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COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information

Please see PHS' Reopening Webpage for the most current information about our Fall 2020 plans.

This page provides information and resources for Presidio Hill School families and will be updated as the situation evolves.

The health and well-being of our school community is our highest priority and we are actively monitoring the latest information regarding the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus. The CDC recommends you follow preventative measures for stopping the spread of germs: wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, disinfect frequently used objects and surfaces, and avoid contact with those who are sick. For more information on the CDC recommendations, please visit www.cdc.gov/COVID19.

Presidio Hill School’s Distance Learning Plan

Lower School Distance Learning Schedule

Middle School Distance Learning Schedule 

Presidio Hill School’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Plan 

General FAQs

What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

How can I keep my family healthy?

In the same family as the flu, the preventative measures for COVID-19 are similar to those for the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick. This means if you have a fever that is 100 degrees or greater. Once the fever has cleared, you need to wait 24 hours before returning to school.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and follow up with hand-washing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
What precautions are PHS taking?
  • All school programs and events will continue as normal. Field trips will not use public transportation and field trip locations and school events will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis
  • Faculty/staff will have students wash their hands before and after all snack and lunch breaks, after using the restroom or coming from recess, and after using shared devices (iPads and laptops) as well as any other times teachers deem necessary. 
  • Students will be consistently reminded not to share food or drinks with each other during snack or lunch
  • We will provide disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and antibacterial soap to all faculty/staff to make available in classrooms
  • The janitorial staff will completely sanitize all public surfaces on a nightly basis including all doorknobs, handrails, common areas, desks, countertops, and restrooms
  • Staff are required to sanitize classrooms and offices mid-day
  • Faculty/staff and students are advised to remain home if they are ill (symptoms other than those associated with COVID-19); normal PHS health protocols, including remaining home with a fever within the last 24 hours, will be reinforced and followed strictly
  • Teachers will revisit our roots as an “open-air” school by providing students the opportunity to learn and be outside as much as possible during the school day and in after-school
  • The Head of School and administration will continue to consult with accrediting agencies (e.g. National and California Association of Independent Schools), governing agencies, and the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and WHO (World Health Organization) for expert guidance and direction
  • The administration will continue to monitor the San Francisco Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control websites daily to stay aware of emerging situations.
What about field trips, school gatherings, and parent events?
  • Assemblies & Gatherings: We will be cancelling or rescheduling all student gatherings that are larger than the size of a grade band. In-school clubs will not be affected.
  • Sports: We will be cancelling or rescheduling all sport games with other schools. Practices will go ahead as planned and we will prioritize outdoor practice.
  • Recesses: will continue as usual, with additional handwashing requirements implemented.
  • Enrichment: We are in contact with our enrichment class teachers to determine whether classes with a physical contact component (e.g. Hapkido) will be cancelled or amended. Please expect an email only if your students enrichment class is affected. 
  • Food on campus: We are not allowing outside shared food brought to campus (class celebrations, Wednesday Soup for Teachers, Friday snacks, etc). SchoolFoodies (individually packaged) will continue as usual.
  • Field Trips: Students MUST stay home if ill. We will be cancelling or rescheduling most field trips to public spaces (museums, Institute on Aging, etc). If a field trip is to a location with limited outside contact or has a program that is more than half outside, we may choose to continue with the trip. Harley Farms (8th grade) will go on as planned tomorrow -- for all WELL 8th graders.
  • Conferences: Conferences will continue as planned. PHS Camp/childcare during conferences will be open and will make as much use as possible of our outside spaces on campus. You will have the option of another format for conferences besides face to face if you would prefer.
How will PHS communicate updates with parents?

For urgent messages, we will continue to communicate using our SchoolMessenger system and email broadcasts. For less urgent information, we will communicate by email and/or email broadcasts. For general updates, we will communicate through the Presidio Post and this developing COVID-19 resource and information webpage.

Has the school talked about coronavirus with students?

As this situation has evolved, so too has our communication with students about the coronavirus. On Monday, March 2nd, we had separate lower school and middle school assemblies on proper handwashing. On Monday, March 9th, our counselor, Shannon McGilloway, spoke with all lower school classes about coronavirus and middle school advisors spoke with their advisees about the disease. Shannon created this document for all teachers to use to support conversations in their individual classrooms. 

Student and Staff Absence Policies

Attendance Notifications: In addition to staying home when ill, or if there has been travel to a CDC-defined level 3 country, or if you have reason to believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19, we ask that all families be very clear in their communications about why a student is absent from school. It will help us logistically if you report directly to Martin or your child’s teacher why your child is out so that we do not have to spend time following up. 

Absences (student and staff) will be excused through the end of March and on an as-needed basis after that. Please reach out to your teacher and/or division director for extended absence plans. 

Staff and Student Sick policy: At this time we are advising any students and staff members with cold and flu symptoms to stay home. Our goal is to keep all children, teachers, and staff as healthy as possible during this time (and during normal cold and flu season!) and therefore follow the CDC guidelines. Please reference our sickness policy as detailed in the PHS Family HandbookWe ask that children be kept home from school when symptoms of illness first appear (runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea, fever, vomiting) and until your child is no longer contagious. Please wait until your child has been fever-free for 24 hours before sending them back to school.

If you choose to consult directly with your doctor (recommended by the CDC if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or have symptoms of respiratory illness), please reference Lisa's letter to the community in order to provide accurate information that may help them to determine next steps, including possible time away from school.

Should my family notify PHS of recent travel or travel plans?

If you or a member of your family recently traveled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan or South Korea, or any CDC-determined Level 2 or Level 3 countries or plan to travel to any countries with a widespread or sustained transmission, please notify Lisa directly. If a student or employee traveled or plans to travel to a high risk area (CDC-identified Level 3 countries), the School will contact the public health department for guidance on how to proceed. According to CDC guidelines, these students or employees will likely require a fourteen day self-isolation period. PHS reserves the right to require a more cautious uniform response. PHS will thoughtfully consider how to continue to provide any student with meaningful education at home during the self-isolation period.


Please also keep in mind that we are an inclusive community and that 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.