20-21 School Year Planning

Updated September 10, 2020

Live Oak continues to plan for the 20-21 school year in order to respond to the uncertainties brought about by the public health pandemic while holding the care and concern for our students, our staff, and our families at the center.

Guiding Principles

The following are the guiding principles that focus our decision-making:

  • Live Oak is committed to the health and safety of our students, our faculty and staff, our families, and our broader community. Live Oak will adhere to guidelines regarding school openings and closures as established by the Center for Disease Control, the California Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Public Health Department, and the California Association of Independent Schools.
  • Live Oak students social-emotional well-being and educational potential will be best served when our school can safely reopen for in-person learning.
  • Live Oak’s educational program, whether experienced in person or remotely, will be designed to support the potential and promise of each student while advancing equity, promoting diversity, and deepening inclusion in our school and broader community.

Community Conditions

Conditions in the school and local community will change over time. Our planning for the school year anticipates changes in the community conditions and associated changes in our environment for learning (inperson, remote, hybrid). As we move through the school year, we will capture the educational opportunities that are provided by improvements in the local health conditions while attending to the need for consistency and stability in our students’ educational experiences. We intend to evaluate the community conditions routinely and to establish the learning environment for a duration of three weeks, unless otherwise directed by public health officials.

Currently, the community conditions are at a Level 3 and Live Oak is prepared to implement Tree House, a program for our students that blends the best of School from Home with part-time campus instruction.


Program Scenarios

School from Home: a remote Live Oak program for an entire class/grade or the entire school when a portion of or the whole campus needs to close due to conditions related to COVID-19.

Tree House:  a program for our students that blends the best of School from Home with part-time on campus instruction.

Branches Program: a remote learning program to be scheduled for students or families experiencing vulnerability to COVID-19 so that they can learn from home while Tree House and Everyone, Everyday is taking place.

Everyone, Everyday: an on-campus Live Oak program with preventative measures in place to mitigate the exposure and spread of COVID-19. Available for all students, for full days, five days a week.

COVID-19 Prevention & Mitigation Plan

Though we have started the 2020-21 School Year with School from Home, Live Oak has transitioned to Tree House, a hybrid return to campus that safeguards the health of our community.

You can find the most up-to-date and detailed plans below. Please check this page often, as we will make adjustments as needed in order to align with recommendations from public health authorities.

View Live Oak’s COVID19 Prevention & Mitigation Plan (CSP)

View Live Oak’s Cal/OSHA Prevention Program (CPP)

View Live Oak’s School Guidance Checklist

The Head of School and/ or the Employment Resources Manager have met with staff who are in groups at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness. To the extent possible, arrangements have been made for those individuals to work remotely or to be reassigned to duties that enable them to work remotely. In the case that the position requires in-person work, the School has discussed options such as unemployment, furlow, and medical leaves.

Staff assigned to screen students for symptoms of COVID-19 and/ or to monitor sick students who are waiting to be picked up will be provided with PPE (face shield, face mask, gloves) and portable plexiglass barriers.

Staff who are in groups at a higher risk for severe COVID-19, staff who interact with large numbers of students or adults, and other staff who request it, will be provided with plexiglass barriers.

All staff will be provided with necessary PPE (masks and face shields). All staff will be required to wear masks at all times except when eating. All staff whose duties make it difficult to maintain six foot distancing, including teachers of younger students, will be required to wear face shields.

All staff will be expected to limit in-person interactions with each other. Staff who are able to complete their duties remotely will be expected to arrange off-campus work hours with their supervisor. Whenever possible, staff who work on campus will work at assigned work spaces. Staff will be expected to maintain six foot distancing from one another. Staff break times, including meal times, must be taken at designated work space or outdoors.

Staff who are absent for extended periods of time due to COVID-19 illness or exposure, and who are not able to conduct their work remotely, will be covered by teachers/ administrators who have been appropriately screened and tested for COVID-19 and trained in health/ safety procedures. To the extent possible, faculty absences will be covered internally. If no teacher or administrator is available, students may need to follow a remote learning program.

Live Oak will prioritize the return to in-person instruction for students who will experience the greatest negative impact of a distance program, including our youngest students, students with learning disabilities, and our students for whom the home environment is not conducive to remote learning.

Live Oak will not exclude students from in-person attendance solely because of medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, leukemia and other malignancies, and autoimmune diseases that may put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19. The child’s medical team and family will determine whether in-person attendance is safe.

Live Oak will provide simultaneous remote learning programs for students who remain at home in the event that they have underlying health considerations, are in isolation/ quarantine, and/ or their families chose not to return to in-person learning. Our School from Home program will be implemented when an entire class is attending school remotely due to a quarantine. The Branches program will allow students to attend school remotely while other members of the class are in person. Classrooms have been outfitted with technology to facilitate remote access to classroom activities. A Branches Program Coordinator has been designated to provide a primary point of contact for parents/ guardians of students in the program.

Live Oak’s campus will be accessible only to staff, students, and essential visitors (health care workers, emergency personnel, educational support professionals, facilities maintenance personnel). Daily attendance of staff and students will be kept as well as a log of any visitors.

All staff and students who are ill are required to stay home from school.

Live Oak has contracted with a private testing lab to host community COVID testing sessions every three weeks. The first tests were administered on August 19. Tests are offered at no cost to the employee. As of August 26, staff is required to have a negative COVID test within two weeks ahead of on campus work.

The lab provides Live Oak with a summary report of the testing session. Live Oak will submit these results to the preferred contact at SFDPH.

All adult persons entering campus will be required to complete a daily health screening that includes symptom screening, exposure screening, and temperature check. Employees will be asked to complete and submit the screening before arrival on campus daily through the provided screening form. Other adults on campus will complete a health screening led by the receptionist or designated administrator before entering campus.

Parents of students will complete a daily health screening before arrival at school each morning that includes symptom screening, exposure screening, and temperature check. Parents will record the results of the screening through the provided screening form. Students screening results will be reviewed at the time of arrival on campus by administrators on arrival duty. Administrators will conduct an additional symptom screen and a temperature check at arrival.

Adults with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 will not be allowed on campus. Students with symptoms will be sent home. Students who are waiting to be picked will wait in the school’s sick room, which will only be used for the purpose of isolating students with symptoms of COVID-19.

Staff and students are expected to avoid non-essential air travel. Students and staff who have traveled by airplane are required to stay home for 14 days or receive a negative COVID test before returning to school.

Family members of students and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested promptly, before they can spread infection to students and staff.

Live Oak will minimize the crossovers between students and adults in the school building. Students will be assigned to smaller classes that are stable and that don’t interact with other groups. Additionally, student groups will be assigned to a homeroom classroom that will not be used by other student groups. Recess and PE classes will be conducted in shared outdoor spaces, but students will remain in their classroom groupings during these times as well.

Live Oak students will be assigned to grade level groups of 12-16 students in order to allow for physical distancing in our classrooms. Siblings in the same grade level will be assigned to the same grade level group. Groups will remain the same for a minimum of three to four weeks.

Lower School classes will be taught by a stable and limited set of teachers for a three week period. Middle school students will follow a block schedule, minimizing the number of teachers that they come into contact with each day. Any school administrators or teachers who are not on the schedule and who visit a class will be required to sign in at the class entry.

Schedules for breaks, lunch, and recess will be staggered to prevent the mixing of classes and minimize mixing of student classes in hallways. Multiple entries and exits to the building will be activated for staggered arrival and dismissal protocols. Classes will be assigned one of four specific entries and exits to be used for arrival/ dismissal and travel to Jackson Park.

Rather than students rotating to different classrooms during the school day and creating hallway congestion, teachers will rotate to teach different classes in their designated homeroom.

Painted markings on the interior floors and on the sidewalk to direct flow of traffic and to indicate physical distancing should be followed by all students and staff as they travel in the hallways.

Physical gatherings of more than one class (assemblies, performances, cross-grade collaborations) are prohibited in our return to campus.

Live Oak completed an architectural review to identify the capacity of our classrooms while students and teachers follow the current guidance to maintain six foot distancing. Multi-purpose spaces on campus have been reconfigured to host “homerooms” for students, including the Grand Hall, the ChangeMaker Lab, and the library.

As advised by the SFDPH, student desks will be set to keep students four to six feet apart from one another and six feet away from teachers and other staff. To the extent possible, students will be assigned to a personal work space that will remain consistent for a period of at least 3 weeks. Student desks will be arranged to face one direction rather than facing each other.

Extra furnishings in classrooms will be removed or moved into the hallway to enable students to maintain social distancing while circulating in the classroom. Student locker usage will be eliminated.

In situations where our faculty, in order to appropriately care for our students, will not be able to adhere to the six foot distance standard, additional personal protective equipment will be provided for them, including face shields and disposable gloves.

Occupancy of all spaces including offices, bathrooms, and elevators will be reduced to allow for six foot distancing and occupancy signage will indicate these reductions. In bathrooms, alternating sinks and stalls will be marked as “closed”.

In hallways, and any places where students may congregate or wait in line, floors are marked to indicate where to stand in order to maintain six foot distance. This includes all hallways, stairways, and building entrances.

Staff on campus will maintain six foot physical distance from one another whenever possible. All staff workspaces are set to allow for six foot distancing.

All meetings between adults in the Live Oak community will be conducted virtually, including Parent Guardian Association (PGA) meetings, Board and Board Committee Meetings, Parent-Teacher Conferences, and Staff Meetings.

Face coverings keep people from spreading illness to others by trapping respiratory droplets before they can travel through the air.

All individuals, including staff and students of all ages, must wear face coverings that cover their nose and mouth while at school/ on campus. No individual is permitted to enter the campus without a face covering and they may only be removed for eating or drinking.

Disposable face masks will be provided for students and staff. Washable, reusable face masks are encouraged.

Face masks with vents are not sufficient to prevent the spread of the virus and are not permitted as face coverings by students or staff.

Face shields may be used for additional protection for the transmission of the virus through the eyes. They will be provided to be used by staff. Face shields may not be used as a replacement for face masks.

Frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer use removes COVID-19 germs from people’s hands before they can infect themselves by touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

All students and staff are required to wash or sanitize their hands with routine frequency throughout the day, including upon entry to the building, upon entry and exit to a classroom or office space, before and after eating, and before and after using shared equipment. Hand sanitizing stations are located throughout the campus to support this protocol.

Increasing outdoor air circulation lowers the risk of infection by “diluting” any infectious respiratory droplets with outdoor air.

Live Oak’s facilities team will open all windows and doors ahead of the student arrival period to increase air circulation in the building. Windows and doors will remain open throughout the school day and after the dismissal period.

Adjustments to the settings in Live Oak’s HVAC system will increase the draw of outdoor air into the facility. Additionally, Live Oak will upgrade the filters in our HVAC system to MERV 13 and increase the regularity with which they are replaced.

In classrooms where windows can not be opened to increase the flow of outdoor air, portable HEPA filters will be used to contribute to the air quality in the space.

To the extent possible, faculty are encouraged to use the outdoor spaces in the Courtyard, Rooftop and Jackson Playground for classroom lessons and activities.

Class groups will be assigned recess and break areas in outdoor spaces to avoid the mixing of classroom groups.

The use of shared playground and recess equipment will be limited in favor of activities that have less contact with shared surfaces. Any shared equipment will be cleaned after use by a classroom group.

Play on outdoor playground equipment at Jackson Park is allowed provided students wash or sanitize their hands before and after using these spaces. When hand hygiene is emphasized, cleaning and disinfection are not required between class group uses.

To the extent possible, Live Oak will limit the sharing of supplies and other high touch materials. Individualized student supply kits will be provided for each student to be stored in individually labeled boxes or bins. These will include homeroom class supplies, art supplies, electronic devices, learning aids, etc.

Staff will maintain individual supplies at their work spaces and avoid sharing supplies in work rooms or shared offices.

When supplies or equipment is used by multiple users or shared, items should be disinfected between use.

Live Oak will use EPA approved disinfectants for COVID-19 in cleaning procedures while following CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting.

All frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned daily including door handles, desks, countertops, phones, keyboards, lightswitches, handles, toilets, and faucets.

Cleaning after a suspected or known case of COVID-10 uses the same cleaning agents and disinfectants as routine cleaning, but includes the following steps:

  • Open windows and use fans to increase outdoor air circulation in the areas to be cleaned.
  • Wait 24 hours, or as long as practical, before cleaning and disinfection.
  • Clean and disinfect all surfaces in the areas used by the ill person, including electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, and remote controls.
  • Vacuum the space if needed.

Live Oak will work with families who use public transportation to establish a start time on the staggered schedule so that buses and trains can be selected when they are less crowded.

Live Oak families and staff who arrange for carpools and shared rides to get to school are encouraged to follow the guidance offered by the SFDPH: carpool with the same stable group of people, wear face masks at all times, open windows to maximize air circulation.

Eating together is especially high risk for COVID-19 transmission because people must remove their masks to eat and drink. People often touch their mouths with their hands while eating.

Live Oak has established plans with our caterer Darioush Epicurus to continue our commitment to providing a delicious and nutritious lunch for students and interested staff. The program will comply with all local health orders and include an individually packed meal for each participant, including accommodations for students with allergens, food restrictions, and picky eaters.

Students will have a snack break daily to coincide with their outdoor recess period. Snacks will be brought from home. In order to protect our students with food allergies, Live Oak does not allow any nuts to be brought onto campus.

Live Oak will avoid any use of shared tables or self-service buffets for lunch or snack. Instead, lunch will be delivered to classrooms for students to eat inside or outside while adhering to strict physical distancing guidelines.

All students and staff will be required to wash or sanitize their hands immediately before and after eating.

If students or staff eat inside, this should be done at assigned spaces that are cleaned with disinfecting wipes ahead of and following the meal time.


Occupancy in Live Oak’s Staff Room will be limited to allow for six foot distancing.

Staff who use shared copiers, laminators, binding, and other tools in and outside of the Staff Room are expected to clean touched surfaces with disinfecting wipes before and after usage.

Staff must wear face masks when using the Staff Room. Eating is not permitted in the Staff Room. Staff break times, including meal times, must be taken at designated work space or outdoors.

In person, group singing and the use of wind instruments is not permitted. These activities are higher risk for COVID-19 transmission due to the larger numbers of respiratory droplets produced. Percussion and string instruments are allowed.

Physical Education activities will be limited to those that do not involve close contact with other students or shared equipment.

Field trips are currently prohibited.

Live Oak will continue to provide support, services, and accommodations to students with learning differences and social emotional needs.

To the extent possible, Live Oak will avoid the mixing of student class groups in providing this support.

Tutors and therapists who are not school employees but who work with students in schools are considered essential staff and allowed to be on campus to provide services.

As Live Oak implements practices and procedures to ensure our safe and healthy return to school for our faculty and our students, our efforts will only be effective if the families in the Live Oak community are aware of and responsive to public health guidance as they conduct their lives outside of school. For this reason, Live Oak asks all members of our community to take actions that demonstrate their responsibility to their own wellness and the wellness of others. Students, staff, and parents are expected to follow COVID-19 prevention measures when out of school.

  • Limit social mixing outside of the family unless gatherings are outdoors and socially distant.
  • Adhere to all public health guidance regarding face masks and social distancing.
  • Complete and report established daily health screening.
  • Get tested if experiencing symptoms of COVID19 or if you believe you have been exposed to the virus.
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days following exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
  • Avoid higher-risk activities, including air travel, travel outside the Bay Area while working on campus and during in person learning, and/or 14 days before a scheduled return to campus.
    • Higher-risk travel includes situations involving interactions within 6 ft of individuals outside of their household if they or those around them are not wearing masks at all times, especially indoors or in large groups (e.g., air travel)
    • If higher-risk travel is unavoidable, upon return to the Bay Area, the traveler(s) should undergo a 14-day quarantine per CDC and SFDPH recommendations.
  • Observe routine medical practices, e.g., routine annual checkups, immunizations, and flu vaccines.

Parents/ Guardians must sign and submit the risk acknowledgement form on the Family Portal as required by the SFDPH.

Children who display symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day will be isolated in the designated sick room. Staff responding to the child's illness will wear gloves, ensure proper use of a face mask, and a face shield.

When a parent or guardian arrives to pick up a sick child, have the child walk outside to meet them if possible instead of allowing the parent or guardian into the building. Since children with COVID-19 may have been infected by a parent or other adult in their home, the parent may also have COVID-19.

Live Oak will follow the Department of Public Health Guidelines in our response to a known or suspected case of COVID.

Staff who become ill while at school must notify their supervisor and leave work immediately. Staff should be encouraged to get tested as soon as possible. SFDPH guidance on when workers with COVID-19 symptoms may return to work is at https://sfcdcp.org/rtw.

Live Oak will encourage family members of children and staff with symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested promptly, before they spread infection to others.

Live Oak will follow the Department of Public Health Guidelines in our response to a known or suspected case of COVID.

If a Live Oak child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, Live Oak will contact the SFDPH as soon as possible. (Call (415) 554-2830 Press 1 for COVID-19, then press 6 for Schools, or email Schools-childcaresites@sfdph.org )

Live Oak will also work with SFDPH to identify individuals who have had close contact with the person with COVID-19. Exposed individuals or their families will be notified, advised on testing, and guided through criteria for return to campus, usually 10-14 days after the exposure.

In the event that an individual at Live Oak has a confirmed case of COVID-19, Live Oak will notify all school employees and parents/ guardians while maintaining the confidentiality of that individual as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Live Oak will open windows in areas used by the sick person to maximize outdoor air circulation. These areas will be closed off as soon as feasible, until they can be cleaned and disinfected.

When a student or a group of students are required to quarantine because of exposure to COVID-19, Live Oak will provide instruction through the School from Home program.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that there is a lot of information during this time. We have compiled frequently asked questions from members of our community to help synthesize COVID-19 public health resources and school operations during this time.


Future Communications

Throughout this process of planning, Live Oak is committed to open communication with our community. In addition to email messages and information posted to the Family Portal, Live Oak will host virtual meetings for parents/guardians  regarding our reopening plans. Our next event will be held Friday, September 18 from 3-4pm.

Past 20-21 School Year Communications

August 5, 2020: Back to School from Home

COVID19 Planning and Response Team

Incident Command – Liaison to SFDPH and Advisory Groups: Virginia Paik, Head of School
Response to Illness – Liaison to SFDPH: Vanessa Neumann, Director of Administration; Janeth Moreno Gutierrez, Registrar and Receptionist.
Health and Safety – Facilities:  Erik Paxman, Director of Finance and Operations
Staffing and Educational Program: Emma Peat, Middle School Head; Victoria Ladew, Lower School Head; Lianna Kali, Director of Instructional Innovation
Stakeholder Engagement – Kendra Mastain, Director of Advancement; Francisca Guzman, Director of Communications; Adrian Takyi, Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion; Tracey Gersten, Director of Admissions.

The Planning and Response Team is responsible for data monitoring and evaluation. Representatives of the team will meet daily during the first two weeks of implementation (then twice weekly) to review adherence to COVID prevention and mitigation plans, including documentation of staff and student absences and follow up protocols.