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Return to School Plan

Using documents issued from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE), and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) as guidance, Camellia Waldorf School’s COVID Response Planning Team (CRPT) created a plan outlining changes to facilities and procedures that will be implemented to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 while supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic needs. The original document was reviewed and approved by Sacramento County Public Health on July 1, 2020.   Some initial minor changes were made based on their input. The plan in this document has been further revised and updated based on the SCPH memo to Sacramento County Elementary Schools dated August 24, 2020. This plan accompanies the request for a waiver to open for in-person instruction.

This reopening plan is for an outdoor learning model. Each grade has a designated covered outdoor classroom.  Some of these classrooms are made up of temporary rainproof shelters with removable walls that can be used to protect from sun and rain as needed. All shelters will have at least two walls removed at all times to allow ample ventilation. Students will not be permitted indoors under this plan except to use the bathroom, gather supplies, or to stay in the front office isolation area when sick. 

Evidence of Consultation with Faculty 
Evidence of Consultation with Parents
Evidence of Consultation with Administration and Staff

Cleaning and Disinfection

Procedures for regular cleaning and disinfection of shared surfaces have been put in place to help mitigate the spread of disease. Cleaning and disinfection protocols include:

  1. Daily cleaning with CDC approved cleaning solutions will be done by Camellia’s janitorial service, including classrooms, bathrooms, and common areas. 

  2. An electrostatic fogger has also been purchased to allow for more efficient sanitizing of classrooms and shared spaces. 

  3. Frequently touched surfaces in outdoor classrooms like student desks and outdoor sinks will be cleaned mid-day using soap and water.

  4. Any supplies shared between students will be sanitized with an alcohol-based solution between uses.  Bins will be placed in each classroom to collect supplies that require sanitizing. 

  5. Bathrooms and indoor door handles will be sanitized twice per day. 



Students will be kept in small, stable groups that remain together throughout the school day, including during instruction, lunch, and recess. Contact between cohorts will be minimized by staggering schedules and use of separate outdoor spaces. Cohorts will be established based on grade level. These include:

  • Preschool: Current enrollment of 7 students. Maximum enrollment of 14 students, with no more than 14 students in attendance each day. Our program allows for 3 and 5-day options. 

  • Kindergarten: Current enrollment is 16 students with two teachers using a 4500 square foot play area.

  • 1st Grade:  Current enrollment of 13 students. 

  • 2nd Grade: Current enrollment of 13 students. 

  • 3rd and 4th Grade: 3rd grade current enrollment of 8 students and 4th grade current enrollment of 6 students. 3rd and 4th grade will be in separate classrooms during the bulk of outdoor instruction but will combine for recess and specialty subject classes.  

  • Fifth Grade: Current enrollment of 21 students. 

  • Middle School (6th, 7th, and 8th Grade): During the period covered by the waiver, 6th grade will be its own cohort on campus with a current enrollment of 7 students. When 7th and 8th grade are permitted to return to campus, we plan to create a Middle School cohort consisting of: 6thGrade current enrollment of 7 students, 7th Grade current enrollment of 9 students, and 8th grade current enrollment of 6 students. Each grade will spend the bulk of instruction time in separate outdoor classrooms that allow for physical distance. Recess and some specialty subject classes will combine the middle school classes in outdoor learning spaces that allow for adequate social distancing.

  • Specialty subject teachers, including, gardening, and physical education will work with students in 1st-8th based on the cohort. Instruction will happen in each grade’s designated outdoor classroom space to minimize cross-contamination between cohorts. Each subject teacher will move between grades, having contact with multiple cohorts, wearing a mask and maintaining a 6-foot distance at all times. Health screening and attendance policies will be modified to accommodate for this level of exposure (see Health Screenings for Students and Staff below for more detail). 


Entrances, Egress and Movement within the School

Movement of students, staff, and parents will be carefully and methodically managed to avoid close contact or mixing of cohorts.

Contact between cohorts will be minimized through designated paths between and among outdoor school areas. For the limited times that students move indoors (to use the bathroom, gather supplies, or if they are in the front office isolation area when sick), visual markers indicating six-foot distance or direction of traffic flow will be used. 

Staggering drop-off, recess, and dismissal times will minimize the potential for parents to gather and for students to mix between cohorts. We will divide the kindergarten through 6th grade families (and later 7th and 8th) into three groups with three different designated drop off times:  

8:00 - 8:10 a.m.          8:10 - 8:20 a.m.          8:20 - 8:30 a.m.

Preschool families will drop off between 8:20 - 8:30 a.m. and will park in the parking lot and walk students through the garden in front of the River Building for screening at “Front Gate #3” with physical distance markers on the ground to ensure safety or screening will be done through an open car window prior to parking.

Kindergarten and First Grade families will park on Country River Way.  Kindergarteners will enter through our back pedestrian door and service gate.  First graders will enter through our rear gate. Kindergarten screening will take place at the gate between the lower grades play area and the kindergarten yard.  Chalk circles spaced six feet apart will be painted on the ground for the child/parent to wait to be screened. Parents will not be allowed into the kindergarten yard and must immediately exit via the gate they entered once their child has completed screening.  First graders’ screening will take place approximately twenty yards inside the rear pedestrian door. Chalk circles spaced six feet apart will be painted on the ground for the child/parent to wait to be screened. Parents will not be allowed past the screening point and must immediately exit via the rear pedestrian door once their child has completed screening. Only one adult per child is allowed. Parents will not be allowed to enter classrooms.


Students in grades 2nd-8th will be dropped off through the drop off lane at the front of the school. (See Map above.)

  • 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders will enter/exit through Front Gate #2.

  • 5th and 6th graders will enter/exit through Front Gate #1

  • 7th and 8th graders (when approved to be on campus) will enter through Front Gate #1

Face Coverings


Mask requirements will, at minimum, be in line with guidance from the California Department of Public Health, including the following:

  • All adults on campus must wear face coverings as outlined in the statewide mask order. Face shields may be used to support pedagogical needs as long as six feet of distance from students can be maintained.

  • All students in 2rd-8th grade must wear face coverings while at school. Masks may be removed for meals, snacks, or outdoor recreation, or when a mask needs to be replaced. When a cloth face covering is temporarily removed, it should be placed in a clean paper bag (marked with the student’s name and date) until it needs to be put on again.

  • Face coverings will be strongly encouraged for preschool- 1st grade students. Students whose day includes a nap-time may remove masks at that time.

  • Exemptions may be made for persons younger than two years old, anyone who has trouble breathing, anyone who is unconscious or incapacitated, and anyone who is otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.

  • Face coverings must be at least two layers. No bandanas or neck gaiters are allowed. All face coverings must be in line with the Camellia Waldorf School dress code. Camellia will supply each student with a mask in their size that satisfies these requirements. The school will also have a supply of disposable masks in varying sizes for children who forget their masks. If a student in grades 2 through 8 refuses to wear a mask, they will be sent home.

Health Screenings for Students and Staff

All students and staff will be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 as well as possible exposure before entering campus. Parents and staff will be instructed to self-monitor prior to arrival at school, and will also be screened in person upon arrival. 

Staff Screening

Screening stations have been set up for staff at the front of each building, including hand sanitizer, no-touch thermometer, and signage reminding them of the protocol. Whenever possible, a staff person will be designated to coordinate staff screening and ensure everyone is complying. Staff arriving outside of designated screening times are expected to self-screen.

Any parents or other adults who must come on campus for individual meetings, assessments, or volunteer duties will be screened and temperature checked at the Front Desk and sign in. 

Student Screening

All students will be screened before coming on to campus. Hand Stamps will be used to track screening as well as encourage thorough hand washing throughout the day. Staggering drop off times and multiple screening points will minimize the wait time and potential for excessive gathering prior to screening. (see “Entrance, Egress, and Movement within the School” above)

  • Preschool children will be screened just inside “Front Gate #3” by a staff person.  

  • Kindergarten students will be screened at the gate between the lower grades (“pines”) play area and the kindergarten yard.  

  • 1st grade students will be screened approximately twenty yards inside the rear pedestrian door which is just outside their outdoor classroom which is located in the lower grades (“pines”) play area.  

  • Students in grades 2nd - 6th and 7th and 8th (when approved to be back on campus) will be screened in our front parking lot through open car windows in our drive-thru drop off lanes. Any parents who walk onto campus to drop off students will be required to wear a mask. Only one adult per child is allowed. Parents will not be allowed to enter classrooms. Students in grades 1-6 who walk onto campus will also be screened in the parking lot area.

  • Students who arrive after the designated screening times will be screened at the Front Desk and receive a stamp and tardy slip before going to their classroom.


The screening will include a temperature check and the following questions:


  • Has your child or anyone in your household had any of the following symptoms in the past 72 hours?  

  •  Temperature above 100.

  • Cough

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

  • Repeated shaking with chills

  • Muscle pain

  • Headache

  • Sore throat

  • New loss of taste or smell

  • Congestion or runny nos

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Has anyone in your household had contact with anyone who has or may have COVID-19? 

Students and staff who have symptoms of illness, including fever, vomiting, upper respiratory congestion, cough, and difficulty breathing are expected to stay home until they are symptom-free for 72 hours without the use of medication. 

Students and staff who begin to experience symptoms of illness, including fever, vomiting, upper respiratory congestion, cough, and difficulty breathing, while on campus will be isolated at the front office isolation area until they are able to go home. Staff with their own transportation will be asked to leave campus immediately, as long as they can safely transport themselves home. Students will remain in the isolation area until a parent or other emergency contact can pick them up. 

If a student or staff member was symptomatic with mild to moderate illness and thinks or knows they had COVID-19, they must isolate at home. They may return to school when all 3 of these criteria have been met:


  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and 

  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and  Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.


If a student or staff member had no symptoms of illness but tested positive for COVID-19, they may return to school when:  

  • There has been 10 days since their first positive test and they continue to have no symptoms 


If a student or staff member has been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID19, they may return to school: 


  • Following a 14-day quarantine if they have no symptoms. An exposure is defined as someone who has had close contact (less than 6 feet) for at least 15 minutes. 

Get more information on when to quarantine here.

 If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, the school will work closely with Sacramento County Public Health to determine if and for how long the school site should close. Contact tracing will be used to notify families if their child has a possible exposure to COVID-19. Should the physical school site need to close for any period of time, instruction may continue through distance learning.

Students who have contact with teachers who teach multiple cohorts (generally 1st to 8th grade students), and those teachers that teach multiple cohorts, must adhere to an additional attendance requirement that includes staying home if any members of their household have shown symptoms of respiratory illness in the past 72 hours. 

Healthy Hygiene Practices

Hand Washing

Hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer will be widely available throughout the school, and their use will be incorporated into the routines of each class as appropriate. Outdoor sinks have been installed in the preschool yard, kindergarten yard, the garden, and three more close to each of the outdoor play areas, easily accessible to each outdoor classroom. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed inside the front of each building.  Regular, thorough hand washing will be incorporated into students’ daily routine, including upon arrival, before and after snack, lunch, and recess, and before leaving for the day. 

Identification and Tracing of Contacts

When a confirmed case of COVID-19 is reported in the school community, the school’s pre-designated contract tracing team, led by Janna Nygren, Operations Manager, will conduct contact tracing to determine which students and staff may have been exposed. This will include identifying the timeline for when the infected person was on campus and may have been contagious, working with the infected person or their family, as well as their class teacher (when applicable) to create a list of all students and school employees who may have been exposed, and then notifying those people of the possible exposure and requiring isolation from school grounds as outlined in the guidance documents. The lead contact tracer, Janna Nygren, will also work directly with SCPH to report their findings and ask for guidance as appropriate. 


Physical Distancing

The entire school day for each child will be spent outdoors, with the only exceptions being to use the bathroom, gather supplies, or in the event a child is showing symptoms or feeling ill, in which case they will be brought to the front desk isolation area. 

Each grade has a designated covered outdoor classroom.  Some of these classrooms are made up of temporary rain proof shelters with removable walls that can be used to protect from sun and rain as needed. All shelters will have at least two walls removed at all times to allow ample ventilation. Desks in outdoor classrooms will be spaced six feet apart or clear plexiglass shields will be used to minimize the spread of disease.

Class beginning and end times, recess, and lunch will be staggered so that cohorts do not mix during these times.

In cases of dangerous outdoor conditions like unpredictable extreme weather including thunder storms or dangerous wind levels, or poor air quality with an AQI of 151 or above, students may have to move inside temporarily for safety reasons.  Under these circumstances, strict social distancing protocols will be followed.

When unsafe conditions can be predicted, or if they continue for more than two hours, school will revert to distance learning until conditions improve. Parents will be notified as soon as possible via our emergency communication system.

Bathroom use will be coordinated to minimize interaction between cohorts. Preschool and Kindergarten cohorts will be assigned to their own bathrooms in the River Building. Grades cohorts will share the multi-stall bathrooms in the Redwood Building.  The number of students allowed in the bathroom will be limited in accordance with social distancing guidelines and the capacity of each bathroom. Tape “boxes” will be placed on the ground outside the restrooms distanced six feet apart to create waiting lines. Signs will be posted in restrooms to remind students of proper hand washing and hygiene procedures.  Sanitation of bathrooms will happen periodically throughout the day.


Staff Training and Parent Education

  1. Staff Training

Staff training has been taking place regularly since the spring. Workplace protocols regarding employee distancing, cleaning and sanitizing and health screening was put in place in March of 2020, and have been reviewed in faculty meetings and via email multiple times. Signs have also been posted in key locations on campus.

All full-time faculty members have been integrally involved in helping to create this plan, including aspects of our policies and procedures for students returning to campus, so that everyone has detailed awareness of what is involved in the process and has had an opportunity to share opinions on how to practically implement necessary safety measures. The completed plans have been shared by email with all faculty and staff, and were reviewed during our August In-Service meetings. An additional training covering expectations for daily protocols (student drop off locations, hand washing schedules, bathroom rules, etc.) will take place in the two weeks prior to students’ return to campus. This training will include specifics on the application and enforcement of this plan.


2. Family Education

Communication with families regarding health and safety procedures is an ongoing process that began with the sharing of our first Return to School Safety Plan, which was originally approved by SCPH in July. The plan was reviewed at length during a community-wide Town Hall Zoom meeting on August 10th. Class teachers also began highlighting our Face Covering Policy in their return to school emails to parents and in the weeks leading up to our return to campus will be working closely with their classes to set expectations for on campus behavior such as physical distancing, hand washing and healthy hygiene, mask wearing, and all other aspects of this plan. We have also created an addendum to our Parent Handbook outlining our new safety protocols related to COVID which will be distributed to parents via email. Key information like drop off and health screening procedures and mask requirements will be highlighted in a community wide email prior to our return to campus.

Beginning on our first day back on campus, administration and teachers will be prepared to work in person with students and families to ensure they are clear about health and safety expectations and their enforcement. Staff will be in place at all drop off points to do a health screening, ensure masks are worn, and direct students to the appropriate entrance. Throughout the day, teachers will lead students in habits and patterns that reinforce safety protocols.  Signs, floor markings, and changes to facilities will further reinforce information and expectations. 


Testing of Students and Staff


  1. Staff

Sacramento County Public Health has set up a routine surveillance testing program for all schools in Sacramento County.  There are 10 community locations to ensure that school employees have access to COVID-19 testing at regular and ongoing intervals.  Each site has appointment times dedicated exclusively for teachers and school staff.  The testing program starts on September 14, 2020. Testing is voluntary and there is no cost to staff or the school.


School staff are essential workers and staff includes teachers, administrators, assistants, aftercare staff, janitors, or any other school employee that may have contact with students or other staff.  Once students have returned to campus, Camellia will ask that staff test periodically, as testing capacity permits and as practicable.  Employees will be divided into four test groups based on the last name and assigned designated testing periods on a two-month rotation. The first testing group will be asked to go for testing between September 21st and October 5th.  Routine surveillance testing allows for the detection of asymptomatic infection.  Subsequent isolation of positives and quarantine of close contacts can help reduce the spread of disease within a school or organization. 


Information about testing sites and how to make an appointment will be made available to all employees. An administrative employee has been designated as a testing point of contact with Sacramento County Public Health in order to coordinate communication as needed.


2. Students

Students will be encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 if they are showing symptoms or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Information about testing can be found here:


Covid-19 Testing Sites

Triggers for Switching to Distance Learning

Staff will check state and local orders and health department notices daily about transmission in the area or closures and adjust operations accordingly.

Attendance records will be kept and symptoms of illness carefully monitored to ensure ample awareness of potential cases of COVID-19. If a student, teacher or staff member tests positive for COVID-19 and has exposed others at the school, staff will refer to the CDPH Framework for K-12 Schools for guidance regarding cohort quarantine or all-school closure: “Individual school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at a school or when at least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are cases within a 14-day period, depending on the size and physical layout of the school.”

If any case of COVID-19 is reported in the school community, designated staff will communicate with SCPH for advice and guidance.

Teachers have prepared in advance for distance learning options that can be quickly implemented in the case of a cohort or the entire school moving to distance learning.

Cohort Quarantine and School Closure

Camellia Waldorf School will work closely with the Sacramento County Public Health to assess when individual cohorts or the entire school population may need to go into quarantine, either because of specific exposure to COVID-19 or because of elevated cases of COVID-19 in the wider community. 

Decisions about individual cohort quarantine or all school closure will be made based on guidance from CDPH found here:

CDPH Reopening In-Person Learning


Communication Plans

Communication regarding cases and exposures will be relayed through our parent communication portals, Constant Contact and the Messenger.   If a case of COVID-19 is identified in the Camellia faculty, staff, or student body, all parents and employees will be notified and the SCPH will be contacted to assess the best course of action. Students will be informed as appropriate for their developmental stage and in consultation with their teachers and parents. In the case of confirmed exposure to COVID-19, parents of all affected cohorts as well as all employees will be notified, consistent with the school’s communication guidelines dealing with any communicable disease while also adhering rights to privacy.

As a private school, Camellia Waldorf School is not required to adhere to FERPA regulations. However, decisions about how information is shared with the community will be based on the principles outlined in FERPA to the greatest extent possible. Names and identifying information will not be included in notices to the community, consistent with the school’s communication guidelines dealing with any communicable disease. 

Communication Flow Chart
CWS COVID-Communications-Plan
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