July 31, 2020
Good Afternoon RCS Community,
RCS is approaching students and employees returning to campus with an abundance of caution in our effort to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. We have spent the summer carefully researching guidance from both governmental and private organizations with a deep conviction to do everything necessary for the health and safety of students, employees, and families. The plan for “Rebuilding RCS” has taken into account the guidance offered by the American Pediatrics Association, including that the decision to open a school should be made in conjunction with the local and state health boards and the school community. Based upon survey data from parents and employees, we are working to bring students back on campus as well as offer virtual learning options for families who want their child(ren) to remain home. Each RCS family will be able to decide which option they are comfortable with (including switching between the two options).

Student, family, and employee health and safety is being approached in three ways . First, RCS is committed to providing excellent education regarding health and safety. Second, RCS is committed to following all of the required health and safety protocols. Third, RCS is appealing to RCS families and students, asking them to also practice health and safety protocols outside of school. It is going to take everyone working together toward our common goal of health and safety in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission (or exposure) on campus.

RCS will educate staff, then students and families regarding good hygiene behaviors (which reduce spread of germs) and teach the importance of personal prevention practices on an age-appropriate level (i.e. how these topics/routines are taught to kindergarten students will be much different than how they are taught to seniors) including (but not limited to): staying home when sick , how to protect yourself and others , social distancing , cloth face coverings , hand washing , and deep cleaning/disinfection of surfaces .

The following new health and safety procedures will be required when we return to campus (see below for more details) :
  1. Daily Required Self-Screening (submitted via app BEFORE a person comes on campus)
  2. Cloth Face Coverings (Neck Gaiters added temporarily to the RCS Dress Code)
  3. Social Distancing in an Age-Appropriate and Situational-Appropriate Practice
  4. Students Remaining in Stable Cohorts to Help Reduce Exposure 
  5. New Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Protocols

Procedures to be followed regarding exposure and/or confirmed case of COVID-19 include (see below for more details and return-to-school procedures) :
  • A “Yes” to any daily student & adult self-screening symptoms/exposure questions 
  • Person must NOT come on campus
  • Close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 has happened 
  • Person must NOT come on campus
  • Student or Employee becomes sick at school
  • Person will be sent home immediately
  • Student or Employee has a confirmed COVID-19 case
  • Student or Employee will quarantine for 10 days from symptoms or test date
  • "Close Contacts" (see below) will also be quarantined for 14 days after the last date the case was present at school while infected 
  • Classroom/Primary spaces will be disinfected/cleaned 
Required New Health & Safety Procedures:
1. Daily Required Self-Screening
RCS will follow the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year (see page 3) for exclusion from and return to school for both employees and students. 

  • Students - AM Drop Off
  • RCS will implement the use of an online safety system, PikMyKid to help facilitate daily screenings, drop off, and pickup. Until this system is implemented, RCS will use a daily form (sent via Survey Monkey). 
  • Students will not be allowed to exit the vehicle until an RCS staff member has verified that the daily health screening has been completed. 
  • If self-screening is not completed when arriving on campus, the parents will be directed to park and complete the screening before the child(ren) exit(s) the vehicle. 
  • No one will be allowed on campus with a temperature greater than or equal to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Before exiting the car when arriving on campus, each student will need to apply hand sanitizer.  

  • RCS Employees
  • RCS will utilize two different daily screenings protocols, one for employees and volunteers and the other for students, both of which MUST be completed online each morning BEFORE coming to school.  

  • Visitors
  • Signage will be posted that states anyone needing to conduct business in the school office will need to first park, then call the office and ask for permission to exit their car and enter the office. Only one person (or family) will be allowed in the office lobby at one time. The volunteer screening protocol will be administered over the phone before permission is granted to enter the office.

2. Cloth Face Coverings
In addition, based upon the Alameda County Superintendent of Schools and Alameda County Health Officers guidance found in COVID-19 School Guidance Alameda County School Reopening Plans RCS will implement the following:

Cloth face coverings need to be worn (except when eating or drinking) for students (currently K-12 in Alameda County) and all school staff, with the exception of students unable to wear them due to special documented circumstances (with appropriate documentation regarding a particular developmental or health diagnosis that would limit their ability to wear a face covering).  

Furthermore, as part of the dress code, K-12 students and employees will be required to wear a neck gaiter (when Alameda County changes its guidance to match the state, RCS will change this to grades 3-12). RCS has chosen a neck gaiter (instead of face mask) for ease of use and best training purposes (i.e. every employee and every student will always have a cloth face covering and cannot easily lose it, drop it in the bathroom, or use it as a slingshot, etc). Any design on the neck gaiter must be consistent with existing RCS dress code (“All clothing must be modest, neat and clean in appearance without frays, holes, or rips, and free from slogans, pictures, logos, etc. which are inconsistent with RCS philosophy”). A face shield may be worn in addition to the neck gaiter, if desired.

Face Shields & Other Orifice Covering
Face shields with a cloth across the bottom and secured (i.e. tucked into a shirt, tied around the back of neck), may be worn as a substitute for cloth face coverings by both teachers and students. A neck gaiter is still required.

Both students and employees may choose to wear cloth face masks (such as over-the-ear), face shields, goggles, and/or other orifice covering in addition to a neck gaiter.
3. Social Distancing
When on campus, all students, parents, employees, volunteers, and visitors are required to practice social distancing of 6-feet as much as practical (and age-appropriate). Physical barriers, such as face coverings, gloves, protective equipment, barriers, and shields may also be used as appropriate and/or desired. Desks and/or tables and chairs will be spread out to help achieve social distancing.

As practicable, chairs/desks will be placed 6 feet apart and arranged in a way that minimizes face-to-face contact. However, with cohorts in place, it is permissible to relax the 6-feet recommendation if it ensures all/more students receive in-class instruction. (e.g. if reducing to 5 feet allows for more practicable cohort sizes). Face coverings and cohort stability are higher priorities if they allow for more practical utilization of physical spaces to provide in-person instruction. A helpful explanation of the benefit of social distancing is found here .
4. Stable Cohorts
As practicable, students will remain in their assigned cohorts, in the same classroom, and in groups as small and as consistent as possible in Phase 2 as outlined in "Update #4: Rebuilding RCS Plans and Scenarios." When it is not possible to remain in stable cohorts within the same classroom (e.g. secondary school), the necessity for face coverings and social distancing are a higher priority. Cohorts will be stable for at least four weeks. If four weeks is not practicable, three weeks is allowable. If new students enroll, they can be placed into an already-established cohort upon enrollment.

Teachers will be able to teach different cohorts of students as long as they are wearing a cloth face covering/face shield and practicing social distancing protocols. If a teacher remains solely with one cohort, social distancing will be less crucial to adhere to at all times. For younger children, keeping a physical distance from teachers will be difficult, which is part of consideration for stable cohort groupings in the younger grades.
5. New Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Protocols
RCS will work to maintain healthy environments through:
  • A cleaning and disinfection schedule
  • Eliminating shared objects as much as possible
  • Keeping doors open as often as practicable
  • Increasing ventilation in the classrooms
  • Modifying classroom layouts
  • Closing communal spaces 
  • Installing additional sinks for hand washing

Furthermore, during Phases 2 and 3:
  • MSHS students will not be issued lockers. 
  • Bathrooms will receive frequent cleaning and disinfection. 
  • Shared items will be disinfected frequently. 
  • Hand washing will be promoted. 
  • Students will be placed into stable cohorts and assigned to one classroom (teachers will rotate, as necessary and appropriate, throughout the classrooms)

RCS utilizes KMC Cleaners as the evening custodial service. Each of the KMC Cleaners technicians have earned a certification in “ Cleaning and Disinfecting Principles ” from Global Biorisk Advisory Council. Each night, KMC Cleaners will thoroughly clean and disinfect each classroom and office, with particular attention on highly touched surfaces. KMC will continue to utilize a disinfectant and will also be adding Virus Shield (EPA Reg. 84198-1) of which both products are on the EPA List N for disinfecting COVID-19.

Administration will establish a cleaning and disinfecting schedule in order to avoid both under- and over- use of cleaning products.
Staff will clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces within school on a regular basis, as practicable. Highly touched surfaces include:
  • Door handles
  • Light switches
  • Sink handles
  • Bathroom surfaces
  • Tables & Student desks
  • Chairs

RCS has already secured a sufficient supply of hand sanitizers, soap, tissues, no-touch trash cans, and paper towels. Staff is equipped with proper protective equipment, including gloves, eye protection, mask or respirator, and disposable gowns (which may be needed for deep cleaning and disinfection of a COVID-19 case).

All cleaning products will be kept out of children’s reach and stored in a space with restricted access.
Procedures to be followed regarding exposure and/or confirmed case of COVID-19
RCS will follow the criteria from the California Department of Public Health (as found on page 3) in COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year

1. If a student or employee has COVID-19 Symptoms the following actions are to be taken:
  • DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL or if symptoms develop while at school, the student or employee WILL BE SENT HOME IMMEDIATELY.
  • Testing is recommended.
  • If the test is positive or no test is taken see #3. 
  • If the test is negative see #4.
  • A doctor's note confirming symptoms are from another condition other than COVID-19 (i.e. allergies, common cold, etc.) can be provided for student/employee to return to campus.
  • RCS will remain open.

2. If a student or employee has had close contact (defined as living in the same house, being an intimate partner, being a caregiver, or being within 6 feet of an individual for longer than 15 minutes) with a confirmed COVID-19 case the following actions are to be taken: 
  • DO NOT COME TO SCHOOL or if symptoms develop while at school, the student or employee WILL BE SENT HOME IMMEDIATELY
  • The student and employee will be excluded from school for 14 days from last exposure  
  • Testing is recommended (but will not shorten 14-day quarantine)
  • RCS will remain open

3. If a student or staff has a confirmed COVID-19 case infection the following actions are to be taken:
  • The student or employee will be excluded from school for 10 days from symptom onset or test date
  • Testing is recommended (but will not shorten 14-day quarantine)
  • Notify the Alameda County Public Health Department (510) 267-3250.
  • Notify RCS
  • RCS will begin contact tracing
  • RCS will notify and work with the Alameda County Health Department. 
  • Close contacts (i.e. the entire cohort) will be identified, excluded from school, and quarantined, for 14 days after the last date the case was present at school while infectious 
  • RCS will disinfect and clean the classroom and primary spaces where case spent significant time according to CDC guidelines
  • RCS will remain open

4. If a student or staff tests negative after symptoms RCS will take the following Actions:
  • May return to school after 3 days from when symptoms resolve.
  • School/classroom remains open.

Alameda County maintains a list of where COVID-19 testing is available .  
Frequently Asked Questions
If my child is sent home for being sick and ends up having mild symptoms (allergies, cold, cough, etc.), will a doctor’s note allow them to be readmitted to school sooner than 14 days?
A Doctor’s note will allow them to be readmitted to school.

If I’m exposed to a COVID-19 case at work, will that affect my child(ren) at school?
Yes, your child(ren) will need to attend school virtually during the required 14-day quarantine period.

Where will these protocols be posted for parents to access?
RSVP for a Zoom Call with Dr. Hearne
Joining me on Wednesday, August 5th at 5 pm is David Gehrke, Third-Generation Owner/Operator of KMC Cleaners for a Q&A Zoom call for RCS Parents about the Rebuilding RCS Health,Safety, and Cleaning Protocols. We will be happy to answer any questions about Rebuilding RCS!
I understand that the health and safety protocols listed above have been subject to much public debate and that everyone reading this has their own opinions regarding them. Yet, in an abundance of caution, with the desire to protect the health and safety of all students and employees, I am asking for everyone to respect and practice them, both on campus and off campus, in an effort to keep our students and employees safe. One of my favorite books of the Bible is Philippians, where Paul appeals for us, “ in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (2:3b). I truly believe that this overarching appeal for humility and concern for others will help to keep our students and employees safe. I also ask that you join me in praying for the health and safety of every RCS student, family, and employee, as well as for a supernatural end be brought to COVID-19. 

Future Updates To Be Released:
III. Classroom Examples
IV. Traffic Flow and Signage 

Urgent questions? Please feel free to email me anytime by replying to this email.
In Christ,

Al Hearne II, PhD