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Reopening PHS

Reopening PHS

This page provides information and resources for Presidio Hill School families as we finalize a reopening plan for Fall 2020. This page is updated regularly and was last updated August 3rd, 2020. 

We are busy making plans so we can provide an excellent Presidio Hill education for all of our students starting in September, no matter where we stand with the virus at that time. This means we are planning for all contingencies – from on-campus learning to completely distance learning and including a hybrid model. This page details the specifics of reopening campus to our students this fall; our goal is to have all students back learning at PHS (and in the Presidio!) and we have many new protocols to make sure our students, families, staff, and the greater San Francisco community are able to return to campus so that we can imagine, inquire, and create together safely. We are formulating plans in communication with public health officials and utilizing the 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), as well as 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.

General Protocols

Stable Cohorts

We plan to have students in stable cohorts when they are on campus. Stable cohorts are a group of students who will stay together for their learning and break times while at school. Several teachers/staff members will be assigned to work with each cohort. Lead and assistant teachers will remain permanently with their cohort, while shared and specialist teachers and administrators may serve one to four separate cohorts.

Cohorts will have a classroom with outside air flow access, and each cohort's classroom will not be used by other cohorts.

Cohort students will not mix with other cohorts physically, though we will prioritize cross-grade and all-school virtual interactions. The size of the cohorts is a size of the lower school class or a middle school section, but physical distancing needs may see some cohorts spread through more than one classroom space. Classroom spaces will be announced once decided.

Daily Health Screenings

TBD - PHS will have a few questions for families to answer at the start of school daily. These questions may ask about virus exposure, symptoms, or fever for all students and staff visiting campus. A staff member will ensure that all students have completed the health screen questions and may do a temperature scan. 

Class and Campus Schedules (Including Drop Off and Pick Up Plans)

TBD - we currently plan to have a schedule that is close to a full day and will include extensive outdoor learning time, specialist classes, recesses, etc. We currently plan to have students stay in their cohort and classroom as much as possible; specialist teachers will have blocks of classes and will come to each classroom virtually or in person as is safe. We will have single cohort recesses and lunches. Our drop off and pick up times may be more stringent and we do plan to offer a version of PHS childcare.  Additionally, we will offer regular all-school and buddy meetings regularly - students will have the opportunity to engage with cross-grade friends and with the full community regularly.

Physical Distancing

Presidio Hill School has worked to safely space students and teachers in our existing spaces. By utilizing shared spaces and rearranging or reassigning existing classrooms, we will be able to have approximately 6 feet of space per person in each classroom. Additionally, there will be designated one-direction walking paths wherever possible, limits for the number of students in bathrooms or on shared campus areas, and classroom/ cohort specific sinks. 

Masks and Face Coverings

Masks will be required for all students. Currently, there is no plan for students to have out-of-mask time, though of course they may remove masks when they are eating snacks and lunches (lunches will be held outdoors as much as possible). Details about wearing masks during P.E., in the Presidio, and for our younger students will be decided soon. 

Handwashing and Sanitizing Protocols

TBD - Classroom specific plans, including details for where students at each grade level will be washing hands, will be shared soon. In general, students will be expected to hand sanitize when they enter the building and wash hands before and after all snacks, lunches, and recess breaks. Teachers will do a classroom cleaning/sanitization after every snack/lunch indoors.

Campus Cleaning and Sanitization

The PHS janitorial service are using a cleaning product specifically rated for COVID-19: Sani-T-10. We have expanded sanitization of shared and classroom spaces. More classroom-specific sanitization schedules will be shared when the classroom schedules are provided.

Sick Policy and Attendance

ADD: What parents can expect when kids get sick. 

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. 

Please reach out to your teacher and/or division director for extended absence plans. 

Staff and Student Sick policy: Any students and staff members with cold and flu symptoms must stay home. Our goal is to keep all children, teachers, and staff as healthy as possible during this time 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.

Please consult directly with your doctor if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or have symptoms of respiratory illness.

Other Protocols

Additional protocols including those regarding time in the Presidio, for after school and enrichment, for sports teams, and about emergency planning will be shared soon.


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.