COVID-19 UPDATES AND RESOURCES

 

At Keys School, we are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and taking proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of every member of our community. We base our decisions on the facts, advice, and guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the California State Health Department, and the Santa Clara Public Health Department, in addition to medical specialists.

This page is meant to provide timely updates specific to our school’s response and planning efforts as well as an archive of resources and community updates. New information and updates will also be sent via email to our parents, faculty, and staff.

Recommendations put forth by government agencies may change based on new information regarding COVID-19, so please refer to the experts for specific questions regarding COVID-19.

KEYS COMMUNITY UPDATES

April 12: Virtual Message from Heather & Community Updates

A MESSAGE FROM HEATHER 

A brief message from Heather sharing the week’s overview and her gratitude for Keys’ community connection.

COMMUNITY UPDATES

FAQ’S FOR DISTANCE LEARNING 

Click here to view a list of frequently asked questions about Distance Learning at Keys.

EMPLOYMENT UPDATES

Nine years ago, Sara Poplack came to Keys to teach third grade. In her time at Keys, she has moved from third grade to become the Lower School Librarian and Curriculum Coordinator. She stepped out of the library and expanded her contributions by stepping into the Head of Lower School role when Betsy went out on parental leave. For the past three years, Sara has served as the Assistant Head of Lower School and LS Curriculum Coordinator. Known for her deep commitment to education and pedagogy, Sara embodies all that we strive for in our community. An advocate for the teachers and students, she has strengthened not only the Lower School curriculum but also the Mentor and Associate Teacher Programs. Sara is deeply knowledgeable about all aspects of elementary education and a talented administrator. Prior to departing, Sara will be moving over the Middle School to help out while Katie Dlesk is out on parental leave. We will miss her dearly at the Lower School and wish her all the best.

We are delighted to announce that Victoria Kimball will be returning to the admission department from her maternity leave beginning April 13. Welcome back, Victoria!

We would also like to thank Nicole Shiotani, who served as Victoria’s leave replacement, for her incredible support and work during the admission season. We’re so grateful for her many contributions, especially during peak admission season. Thank you, Nicole!

Daphne Razon has returned recently from her parental leave. We are thrilled to have her back for the remainder of the school year. Prior to her leave, Daphne was the parental leave replacement teacher in the KA classroom. She will be joining the first-grade team to provide additional distance learning support. Welcome back, Daphne!


A LETTER FROM OUR LEARNING SPECIALISTS

Learning Support Information

Dear Keys parents,

With our recent transition to Distance Learning and some time to settle into these new routines and expectations, we wanted to take a moment to dive deeper into how this virtual and often asynchronous format may impact your student. Know that we continue to collaborate with teachers to ensure that accommodations are provided during this time, and that as an entire school, we will be needing to be as flexible and patient as we can through the inevitable adjustments and changes. We also understand that as caregivers, you are faced with your own balancing acts as you navigate family needs and manage your personal workload. With that in mind, here are some general tips to ease into these initial weeks:

  • Be patient and reassuring.

  • Provide an organized, quiet work space for your student.

  • Remind your Middle School student to check their email and KeysNet regularly.

  • Have your student explain their work and due dates. Remember that KeysNet is the Middle School hub for central, consistent access to information. For Lower School, please refer to the weekly schedules sent by homeroom teachers.

  • Continue external academic and social-emotional support structures you have in place, if possible.

  • Encourage your student to reach out to their teachers, advisors, technology integrationists, learning specialists, or counselors. We’re here to help!

Students with language-based learning differences

You may notice an increased demand on:

  • Reading (for example, schedules and instructions sent to students ahead of time)

  • Writing and/or typing (for completing assignments or participating in discussions), and

  • Active listening (live directions from the teacher, for instance, when audio and/or internet connectivity isn’t the best).

Students with language-based learning differences will likely need more time to process these instructions and complete tasks while integrating these with technology. Be aware that learning stamina may be less than usual during these first few weeks as their brains are working overtime! Please check in with us with any questions about dictation, audiobook or video access, and other accommodations.

Students with attention and executive functioning challenges:

Distance Learning requires students to integrate a number of executive functioning skills such as time management, perseverance, workspace organization, and sustaining attention.

These executive functioning skills are supported in a traditional physical classroom setting in various ways including teacher cueing, prompts to hand in assignments, assistance with monitoring independent work, and catching students at the end of lessons to check for their understanding. With the altered form of learning supports, these students may require assistance in a different way to:

  • Starting, finishing, and turning in assignments. Now is a great time to check in with your child about their planning systems and where they can access the information necessary to complete their planners to account for adequate time and other commitments that can pop up along the road to turning in a project.

  • Navigating potentially unfamiliar menus and buttons on their devices and apps. While many of our students are near-digital natives, please remember that the flurry of new systems will require extra reminders and explanations of steps to access websites, different sections of apps, or even features of their devices. Please reach out to us, the teacher(s), tech resource pages and/or our tech integrationists with any questions.

  • Gathering materials and dedicating space (including seating tools!) for an activity. Collecting materials in advance (from home or sent by teachers), your student can be prepared for an interrupted thought process once a lesson begins.. You can also engage your student in conversation about the learning tools, such as hand fidgets, timers, and wiggle stools, that they’ve found helpful in the physical environment, and which of those are replicable at home (please let us know if you have questions about obtaining these tools).

Students with (visual and auditory) processing (speed) challenges: 

  • Video recordingEncourage your child to pause, rewind, and replay, or even slow down altogether, the recorded lessons from their teachers, to fully familiarize themselves with the directions, content, and/or task.

  • “Wait/think” time: This need may be supported by working out a different participation method or signal with the teacher. You can also help ensure your child is familiar with Zoom tools such as “raising” their hand, using the “thumbs-up” emoji, or simply typing “Please wait!” or “Come back to me” in the chat box.

  • Tracking: Students with vision needs may find themselves extra-busy as they become accustomed to keeping track of multiple windows, texts, and moving people in their backgrounds.  Raising the level of visual aids both online (bolding fonts, changing font size, adjusting screen brightness, to name a few) and offline, if possible (like highlighting key terms in printed assignments, using a line tracker when reading) will help ease your student through this virtual world. For our Middle School students, encourage them to think about the best screen set-up for the particular class (split screen, minimized Zoom screen over a Google doc, gallery or speaker view, etc.)

  • Listening: We recommend headphones, if available, as the first tool for your student to follow along with instruction, whether live or recorded. Also, work with your student to notice and adjust their device, body position, and/or environment to ensure they’re receiving the audio input needed to participate.

Students with anxiety and social struggles:

Many students rely on discussions and group work to clarify and solidify their understanding. They may also rely on the teacher and classmates’ non-verbal language for assurance and social cues. This support will be hard to receive through virtual lessons. Students will likely be more anxious trying to start a lesson and keep up with the technology and pace. Should you notice other impacts on their learning, please reach out to the support team.

We recognize there is a lot to digest in this communication. Know that we are here to support you and your student to make it all as manageable as possible. Please be in touch at any time, as we are always happy to set up a Zoom call with your family.

Be well,

Patricia and Monica

Lower and Middle School Learning Specialists


ERB’s CANCELLED

Please note that ERB’s (standardized tests taken yearly by students in grades 3-8) are cancelled for Spring 2020. We will offer ERB’s again in the Spring of 2021.

SPRING ATHLETICS SEASON CANCELLED

The WBAL Spring Athletics season has been cancelled due to school closures throughout the league and COVID-19. It is unfortunate to not have our Spring Season sports play out, but ultimately safety comes before anything else. Thank you for supporting Keys Athletics and I look forward to next year’s Athletics year.

Best,

Natalie

UPDATES ABOUT ZOOM

In recent days there has been news about Zoom that raises concerns about the security and privacy of their platform. This service, along with services from other vendors, is instrumental to our ability to function as an online school. Keys School works hard to maintain the online safety, security, and privacy of our students and we take these concerns seriously. We seek to partner with companies that will also uphold high standards.

Zoom’s privacy policy meets our standards for use with students. According to zoom.us/privacy, they do not sell user data and are compliant with applicable student privacy laws, including COPPAFERPA, and CCPA. The specific issue of sharing data with Facebook was limited to iOS devices (iPhones, iPads) and was resolved on March 27th once Zoom was made aware of it. Also, the limited and unlikely routing of data through international servers as a fallback has been remedied through geo-fencing and updated whitelisting.

The most dramatic concern in the news is ZoomBombing, wherein a malicious person hijacks a meeting or online class session. Unwanted participants can be reliably kept out of Zoom rooms by utilizing passwords, the waiting room functionality and locking meetings once all attendies have joined.  These settings have been turned on by default for all of our teachers and classes at the school account level. Zoom has also released updates to their software, released new training materials and changed default settings to help curb the possibility of these occurrences. Since we have such a tight-knit community, teachers will only admit students they know into their classes. Please look for new links to Zoom meetings from your teachers. These links have the password embedded in them for the ease of our students connecting.  Students and other members of our community should refrain from sharing these links outside of our community.

We feel Zoom is a powerful and safe tool for our teachers and students, and the company’s quick efforts to improve security, privacy, and reliability since this crisis began gives us confidence they trustworthy partners. Along with the training of our teachers, comfort level of our students and various features that Zoom excels at (breakout rooms, gallery view, reactions/virtual hand raising, and classroom management), we plan to continue to use the Zoom platform while continually evaluating all tools to make Distance Learning successful. Thank you for sharing your concerns! That’s how we all get better. Your feedback allows us to make quick changes and thorough improvements to ensure safety and the best possible experiences for our students.


TIPS FOR USING AND MAKING FACE MASKS

Click here to view information from the CDC on how to wear, remove, clean, and make face masks.

April 3: Word of Gratitude from the Board of Trustees

Dear Keys Community,

As we prepare to enter spring break next week, and with the relatively new knowledge that our school will continue to operate in a distance learning model for the remainder of the school year, I am writing on behalf of the Board of Trustees to extend a message of gratitude, support, celebration, and connection.

We are grateful to everyone in the community who has dug deep into their professional, emotional, creative toolkit. We thank our beloved teachers and the incredibly committed administrative team who have dedicated countless hours to reimagining how the school can operate while we cannot physically gather together. We thank our families for responding to this new mode of learning with generosity, honest communication, and continued partnership.

To say that these past three weeks of Distance Learning have presented each of us with unique challenges may be an understatement, yet it contains a profound truth. While reflecting on how our community has responded to our current reality, I couldn’t help but notice that our mission is very much alive in each of us, even as we are apart.

Faculty and Staff have developed new approaches to teaching that allow them to continue to deliver a Keys education remotely, modeling curiosity and reflection as they respond to lessons learned along the way. Students are stretching their flexibility and creativity muscles, trying innovative ways to learn and sharing their learning with their classmates and their teachers from afar. Parents and caregivers are advocating for themselves and for others, sharing tips, asking for support, and being present for one another as we experience the ups and downs of this uncertain time. It is an honor to witness and to celebrate these moments of community.

Rest assured that the Board of Trustees is keeping our mission at the front of our minds and at the heart of our thinking. We are adjusting to the new reality, ensuring the continuing vitality of the school, and tapping into shared resources from area schools and from professional organizations in the world of independent schools, both locally and nationally. We are working closely with the administration and are confident that Keys will continue to provide the creative and supportive Distance Learning Program that will ensure the school will thrive through this experience.

Heather Rogers, our Head of School, has assembled a Contingency Planning Task Force, bringing together a group of administrators and trustees to work in partnership to address the needs that might arise as we navigate this pandemic. Looking ahead to the remainder of the school year, many questions remain unanswered. The Contingency Planning Task Force will work with the school to anticipate, and create strategies to respond to, whatever the next weeks and months will bring.

One event on the horizon has already moved from in-person to online: the Keys Annual Party & Auction Online Reboot, on Saturday evening, May 2. This Reboot is completely free, and it is our opportunity to gather together–virtually–to celebrate our community, have some fun together, and to share our resources to provide for the outstanding educational programming and tuition assistance that allow our teachers and students to flourish. In this current climate of economic uncertainty, now, more than ever, we need to count on the generosity of our community. We hope you’ve saved the date, and that you’ll join in the fun and in the spirit of giving to this school we all cherish.

On behalf of the board, I’d like to wish every member of our community a spring break that allows us all to recharge, to find some moments of peace, and to return refreshed and ready to welcome our next adventures together.

Warmly,

Amy Schneider
Chair, Board of Trustees

April 1: Response to Governor Newsom's Announcement and School Campus Closures

Dear Keys Community,

At noon today and in conjunction with other state agencies such as the department of education, the medical community, and local governments, Governor Newsom announced that California schools will likely remain closed throughout the academic school year. Though it is a decision the Keys Leadership Team hoped to avoid, we support the effort to prioritize the health and safety of our community and contribute to the national and global effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. To that end, we feel it is necessary to continue our Distance Learning Program through the remainder of the academic year and keep the Keys campuses closed.

We realize that many school events and traditions will not be able to proceed as originally planned. We will use this opportunity to put our adaptability and creativity to work as we envision ways to reimagine and reshape upcoming events to fit our changing circumstances. We are going to do everything we can to celebrate the achievements of our graduates and our community as the school year draws to a close, and we will stay in touch with you as we determine how we can make that happen while holding true to the spirit of our Keys traditions.

While we received this news only six hours ago, the board and leadership team have been preparing for this possibility. As such, I have assembled a Contingency Planning Task Force, comprised of trustees and administrators, who will work with the school to anticipate needs and plan for our response to whatever may come.

I know you likely have a lot of questions, and while we don’t yet have all the answers, we are working tirelessly together to create a comprehensive plan for our community. We will be in touch with more information as we address this new reality in the weeks ahead. School campuses may be closed, but teaching and learning continue!  We are committed to refining and enhancing the Distance Learning experience for our students and finding new ways to create community connection.

It is the incredible strength of the Keys community that will carry us through these exceptional times. We miss all of you enormously. Take care of yourselves and your families. Again, stay tuned for more information, and as always, stay calm, carry on, and wash your hands!

All my best,
Heather

March 31: Virtual Message from Heather and Community Updates

Dear Keys Families,

I hope you are all doing well and beginning to adapt to our new normal. Please check out the video message from me as well as the community updates below.

 Daily Quarantine Questions from the Greater Good Science Center
I am proud and humbled by how our community is responding to a challenging and unprecedented situation with fortitude and resilience. We are here for you. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and your family.

Heather

COMMUNITY UPDATES

UPDATED STAY-AT-HOME ORDER WITH NEW RESTRICTIONS 

Today, health officers in seven Bay Area counties issues an updated Stay-at-Home order that includes some new restrictions. Click here to view the updated order.

DEALING WITH INTERNET CHALLENGES AT HOME

In these times of working from home and distance learning, many of us are coming to realize the “high speed internet” we have at home may not be as fast as we once thought. Streaming a show or movie and sending a couple emails is much different from multiple family members all using video conferencing at the same time. Luckily, many of the big internet providers are offering speed upgrades or other services at this time. Click here to find out more.

FREE VIRTUAL SPRING BREAK SUPPLEMENTAL CARE 

Keys will be hosting free Virtual Spring Break Supplemental Care on April 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, & 10th, from 8:00 am – 12:00 pm.  We will be offering a variety of fun Zoom based activities to keep your kiddos engaged and active during the break. Click here to view the daily schedule for Spring Break.

If interested, please contact Quinton Rief, Lower School After Care Coordinator, to get your kiddo’s name on the roster. Thank you!

HOME ACTIVITY IDEAS SHARED BY THE KEYS COMMUNITY

We’ve gathered a few more at home activity ideas and some of you shared ideas as well.  See the list below:
  • Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems (author of Elephant and Piggy books): https://www.kennedy-center.org/education/mo-willems/
  • Tech Museum:  Is streaming their IMAX movies and providing at-home activities  https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/the-tech-in-san-jose-providing-stay-at-home-entertainment/2261329/
  • Seussville.com:  has some fun Dr. Seuss related activities
  • Art Activities from Michael’s:  Michael’s has some fun activities on their website. They also do a Michael’s Facebook Live every Wednesday at noon Central Time that features fun family activities. Go to www.michaels.com
  • Sports:  NFL opens 2009-2019 all seasons including super bowl for free. Sign up via nfl.com till May 31st, 2020. NBA opens 2018-2019 all seasons,sign up and watch at https://www.nba.com/scores#/ for free till April 22nd.
  • DisneyPlus:  offers 7 day free trial to watch Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic documentaries
  • Kindle Unlimited: Sign up Kindle users for Kindle Unlimited for 2 months to access to 1M e-books and 20K digital comic book libraries such as Kindle in Motion Harry Potter animated books. Note: This deal is valid for new subscribers only. Kindle Unlimited also supports PC.
  • Google Arts&Culture: to access 2500 museums around the world and listening to the concerts at https://artsandculture.google.com/
  • Yellow Stone virtual tourshttps://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/photosmultimedia/virtualtours.htm
  • Yosemite: https://www.virtualyosemite.org/
  • San Diego Zoo live cams: https://zoo.sandiegozoo.org/live-cams
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium live cams: https://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals/live-cams
  • Georgia Aquarium webcam:  https://www.georgiaaquarium.org/webcam/beluga-whale-webcam/
  • Great Wall virtual tour:https://www.thechinaguide.com/destination/great-wall-of-china
  • Access to mars: https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/#
  • Scholastic home-school:  20-days for free: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html
  • Apps: BrainPop – Curiosity Stream – Tynker – Outschool – Udemy – iReady – Beast Academy (Math) – Khan Academy – Creative Bug – Discovery Education
  • YouTube Channels: Crash Course Kids – Science Channel – SciShow Kids – National  Geographic Kids – Free School – Geography Focus – TheBrainScoop – SciShow – Kids Learning Tube – Geek Gurl Diaries – Mike Likes Science – Science Max – SoulPancake
  • Our family discovered this wonderful card game called Totem (https://store.totemteam.com/pages/card_game) available on Amazon and elsewhere for purchase. The idea is to identify and rank positive characteristics of the other people you are playing with. The cards have cute pictures of different animals and include descriptions of personality traits. We’ve been enjoying playing in the evenings and the children love it. It also has really awesome vocabulary so in addition to playing a “feel good” fun game, it also gives us a word boost. Highly recommend it!
  • Walks
  • Scooter and bike rides around the block as a family
  • Family board game nights
  • We brought out our 12 yrs old Rock Band video game and have been playing that as a family.
  • We are starting to cook together more. The kids are starting to cook from a children cook book.
  • We played a family vs. family (FaceTime) game of Trivial Pursuit. Would be super fun with a family you usually get together with and miss hanging out with!
  • Friday Movie Night with popcorn!
  • Game Night with another family via Zoom.  Thinking of games that would translate in a virtual space like charades, apples to apples, Pictionary
Thank you for sharing your great ideas with us!  Keep them coming. 

March 25: School Closure Extended to May 1

Dear Keys Families,

Today, the Santa Clara County Office of Education sent out a press release announcing that seven Bay Area county health officers have made the unified decision to extend school closures through May 1, 2020. Keys will tentatively reopen on May 4, and we are preparing for the potential that the closure date could extend. We understand the vital importance of this order in helping to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and prevent our healthcare system from being overwhelmed, nevertheless, we share your frustration with this disruption to our normal program, and we miss you all.

While recognizing that we cannot virtually replicate the full value of the in-person Keys experience, we continue to work as hard as we can to deliver excellence through our Distance Learning Program. We thank you for your continued partnership as we navigate this new terrain together.

Spring Break will proceed as scheduled the week of April 6. At the moment we are exploring possible options for Supplemental Care for Lower School and will get back to you with more information in the near future.

Please stay tuned for additional email updates later today.

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

March 24: Words from our Counselors

Dear Keys Community,

We recognize that the last few weeks have brought enormous change for all of us. The global pandemic is not just something we are hearing about on the news – it is impacting our lives, daily, in real and very tangible ways. We have all had to make adjustments. Our predictable, functional, and comforting routines have been upended. For the moment, our lives are full of change and unpredictability, and we are called upon daily to navigate new, uncharted waters. But none of us are alone in these struggles. We, at Keys, are walking beside you, here to provide support and guidance along the way.

We are living in unprecedented times. As such, amongst other emotions, you may well be feeling exhausted, stressed, discombobulated, disconnected, stretched, or even just sad. In the video below, we hope to provide a few tips to support you and your family as you work to find your new normal.

You will also find links below to resources we hope you will find helpful, including activity ideas for your kids and family. One of the ways that we can support each other during this time is to share our wisdom with each other. If you have ideas about activities for kids or families, we hope you will share them with us via this form. We will share all your great ideas with our community in a future email. Remember, together we are stronger.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be well.

Warmly,

Sharon Diamond (Lower School Counselor)
Joan Young (Middle School Counselor)


RESOURCES


Activity Ideas
Share your own activity ideas here.  

Silver linings: how to stay positive during the coronavirus crisis 
– The Guardian
Do watch the brief video (under 3 minutes) if you are a parent working from home!

Welcome to the Teaching Force! 
– Girl’s Leadership
Tips from teachers.
RULER Community Strategies for Managing Anxiety around COVID-19 – Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
Helpful tips to take care of bodies, tune into our feelings, and build and maintain relationships.

March 22: The Week Ahead

Dear Keys Families,

I hope that you are all well at home with your family. Having been on many a Zoom call with faculty and staff, please know our community’s health and well-being, in addition to distance learning programming, are top of mind during our conversations. We’re thinking of all of you.

With this in mind, I wanted to reach out with a 35,000 ft view of what’s ahead this week for Lower and Middle School families. Stay tuned for more specific information from Betsy and Larry regarding the following:

Lower School

  • Homeroom and specialist teachers stepping in with new and more formalized schedules
  • Regular Gathering for grades K-4 on Monday at 8:30 am
  • Opportunities for aftercare via Zoom – starting this Friday
  • Upcoming Parent Zoom calls

Middle School
  • Continue with Long Term Distance Learning program/schedule – no big changes
  • Settling into 4 “classes” a day – some teachers will hold Zoom calls during their class time while others are assigning independent work and everything in between
  • All grade/advisories have Community Connection Time (Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri) from 11-11:30 am
  • Second virtual “Opening” for grades 5-8 on Wednesday at 11 am
  • Upcoming news about MS Conferences & Office Hours for support staff
  • Upcoming Parent Zoom calls

An SEL Tip for Families this week:

If you have time to read on your hands, I recommend purchasing Permission to Feel, a book by my dear friend Marc Brackett Ph. D., founder of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the RULER Approach (K-12 SEL curriculum). In the book, Marc talks about “unlocking the power of emotions to help our kids, ourselves, and our society,” and it also outlines strategies to regulate emotion.

Now more than ever, we need strategies to regulate emotion because balancing working from home with managing a family and conducting school online, requires strategies. It’s a stressful time for families and teachers.

One strategy I find powerful is “positive reappraisal.” Positive reappraisal means reframing a situation that may appear negative to a position of positive power. For example, we’ve constantly been talking about social distancing. It’s something we’re all practicing. Today on a call with California Independent School heads, someone referred to “social distancing” as “distance socializing.” I liked that positive spin on the phrase. It enabled me to focus on not only keeping a healthy distance but also placing importance on “connection.” Suddenly social distancing felt less isolating.

This week I invite you and your family to find ways to positively reappraise things that come your way. It’s a skill that needs to be practiced, and I wish someone had introduced that self-regulation strategy to me somewhere between Kindergarten and 8th grade. In addition, this week, look out for SEL parenting tips from our school counselors Sharon Diamond and Joan Young. They will share some self-regulation wisdom for parents to navigate working from home while your children are in the midst of distance learning.

We’ll be in touch again soon. In the meantime, take good care of yourself and your family, and as always, stay calm, carry on, and wash your hands.

All my best,

Heather

March 18: Update

Dear Keys Community,

We are living in an extraordinary and unprecedented time. Since Santa Clara County ordered a shelter-in-place directive, the Keys faculty and staff have fully mobilized our Distance Learning Program (DLP). Due to the County’s directive, nearly all faculty and staff are working from home at this time, using technology to collaborate and communicate in small and large groups. They’re making lemonade out of this situation and like the theater manager says, “The show must go on!” we’re saying, “…So shall school!” We are working every “muscle” to deliver a high-quality social-emotional learning DLP for our beloved Keys students.

We have launched our DLP while in motion. In other words, it’s a lot like building a bike while riding one. The opportunity to do this has been a challenge, but it’s also been a gift. Every faculty member has embraced the occasion to embark on this new adventure as a unified, energized and highly committed team, and we are so grateful for your patience and commitment as we initiate our DLP. We also recognize that in addition to the normal challenges that come with introducing a new program, we all may experience connectivity issues, device malfunctions, bandwidth problems, or other technical issues. We’re human and this much change can cause frustration – this is the time to use the social-emotional learning skills Keys is known to develop in our students and teaching practice. I have been struck by the compassion, kindness, and partnership Keys community members have demonstrated during this period of change. We are living through an extraordinary time, and I have confidence that we will find our way through this together because we are an extraordinary community!

Important DLP Notes:

If your student experiences any technical issues, the first place to look is the new Technology Resources section on KeysNet. Here you will find a collection of School Policies, Instructional Videos, Tutorials, Best Practices and Tips on how to be successful when using our distance learning tools.  As we often tell the students, use the 5 R’s when dealing with a technical issue:

  1. Relax – keep calm, we all understand there will be hiccups along the way
  2. Retry – try again, try another browser, quit and relaunch application
  3. Research – brief search using the search engine of your choice, check out KeysNet resources
  4. Restart your computer
  5. Reach out – ask a teacher, ask a parent, ask classmates, email Ryan Matyjasik, Steven Zeigler or Cameron Johnson

Likely, many of you heard Governor Newsom’s remark yesterday about school closure and the possibility that schools may not reopen until fall. Governor Newsom provided no definitive answer. Presently, we are operating with the intent to reopen after April break, and like you, we are learning of updates from government officials in real-time. We are preparing accordingly, and as we receive messages from the state and the county, we will communicate with all of you as soon as possible.

In the meantime, we recognize the challenges of social-distancing in our close-knit community, and yet, we understand that closing schools, businesses, and group gatherings are only effective as a mitigation strategy when we all make the daily choice to keep our distance from one another as much as possible. This is taxing when we are deeply connected. Nonetheless, we need to do our part. Check out the article, “Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day,” by Asaf Bitton, MD, MPH, executive director of Ariadne Labs in Boston, MA for more information on this topic.

We also recognize how challenging it can be for adults and children alike when the ground keeps shifting beneath our feet and our normal, daily routines are upended. One of the most stabilizing actions you can take at a time like this is to work to put in place new routines and structures for yourself and your family. While we are temporarily suspending our weekly Wednesday Letter communication, we will be reaching out to you regularly in the weeks ahead with updates, information, and resources, including (in the coming days) tips around building routines, setting up schedules, and creating new opportunities for your family.

We hope you and your family are faring well and finding some new footing in this unfamiliar territory. Please stay tuned for more information and keep yourselves safe. We are here for you and want to do whatever we can to help us get through this together, and we will!

All the best to you and yours,

Heather

 

March 18: Lower School Distance Learning

Dear Lower School Families,

I hope that you all are well and that you have been able to join us each morning for Gathering and each afternoon for Closing Circle. It has been such a pleasure seeing all of the students (and you all as well). It has been quite a week and we appreciate your partnership and patience with us in helping your child to learn how to use the Zoom tool and taking the time for them to share their learning from the past trimester through their student-led conference reflections. We hope that you have had an opportunity to reschedule your student-led conference experience with your teachers.

Beginning next week, our Distance Learning Program (DLP) deepens and gathers momentum as our homeroom and specialist teachers dive into classes. The teachers have been busily working behind the scenes to create experiences, both synchronous and asynchronous, that are engaging and developmentally appropriate.

Each day you will receive an email from the homeroom and specialist teachers regarding the expectations for the day. These expectations will include real-time virtual experiences, pre-recorded video lessons, links, or activities. Each of the assignments will also be posted on your child’s KeysNet page, under assignments, so that families can continue to reference them as needed.

How do I access assignments on KeysNet?

To access this section of KeysNet, follow the instructions below:

  1. Log into KeysNet
  2. Click on your child’s name in the upper left corner
  3. Click on the “Assignments” tab

When will my child(ren) meet with their homeroom teacher?

In addition to Morning Meeting and Closing Circle, your child(ren) will have additional opportunities to connect with their homeroom teacher throughout the day. Your child’s homeroom teacher will be reaching out with specific scheduling details by Friday evening.

When will my child have specialist classes?

In addition to the daily meetings with your child(ren)’s homeroom teacher, each specialist will also be holding virtual experiences via Zoom. Each of their links are included below. These experiences will follow a Monday through Friday schedule. At the designated time and day, students are strongly suggested to “attend” these opportunities through the day, though they will not be required to do so. If a student cannot attend the sessions, sessions will be recorded and made available to students to review. Either way, students will be required to complete relevant work.

Note that there are designated times through the day for students to “have class”. If you (students)/your child cannot “attend” a session, you/your child will have access to the work and/or videos as soon as possible, once the session ends.

You will note, there are some classes that are still filling in the final details. We will have the complete information for you on Friday.

Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Kindergarten
Art
1-1:45pm
Music 9:30-10:00
Library
2:00 – 2:30
Spanish
10:00 – 11:00
Mandarin
11:00-11:3-
PE
TBD
Science
9:00-9:15
1st grade
Science
9:00-9:15
Art
1-1:45pm
Music 9:30-10:00
Library
2:00 – 2:30
Spanish
10:00 – 11:00
Mandarin
11:00-11:30
PE
TBD
2nd grade
PE
TBD
Science
9:00-9:15
Art
1-1:45pm
Mandarin
10:00-10:30
Music 9:30-10:00
Library
2:00 – 2:30
Spanish
10:00 – 11:00
Mandarin
10:00-10:30
3rd grade
Spanish
10:00 – 11:00
Mandarin
10:00-10:30
PE
TBD
Science
9:00-9:15
Mandarin
10:00-10:30
Art
1-1:45pm
Music 9:30-10:00
Library
2:00 – 2:30
4th grade
Music 9:30-10:00
Library
2:00 – 2:30
Spanish
10:00 – 11:00
Mandarin
10:00-10:30
PE
TBD
Science
9:00-9:15
Mandarin
10:00-10:30
Art
1-1:45pm

How do I schedule my child(ren)’s day?

While schedules for each family may vary, we strongly recommend that in addition to the scheduled learning experiences provided by the homeroom and specialist teachers, that each family incorporate some play time, down time, and family time.

A sample schedule might include the following:

8:30-9:00
Gathering/Morning Meeting
9:00-9:45
School Activity Time*: Science Zoom lesson
9:45 – 10:15
Play time
10:15 – 11:00
School Activity Time*: Pre-recorded video lesson to watch and respond
11:15 – 12:00
School Activity Time*: Small group lesson with homeroom teacher
12:00 – 12:30
Lunch time
12:30 – 1:00
Outside time
1:00 – 1:45
School Activity Time*: Independent learning activity
2:00
School Activity Time*: Library Zoom lesson
2:40
Closing Circle

*Will vary by grade level and subject

My child(ren) is able to stay connected. Will there be opportunities for me to stay connected as well?

Yes, we will be providing parents with regular opportunities to connect and ask questions. I will be available on Zoom tonight (3/18) and tomorrow night (3/19) between 8:00 PM and 9:30 PM to answer questions. I will be sending out additional information early next week about grade level opportunities.

We will continue to share information as we go along. We welcome any questions that you may have along the way. Thank you again for your partnership and patience every step of this process. Now, as always, we are grateful for your support, growth mindset, and flexibility.

Stay well and wash hands!

From a distance,
Betsy and Lower School team

March 16: Shelter-in-Place

Dear Keys Families,

You are likely aware that today the public health departments from six Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda) announced a “shelter in place” order for all residents, to take effect at 12:01 a.m. This order is to stay in place until at least April 7.

Public health officials report that scientific evidence shows that at this stage of the outbreak, it is essential to slow virus transmission as much as possible to protect the most vulnerable and to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. One proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest possible.

People are directed to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible in the coming weeks, except for meeting essential needs. Essential services will remain open, such as transit, police, fire, healthcare services, and essential stores like grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and gas stations. Restaurants will be limited to take-out and delivery only. “Non-essential stores” are to close. This article from the Palo Alto Online helps to explain what this may mean for you.

When we’re asked to shelter in place, the potential exists for us to feel all the more disconnected. Remember we’re not. The Keys Faculty and Staff are thinking of you and serving you during this time apart. A friend of mine sent me a beautiful reflection from a Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky. In the post, Rabbi Kanefsky explores the possibility of this time being one of re-orienting rather than disorienting ourselves and our communities. Rabbi Kanefsky writes, “Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise…let’s draw one another closer in a way that we’ve never done before.”

We, Faculty and Staff, are drawing you close. While doing so, we continue to work diligently to deliver the Keys mission keeping the whole child, social-emotional learning and academic excellence at our core. We also see our mission alive in all of you. We are warmed and heartened to see the many ways in which the Keys community is already rallying and reaching out to provide support to one another during this challenging time. Keep the network of support and care alive!

Please note that in the spirit of the county directive, Keys will minimize employee presence and access on our campuses; however, we are still here. You can still reach us via email or video conferencing in the days and weeks ahead.

Be well and take care of one another.

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

March 15: Distance Learning

Dear Keys Community members,

Thank you for your support, patience, and flexibility over the past few weeks. We are grateful for your partnership in these unprecedented times.

Below you’ll find a link to a community message from Lower School Division Head, Betsy Doss,  Middle School Division Head, Larry Purcell, and me. In it, we speak about Keys’ move to Distance Learning and how we are sustaining the Keys’ mission through distance learning. Below you will also find campus-specific directions from each Division Head where you will learn in more detail how our Lower and Middle Schools will provide instructions and community-building during the weeks ahead.  We ask that parents/guardians and students (where developmentally appropriate) familiarize themselves with the materials so that everyone is aware of schedules, program, attendance, and behavioral and academic expectations.

We have a new COVID-19 Updates landing page on our website that enables you to access community updates and resources in connection with the COVID-19 outbreak.  Please note that any new information or updates will be sent to you directly via email as well as being archived on this page.

Even though on-campus learning is suspended temporarily, there exists an exciting opportunity to live our mission in new ways through our Distance Learning program. The faculty and staff are using their keen intellect and calling upon their curiosity and reflection to provide a stellar program for our students. We are advocating for ourselves and others, and we know you are doing the same. Collectively, I know our generous spirits will rise to the occasion to engage, inspire and persevere through these next weeks. Most importantly, our generous spirits will stay connected to support one another through a unique moment in history.

Again, on behalf of the faculty and staff, thank you for your partnership. Your kindness, compassion, and support for our community are extraordinary. We are grateful. Please feel free to reach out to me (Heather) or your child’s division head (Betsy Doss/Larry Purcell) with questions.

All my best,

Heather

 

March 15: Lower School Distance Learning

Dear Lower School Families,

I hope that you are all well, staying sane, and finding the silver lining in these unprecedented times. Like you, we have all been experiencing a wide range of emotions, from missing all of you, to being excited for the opportunity to think differently and creatively about how to deliver a program that continues the rich and thoughtful Keys experience, even from a distance. Last Thursday and Friday, the faculty closed our time together by sharing out “Three Good Things” as a way to stay positive, mindful, and appreciative and we encourage you to do the same.

On Monday, March 16, between 7:30 AM and 4:00 PM, come to campus to pick up Student-Led Conference work, Learning Packet and supplies. When you arrive at campus, we will meet you at the gate and hand you the necessary work and supplies.  Unless closed by the county, Mondays will be a time to drop off completed work and pick up work for the following week. If you are unable to get to campus on Mondays, please let us know and we will make accommodations.

Each day during the week of 3/16-3/20 students are expected to:

  • Participate in or watch Gathering and Closing Circle: These events will be held and recorded on Zoom.
    • 8:30 – 9:00 AM Gathering
    • 2:40 – 3:10 PM Closing Circle
      • Click on the Zoom link to join
      • If you are unable to join at 8:30 AM, Gathering and Closing Circle will be recorded and archived in the Lower School folder.
  • Read a minimum of 30 minutes: This could include reading with an adult, listening to and following along with an audiobook, or reading independently.
  • Complete three activities from either the Student-Led Conference stations or the Learning Packet.
Starting the week of 3/23, the homeroom and specialist teachers will begin grade specific Distance Learning. Students are expected to:
  • Participate in or watch Gathering/Morning Meeting and Closing Circle: These events will be held and recorded on Zoom.
    • 8:30 – 9:00 AM Gathering/Morning Meeting
    • 2:40 – 3:10 PM Closing Circle
  • Learning experiences will vary by grade level and subject. Teachers will be posting activities by 9:30 AM each morning. These activities may be real-time virtual experiences, pre-recorded video lessons, links, or activities.  We recognize the challenges of scheduling and will be recording any real-time experiences so that families may access them at their availability.

Student-Led Conferences will be held virtually over the next few weeks.  More information will be coming from the teachers with whom you had previously scheduled conferences. Please note that the student-led conference stations, coming home on Monday, should be completed before your homeroom conference.

What should I expect with Distance Learning for my Lower School student? 

Distance Learning for our children does not mean that the children will be online all day. Students will have a large chunk of time during the day to complete learning experiences.

Distance Learning does mean that the children are technically in school even though we are not seeing them physically in front of us.  There is an expectation that you will ensure that the activities presented to them are worked on and completed to the best of the ability of each child. There is flexibility in the time it takes to complete learning experiences.

How can I set my child(ren) up for success?

  • Set a daily routine and schedule during the school week. Kids thrive on routine and predictability.  Work with them to create a daily/hourly schedule thatbreaks up the day into school time, play time, down time, family time. Establish expectations for technology usage and keep family time sacred.
  • Designate a work space if possible. Just as recommended for homework, designate a space where your child(ren) can work with limited distractions. Knowing that some work will occur online, please keep devices in a shared/public space where you can easily see the monitor.
  • Let your child drive the learning. Let your child make choices when they are presented. We don’t expect you to teach your child, but engage in the learning activities and encourage them to participate. If this becomes difficult, know your teachers are here to support you.
  • Reach out for support. Teachers will be available by email during the hours of 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Starting Monday, March 23rd, teachers will also hold “office hours” during which they will be available on Zoom.
  • Provide opportunities for reflection. Whether through a regular family meeting or a reflection journal, provide opportunities to check in with one another.  Share gratitudes, emotions, hopes, and challenges.
What is Zoom?

One distance learning tool we will be using at various times during the closure is Zoom.  It is a video conferencing platform that will allow our teachers and students a way to connect virtually.  To be sure you are prepared, take a look at some of the resources below. Feel free to reach out to Ryan Matyjasik with any questions regarding this tool.

Joining a meeting – Usually the software will install itself the first time you join a meeting.  The software has already been pushed out to all Middle School students. If they have any trouble, they can reach out to Ryan Matyjasik or Steven Zeigler

Test your audio and video – Zoom offers a “Test Call” in which you can see if your audio and video is working. Once you are in the test call, click the microphone in the lower left corner of the screen and choose “Test speaker and microphone…”

KeysNet Tech resources – We are in the process of building a section on KeysNet to answer some questions that may come up.  It is an ever growing resource, so check back often to see new updates.

I am feeling nervous about Zoom.  How can I get experience ahead of my child(ren)?

Give it a try. I will be available on Zoom tonight (3/15) and tomorrow night (3/16) between 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM. If you would like to check your connection. You can use the link above or follow the instructions below.

Meeting ID: 510 651 1129

By phone: (669) 900 6833

We will be sharing more information throughout the week.  We welcome any questions that you may have along the way.

Stay well and wash hands!

From a distance,
Betsy and Lower School team

March 15: Middle School Distance Learning

Dear Keys Middle School Families,

Well, here we are- learning from afar!  Students, to be clear- school is still in session! Your teachers have been hard at work to not only keep some aspects of our learning experiences familiar to you, but also to create new and exciting ways to engage with material and further your understanding and skill sets. Though school will certainly work in new ways, our values (of respect, community-mindedness, integrity, caring and inclusive behavior, etc.) are very much an expectation.

We recognize that the significant shift in how learning happens, particularly when a community like Keys needs to be apart, can bring a lot of questions.  We welcome your questions and will be discovering the answers with you as we go!

How will Distance Learning work, exactly?

Materials

Though we will be relying on KeysNet to post class agendas and assignments, not all work will be online.  In addition, and as a complement to some of the digital work posted, some teachers have materials awaiting your pick up at school.
  • 5th – 8th grade families, please arrange to stop by campus on Monday or Tuesday, 3/16 and 3/17, from 8am-4pm.  We will have a “drive-thru” set up for grade-specific materials (books, binders, worksheets, PE equipment, etc.) for you! Most of these materials will help students with learning experiences beginning later this week or next week.

Beyond our materials packets, laptops will be a primary source for viewing teacher agendas and processing work. Stay tuned for more information from teachers, but know that screen time should be limited to teacher directed work only. 5th and 6th grade students cannot use school laptops for recreation.  We recommend that 7th and 8th grade students only use school issued laptops for school purposes during our school closure. Families who have the submitted paperwork to allow their 7th or 8th grade student to use the laptop beyond school purposes are the only ones allowed to do so.

SOFT LAUNCH TO DISTANCE LEARNING – March 16 – 18th

To help the gradual adjustment to Distance Learning, 5th – 8th graders will spend the first three days of our closure working on 5 different assignments, corresponding to the 5 classes in our regular letter day schedule.  KeysNet will be our center for information and course resources.
  • By 9am, teachers will post Class Captures (agendas, resources, etc.) and related homework on KeysNet.
  • Students, use your KeysNet “Assignment Center” view to see all instructions and assignments teachers have set for you.
  • Students will have the rest of the day to complete the Class Capture from each of their five teachers.
  • Students will be able to email teachers through the day, as needed, to ask questions, clarify understanding and submit completed work, as needed.
  • Any assignments due on this day should be submitted no later than 4pm.

The flexibility in this plan allows students, families and teachers to continue our planned learning while recognizing that demands of time and the logistics of being away from campus are unique to all.  By design, students will be learning entirely asynchronously (not at the same time) during this period.

Count on the following structure for our first three days of Distance Learning (3/16 – 3/18).

8:45
Morning greeting video will be shared with the community.
9:00
5 Class Captures and related homework posted by teachers on KeysNet
9:00 – 4:00
Students:
  • create a plan for the day, prioritizing and completing work
  • email their advisor to “check in” as a form of attendance
  • email teachers with questions about work (if needed)
  • complete at least 20 minutes of physical exercise in the day
  • complete at least 40 minutes of independent reading over the course of the day
  • submit all assignments due (4pm deadline)
  • maintain healthy practices (washing hands, rest, play, etc.)
Teachers
  • respond to student inquiries via email
  • message the class as needed
  • continue to create plans for upcoming learning experiences
  • assess student work
  • maintain healthy practices (washing hands, rest, exercise, play, etc.)
LONG-TERM DISTANCE LEARNING PLAN – March 19th – onward
Beginning Thursday, 3/19, our Distance Learning model at Middle School will transition to our Long-Term plan. This plan will be in effect until further notice and/or a return to in-person learning is established. KeysNet will remain our center for information and course resources, but the schedule will change, as we create structures that allow for synchronous (happening at the same time) learning.
We will follow our A-F Day schedule, but students will only see 4 courses per day, instead of 5.
  • Students will continue to receive “Class Captures” for each course, and they may receive additional opportunities to connect with a class via conference call, small group collaboration, direct instruction from a teacher, or other guidance from faculty at their specified class meeting time. Students are strongly suggested to “attend” these opportunities through the day, though they will not be required to do so.  If a student cannot attend additional sessions, sessions will be recorded and made available to students to review. Either way, students will be required to complete relevant work.
  • Students will be able to email teachers through the day, as needed, to ask questions, clarify understanding and submit completed work, as needed.
  • Any homework due should be submitted no later than 4pm.
Here is a sample schedule.  Further down you will find a link to our fully populated, grade and section-specific schedules. Note the fact that, there are designated times through the day for students to “have class”.  If you(students)/your child cannot “attend” a session, you/your child will have access to the work and/or videos as soon as possible, once the session ends.

Please also note, above, that Community Connection Time will vary from day to day.  These sessions will most often be coordinated conference calls on zoom. A significant element to productive learning is fostering a sense of connection and belonging. The combination of asynchronous and synchronous modes of learning bolsters the sense of routine and structure, provides a sense of connection, collaboration and community, while providing the unique flexibility families, faculty and students need during this time.

Use this link to access all Long-Term Distance Learning Schedules, 5A/5B – 8A/8B. Ask your child which group they are in to be sure you consult the correct schedule!

Lastly, stay tuned for another grade-specific email where I will reshare schedules, invite students and parents to separate sample zoom conference sessions, and provide opportunities for families to submit questions, offer suggestions, and share.

General Resources

Technology Resources
  • We have a newly created tech resource board, on KeysNet.
  • This will be regularly updated as new supports, tips, and needs surface.
    • One distance learning tool we will be using at various times during the closure is Zoom.  It is a video conferencing platform that will allow our teachers and students a way to connect virtually.  To be sure you are prepared, take a look at some of the resources below. Feel free to reach out to Ryan Matyjasik with any questions regarding this tool.
      • Joining a meeting – Usually the software will install itself the first time you join a meeting.  The software has already been pushed out to all Middle School students. If they have any trouble, they can reach out to Ryan Matyjasik or Steven Zeigler
  • Should you have a recommendation for this resource board, or questions, please email Ryan Matyjasik or Stevent Zeigler at rmatyjasik@keysschool.org or szeigler@keysschool.org.

March 11: School Closure

Dear Keys Community,

In response to the continuing growth of COVID-19 and emerging information today, Keys School will close beginning tomorrow March 12 through April 10 (including Spring Break). While Keys does not have a confirmed case of coronavirus in our community, we believe that the evidence of widespread community transmission warrants school closure at this time. In lieu of Student-led Conferences, our faculty will meet this Thursday and Friday for professional development days to prepare for distance learning. Stay tuned for more information about our framework for distance learning as well as plans for remote student-led conferences.

We recognize the significance extended school closure has on your family. We made this decision after countless hours of deliberation and consultation with other school leaders in our area. While it may not minimize any sadness and frustration, it’s important to note the Leadership Team and I have worked diligently to avoid suspending classes and campus activities. We realize that the closeness of our community makes us more vulnerable to the virus and has led us to this decision. We believe this action is the best course to take at this time. Our responsibility to safeguard the health and well being of our students, families, faculty, and staff is a charge we take very seriously.

WHY CLOSURE AT THIS TIME
At this stage of the health crisis, one of the most critical safety protocols for slowing the spread of COVID-19 is social distancing, which is extremely challenging (if not impossible) to fully implement and enforce with young children, teens, adults, and visitors to campus. Likewise, we are aware that we have many older adults and extended family members within our community who are at greater risk of serious infection if exposed to the coronavirus.

WHAT’S NEXT

  • Thursday and Friday, March 12 and 13 – Professional Development Day – Faculty will work on campus to plan remote learning materials and strategies. We know that some families have signed their children up for extended care over the next few days. We ask that if you are able to keep your student at home, please do so. If you are unable to keep your child at home tomorrow and Friday, please contact Quinton Rief (qrief@keysschool.org) so that we know how many children to expect.
  • Sunday, March 15 – Look for communication from Keys with more information about distance learning in the coming week.
  • Monday, March 16 – Friday, April 10 – In-person classes and regular school programs including outdoor ed are canceled. Remote learning will be in place. No childcare will be available.
    The idea of separating for any amount of time is painful, and these are extraordinary circumstances and times. We are grateful for your continued support through this evolving situation, and you can be confident that we are working to provide excellence on our end while keeping our community safe.

Thank you for your patience and understanding, and be well.

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

March 6: Update

Dear Keys Community,
As communities around the globe navigate the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, we want to thank each of you for the cooperation and calm you have shown over the past weeks. We applaud our teachers, families, and students for supporting one another and modeling kindness and inclusivity in the larger community during this challenging time.

COVID-19 SITUATION UPDATE
From recent public health reports, we understand that COVID-19 is spreading in our area, though it is unclear how extensively or how quickly. The County of Santa Clara is taking proactive steps and has issued new guidelines to slow the spread of the virus and minimize the number of people who become infected.
It is important to note that according to the Santa Clara Public Health Department (SCPHD):
“…the vast majority of people who become infected with COVID-19 do not become seriously ill, and fully recover.”  More rigorous recommendations have been put in place to protect the most vulnerable people in our community and to slow the spread of the virus.”  
At this point in time, we all need to take assertive actions to inhibit the spread of this new virus and lessen its impact for our most vulnerable community members.

People at higher risk:
It is important to be aware that some people are at higher risk for COVID-19, and may have a more severe response to the virus. People at higher risk should be more cautious about avoiding large gatherings of people and exposure to anyone who is sick.
According to SCPHD the following groups of people are at higher risk:
  • People over 50 years of age. The risk increases significantly thereafter and escalates with age, with persons over age 80 in the highest risk category.
  • People, regardless of age, with underlying health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or chronic lung diseases like COPD, as well as those with severely weakened immune systems.
If you believe your child might be at higher risk, contact your doctor about whether they should stay at home at this time.

POSSIBILITY OF SCHOOL CLOSURE
It is likely that many of you are wondering about the possibility of school closure. As we mentioned in our communication last night, the SCPHD is not recommending that schools close at this time.
“The reason we are not recommending school closures at this time is because children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus.  As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities.” 
Should a Keys staff member or student be confirmed with COVID-19, the Public Health Department will immediately step in to evaluate the specific facts and circumstances of that case to determine whether school closure is warranted.

Help Us Prepare for the Possibility of Distance Learning in the Event of School Closure
To help us prepare for the possibility of remote learning, we are asking that you take a few minutes to complete the following survey. The goal of this survey is to help us gauge device and internet accessibility within our community, as well as prepare to allocate resources, should distance learning need to be implemented. All information received will be kept confidential.

STEPS WE ARE TAKING
  • Our Leadership Team continues to make our response to COVID-19 a top priority, to ensure we are doing all we can to safeguard our community and plan for many different eventualities, including the possibility of school closure.
  • We have been working to adapt and refine our Response Plan to guide our responses to this unfolding situation, while recognizing that the fluidity and unpredictability of present circumstances will likely require a dynamic response.
  • Our teachers and curriculum coordinators are working in tandem with other schools and educators across the country to develop resources, should we need to deliver instruction to students in alternative ways.
  • We are currently evaluating the activities and events planned for the weeks ahead, considering whether any modification, rescheduling, or cancelation is necessary. We will make decisions on a daily basis, as circumstances are rapidly evolving.
  • We continue to do all we can to ensure that our campuses are germ-free with rigorous new cleaning protocols.
  • Faculty continue to teach and remind students to use best hygiene practices.
  • We are encouraging greetings that don’t involve physical contact such as a friendly wave or a bright and cheery, “Hello!”
OUR EXPECTATIONS OF OUR COMMUNITY
  • All community members and visitors who enter our campuses will wash or sanitize their hands frequently throughout the day.
  • No community member or visitor will come to campus feeling ill or with a fever.
  • Any community member or visitor will leave campus if they begin to feel ill while on campus, and will report their status to our office.
  • All community members will contact our office if anyone living or working in their household has been exposed to, presumed to have, or has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Take care of your physical and mental health. Keep your immunity strong by getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthy food, and managing your stress.
WHEN WE WILL COMMUNICATE NEXT
We will plan to send out another update on Tuesday, unless a meaningful change in the current situation necessitates that we reach out to you sooner – most likely by email, however, more critical or time sensitive information will be sent using our emergency call system.
We have added a few additional resources to our Coronavirus Resource page.  Please reach out to us if you have questions or concerns. And in the meantime, take care of yourself and be well.
Sincerely,
Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

March 5: Skate Night Canceled

Dear Keys Families,

Keeping you, the members of our community, safe and healthy is our highest priority at Keys.

Late today, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCPHD) asked local communities to postpone or cancel large gatherings. With this new information and in consultation with our local expert in infectious disease this evening, we have chosen to err on the side of caution and cancel Skate Night. We are disappointed to lose this opportunity to come together as a community, but we recognize the importance of doing all we can to help reduce risk to our community and others. We will follow up with additional communications over the coming days about ticketing details, and we are grateful for your understanding that this process may take a little time.

Please note the decision to cancel Skate Night is not due to any immediate concerns within our community, but rather to comply with SCPHD recommendations.

At this time, public health officials are not recommending that schools close. Per the Santa Clara County Public Health Department:

“The reason we are not recommending school closures at this time is because children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities.”

We appreciate your understanding and your support in helping to keep our community healthy. We will be in touch again tomorrow with further updates, but wanted to get this information to you promptly. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and be well.

Sincerely,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

March 3: Update

Dear Keys Community,

As we have done for the last several Tuesdays, we are sending out another email to our community with an update regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and our response.

Every day we learn new information about the spread of the virus around the globe and locally; it is generally not simple or straightforward. It is challenging, even as adults, to comb through headlines to find reliable data and to quell our feelings of anxiety. As educators, parents, and caregivers, we are a vital source of security and safety for our children. We must work to find our own state of balance to help our children navigate uncertainty and fear, so that they may continue to face the world with optimism. The expert resources we connect with daily and rely upon for guidance, the County Health Dept., the CDC, the WHO, and a local expert on pediatric infectious disease, continue to remind us to remain calm and carry on. We are doing just that, and we are poised to course correct, keeping the safety of our children and community at the forefront, should the need arise.

OUR RESPONSE
We closely follow the guidelines for schools laid out by the public health agencies, and are, at times, choosing to take a slightly more conservative path. Based on current information (see COVID-19 Update below) and guidance, we plan for all field trips to proceed as scheduled, with heightened practices of good hygiene emphasized throughout each trip. As information evolves rapidly, we have to stay open to the possibility that plans may need to shift. In some cases, we may make slight modifications to existing plans if there is an opportunity for us to mitigate public exposures without impacting program.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

  1. Use your voices to counter stigmatizing conversations and behavior you encounter related to the virus.
  2. Remain calm.
COVID-19 UPDATE – March 3, 2020

At present, there are approximately 43 positive cases in California, and at least 9 cases in Santa Clara county. California airports (LAX and SFO) are screening passengers. At this time, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is not recommending the cancellation of public events and continues to report that, “there is no evidence of sustained person-to-person transmission of the virus in the United States. The health risk from COVID-19 to the general public remains low at this time.”

The CDPH also announced that new kits used to detect COVID-19 are now becoming available in California. With the new ability to test for COVID-19, it is probable that we will see a significant increase in the number of identified local cases of COVID-19 in the coming days, not due to a sudden and drastic uptick in the rate of transmission of the virus, but because existing cases are now being confirmed and counted.

Given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily. The health and safety of our students is our highest priority and at the forefront of all decision-making.We will continue to update you as this situation unfolds.

Take care of yourself and stay well,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

PARENT RESOURCES

The links below are now available on Keys Net.
Hand Washing Video – 44 second video

February 27: Update

Dear Keys Community,

As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward. Today, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department has confirmed a third case of coronavirus in the county, and the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise worldwide, with over 80,000 cases in more than 45 countries, according to WHO. On Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency for San Francisco, a step which allows the city to increase its efforts to proactively prepare for a potential outbreak (CNN article). We want to assure you we are taking steps to prevent the spread of illness across our campuses and working with public health agencies and medical experts to plan for the possible spread of the coronavirus in our community. Our community’s safety is our highest priority.

As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily.In the meantime, the CDC does not have any special recommendations for the public to prevent the coronavirus beyond taking everyday preventative actions to help minimize the spread of infectious respiratory illness.

School Actions:

  • Our teachers are regularly reminding students to wash their hands. Hand sanitizers (with at least 60% alcohol) are available in each classroom. Teachers are following the same practices.
  • During the day and in the evenings, classroom surfaces are disinfected.

Home Actions and Requirements: 
  • If you, your child, or someone who has close contact with your child has recently traveled from China or Korea (or any country with an outbreak of coronavirus), we ask that you self-quarantine for 14 days from your date of return or date of contact with another traveler, as recommended by the CDC travel advisories, and notify Keys School.
  • NEW – If you, your child, or someone who has close contact with your child has recently traveled from Taiwan, Vietnam, Iran, Japan, Italy, Thailand, Hong Kong, or Singapore (any country where there is a current risk of community spread) we ask that you check your temperature twice daily for 14 days. If you develop a fever of 100.4 or higher or show signs of flu, you should stay home, be evaluated by your physician, and let your physician know you’ve been in a higher risk country. Additionally, please notify Keys School.
  • Get a flu vaccine.  It’s not too late to get vaccinated.
  • Remind your children to wash their hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol), and do so for at least 20 seconds. You can set a good example by doing this yourself. Remember, for a hand sanitizer to work correctly, it should be allowed to dry on your hands – do not wipe dry.
  • Remind your children not to share personal items like drinks, food, or unwashed utensils, and to cover their coughs and sneezes with tissues or their elbow.
  • Be alert to the signs and symptoms of the flu. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, and fatigue. Some people may also vomit or have diarrhea. These symptoms usually come on quickly.
  • Keep children at home and avoid contact with others when they have a fever above 100.4 degrees or show flu-like symptoms. Children may return to school after they have been free of fever, nausea, or other signs of illness for at least 24 hours without medication.

We are closely monitoring and proactively planning our response to this evolving situation, and we are prepared to alter our procedures should the situation change. We are also thinking ahead regarding the impact upcoming school trips and other non-typical school activities will have in the context of the coronavirus. We will communicate any changes affirmatively when the time is appropriate.

It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. Please see the list of resources below.

And finally, we are saddened to hear reports about the rise in racially and culturally insensitive language and behaviors occurring around the globe. We encourage you, members of the Keys community, to continue to be models of kindness and respect toward all cultures. Use your voices to help to counter stigmatizing conversations and behavior you may encounter in your daily lives with the reminder that race, ethnicity, or cultural background are not risk factors for novel coronavirus. Risk is based on one’s travel history or the travel history of a close contact.

Thank you for your patience with these many additional communications. Know that the safety and well-being of our students, employees, and families is our top priority. We will continue to update you as this situation unfolds. In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and connection of the Keys community.

Stay well,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

PARENT RESOURCES

The links below are now available on Keys Net.
Hand Washing Video – 44 second video

February 25: Update

Dear Keys Community,

We want to reassure you that we are staying in touch with the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health, the Santa Clara Office of Education, and monitoring the CDC website for the latest information regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak. At this time, these organizations continue to report that the risk to the general public in the Bay Area and in all of California is low.

According to the Santa Clara Office of Education:

“Currently, there is not an increased risk to the residents of Santa Clara County, and the novel coronavirus is not circulating in our community. Since this is a new virus, we cannot predict how long the virus might continue to spread in mainland China or if it may spread in other locations.” 
While guidance and recommendations for schools from the Santa Clara Office of Education remain largely unchanged, the following statement has been updated:
“Students and staff returning from mainland China arriving in the United States since February 3, 2020, should be excluded from school for 14 days, beginning the day after they left China.” 

As we are following the protocols recommended by the CDC and Santa Clara Office of Education, we ask that if a member of your household or a close contact has traveled to China, please be in touch with our school immediately.

Additionally, we want to reiterate that in light of the fact that travel restrictions regarding novel coronavirus are focused on mainland China, we are aware that fear may lead to wariness or insensitivity towards some people because of their race. As a community, we strive to continue to model kindness and respect toward all cultures. We can all help to counter stigmatizing conversations and behavior we may encounter in our daily lives with the reminder that race, ethnicity, or cultural background are not risk factors for novel coronavirus. Risk is based on one’s travel history or the travel history of a close contact.

We will continue to monitor this situation and share updated recommendations and guidelines with you. In the meantime, we hope that you and your family are staying healthy during this flu season.

Warmly,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

February 11: Update

Dear Keys Community,

We want to reassure you that we are staying in touch with the Santa Clara County Public Health department, the Santa Clara Office of Education, and monitoring the CDC website for the latest information regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak. At this time, these organizations continue to report that the risk to the general public in the Bay Area and in all of California is low, and the recommendations for schools in the Bay Area remain the same. Click here if you would like to view the more extended update and guidelines we sent to you last Friday.

We do want to reiterate that if a member of your household or a close contact has traveled to China, please be in touch with our school and exercise caution.

In light of the fact that travel restrictions regarding novel coronavirus are focused on mainland China, we are also aware that fear may lead to wariness or insensitivity towards some people because of their race. As a community, we want to continue to model kindness and respect toward all cultures. We can all help to counter stigmatizing conversations and behavior we may encounter in our daily lives with the reminder that race, ethnicity, or cultural background are not risk factors for novel coronavirus. Risk is based on one’s travel history or the travel history of a close contact.

We will continue to monitor this situation and share updated recommendations and guidelines with you. In the meantime, we hope that you and your family are staying healthy during this flu season.

Warmly,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

February 4: Update

Dear Keys Community,

We continue to actively monitor the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Santa Clara County Public Health websites for the most up-to-date information about this coronavirus outbreak. The CDC has issued a Level 3 travel advisory, asking people to avoid all non-essential travel to China due to the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, there are now several confirmed cases of coronavirus in Santa Clara County and the Bay Area. At this time, the Santa Clara County Health Department, the California Department of Public Health, and the CDC continue to report that the risk to the general public in the Bay Area and in all of California remains low.

Yesterday afternoon, the Santa Clara County Office of Education released the following updated guidelines for schools in Santa Clara County.

Guidelines for Schools from the Santa Clara County Office of Education

We are asking that any students or staff who have been in Hubei province within the last 14 days, immediately return home and call the public health department during regular business hours (408-885-3980, M-F 8-5) so that they can receive guidance on monitoring themselves carefully for symptoms for the 14 days since their last day in China.

Family members of travelers who visited Hubei province within the last 14 days do not need to quarantine at home, but they should also monitor for symptoms and avoid attending large gatherings.

Students or staff who have been to other areas of mainland China (this excludes Hong Kong) within the last 14 days should also not come to school. They should monitor themselves for symptoms for the 14 days since their last day in China. Per federal guidance being released today, they should also call the public health department during regular business hours (408-885-3980, M-F 8-5) for further guidance.

In either case, if they become symptomatic within 14 days since their last day in China with fever (including chills or night sweats), cough, or shortness of breath, they should call a healthcare provider and let them know their travel history and symptoms.

Schools, please do not require a physician’s clearance to return to work or school for students, employees, and other staff who have returned from traveling and are not sick. We are receiving communications that this is happening, which is impacting the medical system and preventing doctors from seeing patients who are ill.

We encourage all students and staff to take common-sense precautions to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases, including common illnesses like colds and flu:

  • Encourage all students and staff to stay home when they are sick.
  • Those who have a fever at school should go home immediately and stay there for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Separate sick students and staff from others in a separate place, until they can be picked up to go home.
  • Promote hand hygiene through education and availability of soap, hand sanitizers, and tissues.
  • Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Encourage proper cough etiquette—cough or sneeze into a tissue, sleeve, or arm. Do not use your hands.
  • Perform routine surface cleaning, particularly for high-touch surfaces.
  • Consider not attending or hosting large gatherings. This is where cold, flu, and other respiratory viruses are often spread.

The Public Health Department has a webpage dedicated to novel coronavirus in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Vietnamese at sccphd.org/coronavirus. We will keep the webpage updated as we know more. We will monitor the developing situation and inform you of any additional public health recommendations. We deeply appreciate the partnership of schools in communicating this information to students and families. We also greatly appreciate everyone’s efforts in staying informed, calm, and thoughtful as we all do our part to help keep our communities safe.

We ask that all our Keys families and employees abide by the guidelines stated above. We are aware that many Keys parents and/or families travel internationally. If you, your child, or someone who has close contact with your child has recently traveled from China, please let us know. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we will continue to follow the latest CDC updates for guidance on the most effective and sensible prevention measures.

We hope you and your family are staying healthy. At Keys, we are asking students to wash their hands with greater frequency during the school day, including before lunch. (We recommend taking a look at this 44 second video about hand washing.)

Stay well.

Warmly,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

January 24: Coronavirus and Flu

Dear Keys Community,

Flu season has arrived, and you are likely also aware of the outbreak of the coronavirus which originated in China and now has confirmed cases internationally. We are doing our very best at Keys to minimize the spread of germs by asking students and adults to wash their hands often, frequently sanitizing surfaces around our campuses, and reminding children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze.

You can help us by adhering to the guidelines in our Family Handbook, by keeping children at home and avoiding contact with others when they have a fever above 99 degrees or show flu-like symptoms. Children may return to school after they have been free of fever, nausea, or other signs of illness for at least 24 hours without medication.

If there are any outbreaks of coronavirus in the area, Santa Clara Public Health will notify us and we will alert you immediately, with whatever additional guidance the experts provide us. For those of you traveling or receiving visitors, please take care and practice extra caution. Click here for additional information from the CDC about this coronavirus outbreak, precautions, and travel alerts and recommendations.

Please help us keep all of our students (and by extension, your family), teachers, and staff as healthy as possible during this season.

Warmly,

Heather and the Keys School Administrative Team

RESOURCES

CONTACT US

OUR ADMINISTRATORS ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU WITH ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS:

 

Questions regarding our crisis response

Heather Rogers  |  Head of School

Questions regarding Lower School distance learning 

Betsy Doss  |  Head of Lower School

Questions regarding Middle School distance learning

Larry Purcell  |  Head of Middle School

Questions regarding technology access

Ryan Matyjasik  |  Director of Technology

Questions regarding communications

Jan Bruzzese  |  Director of Communication

 

SPREAD KINDNESS

Viruses don’t discriminate... and neither should we. We urge everyone to use their voice to help counter stigmatizing language and behavior you may encounter in your daily life with the reminder that race, ethnicity, and cultural background are not risk factors for novel coronavirus.