Updates for 2021-22 School Year
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New information and guidelines from the California Department of Public Health pertaining to
WESD Expectations and Requirements (as of August 6, 2021): 
As a district, our expectation is that the vast majority of students will be back on campus, in person, in a “pre-pandemic” setting — no cohorts, typical pre-pandemic schedule, rotating of classes, electives, etc. The following list outlines the latest CDPH recommendations and requirements (subject to change) from the county and state (and medical professionals) that applies to ALL public and private schools in California:
  • All students are expected to attend in-person instruction.
  • All staff and students must wear face masks indoors, except those who are exempt based upon CDPH guidelines, and we will require all staff and students to wear face masks outdoors as well through at least the end of September regardless of age or vaccination status. (Outdoor masking is due to current surge of Delta variant impacting the non-vaccinated.)
  • Students with a medical condition that prevents wearing a mask MUST obtain a medical exemption from a qualified physician in order to attend in-person classes.
  • Physical distancing will NOT be required on campus, indoors or outdoors, per CDPH guidelines. 
  • Quarantine after travel continues for students who are unvaccinated. Details here

No Gatherings & Events on Campus
WESD, like many surround school districts, will not be holding any on-campus events through at least the end of September 2021. The recommendations of the health professionals are that districts pause opening up campuses to visitors due to the current surge of the Delta variant. We will continue to monitor and evaluate our policies as we progress into September and look forward to welcoming back everyone onto campus.
Visitors On Campus
As we continue to evaluate when events can be held on campus, we will be developing policies for any visitor who comes to our campus during the school day. Currently, the CDPH offers the following recommendations for visitors to campus: 
  • We will limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities involving external groups or organizations with people who are not fully vaccinated, particularly in areas where there is moderate-to-high COVID-19 community transmission. 
  • We will not limit access for direct service providers but can ensure compliance with school visitor policies. 
  • Anyone, including visitors, who have symptoms of infectious illness, such as flu or COVID-19, should stay home and seek testing and care. 
  • Once the health conditions improve and Woodside School allows anyone who is not a student or staff member onto campus, only parents and visitors who have been fully vaccinated will be allowed on the school campus during school hours.
Woodside School District
As of April 20, 2020
This Woodside School COVID-19 FAQ document will remain updated and available until the COVID-19 outbreak has ended. Please check this site regularly for the most up to date information from the school. 
As of Tuesday, March 31, San Mateo County Health Officer has issued an extension for the Shelter in Place Order for all of San Mateo County.  This Order went into effect on March 17 and now ceases on May 3. Please read the new Order HERE for specific information. At this time, Woodside School will be closed until the end of the school year per Tuesday, April 7 announcement HERE
What is “coronavirus” and what is COVID-19; how are they different? 
COVID-19 is the name for the “novel coronavirus” which originated in Wuhan, China in 2019. Coronavirus is an umbrella term. There are many strains of coronavirus. The current situation relates specifically to COVID-19. From here forward, the coronavirus strand in question will be referred to as COVID-19. 
What will the communication from the school look like when reporting the COVID-19 updates? 
All San Mateo County school districts are coordinating messaging; however, each district has its own unique communication plan and style. Woodside School will send email updates when necessary and regularly update this Woodside School COVID-19 FAQ page for up-to-the-minute changes and direction. 
What is the most recent email communication from Superintendent Frank regarding the COVID-19, Shelter-In-Place, School Closure or Distance Learning? 
  • To review communication from Thursday, April 20, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Thursday, April 16, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Tuesday, April 7, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Friday, April 3, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Wed., March 31, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Wed., March 27, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Wed., March 25, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Tues., March 24, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Friday, March 18, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Friday, March 16, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Friday, March 13, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Thursday, March 12, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Wednesday, March 11, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Monday, March 9, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Saturday, March 7, 2020 click HERE
  • To review communication from Friday, February 28, 2020, click HERE
  • To review communication from Wednesday, February 26, 2020, click HERE
We will attempt to manage fear by providing emails only when necessary to support our community in remaining calm, accessing correct information, and focusing on controlling what we can control. 
What are the dangers to children and how might they be different than for adults? 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided these answers as it relates to children and COVID-19.
What PRECAUTIONS can I take to help avoid contracting COVID-19 or exposing my children to it?
The SMC Health Department and other health officials are clear that the same precautions you would use for the seasonal flu, you should employ to guard against COVID-19. As recommended by San Mateo County Health:
  1. Cover your cough and sneeze. 
  2. Wash your hands frequently. 
  3. Avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands. 
  4. If you are not feeling well or are experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, contact your primary care provider and stay home from school or work.
  5. Like washing your hands, wearing a surgical mask may help a bit but you need to know that surgical masks don’t offer much protection when they are worn by people who are well. They are most helpful when worn by those who are already sick so that they are less likely to transmit the disease to others. Surgical masks are already in short supply and should be prioritized for use in health care settings.
  6. You should use a barrier, such as a paper towel or tissue, to touch commonly touched surfaces, such as bathroom door handles or elevator buttons.
The most important thing that you can do besides regular flu precautions is to PREPARE for infection and/or the impacts of infection. The SMC Health Department recommends asking yourself these questions:
  1. How will I take care of myself if I become sick?
  2. How will I take care of my family if they become sick?
  3. If Woodside School needs to be canceled for some reason, what child care would I need to arrange? 
  4. What supplies might I need to stock up on that are readily available in case the supply chain is interrupted for some reason? 
Some other questions you might ask yourself are: 
  1. Do I have an ample supply of my daily medications, critical meds, and any medications that would be necessary to treat symptoms of the flu? (Example: adult and children’s acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and/or cough medicine.)
  2. Is my earthquake kit up to date and ready to go in as much as it has general emergency supplies that might be of help? (Of course, having supplies beyond the typical earthquake kit is a good idea. What you decide to have on hand is based on your individual and family situation.)
Knowing answers to these questions prior to an elevated situation will go a long way to ensuring your comfort and safety in a myriad of scenarios.
What is one of the biggest dangers in a potential or confirmed “pandemic” situation and how can I manage this danger? 
Humans often manage communication using “mirror neurons.” Mirror neurons observe the behavior and emotion of others (or the news media) and our brains react by mirroring the emotion. Understanding this, it is important to manage our mirror neurons in times of heightened fear to protect ourselves from becoming susceptible to inaccurate or emotionally-charged information. There is a lot of fear due to the unknown. We can de-escalate our mirror neurons by staying calm, remaining informed, and controlling what we have control over (such as precaution and preparation). The more we can manage our mirror neurons, the more logically we can respond. 
Remember that children’s “mirror neurons” are also in full effect. If we approach information in a calm, informed, age-appropriate manner, we are most likely to help our children manage any potential fear or confusion. 
How should I talk to my child about the COVID-19? 
There is no "right way" to talk to your child about hard subjects. Every child and every family is different. Here are some resources you may find helpful as you talk to your child:
Will schools know if a student has been exposed to COVID-19 and will Woodside School close if someone is believed to have been exposed?
San Mateo County Health Department made it clear to us that it is nearly impossible to know now when or if someone is exposed. The first phase of the COVID-19 response was to contain, but recent changes in the spread mean that anyone could have been exposed, any time, at any location. Unless otherwise told to do so, the school district will not close school due to suspected exposure and no child or adult should be made to feel unsafe or unaccepted by assumption or innuendo. Anyone who feels they may have been exposed should contact their primary care physician. 
As of Monday, March 9, Woodside School is postponing or canceling all non-essential school events effective immediately through the return from spring break (April 12). The County Health Department recommends the suspension of all non-essential events — find the full list HERE.
Will Woodside School know if a student’s family has contracted COVID-19?
Not necessarily. The Health Department will be in charge of care and direction for isolation. District officials will remain in contact with the County Health Department and take direction from them. 
If I am worried about the spread of the disease, should I keep my child home?  
Keeping your child home for any reason is a personal choice; however, Woodside School does not recommend making attendance decisions based on fear. If your child is healthy they should attend school. If your child is sick with any illness, they should stay home to avoid spread and to get better.. As long as the COVID-19 concern remains, we will have slightly more conservative "stay at home" symptom standards. Any time your child exhibits even mild cold/flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms (such as shortness of breath, sneezing, etc.), they should stay home. Fever need not be present to keep your child at home
What if I think my child may have been exposed to COVID-19? 
If your child has any of the symptoms referenced above and has been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or if you have recently traveled to an area with ongoing spread, your child should stay home and you should call your doctor right away. Please notify your school office immediately if you think your child may have been exposed. For more guidance see the CDC's COVID-19 information site.
Under what conditions might a school close? (updated 3/13/20)

In order to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and to limit potential exposure for students, staff, and the greater community, As of March 13, the San Mateo County Health Officer issued a Public Health Order (please read) to close all schools in the County effective for Monday, March 16, 2020, and continue to be in effect through Friday, May 1, 2020, unless extended further. This order means at-home learning at Woodside School will take place from Wednesday, March 18 through the end of the school year. Our scheduled spring break from April 6 to 10 will not include at-home learning.

Are absences excused or unexcused?
Attendance guidelines are set by the California Education Code. If your child is sick, please keep them home and have them seen by a medical professional. Their absences are “excused.” Fear of contamination without school closure or student illness is not an “excused” reason to be absent, according to the California Education Code; that does not mean you can’t keep your child home. It simply means that Woodside School is required to tag it as unexcused. We encourage all children to attend school if they are not sick. 
All students at Woodside School are able to make-up missed work, whether their absence is excused or unexcused.
What cleaning precaution is Woodside School taking to help alleviate the spread of illness? 
San Mateo County Health Department offers no special cleaning directions during this period beyond the high standard of Woodside School's cleaning practices. However, out of an abundance of caution and to alleviate fears, our hard-working custodial staff have all received reminders of their training and specific guidelines to daily disinfect high-traffic locations such as door handles, faucet handles, phones, physical education equipment, and all student learning surfaces. The school uses state-recommended cleaning materials with fidelity. All soap dispensers will be filled daily. All WESD staff are encouraged to immediately report any empty soap dispensers to site custodial staff. 
What hand washing precautions is Woodside School taking to help alleviate the spread of illness? 
Hand-washing is always recommended during the cold and flu season; this season is no exception. Proper hand-washing is one of the most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19. ALL Woodside School staff have been asked to remind and encourage students, in age-appropriate ways, to wash their hands. Students are encouraged to pay special attention to washing hands before eating and at the end of recess/lunch. Most classrooms are equipped with faucets and soap dispensers. Our teachers have been told that it is understandable during this cold and flu season if a few minutes of instructional time is used to ensure students can wash hands.
The district's main responsibility at this point is to keep children and staff healthy. We are fortunate to have hand sanitizer pumps in every classroom on campus, and we have ordered multiple gallons of refill sanitizer to have on hand. Feel free to put a travel-size hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack. Please note, there is no guarantee that this precaution will prevent the spread of any contagion. It is simply a provision that may help to decrease risk. Parents are asked to encourage their children to wash hands regularly AND to practice, especially with younger children, appropriate and effective hand-washing practices
How is Woodside School handling family travel and/or new students during the COVID-19 threat? 
Schools cannot limit or control the travel or registration of any family. Travel restrictions are the responsibility of the federal government, although WESD will take the proper and legal precautions to ensure health and safety. 
Woodside School remains a welcoming place respectful of its role as a public institution. We are not keeping children out of school simply because they have traveled to a specific country or moved to Woodside from a country that has been in the news for having COVID-19 activity. Additional factors would play into whether a child is asked to stay home. Families may choose a voluntary quarantine due to travel, and some have. If an individual is in a known risk category, it is the Health Department’s responsibility to determine isolation requirements. 
If we have knowledge of travel from outside the US during the school year, we may request that parents provide a “clean bill of health” record from a primary care physician before returning. If registering to attend Woodside School from another country, please be prepared to provide confirmation of your entry date into the US to confirm a 14-day period before starting school. These expectations may change as the situation changes. Any new guidelines will be shared here. 
What local, state, or national communication has the district received and provided to parents through this COVID-19 FAQ?
What additional sites might parents be interested in visiting for information?
Additionally, the County has set up a COVID-19 call center for all non-emergency and non-medical questions and concerns (the number is 211).   
Who should I contact Woodside School if I have questions or information? 
Please know that we have access to the most updated information and news. While we appreciate the articles and resources you send, we feel confident we are getting the information we need.
If you have questions or information about this FAQ, about Woodside School's COVID-19 response in general or about your own child's health, please email Superintendent Frank.