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Return to School Plan 2020

october 2020 Update

Beginning on Monday, October 26, after the break, we will start welcoming our elementary school students back to campus for in-person instruction. This updated format follows the City of Berkeley's new Health Order (released October 2) which allows Berkeley schools to return to in-person, on-campus instruction for elementary school-age students, starting October 13, 2020.

Our elementary students will gradually return to school and join our preschool and kindergarten students who have been learning on campus for the past six weeks.

Grades 1 to 3 will be on campus full-time with the following start dates: 

  • Grade 1: Oct. 26 - Lower School Campus
  • Grade 2: Oct. 29 - Lower School Campus
  • Grade 3: Nov. 2 - Lower School Campus

Grades 4 and 5 will follow a hybrid model of instruction (alternating half-days of instruction, with Fridays in remote learning) starting on the following dates:

  • Grade 4: Nov. 2 - Lower School Campus
  • Grade 5: Oct. 26 - Middle School Campus

Families who opt out of the in-person instruction will have their students transition to the home-learning program taught by a group of dedicated teachers and led by former Lower School Head Thierry Durandard.

September 2020 Update

Ecole Bilingue is in the process of applying for an Elementary Waiver (for eligible schools serving students in grades TK to 6). Please note that at this time, the California Department of Public Health and the Alameda County office of Education only allow local Elementary waivers to be considered for Elementary schools, even if the grade configuration at the school includes additional grades. Therefore, we are not permitted, at this time, to apply for any waivers for upper grades (G7-G8). The Alameda County Office of Education will start reviewing applications tomorrow, September 9th until September 17th. Passed those deadlines, the processing times for screening applications for eligible schools may take up to 4 weeks, we will keep you informed once we hear back from Alameda County. 

As for our preschool & Kindergarten, all students are now back to campus, receiving full time in-person instructions with all our safety protocols in place, except for those who have decided not to send their child back and who are receiving distance learning instructions. For the Preschool & K, we have now a total of 9 on-site stable cohorts, and 2  cohorts on distance learning.

Meanwhile, all parents have been requested to sign the "Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley Students & Parents Handbook - Covid-19 Addendum” (available via the Parent Portal on EB website). 

August 2020 Update

On July 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom laid out his plan for schools across California regarding the physical reopening of campuses as the 2020-2021 school year approaches. 

The Governor’s plan centers on local data and existing metrics to determine whether students and staff will return to classrooms. Additionally, the California Department of Public Health’s updated guidance ties schools’ reopenings to overall disease conditions in their respective counties, as tracked by the State’s County Monitoring List

Counties are placed on the monitoring list when they meet certain thresholds indicating elevated disease conditions, and are removed from the list when disease conditions improve. Counties on the monitoring list are subject to state-ordered restrictions for various sectors. The ability of public and private schools to offer in-person instruction is now tied to these county-wide thresholds. This list includes Alameda County (and therefore, the city of Berkeley), which has experienced an increase in reported COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, indicating elevated disease transmission. 

Until Alameda County is removed from the State Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days, all Alameda County schools, including EB, may only provide distance learning to their students in Elementary and Middle School. Under these guidelines, childcare programs are allowed to operate in Alameda County. 

As a result, the EB preschool will be physically welcoming students in Toute Petite, Petite, and Moyenne Sections (our 2’s, 3’s, and 4’s programs) in August, in accordance with operational requirements that we have planned for our early childhood program in our Return to School Plan. We are looking into possible on-campus options for our Kindergarten students. 

Among other measures, we have divided classes into bubbles which will have their own classrooms and assigned bathrooms, recesses and arrival times will be staggered, we will be sanitizing classrooms and any shared surfaces several times per day, removing soft toys that are difficult to clean, installing HEPA air filters and UV lights, and looking into tents for outdoor classrooms. We will continue to adapt our facilities, programs, and practices to follow constantly evolving state and local health guidelines, as well as best practices, to be able to reopen at the beginning of the school year to care for and educate our youngest children on campus. More information will be provided directly to preschool families shortly.

What Does This Mean for EB?

Given the Governor's announcement, we may be required to open remotely, at least for grades K-8. If Alameda County is removed from the state's monitoring list by August 17, we will be able to begin the year with on-campus learning. Otherwise, we will start the school year with distance learning and transition to place-based instruction as soon as Alameda County is no longer on the state's monitoring list.

Beyond our mission to educate students and the evident value of in-person learning, the safety of our students, staff, and families remains our absolute priority. In light of the latest state and county public health orders, our ability to reopen EB for in-person learning will be determined and communicated to the community by Monday, August 17. 

A Robust Home Learning Program

Whichever learning model we are able to pursue, the school still plans on offering our Home Learning option. Consequently, EB will offer ​​​​​​​families the choice of participating in a home learning program for 2020-2021. The school is realigning roles and responsibilities, as well as investing in additional classroom technology for this program. This option will also allow students to continue their learning at home in the event that they need to quarantine due to an exposure to COVID-19.

If your child will not be joining us in-person next year due to preexisting health conditions or other COVID-related concerns, please contact your Division Head by August 3, so that we can plan accordingly to best serve your family and child. Later this summer, families will receive more information about this program for the 2020-2021 school year. Please note that the Home Learning program will work on a quarterly basis.

Back to School FAQ

Why is on-campus learning not possible right now? When will it resume? What is EB's approach when a case of COVID-19 is declared on campus? Access the most frequently asked questions about the school's fall plans.

Contact info & reopening PLan Specifics

  • Name of School: Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley
  • Address: 
    • Lower School / Ecole Primaire: 1009 Heinz Avenue – Berkeley, CA 97410 USA – Telephone: (510) 549-3867 – Fax: (510) 845-3209
    • Middle School / Collège: 901 Grayson Street - Berkeley, CA 97410 USA – Telephone: (510) 549-2851 – Fax: (510) 549-0639
  • Head of School: Dr. Mehdi Lazar - mlazar@eb.org - 510 549-3867

  • Date of reopening: 10/26/2020, with a staggered reopening:
    • G4: 11/2
    • G3:11/2
    • G2:10/29
    • G1: 10/26
    • K: 10/26
  • Date of submission: 10/16/2020
  • School type: Private
  • School website address: www.eb.org 
  • Name and address of each school to reopen:
    • Lower School / Ecole Primaire: 1009 Heinz Avenue – Berkeley, CA 97410 USA – Telephone: (510) 549-3867 – Fax: (510) 845-3209
    • Middle School / Collège: 901 Grayson Street - Berkeley, CA 97410 USA – Telephone: (510) 549-2851 – Fax: (510) 549-0639

  • Total enrollment and number returning at each school set to be reopened:
    • Lower School / Ecole Primaire: 189 Kindergarten to 4th grade students
    • Middle School / Collège: 35 fifth grade students

  • Number of staff returning at each school to be reopened: 73

  • Grade levels serving by the school: PK2 to 8th grade

  • Grade levels proposed to be reopened: Kindergarten to 5th grade

The Process for reopening

Ecole Bilingue de Berkeley has created a Return To School Committee, composed of key members of the school’s administration, tasked with creating a roadmap of essential actions needed to implement a safe, efficient, and flexible return to school for the 2020-21 academic year. The plan prioritizes the health and safety of the EB community.

Essential questions guiding the work of the committee:

  • When to reopen?
  • For whom to reopen?
  • What safety and health measures should be put in place when we reopen?
  • What will be the impact of the reopening on the academic organization?

Prerequisite for school reopening

The following conditions need to be met in order for the school to reopen:

  • The Shelter in Place is lifted for childcare and K-12 schools.
  • The Return to School Plan can be safely implemented, aligned with international best practices and federal, state and local government & public agencies requirements.
  • Supplies are secured and our campus is deep cleaned.
  • We have enough school personnel to support our students with social distancing measures.
  • The school’s facilities can accommodate students following bubble and cohort grouping.

Scenarios being considered when deciding to offer on-campus or distance learning in the fall of 2020.

Main Strategies to Mitigate the Pandemic on Campus

The principle mitigation strategies are based around masking, cohorting, physical distancing and enhanced sanitation and cleaning procedures. In particular, to lower the risk of transmission and to aid in contact tracing, students are to be placed in the same rooms with the same groups, or pods, of children. 

Here are the main strategies that will be enacted on campus to lower the risk of possible transmission to students, parents, staff and the wider community:

The use of masks on campus for students.

Enhanced sanitizing and cleaning processes.

Changes to campus access for visitors and parents.

Institution of group capacity limits (8 to 12 students) to allow for physical distancing and stable grouping in classes.

Modification of programs and events in compliance with limits on group sizes and physical distancing measures.

Continued use of virtual platforms in conjunction with on campus learning (a hybrid approach, easy to scale up) to keep in-person contact at safer levels in areas of academic instruction or student activities.

Schedules, pick-up and drop-off times will be slightly modified. Recess times will be staggered (scroll down to “Campus Experience” for more on scheduling).

After school athletics offerings are cancelled for the first quarter and will be assessed for the rest of the year, following the Alameda County recommendations and requirements.

After school enrichment and extended day programming are cancelled for all students for the first quarter.

On-Campus Learning Options

At this time, two options are being considered for on-campus learning for our K-8 students. The decision about which option is ultimately chosen will depend on constraints such as space, health requirements, and faculty and staff availability. 

Option #1: On Campus 100% of the Time

Students are on campus close to 100% of normal school hours. This is the Return to School Committee’s preferred scenario.

  • Most classes are divided into two stable groups of no more than 12 students.
  • In the Primary levels, groups are assigned to a "homeroom teacher" and a designated enrichment supervisor. Following the bubble approach, groups are compartmented and do not interact with one another.

Option #2: Hybrid model

Students are on campus close to 80% of normal school hours school wide. This is the Return to School Committee’s second preferred scenario.

  • A priority will be given to the lower elementary school students to be on campus 100% of the time (K to 2nd grade students).
  • The 3rd to 8th grade students will follow a hybrid model and alternate periods of distance learning and periods of on campus learning, with the objective of having students on campus as much as possible.

Whichever option is chosen, distance learning will be a component of the educational experience this year. There will be times when students cannot come to campus, for instance if a teacher is absent, or if a group has to self quarantine because of a Covid-19 case. In this eventuality, the school will transition to a model of instruction combining asynchronous and live instruction from home.

Health and Safety Measures

Below are the health and safety measures that are put in place when school resumes in the fall:

Social distancing 

  • The number of students permitted on campus each school day and in classrooms will be limited to the amount that can be accommodated while maintaining physical distancing between individuals, and creating cohorts of no more than 12 students in the elementary and middle school and 10 in preschool, consistent with local and state requirements. Specifically, the school implements the following measures:
  1. Students are required to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing from others in the classroom whenever possible.
  2. Groups of 8 to 12 students school-wide - students treated as a family unit in Preschool and Lower School (“bubble cohort approach”)
  3. 5 to 6 feet spacing preserved inside classrooms for Middle School students with social distancing and assigned seating (“stable cohort approach”)
  4. Density of bathrooms: each cohort/bubble is assigned to a specific bathroom
  5. Creating protocols and assigned spaces for isolating potentially sick adults or students
  6. The School has also designated additional indoor spaces which will be used as classroom space, such as the Mini-Gym and the Maker-Space, the middle school library, the Middle School Heads’ office. Additional outdoor learning spaces are installed by using canopies as well. 


  • For ventilation, the school has made great efforts to provide our community with proper ventilation and sanitization in the classrooms: 
  1. All classrooms have HVAC systems with MERV13 filters and all occupied classrooms are equipped with additional portable smoke air purifiers.
  2. The whole lower school and the preschool is also equipped with a new UVC sanitizer system in the existing HVAC systems, these systems purify 99.9% of airborne virus/bacteria particles in the air to all of our classrooms, common areas, and offices.
  3. For the middle school (where radiant heat is used), portable GermGuardian Air purifiers (size XL with HEPA Filters, UVC sanitizer system) have been installed which will be running 24h a day at a cycle rate of 4 times an hour in all student occupied classrooms. 
  • Indoor classrooms will open windows and doors, weather permitting, and ensure that it does not pose a safety and health risk to children (particularly in case of poor air quality).
  • The School will utilize outdoor classroom space for instruction, weather and air quality permitting. The following areas of the School have been designated as outdoor classroom space: the canopies in the Middle School and Lower yard, the Lower School outdoor classroom, the Lower School Garden.
  • Sharing of materials will be limited, and students will be provided with an individual set of supplies instead of using a communal bin. Each student’s belongings must be separated in an individually labeled storage container, cubby, or area. Students are required to bring their belongings home each day to be cleaned before bringing them back to school.
  • Each classroom is provided with assigned restroom breaks, and assigned stalls. Students who need to use the restroom at unassigned times, will be directed to use assigned stalls. Custodial staff will conduct regular cleanings of restrooms (every hour).
  • Students are required to wash their hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available, when arriving and leaving home, when arriving and leaving school, before and after meals, after outside play, before and after using the restroom, after having close contact with others, after using shared surfaces and tools, and after blowing nose, coughing, and sneezing.
  • Hand sanitizer is provided in all classrooms. Students using hand sanitizer should rub it into their hands until it is completely dry.
  • Students using soap and water must follow CDC guidance on proper handwashing techniques, including washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap, rubbing thoroughly after application, and using paper towels to dry hands thoroughly. Parents should teach students proper handwashing techniques according to the CDC guidance (available at https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html), and staff will reinforce these techniques.
  • Students will also be reminded not to touch their faces, and to use a tissue to wipe their nose and to cough and sneeze inside the tissue. The School encourages parents to also remind students to follow these practices.


  • Markers that designate intervals of 6 feet are placed throughout campus, and at entrances, to designate spaces where students should be when in line to maintain physical distancing.
  • Signs and barriers will be installed throughout the campus to direct student and employee traffic in a manner that promotes physical distancing.
  • The School also designated foot traffic patterns, such as one-way hallways, to limit the frequency of students passing each other or coming within six feet of each other, as they move throughout campus.
  • The School has signs posted at conspicuous places at all School entrances that instruct students, parents, and other visitors not to enter if they are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, and/or more of the following: fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, or any other symptom associated with COVID-19 identified by the CDC).
  • The signs also instruct persons who are not experiencing these symptoms and who can enter the facilities that they are to wear face coverings at all times and maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others while inside.

Personal protective equipment

  • All faculty and staff received training on health and safety measures prior to coming back to school.
  • All faculty, staff wear masks. Faculty and staff have the option to be equipped with FDA-approved surgical masks.
  • All K-8 students must wear a face covering while at school, except during designated meal times. Face coverings must be made out of breathable cloth materials, cover a student’s entire nose and mouth area, and be secured to the student’s head with elastic ties or straps.
  • Preschool children older than 2 years old will be strongly encouraged, when feasible, to wear facemasks throughout the school day, other than during meal times.
  • Students with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent them from being able to wear a cloth face covering, will be provided with accommodations, which may include wearing a face shield with a cloth drape attached across the bottom and tucked into a shirt; this determination will be made on a case-by-case basis consistent with the School’s policy on reasonable accommodation of students.
  • Students are encouraged to bring their own face coverings from home, but the School will have face coverings or face shields available to students who fail to do so or whose face coverings become damaged while at school.
  • Students with pre-existing health conditions might wear additional protective equipment and/or continue home learning.
  • Initially, faculty and staff aged 65 and over and/or those with high risk factors are advised to stay home when possible.​​​​​​​

Travel and beyond the classroom experiences

  • Avoid unnecessary travel and trips domestically and internationally.
  • Before and after care, enrichment, and athletic activities are postponed.
  • At the present time, all field trips and school assemblies will be conducted virtually.


  • Parents shall screen students daily by checking their temperature and observing for other symptoms associated with COVID-19 in the morning prior to leaving for school. The School provides access to an online system (RUVNA) for ease of tracking purposes.
  • Parents must keep their student at home if the student exhibits one or more symptoms associated with COVID-19 and notify the School of the reason for the student’s absence.
  • Students who report symptoms associated with COVID-19 may return to School after they meet the requirements set forth in the following section of this plan.
  • In addition to daily self-screenings, parents and students are obligated to report the following information and remain at home as recommended by the CDC:
  1. If they have traveled recently to any area considered to be high risk based on current CDC guidelines or engaged in high risk activities (see the document in annex), we recommend that students or employees quarantine for 14 days. We also ask employees, students and families to please avoid unnecessary travel. If travel is essential, we ask families to observe the latest CDC guidance and to inform the School if travel has occurred recently to any areas considered high risk. Should it be determined that returning to campus immediately may pose an unnecessary risk to others, we may request the student to self-quarantine at home for a temporary period of time, based on the latest guidance regarding travel and exposure.
  2. We may ask employees to arrange for testing prior to returning to work onsite.
  3. If they had close contact with someone who was ill with confirmed COVID-19, they must follow quarantine procedures and may not return to school until 14 days after the date of exposure. According to the CDC: “Close contact” means being within six (6) feet of an individual for at least 15 minutes. If a member of their household is ill with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, they may not return to school until 14 days after the date of exposure and shall remain at least 6 feet away from the ill individual until 14 days have passed to the extent possible.
  • Designated screeners will screen all students, parents, or visitors as follow before they can enter the school campus. The screening will include:
  1. Taking each person’s temperature using a non-invasive contactless infrared thermometer. If necessary, the School may take an individual’s temperature a second time to confirm the results of the first test or if the results of the first test suggest an erroneous result;
  2. Visually checking for symptoms associated with COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing without recent physical activity;
  3. Asking whether the person has experienced symptoms associated with COVID-19 within the last 24 hours; 
  4. Asking whether anyone in the household has had symptoms associated with COVID-19 or received a positive COVID-19 test;
  5. Asking whether the person has had close contact with anyone with a positive test for COVID-19.

Persons presenting with a fever of 100º F (37.8º C) or above will be excluded from the School facility/campus. The School may exclude any individual who presents symptoms associated with COVID-19. Students who appear to be ill, have a fever, or report symptoms associated with COVID-19 will be sent home as soon as practicable per the School’s Protocol When a Student Exhibits Symptoms Associated With COVID-19 at School.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 will not be allowed to return to campus until one of the following occurs:

  1. He or she certifies that at least 10 days have passed since the symptoms first appeared AND the student has been free from fever without the use of fever-reducing medication for at least one (1) day AND respiratory symptoms have improved;
  2. He or she provides the School with a negative viral test result for COVID-19 (antibody tests may not show when someone has a current infection and are not acceptable);
  3. His or her health care provider provides the School with a note certifying that he or she is free from COVID-19;  
  4. The person is otherwise safe to be around others per CDC criteria for discontinuing home isolation, found at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/endhome-isolation.html.
  • The School will maintain COVID-19 test results and doctor’s notes submitted pursuant to this Policy as students’ confidential medical records.
  • Parents should not bring their children to school if they OR ANYONE the child lives with develops Covid-like symptoms.
  • Students and employees will have their temperatures taken at the door (students scanned again after lunch) with hospital-grade no-contact thermometers and additonal screening is implemented.
  • All employees are tested every two weeks.
  • Additional measures may be implemented or allowed with the guidance of state and local authorities.
  • We will respect the right to privacy of all of our community members.
  • All community members should commit to following the governmental health guidelines in their day to day activities outside of the school.


  • The school tests all employees that are expected to be on campus during school hours before the start of the school year.
  • The school has partnered with Kyla, a company organizing the school surveillance testing, tracing, and self-screening for all school employees.
  • All employees are tested every 15 days as part of EB surveillance testing program.
  • Symptomatic testing is also organized when appropriate.





(All scenarios apply to students and school staff)



A student or staff member either exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, answers yes to a health screening question or has a temp of 100 or above.

  • Send student or staff member home.

  • Isolate student or staff member in a separate room or designated area, away from other students and staff, pending pick up at the facility.

  • Advise student or staff member to contact their healthcare provider and consider COVID-19 testing.

  • Advise student or staff member to share the test results with the school administrator as soon as possible:

  • If positive: follow Actions in Scenario 3

  • If negative: follow Actions in Scenario 4

  • Advise symptomatic staff or parent of symptomatic student to follow isolation instructions unless COVID-19 is ruled out by a health care provider.

  • Refer symptomatic individuals to find community testing resources here 

Cohort/School remains OPEN

Communication: No action needed



A household member or someone in close contact with a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

Cohort/School remains OPEN

Communication: No action needed




A student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

*Cohort QUARANTINED for 14 days from last exposure.

*Close contacts quarantine for 14 days from last exposure.

School remains open

Communication: Complete and send template exposure letter to cohort* (see Appendix A)

Consider school wide notification of a known case (see process document)




While a student or staff member has been isolated because of symptoms, they receive a negative test result for COVID-19 and want to return to school before 10 days have passed.

  • Follow isolation instructions

  • COVID-19 test is negative, the staff member or student can return after:

  • They are feeling better. (The symptoms do not have to be completely resolved.)

  • There have been at least 24 hours with no fever, without taking medicines to lower a fever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).

  • Must show a medical evaluator note to verify that the symptoms are not due to COVID-19 and the test for COVID-19 is negative. ***

Cohort/School Remains Open

Communication: No action needed




Student or staff member has been isolated because of symptoms and wants to return to school before 10 days have passed without a COVID-19 test.

No COVID-19 test, the staff member or student can return after:

  • They are feeling better. (The symptoms do not have to be completely resolved.)

  • There have been at least 24 hours with no fever, without taking medicines to lower a fever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin).

  • Must show a medical evaluator note to verify that an alternative diagnosis has been made and the symptoms are not due to COVID-19.

Cohort/School Remains Open

Communication: No action needed




While a student or staff member is placed in quarantine following exposure to a case, they receive a negative test result for COVID-19.

  • Follow quarantine instructions

If the staff member or student has never had symptoms, gets tested, and the COVID-19 test is negative:

  • They must still remain in quarantine for 14 days, because they may develop symptoms and/or become infectious to others at any time during the 14 days. Quarantine Infographic

Note: For those who do not develop symptoms:

For students:

  • Testing is advisable but not required. Parents should discuss the pros and cons of testing with the child’s healthcare provider.

For teachers and staff:

  • ACPHD recommends testing 4-10 days after the last exposure to the COVID-19 case.

*Cohort QUARANTINED for 14 days from last exposure.

*Close contacts quarantine for 14 days from last exposure.

School remains open

Communication: Complete and send template exposure letter to cohort* (see Appendix A)

Consider school wide notification of a known case (see process document)

^ phone number or email address may be updated

^^ link explanation of quarantine longer than 14 days when student or staff cannot be isolated from parent or household member with positive COVID-19 test result

*** The requirement for the medical evaluators note is included in order to verify the reliability of the COVID -19 test because of the variable sensitivities of the currently available tests, and to ensure that the symptoms have an explanation other than COVID-19.


  • The school follows the Covid-19 school guidance established and updated regularly by the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools and the Alameda County Health Officer, as well as the July 17th COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year from the California Department of Public Health.
  • Consequently, a school closure might be warranted 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. In that case, the school will transition to distance learning.
  • Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at the 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 that the school closure is warranted for other reasons, including results from public health investigation or other local epidemiological data.


  • Students who develop a fever and cough during the school day or other symptoms consistent with COVID-19 will be moved to an isolation area, consistent with the School’s separate Protocol on When a Student Exhibits Symptoms Consistent With COVID-19.
  • The school will communicate about known or suspected cases in the following fashion:
  1. If a student or staff exhibits Covid-19 symptoms, action is taken (see EB Protocols for the onset of symptoms or close contact with an individual testing positive for Covid-19 in the school, August 11, 2020 version), internal communication only.
  2. If a close contact of a student or staff tests positive for Covid-19 symptoms, the school takes action and internal communication only.
  3. If a student or staff tests positive for Covid-19, the school takes action. An exposure letter is sent to the cohort and a notification of a known case is sent to the school.
  4. The school takes its obligation to balance privacy and community safety interests very seriously, which is why we will respect the privacy of the impacted individual(s) and ask community members to refrain from speculation as it does not help to protect, nor serve our community.

Our Return To School Plan incorporates various actions that enable the School to adhere to safety protocols for all staff and students. To facilitate this, the School has assigned tasks and responsibilities to the individuals needed to engage in this work.  These roles include the following:

  • COVID-19 Safety Committee

  • COVID-19 Safety Coordinators

  • Leadership Campus Greeters

  • Screeners

  • Runners

  • COVID-19 Responders

COVID Safety Committee

Role:  Oversees COVID-19 policies and procedures. May be involved with assessing and responding to emergency matters impacting the school.

  • Head of School - Mehdi Lazar

  • Director of Finance - Antoine Portales

  • Division Heads - Magali Noth, Sebastien Robert, Richard Lyon

  • Enrichment and Athletics Director - Mirza Kopelman

  • Facilities Manager - Alfonso de la Torre

  • Development Director - Mei-Lin Ha Byers

  • Lower School Secretary, registrar, and health office coordinator - Sara Nickles

  • Human Resources Sr. Consultant- Rebecca Byars

COVID-19 Safety Coordinators

Role:  The two Safety Coordinators are tasked with responding to COVID-19-related situations that may arise during the workday.  The Facilities Manager will assist with onsite matters, i.e.: assist with relocating a child to the isolation area and oversee sanitization processes..  The School Secretary will be responsible for executing follow-through steps with students and positive cases, i.e.: contacting the parents and coordinating pick up arrangements, initiating contact tracing, and notifying the County Health Department – if applicable.

  • Incident Management: Facilities Manager

  • Contact Tracing and Public Health Liaison: Lower School Secretary

  • Contact Tracing (back-up): Executive Assistant to the Head of School

staff training and family education

All school families are asked to read and sign the following "Community Expectations" document:

The important role of families

  • Families play a vital role in maintaining safety on campus and amongst our community
  • The number one safety measure is to keep a child home if they are sick. We want to work with families to support their child’s adherence to safety measures while they are on campus as well as at home.
  • To support this effort, prior to the start of school, we will provide an updated student handbook with helpful information and orientation and training materials to help transition students to campus. We understand that there are families with higher risk members in their household. As a community that prioritizes health and safety, we must all do our part to adhere to state health recommendations and regulations to control transmission and potential future outbreaks.
  • Moreover, there may be times when we ask families to comply with broader safety measures and we greatly appreciate your cooperation in this regard. We also expect you will have questions and welcome your feedback and suggestions.
  • We are eager to listen to and help each family navigate any concerns they may have.

Community expectations

All members of the EB community have a shared responsibility to prevent the spread of illness when they are aware or suspect that they have contracted a communicable disease. It is imperative that all members of our school community remain committed to the safety policies and procedures listed in this and future communications to help keep students, staff, and faculty safe. By enrolling your child at EB, parents agree to the following requirements:

  • Follow Federal, State, and Local Orders. All families are expected to adhere to the directives of applicable federal, state, and local government health departments, including the CDC, regarding social distancing in public, face covering, and other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including the limitation of social bubbles and the respect of academic stable groupings boundaries.
  • COVID-19 Testing and Notification. If your child or someone in your household tests positive for COVID-19, you must notify Sara Nickles: snickles@eb.org as soon as possible.
  • Understand that the School has implemented safety rules and precautions in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, those measures do not completely protect against the spread of COVID-19 and a certain irreducible inherent risk remains. Moreover, it may not always be possible for students to follow physical distancing and other precautions such as maintaining a six-foot distance from one another.
  • Stay Home if Sick. If your child is sick, you are expected to keep them home from school. Further details regarding our sick policy will be shared later this month.
  • Stay Home if Exposed. If anyone in your household has been notified by the State Health Department that they were in contact with an individual infected with COVID-19, you are asked to notify the Health Office. Based on the circumstance, you may be asked to keep your child home from school for 14 days. During this time, your child will be able to continue classes via distance learning.
  • Travel. At the moment, please avoid unnecessary travel. If your child has traveled outside the US, or in a high-risk area, or has been involved in a high risk activity (see the CDC guidelines https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html), you are required to notify the School and keep your child home for 14 days or until you can show of negative COVID-19 test result. If anyone in your child’s household has tested positive for COVID-19, you must also keep your child at home for 14 days. Your child will continue classes via distance learning.
  • Temperature Checking. The School will regularly check temperatures of students upon arrival at school. If your child presents with a temperature that is higher than 100.0 F, your child will be sent home.
  • Face Masks. Send your child to school with a face mask every day he or she is attending on-campus classes. Teach your child how to properly use and remove a face mask. If using fabric masks, ensure that your child’s mask is cleaned regularly.
  • Hygiene. Practice and reinforce good hygiene practices at home, in particular, the importance of frequent handwashing.
  • Students’ Personal Items. Limit the items your child brings onto campus each day and reinforce policies around the sharing of food, supplies and other items with other students.​​​​​​​
  • Medical Forms, immunization requirements and emergency Contacts. Parents must complete and submit all required student medical forms prior to the first day of school. Parents must provide at least 3 emergency contacts who are able to pick up your child from the School within one (1) hour of receiving a call from the School if your child presents with a temperature or becomes ill during the school day. Finally, students are expected to be up to date on immunization requirements.
  • Agree that children and families must comply with all rules and precautions to mitigate the risk of Covid-19. Rules may include, but are not limited to, mask wearing, hand washing, hand sanitizing, and physical distancing. These rules and precautions may need to be adjusted throughout the course of the school year, as information about COVID-19 evolves. 

Staff training:

  1. All faculty and staff were informed of the covid safety plan
  2. All faculty and staff were trained twice before the start of the school year on covid related school policies, protocols and practices
  3. All faculty and staff were trained on proper mask wearing and hand washing
  4. The school conducted a specific training for preschool staff
  5. All faculty and staff followed the California Department of Pesticide Regulation Training named "Integrated Germ Management"

Campus Experience 

Learn more about the school schedule, presence on campus for various grades, and other aspects of the campus experience in this section.

Presence on campus

  • During the planning phase, the school recognized both the burden for parents to care for children and the social needs for students to come to school. As a result, EB aims to have as many students on campus as possible, pending the school’s capacity to provide the relevant space and staffing needed.
  • Our Preschool to 2nd grade students are identified as priority students to be on campus 100 % of the time. If we cannot have all EB students on campus at all times, grade 3 to 6 students may be following a hybrid model.
  • At-risk students or families having Covid-19 related issues have the possibility of following a distance learning program through the "home learning" option.
  • During this time, the School is restricting parent volunteers and non-essential visitors. Parents and visitors who are authorized to enter the School’s facility will not be able to enter until they have cleared the screening protocols set forth in the School’s Policy and Protocols for Screening Visitors.

Staggered recesses, start and dismissal times

  • Carpool is organized at the Middle School and Lower School.
  • Specific pick-up and drop-off locations have been created for different grades. ​​​​​​​
  • The Preschool and Lower School will have six (6) entry and exit points to promote physical distancing. The entry and exit points will be 10th Street, the soccer field, the playground gate, garden, breezeway, and front gate. For Middle School, the entry point will be the drop off zone at the end of the carpool lane. The exit point will be the back doors on the 1st floor West Wing, to the right of the staircase.
  • Students are assigned to enter at specific entry points and exit at specific exit points each school day and at staggered times. Students in the same family will be assigned the same entry and exit point, to the extent practical. Students will be required to maintain physical distancing of 6 feet from others when entering and exiting the School, and parents accompanying students during drop off and pick-up will also be required to maintain physical distancing.
  • A revised recess schedule has been created to provide increased outdoor playtime for all students and limit the number of students on the playground at one time
  • The school day is from 8:00am to 4:00pm for the first quarter (September-December 2020), and possibly longer. 
  • There are staggered start and end times for the school day, as follows:

For Middle School

  • 6th grade students 8-8:08 am to 3:05-3:10 pm
  • 7th grade students 8:09-8:17am to 3:10-3:15 pm
  • 8th grade students 8:18-8:25 to 3:15-3:20 pm

In Elementary, school hours will vary depending on the child’s cohort, from A to D. The school has four different, staggered schedules:

  • A Cohorts: 8:15am to 2:30pm
  • B Cohorts: 8:30am to 2:45pm
  • C Cohorts: 8:45am to 3pm
  • D Cohorts: 9:00am to 3:15pm

For preschool, schedules will work by increment and each group will be assigned to one schedule. No childcare will be offered before or after school. The schedules are:

  • 8:00am to 2:45pm
  • 8:15am to 3:00pm
  • 8:30am to 3:15pm
  • 8:45am to 3:30pm


  • The school calendar will remain the same


  • Recess and lunch periods are staggered to promote physical distancing and will take place in individual classrooms or in designated outdoor areas.
  • For the present all food service will be suspended. Students will have to bring their snacks and lunch from home. They will need to be wrapped in paper bags and the paper bags will be disposed of and recycled. If teachers need to help the children to unpack snacks and lunches, they will be wearing gloves and they will need to appropriately disinfect them before serving the children.
  • The School will provide appropriate supplies for the cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces at the conclusion of a meal period. This will include supplies for trash removal. Trash will be promptly removed from classrooms or outdoor areas at the conclusion of a meal period.
  • School employees must require that students maintain a distance of six feet from one another while eating. Employees are expected to actively monitor ​​​​​​​students to promote safe and hygienic eating practices. Students are not permitted to touch or share others’ food.
  • Students will continue to wear face coverings while traveling to a dining space, while waiting to receive their food, and while carrying their food to the appropriate seat. Once students take a seat with their food, they will then remove their face coverings before they begin to eat. Students’ face coverings should be stored away from their food to avoid contamination of their food or soiling of the face covering. As soon as students finish eating, they must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer and then, with clean hands, put their face coverings back on.
  • Outdoor physical education or play activities are staggered for different student groups to promote physical distancing.
  • Physical education and athletics are limited to activities that do not involve physical contact with other students. Students must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other students during physical education and athletic activities.
  • Student groups are assigned to a designated area of the campus during outdoor physical education or play activities to promote physical distancing, and will not be permitted to leave their designated area.
  • Playground equipment may be used by one student group at a time, and will be disinfected between uses.
  • All outdoor play equipment used by students will be cleaned and disinfected between uses by different groups of children.

Educational materials

  • The school ensures individual sets so that there is less sharing happening and students are not bringing materials back and forth from home.

Home learning

  • Parents who wish to have their children participate in the "home learning" group for health reasons will need to request it.
  • "Home learning" is functionning on a quarterly basis.

Teaching and Learning

Learn more about how students will be grouped, and how their learning will be tracked in this section.

Student grouping

  • All students are placed in bubbles of 8-12 individuals maximum per group, created by grade level.
  • The general rule is to split classrooms into two groups; some exceptions might exist (i.e. twins can be placed together).
  • Intensive learning-support students or third-language students need to be clustered in the same group by grade.
  • Safety is the priority when creating groupings; we will ensure friends in each group.
  • Parents have been notified in August by email of the group placements by the administration.

Progressions and curriculum

  • The school reviewed the academic scope and sequence to adapt to this new format of learning.
  • The school aligns the progression of learning for students in the "home learning" group and students on campus.
  • The school creates leadership and learning opportunities for students to understand and contribute to the public health education of our community.

Additional staff

  • The school might need to hire, train, and evaluate new learning facilitators when transitioning to on-campus instruction.

Professional development

  • Over the summer, teachers received additional training in delivering distance learning and hybrid learning in order to be able to better transfer in-person instruction to a distance learning environment.
  • Faculty and staff will also reviewed prevention tips and safety and screening procedures during the back to school preparation meetings.

Distance learning program

  • The school secured additional devices to be able to transition to distance learning, if needed.
  • The school reviewed its distance learning programs and digital platforms to enhance the delivery of this format of learning.
  • The school secured devices, projectors, and technology to equip the additional classrooms and deploy devices if needed.

Student support

  • The school deployed specific plans to support students in the areas of student mental health, social-emotional needs, and individualized support services.

Digital Platforms

Our experience since mid-March with distance learning has required our teachers and students to rely on digital platforms and collaborative applications to learn in a new way. We continue to use these platforms, whether on-campus learning fully, following a hybrid approach, or transitioning to remote learning. These platforms complement the learning process and allow teachers to assess and keep track of their students’ progress.


For students in TPS - Grade 4, SeeSaw will be the online platform for viewing video lessons and uploading student documentation of work (pictures, videos, etc).


During the transition to remote/blended learning, Zoom is one of EB's primary platforms for live (synchronous) instruction. Zoom can be joined from an invitation sent from your teacher.

Google Hangout 

Google Hangout is a video conferencing platform that can be used to provide live (synchronous) virtual class meeting space similar to Zoom. It is used by some of our students in middle school.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom is not new for EB - 5th to 8th grade students are accustomed to managing their work, discussions, and assignments through this platform. All class assignments, videos, and announcements will be housed for these grades in Google Classroom.

Zearn & RAZ Kids

EB has been using Zearn and RAZKids which offers teachers, parents, and students appropriate tools for progress with a challenging online curriculum and enrichment program.


Blackbaud is our school's main information system. Parents and students can access grades, calendars, announcements, and more. 

Parents can read more about the digital tools used at EB for distance learning instruction in a blog post by EB’s Curriculum Coordinator.

Questions or Comments

Flexibility and transparency is of the utmost importance and we want to encourage our parents to contact our team if they have any questions or concerns about how we are serving our students and families. 

Ecole Bilingue is here to not only create a sense of continuity of learning for our students, but also to provide a strong and safe community for our entire families. To know whom to contact, please consult the school's Who's Who and for any covid related questions, please email covidsafety@eb.org