The Campus Experience

How will social distancing work in the classroom?

Everyone on campus, including those who are fully vaccinated, must continue wearing masks (unless eating) and maintaining 6 feet of distance while outside and 3 feet in classrooms. Menlo School will maintain our mask policy for the remainder of the year regardless of changes to the CDC and state guidelines. We will continue to assess the situation and may adopt a different approach as guidelines evolve. Students in some classes will take turns learning virtually from outdoor spaces set up on campus. As such, we strongly encourage students to bring headphones to campus each day and dress accordingly. Because we will be relying on outdoor classroom spaces for learning, should rain be forecasted, we may need to revert to distance learning for those days.

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. They may also use the Library and Student Center to work indoors before and after school. 

What can students do during free periods?

US students have been assigned to specific spaces for free periods.

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. Students can meet with teachers in person now that they’re back on campus (in the classroom, Student Center, or office space, if the space is suitably large.) Teachers will primarily still use Zoom for larger Tutorial sessions. The choice of location is at their discretion and will be communicated to students. 

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. 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?

As of April 19, all students should be tested twice weekly. Gold Group should test on both Mondays and Thursdays, while Blue Group should test on both Tuesdays and Fridays.  Submit your PCR tests here:
(New process! See instructions here. )

Can I use non-One Medical testing?

Specific guidelines for local testing apply to the quarantine periods after school breaks; please refer to school emails for the best guidelines for those weeks. 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, other local sites may be used as long as the results are reported to Joan Barada via (New process! See instructions here. ) 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?

Beginning April 12, One Medical’s on-campus schedule will change to Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday (closed on Wednesdays). Please continue scheduling your appointments through the One Medical app; you may also continue to test at other local One Medical locations.

Can parents use on-campus testing themselves?

Unfortunately, not at this time.

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.

What is the proposed calendar for spring semester?

Currently, the proposed calendar is largely the same as originally published. However, we have added two additional days off, March 15 and April 26. Commencement will take place on June 9. Read more here