Students must not participate in extracurricular activities such as sports until their quarantine period ends.

Testing Data: All testing data (positive and negative results) will be shared with SFDPH.

Hand Hygiene

The school will follow pre-COVID protocols by teaching and promoting handwashing throughout the day, especially before and after eating, after using the rest room, and after handling garbage, or removing gloves.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

The school will follow pre-COVID protocols unless there is a COVID-19 case, in which case the affected room(s) will be disinfected. Paper-based materials like books do not need cleaning between uses. Outdoor play structures do not need cleaning and disinfection between groups.

Cohorts/Stable Groups

Cohorting or placing students into small stable groups is no longer required. Assigned seating will be used to aid in contact tracing if an exposure occurs.

Physical Distancing

Physical distancing is no longer required, but is recommended for higher-risk activities, such as eating snack and lunch and during indoor exercise and singing.

Identification and Contact Tracing

The school will follow SFDPH guidance for when someone has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Administrative Coordinator Cynthia Louie and School Secretary Becky Barmore are the designated liaisons to SFDPH and will support the contact tracing process.

Data and Evaluation

The school will cooperate with SFDPH data collection efforts to measure and monitor COVID-19 transmission, and evaluate and ensure the effectiveness of infection prevention and control measures. Administrative Coordinator Cynthia Louie and School Secretary Becky Barmore will be responsible for the following:

  • Track illnesses and absences in the school and log information in a password-protected spreadsheet
  • Determine if illnesses or absences are COVID-related
  • Provide guidance on isolation protocols and encourage testing
  • Report test results to SFDPH and determine next steps (including notifications and contact tracing)
  • Determine return date based on SFDPH protocols
Frequently Asked Questions: What's Allowed
  • In-person school events that involve families are allowed. If indoors, face masks are required and a log must be maintained of all persons who attend. This requirement includes tours and open houses.
  • All restrictions on field trips have been removed. Carpools and public transportation are permitted, as long as masks are worn and windows are open.
  • Drinking fountains, the sharing of school supplies, and fire/earthquake/lockdown drills are now permitted.
  • Sports, exercise, wind instruments, and singing are allowed. These activities continue to be higher-risk for COVID-19. Masks must be worn indoors for all activities.