COVID-19 Safety Plan for In-Person Instruction
With a thorough and effective COVID-19 Safety Plan, we were able to open our campus to in-person learning as one of the first schools in Santa Clara County in 2020 and we have had zero transmission of the virus on campus since.
At Mulberry School, we know that in-person learning is best for children, providing engagement, connection, and opportunities for both social-emotional and academic growth. At the same time, the safety of Mulberry School students and staff is always our highest priority. Therefore, our plan is designed to provide the benefits of in-person learning while minimizing the risks to everyone’s health and safety on campus.
We will continue to communicate with our county and state health departments to understand changing disease levels and control measures in our community. We will modify our safety plan as necessary, always according to state and county guidance.
- Fever ( ≥ 100°) or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
Close Contact Criteria
Exposures in indoor spaces less than 400,000 cubic feet per floor:
- Sharing the same indoor airspace for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period
during an infected person’s infectious period.
- Spaces that are separated by floor-to-ceiling walls are considered distinct indoor airspaces.
Exposures in large indoor spaces greater than 400,000 cubic feet per floor:
- Being within 6 feet of the infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour
period during the infected person’s infectious period.
Mask Requirements for Students, Staff, Participating Adults, and Visitors
HIGH – masking is required indoors and optional outdoors
MEDIUM – masking is strongly recommended but not required indoors and optional outdoors*
LOW – masking is strongly recommended but not required indoors and optional outdoors*
- Any student, staff, or participating adult who chooses to wear a mask will be supported in their decision to do so at any COVID-19 Community Level, including low.
- If a student or adult experiences difficulty wearing their mask, they will be able to step outside and take a mask break.
- Students with a medical condition that prevents wearing a mask are exempt and need to provide a written mask exemption from their physician.
- All students and participating adults will be asked to use masks provided from home.
- Mulberry School will maintain a supply of surgical masks if a student or adult needs a replacement during the day.
Visitors to campus will be required to wear masks if they enter indoor settings, including classrooms.
School Events: Masks are optional for students and adults at outdoor school events. Masks may be required at indoor school events or indoor portions of school events at the sole discretion of the administration.
Please note: Our masking policy may be adjusted if required by the county or state health departments or at the sole discretion of the administration if there is a change in conditions, such as an increase in infections on campus or in our school community. We are also monitoring SARS-CoV-2 Sewage Data.
*There may be classrooms or offices where masks are required. We ask that students and parents respect the requests of faculty and staff to help maintain the health of vulnerable community members. Students should always pack a mask if they opt to no longer wear one regularly.
Testing Requirements for Students, Staff, and Participating Adults
Weekly surveillance testing whether with PCR or antigen tests is no longer required or encouraged by public health departments. Mulberry School has transitioned to symptom-based testing, testing after exposure, and testing after school breaks as recommended by CDPH.
Free testing information can be found here. We will also strive to have free home tests available to students and staff if and when they can be provided by CDPH and the CDC.
Symptom-Based Testing and Isolation Requirements
Any student, staff, or participating adult with COVID-like symptoms must get tested immediately.
If students exhibit COVID-like symptoms on campus, they will be asked to wear a mask and sent home for testing. Parents must share test results with Mulberry immediately.
Negative Test Result: The student, staff member, or participating adult can return to campus 24 hours after fever resolution without fever-reducing medication and if there is an improvement in other symptoms.
Positive Test Result: The student, staff member, or participating adult must isolate for at least 5 days and provide a negative test result to return to campus on Day 6. They will be required to wear a mask when around others until and including Day 10. If they still test positive on Day 10, they can return to campus on Day 11 no matter the test result.
Testing after Exposure and Isolation Requirements.
Any student, staff, or participating adult exposed to a confirmed COVID case, must test immediately and within 3-5 days from the exposure date. Test results must be shared with Mulberry.
Negative Test Result: The student, staff member, or participating adult can remain on campus as long as they do not have any COVID-like symptoms.
Positive Test Result: The student, staff member, or participating adult must isolate for at least 5 days and provide a negative test result to return to campus on Day 6. They will be required to wear a mask when around others until and including Day 10.
Testing after School Breaks
Due to increased travel and social interaction during school breaks, all staff, students, and participating adults are required to test after major school breaks before returning to campus, including after Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Mid-Winter Break, and Spring Break, as recommended by CDPH.
If a student, staff member, or participating adult tests positive for COVID after a school break, they must inform Mulberry immediately.
Student Absences Due to COVID Isolation
Students who need to stay home from school because of COVID will be given access to school work. Materials will either be provided for pick-up or access will be given online. Teachers will have up to 48 hours to prepare materials and will communicate with parents directly.
Vaccination Requirements and Weekly Testing for Staff and Participating Adults
Participating adults at Mulberry School either need to be fully vaccinated or test for COVID weekly/before participating on campus.
Participating adults and field trip drivers who do not regularly volunteer on campus will be asked for a negative COVID test result before participating in an event or field trip.
At this time, students are not required to be vaccinated.
Optimizing Indoor Air Quality
We will continue to optimize indoor air quality by utilizing air purifiers with HEPA filters in all classroom and office spaces, equipping all HVAC units (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) with high-efficiency MERV-13 air filters, and using powered outside air vents and fans.
In addition, both classroom doors as well as windows, when an option, will remain open during the day to allow for airflow and increased ventilation.
We will continue to teach students proper handwashing techniques with age-appropriate lessons. They will be reminded of proper handwashing throughout the day.
Students will have access to water and soap and/or hand sanitizer in the classrooms and restrooms.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will be placed throughout the campus to facilitate hand hygiene.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Per CDPH, routine cleaning is enough to sufficiently remove the virus that causes COVID-19 from surfaces.
Sources and Resources
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Operational Guidance for K-12 Schools and Early Care and Education Programs to Support Safe In-Person Learning (August 11, 2022)
- CDC COVID-19 Community Levels Prevention Steps
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH) COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 School Year (June 30, 2022)
- In consultation with the Santa Clara Public Health Department and the Santa Clara County Office of Education
* This plan is subject to change as required by the mandates and directives issued by the County of Santa Clara and the State of California.
“We ‘adjusted and bent’ to meet the needs of 2020, however, our family needed more stability for our son. He craved interaction, new friends, a school environment and a personal relationship with his teacher. We were so blessed when we found Mulberry… It is the ‘happiest place’ for him.”
– Ruby, Alumni Parent –