2021-2022 Return to Campus & School Safety
2021-2022 School Year
The 2021-2022 Mercy High School Reopening Plan can be found here.
And for the Request for Review of Plan to Open for In-Person Instruction, click here. Please also see these documents: The Cal/OSHA COVID-19 Prevention Program (CPP) and the COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist.
Dear Mercy Students and Parents,
I hope that your family has had a restful and healthy summer! I know there are many questions related to school safety and the start of the 2021-2022 school year. San Mateo County has scheduled a meeting this Friday, August 6th for school leaders to discuss the updated Pandemic Recovery Framework which we will continue to adopt. After this meeting we will email any information as it relates to Mercy’s school year should there be additional information to share. Additionally, we will update our website by next Tuesday, August 10th with new information and link it in next week’s newsletter. Until then, please know that at this time we continue to plan for a safe start of the school year in person.
Safety remains our priority. Though it is comforting to know that the vaccination rate for San Mateo County is high, it is disheartening to see how fast the Delta variant continues to spread and how much it is affecting the unvaccinated population. As such, the following safety measures remain in place:
- Masks - All community members and visitors will be expected to wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking outdoors.
- Health Screening - Mercy High School will continue to use Ruvna, a daily health screening app. Our returning students are familiar with this, and we will be sure to introduce this to our new students during orientation.
- COVID-19 Tests - All students will be expected to test weekly for COVID-19. The goal of our testing program is to identify as many asymptomatic students as possible. Testing is available every week at Mercy on Tuesdays (8AM-4PM), Wednesdays (8AM-4PM), and Saturdays (8AM-1PM). Please note that Saturday testing results will not be available in time for a Monday clearance. Students are encouraged to test on Tuesdays or Wednesdays when they are on campus. Should a student test off campus, she should submit her results here using her Mercy email address.
- Health and Safety Protocols - Handwashing stations, hand sanitizers, and updated ventilation systems continue to be in place and available throughout campus.
Vaccinations - Mercy High School strongly encourages students and families to get vaccinated as at this time it is the most proactive approach in keeping our community members safe.
In order to best support the safety of our school community, all families are encouraged to share student vaccination status in an attempt to best support the safety of our school community. Families are asked to complete this form by 8AM on Monday, August 9th. On this form, families have the option to decline to provide their vaccination status. Please note that any student whose vaccination status is unknown and/or who does not upload a picture of her vaccination card will be considered unvaccinated for safety and contact tracing purposes. Please note this form should be completed for each student as this is a different form than the one sent home over the summer.
All family decisions as they relate to vaccination status will be respected; however, it is important to note that per the County of San Mateo, vaccinated individuals and unvaccinated individuals fall into different categories in terms of safety protocol and procedures. Currently when community members are identified as a close contact, they are required to quarantine for 10 days unless they are vaccinated. Vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine except in the case that they are the individual who tests positive.
2020-2021 In Person Learning - We continue to plan for a full in-person academic and extracurricular program as we shared earlier this summer. As such, hybrid learning/ distance learning will not be an option for students.
Families are asked to plan for vacations and other absences accordingly as distance learning will not be an option this school year unless there is a major change in the county and state guidelines which would require students to be at home.
If students are sick or unable to come to class, a parent or guardian must communicate that with the Main Office by phone or email and the student will be expected to communicate directly with their teachers and to use Mercy’s student learning management system Schoology to stay on top of their studies.
Athletics and Extracurriculars - At this time Mercy High School is planning on offering its full athletic and extracurricular program with safety measures in place. As students prepare for their participation in their preferred programs, please remember that if students are identified as a close contact of a positive case that they will be required to quarantine for 10 days unless they are vaccinated per county and state guidelines.
As we continue to plan for a full in-person academic and extracurricular experience, we will continue to work closely with the state and county to ensure we do so safely. While we are hopeful for a more consistent school year, we are aware that the pandemic is always changing. We continue to ask for your support, patience and flexibility as we navigate the pandemic when the new information comes to us.
We are incredibly grateful that you have chosen Mercy High School for your daughters and that we are able to be part of this adventure together. Regardless of what this year brings, know your daughter's physical and mental health remains of the utmost importance to us. We can’t wait to see our students in person next week and to give them as normal a school year as possible.
Should you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Natalie Cirigliano Brosnan ‘02
Head of School
Current COVID Testing Requirements
COVID-19 Testing (As of August 6, 2021)
All Mercy Community members are required to be tested weekly. Mercy is partnering with Virus Geeks for on campus testing. Testing is available on Tuesdays from 8AM-4PM, Wednesdays from 8AM-4PM, and Saturdays 8AM-1PM. No appointment is needed, click here to register for Virus Geeks. If your student chooses to test outside of Mercy, please submit a negative test result to this form. The form can only be accessed from a Mercy Gmail Account.
Please note: Tuesday and Wednesday testing results will arrive in time to clear students for a Monday return; however, the Saturday testing results could take until Tuesday to receive since the lab is closed on Sundays. Please remember until lab results are received, students are not cleared to be on campus or at school events.
COVID Related Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If our daughter tests positive (even though fully vaccinated), what are the at home learning options? (note that even vaccinated folks are catching the delta variant).
Should a vaccinated student test positive she will be required to quarantine for 10 days. Should this occur, your daughter's academic counselor will schedule a meeting with you, your daughter, and all of her teachers to create an individualized plan for her. This plan will support her in being successful during her time at home and in her transition back to the classroom. Our online learning management system Schoology will always be available to your daughter.
If a classmate tests positive (vaccinated or not), will our fully vaccinated daughter be required to quarantine for 10+ days?
If so, there needs to be at home learning options via synchronous/video learning to ensure she wouldn't fall behind or miss out. Vaccinated individuals only need to quarantine if they test positive. If she is identified as a close contact she does not need to quarantine unless she shows symptoms of COVID-19. When students are required to quarantine we will create individualized plans for each student through the process mentioned above.
Why are synchronous learnings (Zoom) not being offered this year?
Many companies, as well as schools, have adopted hybrid-remote working/learning practices, having refined these over the past 18 months. We learned so much through hybrid learning and we have adopted various practices as a result. The goal of the state is to have students return to the classroom. Unfortunately what was discovered last year is that many students chose to not attend in person classes for reasons unrelated to safety concerns or quarantine requirements. In this sense, the intent of the hybrid learning option was not respected and as a result, did not provide consistency for students and teachers throughout the world. While we know we had great success with our hybrid learning program, we also know that students deserve 100% of their teacher's attention. This cannot be achieved in a daily changing hybrid learning model when teachers never know who will be present and who will not be. For these reasons, many schools are not offering hybrid learning options to students as we start the school year.
Why is Mercy requiring more than the county?
Given the nature of COVID-19 and its variants, our approach to every decision is made out of an abundance of caution with the intent of best keeping our students, faculty, and staff safe as well as their loved ones at home. Every extra safety measure we have in place comes at the recommendation of the county- regular testing and firm masking requirements.
My daughter did not get tested this week, but she had a negative test the week before. Can she come to school on Monday?
Students need to be tested weekly so if she did not receive a test last week she will not be able to come onto campus until she has a negative test. I know this is not ideal, and I am sorry. We are doing everything we can to keep our community safe, and we appreciate the partnership with our parent community.