July: Planning for our August 19th Reopening (FAQ for Parents)

What Can You Find Below?
  • Academic Program: Information about student learning during COVID;
  • Facilities and Hygiene: Information about on-campus health and safety;
  • Whom to contact if you have further questions in any area.
I. Academic Program
Q: What “Cohort” Model Will Trinity Use on the Upper Campus?
  • The Upper Campus will use “Stable Cohorts.” The intent of the Stable Cohort is to create as stable an environment as is practicable by reducing numbers of students and the movement of students across campus. Key to this cohort is that face coverings are worn at all times and physical distance is maintained.
  • A Stable Cohort refers to a defined group of students whose size is dictated by the ability to implement physical distancing within the classroom or primary learning setting and is typically 12 to 16 students. This type of cohort allows for necessary and practical considerations in a student’s educational program. For example, a Stable Cohort may have more than one teacher during the instructional day, and students, though assigned to a particular area of campus, may move to classrooms as necessary to access required courses.
  • In the Stable Cohort model at Trinity, Specialists Classes may use outdoor learning spaces for one-on-one or small group work, or, if utilizing an indoor space, may choose to rely on a strict disinfecting protocol between sessions.
Q: What “Cohort” Model Will Be Used on the Lower Campus?
  • The Lower Campus will utilize “Bubble Cohorts.” In this cohort, ECP students will be placed into groups of no more than 12 with assigned teachers during the day. In this model, students must stay within the bubble for a period of at least three weeks.
  • Masks/face shields are required on the Lower Campus. While we understand that per public health, very young students are not technically required to wear masks, we believe it is in the best health interest of our entire community for them to do so. We know that in some cases, preschool children will remove masks – still, our goal at the outset is to prepare them to wear one. Thank you for your help here!
  • The Bubble Cohort provides for a smaller group of ECP students and classroom teachers to exist within a defined location, with no mixing between any other groups or individuals for a period of three weeks. Teachers and staff must remain solely with their Bubble Cohort, and if a child is absent, their space may not be filled by another child new to the cohort. An additional staff member certified to serve as a substitute should be included as part of the Bubble.
Q: Will there be Specialty Classes (ex: Art, Music, Design Thinking, Spanish Science, Service Learning)?
  • Yes, there will be Specialty Classes, which are an integral part of the curriculum on both campuses. To minimize both the sharing of materials and instructional space, speciality classes will be offered outdoors, via Zoom and, when appropriate, indoors.
Q: How will playground use, recess and lunch take place?
  • We have revised recess and lunch schedules to provide increased time for outdoor activities while limiting the number of students on the playgrounds and ensuring social distancing.
  • On both campuses, lunch will be eaten in the classrooms.
  • Importantly, on the Lower Campus, playtimes will be staggered to maintain bubble cohorts.
  • On the Upper Campus, the playground and activity spaces will be segmented to accommodate the stable cohorts.
Q: How will classrooms be set up?
  • Upper Campus: Using Stable Cohorts and depending on the overall class size, each class will be socially distanced in a single classroom or two classrooms. Each classroom has been measured and learning space, notably desks, will maintain the 6 foot social distance model.
  • Lower Campus: Using Bubble Cohorts, four classrooms will be utilized including two in Angus Hall (Pine and Laurel) and two in Trinity Hall- Good Shepherd Room (Trinity Tierra) and the Upper classroom (Trinity Agua). While students do not need to maintain the social distance in the bubble constancy, the classrooms may not mix in student and teacher composition. Each Lower Campus classroom will have two teachers.
Q: If the entire school moves to distance learning, what can we expect? 
  • If we go to distance learning at any point during the 2020-2021 school year, we will offer full-day classes virtually. We will be taking the feedback we received and what we learned from distance learning in the spring to create an even more robust distance learning program. It will include increased daily interaction between teachers and their students.
Q: How will we best provide distance learning students who choose *not* to return to campus?
  • Using our learnings from the spring, we plan to offer a full-day, enhanced distance learning program for students. We are currently designing this program, and it will, in part, be informed by how many students opt to participate in distance learning. We will have more information on our distance learning offerings in the coming weeks.
Q: Can you help us understand which tools and educational technology platforms you’ll be using for distance learning at Trinity? Will it be the same as it was last spring?
  • We will use many of the same tools as we used in the spring – such as Seesaw, Google Classroom, and Zoom – but we will use our learnings from the spring and plan to offer a full-day, enhanced distance learning program for students. We are currently designing this program, and it will in part be informed by how many students opt to participate in distance learning.
Q: How will students’ bubbles/cohorts be communicated?
  • We will detail each class’s cohort group clearly prior to the reopening, likely by August 14. In addition to the bubbles/cohorts, logistical information including protocols for dropoff, pickup, and other reentry information that we know will be important to parents and to the smooth operation of school prior to the beginning of the reopening.
Q: How do we orient students and parents for “a new normal”?
  • For the Upper Campus: We will be hosting parent information sessions via Zoom on the 13th, 14th, and 17th of August prior to the start of school. There will be four sessions; (Kindergarten, First/Second Grade, Third/Fourth Grade, and Fifth Grade). The Kindergarten session will be integrated with the orientation session we usually host before school starts for our Kindergarten families, on August 17th. You’ll receive more information about the timing of these events in the coming weeks.
  • For the Lower Campus: Teachers have prepared “social story” to help students understand what school will be like when they return in the fall. Social stories help prepare children for new experiences by describing how something might look or feel using pictures and words. By making a special Trinity social story available to parents prior to the start of school, our hope is that parents may have a chance to use the story to talk about returning to school, together. In addition, we will do a comprehensive orientation for families on August 18th.
  • Teachers will be using Zoom to interact with their cohort of students the week before school starts.
Q: What will Chapel look like? 
  • Chapel is an important, centering part of the student day, a gathering of the community, and a place for spiritual renewal and includes both campuses. While we are still planning Chapel for the fall, it will likely be an extension of the remote model we used in the spring. We will look at Chapel as a full community offering and will include parents, grandparents and friends to join the students. We will likely increase the remote Chapels in the fall to twice or three times a week.
Q: Can students participate in after school, non-Trinity activities once school starts? 
  • On the Upper Campus, we realize that many of our students have extracurricular activities and friends outside the Trinity community. However, for the health and safety of our entire community, we strongly encourage students to limit their interaction outside their Trinity “cohort” as much as possible once school begins. This helps ensure that we’re minimizing the number of germs that are brought onto our campus.
  • On the Lower Campus, we will reiterate the importance of maintaining bubble constancy after school for health and safety.
Q: What is our policy for substitutes? 
  • In order to ensure that we can continue to offer a 5-day per week program, we may need to use substitutes from time to time. We are currently creating a list of “known” substitutes, people we have worked with regularly in recent years, as well as speaking with our substitute database provider, Swing Education, about their testing protocols. We understand that having healthy substitutes on campus is critical, and we will work hard to ensure that they meet our high bar for safety.
Q: What happens if teachers in a classroom are sick?
  • We may need to use substitutes from time to time (See: What is our policy for substitutes). We are currently creating a list of “known” substitutes, people we have worked with regularly in recent years, as well as speaking with our substitute database provider, Swing Education, about their testing protocols. We understand that having healthy substitutes on campus is critical, and we will work hard to ensure that they meet our high bar for safety. If we are unable to contract with substitutes who meet health and safety standards, we may need to temporarily move the class to a distance learning model until the teacher(s) are healthy and able to return to the classroom.
Q: Will there be multiple drop off and pick up on both campuses?
  • On the Upper Campus, we anticipate three dropoff points — by the Office (our historical dropoff location) as well as by Lehman Hall (closer to the back part of our parking lot).
  • On the Lower Campus: Pine & Laurel Rooms- will drop off/pick up at the entrance to the playground. Trinity Hall classrooms, Tierra and Agua students will be dropped off outside Trinity Hall. Pickup will be in the parking lot.
Q: How will students who pass the morning temperature check be identified?
  • We will use a check-in/tracking system and no student will be allowed on either campus without a temperature check. Students who have “passed” their temperature checks will receive a green “sticker” to wear on their uniform. Touchless thermometers have been purchased for this purpose.
Q: How will bathrooms be assigned for students?
  • Each Grade Level will have a dedicated bathroom to use.
Q: Can we offer Extended Care?
  • Not initially. Students must be kept in stable groups with a faculty member present, and a designated space for each group of students must be available on campus. This makes providing Extended Care extremely challenging. We realize this may cause difficulty for parents who rely on EC, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
  • Please note that as always, on the Upper Campus we are offering after school Enrichment Classes (now via Zoom), which occur in the home, typically in the late afternoon.
  • Lower campus extended day hours are from 8:00am to 5:00pm
Q: Will you offer a hot lunch program?
  • Not initially. For safety, food should be brought from home. As always, students should not share food. We know that hot lunch is important for many of our families, and we will reevaluate at an interval early in the school year.
II. Facilities and Hygiene
  • Who can you talk to about this?
  • Matt Allio, Head of School and Covid-19 Operations Lead
  • Ed Lee, CFO and Covid-19 Operations Co-Lead
  • Anna Quijano, Office Manager & COVID Facilities and Supply-Chain Coordinator
  • Pal Thinnappan, Director of IT and Emergency-Preparedness Coordinator
Q: Are families required to quarantine before returning to school? 
  • For the health and safety of our entire community we strongly encourage students to limit their interaction with others 14 days prior to returning to school. This helps ensure that we’re promoting stable environments conducive to community health. It also helps ensure that school can continue in person, if applicable.
  • We do require families that have traveled by air, out of state or out of the country to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to school.
  • We realize that every family’s situation is different, however, and requiring quarantine for everyone isn’t possible.
Q: Will there be informational signage on each campus?
  • Absolutely. We will have external signage on health protocols throughout both campuses. This includes student-friendly, CDC and Community Care Licensing issued signs for student bathrooms and classrooms – all with the goal of promoting consistent hygiene practices for our entire community.
Q: What training will be provided for faculty and staff prior to the first day? 
  • In addition to standard back-to-school training for CPR and First Aid, our entire faculty and staff will receive comprehensive training in COVID-19 safety and management the week upon their return. This will be held by Joffe Emergency Services, a national training group that specializes in emergency response training.
Q: What is the cleaning schedule for high traffic areas? 
  • For both the Upper Campus and Lower Campus, rotational sanitation and disinfection will occur throughout the day for common spaces (high-traffic areas) such as railings, and doors.
  • We have contracted with Galaxy Maintenance for school day service as well as the evening disinfection and thorough cleaning.
Q: What is the mask protocol for students/staff? 
  • Masks/face shields are required on both campuses, for everyone.
  • For the safety and comfort of each student and staff member, we will ask everyone to choose a mask that best fits them and bring it to school.
  • While we understand that per public health, very young students are not technically required to wear masks, we believe it is in the best health interest of our entire community for them to do so. We know that in some cases, preschool children will remove masks – still, our goal at the outset is to prepare them to wear one.
  • We encourage parents to begin “practicing” mask wearing at home, steadily increasing the duration of wearing time as school approaches, to make the transition back to school as seamless as possible.
  • Important: If your child has respiratory, sensory or other needs that may require special attention, please reach out to your campus director.
  • For younger grades (Early Childhood, Kindergarten, Grade One), where seeing mouths may provide comfort and help with clearer communication, we have ordered “clear” masks for teachers. We will also have a limited supply of “clear” masks on hand for students in these grades, should they be required.
  • Trinity will always have extra masks on hand for students and/or staff members in the event of a missing/damaged mask.
  • We recognize that asking children of any age to wear a mask for extended periods of time is challenging, and we thank you in advance for all of your efforts to help!
Q: What is the disinfecting procedure for a reported student or staff case? 
  • We will follow stringent CDC guidance, which specifies that the area(s) visited by the staff or student should be immediately closed off.
  • After 24 hours, the area and any materials used by the individual will be cleaned and disinfected before the space can be reoccupied.
Q: Will you have a nurse on staff?
  • Like many schools our size, we do not have a full time nurse on staff. However, our Office Manager and Lower Campus staff are trained in First Aid, CPR, and will receive specialized, comprehensive COVID-19 management training.
  • In addition, we are partnering with The Village Doctor, a local medical group in Portola Valley, to provide counsel for school leadership, host bi-weekly parent coffees, provide parent education in our publications such as the Trinity Talk, and more.
Q: Are tests required for all staff before returning on August 12?
  • Yes, we will require that all staff receive a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to work this fall.
Q: Are you using an app for contact-tracing? 
  • While there are currently apps available for contact-tracing, none at this time have proven to be reliable enough for the school setting – although we continue to monitor this space. Of course, individuals can elect to voluntarily use available contact-tracing apps.
Q: Is there a critical number of cases within our community that would cause us to close?
  • Any counties on the California state “watch list” will not open for distance learning; as of 7/24 San Mateo County is not on the watch list. We are aware that there is a “waiver” option that schools can apply for that would allow them to remain open even if a county is on the watch list. We are currently investigating what may be possible, with the ultimate goal of keeping our entire community healthy.
  • For Upper Campus, when 2 or more cohorts have positive cases, this would cause an onsite school closure with a full transition to distance learning.
  • For Lower Campus, guidance stipulates that if any student or staff tests positive in the class, the class will be closed for onsite learning. After 24 hours, the affected locations will be disinfected then the class could, if applicable, return after 72 hours.
Q: What is the communication protocol if a student or staff has a confirmed case of COVID?
  • If a student or staff member has a confirmed case of COVID-19, communication will occur with others who have been in contact with that person, as well as local health agencies. Any potentially exposed individuals will need to monitor symptoms and will be required to quarantine for 14 days prior to returning back onsite. Please note that Trinity will maintain student, family, and/or staff confidentiality throughout this process.
  • Any space used by this individual will be cleaned and disinfected. Additionally, the space where this individual spent prolonged time may be temporarily closed off.