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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 students 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 high-filtration masks (n95 or similar)
  • 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 15th 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.  

What is the current school policy on face coverings?

PHS will determine mask-wearing protocols closer to the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. If mask-wearing is required, 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 current PHS protocols for mask-wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene daily. 
  • 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.
  • Students will have specialist classes in specialist classrooms (Art, Music, Library). Electives, affinity groups, and flex periods may be in mixed middle school groups.
How will PHS manage student breaks and lunches?
  • Students eat outdoors for all snacks and lunches (on campus or in the Presidio) unless inclement weather requires eating indoors.
  • If students need to eat indoors, the eating period is silent.
  • SchoolFoodies will be delivered directly to classrooms before lunch (or before leaving for the Presidio). SchoolFoodies is available five days a week.
  • 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?

Below are the PHS protocols for if your student has been identified as a close contact (by PHS or otherwise):

  • Your student does not have to quarantine. They may continue to come to campus.
  • Have your student get tested immediately and again on day 5 after close contact.
  • Have your student wear a well-fitting, high filtration mask and monitor for symptoms until day 10 after close contact. If COVID-19 symptoms develop, test, stay home, and reach out to health@presidiohill.org immediately.

PHS has a specific protocol with a recommended quarantine for students with positive household members: PHS requests that families who have a close contact situation within their household consider having their student quarantine at home for up to 5 days, even if up to date with vaccinations. This is a recommendation from PHS, not SFDPH, and one we make because our priority is, as always, to keep school open safely for students and staff members. This may not be a possibility for all families and it is not a requirement. PHS will provide an asynchronous home study option for students who choose to go this route, and the home study will look different depending on grade level.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (and no close contact)

If you/your student (regardless of vaccination status) is ill, we ask that you follow the following procedure: 

Consult this SFDPH Symptom and Exposure Check. If the illness does not present with COVID-19 symptoms, the student/staff member may return to campus as soon as they are symptom-free.

If COVID-19 symptoms are present according to the above checklist, the student must: 

  • present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before returning to campus (rapid antigen or PCR test are acceptable)
  • confirm the improvement of symptoms, including the absence of fever for 24 hours before returning to campus. 
  • wear a mask on campus until symptoms subside or 5 days have passed, whichever is first. 

Alternatively, if you decline not to have your student tested, they must stay home for 10 days and may return to campus after ten days have passed, symptoms have improved, and they are fever-free.

See here for SFDPH parent handout about Returning to School After Symptoms.

If a staff member/student receives a positive COVID-19 test result (Rapid antigen or PCR)

If you had symptoms, you must stay home until

  • 5 days have passed since your symptoms started and
  • You do not have a fever, and
  • Your symptoms are getting better, and
  • You have a negative test collected on day 5 or later (maximum of 10 days).

If you never had symptoms, you must stay home for 5 days after your positive test. If you do not get re-tested on day 5, you must stay at home for 10 days after your positive test.

SFDPH quarantine/isolation source: https://www.sfdph.org/dph/covid-19/isolation-and-quarantine.asp

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 encouraged (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 proof of full vaccination 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 can be in mixed-grade groups and 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 may enter the PHS campus and sign their student our at the iPad to the right of the front entrance. Please use the callbox to alert the front desk if the door is closed. 

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. Enrichment classes take place in person on campus and follow all applicable SFDPH aftercare program guidance and PHS-specific protocols. 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 2022, 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.