New Horizon Reopening Plan & Guidelines



(updated 11/13/2020)

Our Process:

New Horizon’s process for determining school reopening has included a close review of guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the Orange County Health Agency, and the Orange County Department of Education (OCDE), as well as available medical literature on COVID-19 related to children and school settings. Based on current data and research, the medical community supports the return of our students to in-person learning, with appropriate health and safety guidelines in place. With adherence to a comprehensive set of critical health and safety requirements, we can bring our students, faculty, and staff safely back to school to resume in-person instruction, insha Allah. 

As we all know, the COVID-19 context in Orange County is not static, and we will continue to monitor the situation closely. At the same time, daycare centers and schools in the U.S. and other countries have reopened, which has provided the medical community with an opportunity to study the impacts of the virus in school settings and on children, providing valuable data and strategies that have been effective in reducing the risk of infection and transmission. Our goal is to safely bring back as many students as possible to in-person school settings, to maximize learning and address our students’ and their families’ needs. While New Horizon offers a parallel remote program as an option, we recognize that in-person school plays an important role in developing students’ social-emotional needs, including their mental and physical health. We also recognize how disruptive school closures have been to our families who have been trying to maintain regular work schedules, manage household needs, while also supporting their children’s remote learning.

Most of us are now quite familiar with the critical health and safety practices that reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. They include rigorous hygiene and hand washing, use of masks/face coverings, physical distancing, reducing interaction between groups, staying home when sick, and protecting those most vulnerable to the disease. However, what can often get lost in long lists of practices is that it is not one mitigation strategy, but a combination of all these strategies taken together that will substantially reduce the risk of transmission. In other words, establishing a culture of health and safety in our school that focuses on regularly enforcing these important practices is more important than any one measure. 

Flexibility in Programming: 

Our families, students, faculty, and staff must be prepared to be flexible and ready to pivot if circumstances change significantly. For this reason, New Horizon must plan not only for in-person learning, but also full remote learning, as well as hybrid models. Remote learning is a necessary option for some students who are unable to return to school due to high risk individuals within their household and potentially for all students if COVID-19 forces our school back into school closure in the future. Beginning our school year early (in July instead of August) allowed us to be responsive to the uncertainty associated with the spread of Covid-19, especially as we enter the cold/flu season in the fall. Flu season is another critical factor that could pose significant challenges for schools and students. Not only do flu symptoms closely mirror COVID-19 symptoms, but managing both a bad flu season and ongoing presence of COVID-19 could be highly disruptive to our children’s education. In this case, it would be quite easy for us to close school or take intermittent days/weeks off to minimize interruptions to our educational program.

Expectations of Families:

Each family will ultimately make the decision as to whether their children will attend in-person instruction or whether their children will continue with remote learning. Families also play a critical role in supporting the new culture of health and safety that our school must establish. Most importantly, families can help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in our school community by checking their children daily for any symptoms and keeping them home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with a person with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Families and school personnel can also contribute by continuing to follow state guidance on health and safety outside of school. 

Medical Literature and Emerging Implications: 

This section summarizes some of the emerging research and implications from the medical literature on childhood transmission of and susceptibility to COVID-19 as of July 2020. As new information becomes available, our protocols will continue to evolve to align with that new information. At this time, evidence suggests schools have not played a significant role in COVID-19 transmission and that children are less likely than adults to be infected. Furthermore, if children do become infected, it appears they may be less likely to transmit COVID-19 to others. 

Based on the following findings, the current evidence supports a safe in-person return to school (references are hyperlinked):

  • Schools do not appear to have played a major role in COVID-19 transmission. In a review of COVID clusters, only 4% (8 of 210) involved school transmission.1 In a case study from New South Wales Australia, after 18 cases were found in schools (12 in high schools and 6 in primary schools), only 0.3% of student contacts were infected (1 in 695 individuals in 10 high schools and 1 in 168 individuals in primary schools). No teachers or staff were infected.2
  • In general, rates of COVID-19 infection are lower for children than for adults. Based on an analysis of data from six countries, children under 20 are half as susceptible to COVID-19 infection than adults.3 Furthermore, although children under the age of 18 make up 22% of the U.S. population, they account for less than 2% of all cases of COVID-19.4 Children are more likely to be asymptomatic, however, which underscores the importance of health behaviors for everyone (masks/face coverings, distancing, hand washing, surface cleaning).5 
  • If exposed, children may be less likely to become infected with COVID-19. A meta-analysis of studies from several countries found that children were only 44% as likely as adults to become infected after exposure.6 In China, in households with COVID-19 exposure, children under the age of 18 were infected at a rate of 4% compared with 17% for adults.7
  • If infected, it appears children may be less likely to infect others with COVID-19. Most transmissions are from adults to children, rather than vice versa; this is different from some other respiratory viruses.8 In a U.S. study of 15 households, 73% of transmissions were from adult to child (the remaining were child-to-child or child-to-adult).9 


What we do know is that COVID-19 spreads when people are in relatively close proximity, through respiratory droplets generated through coughing, sneezing, or talking to an infected person. Among the most effective preventive measures – when used consistently and in combination – are masks/face coverings, physical distancing, cohorting, hand washing, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces. In general, these are the major cornerstones of New Horizon’s reopening plans.

  1. Masks and Protective Face Shields
  2. Health Screening and Temperature Checks
  3. Social Distancing and Cohorting
  4. Hand Washing and Sanitizing
  5. Disinfecting and Cleaning
  6. Ventilation and Air Quality


Since the route of transmission for COVID-19 is respiratory, masks or face coverings are among the most critical components of risk reduction. Masks/face coverings protect the general public against COVID-19 infection, with a recent retrospective study estimating near 80% effectiveness in reducing COVID-19 transmission, especially when worn prior to symptom onset.10 In the United States, states advising face masks/face coverings be worn in public saw a decline in their COVID-19 growth rates, and community-wide mask/face covering usage contributed to control of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. 11, 12 

New Horizon’s mask/face covering protocol is as follows:

  • All faculty and staff will have face masks or protective face shields on at all times while on campus and in the presence of students and colleagues.
  • All faculty will wear fully protective face shields since students rely on visual/facial cues. 
  • All students are required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. We recognize it may be impractical for a child to wear a mask for the duration of the school day and will require it when children are in movement in their classrooms and through campus.
  • Students can take mask breaks throughout the day, as long as they are not moving or when outdoors, while remaining at least six feet apart. Students will be trained on proper mask use (how to remove and put on masks) to avoid potential risk of infection.
  • New Horizon masks can be purchased from The Hawk Store, and extra disposable face masks will be made available by the school in special circumstances. 
  • Reusable masks should be washed by families daily. 


New Horizon has put in place strict exclusion policies for symptomatic students and employees. Self-checking for symptoms each morning by faculty, staff, and parents before leaving in the morning for school is critical and will serve as the primary screening mechanism for COVID-19 symptoms.13  Faculty, staff, and parents should review the CDC checklist of symptoms and should stay home if they or anyone in their household has these symptoms in order to prevent the spread of infection. All individuals (students, faculty and staff) will be temperature checked and screened prior to being allowed onto the campus. Multiple points of campus entry are set-up to minimize student-to-student interactions and allow for a quick arrival procedure. Students will be directed to the appropriate entry point for their grade level during arrival times. As an added measure, New Horizon will be limiting campus access to students and school personnel only.

New Horizon’s screening protocols are as follows:

  • Face mask must be worn;
  • Visual wellness check and temperature check with no-touch thermometers (readings must be less than 100.4 F degrees);
  • Must answer ‘no’ to the following question: Have you, anyone in your household, or anyone you have been in close proximity with shown signs of illness including fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, congestion, runny nose, chills, body aches, shortness of breath, loss of smell, loss of taste?  
  • Sanitize hands upon entry (sanitizer stations will be provided).

If an individual does not meet any of these requirements, unfortunately, they will not be allowed on campus and possibly asked to self-quarantine for a period of time before returning to school. Remote learning platforms have been put in place for children who are required to stay home because they are sick or in isolation due to infection or exposure. Also, since fevers and symptoms are not stagnant, all faculty and staff will observe students throughout the day for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 so that appropriate action can be taken to isolate a student until they can be picked up by a parent. 


New Horizon requires a 14-day quarantine (or longer, if symptoms develop) for the student/employee after domestic and international travel.  Persons arriving in California from other states or countries, should practice self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to California. Any individual travelling out-of-state or internationally must inform the school administration immediately.


Social distancing is another important practice that helps mitigate transmission of the virus. While the CDC has recommended maintaining a physical distance of six feet between individuals,14 the World Health Organization’s guidance states approximately three feet.15 There is no precise threshold for safety; indeed, studies suggest that physical distancing of three feet or more leads to reduced transmission, with more distance providing additional protection.16  For instance, in a study of household transmission in China, keeping at least three feet of distance was associated with one-fourth the number of transmissions.17  An important note is that six feet distancing is emphasized when no mask/face covering is worn. 

In addition to physical distancing, New Horizon has repurposed a few of its common areas into classrooms, and students are placed in consistent cohorts/classes for the entire duration of their school day. The purpose of cohorting is to limit the mixing of students and faculty so that if a child or teacher develops infection, the number of exposures would be limited. 

New Horizon’s physical distancing/cohorting protocol is as follows: 

  • Students have been cohorted to limit student contact with staggered arrival, dismissal, and lunch schedules. To limit contact between grade levels and cohorts, the school day has been staggered to accommodate two cohorts per grade level. One cohort will begin and end an hour earlier than the second cohort. 
  • Students will receive all their instruction in the same classroom throughout the school day with a minimum number of faculty members rotating into each classroom.
  • Desks and chairs in 2nd through 8th grade classrooms are configured to assure six feet distancing between students. These desks/chairs are facing the same direction so students can safely take their masks off, if needed, while seated.
  • Furniture in Preschool through 1st grade has been set-up to promote physical distancing with additional clear partitions to encourage face-to-face interactions while remaining safe.
  • Faculty for Preschool through 1st grade will limit close interaction to the extent possible with the understanding that playing and socializing is central to child development. 
  • All class sizes have been reduced to aid in physical distancing. Classroom capacities are smaller than the typical New Horizon class size (no more than 12 per class in the lower school and no more than 15 per class in the upper school) to accommodate student spacing. 
  • Playground/outdoor times will be coordinated to maximize distancing, and supervision will be adequate to ensure physical distancing.
  • Faculty and staff will prompt and remind students of physical distancing throughout the day.
  • Students’ personal belongings (e.g. backpacks, educational supplies, etc.) will remain with or near them, or in a designated and separated location.
  • Extracurriculars, P.E., and athletics programs have been modified or cancelled to align with safety/health protocols.
  • All off campus activities and field trips are cancelled through first semester and possibly for the entire school year.
  • Large gatherings/assemblies have been cancelled for the immediate future.
  • Students requiring aftercare will be cohorted within the same class, whenever possible, and/or will have additional protocols in place to assure safety, such as keeping on masks and maintaining up to 10 feet distance indoors or remaining outdoors.

Entrance, Egress, and Movement within the School

To limit contact between grade levels and cohorts, the school day has been staggered to accommodate two cohorts per grade level. One cohort will begin and end an hour earlier than the second cohort. In addition to Physical Distancing and Cohorting, New Horizon has taken specific steps to assure that students and faculty/staff remain properly separated during arrival, dismissal, and throughout the school day. 

  • The Lower School has three designated entry points – one for Preschool, one for students in Kindergarten, and one for students in grades 1-2.  Also, each classroom is limited to no more than 10-12 students, depending on the physical space of that room. The only time two cohorts will have interaction with one another is outside for lunch. During this time students will be seated at least 6 feet apart during their lunch and at their own tables designated for their cohort. For physical education, classes meet outdoors and use equipment designated for each student with disinfecting in between each session to ensure safety.  All manipulatives that are typically used for learning are either designated per student or disinfected before distribution to another group. 
  • The Upper School has two designated entry points – one is identified for students in grades 3-4 and the other one is for students in grades 5-6. All faculty and staff will use a separate entrance to reduce unnecessary contact with students. Classrooms at the upper campus can accommodate 12-15 students, depending on the physical size of the room. The only time in the school day when multiple cohorts will be in a shared environment will be outdoors during lunch or Physical Education. For lunch, students will be seated at their own table and/or at least 6 feet apart.  For P.E., equipment will not be shared or will be sanitized between uses and students will remain in their own “zone” to assure sufficient distancing. 

Across both campuses, the hallways have been designated as unidirectional/one-way for all students, faculty, and staff. Entrance to each classroom is strictly limited to the students within that cohort and the teacher responsible for teaching that cohort. Office staff, administration, and other personnel avoid entering any classroom space unless deemed absolutely necessary. Parents are asked to remain off campus at all times. Meetings with school administration and faculty are conducted over the phone or through Zoom. 


COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses are almost exclusively spread by respiratory droplet transmission. As a result, and because virus shedding may occur prior to symptom onset or in the absence of symptoms, routine, frequent and proper hand hygiene (soap and water or hand

sanitizer) is critical to limit transmission.  In fact, proper hand hygiene is one of the most effective strategies to prevent the spread of most respiratory viruses including COVID-19, particularly during the pre-symptomatic phase of illness.  Therefore, faculty, staff and students are required to exercise hand washing or sanitizing upon arrival to school, in between transitions in and out of their classrooms, before and after eating, before putting on and taking off masks, after using the restroom, and before dismissal. While handwashing with soap and water is the best option, hand sanitizers may be utilized when hand washing is not available.18, 19

New Horizon’s hand washing/sanitizing protocol is as follows:

  • A regular schedule for routine hand hygiene, above and beyond what is usually recommended (before eating food, after using the restroom) will be implemented. Students will have regularly scheduled hand hygiene breaks with each transition (scheduled a minimum of 5 times during the day). For practical reasons, some of these extra hand hygiene breaks will be with hand sanitizers unless sinks are readily available in the classroom.
  • Hand sanitizer will be placed at key locations and entry points throughout each campus (e.g., campus entrance, each classroom, and in main hallways). 
  • Hand washing with soap and water will be performed prior to and after eating and after using the restroom.
  • Students will be taught how to clean their hands properly (with age appropriate material) 
    • When hand washing, individuals should use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly, and dry with an individual disposable towel. 
    • If handwashing is not feasible, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or at least 70 percent isopropanol content will be used. Hand sanitizer should be applied to all surfaces of the hands and in sufficient quantity that it takes 20 seconds of rubbing hands together for the sanitizer to dry. 
  • Students will be encouraged, in a non-judgemental and positive manner, to avoid touching their face, eyes, nose and mouth as much as possible.
  • Students will be taught respiratory etiquette (to sneeze or cough into their elbow or sleeve).
  • Age-appropriate signage will be visible throughout the campuses to remind children to wash and sanitize their hands.


COVID-19 has been detected on a variety or surfaces and it is possible that infection can be

transmitted by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching mucous membranes (i.e. mouth, nose, eyes). Ongoing surface cleaning throughout the day can greatly reduce the spread of any infection. New Horizon follows the CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfecting our campuses.  

New Horizon’s disinfecting and cleaning protocols are as follows:

  • A regular cleaning schedule is put in place with each student/faculty transition with an emphasis on high touch surfaces.
  • Campus-wide attention will be given to reduce the need to touch objects, such as open-lid trash cans and doors propped open.
  • All drinking fountains are closed, and touchless water dispensers are installed on each campus.  Students are asked to bring a personal water bottle each day.
  • Students will have their own personal class items. Heavy use items, such as pencils, pens, erasers, will remain with them at all times, and light use items, such as markers, crayons, glue, scissors, will be clearly marked and stored in the classroom.
  • All educational equipment and manipulatives that are used are made of materials that can be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Faculty and staff will regularly use disinfectant spray to wipe down surfaces with each transition.
  • Faculty, staff, and older students will have at their disposal disinfectant spray and materials so that surfaces can be wiped down regularly.
  • Custodial staff will clean and disinfect bathrooms with each transition and throughout the day.
  • Custodial staff will deep clean and disinfect classrooms, restrooms, offices, and hallways, nightly. 
  • Custodial staff will fully sanitize all classrooms and offices using an industrial-grade disinfectant fogger, every other night.


The spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, inside buildings could be mitigated by having effective ventilation, improved air filtration and disinfection, and avoidance of air recirculation.22 New Horizon has taken measures necessary to assure classrooms are adequately ventilated and to improve air quality. All HVAC filters on both campuses have been upgraded with a higher Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), a system used to evaluate the efficiency of an air filter based on how effective it is at catching particles of varying sizes. The higher the MERV rating, the higher the air filtration capabilities.

New Horizon’s ventilation and air quality protocols are as follows:

  • Classroom doors and windows shall remain open during working hours to promote airflow (and to prevent having to touch door handles). 
  • If the classroom does not have operable windows, the classroom door will remain open, and the HVAC will remain on at all times.
  • As weather and scheduling permits, faculty may opt to have classes outside.
  • Lunch breaks will be outdoors as much as possible, maintaining social distancing, or within their classrooms.

COVID-19 School Communication Plan

New Horizon leadership has been working hard to be proactive and vigilant pertaining to COVID-19, and our goal is to keep the community informed, maintain transparency, and keep all channels of communication open. New Horizon believes strongly in the vital importance of vigilance among our faculty, staff, and families to use all the prevention practices to assure everyone’s health and safety; namely, wearing masks, frequent handwashing, maintaining physical distance, and disinfecting/sanitizing surfaces. The following will provide our school community with a collective understanding of how COVID-19 is transmitted, definitions of ‘contact’ and contact tracing, and the steps that will be taken once a confirmed positive case occurs within our campus. 

How SARS-CoV-2 is Transmitted:

Main Mode of Transmission:

► Infected people have the virus in their mouths, noses, and throats

► Droplets come out when we are talking, laughing, coughing, and sneezing

► Those droplets can enter another person’s mouth, nose, or eyes

Less Common Mode of Transmission:

► Surfaces may have viruses from someone’s respiratory droplets 

► The infected surfaces, then contaminate the hands of others 

► Hands can transfer virus to your mouth, nose, or eyes 

Knowing this information emphasizes the importance of following school protocols, including wearing a mask, regular hand-washing, and cleaning of surfaces. Faculty, staff, and students vigilantly and consistently following the protocol will, in itself, minimize the risk of transmission. Nonetheless, transmission can occur when an infected individual and another individual come in contact, and transmission is more likely with closer contact.

Types of Contact:

Anyone who comes into close contact with someone who has COVID-19 is at increased risk of becoming infected themselves, and of potentially infecting others. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines three kinds of contact: 

  • Physical contact: hugging, kissing, etc. 
  • Close contact
    • Within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for 15 minutes or more
    • Provided care at home to someone with COVID-19
    • Shared eating or drinking utensils
    • Someone with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or got respiratory droplets on you 
  •  Proximate contact: more than 6 feet but in the same room for an extended period

Looking at the definition above and following New Horizon’s protocols, none of our faculty, staff, or students would have physical or close contact. Within classrooms, however, faculty and students do have proximate contact. In order to minimize proximate contacts, students are placed into cohorts to keep student clusters together without mixing. Again, this alone minimizes the potential of transmission within the school if there is a positive case. Nonetheless, contact tracing can help prevent further transmission of the virus by quickly identifying and informing people who may be infected and contagious, so they can take steps to not infect others.

The Importance of Contact Tracing:

In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and people who they came in contact with (contacts) in order to interrupt disease spread. Contact tracing begins with identifying everyone that a person recently diagnosed with COVID-19 has been in contact with since they became contagious. The contacts are notified about their exposure. They will be told what symptoms to look out for, advised to isolate themselves for a period of time, and to seek medical attention as needed if they start to experience symptoms. Contact tracing for New Horizon is done in coordination with the Orange County Health Department. New Horizon is ethically and legally bound to maintain individuals’ confidential medical information. Strict confidentiality is also necessary to remove any barriers or hesitation of an individual or family sharing their private medical information so that proper protective steps can be taken quickly. 

Instructions to Individuals:

At the first signs of illness, please call the school office or email: The following steps will be taken once an individual on campus has a confirmed (positive test) or probable (exposed individual who develops symptoms) case of COVID-19:

  • The individual will be sent home immediately (if not home already) and the date of when symptoms developed or positive lab test will be recorded.
  • The infected individual will be interviewed by Dr. Dina Eletreby to identify physical, close, and proximate contacts within the school campus.
  • The Orange County Health Department will be immediately notified, and they may reach out to the individual to determine other potential contacts and to provide further instructions.
  • The infected individual must isolate for at least 10 days after onset of symptoms and may be released from isolation if their symptoms have improved AND they have had no fever, without use of medicines, for at least 24 hours before returning to school.
    • If the infected individual is a student or parent, then the entire household must quarantine for at least 14 days (or longer, if symptoms develop) after last contact with the infected individual.
  • New Horizon will take the following actions:
    • Contact tracing analysis will take place to assure notification of potentially exposed individuals and proper protocol application including quarantine.  
      • Any individual on campus who was in close contact (meaning within 6 feet for 15+ minutes) will be immediately asked to quarantine for at least 14 days and monitor for symptoms. 
      • In an abundance of caution, all individuals who were in proximate contact (meaning they were in the same physical room as the infected individual for an extended period) will be notified and asked to quarantine for 14 days while monitoring for symptoms. Although the OC Health Department considers proximate contacts a low-risk and does not recommend quarantining, New Horizon prefers to err on the side of caution and will take this added precaution. 
    • Close off areas used by any sick person and do not use before thorough cleaning and disinfection.
    • Out of an abundance of caution, all classrooms and common areas will be sanitized and fogged with disinfectant the same day notification is received and before faculty, staff, and students return.
    • Ensure that quarantined students have access to remote learning instruction.

Communication Chain:

As mentioned, New Horizon is ethically and legally bound to maintain individuals’ confidential medical information; however, in an effort to be transparent, the following communication chain will take place when there is a probable case (symptoms with known exposure) or confirmed case (COVID-19 positive test) on campus:

  • The Head of School will interview the infected individual to do thorough contact tracing to identify who had close and/or proximate contact with this individual within the school community.
  • The Orange County Health Department will be immediately notified and provided all pertinent information.
  • All close contacts will be notified, individually, by the Head of School and provided guidelines. 
  • All proximate contacts will be notified by email and provided quarantine guidelines.
  • For transparency, a notification email will be sent to constituents (parents and faculty/staff members on campus) letting them know that there was a COVID-19 case, that the individual has been isolated, contacts have been quarantined, and the OC Health Department has been notified.

Regular Testing of Faculty and Staff:

School personnel are essential workers and includes teachers, paraprofessionals, janitors, or any other school employee that may have contact with students or other staff.  New Horizon shall test staff periodically, as testing capacity permits and as practicable, to include testing all staff over 2 months, with approximately 50% testing every month on a rotational basis. The tests will be FDA approved/authorized viral molecular tests (not the antibody test) and will be done to detect asymptomatic infections periodically. If there is concern regarding possible increased transmission, New Horizon may increase the testing cycle. 

Protocols for Individual Return to Campus:

  • Student or staff member in a classroom tests positive for COVID-19:
    • CDC recommendations (symptom-based approach): 
      • At least 24 hours have passed since RECOVERY defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications
      • Improvement of respiratory symptoms AND
      • Minimum of 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
  • Household member of student or staff tests positive for COVID-19:
    • CDC recommendation of 14 day in-home quarantine for anyone in close contact with a COVID+ person
  • Student or staff member develops symptoms while on school campus:
    • Isolate person immediately
    • Have a specified adult that needs to walk the person to the isolation area to ensure that the person does not come into contact with others 
    • Notify the family for immediate pick up, if a student
    • Notify the Orange County Health Department
    • Close classroom that individual was in until completely sanitized and fogged with disinfectant
      • Plan for a symptomatic individual who tests COVID positive:
        • Individual may return to school using the symptom-based approach:
          • At least 24 hours since recovery of fever without use of fever-reducing medication
          • Improvement of respiratory symptoms AND
          • Minimum of 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
        • Contacts will be notified and asked to remain quarantined for 14 days (or longer, if symptoms develop)
      • Plan for a symptomatic individual who tests COVID negative:
        • If the individual had close contact with a COVID+ individual, they may return to school using the symptom-based approach:
          • At least 24 hours since recovery of fever without use of fever-reducing medication
          • Improvement of respiratory symptoms AND
          • Minimum of 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
        • If the individual did not have any close contacts with a COVID+ individual, they may return to school 3 days after symptoms resolve with a physician’s note.
      • Plan for a symptomatic individual who refuses (or family refuses) testing:
        • Individual may return to school using the symptom-based approach:
          • At least 24 hours since recovery of fever without use of fever-reducing medication
          • Improvement of respiratory symptoms AND
          • Minimum of 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
        • Contacts will be notified and asked to remain quarantined for 14 days (or longer, if symptoms develop).

Multiple Positive COVID-19 Cases or Community Surges:

New Horizon has a plan to close school again for the physical attendance of students, if necessary, based on public health guidance and in coordination with local public health officials. As the number of cases in our local area increases, there is a likelihood that someone within our school community may become infected. In this case, we will rely on our families’ calm and flexibility while we systematically respond to address the positive COVID-19 case to assure safety steps are taken. In such a case, California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidelines will be followed if any student, faculty, or staff member, or a member of their households, tests positive for COVID-19. The Head of School is the designated liaison who will coordinate, monitor, and communicate with local health officials as well as the school community. Communication with constituents may be via email, phone call, video message, virtual meetings, or any combination of these to assure information is received quickly, clearly, and thoroughly.

Campus or School Closure:

  • In consultation with local public health officials, the Head of School will consider whether school closure is warranted and length of time, based on the risk level within the specific community as determined by the local public health officer.
  • If there are 2 or more COVID positive individuals on a single campus:
    • Contact OC Health Department immediately
    • If Health Department is available to assess the risk to students and staff: plan to close for 3-5 days (depending on Health Department advice given the environment at that time) for contact tracing and transmission risk assessment


    • If the Health Department is unable to provide risk assessment analysis at that time, New Horizon will close the campus for 14 days and require home quarantine of the students and staff during that time period.
    • Deep cleaning of the entire school campus will be completed prior to reopening.
  • A return to a Remote Learning Program for all students may be determined by the Head of School in collaboration with the local public health officer if 5% of the school community (both students and staff) tests positive for COVID-19 within a 14-day period. The school community would include both students and staff, which will be tracked separately.  
    • Contact OC Health Department immediately
    • New Horizon will close the campus for 14 days and require home quarantine of all students and staff during that time period.
    • Deep cleaning of both campuses will be completed prior to reopening.

Staff Training and Family Education

Faculty and staff have been thoroughly trained on these guidelines and plans for re-opening. Ongoing education is provided during regular (weekly) meetings to answer questions regarding application and enforcement of the guidelines. Parents have received the guidelines and plans through emails and the document is also on our website: Virtual parent meetings were held to review the plans in detail and address any questions.  As new information becomes available, the Head of School and/or Directors will be sending out updates and inviting grade level parent groups to virtual meetings to go over any changes or additional guidelines. 


1 Leclerc, Q. J., Fuller, N. M., Knight, L. E., Funk, S., Knight, G. M., & CMMID COVID-19 Working Group. (2020). What settings have been linked to SARS-CoV-2 transmission clusters?. Wellcome Open Research, 5(83), 83. Available at 

2 Heavey, L., Casey, G., Kelly, C., Kelly, D., & McDarby, G. (2020). No evidence of secondary transmission of COVID-19 from children attending school in Ireland, 2020. Eurosurveillance, 25(21), 2000903. Available at 

3 Davies, N.G., Klepac, P., Liu, Y. et al. Age-dependent effects in the transmission and control of COVID-19 epidemics. Nat Med (2020). 

4 Coronavirus Disease 2019 in Children — United States, February 12–April 2, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:422–426. DOI: 

5 Davies, N.G., Klepac, P., Liu, Y. et al. Age-dependent effects in the transmission and control of COVID-19 epidemics. Nat Med (2020). 24 

6 Viner, R. M., Mytton, O. T., Bonell, C., Melendez-Torres, G. J., Ward, J. L., Hudson, L., … & Panovska-Griffiths, J. (2020). Susceptibility to and transmission of COVID-19 amongst children and adolescents compared with adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. medRxiv. Available at 

7 Wei Li, Bo Zhang, Jianhua Lu, Shihua Liu, Zhiqiang Chang, Cao Peng, Xinghua Liu, Peng Zhang, Yan Ling, Kaixiong Tao, Jianying Chen, Characteristics of Household Transmission of COVID-19, Clinical Infectious Diseases, , ciaa450, 

8 Zhu, Y., Bloxham, C. J., Hulme, K. D., Sinclair, J. E., Tong, Z. W. M., Steele, L. E., … & Gilks, C. (2020). Children are unlikely to have been the primary source of household SARS-CoV-2 infections. Available at 

9 Mannheim, J., Gretsch, S., Layden, J. E., & Fricchione, M. J. (2020). Characteristics of Hospitalized Pediatric COVID-19 Cases—Chicago, Illinois, March–April 2020. Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. Available at 

10 Wang, Y., Tian, H., Zhang, L., Zhang, M., Guo, D., Wu, W., … & Liu, B. (2020). Reduction of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households by face mask use, disinfection and social distancing: a cohort study in Beijing, China. BMJ Global Health, 5(5), e002794. Available at 

11 Lyu, W. and Wehby, G. L. (2020). Community Use Of Face Masks And COVID-19: Evidence From A Natural Experiment Of State Mandates In The US. Health Affairs. Available at 

12 Cheng, V. C., Wong, S. C., Chuang, V. W., So, S. Y., Chen, J. H., Sridhar, S., … & Yuen, K. Y. (2020). The role of community-wide wearing of face mask for control of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic due to SARS-CoV-2. Journal of Infection. Available at 8/pdf 

13 CDC, Considerations for Schools. (2020, May 19). Available at ncov/community/schools-childcare/schools.html 

14 CDC, Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation. (2020, May 6). Retrieved from 

15 WHO, Considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19. (2020, May 10). Available at 

16 Zhang, J., Litvinova, M., Liang, Y., Wang, Y., Wang, W., Zhao, S., … & Ajelli, M. (2020). Changes in contact patterns shape the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in China. Science. Available at 

17 Wang, Y., Tian, H., Zhang, L., Zhang, M., Guo, D., Wu, W., … & Liu, B. (2020). Reduction of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in households by face mask use, disinfection and social distancing: a cohort study in Beijing, China. BMJ Global Health, 5(5), e002794. Available at 

18 CDC, Hand Hygiene Recommendations. (2020, May 17). Available at ncov/hcp/hand-hygiene.html 

19 Kratzel, A., Todt, D., V’kovski, P., Steiner, S., Gultom, M., Thao, T. T. N., … & Dijkman, R. (2020). Inactivation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 by WHO-recommended hand rub formulations and alcohols. Emerg Infect Dis, 26. Available at 


Related Articles