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Elementary Waiver for On-Campus Instruction

“Rebuilding RCS” – The Plan To Obtain A Waiver

And Allow Elementary Students To Return To Campus For Live-Instruction

Preface

Why the title “Rebuilding RCS” instead of “Reopening RCS?”  The simple answer is, “RCS was never closed.  Therefore by definition RCS does not need to reopen!”  The more detailed answer is, currently there is no way to return to the “normal” school we have all known and loved. The modality of education that RCS provides to fulfill our mission to students called into our classrooms is going to change while we do our best to ensure that what makes the RCS Christ-centered education uniquely Christian remains the same. The calling set before us is similar to the calling given to Nehemiah in chapter 1: Just as Nehemiah was called to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in order to provide safety and security to the residents of the city, we are called to metaphorically “rebuild” our campuses in an effort to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection for students, staff, faculty, and administration, while maintaining the excellence and standards of an RCS education. 

Even though we are in the midst of a pandemic with infection rates that have not stabilized and facing a recession, I am greatly encouraged as the RCS Superintendent. Why?  I see God’s faithfulness to this ministry despite everything happening in the world around us. A few examples I see of God’s faithfulness are: 1) God changed the calling of eleven individuals during the 2019-20 school year, which means as of right now, RCS is not having to look to reduce staffing, even though the school enrollment has decreased; 2) God has provided RCS with the exact number of classrooms needed to establish small, stable cohorts; 3) As I have worked with RCS personnel behind the scenes to prepare them for a major change in role and/or responsibilities, I have received the same response each time, which goes along the lines of “Whatever RCS needs for me to do, I am all in!”  I am grateful to serve alongside such a multi-talented administration, faculty, and staff who understand that we are here for the students, and that the students are not here for us.

School Information

Redwood Christian Schools - Redwood Christian Elementary Campus, 19300 Redwood Road, Castro Valley, CA  94546. 510-537-4288. www.rcs.edu

COVID-19 Point Person

The RCS Superintendent, Dr. Al Hearne II is the RCS COVID-19 Point Person.  He can be reached at 510-889-7526 (office) or by email at AlHearne@rcs.edu

I. Introduction

Re-Building RCS - The Quest For The Elementary Waiver

The CDC has published Considerations for Schools which encourages decisions to be made based upon the level of risk.  The “Rebuilding RCS” plan includes four phases of returning to campus in a pandemic, each with a growing level of risk:

  • [This is the current mode of education] Phase One - Virtual Education, the Lowest Risk - Students and teachers engage in virtual-only classes, activities, and events.  However, virtual learning is very difficult for younger students.  Therefore, RCS is requesting an elementary school waiver so that our elementary students can return to school in small, stable cohorts.
  • Phase Two - Small Cohorts, contains Some Risk - Students and teachers will be placed in small, stable cohorts of 15 or fewer students.  Movement is severely limited.  Events and activities such as campus gatherings are completed via Zoom.
  • Phase Three - Classroom Cohorts, contains More Risk - Students and teachers will be placed in the “normal” pre-pandemic classroom size.  Movement is severely limited.  Events and activities such as campus gatherings are completed via Zoom.
  •  Phase Four - Return to Normal, is the Highest Risk - Students and teachers return to the pre-pandemic school days.

[Current] Phase One: Virtual Education

RCS is currently in Phase One Virtual Education until Alameda County has achieved 14 consecutive days of “being red” and Alameda County deems it safe for schools to reopen. 

Phase One is a full school day (9 am - 3:30 pm) and, using best practices gleaned from Online Distance Learning  (ODL; in March-May, 2020), includes virtual classroom instruction by the students’ teacher(s), viewed online rather than in a classroom. RCS uses Zoom conferencing software for instruction and Schoology as the Learning Management System. The day will consist of live instructional blocks with teachers teaching and interacting with students throughout the school day.  

[For the Elementary Waiver] Phase Two - Small Cohorts [and for when Alameda County allows schools to open after Alameda County moves into the Red Tier]

With the elementary waiver, or when Alameda County deems it safe for schools to open, elementary students can be on campus, in cohorts as small as practicable, no larger than 15 students, all day, every day with small in-person classes and activities.  Cohort movement is severely limited to help mitigate risk.  Cohorts do not mix and will remain together (although cohorts can be adjusted after four weeks; just as RCS does not typically change class placement, RCS does not envision changing cohort placement).  Classrooms will be set up with students physically distanced 6 feet apart, and students will not be allowed to share supplies. Gatherings will not be allowed; assemblies will be conducted via Zoom.

RCS recognizes that Phase Two presents a greater risk than Phase One because students will be interacting with other students in their assigned, stable cohort.  One benefit of the small cohort model is that in the event of COVID-19 exposure or suspected exposure, only individual cohorts will be sent home for quarantine and virtual learning. With this model, the entire school will not have to be shut down and go into quarantine because exposure will be limited and controlled.

After students have returned to campus for live instruction as allowed by either obtaining an Elementary Waiver or Alameda County allowing live instruction, RCS will follow the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California which has established metrics for closing due to COVID-19 (also applicable to Phase Three and Phase Four):

  • If a student or a teacher in a cohort (1 student in a cohort is greater than 5%) tests positive for the virus, this cohort classroom would be closed, followed by 14 days of quarantine.  The student and teacher would transition back to Phase One with Virtual Learning.  The cohort classroom would be reopened after the quarantine and a thorough cleaning and disinfection, public health investigation, and consultation with the Alameda County Public Health Department.
  • If the elementary campus  experienced a 5% positive testing rate of both students and teachers, the entire school would have to close, with everyone subject to 14 days of quarantine.  The students and teachers would transition back to Phase One with Virtual Learning.  The campus would be reopened after the quarantine and a thorough cleaning and disinfection, public health investigation, and consultation with the Alameda County Public Health Department.

In addition, for the elementary waiver, and while in Phase Two or Phase Three, families who are concerned about sending their child(ren) back to campus, students who are sick, and students (or cohorts) who have to go into quarantine due to exposure/confirmed case of COVID-19 will receive instruction from their teacher(s) virtually via Zoom. 

All students on campus will receive a combination of live instruction from the teacher in the cohort and instruction via Zoom from teachers assigned to other cohorts, while students at home will receive all instruction via Zoom.  This will also allow for families who are concerned about sending their child(ren) back to campus, students who are sick, and students (or cohorts) who have to go into quarantine due to exposure/confirmed case of COVID-19 to receive instruction via Zoom alongside those in the physical classroom.  

Due to the need for increased student supervision of cohorts, some electives and enrichment classes will be either reduced or eliminated because these teachers are needed to be working with cohorts.  

Phase Three

Phase Three, when deemed safe by Alameda County, RCS will move to the “Classroom Cohort,” by enlarging the cohort number to a “normal”/pre-pandemic classroom size and reduce the number of rooms used.  This involves more risk due to more students being together.  Movement of students will still be limited and classroom cohorts will not be allowed to mix in order to continue to minimize the potential exposure and spread of COVID-19.  All enrichment and elective classes will also return.

Phase Four

Phase Four – when deemed safe by Alameda County, RCS will return to Normal, like “the good old days”/pre-pandemic, and it will have the highest risk because it will have the most interactions.  The goal for our return to normal school is for everyone to be as safe as possible, following the best practices, guidance, guidelines, and requirements from the CDC, California Department of Public Health - COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Schools and School-Based Programs Updated August 3, 2020 and the County of Alameda.  RCS will be an even better, safer school due to new hygiene habits/procedures and campus improvements made to clean and disinfect more effectively. 

II. Cleaning, Disinfection and Ventilation

RCS will work to maintain healthy environments through: a cleaning and disinfection schedule, requiring students to have their own school supplies, eliminating shared supplies, keeping doors and windows open as often as practicable to increase ventilation in the classrooms, modifying classroom layouts, and closing communal spaces.  Students will not be issued lockers.  Five additional, foot-pedal operated sinks for handwashing are currently being installed.  Touchless hand sanitizer stations have been installed inside each classroom.  Bathrooms receive frequent cleaning and disinfection throughout the day and a deep cleaning each night.  If school-provided equipment must be shared, it will be disinfected frequently.  Handwashing will be promoted.  Cohort teachers will teach the importance of hand-washing and personal hygiene.

RCS utilizes KMC Cleaners as the evening custodial service. Each of the MCS Cleaners technicians have earned a certification in “Cleaning and Disinfecting Principles” from Global Biorisk Advisory Council. In addition, each RCS custodian, groundskeeper, principal, the Director of Advancement, and the Superintendent have also received the same certification.  

Each night, KMC Cleaners will thoroughly clean and disinfect each classroom and office, with particular attention focused on highly-touched surfaces.  KMC will continue to utilize a disinfectant and will also be adding Virus Shield (EPA Reg. 84198-1) which is on the EPA List N for disinfecting COVID-19.  All classroom surfaces will be misted with Virus Shield according to its directions for COVID-19.

  • The Administration has established a cleaning and disinfecting schedule in order to avoid both under- and over- use of cleaning products.
  • Staff will clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces within the school on a regular basis, as practicable.  Highly-touched surfaces include:
    • Door handles
    • Light switches
    • Sink handles
    • Bathroom surfaces
    • Tables
    • Student desks
    • Chairs
  • RCS has a sufficient supply of hand sanitizers, soap, tissues, no-touch trash cans, and paper towels.
  • Staff is equipped with proper protective equipment, including gloves, eye protection, masks or respirators, and disposable gowns that may be needed for deep cleaning and disinfection due to a COVID-19 exposure.
  • All cleaning products will be kept out of children’s reach and stored in a location with restricted access.
III. Cohorting

Students will remain in assigned cohorts of 15 or fewer students, in the same classroom, and in groups as small and as consistent as possible in Phase 2.  Cohorts will remain together throughout the day (for instruction, lunch, and recess), under the supervision of the teacher.  The cohort will eat lunch in the classroom.  Each cohort will be assigned its own location for recess and be supervised by its teacher.  For younger children, keeping a physical distance from teachers will be difficult, yet teachers will work to train all students on the importance of practicing physical distancing.  Cohort movement is severely limited to help mitigate risk.  Cohorts will not mix and will remain together (although cohorts can be adjusted after four weeks; just as RCS does not typically change class placement, RCS does not envision changing cohort placement).  Classrooms will be set up with students 6 feet apart for social distancing, and students’ sharing supplies will not be allowed. All campus gatherings will be done via Zoom.  Cohort teachers will teach the importance of cohorting to help mitigate risk.

IV. Physical Distancing

When on campus, all students, parents/guardians, employees, volunteers, and visitors (the use of volunteers and visitors will be severely limited and only if needed for essential school functions/business) are required to practice physical distancing of 6 feet as much as practicable.  

All classrooms will be arranged so that chairs/desks will be placed 6 feet apart as practicable and arranged in a way that minimizes face-to-face contact.  All extra furniture will be removed from classrooms.  Cohort teachers will continually teach the importance of physical distancing to help mitigate the risk.  

Physical barriers, such as face shields, gloves, protective equipment, barriers, and shields may also be used as appropriate and/or desired.  Desks and/or tables and chairs will be spread out to help achieve physical distancing.

V. Entrance, Egress, and Movement Within the School

Regarding Entrance and Egress:  One-Way driving and utilizing the app PikMyKid.

Movement within the campus parking lots will be designated as one-way.  Cars will enter on Alma Avenue and exit on James Avenue (grades 4 and 5)) or enter on James Avenue and exit on Heyer Avenue (grades TK-3).  Upon arrival at school and before the student is allowed to exit the car, a staff member will confirm (using the app PikMyKid) that the daily COVID-19 Health Screening Protocol has been completed.  Then the student will be allowed to exit the vehicle and walk to their classroom.  Staff members will be present to facilitate physical distancing of students as they exit the vehicle and move to the classroom.  Parents/guardians will not be allowed to exit their vehicle.  

At the end of the day, the app PikMyKid will be used for dismissal.  The app facilitates a time-spaced, drive-through pickup. Students will be dismissed from their classroom only when their parent/guardian is in the “ready line.”  Staff members will be present to facilitate physical distancing of students as they exit their classrooms and move to the parking lot.  

Regarding Movement Within the School:  It will be severely limited and monitored by staff.

Cohort movement will be directed by the cohort teacher.  Each cohort will be given several designated bathroom break times.  Each cohort will be given separate, designated recess times.  Co-curricular activities/elective classes will be held in their cohort rooms, thereby reducing cohort interaction.  Students will eat lunch in their classroom at desks that are 6 feet apart.  As all staff members are trained in first aid, minor medical needs will be handled by the cohort teacher to limit office visits.   Cohort teachers will teach the importance of cohorting to help mitigate risk.

Designated parking spaces will be available for those who have business to conduct on campus.  Upon parking, signage will direct the person to call the school office.  If the business cannot be completed over the phone, a staff member will either meet the person in the parking lot, or if necessary, the person will be asked to come into the office.  Only members of one family will be allowed to be in the office at any one time.  

All meetings (faculty, staff, or parent-teacher-student conferences) will be conducted via Zoom.

VI. Face Coverings and Other Essential Protective Gear

Cloth face coverings will be worn (except when eating or drinking) by students and all school staff, with the exception of students unable to wear them due to documented special circumstances (with appropriate documentation confirming a particular developmental or health diagnosis that would limit or prohibit their ability to wear a face covering). Cohort teachers will teach proper wearing and care of cloth face coverings as well as frequently reminding students to not touch their faces.  

Furthermore, as part of the dress code, K-12 students and employees will be required to always wear a neck gaiter around their neck even if the student or staff member chooses to utilize a different type of cloth face covering.  RCS has purchased 800 neck gaiters to be given to elementary students and staff.  

RCS has added a neck gaiter to the student and staff dress code (i.e. every employee and every student will always have a cloth face covering and cannot easily lose it, drop it in the bathroom, use it as a slingshot, etc). Any design on the neck gaiter (or preferred face covering) must be consistent with existing RCS dress code (“All clothing must be modest, neat and clean in appearance without frays, holes, or rips, and free from slogans, pictures, logos, etc. which are inconsistent with RCS philosophy”). 

Students and staff may choose to wear a face shield in addition to the neck gaiter, if desired.  RCS has a supply of cloth face coverings and disposable face coverings in case a student or staff member arrives at school without one.

Face Shields & Other Orifice Covering

Face shields with a cloth across the bottom and secured (i.e. tucked into a shirt, tied around the back of neck), may be worn as a substitute for cloth face coverings by both teachers and students. A neck gaiter is still required.

Both students and employees may choose to wear cloth face coverings (such as over-the-ear), face shields, goggles, and/or other orifice covering in addition to a neck gaiter.

VII. Health Screenings For Students and Staff

Daily Student Health Screening Protocol Questionnaire

RCS will implement the use of an online safety system, PikMyKid, to help facilitate daily screenings, drop off, and pickup. Students will not be allowed to exit the vehicle until an RCS staff member has verified that the daily health screening has been completed. If self-screening is not completed when arriving on campus, the parent/guardian will be directed to park and complete the screening before the child(ren) exit(s) the vehicle. No one will be allowed on campus with a temperature greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Before exiting the car when arriving on campus, each student will need to apply hand sanitizer.  

The current student daily health screening consists of four questions from the Alameda County Public Health Department COVID-19 Guidance: Health Screening at Programs for Children and Youth:

  1. In the last 24 hours, has your child had any of these symptoms, new or different from what they usually have or not explained by a pre-existing diagnosis?  
    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Seems sick or like they are starting to get sick
  2. Look at the child. Do they look ill? Look for signs of illness like cough, fatigue, extreme fussiness, or difficulty breathing. 
  3. Have you given the child any medicines to lower a fever (such as Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin)?
  4. Take the child’s temperature. Is it greater than or equal to 100 degrees Fahrenheit?

If the answer is “Yes” to any of the questions above do not come to school, and follow the COVID-19 School Guidance Alameda County School Reopening Plans (pages 25-26), Alameda County Public Health Department Protocols for the Onset of Symptoms, Close Contact with an Individual Testing Positive for COVID-19 in a School or Childcare Setting.

Signage will be posted that states anyone needing to conduct business in the school office will need to first park, then call the office and ask for permission to exit their car and enter the office. Only one person (or family) will be allowed in the office lobby at any one time. The volunteer screening protocol will be administered over the phone before permission is granted to enter the office.

If a student begins to exhibit symptoms while at school, the student will be isolated in a designated area (an office in room C5 which is currently not being used), away from other students and staff, pending immediate pick up from the school.  The student’s parents will be notified that they have 30 minutes to come and pick up their child.

Employee Screening Protocol

 All employees are required to self-screen BEFORE coming to campus following a regimen from Alameda County Public Health Department’s COVID-19 Screening Guidance for Businesses and Organizations.  At 6am each morning, the Employee Health Screening Protocol is automatically emailed to all RCS employees and they are required to complete it before coming to work.  Dr. Hearne checks the results each morning before school and sends a text message reminder to anyone who has forgotten.

The employee daily health screening consists of three questions: 

  1. Within the last 10 days have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the virus?
    • Yes - Do Not Come To School, contact your principal to request a substitute.
    • No - Continue to question #2.
  2. “Close contact” is defined as living in the same house, being an intimate partner, being a caregiver, or being within 6 feet of an individual for longer than 15 minutes who has COVID-19. Do you live in the same household with, or have you had *close contact* in the past 14 days with someone who has been in isolation for COVID-19 or had a test confirming they have the virus?
    • Yes - Do Not Come To School, contact your principal to request a substitute.
    • No - Continue to question #3.
  3. Have you had any one or more of these symptoms today or within the past 24 hours, which is new or not explained by a reason other than possibly having COVID-19?  
    • Fever, chills, or repeated shaking/shivering
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
    • Feeling unusually weak or fatigued
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Runny or congested nose
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea and vomiting

If you answer "Yes" to questions 1 or 2, or have symptoms that are not explained by a reason other than COVID-19, you must not come to school. Contact your principal BEFORE 6:30am so that a substitute can be secured before the start of school. A call list is provided just in case the principal does not answer the phone. Then follow the appropriate Isolation or Quarantine instructions.  For additional information visit the Isolation & Quarantine page on the ACPHD website.

If an employee begins to exhibit symptoms while at school, the employee will immediately be sent home.

Volunteers and Visitors

Volunteers and visitors are severely limited.  If it is necessary for a volunteer or visitor to visit campus, they are required to self-screen BEFORE gaining access to the campus following a regimen from Alameda County Public Health Department’s COVID-19 Screening Guidance for Businesses and Organizations.  Signage states anyone needing to conduct business in the school office will need to first park, call the office, and then the Screening Protocol will be conducted over the phone.  Permission must be granted by the office for the person to exit their car and enter the office or conduct their business. Only one person (or family) will be allowed in the office lobby at any one time.

The volunteer and visitor daily health screening consists of three questions: 

  1. Within the last 10 days have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 or had a test confirming you have the virus?
    • Yes - Do Not Come To School, call the school office.
    • No - Continue to question #2.
  2. “Close contact” is defined as living in the same house, being an intimate partner, being a caregiver, or being within 6 feet of an individual for longer than 15 minutes who has COVID-19. Do you live in the same household with, or have you had *close contact* in the past 14 days with someone who has been in isolation for COVID-19 or had a test confirming they have the virus?
    • Yes - Do Not Come To School, call the school office.
    • No - Continue to question #3.
  3. Have you had any one or more of these symptoms today or within the past 24 hours, which is new or not explained by a reason other than possibly having COVID-19?  
    • Fever, chills, or repeated shaking/shivering
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing
    • Feeling unusually weak or fatigued
    • Loss of taste or smell
    • Muscle pain
    • Headache
    • Runny or congested nose
    • Diarrhea
    • Nausea and vomiting

If you answer "Yes" to questions 1 or 2, or have symptoms that are not explained by a reason other than COVID-19, you cannot be on campus. Please follow the appropriate Isolation or Quarantine instructions.  For additional information visit the Isolation & Quarantine page on the ACPHD website.

If a volunteer or visitor begins to exhibit symptoms while at school, the volunteer or visitor will immediately be sent home.

VIII. Healthy Hygiene Practices

Five additional, foot-pedal operated sinks for handwashing are currently being installed on the elementary campus, to help with the frequency of handwashing.  In addition, a touchless hand sanitizer dispenser has been installed in each classroom.  Each cohort teacher will develop a schedule for handwashing.  RCS has already stocked an ample supply of soap, tissues, face coverings, and hand sanitizer.  In addition, RCS will be receiving a shipment of additional supplies from the State of California as soon as it is available to be picked up.  Cohort teachers will teach the importance of healthy hygiene practices, including handwashing and hand sanitizer use.

RCS has created a spiraled set of COVID-19 Public Health Standards for all grades which cover healthy hygiene practices at an age appropriate level.  The Cohort Teachers will recursively teach these standards throughout the year.

COVID-19 Public Health Anchor Standards For Grades TK-5

Students are to understand and comply with RCS and public health standards by:

Standard 1 - wearing a cloth face covering during the school day.

Standard 2 - Maintaining 6 feet of physical distance between themselves and other people.

Standard 3 - Frequently washing their hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

Standard 4 - Understanding the symptoms of COVID-19.

Standard 5 - Informing the school if they feel ill during the school day.

Standard 6 - Staying within their cohorts during the school day.

Standard 7 - Not sharing any items to include, but not limited to: supplies, curriculum, or food-related items with anyone else.

Standard 8 - Following indoor and outdoor handwashing station and bathroom protocols.

Standard 9 - Following drop-off and pick-up protocols.

IX. Identification and Tracing of Contacts

The RCS Superintendent, Dr. Al Hearne II, is the designated point person to work with Alameda County Public Health Department for all COVID-19 related matters.

Four staff members have completed the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Contact Tracing course: Megan Sinisi, Mike Kady, Jim Cleveland, and Jennifer Beck.

When a case of COVID-19 is confirmed for a student or staff member (henceforth called the Case), the following steps will be taken by the appropriate Redwood Christian School (RCS) staff:

  1.       The school’s superintendent (Dr. Al Hearne) or his appointed designee (Megan Sinisi, Mike Kady, Jim Cleveland, or Jennifer Beck) will contact the Alameda County Public Health Department IACPHD).
  2.       If the Case is present at school when the positive test is confirmed, the Case will be isolated in a designated area (an office in room C5 which is currently not being used), away from other students and staff, pending pick up from the school.
  3.       Custodial staff will clean and disinfect the classroom and identifiable spaces where the Case spent a significant amount of time (≥ 15 minutes).
  4.       Appropriate staff (Megan Sinisi, Mike Kady, Jim Cleveland, or Jennifer Beck) will begin contact tracing procedures. The Contact Tracer will:
  5.   Contact the Case;
  6.   Determine the Case’s infectious period;
  7.   Identify Contacts of the Case who were exposed up to 2 days prior of the Case exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms. Contacts include:
  8.     All students in the Case’s cohort, including adult supervisor(s);
  9.     Members of Case’s household;

iii.    Others who were <6 feet away from the Case for ≥15 minutes (close contact);

  1.     Others who were in the same room for ≥6 feet for an extended period of time (proximate contact).
  2.   Notify Contacts, inform them of quarantine procedures, and request they enter quarantine;
  3.   For RCS students and staff member(s), advise them of school’s required quarantine period (see 6. below);
  4.       Inform the Case and Contacts of available resources;
  5.   Perform additional follow-up contacts to the Case and Contacts;
  6.   Ensure all required documents and associated paperwork is completed.
  7.       For a student or staff member testing positive to COVID-19, the Contact Tracer will inform the Case that they cannot return to school until:
  8.   If the Case is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, they may return to school when:
  9.   It has been at least 10 days since the date the Case’s symptom(s) first appeared AND
  10.   The Case had no fever for the last 24 hours (without the use of a fever reducing medication AND

 iii.   Symptoms have improved.

  1.   If the Case is NOT experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, they may return to school 10 days after the date of their positive COVID-19 test.
  2.       For a student or staff member who is a Contact, the Contact Tracer will inform the Contact that they cannot return to school until:
  3.   If the Contact is experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, they may return to school when:
  4.     It has been at least 10 days since the date the Contact’s symptom(s) first appeared AND
  5.     The Contact had no fever for the last 24 hours (without the use of a fever reducing medication AND

iii.    Symptoms have improved.

  1.   If the Contact is NOT experiencing COVID-19 related symptoms, they may return to school when:
  2.     It has been at least 14 days from the date of last exposure AND,
  3.     Check for symptoms 2X per day AND

 iii.    The Contact is symptom-free.

X. Staff Training and Family Education

During the RCS PreSeason Orientation, professional development sessions were devoted to Staff Training: COVID-19 symptoms, transmission, hand washing, cloth face coverings, and physical distancing.  Additional professional development will be provided throughout the year.

Each RCS custodian, groundskeeper, principal, the Director of Advancement, and Superintendent have earned a certification in “Cleaning and Disinfecting Principles” from Global Biorisk Advisory Council.  

Four staff members, Megan Sinisi, Mike Kady, Jim Cleveland, and Jennifer Beck have completed the Johns Hopkens course, COVID-19 Contact Tracing.

Initial family training has begun as we posted the Rebuilding RCS plan on our website and hosted several Zoom Q&A sessions. We have already emailed families about our dismissal program and are sending home training videos. Families have received initial training in the daily health screening protocol as they had to fill it out for our packet-pick up day. In addition, signs are posted throughout the school that teach proper hygiene. We will be sending the following documents home to families: 

In addition, RCS has created a spiraled set of COVID-19 Public Health Standards.  The RCE faculty will recursively teach these standards throughout the year.  (See section IX. Healthy Hygiene Practices.)

XI. Testing of Staff

The California Department of Public Health COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California requires testing of all school staff.  To test 50% of the staff each month and 100% of the staff every two months, RCS has reserved the following testing dates with Arch Staffing and Consulting: 

  • September 24, 2020; 
  • October 29, 2020; 
  • November 19, 2020; 
  • December 17, 2020; 
  • January 28, 2021; 
  • February 25, 2021; 
  • March 25, 2021; 
  • April 29, 2021; 
  • May 20, 2021.   

Arch Staffing and Consulting uses PMH Laboratory, Inc., CLIA #: 05d2137011, a licensed COVID-19 processing center, to process the results.

If a staff member has symptoms of COVID-19, RCS will instruct the staff member to not come to school or to leave school immediately and encourage them to follow the Isolation or Quarantine instructions for Alameda County.  If it is a teacher, a substitute will be arranged during the quarantine / isolation period, unless the teacher requests to teach virtually from their home.  The staff member will be instructed to contact their personal doctor and make arrangements for a COVID-19 test.  In addition, RCS will send the staff member a copy of Alameda County Public Health Department’s Tips-Waiting for COVID-19 Test Results? 

XII. Triggers For Switching To Distance Learning

After students have returned to campus for live-instruction as allowed by either obtaining an Elementary Waiver or Alameda County allowing live instruction, RCS will follow the California Department of Public Health COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California which has established metrics for closing due to COVID-19 (also applicable to Phase Three and Phase Four):

  • If a student or a teacher in a cohort (1 student in a cohort is greater than 5%) tests positive for the virus, this cohort classroom would be closed, followed by 14 days of quarantine.  The student and teacher would transition back to Phase One with Virtual Learning.  The cohort classroom would be reopened after the quarantine and a thorough cleaning and disinfection, public health investigation, and consultation with the Alameda County Public Health Department.
  • If the elementary campus experienced a 5% positive testing rate of both students and teachers, the entire school would have to close, with everyone subject to 14 days of quarantine.  The students and teachers would transition back to Phase One with Virtual Learning.  The campus would be reopened after the quarantine and a thorough cleaning and disinfection, public health investigation, and consultation with the Alameda County Public Health Department.

In addition, the RCS Board of Directors has the authority to transition the school back to virtual learning if they believe it is in the best interest of the school due to health and safety concerns.  Finally, RCS will comply if Alameda County or the State of California orders schools to switch back to distance learning.

XIII. Communication Plans

RCS will continue to communicate with students, staff, faculty, administration, and families, as it has throughout the era of COVID-19, using a combination of emails to deliver information, surveys to solicit information and opinions, Zoom for video conferences and group discussions, and Facebook Live for major announcements.  In addition, RCS utilizes the school’s website (www.rcs.edu) and the Eagle Update (weekly newsletter) to keep the RCS community informed. 

RCS will use the six scenario’s found in the  “Alameda County Health Department Protocols for the Onset of Symptoms, Close-Contact with an Individual Testing Positive for COVID-19 in a School or Childcare Setting” (this is taken from pages 25-26 in COVID-19 School Guidance - Alameda County School Reopening Plans, Version 8, September 3, 2020) to determine the action(s) to take and type of communication required.  Every effort will be made to keep all staff and families informed while also following all applicable privacy laws.  RCS will use this letter template to inform staff or parent/guardian of a student of a possible exposure to COVID-19.  RCS will use this letter template to inform the staff or parents/guardians if there was a confirmed COVID-19 case on campus, but it has been determined they do not need to quarantine.

XIV.Key Constituent Consultation

RCS has consulted with both families and staff in the creation of the “Rebuilding RCS” plan.  Each phase outlined in the introduction was finalized based upon stakeholder feedback.  All RCS families were sent a survey announcement on June 5, 2020, with the actual survey being sent on June 8, 2020 and open for the next 10 days.  The survey sought to determine the modality of education RCS families wanted for the 2020-21 school year.  An overwhelming majority (77%) of the families who responded wanted their children to return to campus, full-time, five days a week.  Only 8% of families wanted their children to continue with 100% virtual learning.  The high percentage of families wanting their children to return to campus full time is a major driving force behind obtaining the elementary waiver, as it will allow for all of the elementary students to receive live instruction.  On June 23, 2020, the entire RCS community was sent an email with the Executive Summary regarding the family preference survey.

On July 8, 2020, the RCS staff received an update email from the Superintendent as well as a survey regarding their preferences for returning to campus for live instruction or to continue virtual learning.  The results of the survey indicated that only three teachers (one elementary teacher and two high school teachers) were uncomfortable returning to campus for face-to-face instruction.  RCS has made provision for these  teachers to continue to work virtually.

In addition, Dr. Hearne personally called 100% of the elementary faculty during the month of July to determine their willingness to bring students back on campus.  All teachers were willing to return.    Based upon the results from the two surveys, the four phase plan “Rebuilding RCS” was created.  The plan was released via email and posted on the school website and is still the backbone of what has now become this elementary waiver application:

  • July 14, 2020 – “Rebuilding RCS” The Introduction
  • July 17, 2020 – “Rebuilding RCS” The RCS Response To Governor Newsom’s New Criteria
  • July 23, 2020 – “Rebuilding RCS” Plans and Scenarios
  • July 31, 2020 – “Rebuilding RCS” Student and Employee Health, Safety, and Cleaning Protocols

In addition, Dr. Hearne hosted three Zoom Sessions to update RCS families and staff, as well as answer questions:

  • July 29, 2020
  • August 5, 2020
  • September 10, 2020
XV. Sources