December 30, 2021
Merry Christmas to the SVDP Community!
Our hope is that you had the opportunity to safely reconnect with family and friends during this Christmas season. We are looking forward to getting back to school in the new year and ask that all community members follow the recommendations from the SFDPH found below.
We request that all staff and students test 1-2 days prior to returning to school. Anyone testing positive must report the results to firstname.lastname@example.org.
SFDPH REAFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR IN-PERSON LEARNING DESPITE PRESENCE OF COVID-19 OMICRON VARIANT
Health and safety protocols have kept schools open despite the pandemic and are further encouraged as students and staff return to school following the holidays
As families prepare for a return to school following the holidays, the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) reaffirms its support for the resumption of in-person learning despite rising COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant. Multiple layers of health and safety protocols have kept school settings open this year despite COVID-19, and SFDPH urges families and schools to continue following these recommendations to allow for a safer return to school.
“San Francisco has remained vigilant and beat back four surges, and we are well positioned with a highly vaccinated population to do the same with this current surge due to Omicron,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco Director of Public Health. “Throughout the pandemic, San Francisco schools have remained low-risk settings by following proper safety protocols – let’s work together to keep it that way.”
Getting vaccinated and boosted, testing after travel and gatherings, staying home when sick, and wearing well-fitted masks are key to keeping schools open for in-person learning.
“I appreciate this guidance from our public health experts on the importance of keeping our students safely in the classroom,” said Mayor London Breed. “We know how hard the last two years have been on our kids, and we need to focus on what’s best to support them, while also putting policies in place to ensure that everyone in our schools is protected.”
When rates of COVID are high in our communities, cases will appear at schools, just as they do in other settings. However, with effective health protocols in place, the data shows that these multiple layers of defense can stop the spread of COVID in school settings.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced its support for an additional valuable tool in school settings as part of its layered prevention strategy called Test to Stay. Test to Stay combines contact tracing and COVID-19 testing that is repeated at least twice during a seven-day period post-exposure to allow asymptomatic school-associated close contacts who are not fully vaccinated and do not test positive for COVID-19 to continue in-person learning. Students who participate in Test to Stay should consistently and correctly wear masks while in school and should stay home and isolate if they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19.
SFDPH continues to support strategies that safely keep as many kids in schools, such as the CDC’s Test to Stay tool, which is similar to the modified quarantine guidance that SFDPH supported and allowed since the beginning of the school year. More information on the modified quarantine guidance is available here: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/covid-19/isolation-and- quarantine.asp#school.
“We must do everything possible to keep students safely attending schools,” said Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco Health Officer. “The mental health impacts on students due to social isolation far outweigh the challenges of in-person learning.”
Safer Return to School Recommendations
- All students and staff are recommended to get tested for COVID-19 regardless of vaccination status 1-2 days before returning to school or work, even if they are asymptomatic.
- If families or staff have traveled over the holidays, SFDPH recommends testing 3- 5 days after returning from travel.
- If any students or staff test positive, please notify your school immediately and follow isolation and quarantine guidelines: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/COVID- 19/Isolation-and-Quarantine.asp. Individuals who need assistance with isolation can connect with the COVID Resource Center at (628) 217-6101.
- COVID-19 testing sites and resources: https://sf.gov/find-out-about-your-covid- 19-testing-options
- San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) specific testing resources: https://www.sfusd.edu/covid-19-response-updates-and-resources/covid-19- surveillance-testing-students/covid-19-testing-locations-and-dates
Stay Home When Sick
- Students, teachers and staff who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as
COVID-19 or the flu, should stay home and be referred to their healthcare
provider for testing and care, regardless of vaccination status.
- Everyone who is eligible (currently open to age 5 and above) for a COVID-19
vaccine should get vaccinated and stay up to date with boosters (currently open to
age 16 and above if enough time has passed since their initial vaccination).
- COVID-19 vaccination sites and resources: https://sf.gov/get-vaccinated-against-
- A well-fitted mask that can be comfortably worn is most important.
- Double masking is an effective way to improve fit and filtration.
- A close-fitting cloth mask can be worn on top of a surgical/disposable mask to improve the seal of the mask to the face.
- Additional masking resources: https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/Get-the-Most- out-of-Masking.aspx
Message from ADSF Department of Catholic Schools:
Dear Catholic School Families,
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas celebration and are enjoying a restful break.
Looking ahead to the return to school on January 3, and considering the recent news regarding the Omicron variant, we remain committed to the health of our community. We have faced similar situations in the past, and our goal is always to return to as close to normal operations as possible while keeping everyone safe. This remains our plan for next week. The following are actions you can take to ensure a smooth return to school:
• I strongly encourage all students to take a COVID test two days prior to the start of school. This can be a PCR or rapid antigen test administered by a health professional, or an at-home test.
• Most importantly, if students have symptoms, please have them stay home until they have taken COVID tests, and the symptoms have subsided.
• Upon our return to in-person learning on January 3, we will continue our existing and comprehensive safety protocols, including masking while inside, proper ventilation of classrooms, and hand hygiene.
We understand that situations such as these can evolve quickly based on local guidelines, and we will inform you of any changes if necessary. I greatly appreciate your patience as we work to keep the community safe and informed.
Parent Volunteers (reprinted from November 4th)
To volunteer at any SVDP activity, you must have the following:
- Submit Livescan Fingerprinting (see attached form below) - Find a local business that can submit your fingerprints through the Livescan screening process. If you have already done this for previous SVDP volunteer requirements, you do not need to do it again. We will receive your fingerprinting clearance through your Virtus account (see #2). Please note that if you have done Livescan fingerprinting for other volunteer or professional requirements, you must still complete specifically for SVDP.
- Complete Protecting God's Children training module on Virtus - If you have never done this, create an account at www.virtusonline.org and take the course "Protecting God's Children." If you previously completed the training, make sure your three-year certification is still valid. Existing certification can be checked by logging in to your existing Virtus account at www.virtusonline.org.
- Proof of COVID vaccination must be emailed to email@example.com.
Once you've completed all three of these requirements, your SchoolSpeak profile will be updated with a green check-mark (like the one above). When entering campus to volunteer, please use your phone to show your SchoolSpeak profile to the front office for admission. Sign-in as a visitor at the front desk and proceed to your volunteer assignment. Remember to sign out too.
All parents are encouraged to complete these requirements now, but they must be completed 24 hours prior to volunteering. Without your green-checked profile, we cannot welcome you to volunteer.
We are currently looking for volunteers in the following roles:
- ChoiceLunch - We need eight volunteers - two for each day of the week (Tuesday - Friday) to assist in distributing ChoiceLunch to our students. Volunteers must commit to the same day each and every week through Trimester 2 (February 25). Staff will fill in when shift volunteers are not available. Information on how to sign up will be distributed soon.
- K-2 Read Aloud - Parent volunteers will be solicited by the teachers, who will provide more class-specific information.
- Field Trips - Parent volunteers will be solicited by the teachers organizing class-specific field trips.
- Kindergarten Lunch Duty (beginning in January) - Look for more information from the K Team.