Back to School FAQ
We plan to be in communication with our community every few days or as needed via email. Please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (510) 549-3867.
Most recent messages sent by the school on the subject of school reopening:
- September 11, 2020 by the Head of School
- August 31, 2020 by the Head of School
- August 24, 2020 by Head of Lower School
- August 19, 2020 by Head of Preschool and Kindergarten
- August 19, 2020 by Head of Middle School
- August 17, 2020 by the Head of School
- August 9, 2020 by the Head of Elementary
- August 5, 2020 by the Head of Preschool and Kindergarten
- August 4, 2020 by the Head of School
- July 23, 2020 by the Head of School
- July 18, 2020 by the Head of School
The California Department of Public Health mandates that schools and school districts may reopen for in-person instruction at any time if they are located in a local health jurisdiction that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days.
Schools may typically reopen after 14 days and the following have occurred:
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Public health investigation
- Consultation with the local public health department
If there is no possibility of a waiver and the city is not off the list by August 17 we start classes online with Distance Learning.
The California Department of Public Health recommends that surveillance testing be implemented based on the local disease trends. If epidemiological data indicates concern for increasing community transmission, schools should increase testing of staff to detect
potential cases as lab testing capacity allows.
School districts and schools shall test staff periodically, as testing capacity permits and as practicable. Examples of recommended frequency include testing all staff over 2 months, where 25% of staff are tested every 2 weeks, or 50% every month to rotate testing of all staff over time.
In this event, authorities tell us that schools should begin testing staff, or increase frequency of staff testing but are not required to close.
EB will partner with and follow the guidance of Alameda County Public Health Department when handling any cases of COVID-19 that are identified in EB students and faculty/staff. Exact steps that the school will take will be determined in partnership with ACDPH on a case-by-case basis, but below is a high-level summary of what families may expect in the event of COVID-19 cases on campus. Please note that this information may change at any time, due to the course of the virus and guidance from state and local officials.
- If a student or staff exhibits COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing). Recommended actions are:
- Student or staff is sent home and asked to be tested
- School/classroom remain open
- If a student or staff is in close contact with a confirmed COVID19 case. Recommended actions are:
- Student or staff is sent home and quarantined for 14 days from last exposure
- Testing is recommended (but will not shorten 14-day quarantine)
- School/classroom remain open
- If we have a confirmed COVID-19 case infection, the recommended actions are:
- To notify the local public health department
- To isolate the case and exclude from the school for 10 days from symptom onset or test date
- To identify, quarantine and exclude exposed contacts (likely entire cohort) for 14 days after the last date the case was present at the school while infectious
- It is recommended to test contacts and prioritize symptomatic contacts (testing will not shorten a 14-day quarantine)
- Disinfection and cleaning of classroom and primary spaces where case spent significant time
- School remains open
- In the case that a suspected student or staff tests negative after showing symptoms, the recommended actions are:
- Student or staff may return to school 3 days after symptoms resolve
- School/classroom can remain open
If families don't respect the social contract of limiting their exposure to covid-19, it will require a conversation. Usually we are not zero-tolerance, but this is very serious and we will be very strict. Something of this magnitude requires a lot of discipline, and we expect that from our community. We have created community guidelines for families and want to make sure everybody abides by them.
A contact is defined as a person who is <6 feet from a case for >15 minutes. In some school situations, it may be difficult to determine whether individuals have met this criterion and an entire cohort, classroom, or other group may need to be considered exposed, particularly if people have spent time together indoors.
Learning pods and class lists will be shared with parents mid-August by email. Regarding mixing the groups, it comes down to community expectations. Creating pods at home creates issues. If bubbles are mixed we will probably need to quarantine for two weeks before returning to school. We really don’t want families mixing pods, etc. Within the academic pods families can organize play dates, but going outside the pods we risk exposure. We really encourage everyone to stick to the academic bubbles.
Teachers are offering many different opportunities for exposure to French during our distance learning period including live Zoom sessions with the whole class, half class, small groups, individuals and open office hours. Teachers are also recording video lessons posted on Seesaw platform that students can review multiple times or when their schedule allows.
The Seesaw platform allows many types of language exchange in that the teacher can record videos and audio for students, students can respond with video and audio and the teacher can give audio feedback allowing multiple non-simultaneous language exchanges during the week. Teachers are also providing parents with many optional resources for increasing French exposure from educational websites to recommend YouTube videos. Teachers are focusing on essential skills during our distance learning period and French language development is at the top of our priorities.
Next school year there will be additional support provided for students who need French language development. While that extra support is already a part of our program, we will be increasing support as needed to account for any gaps created during this distance learning period.
You can also watch our head of school's video series of screen free activities for kids at home in French!
Individual school closure is recommended based on the number of cases, the percentage of the teacher/students/staff that are positive for COVID-19, and following consultation with the Local Health Officer. Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at a school or when at least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are cases within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school. 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.
No. We are part of several collectives, both here and in France. CAIS and NAIS are not ready to take legal action, and don’t want to go into this kind of actions.
We’ll reevaluate every other week, like we did in the Spring. There will be an update two weeks before the stay at home guidance about opening schools in our county.
We will have the bubbles, and want to preserve the integrity of the bubbles. That’s what we’re juggling, so it gets a bit complicated, but we are investigating it.
Pool testing of students, I’ve seen research on that, of student self-collecting in an indoor camp, and they had very good results, though it wasn’t pool testing. It’s an interesting piece, and something we have in mind, but we also need to see how the tests evolve. We could envision it, but I don’t have an answer on it.
We have a mandate from the state for employee testing to test every employee every other month. We are testing everyone every month. The turnaround will be pretty good because we’re working with a private company rather than through the public authority. Turnaround should be around 48 hours through Kyla. The testing and screening are connected. If we have a suspected case, or travel, we could add additional testing.
No, the school premises will only be accessible to faculty and students only. If there were an essential reason, perhaps we could evaluate. The campus will look and feel different, times are different right now, but the commitment to the students and their needs remains the same.
Students, however, will be able to access the library in groups. The possibility of borrowing books is important, but we will have a different process when picking up and returning them.
The current guidelines say age 2-7 are recommended, above 7 it’s strongly recommended. We will ask students to wear masks when it’s practicable. If your child has never worn a mask, it’s a good time to get them used to the idea. It’s a very important part of our safety plan. If there are circumstances that preclude your child from wearing a mask, please let us know.
Our plan is to loan devices to families like we did in the Spring. You might want to check your internet connection, see what equipment you have. We have an order of Chromebooks we are waiting for, and have some iPads on hand. We will help parents as much as possible, so if you have needs, let us know. We will send workbooks, textbooks, etc to families’ homes. You will need to have a space set up for your child to work. We will, like last year, loan IT where needed, each G3, G4 and G5 will have a Chromebook. G1 and G2 will keep with iPads. We will use Zearn, Seesaw and some online tools. We are aiming at families picking up materials Thursday August 27th from campus. G7 and G8 can pick up the Chromebooks that weren’t kept at home. G6 will be issued Chromebooks and will have a lot of orientation about their use.
All required immunizations are mandatory as per county guidance. Please make sure your child is current with vaccinations. The flu vaccine is recommended.
Yes, we can share pictures. The campus looks different right now, you might have seen some changes if you’ve passed by on the street.
Yes, we need to clear with the county to see what accommodations we can provide. Some social gatherings might be allowed (like how we did graduations last year) and some one-on-one accommodations on campus might be allowed for students who need extra support.
There is a contractual relationship in place, and we aren’t a pay-as-you-go situation, we ask for a year commitment. Academically, it’s complicated, because the building blocks are being put in place for the years to come. The first part of K is actually pretty important and shouldn’t be missed. We understand the issue of childcare.
Our licensing for the preschool covers children until first grade, but we need to respect all the licensing rules, which affects the spaces the students would be in. At this point, if we have enough rooms that meet licensing requirements, we will be able to accommodate. For now, we could have all Kindergarten students on campus on a rotational basis, this is the hybrid model. We have the possibility to start like this and as we will try to have more rooms licensed, we will get more and more students on campus. Preschool Director Magali Noth will explain more about this during her town hall.
One possibility is that every other three days we could have a rotation of bubbles, though it might be difficult for parents to follow, or perhaps half days. We have gone back and forth with the county.
We have to follow a hybrid (ie. rotation) model because all the rooms on the playground side are licensed for preschool, so Kindergarten needs to stay over there for us to follow the correct protocol. We added restrooms and extra egress where necessary, and the portable classrooms will be licensed for childcare as well. There’s a bit of a backlog at the moment for getting licensing to clear us, so we might be delayed.
For the Lower School, we are 90% sure there won’t be homework. We will have the same issue when we return to school because we can’t have materials moving back and forth between home and school. There will be homework at the Middle School, but we will give the minimum necessary.
We’re thinking of having an online étude (supervised study hall) focused on practicing language skills, we will have more info later on.
Attendance will be taken during distance learning.
The pods are already created, and we need to emphasize safety over friendship. Chances are good they are already in bubbles with friends (some parents have given indications to the directors about their social bubbles). It’s a delicate balance to create classes (gender, academic abilities, language spoken at home, friendship etc) so unless there is a very good reason that we don’t know about, we can’t recreate bubbles for this reason alone.
The teachers teach PE in grade 1. From G2 up we are adding different areas in the yard where the pods will be able to go for PE. Lunch will be outdoors, and as much as possible, classes, too. But we have many pods to schedule for outdoor time. For recess, there will be one in the morning for 30 minutes, 30 minutes at mid-day and 30 minutes in the afternoon. We believe in recess and unstructured free time, and we believe students need to spend additional time outside, so we will have some regular classes outside in tents.
Librarian and English Language Learner teacher Pauline Tajchman will be managing home learning at the Lower School, and we will have another teacher for the Preschool. It’s a slightly different model for the Middle School, we have a prototype that we designed in the spring.
In Middle School, we’re debating whether it will start at 8:30 or 8:45. We are also looking at having a different schedule for the first couple of weeks. More details will be shared during the Middle School town hall. For the Lower School, distance learning is from 9-3:30. If we go back on campus we will have different hours by group, and that will be shared with the class lists. We will slightly stagger start and end times.
The state of CA has said that stand-alone cities will be considered under the county’s jurisdiction, so we follow what Alameda County advises. Even if Berkeley is doing better than the rest of the county, it is the county that is driving coming back on site. My understanding is that if Berkeley has more stringent rules than alameda county then we need to go with Berkeley's rules.
Yes, it’s what we did with graduation; we will use this idea for onboarding the first week, and then use it every week for different things such as SEL, etc. even if the students are doing social distancing, that will be very important.
We’ve taken that into great consideration, we see the experience firsthand and how difficult it can be. It was suggested that school start a bit later, so we’re thinking 9am for the first cohorts to Zoom together, and we could use the breakout rooms more (for Zoom) so that parents don’t need to manipulate the Chrome books, for example. We are trying to support parents in this way. We need to plan, to communicate with parents, and to touch base with faculty and support staff to find creative solutions. We will use the onboarding week to train students more on the online tools so they have more autonomy.
We’re right around 75-80% synchronous live instruction. We will have students check in with teachers even during independent study times. It’s much like the model we used in the spring, but classes are a bit shorter and there are more breaks. Unfortunately, we did not secure a permit to use the new Middle School space (the "West Wing") as classrooms, but we can use them as offices. So teachers will have some spaces to use, and that helps a lot.
We will have a pool of substitutes who will be tested and available for us. This reminds me to stress the need to keep social distancing practices at home and respect stable cohorts as much as possible. When we have change, we will not relax our social distancing, and that applies to substitutes as well.
For the Lower School, we have different zones on the yard, and we will rotate pods among the zones. We might have to take the structure down to allow for more space. If we keep it, we will have cleaning and disinfection between cohorts. In the preschool, we will use the structure, but between groups our crew will clean and dry it.
In our efforts to ensure that our students and staff are safe while at school, we will be using a web-based safety and communication platform called RUVNA that provides Covid-19 symptom screening for students coming on campus.
Beginning on Tuesday, September 1st, our Maternelle parents will receive an email and/or text message daily at 6:00am with a link to a web browser-based screening form. Every day before coming to school, parents will be asked to answer a quick questionnaire online to indicate if their child is exhibiting symptoms related to Covid-19. Based on the answers, the user will receive a response indicating whether the student should stay home or can come on campus. A QR code will be provided, which you can print out or simply have scanned from your phone at the school entrance. Students will not be admitted unless cleared through this procedure.
As on-site learning opens up to more grade levels, those parents will be added to the RUVNA system to clear students as they return to campus.
Our top priority is to keep our campuses safe through diligence with safety protocols.
Symptom screening, along with wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing/sanitation, is our best defense to limit the spread of the virus.
If you have a question specific to your child please reach out to your child’s teacher or advisor. Please direct questions about distance learning in a particular division to the appropriate division director.
- Preschool Division Director, Magali Noth
- Lower School Division Director, Sebastien Robert
- Middle School Division Director, Richard Lyon
You can also contact our administrative team who is working offsite. Visit the school's Who's Who to see who is the best point-person to answer your question. If you are not sure who to contact, email email@example.com