Covid-19 Response

2020-21 Covid-19 Communications

List of 4 items.

  • October 11, 2021- Positive Covid Test

    Dear Priory,
    A member of our community tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, October 7. This person tested negative on Monday, October 4, through our testing program and does not have any symptoms other than a slight loss of smell.
    This information may cause concern or raise questions. Please know we are balancing privacy and the safety of our community, so we cannot share specific or detailed information. Also, please refrain from speculation as it does not serve our community well. The students and teachers that came into close contact with this individual have been notified. If you were not notified, you were not in close contact with this person last week. 
    No immediate action is needed on your part, but please continue to wear an appropriate face covering and use the Trace app. Even with 100% of our faculty and staff vaccinated, over 95% of our eligible students vaccinated, and a regular testing program, we need to stay vigilant as the virus remains part of our reality.
    Enjoy these next few days, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
    Patrick Ruff
    Head of School
  • August 26, 2021- Covid Testing

    Dear Parents,

    As we welcome our students, faculty, and staff back to campus this week, we are taking steps to protect everyone’s health and safety. Please join us in minimizing the prevalence and reducing the spread of COVID-19 at Priory and in our wider community. We are grateful that 100% of our faculty and staff are vaccinated, and 96% of our eligible students are vaccinated; however, we recognized the severity of the Delta variant and see the need to remain vigilant.
    With that, we will resume our testing program as an additional measure of safety. Testing will be done on campus through Basis Diagnostics. All unvaccinated students and all students living in our dorms will be tested each week. All vaccinated students, faculty, and staff will be tested every other week. We will continue to communicate results with you, but please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.
    Ms. Kate Johansen will share the details of our plan in the next few days.
    Thank you for all you have done over the past year to work around all the challenges that have come our way. During this time, I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know many of you over Zoom and in person, and these experiences have reinforced the care and commitment to one another that is at the heart of our community. This strength is part of what makes Priory distinct and special. I look forward to a year of learning, discovery, and community, and I can’t wait to see you soon.

    Patrick Ruff
    Head of School
  • August 5, 2021- Covid Protocol Update

    Dear Priory,

    We are looking forward to welcoming our students back to campus in just a few weeks! Our guiding principle is that all students will have access to safe and full in-person instruction. 

    Thank you for responding to our request for information about vaccines. We have responses for 250 students, and 98% of eligible students are vaccinated. We need to collect information for all our students; please take 30 seconds and complete this form. We mandated the vaccine for our faculty and staff, and 100% are in compliance!

    The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released its framework for schools on July 30. As we prepare for the start of the school year, we are writing to share a few highlights of the CDPH safety measures that will apply at Priory to keep our community safe. Please know these practices and protocols continue to change as the virus continues to mutate.
    Adhering to this principle, we will follow these measures:
    • Masks are required indoors when individuals are sharing indoor spaces and optional outdoors.
    • Individuals who are not fully vaccinated are required to wear a mask at all times except during meals.
    • Physical distancing is not required if other mitigation strategies, like wearing a mask, are met; however, physical distancing is encouraged where possible.
    • We will maximize physical distancing while eating, especially indoors. We will eat outdoors when possible.
    Hygiene and Cleaning 
    • We will continue to promote handwashing and have hand sanitizer available in classrooms and on campus.
    • We will continue daily cleaning of all facilities and disinfecting any space that has had a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 24 hours. (CDC guidance)
    • We will continue our ventilation practices of keeping windows and doors open and will change our MERV-13 filters regularly.
    Health Screening
    • We will no longer collect and monitor health screenings daily; however, please monitor your children's symptoms on a daily basis.
    • Please keep students home and contact the school immediately if students have COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to COVID-19, or have tested positive for COVID-19.

    COVID Testing
    • Priory will offer routine, ongoing screening testing for individuals who are not fully vaccinated.
    • More information on the testing will follow as the school year approaches.

    • Priory is committed to keeping our campus and our wider community safe while providing access to in-person instruction for all students.
    • Along with CDPH, we encourage COVID-19 vaccination for all who are eligible. Learn more about the vaccine, and schedule an appointment here.
    Portola Valley School District and the Town of Portola Valley are hosting a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Portola Valley Town Center (Community Hall Courtyard) on Sunday, August 8 from 1:00 - 4:00 (1st dose) and Sunday, August 29 from 1:00 - 4:00  (2nd dose). Registration is preferred, or call 1-833-422-4255. Another simple option for vaccines is at your local Safeway.

    Please stay healthy, safe, and well!
    Caitha Ambler
    Head of Middle School
    Ana Cortez
    Head of Upper School
    Patrick Ruff
    Head of School
  • July 27, 2021- Covid-19 School Guidelines and Important Dates

    July 27, 2021

    Dear Priory,
    I hope you and your family are enjoying a restful and rejuvenating summer! We are busy preparing for the start of school in August and excited about the year in front of us.
    Earlier this month, California published guidance for schools regarding COVID-19 and the 2021-22 school year. As we get closer to the start of school, we will send more information about our practices and policies, but classes will be full-time, in-person, and 5 days a week. We recognize the seriousness of the Delta variant and will take the appropriate precautions to ensure the safety of our community, particularly as many of our 6th grade students are not yet eligible for vaccination.
    We strongly recommend that all students eligible for vaccination receive the vaccine before the start of school. With that, please take 30 seconds and complete this form about vaccinations. We will share our vaccination rate as soon as we have the information collated. As research shows, the best defense against this variant and any other variant is to increase the vaccination rate at Priory.
    A few key dates to keep in mind as we turn toward August.
    Sunday, August 22       6th, 9th, and transfer Family Welcome, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
    Monday, August 23 New Student Orientation, 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
    Tuesday, August 24All Student Registration, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
    Wednesday, August 25  First Week of School Schedule
    Thursday, September 9      Back to School Night (new date – please note this date changed)
    Enjoy these days of summer, and please know we hope you and your family are safe, healthy, and well.
    Patrick RuffAna Cortez-HernándezCaitha Ambler
    Head of SchoolHead of Upper SchoolHead of Middle School

COVID-19 Counseling Resources

Tools to help you regulate your feelings:
From the CDC:
For more information on supporting your child(ren), take a look at these offerings from Child Mind Institute and this presentation from Children's Health Council
  • If you need to connect with someone immediately, please explore these resources, available 24/7:
  • In case of a psychiatric emergency, dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency department
  • Crisis Text Line: Text "Hello" to 741-741
  • Star Vista's Crisis Hotline: (650) 579-0350
  • San Francisco Suicide Prevention: (415) 781-0500
  • Santa Clara County Crisis Hotline: (855) 278-4204
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255 
For more information, including referrals to local therapists, please reach out to the counseling department.

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