COVID-19 updates and information

We greatly appreciate the patience, support, and empathy you have demonstrated during this difficult time in our community. Our partner agencies, including the Santa Mateo County Public Health Department, Santa Mateo County Office of Education and California Department of Education, have done a great deal of work to provide our school and partnering schools with the critical information needed to consider during these unprecedented times. 

Daily screening tracker

The COVID-19 Daily Check-in is an online tool offered through google forms that allow families to quickly answer a few questions regarding the student's symptoms, travel, and possible exposure to COVID-19. Students will not be permitted on campus until their daily screenings are received. 

COVID-19 Testing

Employees are required to test every 60 days and they submit test results to the school staff. Students (and/or parents) must take a COVID test at the beginning of the school year. Any employee or family/student who travels, for essential purposes, outside of the USA  must either (1) take a PCR test after returning to the Bay Area and demonstrate a negative result or (2) complete a voluntary self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to the Bay Area. If families travel outside of the nine Bay Area counties, for essential purposes, they must disclose travel details and determine risks and next steps for safely returning to campus.

Does OMS offer distance learning opportunities?

Yes. We believe that synchronous remote learning is a powerful tool when done right, and we are committed to providing our students with the best possible academic experience in synchronous and async opportunities with remote learning. The distance model has allowed us opportunities to find passionate researchers, providers, and specialists from around the world who will help teach specials and courses for our students. 

While we strongly believe in the possibility of putting together a comprehensive and meaningful online learning experience, we still believe the best education we can provide under normal circumstances is face-to-face. We believe in the power of connection, relationships, and co-regulating for meaningful access to social opportunities, academic gains, and independent agency as part of a cohesive school partnership. 

Does OMS offer live in-person classes?

Yes. We recognize that some students will need additional supports, and staff continues to work on plans for how to best structure these supports. Stable cohorts are assigned a consistent set of necessary staff. The cohorts are 3-8 students per pod and they are assigned a dedicated classroom for exclusive use. The facility is professionally cleaned, screenings must be filled out daily, temperature checks occur at arrival, and students must demonstrate a need for in-person services that cannot be adequately met with a robust remote learning platform.

 

 

 

We understand that this pandemic has caused considerable complexities for many of our students and families. It is also difficult for our dedicated teaching and specialized staff who dearly miss their students and colleagues. We have made the plans for distance, hybrid, and campus model decisions with the safety of our students, staff, and the entire community in mind, and we will continue to plan for robust teaching and learning opportunities. Again, we thank you for your support during what has continued to be a challenging time for all of us. 

What are the school’s expectations from families?

The most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health best practices like:

  • Enforcing good hygiene 

  • Washing hands thoroughly and often

    • We’ve extended the transition time between classes to allow students to wash hands more often throughout the day

  • Covering up coughs/sneezes completely

    • We’ve put additional tissues and hand sanitizer in all classrooms

  • Asking all staff and students who are feeling ill to please stay home until they fully recover

    • OMS is not requiring notes from medical providers for students or staff who may have absences due to respiratory or other illnesses. 

    • Counseling services, when appropriate, can be delivered via telehealth.


 

Please note: Potential misinformation about Coronavirus can be anxiety-provoking, especially for children/teens who struggle with anxiety. It’s important to have developmentally-appropriate conversations utilizing facts with your child/teen about the coronavirus and to minimize fear and uncertainty for our community. 

 

 

In-Person Instruction Plan

How shared surfaces will be regularly cleaned and disinfected and how the use of shared items will be minimized.

Professional porter services have been contracted to clean classrooms and school spaces throughout the day. The cleaners use disinfecting spray technologies to clean surfaces, providing surfaces with
disinfection and durable long term antimicrobial protection that kills and inhibits the growth of non-public health bacteria. Faculty/staff are trained and expected to wipe surfaces down on a regular basis with an EPA approved list of disinfectant. Special attention will be given to high touch surfaces, such as doors, light switches, sinks, and other common touch areas. Sanitation stations are positioned around campus and touchless hand sanitizer stands are available at the entry as well. Plans include modified use of shared site resources, classroom use of air purifiers, and accessible outdoor spaces

How students will be kept in small, stable groups.

Students are kept in small groups ranging from 2-8 students per cohort. Students have exclusive use of their classrooms and assigned outdoor spaces. The cohorts take into consideration the students' geographic location and carpooling.

How movement of students, staff, and parents will be managed to avoid close contact and/or mixing of cohorts.

A staggering drop off and pick up time is implemented for all students on campus. Parents or caregivers who are part of the family inner circle drop off students' curbside and remain in their vehicles during the transition. At this time there is no authorization of third party transportation services under any circumstance, this includes but isn't limited to school buses, Uber, or child-friendly transportation. The parking lot opens to the classrooms and students go directly from the car into their classroom for their learning block. There is a one-direction flow of foot traffic to the restroom and back to class if needed. Parents are not permitted on campus.

How CDPH face covering requirements will be satisfied and monitored.

Staff are required to wear masks for the full duration of their work block. Employees are trained in the proper use of face coverings. Staff are given individual break areas on campus away from the students for breaks and lunch periods. There is no unmasking of educators in the classrooms or with students. Students are required to come to school with a mask on and to continuing wearing the mask for the duration of their learning block. The school has additional disposable masks in each classroom, face shields, adjustment mask straps, and options for sensory-friendly face coverings.

How students and staff will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 and how ill students or staff will be separated from others and sent home immediately.

All staff and families are required to fill out a daily COVID-19 screening log prior to drop off indicating any symptoms, recent travel, visitors, or other possible risk factors. The family engagement coordinator follows up to clear families before admission to campus is granted. Staff and students are temperatures checked daily at arrival. If their temperature is 100.3 or higher or there are concerns related to the screening form, they are asked to stay home. A negative COVID test result or 14-day quarantine is required. If there is a confirmed case, all members of the cohort will quarantine and provide a negative COVID test before rejoining the campus.

The availability of handwashing stations and hand sanitizer, and how their use will be promoted and incorporated into routines.

Hand sanitizers are in each classroom to be used upon arrival. Mandatory sanitizing or handwashing at arrival will be supervised. Students will be supported by staff to wash hands at assigned stations before entering a new space. In addition, OMS has shared visuals and instructional videos for all students. 

Actions staff will take when there is a confirmed case. Confirm that the school(s) have designated staff persons to support contact tracing. This includes submitting case and contact numbers to SMCOE, which will then notify SMC Health, and notifying exposed persons. Each school must designate a person for SMCOE and SMC Health staff to contact about COVID-19.

OMS is committed to facilitating a thorough follow-up for any identified cases of COVID-19. Employees attended trainings to learn about contact tracing. In the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19, the full cohort will be asked to quarantine and test negative before returning. OMS will submit case and contact numbers to SMCOE and will notify the community with clear communication about exposure and the next step, paying careful attention to privacy policies and confidentiality. 

How space and routines will be arranged to allow for the physical distancing of students and staff.

Physical spaces are redesigned with the removal of shared materials, collaborative desks, and group tables. The classroom is furnished with individual student desks, desk dividers, rolling divider screens, and physical distance spacing for student learning areas. Outside desks and shaded areas are also used to promote greater space and social distancing.

How staff will be trained and families educated on the implementation and enforcement of the plan.

OMS has developed a written protocol, with the specific intent of instructing staff on new Health and Hygiene protocols they will be expected to follow on campus. Ongoing training sessions and planning sessions will be mandatory for staff. Families receive written communication about the implementation of the plan and families have regular interaction and follow ups with OMS' family engagement coordinator regarding questions and concerns for enforcing the plan. Ongoing training videos, visuals, and documentation are shared with families and staff to outline the expectations. 

How school officials will ensure that students and staff who have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 will be rapidly tested and what instructions they will be given while waiting for test results. Describe how staff will be tested periodically to detect asymptomatic
infections.

Students and staff are required to be tested in September. All staff and families must submit a negative test result to be admitted on campus for schooling. If there are no symptoms of COVID-19, parents are permitted to act as proxies for children with disabilities or other sensory sensitivities that make testing difficult. Employees will be re-tested every 60 days and test pacing will increase if required by CA or determined beneficial by the school community. Students (and/or parents) must take a COVID test in September. Any employee or family/student who travels, for essential purposes, outside of the nine Bay Area counties must either (1) take a PCR test after returning to the Bay Area and demonstrate a negative result or (2) complete a voluntary self-quarantine for 14 days after returning to the Bay Area. 

The criteria the superintendent or equivalent will use to determine when to close the campus to in-person learning.

A confirmed case of COVID-19 on campus would trigger a shift to Distance Learning for impacted
students and staff in that cohort. A deep clean response would be carried out during the closure and all students and staff in the group would need to quarantine for 14 days and submit a negative COVID-19 test. In collaboration with the county public health recommendations, the head of school will continue to assess and make school determinations about in-person/distance learning opportunities for students based on health and safety plans.

How the superintendent or equivalent will communicate with students, staff, and parents about cases and exposures at the school, consistent with privacy requirements such as FERPA and HIPAA.

Parents are notified in advance of the scenario planning possibilities if a need to move to distance learning is necessary. Emails are sent to families in the case of a positive COVID-19 case on campus. The distance learning team is setup to pivot to an online format immediately. OMS will notify local health officials immediately of any positive cases of COVID-19; they will also notify any exposed staff and families as relevant while maintaining confidentiality as required by state and federal laws. The communication will protect the identity of anyone confirmed or suspected of having COVID-19 so as to protect their rights under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA). 

Constant Contact

Tel:  (650) 260-3805    Email:  info@openmindschool.org

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