20-21 School Opening FAQs

Last updated September 10, 2020.

This page will be updated regularly.

Yes, the goal of Tree House is to reduce the number of students and staff on campus. This will allow us to increase physical distancing and reduce class size. In our draft model of this scenario, students in grades K-3 would begin a part time return to campus on September 29. Fourth and fifth graders would have their first day on campus the week of October 5th. In the following three weeks, we would implement a phased, part-time, inperson return of our middle school students.

We are currently expecting to implement Tree House, a phased, part-time, inperson return of our students. We are planning for the campus to be open for students from 8am to 4pm with a staggered schedule for arrival and pick up in the first and last 45 minutes of the school day. Live Oak will activate 4 doors for entry and exit in order to allow for social distancing at arrival. The schedule will be by family, rather than by class. Families will be assigned an arrival and dismissal time with a process to adjust in order to accommodate the use of public transportation or plans for biking/ walking to school. We will not be able to host an in person Extended Care program at the beginning of campus reopening plans, though we will continue to monitor that optionality over the course of the year. Additionally, our Extended Care team is evaluating options for virtual programs before and after school.

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. SFPHD has stated that if and when schools reopen for in-person instruction and San Francisco is later placed on the watch list, schools will not be required to close. They should begin testing staff or increase testing frequency to monitor for potential outbreaks but schools will not be asked to close. 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. Live Oak students in the Branches Program would commit to that model for three week sessions as well.

Live Oak is required to meet the guidance for school reopening established by state and local public health officials. As soon as the San Francisco Health Officer allows for school reopening and Live Oak is able to meet conditions established by public health officials, we will begin reopening our campus. SFUSD will be working toward reopening as well but Live Oak may be able to do so sooner than other public, parochial, or independent sites.

Live Oak’s professional community engages regularly with the planning and preparation for the school year ahead. We have discussed the eventual return to campus since we moved to remote learning in March. Feedback from our faculty and administrative team has been integrated into our current set of plans for the 20-21 school year. A recent staff climate survey to gauge comfort with in-person learning helped us plan for additional protocols to increase the level of comfort. Staff who are vulnerable to COVID-19 or in a household with someone who is vulnerable are being accommodated in our planning.

California is requiring the testing of school employees for a return to in-person learning. Testing may be a condition for returning to campus after an exposure or a confirmed case of COVID-19. Live Oak will comply with current state and local public health guidance regarding our testing requirements so as to adopt community practices that contribute positively to the local response and containment of the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond those advised by public health officials, Live Oak will not adopt testing requirements as a preventative measure if such requirements unduly tax the supply of testing available for vulnerable populations, groups with a higher risk of exposure, and people with symptoms.

We have evaluated this question and spoken to representatives at SFDPH, and based on those conversations and research on what response needs to look like, we don’t believe we need that level of training and expertise. Faculty and staff will be trained on identifying symptoms of COVID-19. If a student is suspected of being sick, the child will be isolated and the family will be informed to pick up the child.

As is typical, student groups will be grouped heterogeneously based on input from our faculty, school counselors, and learning services team. Following guidance from public health officials, class size will be reduced to 12-16 students per section and assigned to homerooms that allow for physical distancing. We may consider changing groupings during the school year if this does not compromise the health and safety of our community and if we believe this would be beneficial to our students social and educational growth. Class sections will be finalized by our faculty in mid-August and announced to families the week of August 17.

Live Oak’s learning services team is adapting its plans for student support to reflect guidelines from public health officials and the different program scenarios. Our Student Resource Group will continue to be actively engaged in supporting our students, our faculty, and our families in knowing students well and in implementing a program that best supports their learning. More information regarding these programs at different grade levels will be shared closer to the start of the school year.

Live Oak will build upon our past successes with virtual community and student life rituals, traditions, and activities as we plan for the 20-21 school year. These spaces are sources of joy and support for our students and our school community. Time for them will be built into our students’ schedules and our school calendar.

Yes, we will plan to maximize the use of outdoor spaces for class activities and lunchtime, including the Rooftop, the Courtyard, and Jackson Park. We will invest in supplies that support the use of these spaces for teaching and learning. Faculty will help us to work these plans into the students’ weekly schedules.

Tree House incorporates inperson learning, which we know best serves the social-emotional well-being and educational potential of our students. Live Oak’s faculty and Program Leadership Team have been actively involved in professional development since March in order to build upon the strengths and address the challenges in last year’s School from Home program. We have adopted new schedules in lower school and middle school that are optimized for remote learning, setting a cadence for our students’ school days that balance synchronous and asynchronous lessons with attention to our students’ academic and social emotional development. We are selecting consistent learning platforms and tools best suited for our students’ developmental age. These will be deployed in a new one to one program that feature device upgrades that improve ease of use and connectivity. As is typical, our faculty will work on program development through the start of the school year and present detailed plans for curriculum content and learning goals in back to school events for parents.

The Branches program will provide remote learning for individual students while their class meets in-person and will follow the same cadence of three-week sessions. The program is designed for students or families experiencing vulnerability to COVID-19 and will take place concurrently to Tree House an Everyone, Everyday. Daily/Weekly schedules for the program will reflect in-person instruction, but take into account scenarios (PE, art) where asynchronous instruction would be more appropriate. Live Oak is implementing technology that will allow students in Branches to view and participate in certain aspects of in-person classes. The Branches Program Coordinator will be the primary contact to help with navigating the program.

Our Live Oak faculty have the expertise we can rely upon to create school and classroom communities that hold our students accountable to health and safety routines and protocols. Our faculty will work with students to understand routines, to practice their implementation, and to understand the consequences and impact of behaviors that do not meet expectations. Live Oak has added signage to classrooms and hallways to prompt safety routines like face coverings, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. We will aim to do this with the joy and playfulness that helps our students achieve our shared goals.

Several parents have asked for the school’s guidance on the formation of ‘learning pods’ for small, in-person gatherings. While we appreciate the resourcefulness and positive intentions behind this strategy, Live Oak cannot organize or support ‘pods’ for several reasons:

  • In order to counteract the community prevalence of COVID-19 and contribute to public health conditions that would allow for schools to reopen for all of our children, local and state officials advise against indoor gatherings and they draw our attention to patterns of household spread in the transmission of COVID-19 to children.
  • Families may not have the resources, feel comfortable, or have been invited to form a pod, and this may cause feelings of exclusion, especially for our students who may see or hear of their peers congregating and learning together while they remain isolated.

Yes. As Live Oak implements practices and procedures to ensure our safe and healthy return to school for our teachers 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. Live Oak is in discussion with other schools to create consistency and we are encouraged by SFPHD mentioning community guidelines as part of a school plan.

Students, staff, and parents will be asked to agree to a set of COVID-19 prevention measures when out of school that will include limiting social mixing outside of the family, adhering to face covering and physical distancing guidelines when out of the home, completing and reporting established daily health screening, self-quarantining following exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19, testing/quarantining after travel to high risk areas, staying home when sick, and observing routine medical practices including annual check-ups and vaccines. We will help families evaluate their “risk bank” by defining those activities that we believe are low to zero risk out of school activities and those that we advise against, including guidance on extracurricular activities. We intend to spend a bit more time determining a set of shared expectations for our community before finalizing guidance.