October 15th, 2020 - Golden Bridges School Plan to Resume In-Person Instruction Golden Bridges School has submitted our application and plan to resume in-person instruction. We are anticipating a return to in-person instruction in early November, starting with Kindergarten and lower grades, and adding upper grades in the following weeks. We will share the return to in-person instruction start date for each class once the timeline is confirmed.
October 15th, 2020 - Health and Safety Norms and Community Pledge In preparation for expanded in-person instruction, we have made significant updates to our Health and Safety Norms and added a Community Pledge, representing our shared understanding of what COVID-19 preventive behaviors and practices are expected in order to attend in-person instruction and support the health of our students, teachers, and greater Golden Bridges School community.
September 20th, 2020 - Perpectives In-Person Instruction Parent, Guardian and Caregiver Perspectives Note: Over 50% of students represented by respondent perspectives collected between 9/10-9/20/2020
As early as next week, SFDPH will likely start approving school applications/plans to resume in-person instruction.
SFDPH Guidance, in order to resume in-person instruction
All TK-12 schools will have to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) to SFDPH followed by an application/plan for Health Officer review and approval before re-opening for in-person instruction. (GBS has completed that process.)
SFDPH is now accepting applications for TK-8 grades with their assumption that San Francisco will stay in the CA State Substantial Red tier or below for this week.
As part of school reopening, SFDPH will be conducting on site, in person site assessments. “Please follow the TK-12 school guidelines (below) and prepare your school as if it was to open very soon. When you are ready, please contact the SFDPH to schedule a site assessment.” - SFDPH and SFDPH School Guidance
Continuity of Education will be supported through distance learning, regardless of availability of in-person instruction.
Through our hiking program, we have now had our first early experiences to help us start to understand how our teachers, students, and families respond to the availability of, and the safety requirements for, in-person instruction.
Examples of in-person instruction phases/steps
Distance Learning (e.g. Main Lesson, Subject Classes) with supporting In-Person Hikes (our current practice)
Distance Learning (e.g. Main Lesson, Subject Classes) with supporting Outdoor In-Person Instruction (may include hikes, but also class content)
As faculty and staff we are meeting to understand the readiness of our personnel for the increased risk that comes with in-person instruction. Teachers want to provide in-person instruction, but, like you, they also have their own individual and family risk factors to take into consideration.
As a community, we need to continue this important conversation, develop a better understanding of the questions that come up for our families and how best to support needs. Any progress we make towards in-person instruction, we need to make together.
Community Discussion and Q & A We would now like to open up this forum for perspectives and questions that you would like to share with our community.
We have invited the support of Dr. Scott Layne, M.D., a physician-scientist, infectious disease specialist, and former professor of epidemiology, to support us with any scientific questions. Adam will be supporting all school process and policy related questions, including the required process for a return to in-person instruction.
There is much to discuss and learn, and, at times, questions will require further research, but we will do our best to support your questions and work towards the answers we need as a community. Again, Continuity of Education will be supported through distance learning, regardless of availability of in-person instruction.
In-Person Education Next Steps and Town Hall Meeting Wednesday, September 9, 6-7
August 29th, 2020 - SFDPH Sent Out School Requested Waiver Applications for In-Person Instruction Today, we received an application and the Board of Trustees and Steering Committee will begin a process of review, including continued monitoring and assessment of operational readiness and key public health indicators, consistent with our Health and Safety Plan. Teacher, staff and student safety will continue to be our first consideration, and if or when we move forward with the waiver application process, it will be after consultation with teachers, staff and parents. We will facilitate and continue community discussion when more information is available. At all times, we will prioritize and support Continuity of Education for our students not attending in-person instruction.
August 28th, 2020 - CA State Blueprint for a Safer Economy (Updating/Replacing CA County Monitoring List) "California has a blueprint for reducing COVID-19 in the state with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities... Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Public health officials are constantly monitoring data and can step in if necessary." - https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/
Status updates can be found using this link and entering County: San Francisco / Activity: Schools
Status on August 29, 2020 County: San Francisco Tier: Substantial (Red) Activity: Schools Closed for in-person instruction. Can open for in-person instruction if county remains in this tier for two weeks. (Note: Although in-person, our GBS outdoor hiking physical education program operates under SFDPH distance learning guidance, not the in-person school guidance referenced above, and is not affected by this change.)
August 27th, 2020 - In-Person Learning Process Update We submitted a Letter of Intent, so that we can receive a waiver application, when SFDPH makes applications available and determines it is safe for the community for schools to return to in-person instruction. Once we receive the application, we will review the requirements and make further considerations around whether to proceed with a waiver process. Teacher, staff and student safety will continue to be our first consideration. Through the order of the San Francisco Health Officer or a SFDPH approved CA State waiver, the SFDPH determines when schools may return to in-person instruction. At all times, we will prioritize and support continuity of education for our students not attending in-person instruction.
Week of August 24th Newsletter Back-to-School Updates, including the important topics of: Back-to-School Night, Back-to-School Forms, Distance Learning and Hiking, In-Person Learning (update), Health and Safety (update), Air Quality Responsiveness, Staffing Updates, and so much more. August 19th, 2020 - CDPH County Monitoring List Updated As of today, San Francisco County is currently on day one of meeting the threshold for removal from the county monitoring list. Counties must meet the required public health data threshold for 14 days to be removed from the county monitoring list (watch list). Schools may be able to offer in-person instruction once their county is off the monitoring list and, in our case, the SFDPH authorizes a return to in-person instruction. Update: August 20th and 21st, San Francisco County did not meet the public health and data threshold and remains on the county monitoring list.
August 19th, 2020 - Weekly Community Engagement Call - No Community Questions Steering Committee supports clarifying questions that may come up for your family around guidance in communications previously shared. Please join us for our weekly meetings, Wednesdays, 9:30am-10:30am, if you have questions or if you are interested in hearing the questions of others. Link for future meetings available here.
"The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) developed the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework to support school communities as they decide when and how to implement in-person instruction for the 2020-21 school year. This framework permitted schools and school districts to reopen for in-person instruction at any time if they are located in a local health jurisdiction (LHJ) [San Francisco County] that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days. If the LHJ [San Francisco County] has been on the monitoring list within the last 14 days, the school must conduct distance learning only, until their LHJ has been off the monitoring list for at least 14 days. The framework authorized local health officers (LHO) [San Francisco Deptartment of Public Health (SFDPH)] to grant a waiver of this criteria, in order for elementary schools to open for in-person instruction under specified conditions." -CDPH
CDPH placed San Francisco County on the county monitoring list on July 17th. San Francisco County remains on the list today.
SFDPH will inform schools when they have a waiver process in place. SFDPH is not soliciting or accepting waiver applications at this time.
July 18th, 2020 - Golden Bridges School - Staying Connected The Steering Committee, Board, and Faculty have been more active than in past summers as we attempt to forge a new path in understanding what a Golden Bridges School education will look like in the Fall, making ready both distance learning and our new campus for where the path may lead us as we start the school year.
July 17th, 2020 - San Francisco Announces Next Steps on Controlling Spread of COVID-19 and Continuing Pause on Reopening “We are living with COVID, and we all need to do our part to take basic steps to get this virus under control immediately,” said Mayor London Breed. “If we want our schools to reopen, if we want our small businesses to be able to operate, we all need to do the basics: limit our gatherings, cover your face in public, and wash your hands. We also know that we need to see more testing if we are going to identify cases quickly. This requires the entire healthcare system to expand access so when people need a test, they can get one. San Francisco has flattened the curve before, and we can do it again.” San Francisco County was added to the California State County Monitoring List on July 17, 2020.
July 8th, 2020 - SFDPH Preliminary Reopening Guidance for Schools School summer subcommittee work will include supporting communication and community awareness around this guidance as well as operational implementation through updated policy and procedure. Community updates planned for mid-July (preliminary update) and again in early August (comprehensive update / orientation).
Educational Philosophy In the context of COVID-19, our Golden Bridges School educational philosophy remains unchanged and we are committed to the education of our students and providing support to families, teachers and our greater community.
Golden Bridges School operations follow the guidance of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). We appreciate our community’s responsiveness as we share information essential to our Golden Bridges School operations and will continue to keep our community updated as to current guidance, offering supplemental information and resources as they become available.
We are standing up at this challenging time, in this place and for the community we love.
The Faculty, Steering Committee, and Board of Trustees have engaged in working groups to prepare for the Fall and lay groundwork for important curriculum work going forward.
Our Golden Bridges School Working Groups Curriculum Development
Life Sciences and Project-based Outdoor Integrated Learning
Health and Safety Guidance and Operations
Preparation of our new campus at 503 Cambridge
Use of Space/Flow and Scheduling under the Health and Safety Guidelines
We are working closely with our norm - Accept and Expect Ambiguity as information is constantly changing, research and learning is continuous, and the needs of our community are in flux.
Life Sciences and Project-based Outdoor Integrated Learning Working Group - Updated July 17th, 2020 The learning process in Waldorf education is threefold, engaging the head, the heart and the hands of the growing child thus the integration of academics, arts and practical skills is the foundation of the curriculum.
The role of the Life Sciences and Project-based Outdoor Learning working group is to build upon this fundamental aspect of the Waldorf curriculum by deepening and expanding opportunities for integrative learning. This will not only increase our ability to offer meaningful outdoor education as a response to the current health and safety requirements, but it will also increase the practical application of academic skills, nourishment of the senses, and engagement in purposeful work. In order to build a foundation for our work, our committee met with an expert in the field of practical skills education and we have been collecting numerous resources from which to support our curriculum development for early childhood and the grades. Over the next few weeks, we will align the developmental stages of the children with specific outdoor activities and practical arts, which will allow teachers to maximize outdoor opportunities while maintaining a rigorous learning environment.
Distance/Online Learning Working Group- Updated July 17th, 2020 The role of the Distance/Online Learning Working Group is to create a structure and schedule for online/distance learning for Dandelion through 6th grade based on internal and external research, including vetted resources for teachers.
What we have done thus far:
Interviewed all GBS teachers and staff who taught online in the Spring of 2020 to understand the opportunities and challenges of this teaching model
Spoke with 15+ schools - Waldorf, independent, and charter schools - to learn from their experience and anticipated offerings
Created a survey for GBS parents to understand the student/parent experience both in review and looking forward
What we have learned thus far:
Creating a consistent rhythm was key
Not all ages/classes had the same needs and any future schedule needs to be tailored by age/class rather than a school wide schedule
Lessons were most successful when they included artistic and physical aspects
Creating pathways for one-on-one interactions between student and teacher is crucial
Creating sharing opportunities for each child to speak to their peers brings joy
It is important to clearly define online etiquette for students and/or parents
Zoom and Google Classroom are useful tools, from the perspective of our teachers and many other schools (awaiting input from the parent survey)
It is helpful to hold more frequent parent evenings and office hours to maintain parent connections with each other and with the teacher
What work remains:
Draft a structure/schedule for distance/online learning for each grade from Dandelion to 6th grade for faculty review by July 31
Collect resources for teachers Draft media use policy for teachers (ie. can teachers use other online tools such as Khan Academy or YouTube with their students?)
Identify access issues for new and returning students (device availability, broadband, parent availability, etc)
Anti-Racist Curriculum Working Group- Updated July 17th, 2020 The role of the Anti-Racist Curriculum Working Group is to create a scope and sequence for a Preschool through 8th Grade curriculum. We will identify and highlight the already existing aspects of Waldorf Curriculum that are inherently antiracist and socially just, as well as modify this 100-year old curriculum to bring transparent adjustments de-colonizing it's European roots.
Questions we have asked thus far:
What will an explicit anti-racist curriculum look like? What resources will we draw from?
How will teachers ensure that the rest of their pedagogy outside of the explicit anti-racist curriculum (i.e. story selection, song selection, history telling, student interactions) is anti-racist and anti-biased?
What tools, resources and support do teachers need to fully integrate anti-racist pedagogy into their practice?
Our work thus far has to been to interview teachers preschool through 4th grade and research traditional Waldorf curriculum to answer the following questions:
Can you share with me an outline of the (enter grade here) curriculum?
How is it racist? How is Whiteness centered?
How is it antiracist?
Health and Safety Guidance and Operations Working Group- Updated July 17th, 2020
What to Expect as We Go Forward / In-person, On-site, Instruction The San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) ordered schools closed for in-person instruction in March AND, for schools to resume in-person instruction, the San Francisco Health Officer will need to issue an order allowing schools to resume in-person, on-site instruction.
The SFDPH issues both guidance and orders in effort to support public health and a safer San Francisco. They monitor and publish daily the Key Public Health Indicators they utilize in making decisions in support of containing COVID-19 in San Francisco. For quick reference, each indicator has four color levels to show where we are in relation to SFDPH targets. Green indicates the city is meeting targets. Yellow, orange and red, indicate an escalation of the distance from meeting targets for safety.
The key health indicators are grouped into these areas:
As we share this communication, on Friday, July 17th, 2020, the Cases Indicator is Red and further details around the case data are available here. San Francisco County was added to the California State County Monitoring List on July 17, 2020. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) says that "schools and school districts may reopen for in-person instruction at any time if they are located in a local health jurisdiction (LHJ) that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days." San Francisco County was added to the California State County Monitoring List on July 17, 2020.
On July 15th, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) announced that they will start the year in Distance Learning. We share with SFUSD that “the health and safety of students and staff is paramount.” Surveying other independent schools in San Francisco, with different resources and constraints from SFUSD, many intend to resume in-person instruction, when the SFDPH health indicators support the decision to resume in-person education and the San Francisco Health Officer issues the required order allowing in-person education.
In the context of the SFUSD announcement, we have reached out to the SFDPH for further guidance for our school, and other independent schools, around the timeline to resume in-person instruction. Excerpt from the SFDPH response: “As SFUSD just voted against in person school for the Fall we are waiting to see if this decision will impact guidance/future health orders for the private/independent school community and also to see if this current surge slows down now that further reopening has been put on hold.”
We have been working this summer in cross-functional working groups to further refine our plans to leverage our use of space, outdoor education, and our training and experience in supporting a social education - fully integrated with a detailed execution of CDPH/SFDPH guidelines - to keep everyone safer during the pandemic, while simultaneously supporting wellbeing.
We have a new campus with large classrooms, indoor, and outdoor spaces. We are installing many no-touch faucets, fixtures, and soap, sanitizer, and paper towel dispensers. With these large improved facilities, we will be ready to support hygiene and physical distancing. Our unique small, stable class cohorts, with teachers who have extraordinary outdoor education expertise, students who thrive in outdoor education settings, and the vast open air experiences of our Farm and John McLaren Park, right next door, will make so many remarkable experiences possible for our students, supporting wellbeing in this challenging time.
When allowed to resume in-person instruction, and following the guidance available today, our school health and safety plan will thoughtfully support student and teacher health and wellbeing, using the most up-to-date resources and guidance, including:
SFDPH Orders - San Francisco Health Officer orders allow or disallow operations (currently, orders prohibit in-person instruction)
Illness - Staff and students who are sick must stay home. Guidance requires that if there is any indication of possible COVID-19 symptoms, not otherwise explained, the Student or Staff Member must stay home. Contact your child’s regular doctor or clinic for advice. The Staff Member or Student must stay home until they meet the conditions to return to school. We used a similar decision tree for screening for symptoms at Farm Camp and it may be representative of what we can expect for in-person educational settings. The Farm Camp / Childcare symptom screener is available here.
Face Coverings - All individuals, including staff and students of all ages, must wear face coverings over both their nose and mouth while at school/on campus, unless medically contraindicated
Stable Cohorts - Guidance states that: Keeping teachers and students in the same group lowers their exposure risk by decreasing the number of people they come into contact with each day.
Physical Distancing - Guidance states that: Staff within schools should stay 6 feet from other adults, as much as possible, staff should stay 6 feet away from students, when feasible, and students should ideally stay 6 feet apart. During group activities, playtime and recess, physical distancing may be relaxed for students in stable classroom cohorts who are wearing face coverings.
Hygiene - The school will put systems in place to support frequent handwashing and hand sanitizer use, as handwashing/hand sanitizing removes COVID-19 germs from people’s hands before they can infect themselves by touching their eyes, nose or mouth
Outdoors - The school will use outdoor space for instruction and meals/snacks, as much as possible.
Operations - When a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19, the school will contact the SFDPH Schools and Childcare Hub, as soon as possible. SFDPH will help the school determine if the classroom, cohort, or school needs to be closed. Schools with smaller and more contained cohorts are less likely to require school-wide closure.
Note: These resources will adjust to support up-to-date CDPH and SFDPH guidance and orders.
Use of Space/Flow and Scheduling under the Healthy and Safety Guidelines Working Group- Updated July 17th, 2020 The role of the Use of Space/Flow and Scheduling Working Group is to use the most current Health and Safety guidelines issued by the city and state to inform how we will navigate our three spaces (503 Cambridge, The Farm and McLaren Park) to know who is where and when during any give day or moment. Maintaining social distancing indoors will be a priority for all staff, faculty and students. Mask wearing, ventilation of the rooms and hand washing will also be of utmost priority indoors. Should we be allowed to open, and teach an exclusively outdoor program, we will still follow outdoor guidelines for PPE, social distancing and hand washing.
What we have done thus far:
Reviewed communications released by independent and Waldorf schools in the Bay Area and California as to their re-opening plans
Reviewed all communications released by SFDPH regarding Health and Safety Guidelines (Use of PPE, Hygiene, Physical Distancing) for In-Person learning
Began drafting daily and weekly schedules for the Grades classes and Kindergarten, based on all three locations, considering social distancing in the classroom, stable cohorts of students, staggering drop-offs, recess times, bathroom usage and meal times.
Walked through all three locations with a clear understanding of how PPE, Hygiene and Physical Distancing will be maintained for In-Person learning maintaining stable cohorts of teachers and students
What work remains:
Solidify a Fall in-person schedule for each class (stable cohort), detailing the timing of staggering: drop-off, recess, meals, specialty classes and pick-up (to be announced in August)
Directional Hallways and Outdoor Pathways: Physically marking 4-6' visual reminders for students on hallway floors
Flow of Space in outdoor recess areas and snack/lunch times. We plan on having lunch time at McLaren Park as much as possible if learning at 503 Cambridge takes place.
SFDPH Preliminary Reopening Guidance for Schools (published 7/8/2020) School working groups will be supporting communication and community awareness around this guidance as well as operational implementation through updated policy and procedure. Community updates planned for mid-July (preliminary update) and again in early August (comprehensive update / orientation).