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COVID-19 Campus Closure

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COVID-19 Update

The safety and well-being of our students, families, faculty and staff is our highest priority.  This page is to inform you of Shu Ren’s response as the COVID-19 situation evolves in our local community.

This page will be updated as new information is received.



Dear Shu Ren Community,

After much thoughtful deliberation, we have decided that Shu Ren International School will be closing its campus from Monday, March 16 to April 6, 2020, and launching its remote learning program. Prior to April 6, the school will reassess whether or not it should open its campus again or continue to offer its remote learning program.

Online Learning Program Trial Run

It has become increasingly apparent that we have a social responsibility to mitigate the spread of the virus and that a collective response to implement social distancing is warranted. We understand the burden of care this places on our families; however, the most recent development regarding the rapid spread of COVID-19 is that health officials around the globe are calling for social distancing.

As I have shared with you, we have been working hard to convert our classes to an online format to minimize any disruption to students’ learning in the event that an extended school closure becomes necessary in the future.  We are therefore taking this opportunity—when many other schools in the Bay Area have just announced their decision to suspend on-campus services over the next few weeks—to try out our online format to ensure that it is working smoothly.  Though we hope that our community’s collective and preemptive efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus will be successful, we think it is prudent to be prepared for more extreme measures that may be necessary as this situation rapidly continues to unfold.

  Next steps

  • Friday, March 12- School is in session. K-6tudents will be sent home with any workbooks, computers, and/or resources required for distance learning.
  • Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17-Faculty and staff will report to work for additional training on implementing the distance learning plan. More details on the plan will be provided to families on Monday.
  • Wednesday, March 18 we will officially begin our distance learning plan.

I am presenting this information with a heavy heart. We love our students, our community, and our ability to inspire young minds. This is a challenging time for us all, but what keeps us strong is our commitment to each other and our children. We will get through this together.  As always, if you have any questions, you are welcome to reach out to me anytime.




Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School
Pre-Primary and K-6 Campus: 2125 Jefferson Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703(510) 841-8899



Shu Ren Response Plan

An outline of our Response Plan is highlighted below.  Note that the information is subject to change as we receive updated recommendations and guidance from local health officials. 

Level 1-Low Level Risk: Plan and Prepare


  • A global outbreak of coronavirus has been identified by international health authorities (WHO) and recognized by the US CDC.  The virus is spreading quickly around the world. 
  • The local health department (Berkeley Public Health) has notified the public that the virus has been identified in the local community.  March 3rd update
  • The city of Berkeley has notified the public that the community is at low-risk for infection. 
  • International travel restrictions in place and self-quarantine recommendations.

Shu Ren’s Response

  • Emphasize proper hand washing technique for our students and staff
  • Increase cleaning/disinfecting especially of high traffic/touch areas across the school
  • Establish relationships with local public health officials in the City of Berkeley 
  • Establish a communication protocol with local governing bodies-City of Berkeley and Alameda County Office of Education

Level 2-Medium Level Risk: Heightened Alert 


  • Increased number of infection cases in the Bay Area. 
  • Increasing number of infections in Alameda and/or Contra Costa County (the two counties in which Shu Ren families reside)
  • Local health authorities notify that more cases are expected in the Berkeley area (Thursday, March 5th notification)

Shu Ren’s Response

  •  Food sharing and large school gatherings are postponed or canceled. 
  •  Cancellations or postponing of field trips.   
  • Visitors to Shu Ren will be asked to postpone or cancel their visit if they confirm they have traveled to/from a Level 3 CDC travel warning destination in the past 14 days. 
  • Students/staff and visitors exhibiting cold/flu like symptoms will be asked to remain home until symptoms are no longer present. 
  • Continued emphasis on proper hygiene and hand washing technique. 

Level 3: High Risk: Maximum Response (current Shu Ren status)

Any of these conditions can result in school closure: 

  • World Health Organization identifies a global pandemic and the school has reasonable concern for the safety of our community. 
  • Surrounding districts and independent schools are implementing school closures. 
  • There is an identified case of COVID-19 within the Shu Ren community (student, families, faculty, staff, third party specialists/enrichment providers) 
  • School closure is recommended/mandated in consultation with the City of Berkeley Public Health Department. 
  • Governing bodies in the local community implement measures that affect the attendance of Shu Ren staff and/or students

Shu Ren’s Response

  • Implement the academic continuity plan
  • Fully disinfect the school 
  • Students, families and staff are guided to practice social distancing-discouraging gatherings and canceling group activities and events.

Additional Resources:

City of Berkeley Public Health Division Coronavirus Page

Center for Disease Control Protect Yourself and Your Family

World Health Organization Your Questions Answered 

Family and Community Resources

Talking to kids about the coronavirus:

"Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus,” NPR

BrainPop Video on the Coronavirus

Email Update 3/10/2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

As concerns and questions about the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to grow, I want to update you on some of the planning and responses here at Shu Ren International School.

The well-being of our students and staff is our top priority. We have the support of the public health guidance and information from the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD), the City of Berkeley Health Department, as well as updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

March 10 Situation Update

On March 3 the City of Berkeley issued a press release announcing the first confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) case in Berkeley.  This is the only confirmed case in Berkeley and there are no cases reported at Shu Ren. As of March 10, the Alameda County Health Department reported three confirmed cases.

  • According to the City of Berkeley Health Department, the current risk of the general public in Berkeley of getting COVID-19 is low. 
  • Today, we spoke to our contact in the City of Berkeley Health Department and they confirmed there is currently no recommendation that schools should close. The Alameda County Public Health Department also provided this guidance on the decision to close schools:
  • The Alameda County Public Health Department is not recommending closing schools at this time. If a significant COVID-19 exposure occurs on a school site, ACPHD will work closely with school and school district administration to evaluate risk and determine steps to protect students, staff, and families by preventing the spread of disease.

Preparing for School Closure 

At this time, there are no plans to close the school. However, we recognize that this is a rapidly evolving situation and we must be prepared for a potential school closure. In preparation for a closure:

  • We have created a Distance Learning Plan that will allow students to continue their learning from home. 
  • Families will receive an email tomorrow with information on the technology we will use to facilitate distance learning.  
  • This week teachers will begin to familiarize students with the new technology.

School Cleaning Update

This week we changed over to a new highly recommended cleaning company that will clean and disinfect our facility daily, Monday-Friday. This company will also provide a deep cleaning service for us this weekend.

  • We have initiated additional cleaning protocols with our office staff throughout the day to disinfect common areas. 
  • All classrooms have disinfectant spray and wipes available for use as needed.

Risk Reduction and Illness

All children and staff members with respiratory symptoms and fever (>100.4 F  / >38C) should remain home (from school and other activities) until fever-free for 24 hours, without fever medication. The CDC also provides this guidance about what to do if you or your student is sick with a fever and respiratory symptoms, and provides this Coronavirus (COVID-19) and children FAQ.

Alameda County Public Health Department is advising all residents to continue to take these precautions to stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash hands with liquid soap and water and rub for at least 20 seconds;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
  • Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Get a flu shot to protect yourself and others from the flu, which has similar symptoms to COVID19.
  • We also recommend that everyone engage in healthy habits such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and keeping active. 

Social-Emotional Impact

Finally, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the psychological impact of this situation. The organized worldwide response to coronavirus has been robust and generally encouraging. However, it has also been a challenge for students (and really our entire community) to process. At school we are seeing student’s anxieties grow as they express concerns that they may have the virus after experiencing a runny nose, cough, or fever. We must remember that they are watching us closely for guidance and that our actions contribute to their feelings of empathy, security, and safety. Here are some resources to support the conversations you may have with your children:  

How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus (New York Times)

How to talk to your kids about Coronavirus (PBS)

Just for Kids A Comic Exploring the Coronavirus (NPR)

I have been struck by the patience, support, and resilience I’ve already seen in our community as we tackle these challenges. You are our greatest resource. Should our school need to close or if the situation changes quickly, we will notify you directly via email.  If the situation remains stable, we will continue to update our community regularly.


Warm Regards,



Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School
Pre-Primary and K-6 Campus: 2125 Jefferson Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703. (510) 841-8899

Email Update 3/3/2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

As we continue to learn more about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we would like to share the actions we will implement as a school community to prepare and promptly respond, in the event of exposure to the virus in our community.  

The school leadership is staying updated through the Berkeley Health Department and the Alameda County Office of Education, Alameda Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education, regarding our coordinated efforts to support student/staff health and well-being.

Current understanding of the virus

  • COVID-19 is a new member in the large family of coronaviruses (includes the common cold)
  • The 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.
  • 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, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
  • 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.
  • Most common symptoms include: Fever, cough, shortness of breath
  • Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment
  • Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
  • The period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure, because 14 days is the longest incubation period seen for similar coronaviruses. 

What our school is doing

Shu Ren continues to follow CDC guidance, as well as the guidance from public health departments at the State and County levels to keep our student and staff populations safe and healthy.

Current school policy

  • All children and staff members with respiratory symptoms and fever (>100.4 F  / >38C) should remain home (from school and other activities) until fever-free for 24 hours, without fever medication.  
  • A student or staff member who has been to any region designated with a CDC Level 3 travel warning within the past two weeks (currently China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy) shall be excluded from school for a 14 day self-quarantine. 
  • A student or staff member who has been in contact with a person with a laboratory-confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus within the past two weeks should be excluded from school for a 14 day self-quarantine.
  • If any student or staff member in Shu Ren is suspected to have the virus (i.e., becomes a patient under investigation; or “PUI”) for the Novel Coronavirus, the school will work with public health authorities who will collaborate with that student’s or staff member’s own physician to guide any further restrictions and public notifications.  
  • As a reminder, all student and staff health information is confidential and cannot be shared with other students or with school staff.  Confidential health information can be shared only with local/state/federal/ officials working to prevent or control and outbreak.

Protocols and procedures

  • Inform the community of basic hygiene and respiratory etiquette that reduces the spread of illness.
  • Communicate any urgent updates through email to the Shu Ren community.
  • Develop and implement procedures where all students will be asked to use hand sanitizers or wash their hands at specific time(s) throughout the school day (e.g. at the start of school, before and after recess/lunch periods when students may be eating, etc.)
  • Continue to use products that meet the EPA’s Safer Choice Standards to clean/disinfect table tops, desks, door handles, etc. on a daily basis.
  • Designate a “sick room” in case someone becomes sick while at school to decrease exposure to others. Parents will be immediately contacted and will be required to pick up their child. 
  • Screen visitors to confirm they have not traveled to areas with CDC Level 3 travel warnings. Visitors will also be informed that they cannot visit if they are demonstrating any cold or flu-like systems.   
  • Suspend class and schoolwide potlucks until further notice. 
  • Modify, postpone, or cancel field trips and school-wide events.
  • Provide online education if a mandatory 14-day quarantine is instituted (either partially for only those students who become infected) or more drastically if California Department of Education, CA Department of Public Health, Alameda County Office of Education, or the Shu Ren Board of Directors decides to close school for an extended period of time.  We are currently investigating options for distance-teaching/learning with the use of Seesaw.  

School plans if coronavirus begins spreading locally

The school will follow all directives to reduce exposure in school, and coordinate with public health officials regarding quarantines, school closures, and exclusion policies.

What we all can do for basic prevention 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
  • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
  • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe, e.g., high fever or difficulty breathing.


Additional Resource to understand COVID-19 and the steps you can take to protect yourself.

What you need to know about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What to do if you are sick with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Stop the spread of germs – help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like COVID-19


Guidelines to determine when your child or someone in your home should stay home: 

  • Parents should follow the same protocols now as during the cold and flu season.
  • If your child feels ill enough that he/she would not be able to benefit from attending school.
  • If having your child at school would significantly put others at risk for contracting your child’s illness.
  • If your child has vomited in the last 24 hours.
  • If your child has had a fever in the last 24 hours. 
  • Remain at home until the fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines.
  • If someone in the home/close contact becomes ill with fever/vomiting and child has respiratory symptoms (runny nose, cough)


Many students may travel with their families during the Spring Break (March 30-April 3). The following website should be checked before traveling:

Family Emergency Preparedness

  • Families may consider the following recommendation from the CDC as they prepare for the potential impact of the coronavirus on their communities. 
  • View updates from health authorities and the school. (A list of resources is available at the end of this communication).
  • Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications
  • Talk with the people who need to be included in your plan.
  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Identify aid organizations in your community
  • Create an emergency contact list
  • Choose a room in your home that can be used to separate sick household members from those who are healthy.
  • Be prepared if your child’s school is temporarily dismissed

Social Impact

Fear and anxiety can lead to social stigma, for example, towards Chinese or other Asian Americans or people who were in quarantine. Stigma hurts everyone by creating more fear or anger towards ordinary people instead of the disease that is causing the problem.

Counter stigma by learning and sharing facts. Communicating the facts that viruses do not target specific racial or ethnic groups and how COVID-19 actually spreads can help stop stigma.


Information on this virus and how to control its spread may change in the following days and weeks. We will update our communications if/when new information becomes available. 


Alameda County Department of Public Health


American Academy of Pediatrics


California Department of Public Health


Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) About the Coronavirus


CDC- How COVID-19 Spreads


CDC Prevention and Treatment


CDC: Handwashing saves live


CDC: Interim Guidance: Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


CDC: Travel Health Notices


City of Berkeley Department of Public Health


World Health Organization (WHO) Q & A Coronavirus



Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School
Pre-Primary and K-6 Campus: 2125 Jefferson Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703. (510) 841-8899

Email Update 2/26/2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25th, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward.

As the CDC emphasized, there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States. A pandemic occurs when a disease is spreading from a variety of sources across a large region, and the number of cases across the US is still small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, we are monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily. 

In the meantime, the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health best practices like: 

Enforcing great hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly and covering up coughs/sneezes

Asking all faculty, staff, and students who are feeling ill to stay home until they recover.

Our community is prepared to alter our procedures and planning should the situation change. We are also thinking ahead regarding the impact of spring travel, upcoming school trips, and other non-typical school activities will have in the context of the coronavirus. We will communicate any changes affirmatively when the time is appropriate. 

It is important to remember that handling the spread of a serious contagion like the coronavirus is primarily a task for public health agencies. Any directives from the World Health Organization, CDC, or local governmental organizations should be followed. 

In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of this community. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.






Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School
Pre-Primary and K-8 Campus: 2125 Jefferson Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703. (510) 841-8899

Email Update 1/26/2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

As you may know, there have been reports of a new virus in China called the novel coronavirus. While there have been a few isolated cases outside of China, our community as a whole is at a very low level of risk. We want to reassure you that we are monitoring the situation, and although there is currently no reason to suspect the coronavirus will approach or impact our community, we will require the following to ensure the safety of all community members:

If any member of your family has been in China in the last two weeks, i.e. after 14 January, they must NOT attend school tomorrow, January 28.

We request that any student and/or family member (parent, grandparent, uncle, aunt, etc) who visited China remain off campus for 14 days after returning to the U.S. We will offer all the support necessary to ensure that students in this situation will not miss classwork.

We would like to use this as an opportunity to remind you about some best practices to avoid spreading any infection:

If your child is sick or exhibiting contagious symptoms such as fever, coughing, or sneezing, please keep them home from school to avoid spreading illness. According to our school policy, children cannot attend school if they have a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher during the previous 24 hours, Vomiting or Diarrhea.

  • Remind your child that hands should be washed often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose. Dispose of tissue immediately and wash hands.
  • Avoid contact with anyone exhibiting cold-like symptoms.

Here are a few resources about the novel coronavirus that will help you continue to stay informed about the latest updates:

  • CDC: Risk Assessment
  • CDC: Situation Summary
  • WHO: Statement regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus
  • Local Health Department Directory

Again, we are confident in the global health community’s assessment of a low risk level, and will be monitoring the situation closely in case that assessment changes. In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or concerns, do not hesitate to reach out. 


Warm Regards,





Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School
Pre-Primary and K-6 Campus: 2125 Jefferson Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94703. (510) 841-8899