The First Day

How will new students learn where their classrooms are at the beginning of hybrid learning? Will there be maps or guides?

We intend to guide 6th, 9th grade, and transfer students closely in their first days on campus. Procedures will look different at the Middle and Upper School levels, but we have designed a first day that includes additional orientation and support for those students. Faculty and administrators will also be visibly present on the quad and Loop during arrival, exit, passing, and lunch periods in the first 1-2 days of each hybrid week to provide extra attention to helping students who may be confused.

The Campus Experience

How are Blue and Gold groupings composed?

Our top priority is keeping siblings together in the same group, followed quickly by balancing classrooms in terms of number, gender balance, etc. This may result in disappointment for some students; while we don’t seek that, we do hope that you understand that we do not control all of the variables in this less-than-ideal situation we all face.

How many students do we anticipate per classroom?

In Phase 1 (October-November): ~2-5, on average, in the Middle and Upper Schools, respectively
In Phase 2 (January and on): ~7-10, on average, in the Middle and Upper Schools, respectively

Where can students get laundered masks on campus?

We will have laundered masks available on arrival at the Loop through the Cintas mask program. We will also have additional paper disposable paper masks in every classroom, in case of emergency and as an additional redundancy measure.

Can students take mask breaks?

They may, as long as they are able to go outside, at sufficient (more than 6 feet) distance from other students. We have plenty of outdoor quad and hallway space that will allow for a short mask break while not in dense use.

What spaces (e.g. the Quad, labs) do students have access to before and after school?

Students will have full access to the Quad. They will have access to labs while in a class whose assigned room is the lab; students will have no access to labs during free periods or before or after school.

What can students do during free periods?

The Quad is the best place for students to go. In case of rain, we will also employ the use of Martin Hall and the Gym, and split students up by grade to ensure the ability to socially distance.

Can students meet with teachers and/or Learning Center staff during Tutorial and before/after school?

Absolutely, though it may look a little different this year. The Learning Center will be stationed on the Upper School quad for its class periods and drop-in times. Tutorial periods will be conducted in the same classroom in which the student just concluded their last class. They will need to either attend a teacher’s open Zoom office hours or make an appointment for a remote meeting with a teacher, even if they are on campus. In the Middle School, students on campus will attend Tutorial blocks from their Advocacy room, where they can Zoom with any teacher or do homework. Remote learners have three Office Hours blocks per week during the PE time, during which they can make appointments to meet with teachers.

Campus Medical Response and Contact Tracing

What happens if a faculty member or student shows signs of COVID?

Any community member who shows symptoms of COVID while off-campus should stay home. Should an employee or student demonstrate COVID-19 symptoms while on campus, they need to report their symptoms to the school nurse at and immediately go to an open-air medical tent where the nurse will oversee the appropriate next steps. The Middle School medical tent is located in the back of the 6th grade building. The Upper School medical tent is located on the patio of Martin Hall.

What are Menlo’s plans for contract tracing?

Read about our plans for contact tracing here.

What data will Menlo be monitoring that could trigger a decision to close the campus?

We are, first and foremost, bound by the San Mateo County Departments of Education and Health’s contact tracing recommendations and communication requirements. Many scenarios involving a positive test result would not merit a total closure of the school, especially if the exposure is limited to certain pods, classrooms, or specific locations on campus from which select community members can quarantine and where we can do a deep clean. This is why we have done all that we can to both honor the County’s request to phase in the number of students on campus slowly (to mitigate risk, especially as we enter the potentially more risky winter months and flu season), and to keep our cohorts stable and small without compromising on students’ individual academic programs. The more we can do that, the less likely we are to experience spread, and the faster and more efficiently we can contact-trace without needing to use a blunt approach, such as shutting down the whole school. There are some situations in which we are required to close the campus entirely, and which the County has laid out for us. These include if 5% of the school tests positive within a 2-week period, if 25% or more of the schools in our district are closed for their own Covid-related reasons, or if the county directly asks us to close due to concerning data in the region. Of course, we may choose to close campus even before we hit those metrics, but, if we did, that choice would be made in close conversation with the County and with our Medical Advisory Board.

Community Responsibility for Health & Safety

What are we doing to encourage compliance with social distancing practices outside of school?

Ultimately, we cannot enforce what families do outside of school. We are asking families to sign the Community Responsibility Agreement as a means of indicating their willingness to uphold the values of the school and to do their part to keep each other safe. We’re asking for partnership on this, and we will do our part to ensure that the campus itself is as safe as possible with what we can observe personally of student and faculty behavior.

Is the Community Responsibility Agreement mandatory to return to campus?


Lunch and Food Service

Can students bring packed lunches from home?


Can parents drop off takeout in the Loop if their child doesn’t like the lunch options?

No. In the name of health and safety, no visitors are allowed on campus outside of drop-off/pick-up unless absolutely necessary, and no families are allowed in the main buildings of campus unless it is an emergency. This is also a matter of equity. Families can send their students with food, but should not anticipate a daily drop-off.

Testing and One Medical

How often will my child need PCR testing?

Your student should be tested weekly: every 7 days. 

Can I use non-One Medical testing?

Those who plan to return to campus for hybrid learning starting Tuesday, January 19 should remain in the Bay Area as of Monday, January 4, and complete weekly PCR tests, including a local test the week of January 4 and another the week of January 11. Please note that these tests must be completed either at our on-campus testing site in the Spieker Center or at another One Medical testing site near your home in the Bay Area. In general, we strongly recommend that you take advantage of on-campus or local Bay Area testing with One Medical going forward, as that ensures that the School has access to aggregate, accurate data reporting on the health of our community. If absolutely necessary, though, other local sites may be used as long as the results are reported to Joan Barada via the test results form,  and as long as families continue to fill out the One Medical Daily Symptoms Tracker and badge check each day.

When will on-campus testing be available?

We’ll be offering on-site testing with One Medical starting the week of November 2 and running up to the Thanksgiving Break. While we are in Distance Learning, on-campus testing will be suspended. It will recommence the week of January 4 in time to prepare students again for in-person learning. We will be offering on-campus testing three days a week.

Can parents use on-campus testing themselves?

Unfortunately, not at this time.

Can students use on-campus testing outside of the week that their hybrid group is on campus?

Yes, we encourage students to take advantage of the additional convenience of having One Medical on-site in order to complete their weekly testing. If Menlo’s testing site is not your most convenient option for your off-campus week, you are also able to use another Bay Area site, as you may have previously.

Phase 2 of Hybrid Learning: January and Onward

Will all students be required to return to campus in January, or can they choose to learn remotely?

Students can choose to learn remotely in January, regardless of the choice they made this fall during Phase 1.

Will hybrid group assignments remain the same all year?

We are still evaluating whether or not it will be advisable and feasible for us to shuffle the hybrid group assignments. Currently, the plan is not to change them.

What is the proposed calendar for spring semester?

Currently, the proposed calendar is largely the same as originally published. We have not made any changes to, for instance, the dates of winter and spring break. However, we have added two additional days off, March 15 and April 26. Read more here

Will we have quarantine periods after winter and spring break?

Yes. We will remain in distance-learning mode the weeks of January 4 and January 11 to allow our community members to quarantine after the holiday break. Right now, we intend to have a quarantine period after breaks later in the semester as well. We will stay on top of the most current recommendations around quarantine practices when the time comes. It’s possible that a lot can change (both in terms of experts’ recommendations and testing availability), as so much of what we know about this disease is unfolding in real-time. Currently, San Mateo County has not adopted the new CDC guidelines for quarantine. Quarantine after travel and after being exposed to a Covid positive case is still 14 days after return from travel or post-exposure, as per San Mateo County guidelines. You cannot test out of quarantine.