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Novel Coronavirus FAQs

SSFUSD Coronavirus FAQs

The South San Francisco Unified School District (SSFUSD) continues to work closely with the San Mateo County Health Department (SMC Health) and the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) in monitoring the coronavirus (aka COVID-19) situation. Please read below for more information:

What is Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

How Does COVID-19 Spread?

We have learned that this virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest).
  • Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose, however, that is greatly reduced with regular and thorough cleaning.
  • It is important to note that being in the same space where a person visited and who has had contact with someone else with the virus does not meet the criteria for how the virus spreads.
  • From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): How COVID-19 Spreads.

Other COVID-19 Facts

  • Children and youth have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus.
  • 80% of coronavirus cases are mild that mimic symptoms such as the common cold or flu.
  • You can help stop COVID-19 by knowing the signs and symptoms.

What is the Danger to My Child?

At this time, we have no reported cases of infection or direct exposure from any reported case at any of our school sites. One student at Westborough Middle School has was in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), but the student has not displayed any symptoms of illness, nor have any students or staff reported any COVID-19 illness symptoms. We are committed to thoroughly cleaning our campuses and continuing to educate our students, staff, and community about following recommended hygiene practices and sanitary etiquette.

What Has Been Done to Ensure My Child is Safe?

At this time, students have been dismissed from school Monday, March 13th through April 3rd, and will be receiving at-home distributive learning. Tentatively, students are expected to return to school on April 6th.

We are continuing to reinforce healthy hygiene education and practices throughout the district, and provide staff and students with regular reminders about staying home when sick. We are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CA Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the San Mateo County Department of Health as our primary science-based resources for information and guidance. We are also in close communication with the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) and are prepared to respond to rapid changes of circumstances. By staying informed and prepared, we are able to make informed decisions about disease prevention practices and hygienic management of our facilities.

On all our school campuses, we continue to be vigilant in cleaning common areas to minimize the spread of infection such as:

  • Bathrooms
  • Water faucets
  • Doorknobs
  • Classrooms
  • Athletic equipment
  • Cafeteria
  • Computers

The District is regularly using disinfecting equipment, and out of an abundance of caution, we have deployed our facilities staff to all schools to ensure that all bathrooms, classrooms, and staff lounges remain thoroughly clean and are fully stocked with soap.

Should I Keep My Child at Home?

At this time, students have been dismissed from school Monday, March 13th through April 3rd, and will be receiving at-home distributive learning. Tentatively, students are expected to return to school on April 6th.

Upon returning to school or while in your care at home, if your student exhibits cold/flu-like symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat and/or respiratory symptoms (such as shortness of breath, sneezing, etc.), they should stay home.

Parents should also seek advice from their doctor if their child has immune deficiencies or other health complications.

Are Absences Considered Excused or Unexcused?

While students have been dismissed from school Monday, March 13th through April 3rd, absences are considered to be excused.

Although attendance guidelines are set by the California Education Code, we generally excuse students if they are sick. While we continue to navigate the rapidly changing circumstances resulting from COVID-19, we will be reviewing our attendance policies in the context of parent/guardian concerns.

Why Are Students Being Dismissed from School?

Out of an abundance of caution and for the safety and well-being of our community, we have decided to dismiss our students from school beginning Monday, March 16th through Friday, April 3rd, with continuity of education and operations. This means that all school-related activities will be canceled, including classes, athletics, arts, clubs, and planned field trips. Students are not to be on campus during this time, and staff will practice safe hygiene/health protocols and social distancing while on campus. During the closure, we will continue to work with the health departments and will gain a better understanding of our situation. We will also use the time to do a thorough and deep cleaning of our campuses. We are tentatively expecting students to return to school on Monday April 6th.

Will Schools Close in the Future?

Although we do not know what the future holds, we will continue working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the San Mateo County Department of Health, and the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE). While this is a rapidly changing situation, we will do our best to communicate with you whenever we have new information.

School activities, sports programs, and events may also be subject to change or postponement due to changing conditions. We will be sure to communicate any such change with you, should they be deemed necessary.

What Events or Activities will be Canceled?

At this time, the District will use the direction provided by the San Mateo County Office of Education in collaboration with the San Mateo Health Department that provides clarity as to what criteria can be used to define “non-essential” and “essential” gatherings.

Events considered “non-essential” that may be canceled, postponed and/or modified include, but are not limited to:

  • After-hours, school-hosted or seasonal activities 
  • Large gatherings for trainings or conferences
  • Certain field trips depending on the type of location and space configurations 
  • Large school assemblies, concerts, performing arts events, etc. unless modifications are made
  • Facility rentals by outside groups

“Essential” activities will continue include, but are not limited to:

  • All regularly scheduled classes and support services during the school day
  • Before and after school interventions, tutoring, support services and small group activities 
  • Staff and School Board meetings 
  • California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sports

School sites will notify parents of canceled, postponed, or modified events.

How do I Keep My Child Safe Moving Forward?

It remains important to observe the following health and hygiene practices to limit the spread of coronavirus as well as other types of germs that can lead to sickness:

  • Stay home when sick.
  • Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe (e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing).
  • Avoid close contact with those with cold and flu-like symptoms.
  • Practice proper hygiene etiquette and cover your nose/mouth when coughing and sneezing with a flexed elbow or with a tissue or sleeve. Throw the used tissue into the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Wash hands thoroughly and frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use 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.

What if I Think I was in Contact with Someone who has COVID-19?

If you believe you have come in contact with someone directly who has been diagnosed with the virus, then you should see your physician immediately and contact the CDC hotline at 650-363-4422.

The San Mateo County Health Department also has a public call center for general, non-medical questions about the virus. The current contact number is 211 and the operating hours are 7:00am to 7:00pm from Monday through Friday.

What if I am Sick with COVID-19?

 The following is recommended by the CDC:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • Wear a face mask.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
  • Monitor your symptoms.

How Do I Receive Updated Information from SSFUSD?

Please visit our website at for our most current updates.

Please be aware of message updates we may send through our broadcast system like voice calls, email, and SMS text.

How Quickly Can I Expect to be Informed About a Significant Situation or Update?

Several variables can have an impact upon the speed at which we are able to correspond with our community, such as the source of information, when we receive information, who may be affected, what response measures may be needed, and what modes of communication may be most appropriate for the type of situation. As a part of our process, it is important to verify information before we send out communications to ensure our messages are both accurate and timely. This may involve consultation with and receiving guidance from partnering agencies, such as the CDC and San Mateo County Office of Education, as well as communication with our own staff. Once information is verified, we are then able to determine a plan and implement actions to resolve the issue at hand. We then determine the scope of our communications and distribute our messages accordingly. This process mitigates the dissemination of misinformation by ensuring our messages are accurate, informative, and as timely as possible.

Where Do We Receive our Guidance?

Like all other school districts in San Mateo County, we continue to look to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the San Mateo County Department of Health as our primary science-based resources for information and guidance. We encourage parents to visit the Department of Health’s website for public health updates. We are also working closely with the San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE). This is a rapidly changing situation and we will do our best to communicate with you whenever we have new information.

Where Can I Learn More About the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus?

For more information on the developing public health response to COVID-19, visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) sections of the following websites: