Serving Preschool Through 8th Grade in the San Francisco East Bay Since 1962

Jaguar Junction

As our school community navigates the complexities associated with COVID-19, The Seven Hills School remains committed to an educational program that is anchored in our school’s Mission, Seven Beliefs for Seven Hills, and Strategic Plan. Our response plan outlines Seven Hills’ protocols and procedures that prioritize the health and safety of our community, allows for flexibility and transparency, and aims to exceed guidelines established by the Contra Costa County Office of Education and the County Health Department as well as the CDPH and CDC.

Although we will accommodate distance learning for K-8 students at the start of the school year for certain exceptional cases, our planning process is focused on our in-person learners. We look forward to seeing our students on-campus, full-time in the fall.

We will continue to refine our models, guided by our obligation to the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff; our educational mission; and our values of kindness, inclusion, and care. Thank you for your support, goodwill, and confidence as we move forward.

COVID-19 Operations and Safety Plan

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • Grade Level Groups

    To eliminate intermingling among large groups of students, all daily activities will be conducted among grade-level student groups. Each grade will function autonomously, so students in a grade level will be able to commingle and have recess, lunch, performances, etc. together, but will not mix with other grade levels (e.g. buddies, Extended Day, assemblies) at the start of the year. We will monitor our structure and may be able to open up to cross-grade activities later in the year.
     
    • Rainbow will have one classroom of 18 children and three teachers.
    • Red Barn will be considered one group of two classrooms with 12 children each, with two teachers per classroom.
    • Kindergarten through 5th grade classes will have two sections per grade level.
    • Middle School students will have their usual rotation of sections.
    • Students will have their own exclusive indoor and outdoor spaces for classes, recess, and lunch, thus eliminating contact between grade levels and provide appropriate levels of social distancing in each space.
    • All typical cross-grade level activities such as assemblies, advisories, lunch, recess, buddies, electives, and athletics will be curtailed to an activity that can be conducted virtually (e.g. buddies connecting virtually through technology).
  • Masks and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

    Masks are required at all times, both indoors and outdoors, for students and employees on the Seven Hills campus unless eating and/or drinking despite vaccination status. While families are asked to provide masks for their children, the School will maintain a supply of disposable masks should they be needed. Parents should plan to send their students to school with at least two masks daily, so that the first mask can be swapped after lunch or if it becomes dirty. We realize that for some students, required masks may be challenging, and we will closely follow evolving guidelines regarding face coverings on children. In the meantime, we recommend that families work with their children over the summer to find what works best.

    CDC Guidance: Your Guide to Masks
    CDPH Guidance: Get the Most out of Masking

    Mask recommendations:
     
    • Masks should fit snugly on the face while covering both the nose and mouth.
    • Surgical masks may be used, but fabric masks are encouraged.
    • Bandanas and neck gaiters are not acceptable options as masks.
    • N95 masks are not recommended for general use on campus.
    • Masks with valves attached to them are not permitted, as the valves increase the number of respiratory droplets released into the air.
    • Masks should align with our current dress code ethic of “not being a distraction or displaying any offensive or hurtful messages.”
    Additional enhanced PPE may be required for other employees (e.g., health coordinator, people at higher risk for illness, cleaning staff, etc.). Clear face guards may be used, but not as a substitute for masks. Gloves are not recommended for use by students or staff, except for those conducting duties such as cleaning, providing first aid, or food service.
  • Health and Symptom Screenings

    Seven Hills has instituted a strict policy regarding illness for the foreseeable future. To prevent the spread of any illness, no one experiencing symptoms may enter campus. Any child or adult exhibiting any symptoms of illness (e.g., fever or chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or trouble breathing, loss of taste or smell, appearing or behaving sick, etc.) must stay home or will be sent home.

    Families will be asked to conduct a daily at-home COVID-19 screening of each student for fever and other COVID-related symptoms through our Magnus Health mobile app. Faculty and staff use the employee portal of Magnus Health for the same app-based badge system. Parents must show the Magnus green badge with the current date before students may exit the car. The student will then have a temperature check before they are allowed to come onto campus.

    If any individual does not pass the health screening or has a temperature of over 100.4 degrees, they must immediately leave campus. Parents are encouraged to reach out to their healthcare provider if their student is experiencing any symptoms listed above to rule out COVID, the need for a COVID test, or any other infectious illness.
  • Healthy Hygiene Practices

    To help prevent the spread of infectious disease, faculty and staff will teach and reinforce healthy hygiene practices in school, such as handwashing, coughing/sneezing etiquette, and avoiding face-touching. Indoor and outdoor handwashing and hand sanitizing stations have been installed across campus for every grade. Students and adults will adhere to a supervised handwashing schedule including before and after recess, meals and snacks, and throughout the day.

    Seven Hills encourages parents to introduce their children to the healthy hygiene practices that students will follow at school, including handwashing, positioning their elbow over their face when sneezing/coughing (without removing their mask), limited face-touching, etc.

    CDC Guidance: Tips for Talking with Children
  • Identification and Tracing of Contacts

    Seven Hills has three newly trained contact tracers among our faculty and staff who will assist with the process of specific contact tracing as directed by Contra Costa County Health Department. Our full time Health Coordinator is our designated person for the health department to contact about COVID-19.

    Any positive COVID-19 tests in the community must be reported to Seven Hills immediately so that thorough contact tracing can be conducted, and individuals who were in close contact with the person who has received a positive test can be notified. Seven Hills will work closely with the Contra Costa County Public Health Department to determine through contact tracing if the affected child’s cohort and additional individuals will need to be quarantined. For students who need to quarantine, Seven Hills will provide remote learning opportunities for the duration of the quarantine. The school will follow Contra Costa County protocols for a student diagnosed with COVID-19 to return to school.
  • Vaccines

    With COVID vaccines approved for students ages 12+, most of our Middle School students are taking advantage of the opportunity to be vaccinated now, and we anticipate children under 12 will have vaccine access sometime in the next six months. We are encouraging all of our families to consider vaccination when they become eligible by age and approval/availability to protect their own health and make Seven Hills as safe as possible. As soon as your child has completed their 2nd vaccine, please upload a photo of their vaccine card to their Magnus Health account.

    The more Seven Hills students are protected by vaccines, the more that normal offerings (Extended Day, athletics, field trips, special events, etc.) can resume. Based on public health guidance, there may be additional options and opportunities available to our vaccinated students, such as overnight trips.

    We encourage families to speak with their family pediatrician, learn, and ask any questions they have about the vaccine. All Seven Hills employees have been educated about the COVID-19 vaccine and we currently have a 100% vaccination rate for faculty and staff.
  • COVID Testing

    Data shows that consistent community testing is especially effective at reducing virus clusters and transmission. All unvaccinated K-8 students will have COVID testing at a frequency that is consistent with updated CDC and county guidelines. Due to the Delta variant, Seven Hills will conduct testing at the following cadence, aligned with the CDC’s Screening Testing Recommendations for K-12 Schools by Level of Community Transmission and County Specific Data.

    COVID Testing Today will provide on-site surveillance COVID testing during the school year, and Seven Hills will also offer rapid testing through the California K-12 School Rapid Testing Program for symptomatic students or staff, groups attending field trips or overnight events, or for surveillance testing prior to sporting events.
  • Campus Facilities

    The COVID Task Force has thoroughly mapped out the campus to assess our students-to-space ratios. Seven Hills benefits from the indoor square footage, as well as usable outdoor acreage, to accommodate all of our students and faculty and a range of modifications on campus. To utilize our available square footage in the most effective ways and provide extra spaces for classes, an additional Middle School science classroom has been added, as well as reimagined common spaces and specialty classrooms.
     
    1. Indoor Learning Spaces:
    • Communal tables have been exchanged for individual student desks.
    • Heating and air conditioning systems have been assessed and modified to prioritize fresh air flow from outdoors.
    1. Outdoor Learning Spaces:
    • Playground policies will reflect grade-level use by the week with students wearing masks and washing hands before and after playground times. Students will rotate through playground zones, but for the week they are using a specific portion of the playground, no other grade level will be using it.
    • Signage related to COVID safety, including mask instructions, drop-off and pick-up locations, handwashing, etc. will be visible around campus.
    1. Intensive Cleaning:
    • Seven Hills has expanded its cleaning and custodial teams to achieve enhanced and rigorous cleaning procedures.
    • Cleaning staff will focus on frequent sanitizing of high-touch surfaces and spaces after use.
    • Whenever possible, windows and interior doors in classrooms and offices will remain open for fresh air circulation.
  • Communication Plans

    Our Health Coordinator Mike Murphy and Head of School Kathleen McNamara will notify local health officials immediately of any positive case of COVID-19, and of exposed staff and families as relevant while maintaining confidentiality as required by state and federal laws. Seven Hills has policies and procedures for communicating with parents and staff regarding communicable diseases which includes an email to parents in that grade level and to appropriate staff who may have been exposed. This alerts parents and staff to the symptoms of a specific illness and a possible exposure that adheres to the policy requirements of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The identity of the student/family will remain confidential per FERPA.

    The designated Seven Hills COVID-19 Response Team will be responsible for communicating to our school families and staff of possible exposure to a specific class. Any follow-up needed will be done with consultation and in conjunction with the Contra Costa County Department of Health following their protocols and recommendations.
  • Community Responsibility

    Seven Hills will actively work to articulate, explain, and encourage healthy behavior among students, employees, and families, both in and out of school. We will strive to foster a collective spirit in which we take care of ourselves, our Seven Hills community members, and people in the wider community. Our ability to do our best to mitigate risk for our entire community relies heavily on all of us committing to maintain and enhance a culture of health, safety, and shared responsibility. More than ever, our personal behaviors will affect the health of our entire community.

    Accountability to Guidelines: We will expect everyone in our community to follow CDC and state/county guidelines at school and at home. Without adherence to these ordinances, virus mitigation becomes far more difficult. Most recent local mandates and information can be found at Contra Costa Health Services Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Practice washing hands and wearing a mask at home with your child.

    Reporting Illness or Exposure: It is the duty of parents and guardians to disclose to Seven Hills if they, their children attending Seven Hills, or anyone else with whom the child cohabitates have tested positive for COVID-19 or if their child attending Seven Hills is a primary close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is also the duty of employees to disclose to Seven Hills if they or anyone else with whom they cohabitate have tested positive for COVID-19 or if they are a primary close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

    Prior to our Return: We ask all families to please stay current on Contra Costa County guidance and stay-at-home orders, particularly in the two weeks leading up to the return of school. Every family’s adherence to virus mitigation best practice, as detailed by the county, is crucial to a consistent on-campus educational experience for our students.

    Travel: If you do need to travel, please ensure that safety measures—masking, physical distancing, and enhanced sanitation practices—remain a priority. If you must travel to a state outside California where COVID-19 cases are particularly rampant, please consult the Health Coordinator for guidance regarding quarantining for 10 days upon return and having a COVID test for your child before returning to school.
The Community Support Fund

Seven Hills and its families have always supported one another in times of need, and this is true now more than ever. To assist members of our Seven Hills community who are experiencing economic hardship in the recent health and financial crisis, the school launched the Seven Hills Community Support Fund. Donations to this fund will be used to create short-term assistance through bridge tuition grants to families with new financial need, or who have expressed uncertainty about their ability to meet their current tuition obligations for 2020-21. A spirit of generosity has long been a defining feature of Seven Hills, and we are so grateful to all who have made a donation that will keep our community strong and united.