Back-to-School Plans 2020-2021

The Health and Safety of All Members of the Sage Hill Community is Our Top Priority

Sage Hill School has made adjustments to many aspects of our program and facilities for the 2020-2021 school year in order to best promote the health and safety of students, faculty and the community. Our approach is multi-layered and preventive. Please know that even as we do our best to mitigate risks of COVID-19 transmission on school grounds, at this time there is no way to guarantee that these procedures will eliminate the risk entirely.
  • All health policies and protocols are developed pursuant to guidance from the governor of California, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health experts. These procedures are subject to change in keeping with the latest health guidelines and will be clearly communicated to all community members throughout the school year.
  • All educational practices are guided by the School’s commitment to our Mission, Values and growth of identified skills (the Six Cs) in a supportive learning environment that targets individual growth and development.

Distance and On-Campus Learning at Sage Hill School

Our Mission:
We inspire in our students a love of knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge creatively, compassionately and courageously throughout their lives.

Sage Hill’s mission guides all decisions relating to each aspect of the student experience. For the 2020-2021 school year, we look to our mission to find creative, compassionate and courageous solutions to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Our Educational Philosophy: Whether we are meeting face-to-face or online, Sage Hill School is committed to creating a learning environment that promotes the physical, social, and emotional safety and wellness of our students. We challenge our teachers to ensure that students know that they are each a vital member of a learning community where they may participate as their authentic selves.

Our Experience and Preparation: Sage Hill School’s ongoing investment in professional development, crisis management and emergency response planning enabled the School to quickly, and relatively seamlessly, pivot to an organized and enriching distance learning modality at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic mid-March 2020. That experience guided our ongoing plans for the 2020-2021 school year. In preparation for the 2020-2021 school year, all faculty and many coaches and other employees are spending the summer of 2020 participating in more than four weeks of universal professional development that was both internally created for Sage Hill’s unique needs and externally provided, relying on world-wide experts in distance learning.

Transition Between Learning Modalities: The on-campus experience at Sage Hill is our preferred modality, and the School plans to safely teach all students on campus in the 2020-2021 school year. However, Sage Hill School goes above and beyond basic online learning if and when it is required. The School’s distance learning experience focuses on the value of relationships, consistency and community. We know and understand that these values are essential to all meaningful, rigorous learning.

Distance Learning: We have found that students are best able to engage in learning and in living the School’s mission when their distance learning interactions flow as seamlessly as their in-class interactions. To that end, if and when students are in a distance learning modality, they can expect to experience a consistent look and feel across all of their courses. Additionally, Sage Hill School has developed a standard Learning Cadence and Student Learning Experiences, which support teachers in attending to all facets of their students’ growth in every course. Embedded into the Learning Cadence and Student Learning Experiences are the Six Cs and School Values - ensuring that the student learning experience is true to the Sage Hill School Mission and Vision. Distance learning at Sage Hill School is creative and engaging, just like our in-person classes. Learn more about some of the exciting things that happened in our distance modality last Spring: 

Academic Technology: Sage Hill School has increased its investment in academic technology to ensure the ability for all students to participate in learning, whether in-person, on-line or through a hybrid approach. The use of the Zoom platform enable students and teachers to engage in demonstration, discussion, and group work while not on campus. Owl cameras give students a 360-degree view of classroom activities when they cannot be physically present, and Wacom tablets and styluses provide teachers with the ability to quickly review and provide feedback on student work in both in-person and distance modalities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Campus Preparation for Reopening

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  • Is campus open and back to normal operations?

    Sage Hill completed a phased reopening for employees with all staff returning in July and faculty members returning in August. The campus also reopened to students on September 23. The campus remains closed to parents and other non-employee visitors. 

    While in-person learning is our preferred modality, we also understand that some families may have unique health circumstances that will be best served by remaining in distance learning, even once our campus is able to reopen to students. For this reason, upon the reopening of the campus to students, all Sage Hill families will have the choice to send their student to campus for in-person learning or to remain at home for distance learning. This opportunity will remain in place at least through the first semester. 
  • Is there somewhere all of the distance learning protocols can be found in one place?

    Yes! We have created a special Distance Learning Handbook this year, which should act as a supplement to our 2020-2021 School Handbook. 
  • What guidelines are Sage Hill following to prepare for reopening?

    Sage Hill School is following all recommended guidelines for school and business reopenings.  We have thoroughly reviewed and are implementing social distancing, sanitation and hygiene practices as recommended by the CDC, California Department of Education, California Department of Public Health and Orange County Department of Public Health.

    Employees and students/families will be required to receive training on the new safety protocols and expectations prior to returning to campus.
  • What is the School doing with regard to sanitization?

    The School has undergone a deep cleaning over the summer and additional work is being done to routinely clean and sanitize high touch surfaces such as door handles and countertops throughout the day with EPA approved products. The School has added an additional member to our Maintenance staff to enhance cleaning throughout the day. Additional hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed in entry ways throughout the campus and disinfectant wipes are available in all classrooms. Surfaces in all classrooms will be cleaned at the end of each class period.

    All HVAC air filters have been replaced and upgraded and no-touch soap dispensers and faucets have been installed in the restroom facilities throughout campus.

    We have also installed new signs on campus including:
    • Sanitation reminders - encouraging frequent and proper hand washing, and proper mask wearing
    • Social distancing reminders - reminding people to stay 6 feet apart and stop spots for cues
    • Directional - one-way foot traffic, entry and exit doors, etc.
  • How does the election of in-person or distance learning work?

    Once the School has a confirmed date for reopening campus, we will then offer the choice for students to remain at home for distance learning. On approximately the first day of every month, a survey will be sent via email asking for your family’s preference. This will be an opt-in program; if a family doesn’t respond, we will assume your student will be participating in on-campus learning. Your selection will be flexible and will only last for 30 days, so it will not be a commitment for the entire fall semester. Families will be able to choose every month which learning option is best for them based on their health needs and level of comfort.
  • Will the students sign some sort of contract that they will agree to follow social distancing/healthy practices with actual repercussions if they don’t?

    Parents and students will be asked to sign a COVID release and assumption of risk waiver that will be available in Magnus Health. We ask all families to discuss the expectations and procedures for maintaining the health and well-being of our entire community with their students, and to ensure that their students are making good choices outside of school. In addition, all students are required to watch a health training video prior to returning to campus so that they are familiar with our new safety protocols.

Health & Wellness

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  • Does the School plan to do testing once the campus is reopened?

    At this time, Sage Hill School plans to require all students and employees to complete a daily wellness screening and temperature check prior to entering campus each day. Currently, the School does not anticipate requiring a quarantine period or requiring or requesting regular testing unless a student or employee has been exposed to COVID, exhibited symptoms and/or tested positive.
  • Can the School ask students to download and use a contact tracing app on their cell phone?

    The School will not be asking students to download and use a contract tracing app on their cell phones. However, and more importantly, we are a small community and we are fully aware of where students should be, and we will be using student schedules and designated grade level lunch/study space to help with contact tracing for students, if necessary. All employees on campus are required to fill out a contact tracing form each day before they leave.
  • My student does not feel well, and we don’t think it’s COVID-19. Can they still come to school?

    No.  During this time we are asking any student who does not feel well to stay home. This is extremely important for the safety and well-being of our entire community. The School will be offering virtual classes for students who are ill or are not able to attend school at this time due to health concerns or possible exposure to COVID-19.  
  • Will all people on campus need to wear a mask or cloth face covering all the time?

    Yes. Current recommendations by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) require that all individuals wear a mask or cloth face covering at all times when they are in public. Students may wear a cloth face mask or disposable face mask. N-95 or masks with a filter are not required or recommended under the current guidelines. 

    Students will not need to wear a mask while eating or when engaged in vigorous outdoor physical activity (some activities in physical health classes and some athletics activities).
  • Will students and employees need to do a wellness check everyday?

    Yes. All individuals who arrive at our campus must complete a wellness check. Our Titan HST health and safety app will send a survey to students/employees daily asking questions that pertain to risks of having or being directly exposed to COVID-19.

    Completion of this survey will give students/employees a digital credential if they are allowed to come to campus. When students/employees arrive at the security gate, they must present their approved access credential from Titan and their temperature will be taken at that time.
  • What happens if someone does not pass the wellness check?

    If an individual fails the wellness check for any reason they will not be issued a Titan credential. If the failure takes place at the gate, the student/employee will immediately be directed to leave campus. Any failure will result in a follow-up phone call from the School Nurse to parents to discuss the reason for the exclusion and an appropriate plan for campus return will be discussed/determined.
  • What happens if a student becomes ill throughout the school day?

    Reminder: During this time we ask all students to stay home if they are feeling ill for any reason.

    If a student becomes symptomatic of a COVID-like illness or falls ill during the school day they will be directed to be evaluated by the School Nurse, who will determine if the student will need to be isolated and leave campus. If the student needs to leave campus the Nurse will contact the student’s parent(s) and a follow-up plan will be determined.

    People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about COVID-19. This COVID-19 self-assessment tool may be helpful if families are concerned about their student’s illness and the possibility of their symptoms being related to the virus.
  • What happens if a student contracts COVID-19?

    Individuals who test positive for having COVID-19 will be required to stay home in isolation for the recommended time as outlined in current guidelines for Symptom-Based Strategy and/or Test-Based Strategy, according to the CDC.

    Families are asked to self-report this information to the Dean of School Life, to allow for proper isolation and contact-tracing to be done to protect the student’s peers and our community as a whole. The Dean of School Life will coordinate these efforts with the School Nurse.
  • What if I come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID- 19?

    Sage Hill is following all recommendations from the CDC. Current recommendations state that if you have come into close contact (such as living in the same household) with an individual who has tested positive you must self-isolate for 14 days from the date of close contact. During this time of self-isolation, individuals should continue to monitor themselves for any symptoms and seek guidance from a healthcare provider. Every effort should be made to avoid further contact with infected individuals and precautions should be taken. 
  • Will the school notify the OC Department of Public Health if my student is sent home for not feeling well, having a fever, or any other symptoms related to COVID-19?

    Sage Hill must follow all state and local mandates regarding reporting of positive COVID-19 cases within our community. All possible efforts will be made to maintain the anonymity of any individuals who are affected directly or indirectly. The OC Department of Public Health is requesting at this time that families self-report as well by contacting 1(800) 564-8448. Additional information about testing sites is available here.
  • What if my student is struggling with mental health or wellness issues?

    Sage Hill has a multitude of individuals on campus who can be a resource of information and provide support for any students struggling with mental health or wellness issues associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Students or families can reach out to the student’s Advisor, the Dean of School Life Mr. Campeau, the School Counselors as well as any other trusted employee on campus.

    In addition, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has compiled an extensive guide with information about how to support your mental well-being during the pandemic.

    NAMI's HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM Eastern time at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264). You can also text NAMI to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.

Policies & Protocols

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Instructional Continuity & School Life

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  • Some families are uncomfortable with sending their students back to school, how will Sage Hill address these concerns and are there options for some students to remain in distance learning?

    Yes, all families will have a choice to remain in the distance learning modality for the first semester, even when the school does reopen for on campus learning. 

    Once the School has reopened, on approximately the first day of every month, we will send out a survey asking for your family’s preference. This will be an opt-in program; if a family doesn’t respond, we will assume your student will be participating in on-campus learning. Your selection will be flexible and will only last for 30 days, so it will not be a commitment for the entire fall semester. Families will be able to choose every month which learning option is best for them based on their health needs and level of comfort.
  • What adjustments are being made to give students the science lab experiences?

    All of our science classes will still be able to participate in labs, even when we are in distance learning! Our science teachers have been brainstorming interactive ways to engage students via inquiry based labs, even from afar. Teachers will employ a blend of several strategies, including home-based science lab kits (that families will be able to pick up from school), simulation and video analysis software to examine hypotheses and analyze patterns (e.g. physics class breaking down a video of a football being thrown, frame by frame), and also some more technical lab experiments will be conducted, step-by-step by the teachers live with active student participation.
  • What will Wednesday schedules look like this year?

    While the campus is closed and the entire school is in distance learning, we will utilize the traditional Wednesday schedule (when all classes meet for 45 minutes, meaning NOT Sage Center Days or Wednesdays during a four-day week) as a “Reading Day” where all classes will meet via Zoom. Students will be able to log in to a Zoom call and use the time to gain one-on-one support from their teachers like they normally would during Conference blocks. Teachers also use Wednesdays for asynchronous work. To be clear, Sage Center Days are not optional; attendance for those dates will be required and it will be taken. 

    We will stick with this schedule only while we all remain in distance learning. Once it is safe to reopen campus, then the normal Wednesday schedules will operate as usual and attendance will be required (whether a student has chosen to come to class in person or remain virtual during the remainder of the first semester).
  • Will the Spring at Sage offerings be revealed at the same time as usual?

    No. We anticipate revealing this year’s offerings in January. There will be no overnight travel (locally or globally) during this year’s Spring at Sage.
  • Are classrooms being set up to provide ample social distancing?

    Yes. Each classroom has been re-designed to accommodate the instructor and a limited number of students while observing social distancing requirements. A maximum capacity has been assigned to each teaching space and classes have been assigned to appropriately sized rooms. In some instances, classes will utilize non-traditional teaching spaces on campus (for example, the Johnson Family Library.)
  • Will lockers be available for students to store their belongings?

    No. To limit gathering in the hallways, lockers will not be available to students at this time. For students who drive to campus and would like to leave some of their books or personal items in their vehicles, Dean of School Life Mr. Campeau will announce when students will be permitted to go to the parking lot.
  • When the school returns to campus, what is the schedule going to look like?

    Sage Hill School will be utilizing one schedule all year, regardless of whether the school is in distance learning or in-person modality. Please click here to review the 2020-2021 Daily Schedule.

Athletics & Co-Curricular Activities

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  • Will Sage Hill have athletics teams for the 2020-2021 school year?

    Yes! We absolutely will have athletics teams for the 2020-2021 school year. Lightning Athletic teams will resume in-person sport practice once students have returned to campus.

    Sage Hill will offer three seasons of sport in which students who participate in athletics will be eligible to receive a Physical Health credit. The first season will run August 24 to November 9, and Sage Hill will offer the following programs during this season: Cross Country, Football, Boys’ Volleyball, Girls’ Volleyball, Water Polo, Boys’ Basketball, Girls’ Basketball, Boys’ Tennis, Girls’ Tennis, and Baseball. These programs will start in a distance learning format and will remain virtual until students are allowed to return to campus. The second season, which CIF is calling the “Fall Season,” will start on November 9 and will include CIF competition play starting in December.
  • How is Sage Athletics preparing for sports under the current restrictions and with social distancing in place?

    Lightning Athletics will be following the recommended guidelines from NFHS, CIF and local public health agencies to assure the safety of our student athletes and our coaching staff.
  • How will the school adapt if CIF never resumes?

    If CIF decides to delay or eliminate seasons of sport for any reason, Sage Hill will still continue to offer an athletic program. We are working on a plan that would allow our student athletes to still experience being part of a team and competing although it will likely look different than traditional competition.
  • What are the plans for Sage Hill’s 2020 Fall Musical?

    Rehearsals will be conducted on Zoom, utilizing breakout rooms as needed for singing and acting rehearsals. The cast as a whole will also be participating in a curricular aspect for the musical: The Lion King Experience. Lesson plans will be woven into rehearsal days, with focus on the elements of musical theater specific to the show. Focus will be on storytelling, the creative process, objective, character, ensemble, vision, African culture and music. The outcome for the show will be a visual presentation and cast album.
  • Will Sage Hill have club/academic team/student leadership group meetings this year?

    Yes! While Sage Hill is in distance learning modality, these groups will meet virtually.

    A Back-to-School Co-Curricular Fair was held on Friday, August 28 to introduce students to a number of student-led clubs and academic teams. 

    Students interested in participating on an Academic Team should contact the faculty or staff advisor listed on the Clubs & Leadership page. Students are always encouraged to form their own clubs under advisement of a faculty/staff member and with approval from the Dean of School Life.


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