This page was created as a resource and archive for all communication from Woodside Priory School about COVID-19 (coronavirus) and its impact on the Priory community. For more information about the developing public health response to the virus, please reference the resources on this page.

School Campus Closure

The Priory school campus closed as of March 12 and will remain closed through the remainder of the school year. Students will continue their studies through distance learning.

Updates from School Administrators

List of 9 items.

  • February 5, 2020- Email to Parents from Veda Putnam (School Nurse)

    Dear Priory Community,

    Since the news that the novel (new) coronavirus was declared a public health emergency of international concern, Priory has been in close communication with the San Mateo and Santa Clara Public Health departments, as well as many of our local public, private, and boarding schools in the bay area, and we continue to monitor all recommendations from the WHO (World Health Organization), CDC, and state and local health departments. Our top priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, faculty/staff and the school community. We hope to address any concerns directly and maintain open communication to ensure a safe and positive environment for our entire community. 

    Updated information can be found here from the San Mateo County Health Department https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus, in Spanish  https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus#espanol

    Santa Clara public health has an informational flyer on their website with information for those who have traveled where coronavirus circulating, those who have not traveled, and what they feel the community needs to know about the virus. I have attached the flyer to this email as well.
    More links to resources are included below. Excellent resources include your physician/health practitioner, county health departments where you reside, the CDC, the WHO , as well as the Children's Health Council (CHC), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), and the US Dept of State. 

    We also want to take this opportunity to remind all of you best practices for staying healthy during the cold and flu season. This is a great time to remind and review health practices and activities in which we can all actively participate. 
    • Try to avoid contact with people who may be sick
    • Receive a flu vaccination 
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use antibacterial hand sanitizer
    • Cover mouth when coughing or sneezing
    • Try not to share eating or drinking utensils
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
    • Get enough sleep, exercise, and eat healthy    
    • Have students stay home when sick
    • Wait 24 hours after a fever has ended without the use of fever reducing medicines before sending your child back to school (fever generally defined as above 100.4, however check with your health practitioner). 
    • Avoid touching your face particularly eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Consider avoiding large group gatherings. 
    HELPFUL LINKS
    CDC 
    WHO 
    Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, or can be of any assistance. We will continue to monitor the situation and update as it pertains to our school and community. 

    Thank You 
     
    Veda Putnam, R.N.
    Priory School Nurse
  • February 26, 2020- Email to Parents from Micah Morris (Asst. Head of Upper School)

    Friends,
     
    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. We wanted to share with you some of the steps Priory is taking to prevent the spread of illness across our campus, and plan for the possible spread of the coronavirus in our community.
     
    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 most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health best practices like:
    • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
    • Enforcing proper hygiene, like washing hands frequently and thoroughly (for at least 20 seconds), and covering up coughs/sneezes with Kleenex and then disposing of the Kleenex
    • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects
    • Asking all faculty, staff, and students who are feeling ill to stay home until they recover
    The Priory community maintains and will continue to supply ample Kleenex, soap, and disinfectant/sanitizer for use by everyone. Our community is also prepared to alter our procedures and planning should the situation change. We are thinking ahead regarding the impact that spring travel, 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.

    In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of the Priory community. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.

    Sincerely,
    Micah
    --
    Mr. Micah Morris
    Assistant Head of Upper School
  • March 4, 2020- Email to Parents from Tim Molak (Head of School)

    Dear Priory Community,

    I am writing as a follow-up to the emails sent by Mrs. Putnam, our School Nurse, and by Mr. Morris, our Assistant Head of the Upper School, concerning the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Those emails provided a variety of information concerning the virus and how best to protect you and your family in this time of uncertainty.

    We at Priory understand and take seriously our responsibility to care for our students –  both day and boarding. Our obligation is to make sure we are prepared as a school, and have planned for any situation that might have a large impact on our school day, our programs, our on-campus staff, and those who live in our dorms.

    After a meeting yesterday of Administrators and some key Faculty including our Campus Minister and Service Coordinator we have opted, out of precaution, to cancel all Service Week activities. This includes the cancelation of the Junior Retreat (to be rescheduled at a later date), the Snow Science trip, and both international service trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica. 

    School will be in session that week – what would have been Service Week (March 16-20) will now be a normal school week. Those families who have students enrolled in trips or other opportunities that involve a cost to the family will be contacted separately regarding options for a refund of the associated trip fees. 

    Additionally, because we are a boarding community, and because air travel to various destinations around the world involves uncertainty at this time, the School is opting to keep both dorms open for the upcoming Easter Break (April 6-13). Boarding students will not be required to vacate the dorms during that time; instead, they will have the option to remain in the dorms as usual should they choose not to travel.

    We have been in contact with other school administrators in the area and have been monitoring information from the local health departments and the CDC as we determine what decisions we need to make concerning any possible school closure.

    In addition, below you will find measures the School is either taking now, or preparing for should the need for implementation arise.

    These measures include:
    • meeting regularly with Senior Administrators and communicating with all supervisors about maintaining a safe environment for the students and staff in their care.
    • discussing options for all future large gatherings on the campus.
    • making plans with our teaching faculty for alternative instructional delivery methods in case there is a long-term school closure.
    • following the best health care practices outlined in the emails sent to you earlier to limit the spread of the virus within the school community and beyond.
    • making sure our custodial company – both day and evening staff – is implementing additional cleaning and sanitizing procedures to ensure that all surfaces are as clean as possible.
    • strongly encouraging students and staff who are not feeling well to stay at home and to get the proper medical attention needed.
    • monitoring the situation daily regarding the upcoming travel to France in an effort to determine in a timely way whether the Priory Global Ed French trip will take place during Easter Break. Currently, the upcoming trip for the Robotics team is not effected and will let you know if that changes.
     
    We encourage families to talk with their children about the virus and to educate themselves about staying healthy by following best practices and contacting your health care provider when needed. We also encourage families to stay up to date with the latest information provided by the CDC and WHO

    As you know, it is active participation, trust, and support from all that makes this such a special community and a wonderful place to be every day. As we partner with you during this unsettling time, we remain grateful for the essential role you each play and, as was said in an earlier email, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of the Priory community. 
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Tim Molak – Head of School
    Brian Schlaak – Head of Upper School
    Caitha Ambler – Head of Middle School
    Micah Morris – Assistant Head of Upper School
  • March 4, 2020- Email to Parents from Andrew Hasson (Athletic Trainer)

    Hello Priory Community,
     
    On the heels of Mr. Molak's email around COVID-19 or Coronavirus, we wanted to send out communication about what we are doing in athletics to curb the spread of any disease. We will be suspending use of team-assigned water bottles and student-athletes will be asked to bring their own water bottles to practice/games. Water coolers will be placed out at practices so that athletes may refill their water bottles, and cups will be provided for those that did not bring their own water bottles. Students should not share water bottles.
     
    Also, we are asking all players to refrain from "hand shakes" before or after games. We want to avoid hand-to-hand contact and disease transmission, so an elbow-bump or verbal "good game" will be used instead of the hand shake. 
     
    We also want to emphasize the importance of hand-washing and participating in best practices for staying healthy, including not touching one's eyes, nose and mouth. Other best practices are outlined by the CDC and WHO organizations. Thank you for your understanding during this time, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
     
    Best,
    Andrew Hasson
     
    --
    Andrew Hasson, ATC
    Full-Time Athletic Trainer
    Woodside Priory School
  • March 8, 2020- Weekly Bulletin Communication

    Coronavirus Updates
    Please refer to this section of the Weekly Bulletin for the latest weekly updates on measures we are taking at Priory to ensure that our community stays safe during the current coronavirus situation.
    • Priory continues to ensure that our campus remains clean. Our custodial company is implementing additional sanitizing procedures to ensure that all frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, handrails, water fountains, etc...) are clean.
    • We are currently solidifying plans for alternative instructional delivery methods in case there is a long term school closure. Our goal is to ensure as little disruption as possible in instruction.
    • Junior Retreat has been postponed until further notice.
    • All Service Week activities, including the global ed trips to Guatemala and Costa Rica, have been cancelled.
    • We will be deciding if upcoming trips, including the Easter Break France trip and the summer Costa Rica trip, will be cancelled. Those families whose students are slated to participate in those trips will be notified immediately should cancellation of the trip occur.
    • Our Robotics trip to Fresno, from Wednesday March 11 through Saturday March 14, is still going forward as planned. Should this be cancelled families will be notified immediately.
    • We are currently discussing our options for all future large gatherings on campus.
    • We strongly encourage anyone who feels ill, and especially those with fever and cough, to stay home. Students, faculty, and staff should be fever free without the aid of Tylenol or Advil for at least 24 hours before returning to school. In addition please follow the following standard precautionary measures against illness, which include:
    • Avoiding close contact with those with cold and flu-like symptoms
    • Covering your nose/mouth when coughing and sneezing with a flexed elbow
    • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
    • Cleaning your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
    For additional health questions please contact School Nurse Veda Putnam. If you have known exposure to a person who tested positive for COVID-19, or you have travelled to a country that is CDC level 2 or above, please tell Veda immediately.
  • March 11, 2020- Email to Priory Community from Tim Molak (Head of School)

    March 11, 2020

    Dear Priory Community,

    We certainly find ourselves in uncharted waters as we navigate the quickly changing effects and spread of COVID-19. With that in mind, the Priory will be closed, along with the other San Francisco Archdiocesan schools, from tomorrow March 12 through March 25. If that is changed or extended we will let you know. 

    We understand this is an evolving health concern, and guidance is changing daily. This decision involved collaboration with our administration, school nurse, CDC guidelines, local health departments and other leadership bodies across California. I understand the hardship this may cause some families. Our decision was made out of maximum consideration for the health and safety of our students, Monks and school community.

    School is still in session through the Distance Learning format with faculty providing class work to be completed while the students are not on campus. Additional information about the details of that and other updates will be sent out by Ms. Ambler, Mr. Schlaak and Mr. Morris.

    The campus will be closed during this time which means only faculty and staff will be allowed on campus to work in their classrooms or offices. If a student or a family member needs to be on campus they will need to make arrangements with the appropriate person beforehand and check in at the main office.

    The daily and weekly bulletins will continue and will contain important updates and a link to a Covid-19 Information webpage. Be sure to continue checking the bulletin on a daily basis as we try to keep communications funneled through the bulletin as the single contact.

    Mr. Siler has already prepared our dorm students and families for this moment and they will have to vacate the dorms and campus no later than noon tomorrow and head to their local guardians. He will be in communication with his dorm community as needed over the next two weeks.

    As a closed campus that means all Priory activities, athletic games, dances, field trips, practices and any other activity or event is canceled. If an activity can be postponed that will be communicated to you later. There is to be no use of any the Priory facilities except classrooms and offices by faculty and staff during this period.

    The Priory’s 38th Gala - On a Safari - will be an entirely online event this year. The Gala Committee and Development Office have been working to create an exciting online event to engage the community in supporting the school and our very important Fund A Future for Financial Aid. Although we won’t be able to celebrate together, I hope you will rally as a community and help us achieve our goals by enthusiastically participating in this year’s online Gala. In the coming days you will receive more details, so stay tuned.

    As a Benedictine and a Catholic school we care for all members of our Priory community and will keep you informed as the situation evolves. The Monks will continue to keep you in their daily prayers and I ask that you especially keep health care providers, public health officials and all community leaders in yours.

    Peace,

    Tim Molak
    Head of School
  • March 16, 2020- Email to Priory Community from Tim Molak (Head of School)

    March 16, 2020
     
    Dear Priory Community,

    As many of you have heard today, the county of San Mateo Health Officer is "directing all individuals living in the county to shelter at their place of residence..." and away from others as much as possible. As is mentioned in the media that the "one proven way to slow the transmission is to limit interactions among people to the greatest extent practicable." You can view the details on the County of San Mateo website here.

    In consultation with the Priory administration and Monastic community, we have made three important decisions:
    • We will extend our closure through Tuesday, April 14 which is right after our Easter break and distance learning will be extended to Friday, April 3.
    • Our international students will be allowed to go home immediately to be with their families indefinitely, during this uncertain time and continue their education through distance learning.
    • Our Priory offices will be closed with only a small number of essential employees on the campus until April 14. Faculty and staff are reachable by email and the phones will be answered and calls returned as soon as possible as we continue with our distance learning.
    Updates for all the academic classes involved will be communicated to all of you shortly.

    We will continue to monitor the latest news, which now seems to change daily, and provide you with updates concerning the school and the local community in our Weekly and Daily Bulletin.

    Please continue your prayers for all those affected by the virus and those who are working in the health care industry. We hope for the success of this latest directive in order to save lives, minister to those in need and reduce the number of people infected.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Tim Molak
    Head of School
  • March 29, 2020- Email to Priory Community from Tim Molak (Head of School)

    March 29, 2020

    Dear Priory Community,
     
    It is very strange and a little bit unnerving on our campus right now. There is nothing usual about it -- few voices can be heard, almost no one is here, fields lie vacant, no splashing in the pool, classroom lights are out, no cheery Nate in the morning, no line of cars for drop off or pick up, the chapel is dark, the parking lot is empty, the rain has been falling softly but there is one aspect of Priory life that continues, we still ... GOT MONKS! They are the visible sign of life on our campus.
     
    Their golf cart is still zooming on the roads and they planned a pizza take out dinner last Saturday for all who live on campus and another this coming Sunday -- OSB Hospitality even during this time of social distancing.
     
    As Benedictines have done over the ages they provide stability in a culture when uncertainty and chaos swirl around us. They have never been more valuable for our hearts and souls than today when each day brings more thunder and lightning rather than blue skies.
     
    Last Thursday and Friday our latest phase of Distance Learning began with an orientation - students met in Advisory before their classes and for the first time in 2 weeks we saw their faces and from all accounts, it was a "joyous" moment and thus ... we begin again.
     
    We will join the other schools in the Bay area who will extend the "shelter in place:" and hopefully be back on campus May 4 to finish the year together and celebrate the class of 2020.
     
    All of you are in my prayers, do the best you can to help those in need in our local community, donate time, treasure or talent when appropriate and do remain ... Priory Strong!
     
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Tim Molak
    Head of School
  • April 9, 2020- Email to Priory Community from Tim Molak (Head of School)

    April 9, 2020

    Dear Priory Community,

    To see the sun out and shining brightly yesterday was uplifting and a welcome break from the recent rain and clouds overhead. Those of us on campus do miss the "pitter-patter” of teenage feet and the sound of youthful voices in conversation with their friends and teachers.

    The campus is so green right now, the signs of new life are everywhere and I wish we could look forward to seeing our parents, students and staff back at the Priory shortly after our Easter break but that is not to be the reality of what we will be doing.

    As you may have heard, San Mateo County Office of Education along with the county superintendents in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and our local Portola Valley school district, announced the decision to extend campus closures and Distance Learning through the remainder of the year. The Priory will also close our campus and extend online teaching and learning through the end of our school year on June 6. 

    During this unprecedented health crisis, taking this step will help to protect everyone's health and safety and allow us to "flatten the curve". This includes the importance of continued social distancing and other measures you may take at home. 

    We join many of our local independent and Catholic schools who have already announced this same decision and it really pains us to send you this latest news because of the loss of so many important end of year events, especially for our Seniors, the Class of 2020. We are already brainstorming ideas and ENVISIONing unique, creative ways for all of us to celebrate the uniqueness of our journey together this year, so stay tuned.

    Know of our prayers for you during this pandemic and we wish you many graces during this Holy Week and Easter season.

    The Monks and I miss you - we are all in this together!

    Keeping you in my prayers,

    Tim Molak
    Head of School

Distance Learning

Welcome to our Distance Learning Hub! While our campus and physical classrooms are temporarily closed, Priory students are busy learning remotely. Please scroll down for more information about our distance learning program.

Distance Learning Schedules

List of 3 items.

  • Middle School Distance Learning Schedule Starting May 11th

    For a standard week, starting May 11th, the Middle School Distance Learning schedule will be as outlined.

    MONDAY
    9:00-9:45am- A Period
    10:00-10:45am- B Period
    11:00-11:30am- Advisory
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music
    2:00-2:45pm- 7th/8th PE

    TUESDAY
    9:00-9:45am- C Period
    10:00-10:45am- D Period
    11:00-11:30am- E Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music
    2:00-2:45pm- 6th PE

    WEDNESDAY
    9:00-9:45am- F Period
    10:00-10:45am- G Period
    11:00-11:30am- A Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music
    2:00-2:45pm- 7th/8th PE

    THURSDAY
    9:00-9:45am- B Period
    10:00-10:45am- C Period
    11:00-11:30am- D Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music
    2:00-2:45pm- 6th PE

    FRIDAY
    9:00-9:45am- E Period
    10:00-10:45am- F Period
    11:00-11:30am- G Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music
  • Regular Week Distance Learning Schedule

    For a standard week, the Distance Learning schedule will be as outlined.

    MONDAY
    9:00-9:45am- A Period
    10:00-10:45am- B Period
    11:00-11:30am- Advisory
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music

    TUESDAY
    9:00-9:45am- C Period
    10:00-10:45am- D Period
    11:00-11:30am- E Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music

    WEDNESDAY
    9:00-9:45am- F Period
    10:00-10:45am- G Period
    11:00-11:30am- A Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music

    THURSDAY
    9:00-9:45am- B Period
    10:00-10:45am- C Period
    11:00-11:30am- D Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music

    FRIDAY
    9:00-9:45am- E Period
    10:00-10:45am- F Period
    11:00-11:30am- G Period
    LUNCH
    1:00-1:45pm- Music
  • Short Week Distance Learning Schedule

    For a shortened week, the Distance Learning schedule will be as outlined.

    TUESDAY
    9:00-10:00am- A Period
    10:00-10:30am- Break
    10:30-11:00am- Advisory
    LUNCH
    12:30-1:30pm- Music

    WEDNESDAY
    9:00-10:00am- B Period
    10:00-10:30am- Break
    10:30-11:30am- C Period
    LUNCH
    12:30-1:30pm- Music

    THURSDAY
    9:00-10:00am- D Period
    10:00-10:30am- Break
    10:30-11:30am- E Period
    LUNCH
    12:30-1:30pm- Music

    FRIDAY
    9:00-10:00am- F Period
    10:00-10:30am- Break
    10:30-11:30am- G Period
    LUNCH
    12:30-1:30pm- Music

Helpful Links

Postponed Events

  • All school-sponsored athletic practices and competitions
  • All external field trips
  • All music rehearsals
  • March 13: Artist Reception in Kriewall-Haehl Gallery
  • March 16-18: Junior Retreat
  • March 19: Electives Fair

Canceled Events

 
  • Monday and Tuesday Priory Parent Hikes (until further notice)
  • March 12: Class of 2020 Parent Cocktail Party
  • March 19: Board of Trustee Meeting
  • March 23: College Counseling Pioneer Research Program
  • March 23-27: March Madness
  • March 26: University of Cambridge Counselor Meeting
  • April 18: Junior/Senior Prom
  • April 25: CMEA Band Festival
  • April 25: Rebuilding Together

Woodside Priory School