Safe Return to School

Return to School Plan 2020-2021

The health and safety of your children and our staff is our absolute top priority. 

We are fully committed to holding in person classes on campus when the State and County allow us to do so, and it is safe.  The optimal educational environment for our students is one in which they are able to interact face to face with their teachers, and participate in learning and social interactions with their peers. 

We recognise that this is a time of elevated anxiety for many of our students and families. Our back to school plans have been made with the utmost consideration for both the physical and, equally importantly, the mental health of our community.

For families who choose not to have their child return to campus for in person classes, we will continue the distance learning model with dedicated teachers for those students.

The following procedures will be in place when we are allowed to return to campus:

Student Cohorts

We will be using the Cohort Model with cohort sizes being no larger than 14 students and two core teachers. Within a cohort students will be appropriately grouped for their language arts and math needs. Cohorts will have specific lunch and break areas on campus (see below). Each cohort’s two core teachers will spend most of the school day with their cohort students, with specialist teachers rotating in remotely to each cohort during different semesters allowing each specialist teacher to work with one cohort at a time. (see below)

Drop off and Pick up Procedures

Each cohort will have a specific entrance to the school buildings that they will enter and exit through each day.  If students need to be picked up early or arrive late, they will use their designated entrance.


Following the path indicated on the map (see below), as families drive through the parking lot, a faculty member will do a health screening prior to your child exiting the car.  School staff will be distanced and masked while checking in students.


The teachers will walk each cohort out to the parking lot where students will wait in marked areas for their family to pick them up.

Late or Early Pick-up:

If you will be late, for either drop-off or pick-up, please be sure to communicate this to Ms. Pam ( as soon as possible.  

Likewise, if you need to pick-up your child early, please communicate this to Ms. Pam ( as soon as possible.  When you arrive to pick up your child please call the office (650-543-4560) to let us know you have arrived and we will walk your child out.

Parents and caregivers will not be able to enter campus during drop-off or pick-up times.  If you need to connect with a member of the faculty or staff, please schedule an appointment directly with them, or connect via video-conference.

Campus Safety Protocols

Physical Distancing and Source Control:

  • Everyone entering campus will have on a mask – for the 5% of our students with sensory needs, a face shield is permitted
  • Everyone uses hand sanitizer upon entering campus, 
  • A distance of 6 feet will be maintained between individuals at all times
  • Signage will be posted throughout the campus (and on the ground) to remind everyone of 6 feet distance. 
  • Visitors to campus will be limited to essential maintenance workers, delivery people, scheduled parent visits, scheduled student visits.
  • We have multiple entrances to campus to allow for cohorts to enter and exit campus with minimal back up
  • Teacher break room has been closed.  The school has provided mini-fridges for each teaching cohort
  • The library is used only by teachers 
  • Student lounges have been closed. 
  • Space at lunch tables is limited to ensure students are 6 feet apart
  • Staff will minimize talking when unmasked.
  • Bathrooms are assigned to each cohort, teachers only allow one student out at a time to use the bathrooms
  • Outdoor shade tents have been set up for each cohort to allow for students to work outside
  • Each cohort has their own microwave and set of sports equipment to use during breaks. 
  • PE classes take place outside with equipment cleaned between classes.  On rainy days, PE is held in our auditorium and distanced/individual activities such as yoga are focused on
  • Specialists, such as music, art, drama, SEL will be taught remotely in order to minimize the cross over of these teachers between cohorts.
  • Students do not have lockers and are encouraged to bring only their lunch to school with them.  Hooks, spaced apart, are provided for students to hang their lunch boxes/backpacks on

Health Screening:

  • Everyone coming to campus is asked health screening questions prior to entering:
  • If a student feels ill while at school we have designated one of our empty offices at the front of the campus for them to wait in until their parent/guardian is able to pick them up.
  • Staff have been instructed to be observant throughout the day for COVID symptoms
  • School has 3 touchless thermometers to use

Classroom Settings

  • Signage is posted at each classroom door to remind students and staff of safety protocols
  • Hand sanitizing dispensers are located at every classroom door and hand hygiene is performed upon entry into the classroom. 
  • Students will be instructed on how to properly perform hand hygiene
  • Desks in classrooms are set up 6 feet apart (see photos of class set-up), with students having assigned seats
  • Each cohort is assigned specific classrooms where their classes are held
  • All staff desks are at least 6 feet apart
  • Teachers use clear masks when instructing students in order to support the students’ language based learning disabilities.
  • Teachers use masks when not teaching – ie on recess duty or breaks
  • Students wear masks throughout the day, except when eating or exercising. Social-distancing is maintained when students are eating or exercising.  
  • Student supplies are kept in individual, school provided, bags at their desks to reduce sharing and minimize the need for students to be up and moving around the classroom
  • Gloves are provided for students and teachers to use when sharing supplies can’t be avoided
  • When possible, windows and doors will be left open to increase ventilation, and HEPA air filters are in each classroom

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • A cleaning service will come in each night to disinfect classrooms and bathrooms
  • Staff will wipe down lunch tables, sports equipment, and microwaves used by students after each break
  • All rooms have disinfectant wipes for teachers and students to use throughout the day on high touch surfaces


  • We do not provide transportation services
  • Families may opt into My Green Lunch’s hot lunch delivery system – their protocols are available upon request


Response to Suspected or Confirmed Cases:

ScenarioImmediate ActionsReturn to Campus
A student or staff member either exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, answers “yes” to a health screening question, or has a temperature above 100.0Student or staff member is sent home and instructed to get testedStudent or staff member may return to campus 72 hours after resolution of fever and other symptoms improve.

Student or staff member must bring evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or medical note if testing was not performed.

A family member or someone in close contact with a student or staff member (outside the school community) test positive for COVID-19.Student or staff member is sent home and instructed to get tested.

School Administration must be notified

Student or staff member may return to campus after completing quarantine for 14 days after  (1)date of last exposure to COVID-19 positive non-household contact or  (2) COVID-19 positive household member completes their isolation
A student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.-Student or staff member is sent home, if not already quarantined

-Student or staff is instructed to isolate for 14 days after symptom onset OR 7 days after resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer. (If never symptomatic, isolate for 14 days after positive test)

-School Cohort and other close contacts instructed to quarantine for 14 days

School Administration and Public Health Department must be notified.

Student or staff member may return to campus after completing quarantine with a medical note



In the event that any student or faculty are confirmed as COVID PCR positive, Athena Academy will provide information to the Santa Clara Health Department and request recommendations in order to initiate the appropriate contact tracing interview of the case to determine close contacts. Interview questions will include:date of symptoms onset, hours that they worked surrounding onset of symptoms, and any faculty or students they know they encountered during this timeframe.  Santa Clara Health Department or a healthcare consultant designated by Athena Academy will review the circumstances of the exposure to assess risk and then notify and provide guidance on self-monitoring or testing recommendations to the close contacts deemed at risk.

Staff testing:

1) In consultation with Santa Clara Health Department all staff working on campus are required to have a COVID test every 2 months.

2) In the event that any student or faculty member is confirmed as COVID PCR positive, Athena Academy will contact the Santa Clara Health Department to ask for guidance on surveillance testing strategies for  asymptomatic staff /students and which contacts should be prioritized for testing. Guidance will be requested as to best test site location to accomplish this testing.

Emergency Procedures:

In the event of an emergency, such as fire or earthquake, all students and staff will be reminded to have masks on as they exit the building and will gather in designated areas for each cohort.  Social distancing expectations will be maintained to the best extent possible.  Upon return to class after a drill, all students and staff will use hand sanitizer before returning to class.

Training of Faculty, Students, and Families:

We will orient all faculty, students, and families to these procedures in multiple ways.  

  • We will post this plan on the website for their reference.
  • We will utilize faculty meeting time to review these expectations and guidelines and to answer any questions the faculty and staff may have
  • We will hold a “Town Hall” style meeting via Zoom to talk through this with the parents and answer any questions they may have
  • We will rollout the return to campus one cohort at a time allowing for us to orient and train each group on the expectations and routines
  • We will update everyone via email should any changes be made to the guidelines or expectations

Campus Map:

Drop-Off Map:

Master Schedule:

All Cohorts
HLC Time8:30 – 9:00
Block 19:00 – 10:25
Morning Break10:25 – 10:45
Block 210:45 – 12:10
Lunch12:10 – 1:00


1:00 – 1:45Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – HLC

Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – Elective Rotation (Remote Instruction)

Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – HLC

Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – Elective Rotation (Remote Instruction)

1:00 – 2:10 – HLC Passion Project Time

2:15 – 3:25 – Fun Friday Electives (Remote Instruction)

1:50 – 2:35Cohort A – PE

Cohort B – HLC

Cohort A – SEL (Remote Instruction)

Cohort B – HLC

Cohort A – PE

Cohort B – HLC

Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – HLC

2:40 – 3:25Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – PE

Cohort A – Elective Rotation (Remote Instruction)

Cohort B – SEL (Remote Instruction)

Cohort A – HLC

Cohort B – PE

Cohort A – Elective Rotation( Remote instruction)

Cohort B – HLC


HLC – Homeroom Learning Community; SEL – Social Emotional Learning; Electives Rotation by Trimester (Makerspace, Music/Drama, Art)


Our goal is to create and maintain a continuous learning environment that is robust enough to adapt to the circumstances beyond our control while maintaining as much on-campus instruction as possible.

Our commitment to your children and our whole community is unwavering.