Fall 2020 Back to School

Woodland's Campus - 10.5 Acres  
Fall 2020 Back to School

Woodland's vast campus allows students and faculty space to socially distance for health and safety, maintain strong student/teacher connections and student/student connections to foster social and emotional wellbeing, and continue innovative classroom lessons.

Community is a hallmark at Woodland and although the Coronavirus Pandemic is changing how the school day will look, Woodland is dedicated to fostering a strong sense of community.

As always, please contact Dr. Warren, Head of School, with questions about Woodland's re-opening plan this year.

A PDF of Woodland's Reopening Plan can be viewed here.


We believe all members of the Woodland community have a shared responsibility to care for ourselves and others.  In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, families, staff, and faculty can partner with us by monitoring themselves and their family members for a fever and watching for signs of illness at home, beginning at least two weeks before you arrive on the Woodland campus.  This includes following the CDC’s recommendations; washing your hands frequently, wearing a face covering, and practicing physical distancing when you are on and off campus.

This website contains our plan to welcome students to campus during the 2020-2021 school year.  Please review it carefully, as it introduces new policies and procedures that prioritize our community’s health and safety.

As of July 29th, 2020, the county of San Mateo was added to the County Monitoring List.  In order for Woodland to open school with an in-person model, the county must be off of the watch list for 14 days and the school gains approval from the county based on any measures that are required beyond the state guidelines.  As health conditions improve in San Mateo County, and schools are able to reopen per the guidelines from Governor Newsom, we will evaluate the ways in which we can safely welcome our Kindergarten-8th grade students, staff, and faculty back to our campus.  We understand that this transition may come with concerns and complexities and we are committed to reorienting your children back to campus in the safest and most supportive way possible.  To do so, the school will conform to all applicable laws and Executive Orders and be guided by recommendations and expectations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), State of California, the San Mateo County Health Department, and California Child Care Licensing as applicable.  See below a full list of guidelines we are following.

Woodland will utilize a distance learning model for the first trimester of the 2020-2021 school year for students in Kindergarten-8th grade.  The Early Childhood program will begin with an in-person model as allowed by state licensing guidelines.

The start date of the school year will be delayed by three days to Monday, August 24th.  From August 19th-21st, Virtual Family Conferences will be held with classroom teachers or advisors to develop relationships that foster academic, social, and emotional success throughout the year.  Registration for conferences will be sent on August 5th.

When guidelines allow a return to in-person learning, Woodland will transition students by grade level.  The focus of the transition days will be to introduce students and families to new campus expectations and practices to ensure the health and safety of the community.  This will include staggered arrival and dismissal, daily health screenings, hygiene practices, and physical distancing.  Faculty and staff will emphasize social emotional learning and team building as we come together as a school community and develop a strong sense of belonging for all students.

No students will be permitted to begin the school year without all required paperwork and current medical forms, including all updated immunizations.  Please review the previous email sent July 28. 2020 for login information to Blackbaud and Magnus Health to review the forms.

Due to the fluid nature of the pandemic and family circumstances, we understand that a family’s decision to attend school in-person may evolve.  We want to be able to accommodate the changing circumstances of our families.

Students cannot toggle back and forth between the Flexible Learning Plan and In-Person learning because it disrupts the safety and integrity of class stable groups on campus. Families can always opt for the Flexible Learning Plan and transition from In-Person learning immediately.

Please note that if you want to switch your child from the Flexible Learning Plan to In-Person learning, there are logistics and safety measures that require planning and make the switch more challenging.  The timing should be coordinated in advance with Daniel Madden, Director of Student Life and Support.

Guiding Principles

Considerations for the Reopening Plan are grounded in three guiding principles.  These speak to Woodland’s purpose and are aligned with what we have learned from our experience with distance learning in the spring and the feedback from parents, staff, and faculty surveys.

Health and Safety:  Woodland’s highest priority is the health and well-being of the community, and we recognize that we have an obligation to support the health of the broader community.  We are committed to doing our very best to mitigate the risks, as outlined in this document, but we cannot guarantee that community members will not be exposed to COVID-19.

Academic Excellence:  We believe that children achieve their highest potential when they are in a challenging academic environment that allows them to be active, engaged learners.  A continuous educational experience is vitally important to achieving this.  While health circumstances may necessitate certain changes or restrictions on student life, our ultimate goal is to support our students’ learning and development as seamlessly as possible.

Social and Emotional Well-being:  We are living in uncertain times and understand that students have a broad range of experiences they bring to the classroom each day.  Pedagogy and classroom practices will provide greater attention to student mental health and well-being to build resilience and cope with the stress or anxiety students may experience in this pandemic context.  Social emotional learning will be thoughtfully woven into all aspects of the student experience and our core values of respect, integrity, curiosity, resilience, equity, and stewardship will serve as guideposts for our community.  

The reopening plan must remain flexible and be able to adapt to circumstances beyond our control.  It is subject to change based upon further guidance, evolving public health recommendations, and /or changes in circumstances that may occur prior to the commencement of the school year.  Our overarching goal is to create a continuous learning model that is durable and will adapt to whatever the prevailing needs may be.

Families should avoid all unnecessary travel. If a student has traveled outside of the Bay Area, to a state with elevated levels of COVID-19, or out of the country, the family must notify the school and keep the student home for 10 days or quarantine, take a PCR COVID test (paid for by family) between 3 and 5 days upon return, submit the negative
results to Mr. Madden and return to campus no soon than seven days after returning from travel.  Continue to monitor to make sure there are no symptoms or signs of illness. The school has the discretion to determine whether a student should be excluded from campus for a period of time upon returning from travel.

Provisions will be made to support the continuity of learning from home during quarantine periods. These parameters may change depending on a shift in geographic restrictions.

Woodland remains committed to helping families who are facing unexpected costs and financial uncertainty at this time.  No family could have foreseen this crisis coming.  Tuition Assistance funds are available for families whose financial circumstances change significantly in the course of the school year.  Please reach out to Melanie Rothenberg, Director of Admission and Tuition Assistance with any questions.

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Health and Safety at Woodland

It is important to keep students at home if there are any signs of illness.  Please let the school know if you, your child, or another member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, experiences symptoms of COVID-19, or is exposed to someone who is positive or symptomatic for COVID-19.  Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.  The CDC’s list of COVID-19 symptoms as well as additional guidance for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 can be reviewed at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html.

Health and Safety

All students and staff will undergo training at the start of in-person learning to orient them to school COVID-19 health and safety protocols.  This information will be shared with families in our weekly school communications.  We will provide additional training sessions throughout the year as we learn about new guidelines. 

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Face Coverings

All students, staff and faculty will be required to wear face coverings while at school, with the percentage of time wearing the face coverings depending on the age of the child. While the school has purchased supplemental face coverings in the event that a student forgets or loses theirs, parents should plan on sending their children to school each day with appropriate face coverings. We request keeping an extra face covering in your child’s backpack.  Bandanas and gaiters are not adequate face coverings while on campus. Students who refuse to wear face coverings will be excluded from In-Person learning.  They will shift to the Flexible Learning Plan.

Temperature Checks

UPDATE: Temperature checks are paused beginning, Monday, April 12, due to updated guidance from San Mateo County Department of Education.

Parents/guardians will be asked to check their children and themselves for fever and respiratory symptoms at home, prior to departing for school daily.  We will be using a HIPPA-compliant app from our student health forms provider, Magnus Health, for daily health screening at home and self-certification.  Upon arrival to campus, compliance will be checked.  Employees will likewise be required to do a health self-screening at home via the Kyla app, which is our COVID-19 testing provider.  Anyone who has not submitted that morning’s questionnaire will be screened in person.  Anyone who answers yes to any of the screening questions will be sent home.  Students and employees must also pass a visual check before coming on campus and will have their temperature taken (without contact) one more time, in person.  Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or above will be sent home.  No one experiencing any symptoms may enter campus.

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Physical Distancing

The Department of Public Health recommends 3-6 feet of social distancing.  In classrooms and all indoor and outdoor spaces, we are using 6 ft. as our standard, allowing spacing between students to ensure protection for both students and teachers. We have reimagined spaces and purchased new desks and partitions to reconfigure larger spaces to allow for physical distancing.  Each student will be assigned a desk and all desks will be facing the same direction.  Throughout the school, there will be signage to ensure proper spacing and direct traffic flow.  Signage will direct students to travel one way when spacing is not adequate.  Examples of signs can be found here:  https://www.smcoe.org/assets/files/Alert_FIL/Case,%20Close%20Contact,%20Indirect%20Contact.pdf

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Hand Hygiene

We know that frequent hand washing is critical to eliminate germs.  In addition to the existing sinks throughout campus, we have purchased and installed 10 new portable sinks in various high traffic areas.  We have hand sanitizer available at all entrances and in every classroom space.  

Students will routinely cleanse their hands at the start and end of each day, and before and after snack, lunch, recess, and PE.  Students and teachers will undergo teaching for proper hand washing at the beginning of the year using Glo Germ.

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Personal Protective Equipment

In addition to face coverings, we will provide face shields to all employees and students which can be used in conjunction with – but not as a substitute for – mandatory face masks.  We also have plexiglass barriers available for all teachers who request them.  We have installed sneeze guards in the front office to mitigate spread of germs for our staff.

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Woodland has a dedicated infirmary with direct outdoor access in a location where others do not enter or pass.  This area will provide a secure, enclosed place for someone ill at school to wait, isolated away from others, until they can be picked up to receive medical attention. Face coverings will be required at all times.   When a parent or guardian arrives to pick up a student, the student will walk outside to meet them instead of allowing the parent or guardian into the building.  Any areas used by the sick person will be closed off for cleaning and disinfection.

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COVID-19 Testing

We believe that COVID-19 testing is important to protect our community.  To address adult-to-adult transmission, and adults as possible sources of infection, our COVID-19 testing goals are as follows:

  1. To ensure all employees have a verifiable negative test result for COVID-19 testing when we return to campus.
  2. All employees are tested weekly. We are contracting with Curative for this service. Woodland will cover the cost of any testing that is not covered by and employee’s health insurance. Test results are usually returned within 48 hours.
  3. Students are tested through pooled testing weekly. Woodland is contracting with Mirimus for this service. Woodland is covering the cost of testing. Test results are usually returned within 48 hours.

Please note, because testing methods, efficacy, and supplies are constantly evolving, our plans for testing are also likely to evolve.

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In Person Learning

On campus instruction using a stable group model with face coverings and physical distancing.  Cleaning and disinfecting per CDC guidelines.

Flexible Learning Plan

The design of this program will, in part, be informed by how many students opt to participate when the rest of the school has returned to campus for in-person learning. 

Distance Learning

All school shift to online instruction due to being placed on the county monitoring list, sheltering in place, or closure required due to COVID-19 exposure.

Total Engagement Time
Planning for Woodland’s Flexible Learning and Distance Learning models requires a slight shift in how teachers plan their lessons and how students engage with skills and content taught. Teachers in each discipline are asked to factor total engagement time into their daily lessons, which combines the total number of minutes students would typically spend in class plus homework/asynchronous  assignments. Time during each day has been allotted for any asynchronous (offline) work to be completed by students so that there is no homework for students beyond the hours of the school day.

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