This webpage is updated as of August 2021.

Our priority in 2021-22 is to provide a full WNS education to all ECC-8 students while continuing to deliver the gold standard for COVID-19 mitigation and build upon our parent/school partnership to create an even safer bubble around our school.
Click here to view the WNS Five Layers of Safety for a 2021-22 School Year, 
Students have experienced two years of compromised education; we want to bring them back to campus this year and safely deliver the full WNS educational experience they need and deserve. This requires us to organize in a way that allows for our outstanding teachers to deliver a highly differentiated, project-based, and collaborative program in a co-teaching learning environment:
  • Grade-level stable cohorts will provide needed facility and scheduling flexibility.
  • Classrooms will return to their pre-pandemic configuration (full classes with co-teachers).
  • ECC students will return to full classes with co-teachers.
  • K-5th grade students will return to differentiated small group instruction for math, language arts, and specialists’ classes.
  • 6-8th grade students will participate in a full academic schedule; they will move from classroom to classroom within their stable grade-level cohorts, and resume electives, sports programs, and performing arts classes with a few limitations.
We will accomplish the above while strictly following the State Department of Public Health (SDPH) and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH) guidelines. The latest update (August 31, 2021) from LADPH lays out the decision pathways for symptoms and exposures in Early Care and TK-12 Schools. Click here to read.

IMPORTANCE OF VACCINATIONS

Simply put, there is no single strategy that will keep our students and faculty safer than for ALL WNS adults (parents, caregivers, and older teen siblings) who are medically able to be vaccinated to get fully vaccinated before the start of the school year. All cases of COVID-19 infecting our students during the 20-21 school year and our 2021 Westside Summer Camp could be traced to an adult in their household. Rapidly falling case rates in LA County have been replaced by a surge of new Delta variant cases in unvaccinated adults. We can be in a position to prevent over 90% of this by getting vaccinated. All WNS teachers and staff who medically can be vaccinated are vaccinated; we need to have the same for all WNS parents and caregivers by the start of the school year, and all students age 12+ by October 1, 2021.
Every WNS Student who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated if medically able to do so before the start of the school year, or as soon as they are eligible. Students age 12 and over are currently eligible. The information on the medical value of vaccines is clearer than ever right now. There will be limitations on what we can and can’t do with unvaccinated students once they are eligible for the vaccination. All students age 12+ who are medically able to be vaccinated, must be vaccinated by October 1, 2021.
  • The FDA is likely to approve vaccinations for children age 6 and over by this fall.
Five fundamental reasons why the COVID-19 vaccine is so important: 
  1. It keeps you safe. While the occasional breakthrough case makes the news, the fact is that over 80% of all Delta variant cases (and 98% of serious cases) are among the unvaccinated. COVID-19 from last year was a nasty disease; the Delta variant is worse. Nearly ALL of the hospitalizations and ICU occupants are unvaccinated people with the DELTA variant. Don’t take a chance on this.
  2. It will keep your children safe. The Delta variant is affecting children more than previous variants, and infected adults may pass the virus to unvaccinated children. Having you and all adult members of your household vaccinated will protect them!
  3. It will keep our school community safe. As I explained earlier, 100% of all COVID-19 transmission to children in the WNS community, and a high percentage in schools generally, has happened outside of school from parents and adult caregivers. Higher vaccination rates will also help keep our vaccinated teachers safe from exposure and a breakthrough case, limiting the time they have to miss teaching on campus.
  4. It will keep our kids on campus. This is not just about keeping our children and faculty safe but also keeping our children on campus and out of quarantine due to exposure to a positive case on campus. Please read the scenario below to understand the impact one child exposed to COVID-19 at home can have on the school community based on required infection mitigation protocols.
  5. It will keep our greater community safer. Science informs us that the longer a virus is able to multiply and move through a population, the greater the opportunity for new and more infectious variants to emerge. The Delta variant is twice as infectious as previous variants; we don’t want to provide a pathway for more infectious variants to emerge. (Remembering your biology, subsequent variants survive because they are stronger; nearly all of the current COVID-19 cases are Delta). Getting our greater community vaccinated at a higher rate will help prevent this.

SCENARIO: IMPACT AT SCHOOL OF A POSITIVE CASE

A student is exposed by a parent/adult in the household, is symptom-free, and comes to school on Monday. Throughout the school day, the student moves from class to class and interacts with many students in their grade level. By Monday evening, the school is informed of the exposure. Based on required LADPH protocols, that student (index case) must quarantine for a minimum of 10 days and get a COVID-19 PCR test immediately.
  • We must assume the index case is POSITIVE until we receive a negative PCR test result, and must quarantine all of the classmates until that time.
  • If the index case tests POSITIVE, any students who were in class with the index case will need to continue to quarantine for 10 days and get tested immediately. This could mean 24-50 children will be home for 10 days of learning online, parents making arrangements for their care, and many may miss work.
  • If any of these students have siblings in different grades at WNS, they will ALSO need to quarantine until their sibling that was exposed to the index case student tests negative. If any classmates test positive as well, their siblings, and potentially those siblings’ classes will need to quarantine for 10 days.
RECAP: The exposure of just ONE WNS STUDENT to COVID-19 can trigger the disruption of learning for dozens of classmates, and if that student tests positive, the ripple effect, based on LADPH required infection mitigation protocols, could cause 50 or more students to miss at least a week of school. While we recognize that families can do everything right and still have an exposure, we want to do ALL we can with the choices we make to minimize this possibility.
If an exposure does occur, for whatever reason, time is of the essence in reporting it to the school AND getting your student(s) tested at a facility that will deliver results in an hour, so we know what course of action to take with other students to limit the possibility of more exposures. Test results can be emailed to schoolnurse@wns-la.org. WNS will provide online learning programs for any students who must quarantine.

HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS

We are entering this year in uncharted waters and trying to make it right for all parties involved; our teachers, our parents and our students. The only way we can be successful is if we as a community pull together and follow these essential guidelines and policies. If there are families that are unable or unwilling to follow these guidelines and policies, the school will move families to an online cohort at sole discretion of the school. 

Click here for our Policies for Returning After Being Ill.

Please remember that any and all health-related questions should be directed to our head school nurse, Chelsea Magdaleno (cmagdaleno@wns-la.org). Additionally, if you have any COVID-19 related protocol questions, please direct them to her, as information is changing all the time and we want to communicate the proper protocols.

Infection Mitigation/Controls

Infection Mitigation/Controls
We will follow the same protocols for isolation and quarantine as we did last year (LADPH isolation/quarantine protocols).

Daily Symptom Screening

Daily Symptom Screening Applies to the Entire Household
Parents will receive a home screening prompt from Ruvna via text and/or email. You must take your child’s temperature, assess symptoms, answer a couple of questions, and submit before coming to campus. Please be prepared to show the QR code you receive upon arrival at school. Students with symptoms or who have had contact with a person who is known to be or could be positive for COVID-19 may not come to campus for this event.
Complete daily symptom screening before leaving the house. Do not come to school if you answer yes to any of the questions.

Face Coverings

Masks – Mandatory for Everyone on the WNS Campus
Masks will be worn indoors at all times, except by ECC students during nap time, and outdoors at all times, except when eating. Information on acceptable masks can be found here (the school will have extra masks on hand for emergencies).

Masks must cover the bridge of the nose and chin. Students will be permitted to remove their masks while eating or drinking. Everyone must wear a mask while moving throughout the campuses. Double layered gaiters are allowed. Bandanas and masks with vents are not acceptable for use as masks while on campus. 

The school can provide clean bags for students to store their masks when they are not wearing them. Students should wear a mask at dismissal at the end of the day, and take all of their masks home each day for cleaning. Cloth face coverings should be cleaned nightly. Students are required to carry extra masks with them to school each day. Masks may not portray any images that other students may find frightening. Masks must be tasteful and age appropriate. Images of or language related to drugs or alcohol are not permitted. 

COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Masks from the CDC

PPE for Faculty/Staff

All faculty/staff PPE is provided by WNS at no cost to the employee. All faculty and staff will have a variety of approved styles of face masks to select, including KN95’s. For more information, faculty and staff can refer to the internal “School Wide COVID-19 Policies and Protocols” document in the shared google drive.

Hand Hygiene

Automatic hand sanitizer dispensers are located at all three campus entrances. Bottles of hand sanitizer are available in all classrooms. Touchless sinks have been installed throughout the campus buildings to facilitate more frequent hand washing. 

Upon arrival at school and before entering the classroom, students will wash their hands or sanitize with school provided hand sanitizer. Students will be required to wash and sanitize their hands at regular intervals throughout the day, and will be instructed by teachers how to do so. Everyone must wash their hands before and after eating snacks or lunch. Students (and faculty/staff) will sanitize their hands before they leave the classroom at any time, and they will sanitize their hands again before entering any classroom or learning space. Students will be instructed on proper handwashing and monitored while doing so. Everyone will wash or sanitize their hands after coughing and sneezing. Teachers will remind students to avoid touching their faces.

Arrival & Departure Protocols

Morning Drop-off
  • K-8 General drop-off time will be between 7:30-8:10am and will not be staggered by grade level. School begins for K-8 at 8:15am.
    • Morning Bus service: limited morning bus service will be available; students will be spread out on the bus and masks must be worn.
  • ECC drop-off protocols will remain as they were last year with parents dropping their children off with a teacher at a gate, and will be shared in detail in an August communication.
  • Carpools are encouraged when adults are vaccinated, there is adequate airflow, and everyone is masked.
Dismissal/Pick Up
  • K-8 dismissal will run from 2:45pm-3:35pm.
  • ECC pick-up protocols will be similar to last year with parents picking their children up from a teacher at the gate and will be shared in detail in an August communication. Details will be provided in August.

ACE and ACE PLUS (ECC and K-8)

We plan on offering ACE starting on Monday, September 13, following dismissal. ECC and K-8 ACE PLUS classes will be offered on a limited basis this fall starting Monday, September 20. Program and registration information will be provided in late August.

Snack, Recess & Lunch Protocols

Students will have assigned play areas for each grade level to limit mixing among grade levels during the school day. Meals at recess and lunch will be outdoors (weather permitting) with students physically distanced.

4th-8th Sports, Middle School Electives and PE, and K-8 Performing Arts

We are making plans for all of these programs within the parameters of LADPH guidelines. Details will be provided in August.

Adults on Campus

Campus access will be limited to faculty, staff, and essential workers. Parents will only be allowed on campus for special events or by appointment with approval from the Head of School. 

Limit High-Risk Activities Outside of School

While cases surge in LA County, we ask that parents and students thoughtfully limit high-exposure activities. While LADPH has not “banned” any activities at this time, we will require additional COVID-19 testing for those students engaged in competitive sports tournaments, dance and theater productions, and other activities that have our students in close contact with non-WNS students.
  • Remember the priority is keeping our students on campus and safe.
  • Any social activities outside of school should follow all of the WNS protocols for masks, physical distancing, and symptom screening.
  • We strongly encourage outdoor activities for playdates and birthday parties.

COVID-19 School Exposure Management Plan

WNS is following the protocols set forth by the LA County Department of Public Health for K-12 schools, click here.

If a student or faculty/staff member exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, we will isolate them in the Nurse’s office, send them home immediately, and ask them to get a test for COVID-19. The class/cohort will remain at school.

Click here for the CDC Pathway for Symptom Exposure chart. Click here for the LACDPH COVID-19 symptom and advice webpage. Click here for the CDPH Exposure Guidance Chart.

If that person tests positive for COVID-19, the class or cohort will be sent home or told to remain at home to quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to the afflicted person. The school, through the HR Director, will contact trace to identify all potential contacts.  Those who are healthy can participate in online learning with their cohort and their teacher. Everyone in this cohort will be urged to test for COVID-19. However, two negative test results can shorten the 14-day quarantine period. The classroom and any areas where the afflicted spent significant time will be closed and disinfected and rigorously cleaned. The school will notify the county public health department and initiate contact tracing. Click here for LACDPH guidelines on isolation. Click here for home quarantine information from the LACDPH. Click here for the CDC infographic of this process.

If that person tests negative for COVID-19, the cohort remains at school and proceeds as usual. The symptomatic person may return to school three days after the symptoms resolve.

If a student or faculty/staff member has close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, that person will be sent home immediately. They must quarantine for 14 days from their last exposure to the afflicted person. 

The school will recommend testing for COVID-19. In this case, a negative test will not shorten the quarantine period. The rest of the class can remain on campus. The quarantined but healthy student should participate in online learning.

If 5% of the Westside Neighborhood School students and faculty and staff participating in On-Campus Learning test positive for COVID-19, the entire school will move to online learning for a period of time determined in conjunction with Los Angeles County Public Health officials. Similarly, if multiple cohorts within the school have moved to online learning such that the school either has staffing issues or believes a spread is occurring because of positive COVID-19 members, the school will announce a move to online learning.

A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT

Ventilation

The school confirmed with its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) company that the school’s system has increased the amount of outside air intake rather than recirculating air throughout the building. The school upgraded the HVAC filters to MERV 14 filters. In addition, the school installed bipolar ionization filters in all HVAC vents to further eliminate pathogens as well as deliver ionized air to the classroom where this air continues to neutralize pathogens. 

As much as possible, the school will leave all doors and windows open to provide maximum fresh air ventilation. It is also adding portable air purification units to various locations in the school building on an as needed basis. The school has installed large tents and installed them in outdoor areas on all three campus buildings to provide additional covered outdoor learning and recreational spaces.

Cleaning

WNS has hired additional day porters to provide frequent cleaning of all high touch areas throughout the school day on all three campus buildings. This includes wiping down high touch surfaces such as faucets, door handles, tables, and cleaning the restrooms. 

Frequently used and high-touch surfaces will be cleaned at regular intervals throughout the school day. The cleaning service will also clean again at the end of the day. 

The school has installed disinfecting door mats at all campus entrances, ECC and K-8,  to disinfect the shoes of all faculty and students who enter the school buildings in order to limit the inadvertent transfer of COVID-19 into the school. 

The school has purchased electrostatic sprayers and UV lights for deep cleaning and sanitation of all classroom and common use areas. 

Drinking fountains on campus have been disabled. Water bottle filling stations remain.

As often as possible, students will spend time outdoors for recess, P.E., and for small and large group instruction.

Visitors and volunteers will not be permitted on campus. Anyone entering the building to provide a necessary service must complete a Ruvna health screening on their mobile device, including an on-site temperature check.

School Additions to Support a Healthy Environment

  • iPads have been provided to all K-2 students as well as to all ECC students opting for distance learning
  • Chromebooks have been provided to all 3rd-7th graders for us on and off campus
  • Macbooks have been provided to all 8th grade students for use on and off campus
  • Additional classroom supplies ordered so that students will not have to share any supplies
  • Single desks with plexiglass shields for every 1st-8th grade classroom; well-spaced activity tables in ECC & kindergarten
  • Additional associate teachers in K-5 to facilitate instruction and reduce the need for substitute teachers
  • An additional day porter to clean high-touch surfaces throughout the day
  • Additional touchless hand washing stations so that students and teachers can wash their hands with soap and water on the playground
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations
  • Additional plexiglass in office areas
  • Upgraded HVAC filters (MERV 14)
  • Installation of bi-polar air purification systems added to all HVAC systems
  • Portable air purifiers made available
  • Signage in the hallways and around campus to facilitate one-way traffic patterns, mark appropriate physical distancing, and reminders to wear masks, wash hands and act safely and responsibly.

Health Office

Both health offices will coordinate daily health screenings for students and faculty and staff. Additionally, the health office will attend to minor health issues as well as medication distribution. To support infection control, a separate isolation room has been added to both nurses offices for members of the community who exhibit fever and/or COVID-19 symptoms. 

GLOSSARY & RESOURCES

Glossary

SYMPTOMS – signs of possible infection. These include fever, coughing, loss of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing. For a complete list of symptoms, please visit the CDC website.

HOUSEHOLD MEMBER — anyone living in the home or working in the home on a regular basis, such as a nanny or housekeeper 

QUARANTINE — quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. 

DISTANCE LEARNING MODEL — where the student’s entire class or cohort is off-campus and teachers teach through Zoom and offer asynchronous instruction via other platforms such as Seesaw, Google, etc.

FACE COVERING — any face covering, including face shield, mask, and neck gaiter. When mask or gaiter are specified, a shield without a mask or gaiter is not sufficient. 

Resources