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Managing COVID-19

COVID-19 and PHS

This page provides information and resources for Presidio Hill School families regarding PHS and COVID-19. 

PHS is committed to having students safely learning at PHS (and in the Presidio!) and we have many protocols in place to make sure our students, families, staff, and the greater San Francisco community are able to imagine, inquire, and create together with minimal risk.

We utilize guidance from health and educational authorities such as Centers for Disease Control (CDC), San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), California Department of Education (CDE), California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), We meet bi-weekly with SFDPH for updates to guidance and to ensure best practices, and we regularly refine protocols based on our own educational expertise and feedback from our community. 

In order to provide safe on-campus learning, we will take precautions to minimize risk that will include those listed below. We have a shared responsibility to our students, staff, PHS families, and San Francisco community to minimize risk as much as possible both on and off-campus. Please make sure to follow all SFDPH recommendations to keep our full community safe and healthy. 

Note: These are our current understandings of best practice and as guidance develops or changes, our protocols may continue to evolve according to community health recommendations.

Guidance and Resources:

K-12 Schools: 

SFDPH Guidance for TK-12 Schools for In-Person, On-Site Instruction
CDPH COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year
CDC Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in K-12 Schools


SFDPH Programs for Children and Youth directive
SFDPH Programs for Children and Youth guidance

General Guidance:

SFDPH Parent/Guardian Symptom and Exposure Check
CDC Domestic Travel During COVID-19
CDC International Travel During COVID-19

On-Campus Policies and Procedures

These FAQs represent our current plans, protocols, and understandings and are subject to change. 

What do student need to attend school daily?

PHS start and end of school times are as follows: 

  • TK & K 9:00 am - 2:45 pm (Wednesday dismissal @ 1:45 pm)
  • 1st & 2nd 8:30 am - 3:00 pm (Wednesday dismissal @ 2:00 pm)
  • 3rd 8:30 am - 3:05 pm (Wednesday dismissal @ 2:05 pm)
  • 4th & 5th 8:30 am - 3:10 pm (Wednesday dismissal @ 2:10 pm)
  • 6th-8th 8:45 am - 3:35 pm (Wednesday dismissal @ 2:35 pm)

Please make sure to only use our Washington Street white zone and entrances–our Maple Street entrances have reverted to fire entrances/exits ONLY. 

Please make sure to bring the following supplies to campus daily: 

  • All necessary school supplies in a manageable bag/backpack
  • 1-2 good cloth and/or n95 masks (paper masks are available to PHS for those students who need an extra layer)
  • Layers, gloves, hats, and sunscreen for our longer periods in the Presidio
  • A full water bottle and appropriate snacks and lunches (see teacher-specific August letters for more information about suggested school lunches and snacks). 
  • In TK-1st grades, please bring the PHS-provided safety vest

Middle School students have lockers. Please refer to the middle school note in our August 1st e-Mailing for more information.

Please complete your student’s health screen before dropping them off at PHS.

If your student is absent, please email the classroom teacher and attendance@presidiohill.org. If the absence is due to illness, you will receive a list of COVID-19 symptoms to refer to and you must either 1. confirm the symptoms are not COVID-19-related or 2. present a negative COVID-19 test and the student must be symptom-free before returning to campus. 

What is the current school policy on physical distancing?

Physical distancing is no longer a required mitigation measure for schools and PHS is not observing minimum distancing requirements in classrooms. PHS has prioritized having all students in one classroom, and as much as possible, PHS has maintained 3+ feet of space between student chairs. During lunches and snacks outdoors, students will be seated 6 feet apart. 

What is the current school policy on face coverings?

Schools are required to have mask-wearing indoors for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status. PHS has additionally implemented mask-wearing outdoors–students, staff, and campus visitors must wear masks at all times on campus and during school hours. We strongly recommend using a mask that follows the CDC mask recommendations

What is the current school policy on hand hygiene?

Hand hygiene protocols have not changed from 2020-21: Students will be required to wash or sanitize hands before and after every snack and lunch break, before entering the classroom for the day, before returning to the classroom from outside, and after any contact with shared teachers.

What are general classroom protocols?
  • Students will adhere to PHS protocols for mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene daily. 
  • Teachers will maintain in-classroom seating assignment records and during outdoor lunches and snacks, students will maintain 6 feet of distancing. 
  • Classrooms will be cleaned and sanitized at the end of every day by PHS’s contracted custodial staff, and as needed during the school day by students and staff.
  • In general, students will likely be seated at individual desks. In lower school, the bulk of classroom time will occur at individualized assigned seats. Exceptions could include situations such as shared projects, specialist classes, in-classroom playtime, as well as others. Students will not be required to maintain distancing within the classroom. 
  • Students will have specialist classes in specialist classrooms (Art, Music, Library). Electives, affinity groups, and flex periods may be in mixed middle school groups–seating assignment records will be kept.


How will PHS manage student breaks and lunches?
  • SchoolFoodies will be delivered directly to classrooms before lunch (or before leaving for the Presidio). SchoolFoodies is available five days a week.
  • Physical distancing will be maintained during snacks and lunches outdoors, and students will have assigned eating spots. Students will be able to take down their masks to eat and drink, and so will maintain at least six feet of space between themselves. 
  • Hand hygiene protocols implemented for the 2020-21 school year will continue to be followed–students will wash and/or disinfect their hands before and after every eating period. 
What are the details about ventilation at PHS?
  • PHS’s buildings have MERV-17 filtered ventilation systems augmented with Honeywell HEPA air purifiers as well as ample ventilation in rooms with access to the outdoors. Smaller or office spaces have portable air purifiers in them. Doors and windows are left open during the day. 
  • During summer 2020, PHS conducted a ventilation audit through Healthy Building Sciences to confirm adequate ventilation and airflow in classroom locations. 
  • When air quality is poor due to wildfires or other causes, PHS can remain open even if we need to close windows or adjust ventilation systems to maintain indoor air quality. We will be making decisions about AQI thresholds during COVID-19 in the coming weeks and will send an updated AQI/Inclement Weather Policy.
What are the quarantine requirements for PHS?

People who are fully vaccinated for COVID-19 or have had COVID-19 in the past three months do not have to quarantine after close contact as long as they do not have symptoms. They should consider making an appointment to be tested 3-5 days after their last close contact. CDC and SFDPH now recommend this because the delta variant can sometimes infect fully vaccinated people. Vaccinated close contacts should also self-monitor for symptoms for the 14 days after their close contact. If they develop symptoms, they should get tested and stay at home until they get the test result.

Per SFDPH guidance, there is a modified quarantine for unvaccinated TK-12 students who have close contact with COVID-19 at school

Indoor Classroom: Students in TK-12 schools who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and have close contact in an indoor classroom setting at school can leave quarantine to attend school if both the student and the infected person were wearing face masks for the duration of their exposure and all the following are met:

  • They remain asymptomatic
  • Continue to wear a face mask while at school
  • Undergo twice-weekly COVID testing with negative results; antigen testing is recommended but PCR testing is acceptable
  • Avoid all out of classroom activities including extracurricular activities and out of school programs (includes PHS Neighborhood)

Outdoors: Children and youth who have close contact with person with COVID-19 outdoors at a school or childcare are only required to quarantine if they are unvaccinated, and the close contact occurs EITHER:

  • during a high-contact sport/dance OR
  • while stationary and unmasked (e.g., while eating a meal or singing)

The duration of modified quarantine is 10 days. Modified quarantine is only applicable for TK-12 students. Staff should follow standard quarantine guidance.

Close contacts are defined as anyone who stayed within 6 feet of someone with COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes over the course of a day. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 2 days before they have any symptoms or test positive. In schools, childcares, and programs for children, it may be difficult to know who has had close contact. People should be considered close contacts when the program is reasonably sure that they spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of the infected person during the course of a day. People are not considered close contacts simply because they were in the same class or cohort. If the program cannot determine this or does not know, the person should not be considered a close contact.

Standard quarantine: All unvaccinated adults must undergo a 10-day standard quarantine. For unvaccinated students, if one of the parties was unmasked during exposure, the close contact should quarantine from all activities for 10 days (this can be shortened to 7 days if testing was conducted after day 5 and is negative). Monitoring of symptoms should continue for 14 days total regardless of timing of return to school.

Travel quarantine: Recommendations For unvaccinated people (children ad adults)

If you are not fully vaccinated and must travel, take the following steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. After you travel (outside of California):

  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations and/or requirements.

If a Positive Case Situation Happens at PHS

PHS will rely on guidance from SFDPH and public health officials when/if a positive case occurs on campus. We are utilizing this quick guide for suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 and this Returning to School After COVID-19 document for current planning.

What are the vaccination requirements for PHS?

Staff must be fully vaccinated, students and families are encourage (but not required) to be vaccinated. 

Visitors to campus must provide proof of vaccination and remain masked at all times on the PHS campus. Current PHS parent/guardian Presidio volunteers or visitors who will spend more than 15 minutes in classrooms while students are present must provide 1. proof of full vaccination and 2. must attest to the full vaccination of eligible household members before being able to enter the campus or volunteer off campus. Division Directors or the PHS front desk staff will contact eligible volunteers/visitors about our current PHS visitor policy in advance, as much as possible. 

We strongly encourage all eligible students and families to get vaccinated, if possible. Once the vaccine(s) receive full FDA approval, PHS will further explore the idea of requiring all eligible students to be vaccinated barring an approved exemption for medical or religious reasons.

What are afterschool and enrichment policies?

The PHS Neighborhood and Enrichment Program

The Presidio Hill School Neighborhood program takes place from the class dismissal time through 6:00pm (programming ends at 5:30pm). Students are able to be in mixed-grade groups and will follow the same on-campus protocols as during the school day. To pick a student up from the Neighborhood (afterschool) program, authorized pick-up people should use the PHS call box (to the right of the front door). The front desk person will pick up the call and request the student from the Neighborhood staff. Neighborhood staff will send the student downstairs to the front desk person, who will release them to their authorized pick up and confirm the pick-up person has signed the student out of Procare correctly. 

The Enrichment Program is offered within the Neighborhood Program in three sessions: fall, winter and spring (each about 8-12 weeks long). Examples of enrichment classes include chess club, private music lessons, martial arts, cooking, photography, & gymnastics. We will have enrichment classes in person on campus this year, while following all applicable SFDPH aftercare program guidance and PHS-specific protocols. Higher risk activities such as gymnastics and Hapkido enrichment classes will take place outside. All enrichment class teachers will be fully vaccinated and masked at all times. 


Members of the San Francisco Athletic League (of which PHS is a part) have met and had initial discussions about what is possible for Fall intramural sports (volleyball and cross country). PHS is in close contact with San Francisco Athletic League directors about what will be possible for our community for Fall 2021, and we anticipate that the announcement of protocols for fall sports will come a little later than usual. Families may feel free to consider outside club sports or organizations.

On September 14th, 2020 PHS submitted a Reopening Application to the San Francisco Department of Public Health and we were approved to reopen on October 18th, 2020. Click here to see our updated Application to Reopen

Presidio Hill School is an inclusive community and COVID-19 does not recognize race, nationality, or ethnicity. Wearing a mask does not mean a person is ill. You can interrupt stigma by sharing accurate information. Please speak up if you hear, see or read misinformation or witness harassment or discrimination.