Campus News and Updates
As with the first publication of the Reopening Plan on July 24, 2020, the most current health information and reopening requirements are incorporated into this update. Kirby’s leadership team and COVID-19 Task Force have worked together with the County Office of Public Health and County Office of Education to assess and create the safest approach to moving towards our Hybrid Learning model.
Our current plan meets the standards laid out in the California Public Health Services framework for school openings and incorporates recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Santa Cruz County Office of Education, and California Department of Education (CDE).
We are committed to welcoming your children back to school safely and supportively. Check out our Updated Reopening Plan as a visual document.
July 24th Campus Reopening Plan published
October 9th Updated Reopening Plan published
October 15th Phase 1: 6th Grade Students Begin Hybrid Learning
November 5th Phase 2: 7th Grade Students Potentially Begin Hybrid Learning*
January 8th Next Plan Update published
*This is the earliest possible date we could welcome back 7th grade students and is subject to change.
This page was last updated on October 12, 2020 at 11:00am.
- 6th Grade Logistics
- Community Expectations
- In-person learning assessment tool
- Health Screening and Monitoring
- PPE and Personal Hygiene
- On Campus Health and Safety Modifications
- Use of Materials and Spaces
- covid-19 Response Measures
- Academic Office Contact Information
In late September, Santa Cruz County was granted permission to allow schools to reopen for in-person instruction, using enhanced safety protocols and procedures. Kirby’s COVID-19 Task Force has worked together with local education and health authorities to formulate the safest approach to moving towards reopening. Kirby and other Santa Cruz schools were urged by both the County Office of Education and County Office of Public Health to reopen slowly, with small, younger groups of students first, incorporating insights from studies on COVID-19 age-transmissibility that conclude that younger children (≤ 14 years old) have very low susceptibility to COVID-19.
Based on these recommendations, Kirby will approach the Hybrid Learning model in phases. Our first phase begins October 15th, when we welcome 6th graders to campus in two distinct cohort groups for in-person classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (Periods 1-5). Each stable group is made up of the same 12 (or fewer) students and will remain together with the same group of peers (a fixed roster). Each group will utilize separate, pre-designated spaces on campus, arriving and departing campus through their designated doors at set times. Each cohort will also practice social distancing at all times.
On a roughly monthly basis, we will evaluate the feasibility and risks of bringing additional cohort groups back on campus. We will engage the families of each group as we proceed, as we have over the past 3 weeks with our 6th grade families.
Other cohort groups will remain in Distance Learning as we adjust to on campus life with our youngest community members. We anticipate welcoming back 7th graders next.
Our safety protocols will evolve after each group or grade is offered the opportunity to return to campus as we will be dividing our space with more and more people. Please expect future updates regarding our plan as we do.
We acknowledge and appreciate the varied sentiments within our community regarding in-person classes; from those who wish to return to campus quickly to those who prefer to remain in Distance Learning.
We also know that this document covers an enormous amount of information. If ever you are in doubt or have a question, please reach out to us. We are happy to answer any questions you might have. We will continue to provide our Distance Learning program as we approach our Hybrid Model in phases, and are grateful for your ongoing involvement and support as we navigate these continuously evolving conditions.
On October 15th, we will invite 6th graders, divided into two stable cohorts, back to campus for in person classes.
These groups will not commingle and will each have dedicated classrooms. Each classroom is equipped with a snack desk that is set up with Plexigas: a place for students to snack or drink that is separate from the rest of the class. These spaces will be wiped down between use with disinfecting cleaning products. Each cohort has been designated a proximate restroom and outdoor area for exercise and movement.
Students will be welcomed in the morning at their separate entrances between 8:45am-9am. One entrance is in the back parking lot (entering through the back double doors) and the other is at the front entrance. Caregivers must stay in the car while dropping off their child. Students will have completed a health screening with the Fever Free app prior to coming to school. Students will enter the building wearing a mask.
In the afternoon, each cohort will exit from the same doors between 2:30-2:45pm and meet their caregiver at their car.
Students will be expected to bring their own packed lunch and necessary materials to school. A checklist will be provided to 6th Grade families in advance of October 15th.
All community members share the responsibility to prevent the spread of a communicable illness within our community. In order to benefit the well-being of our community we expect that you commit to the following expectations:
Follow Federal, State and Local Health Orders. We expect you to comply with directives issued by state and local governmental health departments, including the CDC, regarding social distancing in public and other measures imposed to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing and Notifications. If you suspect your child or someone in your household has COVID-19, you will have them tested and notify Kirby School within 24 hours.
Stay Home if Sick. If your child is sick, keep them home from school.
Stay Home if Exposed. If someone in your household has been notified that they were in contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, notify Kirby School within 24 hours. Depending on the situation, you may be asked to keep your student home for 14 days. We will provide access to classes via distance learning.
Limit Travel. Avoid unnecessary travel. If anyone in your family has traveled to high risk areas, you must keep your student home for 14 days. Distance learning program will be continuously available. Please reach out to Laura Lucas, Director of Operations if you would like to discuss your plans.
Submit Daily Health Checks. Families will need to submit temperatures before arriving to campus through the Fever Free app each day.
Pick Up a Sick Child. If your student displays symptoms and is discovered to have a temperature of higher than 100F, they will be sent home. We expect you to come and pick them up immediately.
Wear Face Masks. Ensure your student comes to campus with a face mask every day they attend on-campus classes. Face masks with valves will not be permitted. (See section on PPE)
Maintain Personal Hygiene. Practice and reinforce good hygiene practices at home, in particular, the importance of frequent hand washing.
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 and Emergency Contact Information. Parents must complete and submit all required student medical forms prior to the first day of school. Parents must provide at least 2 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.
We do not anticipate reaching this level this school year / this level is largely dependent on an effective vaccine and herd immunity.
Unlikely to be reached this school year. Low risk is largely dependent on an effective vaccine and herd immunity.
No social distancing guidelines in place / no cohorting requirements.
Infection number is low in Santa Cruz County and the curve is flattening.
No Kirby community cases of COVID-19.
- Federal, State, or County Health agencies have mandated online learning.
- Multiple confirmed cases of COVID that appear to be connected to campus have appeared in students or staff.
- At least 1% of the total number of staff/students test positive or display symptoms within a 10 day period, regardless of the source of exposure.
One of the best ways to help stop the spread of the virus is to keep people home if they are not feeling well. We are asking families and staff to pay close attention to any symptoms related to COVID-19, including but not limited to coughing, sore throat, headache, loss of sense of taste and/or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, fever or chills, or muscle or body aches.
To ensure safety, we have adopted the following procedures:
Kirby will require daily health checks using the Fever Free app (HiPAA Compliant) before all persons including students, faculty and staff are permitted on campus. Those who are not well must not come to campus.
School staff have been trained to recognize symptoms of COVID-19 and will monitor students for emerging symptoms. All classrooms will be provided a touchless thermometer, and teachers may ask staff to privately check students’ temperatures if they are concerned a student may have a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms.
If a student is displaying possible COVID-19 symptoms, they will be isolated in a separate room (our Wellness Center) from the class and their family will be called to pick them up and advised to consult with their health care professional. Students who display COVID-like symptoms that are caused by known allergies or asthma will be required to get a COVID-19 test and a doctor’s note confirming their visible symptoms are not COVID-19 related before coming to campus.
After each use of the Wellness Center, it will be immediately disinfected with an approved disinfectant and the electrostatic sprayer before being used again.
As a precaution, 25% of Kirby staff will be COVID-19 tested every two weeks (each staff member will be tested once every two months); staff who display COVID-19 symptoms will be sent home, and recommended they be tested.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Following the guidance of the Santa Cruz County Department of Health, we will be asking all faculty, staff and students to use face coverings while on campus.
- Students, faculty and staff must wear masks that comply with the County Health order while on campus (except while eating, drinking or engaging in outdoor, distanced physical activity).
- Students must provide and wear their own mask which must meet both the County Health department’s guidelines and the CDC guidelines for face coverings: Masks should have two or more layers, must be worn snugly around the mouth and nose and secured under the chin, must be comfortable enough to wear all day, and students should not wear masks intended for healthcare workers such as N95 respirators. Masks cannot have valves.
- Students should have an extra mask in their spare clothing bag or backpack, in case their daily mask becomes damaged or soiled.
- The school will have a supply of child and adult sized disposable masks for emergencies.
- Kirby will provide PPE (disposable masks that meet all federal, state and local guidelines and face shields) for faculty and staff. Face shields may not be used in lieu of masks but may be used in addition to masks. Staff may use an alternative mask or shield so long as they meet the CDC guidelines and are approved by Kirby Administration prior to use on campus.
Personal Hygiene Expectations
- Another important way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to practice good personal hygiene. The daily procedures will faciliate handwashing before and after meals. All community members are reminded to:
- Wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom, before eating, after blowing their nose, and after touching public surfaces.
- Access hand sanitizer when hand washing is not practicable. We have hand sanitizer stations around the campus.
- If unmasked for meal or snack time, students are required to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze by using a tissue that they immediately throw into a trash can or by covering their face with their elbow (bent arm) if no tissue is available.
Intensive Cleaning and Disinfecting
In addition to investments in equipment that help reduce the transmission of viruses on campus, the school has procured appropriate cleaning supplies and is putting into place enhanced cleaning routines. We will:
- Clean high touch surfaces in common spaces (doorknobs, copiers, drawer pulls, etc) by custodial staff throughout the day.
- Clean all surfaces at the end of the day.
- Disinfect all surfaces including but not limited to tables, desks, chairs, counters, equipment, shelves, carpets, furniture, etc. with an EPA, N-list approved disinfectant applied with an electrostatic sprayer at the end of the day. (Disinfectants are foodservice grade and safe for use at school.)
- Clean and disinfect restrooms daily.
Vendors, Contractors and Visitors
Visitor access will be extremely limited. All visitors must check in at the lobby. Visitors must wear a mask at all times, sanitize their hands upon entry, and follow all posted health and safety guidelines. If the visit will last longer than five minutes or moves past the lobby to other parts of the property, visitors will be required to pass a health screening.
Vendors and contractors will be allowed on campus to perform necessary business operations. Vendors and contractors will be required to wear a face covering at all times, sanitize their hands if doing anything more than delivering a package, and perform a health check if proceeding into the building past the lobby area.
Procedural and Facilities Modifications
- Install Plexiglas barriers in the lobby.
- Provide portable Plexiglas barriers for teachers’ desks.
- Install no-touch hand sanitizer stations in all classrooms.
- Install Touch-free faucets in bathrooms.
- Convert drinking fountains to water bottle filling stations.
- Upgrade HVAC filters to MERV 13 rating.
- Add dual sink hand washing stations for crowding prevention.
- Use infrared thermometers for touch-less fever detection on as needed basis.
- Provide PPE (disposable masks that meet all federal, state and local guidelines and face shields) for faculty and staff. (See section on PPE for details)
- Implement daily health screening using Fever Free app (HiPAA compliant) and health monitoring protocols. (See section on Health Screening and Monitoring for details)
- If possible, students should bring their own computers to school and will not share computers while on campus. A dedicated Chromebook will be provided if it is not possible to bring a computer from home.
- Outdoor spaces such as the Recreation Area and the Roof Deck will be utilized as much as possible.
Physical Distancing At All Times
- All students, faculty and staff will remain at least 6’ apart at all times.
- Stagger in-person student arrival and departure to reduce crowding.
- Create one-directional pathways through the halls to control movement and limit opportunity for exposure.
- Designate bathrooms for particular cohorts and prohibit simultaneous bathroom occupation.
- When possible, materials should be unique to individuals (e.g. markers, chalk, paper, etc.).
- Each student should bring their own supplies and materials each day.
- Students should bring a full water bottle daily.
- Bottle filling stations will be available to refill bottles.
- Students may briefly drop their masks to drink water while in class.
Path of travel
- Paths of travel on campus will be dictated to each cohort.
- Paths of travel will be one-way whenever possible.
- Teachers will maintain a 6’ distance from students while traveling.
- Cohorts traveling a similar path should maintain 6’ distance from other cohorts.
- Cohorts will be assigned to a zone.
- Zones will be rotated regularly to allow students a variety of options.
- Cohorts will be assigned specific restrooms to use. Individuals may only use their cohort’s assigned restroom.
- Staff connected to a cohort will use their cohort’s restroom or the staff restroom.
- Staff not connected to a cohort will be assigned a staff restroom and must only use their assigned restroom.
- Only one student may use a restroom at a time.
- Use dual sink hand washing stations for crowding prevention.
- Snack and lunch will happen within cohorts; students will not be allowed to mix cohorts during this time.
- Eating will happen outdoors in each cohort’s designated zone whenever possible or in the classroom when necessary.
- Physical distancing of at least 6’ must be maintained at all times while eating due to the inability to wear masks while eating or drinking.
- Students may not share food, drink, or utensils.
- Please see Hygiene section for information about hand-washing.
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency has detailed the following protocols for schools to respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19.
- Close off areas used by any sick person, clean and disinfect prior to using again.
- Coordinate with the student’s family or staff member to confirm they are under medical care and have a plan to isolate according to County Health guidelines.
- Confirm that other members of the household who are also part of the school community remain at home in self-quarantine per County Health guidelines.
- Take immediate measures to sanitize and disinfect the school property impacted by the individual.
- Communicate with the school community that a confirmed case has been identified, and outline the actions being taken to ensure a safe return to school.
- Maintain privacy of health and medical information for all individuals as per the ADA and FERPA laws.
Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency will work with Kirby Administration to conduct contact tracing in situations of suspected or confirmed COVID-19. At their request, the school administration will provide contact information for students and families to public health officials for the purposes of contact tracing. Close contacts will be identified and asked to quarantine for 14 days after the on-site exposure of a sick individual. The school may move a specific cohort to distance learning during this quarantine period. All close contacts will be advised to get COVID-19 tested.
Academic Office Contact Information
Accommodations & Learning Differences
Please use this form to ask questions about plans for the coming year. We will address questions at the next Community Zoom meeting on July 31st*, hosted by Head of School Christy Hutton.
(*This meeting was moved from July 24th to provide our community with an opportunity to review our Return to Campus Update, available on July 24.)
- What is Coronavirus?
- How does it spread?
- How do I reduce my risk?
- Anti-stigma Resources
- Coronavirus Resources
Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Sydrome (SARS). The novel coronavirus, now named COVID-19, is a new strain that had not been previously detected.
Read information from the World Health Organization.
The CDC believes that COVID-19 is spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets--from coughs or sneezes--produced by an infected person and inhaled or landed in the mouths or noses of a non-infected person. The virus most likely spreads when people are in close contact with one another (less than 6 feet).
It may be possible that it can be spread by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose or possibly eyes.
Tolerance Magazine provides resources for understanding and confronting the rising xenophobia in connection to the coronavirus.