Menlo’s Response Team has continued to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch this page for updates.
Isolation and Quarantine Policies as of January 14, 2022
Looking for information on isolation in the event of a positive test, quarantining after exposure, and testing in those scenarios? Please review Menlo’s policies here. If your student tests positive, please contact the Health Office right away for guidance on when and how they can safely return to campus.
The 2021-2022 School Year
The 2021-22 school year began with 100% of our students on campus together participating in all of the programs you know and love, including the arts, athletics, and clubs!
Due to the highly contagious nature of the latest Omicron variant, we adapted our health and safety protocols in January to better ensure the safety of our community on campus and beyond. See the updates below.
- Read the PCR testing FAQs here.
Submit your PCR tests here: menloschool.org/covidtesting
(See instructions here )
- Fully vaccinated students, submit your vaccine card here.
- Fully vaccinated employees, submit your vaccine card here.
- Check your vaccination status as we have it recorded or view your QR code here.
- Pre-register for PCR testing on campus with Inspire Diagnostics.
Masking and Twice Weekly PCR Testing
Until we are confident that we are beyond the surge of the Omicron variant, we are now requiring that masks be worn at all times, both indoors and outdoors. Given the highly contagious nature of this variant, we strongly recommend that all students use N95, KN95, KF94, or FFP2 masks, as cloth masks or the standard blue medical masks are proving ineffective.
All employees and students need to test twice per week, ideally separated by at least2 days, but no less than 24 hours. Results need to be uploaded by 4:00 pm the day after each test. This step will help us to screen out those who are infectious as we are seeing that Omicron is most often showing up without symptoms.
Inspire Diagnostics will continue to provide testing on campus in the Spieker Lobby, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am-4:00 pm. Families can still opt to obtain a lab-based PCR test at their preferred local testing location. Questions? Check out our PCR Testing FAQs.
Suspending Large Indoor Gatherings
For what we hope will be a short duration, large indoor events such as assemblies and class meetings will move online. We anticipate returning to athletic practices and competitions; however, Menlo’s Athletic Center will be closed to spectators. As most of our arts events are scheduled for later this winter, we will update you as we get closer to those events with any changes to the program.
Campus Closed to Parents and Visitors
Unfortunately, we will also need to return to a policy of restricting non-student or non-employee visitors on campus during school hours. Parents can drop off items for students at either the Reception Desk in Stent Hall or the Middle School front office. We have loved seeing you back on campus this fall and are eager to move through this phase and invite you back soon!
Utilizing Outdoor Spaces
We anticipate having all students in their classrooms. However, during this period, the Student Center (with the exception of the Learning Center) will be closed, and seating in the Library will be limited to one student per table. For additional safety, we will be moving our music classes (wind-instruments and choral) back outdoors for any singing or playing they will be doing. In anticipation of this, we have reinstalled canopy tents on both the Middle and Upper School Quads. Students will be spending more time outdoors and should plan to dress accordingly. Layered clothing and rain gear are highly recommended.
We plan to keep the cafeteria open for picking up lunch; however, students will need to continue eating their lunches outdoors.
Can My Student Opt to Stay Home?
Though we have done everything possible to create a safe and healthy environment for our students, we understand that our families face different circumstances and some may not feel entirely safe sending their students to school during this current surge. Any student who wishes to continue learning from home may do so during this Omicron surge.
On a week-by-week basis, we ask that Upper School families notify the US attendance office at email@example.com and have your student communicate directly with his or her teachers to make a plan for how best to keep with the learning. Middle School families should contact the main office at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Middle School students should check Canvas.
What else can I do to help?
- Wear your N95 or equivalent. Anytime you are around people outside of your immediate family, these masks will minimize your potential exposure to COVID-19 infection.
- If you travel, eat indoors at a restaurant, or are around large groups of people, especially in poorly ventilated spaces, take a rapid antigen test the morning before returning to school.
- Be conservative socially. We know the costs to all of us of being cut off from others and Menlo’s community is truly one of our greatest assets, but for the time being, the degree to which we can return to a quieter social life will be a massive influence on our ability to continue to have students on campus.
If You Have Symptoms
You should stay home and not come to campus if you are not feeling 100% well and you are exhibiting any of the following common COVID symptoms, regardless of vaccination status: headache, new loss of taste or smell, fever or chills, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath/congestion/difficulty breathing, runny nose, fatigue, nausea or vomiting, muscle or body aches, diarrhea. This is one of the most important daily steps we can take to keep our campus safe.
Play it very safe when you have symptoms. The winter months often bring sniffles, sore throats, and coughs, and many of us try to push through them in order to come to campus. These days, such symptoms could be signs of infection so please stay home until your symptoms resolve. Contact email@example.com for guidance. Your sacrifice could prevent others from getting sick.
Visit the Athletics page for details on health and safety policies for student-athletes and spectators.
Menlo’s Comprehensive Safety Plans
- Menlo School Reopening Safety Plan (January 2021)
- Menlo’s COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist
- Menlo School’s COVID-19 Prevention Program
Sharing Your Vaccination Status
If your student is recently vaccinated and you have not uploaded proof of your vaccination yet, we’ve provided two easy ways for you to submit your student’s vaccination card: either email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or ask your student to submit it here. If you would like to check your student’s vaccination status as we have it recorded, simply visit this page.
We encourage you to get boosted. As we have come to learn, vaccination and booster shots provide the best protection against serious illness from COVID-19. The CDC recently approved booster shots for all children 12 and older at least five months after their last shot. We highly recommend that, if you haven’t already done so, you should plan to have your child get the booster shot as soon as they are eligible.
- Vaccines will be required once they receive “full” FDA approval.
- We strongly urge vaccination for all eligible students; a vaccinated community is our best way to protect ourselves and those around us from COVID-19 and gives us the best chance of offering a school year as close to “normal” as possible.
- You will not be considered fully vaccinated until 14 days after your final vaccine dose. Previous COVID infection or antibody tests are not a substitute for vaccination and will not be accepted for participation in activities for which full vaccination is required.
- Now that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has full FDA approval for those 16 and older, we will require vaccination for students 16 years and older. If your student is currently 16, we ask that they be fully vaccinated (defined as being two weeks past their second dose) by October 31, 2021. If your student will turn 16 later this year, we will require that they be fully vaccinated within two months of their 16th birthday. As required by law, we will honor students’ medical exemptions.
- The FDA issued emergency approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for students ages 5-11 in November, which means Menlo’s youngest students are now eligible to be vaccinated, and we highly encourage them to do so as soon as possible.
- COVID-19 vaccinations are now mandatory for all employees, with some medical exceptions.
Family Support Resources
Parents and guardians are a key part of a student’s success. As part of our commitment to them and their children at Menlo, we aim to partner with parents and guardians not only during times of joy and celebration but also during times of need or crisis. Menlo’s family support programs work to ensure that all families can fully participate in the life of the school. Our team works directly with families on a wide range of issues, particularly those that directly affect student learning, their sense of belonging, wellness, and various forms of personal security. We aim to promote equity and inclusion by providing personalized access to resources on campus and throughout the greater communities where our families reside.
Los padres y guardianes son una parte clave del éxito de un estudiante. Como parte de nuestro compromiso ha ellos y ha sus hijos en Menlo, nuestro objetivo es asociarnos con padres y guardianes no solo en momentos de alegría y celebración, sino también en momentos de necesidad o crisis. Los programas de apoyo familiar de Menlo trabajan para garantizar que todas las familias puedan participar plenamente en la vida de la escuela. Nuestro equipo trabaja directamente con familias en amplios temas, particularmente aquellos que afectan directamente el aprendizaje de los estudiantes, su sentido de pertenencia, bienestar y diversas formas de seguridad personal. Nuestro objetivo es promover la equidad y la inclusión al proporcionar acceso personalizado a los recursos en el campus y en las comunidades locales donde residen nuestras familias.
The Menlo Cares Program provides confidential meal support to members of the Menlo School community in the event of a family tragedy, major illness, or loss of an immediate family member. This support continues, modified for health and safety, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about Menlo Cares.
Tips on Staying Healthy
from Joan Barada, School Nurse
You can protect yourself and others from respiratory illness, including COVID-19, through common-sense preventative measures such as:
- 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
- Throwing used tissues in the trash and washing your hands
- Cleaning your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol. Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
- Staying home when you are sick
- Calling ahead before visiting your doctor, urgent care, or the emergency room if you are sick. The healthcare provider will give you further instructions.
- Wearing a well-fitting N95, KN95, KF94, or FFP2 mask