Guidelines to Reopening the Campus – Preschool through Grade 12

An incremental approach provides a framework for the return of students to campus.

The Four Pillars concept described below is based on the guidelines of the San Mateo County Health Office and outlines the measures that need to be in place in order to safely welcome back students to the Alto campus. Once schools receive the go-ahead from the San Mateo County Health Office to reopen, we are expecting to be able to accommodate all students on campus, and in preparation for a healthy start to the new school year, we are encouraging families to discuss the necessity of the four pillars and model them throughout the summer months before returning to school.

A gradual approach to reopening Alto is crucial, enabling the school to respond to changing conditions. Each step will be implemented for a minimum of three weeks before advancing to the next step. The conditions informing this decision making include:

Minimum of three weeks

  • Allow no on-campus visitors including volunteers; parents who support direct instruction in preschool classrooms are exempt.
  • No extracurricular activities.
  • No in-person gatherings (a gathering is any meeting or social activity outside of classroom instruction that includes more than four people).
  • Convene all meetings remotely.
  • Reinforce the wearing of face coverings by staff, students, and any others who enter the campus.

Minimum of three weeks

  • Open the campus only to visitors and volunteers who directly support instruction with expectations that all will honor the Four Pillars.
  • Restrict in-person extracurricular activities to those that directly support instruction, with expectations that any in-person activities will honor the Four Pillars.
  • Restrict gatherings to groups smaller than ten people.
  • Convene most meetings remotely, specifically any that include groups larger than ten.
  • Hold sports (if allowed by health orders) and school-related performances with no spectators or audience members. Conduct all such activities within the guidance of the Four Pillars.

Minimum of three weeks

  • Allow volunteers and visitors on campus with strict adherence to the Four Pillars.
  • Restrict in-person instructional and interest-based extracurricular activities to those that can be implemented with small groups who can physically distance.
  • If San Mateo County health orders allow, convene high priority gatherings comprised of no more than 50 people, including sport and performance-based activities that can be conducted within the guidelines of the Four Pillars.

The Four Pillars to Reopening the School Campus

Hygiene protocols are essential to avoiding the spread of disease and with careful planning and training, the protocols will be effectively implemented.

Education/Awareness/Social Responsibility:

  • Campus and classroom signage and teacher messages will reinforce daily hygiene routines.
  • Staff, parents (and/or students in grades 3 – 12) will complete an online daily health screening for their child every morning before arriving at school. 
    • Paper version will be completed or turned in at arrival if the app is not functional.
    • rSchoolToday app, Alto’s health screening tool, will be available to all community members.
  • All community members will stay home if experiencing flu-like symptoms or fever.
  • All students, parents, and staff will be alert for symptoms by watching for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Alto staff will teach and frequently reinforce prevention behaviors of handwashing and cough/sneeze etiquette as important strategies in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
  • Teachers will build classroom routines for handwashing upon entering and leaving the classroom and create regular cleaning practices for desks, equipment, writing utensils, and other classroom materials.

Temperature Taking

  • Teachers/staff will utilize no-touch thermometers to check student temperatures every morning at arrival. 
    • A sticker provided to the student will indicate to the homeroom teacher that the temperature was taken.
  • If a student is exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, Alto will communicate with the parent/caregiver and the child will be sent home.
    • Students or staff exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent to Room 22 until they leave the campus.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Students are requested to bring reusable/washable face coverings (one on and one extra) to school. Reusable and disposable masks will be available in case someone needs one short notice.
  • Additional protective equipment such as hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and appropriate cleaning materials will be available.
    • PPE supplies are available in the main office.


  • All surfaces will be disinfected daily at a minimum. 
  • Picnic tables will be cleaned after each use.
  • Door knobs and gate handles will be cleaned throughout the day.
  • The isolation room (Room 22) will be disinfected after each use of a suspected case of COVID-19.
  • Toilets will be cleaned as frequently as possible, preferably after each use in the preschool and on a regular schedule throughout the day in the lower and upper school. 
    • Bathrooms are assigned by grade level.
  • Training will be provided to all staff on when and how to properly clean and disinfect their classrooms and workspaces.
    • Cleaning and training provided by cleaning contractors, Moreno & Associates, who have completed COVID-19 preventative response training.

Indoor Ventilation

  • Doors and/or windows will be open when outside weather allows understanding that cross ventilation of air helps maintain a healthy environment.
    • HEPA filters in all classrooms and office areas are replaced monthly.
    • Fans are provided in all classrooms and offices areas to promote air circulation
    • Air purifiers with HEPA filters will be placed un all classrooms.

Limit Sharing of Materials and Equipment

  • There will be no shared playground equipment among the bubbles in the Preschool. 
  • There will be limited use of shared playground equipment in favor of physical activities that require less contact with surfaces in the Lower and Upper School. 
    • All grade levels have separately designated play areas on campus.
    • The Menlo Park field adjacent to the campus will be used by all grade levels on a rotating basis.
  • Objects and equipment, such as toys, games, and art supplies to the extent practicable will be cleaned and disinfected between uses or, at a minimum, daily.
    • Cleaning will be the responsibility of the teacher, assistant, or vetted parent volunteer.
    • Lunch will take place at designated or benches with social distancing in mind.


  • COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

    For an extensive list of questions and answers, please view the following FAQs. Preschool and K – 12.

  • Admissions Information

    Visit our admissions webpage to learn more about how you can connect with us online while our campus is physically closed.

Surveillance Testing

Staff will be tested monthly to detect asymptomatic infections by PMH Laboratories. Every two weeks, one half of the staff will participate in this required testing or submit evidence of a test within the same time period. Three completed testing dates were September 11, 2020, October 2, 2020, and October 23, 2020.  The next testing date is set for Friday, November 6, 2020. 

Students new to Alto must submit evidence of a negative COVID-19 test that was administered a maximum of 72 hours before their entry into school. New and current students returning to the Bay Area via air travel must be tested five days after their arrival and may return to school upon submission of evidence of the negative test.

Reactive Testing 

To learn about the measures to be taken when a student or a staff member has symptoms is in contact with someone infected, or is diagnosed with COVID-19 (source: CA Department of Health), please click here

Please note that the Alto preschool is regulated by a different set of guidelines which may permit it to reopen while the remainder of school is required to remain physically closed.    

Status: October 13, 2020 – Possible adjustments will be made in accordance with the guidelines of the San Mateo County Health Office