COVID-19 Updates

Due to their status as an “essential service,” our Preschool and Pre-kindergarten programs have been operating in-person since the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, following strict health and safety guidelines. Additionally, per California state mandate, K-12 programs in a given county will be permitted to open for in-person instruction ONLY if key indicators of COVID-19 incidence in that county fall below the “Monitoring/Watch List” thresholds for 14 consecutive days. However, schools can apply to their county authorities for a “waiver to open,” even if the county is on the “Watch List.” Given Stratford’s robust safety plans and the successful safety track-record of our on-campus Summer programs, we are in the process of applying for county waivers where they are being offered in the counties in which our schools are located.

Each county has a unique waiver application form and some have requested supplementary materials IN ADDITION to our standard Reopening Guidelines manual.  Click the links below to see the specific information unique to each county. Updates on the waiver approval status are also indicated below.

COVID-19 California Safety Plan – CSP (2.1.2021)

San Francisco County

San Francisco De Montfort

San Francisco 14th Ave

San Francisco Middle School

Santa Clara County

Los Gatos

Morgan Hill


Palo Alto

Santa Clara Winchester

Santa Clara Pomeroy

San Jose

San Jose Middle School

Sunnyvale Raynor Middle School

Sunnyvale De Anza Park

Sunnyvale Washington Park

Los Angeles 

Altadena Allen

Los Angeles Melrose

Orange County

Mission Viejo

December 17, 2020

As we reach the end of a remarkably challenging year persevering through COVID-19, we would like to take this moment to thank our wonderful students, loyal families, and exceptional teachers and staff for your partnership, optimism, and determination to make the most of the circumstances we have faced. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments and resilience and are grateful for the joy and wonder they bring to their learning experiences.

Before we depart to enjoy the upcoming Winter Break, we want to share a few important reminders:

Plan for a Healthy Holiday Season. Celebrate safely at home!
As we are in the midst of the holiday season, we continue to be concerned about protecting the health and safety of everyone in our school community. Therefore, we encourage you to “celebrate safely” and follow the advice of the CDC regarding how you might consider modifying your holiday plans to protect your family, friends, and communities from the spread of COVID-19.

As a reminder, if you DO choose to travel outside of your local area for the holidays and/or participate in large gatherings/activities with others from outside of your household, we respectfully request that you keep your child(ren) at home from school for 14 days upon your return*. We are committed to following the recommended practices outlined by the CDC and our state and local authorities, as we continue to do our best for our school community.

We are grateful for your continued support and partnership, and as we enter a new year, we are filled with hope and a grateful heart. Thank you for being a part of Stratford School.

Happy Holidays and best wishes for a joyous New Year from our Stratford School family to yours!

* NOTE: As with our Thanksgiving message, this “stay-at-home” request does not apply to students enrolled in our Fully Online programs (ECE At-Home/Online, Elementary Online Academy, Middle School Online).

December 18, 2020 (San Francisco Campuses Only)

As you may be aware, today, the State of California issued a stay at home advisory for all Bay Area Counties, in addition to revised restrictions with respect to COVID-19 quarantine and travel mandates issued yesterday by the City of San Francisco. In light of these mandates, we wanted to let you know of the following as it relates to our planned return to on-campus learning after winter break:

Shorten COVID-19 quarantine to 10 days. San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) has updated its guidance on quarantine duration for close contacts of COVID-19 cases to align with recent changes by the CDC and the California Department of Public Health. Most people who have had close contact with someone with COVID-19 may end their quarantine after day 10 if they do not develop symptoms during this time. SFDPH strongly recommends that close contacts without symptoms get tested on or after day 6 of quarantine. Because there is a small chance that close contacts may still be infected, they should continue to wear a face mask and stay at least 6 feet away from others until day 14.

Mandatory Travel quarantine.  The City of San Francisco has issued a mandatory quarantine of 10 days on anyone traveling, moving, or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the Bay Area. Limited exceptions apply to people who are traveling for certain critical activities. The new order also strongly discourages any non-essential travel within the 10-county Bay Area region. The travel order becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on December 18, 2020 and will remain in effect until 12:01 a.m. on January 4, 2021 and may be extended as necessary if the surge continues.

As outlined in our holiday message, we appreciate your partnership in following the current policies issued by our local public health departments and remind you that if you do choose to travel outside of your local area for the holidays and/or participate in large gatherings/activities with others from outside of your household, we will be following the county and state guidelines and ask that you keep your child(ren) at home from school for 10 days upon your return (as outlined in the San Francisco directive).  At Stratford, we are committed to following the recommended practices outlined by the CDC and state and local authorities in the interest of doing what is most responsible and safe for our school community.

Thank you for your support, Stratford School San Francisco Parkside, 14th Avenue, Middle School, and De Montfort Campuses

December 3, 2020

We continue to keep abreast of the evolving COVID-related state and CDC guidance, and we are committed to sharing pertinent information, so you can plan accordingly for your family.

This afternoon (Thursday, December 3), Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new, regional “stay-at-home order” policy to curb the spread of COVID-19 in California. The state is being broken into five regions (Northern California, Greater Sacramento, Bay Area, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California), and if a region’s ICU hospital capacity falls below 15%, a 3-week “stay-at-home order” will be triggered.

However, even IF a “stay-at-home order” is enacted, schools that have been open for in-person instruction, as ours have, are allowed to remain open.

We continue to be confident and vigilant in our on-campus health and safety practices to prevent and contain COVID exposure within our school community, and we value your partnership in making this possible. We ask that you continue to keep your children home when feeling unwell, report any necessary health information to campus administration, adhere to mask-wearing policies and reinforce healthy practices within your family. On campus, our staff continues to prioritize health and safety through our health checks, conscientious physical distancing, and rigorous cleaning and sanitization protocols.

Thank you for your continued support as we navigate through these ever-changing and challenging times.

November 26, 2020

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we would like to take a moment to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all of our families for your unwavering support and optimism this school year, despite the exceptional challenges created by COVID-19.

Like so many traditions and celebrations impacted by the pandemic, we all know Thanksgiving may need to be approached a little differently this year. We are ever concerned about protecting the health and safety of everyone in our school community, so we encourage you to be “safety-smart” with regards to your Thanksgiving plans and activities. In particular, the CDC has published Thanksgiving/Holiday-specific COVID-19 guidance cautioning against “higher-risk” activities, which include the following:

  • Going shopping in crowded stores just before, on, or after Thanksgiving
  • Participating or being a spectator at a crowded race
  • Attending crowded parades
  • Attending large indoor gatherings with people from outside of your household

To review the full text of the CDC’s Thanksgiving/Holiday-specific COVID-19 guidance, please reference the following links:

  • CDC – Celebrating Thanksgiving:
  • CDC – Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings:

Also, please take note of state and county guidance issued with regards to Holiday activities and travel:

  • State of California “Holidays and COVID-19,” updated 11/13/20
  • Bay Area Counties (10 County joint guidance) “Recommendations for Staying Safe from Covid-19 During the Holidays,” released 11/9/20

As a final note, if you DO choose to travel outside of your local area for the holidays and/or participate in large gatherings/activities with others from outside of your household circle, we respectfully request that you keep your child(ren) at home from school for 14 days upon your return*. We understand that this may pose an inconvenience, but we are committed to following the best practices outlined by the CDC and continuing to do our best to limit COVID-19 exposure within our school community.

Again, we greatly appreciate everyone’s cooperation and partnership during this holiday season. We wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

* NOTE: This stay-at-home request does not apply to students enrolled in our Fully Online programs (ECE At-Home/Online, Elementary Online Academy, Middle School Online).

August 10, 2020

The health and safety of our school community continue to be our top priority. Please know that all decisions we make derive around our community of learners, our committed educators, and dedicated staff. Recently, Governor Newsom announced the guidelines for opening schools this fall. The restrictions include orders to follow county-level data monitoring before reopening for in-person instruction. To resume in-person instruction for elementary-age students, a county must be off the state’s COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days. We continue to explore options and review guidelines while working very closely with county health officials to open our school, safely.

While we continue to work with county health officials to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible, we have determined it is in the best interest of our school community to formalize the decision for students in Kindergarten through 5th grade to return to school in an initial model of distance learning. Please be aware that as measures with COVID-19 continue to evolve, we will develop our decisions and practice. It is our absolute desire to open for in-person instruction as soon as it is safe and approved to do so. We are ready! We are prepared for all scenarios and adaptable in our practice to meet the needs of our school community.

Our leadership team has worked throughout the past several months to continue to develop our Distance Learning program, with considerations given to the feedback received from many families on last year’s Distance Learning survey.

Between now and the start of school, faculty and staff will focus our attention on preparing for a seamless back-to-school transition, starting the school year with distance learning, working through the logistics of a virtual back to school, which would include community building, distribution of materials and technology. We will send more information about our updates to the program, family orientation, and student/teacher meet and greet. You can look forward to your child’s teacher sending you the details of the distance learning schedule, which will align with a traditional school day, with an anticipated start time of 8:15 am with morning gathering/character development for all students.

We are committed to remain in communication with you as additional plans are finalized and hope that this decision enables families to better plan for the beginning of the school year. We absolutely look forward to communicating the details of in-person learning as soon as we have approval. However, rest assured that your child is in great hands with our distance learning program until we can meet again.

August 8, 2020

As summer draws to a close, we wanted to reach out and clearly reiterate our school opening plans, specifically with regards to our Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten programs.

To confirm, ALL of Stratford’s Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten programs

Since June, Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs in California, as well as other states across the country, have been exempted from closure orders due to their classification as an essential service. In line with these state guidelines, our Preschool/Pre-K programs will open for the 2020/2021 school year with both ON-CAMPUS school and ONLINE ONLY instruction on Monday, August 24 at ALL of our Stratford campuses. We understand that for parents, these are confusing times with respect to school reopenings, and Stratford remains dedicated to meeting our students’ education needs with robust on-campus and online options.

As you may know, Stratford held in-person Summer@Stratford programs across most of our Northern and Southern California campuses. These were conducted with great success in terms of overall high parent satisfaction and, in particular, health and safety. Building on this positive experience, we look forward to welcoming our youngest students SAFELY back to school for the fall. On-campus, we will provide our trusted educational program in a safe and nurturing learning environment. Parents can have confidence that their children will receive the highest level of care while learning at school.

Our stringent health and safety protocols include:

  • Daily health/temperature checks
  • Safe distancing & stable, consistent groups
  • Increased sanitation, including frequent hand-washing and
  • disinfecting high-touch surfaces
  • Face-coverings required for both staff and students (note that age guidelines and situations excepted from use will be guided by local health departments)
  • Nap time procedure safeguards — During preschool nap times, mats are placed head to toe (not face to face), and each child’s bedding is stored separately and sent home for frequent washing
  • Given evolving health and safety guidance, we will continue to update these protocols as necessary, and abide by any modifications and/or further requirements as needed throughout the coming school year.

As mentioned in previous updates, for Preschool/Pre-K families who are not yet comfortable returning to in-person school, we are offering a fully Online/At-Home Early Childhood Education (ECE) alternative. This program combines robust, online instruction with correlated offline activities to keep young students engaged and on-track to progress in their educational and social-emotional development.

In closing, as we committed in last week’s parent update, on Monday, August 10, your school leader will send an email communication confirming specific back-to-learning plans for students attending our Elementary (including Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten) through Middle School programs at each campus.

If you have any questions regarding the back-to-school opening of our Preschool/Pre-K programs, please feel free to reach out directly to your school office. Thank you for being our partner in your child’s educational growth and development.

July 29, 2020

I hope you have had a chance to receive and review the message sent earlier this week by Stratford Founder and President, Sherry Adams. We, like Sherry, know that this year is going to be unlike any other, but we have been working with our team of teachers and campus leaders in partnership with the greater Stratford family of educators to ensure we are prepared.

Confirmation of what’s ahead and dates to plan for in August:

  • First day of school
  • Our “Return to Campus” families will start the school year, as planned, on Monday, August 24 (in the operational mode required by local mandates — fully on-campus, fully distance learning OR hybrid — see next point below).
  • Our “Fully Online” Early Childhood Education (ECE) Preschool/Pre-K and Middle School Online Programs will also start on Monday, August 24.
  • To accommodate high demand, our Online Academy Program for Grades K-5 will start on Monday, August 31.\
  • How we plan to Return to Campus: On Monday, August 10, 2020 (14 days prior to the start of the new school year), we will confirm how we will start the school year based on local/county directives — fully on-campus without restrictions, fully distance learning, OR on a hybrid schedule, due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
  • Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten programs are universally permitted to conduct in-person schooling — in fact, we have been successfully and safely operating our in-person Summer@Stratford camp programs for this age group for the past several weeks. Per the timing outlined above, we will confirm whether we will start the on-campus Preschool/Pre-K school year on a hybrid schedule (due to capacity restrictions) no later than 14 days in advance of our school start day — by August 10.
  • “Waiver to open” application: As previously stated, HOW we return to campus will be determined by local/county mandates and regulations. As we shared last week, on July 17, California Governor Newsom set forth a “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework,” which requires that K-12 schools in a given county be permitted to open for in-person instruction ONLY if key indicators of COVID-19 incidence fall below the “Monitoring/Watch List” threshold for 14 consecutive days. As an addendum, schools can apply to their county for a “waiver to open,” even if the county is on the “Watch List.” Based on the application, the county will determine whether a school’s particular circumstances and safety plans merit an exception. Given our robust safety plans, we are in the process of applying for a county waiver. As of this writing, we cannot be certain as to when we might receive a response from the County Department of Health, but we will keep you informed.

Recap of the two school options available to serve our families:

  1. Return to Campus — over the past several months, we have been diligently preparing to welcome our students back to in-person school SAFELY. We have already started equipping our school and training our staff in our robust on-site safety protocols. As mentioned above, we opened our campus for in-person Summer@Stratford camp programs, wherein we successfully implemented safe distancing, face coverings, health checks, and sanitation procedures, and the vast majority of our camp families reported having a very positive experience.
  2. Fully Online — in response to parent feedback, we created our fully online program options to serve families who prefer NOT to return their children to campus, given the current COVID-19 environment. We developed these programs with great attention to detail to ensure that we deliver an experience truly on-par with our on-campus learning, including more shared experiences and interactions to ensure students stay connected with their peers and remain a vital part of our school community. Earlier today, our Online families received additional communications to confirm your choice to enroll in the Online program so we can begin the on-boarding process. Note that the opt-in period for our Fully Online programs is open through Friday, July 31.

Whether your child will return to campus or attend one of our fully online programs, be assured that their learning experiences will be grade-level aligned, authentic, engaged, and consistent throughout the school year. We thank you again for your continued partnership in launching into a new school year filled with educational adventure and opportunity.

July 27, 2020

With the scheduled start of school less than a month away, we understand that these are stressful times for our families, and many of you are likely wrestling with how to ensure the best educational experience for your children. Please know that Stratford School has been developing our school-year plans with the same objective in mind and a laser-focus on meeting our families’ needs across a spectrum of logistical scenarios.

Through extensive preparation and based on parent feedback, we have developed two robust options for this upcoming school year. The first “Return to Campus” option focuses on implementing stringent safety protocols to offer on-campus schooling in a manner that abides by and exceeds COVID-19 regulations and safety precautions. Second, for parents who have told us that they are not comfortable having their children return to an on-campus environment at this time, we have developed our “Fully Online” options to offer sophisticated online schooling alternatives for all full-day program levels — Preschool through Middle School.

Since we cannot gather in person at this time, I invite you to watch this short webinar I’ve recorded to help explain the options we have created for you. Please know that we are dedicated and committed to meeting our families’ needs with certainty in these uncertain times. We are well-prepared and ready to re-open and reunite our Stratford community. These are challenging times, but together, we are stronger!

July 18, 2020

Yesterday, in coordination with the California Department of Public Health, Governor Gavin Newsom outlined the state’s “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework” for all California K-12 schools for the upcoming school year. As we continue to carefully review the framework outlined, the new directive stipulates that schools may only reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been off the “COVID monitoring list” for 14 consecutive days.

We have been planning for news like this for months, and we are well-prepared to open school with agile plans carefully designed to address almost every conceivable scenario. While we remain optimistic that we WILL return to in-person instruction in August, the reopening plan we adopt will be aligned with all state and local directives. Our Return to Campus model enables us to respond quickly to circumstances while delivering an excellent education for your child. In August, and throughout the school year, our nimble and robust education plan includes full contingencies for:

  • Traditional School: full on-site instruction, if there are no regulations that restrict our classroom capacity
  • Intermittent Distance Learning: to respond to government mandates and/or COVID incidences on-campus
  • Hybrid Schedule: a mix of traditional school and coordinated distance learning to accommodate capacity limitations required for safe-distancing and stable-grouping regulations

Thank you parents for your continued feedback. We heard you and developed our Fully Online/At-Home education options for your consideration. For those of you with children attending our on-campus Summer@Stratford program, it will continue as scheduled. In the event local health mandates require a change to our summer camp operations, we will notify participants directly.

Thank you for your understanding and ongoing patience during this time. We appreciate your continued confidence as we remain committed to reopen and reunite our schools in August.

July 13, 2020

As announced last week, we would like to share our plans for reuniting in the fall. Because there is much uncertainty as to how the next several months of COVID-19 Pandemic will play out, we recognize that comprehensive planning is critically important.

Return to Campus or Online Academy (Grades K-8)
There are two options for your family to consider. We are inviting all our students to Return to Campus in August and have outlined possible school-operation scenarios. Responding to students and families who may need or desire a trimester or half-year fully-online program, we have developed our own Online Academy. The Online Academy will be an extension of our campus, with lessons and programs that will keep Academy students connected to classmates all year, but with a mature online curriculum and an interactive learning platform that will greatly enhance students’ ability to learn from home. Tuition for both options — Return to Campus or Online Academy — is the same. Click here to view our back-to-school plan overview for Grades K-8 students . Please note that, in particular, the Health and Safety government regulations are subject to change. We will send and post updates to the content of our Reopen > Reunite guide on our school website to reflect these changes as they occur.

Preschool to Pre-K
Some of our earliest learners returned to campus a few weeks ago to participate in our summer camp program, and we are eager to welcome all in August. I am excited to be able to also offer a fully online option for preschool and pre-K students who would like to learn and engage with our school entirely from home. I will be happy to provide a description of our Early Childhood Education (ECE) Online Program in the upcoming week, and I welcome the opportunity to speak with any of you who may prefer this option for the fall or who simply would like more information.

Our plan to reopen and reunite in August is taking shape nicely, but we anticipate small changes throughout the summer. For the remainder of this summer, we are committed to sending school-opening details via email or posting updates to our school website as information becomes available.

June 18, 2020

Since March, the impact of the global pandemic of COVID-19 has deeply affected the communities we serve. While no one person could have fully predicted or anticipated the magnitude of this disruption, we are proud of our dedicated educators who continue to stand united in our commitment to provide your child with a safe and secure learning environment while delivering the academic excellence you expect. Thank you for your resilience, patience, and support of our efforts throughout this period.

Behind the scenes, an extraordinary academic task force composed of principals and curriculum-design specialists and experts from across our organization began designing multiple paths to support our return to school in the fall. The plans in development include agile practices, responsive to what we know now, and to what we do not yet know – public health mandates and guidelines that will be in effect in August and throughout the next school year.

While details are still being refined, we wanted to share the following high-level direction and assurances with you, as we look ahead to what school will look like in the fall:

  • We plan to fully resume on-campus instruction in the fall.
  • We are also preparing “hybrid” plans for combined learning at school and online, in the event that school class sizes are restricted or incidences of COVID-19 force intermittent school closures.
  • We recognize that some families may be reluctant to send their children back to an on-campus environment in the fall. Therefore, we will also offer a FULLY ONLINE option that will approximate the rigor and richness you expect at but be accessible entirely from home.

As we develop these plans, your feedback is very important to us. As a next step, to help us evaluate interest in the “Fully Online” program, we will send a short survey next week, and we would greatly appreciate your input. Following that, we will share more detailed plans in early July.

We thank you again for partnering with us as we work toward this “new normal.” We miss you, and we are eager to welcome your child(ren) back to school in August.

May 29, 2020

As this most extraordinary school year careens to its end, we wanted to share some observations and reflections on the past several months, and to preview our plans for the return to campus in the fall. We look forward to the 2020-21 school year; to reuniting with colleagues and students; to school-year rituals and traditions; to another year of joyful learning and personal growth, informed by lessons learned during our distance-learning experience.

Planning for School Year 2020-21

When it became apparent that shelter-in-place policies would be in effect through the end of this school year, and after we had completed several cycles of distance-learning, we turned our attention to School Year 2020-21, creating a school-reentry team tasked with developing a responsive return plan, a blueprint focused on safely returning students and teachers to school buildings and classrooms in August, but with alternative models for multiple contingencies, for unknowable circumstances. Comprehensive planning now will allow us to be nimble and responsive to multiple scenarios we might face next year. Modeling now will minimize the effect of potential disruptions next year. “Luck favors the prepared mind,” said Louis Pasteur, and this seems an especially fitting time to be heeding the advice of a biologist!

Our school is a member of a consortium of schools and therefore has the expertise, resources, and networking capability of a large organization. Our Education Team is composed of fifteen full-time experts trained in curriculum design, instructional coaching, information technology, early childhood and gifted education, online learning, and much more. Our Education Team is highly involved in return-to-school planning, in the creative modeling conducive to contingency-plan development, and, most importantly, in summer teacher training in anticipation of next school year.

To date, our task force has established priorities aligned with our school’s mission and goals for students, created an August return-to-campus plan, and is building out support systems for several potential contingency plans. They will continue this work throughout the summer, and we will apprise you of major developments as they occur. But here are some highlights and a high-level overview of the task force’s thinking.

Guiding Principles

Safety – Our commitment to the health and safety of our school community is paramount. We will abide by all state and local statues, heed the advice of health organizations, notably the CDC, and maintain a clean and healthy environment within our schools. Additionally, we will implement several strategies to encourage behaviors known to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Quality Academic Programs – The distance learning experience proved to be highly fertile grounds for teacher development. Teachers, who initially felt constrained by the online platform, quickly learned new techniques – in some cases through training implemented by our Education Team, more often by visiting each other’s Zoom classrooms. They learned to use new technologies and adaptive learning programs; they adopted new techniques and modified their own practice to personalize learning, as needed, and to ensure engagement for all. Students who had been somewhat reticent in their four-walled classroom were asking questions and taking intellectual risks, seemingly more comfortable in an online setting. We must never forget what we have learned in the past three months! When we return to our classrooms, we should preserve and extend those learnings, continue to use the adaptive programs and asynchronous learning options that worked so well for many students, and strive for seamless integration of traditional and modern learning techniques.

We have every intention of returning to campus for the opening of School Year 2020-21. If at that time or later in the school year, shelter-in-place or reduced-occupancy mandates are imposed, we will be ready to transition to one of several teaching and learning models, among them (1) a period of distance learning or (2) a hybrid of distance and on-campus learning (necessary, for example, if classroom capacity limits are imposed). Again, an uninterrupted traditional school year is our fervent hope, but every imaginable alternative scenario is being explored.

Commitment to Improvement

The school has committed to investing in computer hardware and software upgrades to aid in any hybrid accommodation we may face, and also at the request of our teachers, who, during the distance-learning period, learned and developed creative uses for instructional technology and learning programs, which they hope to continue using.

Summer and school year 2020-21 teacher training will focus almost entirely on blended learning techniques – how to develop curriculum and programming with clear through-lines that seamlessly integrate traditional and modern teaching pedagogies, synchronous and asynchronous learning, in-person and digital experiences.

A Caring Atmosphere

Our primary goals for distance learning were to:

  • Engage students in learning that approximated the rigor and richness of their traditional school experience
  • Provide continuity and connection for all our children – a sense of normalcy and joy that comes from daily interactions among teachers and students.

In all of our distance-learning interactions with students, we tried to bridge the digital gap with some playfulness, some fun, and other manifestations of care and connection. In advisory meetings and in academic classes, we incorporated elements that supported social-emotional health. During our months apart, social-emotional learning was more relevant than ever.

When our students, your children, return to school in the fall, their excitement around reuniting with old friends is likely to be tempered with some anxiety. Students will be looking to their teachers for guidance on how to return to once familiar learning contexts and routines, and we intend to be prepared to meet them where they are. The youngster who left his second grade class in early March and is returning in August as a third grader may need a little TLC and a bit of time to warm up. How we open the school year and reorient children are critically important pieces of our planning.

Onward, with Optimism!

The events of the past few months, along with daily doses of pandemic news, have turned some of us into armchair epidemiologists and reintroduced many of us to science principles last encountered in high school biology. I found some comfort in having a passing familiarity with terms common to nightly news reports – virus, RNA, antigen, antibody, exponential growth – grateful that I knew enough science to follow the story, grateful to my high school biology teacher who regularly assured us of the relevance of what she was teaching. Especially this year, I am grateful to be a teacher. I am proud to have been part of our school’s teaching team, who, undaunted by difficult circumstances, conducted their fine work from a distance. From Zoom rooms and makeshift classrooms in their homes, they continued to nurture children, propagate knowledge, and develop skills and habits of mind to last a lifetime. As we begin to plan for the next school year, we are still driven by the mission and vision that attracted us to teaching in the first place, and we are reinvigorated by the creativity and inventiveness unleashed this year in response to extraordinarily challenging circumstances. We end the year as we began, grateful for the opportunity to teach and to learn. Onward to an excellent future!

You can expect to hear from us throughout the summer as we further refine our plans for the next school year. Stay well, and please stay in touch. Thank you again for your continued partnership.

April 29, 2020

Dear Parents:

As we are now in the midst of our sixth week of distance learning, we’d once again like to thank all of our families for being such supportive partners in navigating these uncharted waters. With your involvement and feedback, you have amplified the tireless efforts of our curriculum team and your children’s educators to create phenomenal levels of engagement in what is an ever more robust distance learning program at each grade level. We are so proud of how our students have not only embraced this new learning platform but have continued to thrive and find innovative ways to stay connected to each other and their communities!

Beyond simply delivering our curriculum, our dedicated teachers and staff strive to provide continuity and stability during this stressful, unprecedented time in our lives. Each day, parents express their appreciation for the kindness and care that our teachers have shown to their students, and for this we are honored to continue to make a difference in the lives of our Stratford families.

As we continue our partnership during this health crisis, we have been carefully planning our next steps by not only focusing on our own programs but also keeping abreast of guidance from national, state, and local authorities. We are all looking forward to getting back to a state of “normalcy,” but at the same time, our first priority will always be protecting the safety and well-being of our students and community.

With that said, taking into account two critical directives: (1) the April 1, 2020 decision by the California governor to mandate the closure of California public schools through the end of the school year and (2) the April 27, 2020 extension of the “safer at home” / “shelter in place” orders for several California counties through May 30, we have made the difficult decision to keep all Stratford School campuses closed through the end of the 2019/2020 school year, which will conclude on Friday, June 5, 2020.

Although we will not be able to bring our campus community together in person in the upcoming weeks, we are planning innovative ways to celebrate the end of this school year, including a reimagined graduation for the Class of 2020. We look forward to sharing more information and details for these upcoming events very soon.

Also, given the current “re-opening” indicators from state and local authorities, we are maintaining our plans to host our Summer programs as scheduled. We are working on a comprehensive response plan to ensure the on-campus health and safety of program participants that will comply with best-practices for social distancing, health monitoring, and campus sanitization.

We again thank you for your partnership during these challenging times. We believe that together, we are forging a revolutionary path through this unprecedented period that will enable our children to maintain not only educational continuity but also a healthy and resilient outlook for the future.

March 27, 2020

Dear Parents:

We would like to begin with a sincere note of thanks, not only to you, our parents, for your incredible support and agility during this unprecedented time; we also send a heartfelt thank you to all of the nurses, doctors, medical teams, and first responders for their selfless commitment to keeping our community safe.

As we approach our first full week of Distance Learning … in one word, it’s been inspiring! Inspiring to see how students embrace this new way of learning. Inspiring to see our parents join us as partners in continuing their child’s education. Inspiring that in spite of navigating life under a Shelter at Home mandate, we see the connection and warm smiles of our students and teachers — all working together to be engaged and passionate about learning in this new way. Nurturing this connection with teachers and classmates is key to helping your child feel secure with a sense of normalcy at a time of serious disruption.

We are also inspired by parents who have taken time to share feedback — we are listening carefully and in the days and weeks ahead, you will see enhancements to our various distance learning programs based on the constructive feedback received!

Next week, we look forward to augmenting the distance learning schedule with more content and connection. In preparation, you should expect to receive an email from your child’s teacher that provides an outline of coursework and goals for learning in the upcoming week. Please know that your teachers are an email away if you have any questions or concerns. We understand that as parents, you are shouldering multiple responsibilities, and we remain available to help support you and your child through these unprecedented times.

At the time of our March 20 email update, we anticipated reopening our campus on April 20. However, on Wednesday, March 25, several California counties announced the extension of school closures through Friday, May 1. Although we all look forward to returning to our physical classrooms, we are confident that our robust distance learning program will continue to deliver an accelerated learning approach that goes well beyond what many schools are providing, or have chosen not to provide during this critical time. Our distance learning program offers a significant degree of educational continuity. Similar to summer, without a program in place, students can quickly fall behind at a critical time in their education.

As challenging as this period is for all of us, life will get back to normal, and we will return to our campus. When we do, students who have continuously taken part in our distance learning program will enjoy a seamless transition, and should be well-prepared to matriculate to the next grade level*.

As we shared with you in prior communications that kicked off our Distance Learning Program, our education team has taken a very thoughtful and intentional approach to how distance learning can be most effectively accomplished for the various program levels. For details on the specific objectives, goals and benefits we are targeting for the program in which your child is enrolled, please visit our Distance Learning page here.

March 16, 2020, 2:15 PM PDT

We have been notified that beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda have instituted a policy of “shelter in place.” Our schools will close at the end of business TODAY.

We invite parents to come to campus and pick up learning materials and devices before 6:30 p.m.

March 13, 2020, 1:10 PM PDT

Dear Stratford Families:

In light of the most recent coronavirus (COVID-19) developments, we have made the difficult decision to close school starting Monday, March 16 (see specific notes regarding Middle School below), and transition to distance learning. Although we have been fortunate NOT to have had a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our school community, we are proceeding as a result of the rapidly changing public health outlook and increasing student absenteeism, which has compromised authentic and engaged learning. Per the preparations we referenced in previous communications, we will transition to distance learning and continue as long as the situation dictates. Please carefully review our Distance Learning Continuity Plan below, outlined by program level (Preschool, Elementary and Middle School). Once Spring Break begins, there will be no expectation of distance learning, as students and families will be on vacation as planned.

We recognize that these times are very stressful. Rest assured that our entire team is working incredibly hard to not only ensure health and safety, but also to provide continuing, high quality education. We understand that this will take some adjustment, but we will work closely with you as educational partners for your children. We ask for your patience and understanding in these trying times. Let us all work together on behalf of our Stratford children.

Reminder: Travel Guidance and 14-day Self-Quarantine Triggers
In anticipation of regular school resuming after Spring Break, circumstances permitting, we are advising that any students or staff members who travel to an area under the CDC’s Travel Health Notice Level 3 (or with household members who travel to these locales) OR who travel on ANY cruise ship – NOT come to school for a 14-day period from the date of their return.

We also ask that, once we return, if any student or staff member is alerted to having been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 (second-hand exposure), they immediately seek medical consultation, self-quarantine/do not return to campus for 14 days, and notify the school.

Distance Learning Continuity Plan
As outlined in last week’s communication, we have developed plans to provide support for all program levels, as we continue with our current curriculum and shift teaching techniques to a distance learning scenario. We will phase in our Distance Learning Continuity Plan to ensure your family is supported.

Early Childhood (Preschool – Pre-K)
On Monday, March 16, schools will close for early childhood students. The day will be used for faculty meetings, training, and planning. By the end of business on Tuesday, we will begin sharing with you distance learning activities and experiences that will emphasize interaction, creativity and skill practice (children of this age thrive on repetition and familiarity). These activities will utilize some age-appropriate technology and will not need specialized materials. Distance learning for our early learners will remain holistically focused on all developmental learning domains: language, cognitive, artistic, health and physical, and social-emotional, and may be conducted in English or the family’s home language. The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be Kinderlime and email.

Elementary School
On Monday, March 16, schools will close for elementary students. Teachers will use the morning to collect all workbooks, journals, and learning resources that students might need for the weeks of instruction leading up to Spring Break. The afternoon will be used for faculty meetings, training, and planning. On Tuesday, March 17, you are invited to campus from 8:00-11:00 a.m. to pick up these materials from your child’s homeroom teacher. By the end of business on Wednesday, March 18, we will begin sharing with you distance learning activities and provide direction on how you can best support your child’s learning. Learning activities will include a combination of independent assignments, adaptive learning platforms already being used by students, and live-streamed sessions (using common video conferencing tools like GoogleMeets and Zoom) to maintain the continuity of learning. It is expected that students in Grades K-2 will need higher levels of support than students in Grades 3-5. The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be the Parent Portal and email.

Middle School
On Monday, March 16, schools will remain open for middle school students. The day will operate on a normal schedule and teachers will use class time to share with students important information and have them collect textbooks and resources for the weeks of instruction leading up to Spring Break. On Tuesday, March 17, schools will remain open on a modified schedule for students to receive basic technology training on our learning management system (Schoology) and video-conferencing platform (Zoom), collect a Chromebook and charger and retrieve any other textbooks, workbooks, and resources that they may have forgotten. In addition, School Leaders will communicate the details of the modified schedule to parents via email. Middle School will be closed for students beginning Wednesday, March 18. By the end of business on Thursday, March 19, learning activities will be sent by email and posted to students and parents. Learning activities will include a combination of independent assignments, adaptive learning platforms already being used by students, and live-streamed sessions to maintain the continuity of learning. The primary tools for communication between teachers and families will be the Parent Portal and email.

This school closure means that any planned school events and all extracurricular activities from now through Spring Break will be canceled and rescheduled. Upcoming ERB CTP testing will be rescheduled once school resumes.

Since the public health situation surrounding the emergence of COVID-19 began to evolve, we have been closely monitoring the advice of experts, and our leadership team has been convening daily to assess the current situation and review our contingency protocols. It was with intensive, fact-based deliberation that we have made this difficult decision and mobilized our distance learning protocols. We are extremely grateful for the support, resiliency, and compassion of our parents, teachers, and staff as we all work together to make sure we are doing what is right to maintain a healthy and safe school community. We will keep you updated on new developments as they relate to our school community while our campus is closed.

Thank you.