Covid Health & Safety Protocols

Health & Safety Is Our Priority

We have developed an extensive set of guidelines, protocols, policies, and practices  we all must follow in order to support the health and safety of our students and staffulty, as well as to be in compliance with state and county regulations and mandates.

The Covid-19 pandemic is complex and constantly changing. There is no one individual practice that can ensure the health and safety of our community. However, when we utilize all of the best practices at once, we create many layers of protection to our community. Below is an overview of our health and safety practices.

Please also review the Return to Campus Guidebook and our Covid-19 Testing page for even more detail.

Health & Safety Protocols Overview

Health & Safety Protocols: More Detail


A cohort is a stable group of no more than 16 individuals (including adults/teachers) in a supervised environment. The group stays together for all activities, including meals and recreation. This group avoids contact with anyone not in their group.

A fixed cohort model:
  • Decreases opportunities for exposure to or transmission of the virus
  • Facilitates more efficient contact tracing in the event of a positive case
  • Allows for targeted testing, quarantine, and isolation of a single group instead of an entire population of kids and supervising adults
  • Small cohorts enable supervising adults to more easily monitor compliance with mask-wearing, physical distancing, and other health and safety protocols
During the Purple Tier, students will be placed in one fixed cohort per in-person Friday. Students may also participate in one fixed cohort for an extracurricular activity. 

Covid-19 Testing

All community members will be required to provide evidence of a negative Covid-19 taken within 72 hours prior to arrival on campus. We will provide frequent testing via a self-swab saliva test analyzed by our third-party testing provider. Please review our Covid-19 Testing page for more detail.

Health Screening

All students and staffulty must perform a symptom self-check prior to coming to campus. Upon arrival on campus, students and staffulty will follow arrival check-in procedures, which include having their temperatures taken.

Wear a Mask!

The virus that causes Covid-19 spreads in droplets that are exhaled by someone who has the virus. Protective equipment—such as face coverings, gloves, and plastic barriers—helps prevent the spread of Covid-19 by limiting the flow of these droplets. Students and staffulty are required to use face coverings on campus, unless contraindicated, to reduce the chances of exposing each other to this virus.

In general, everyone must wear a mask at all times while on campus. 
Anyone who forgets to bring a mask with them will be given one upon arrival on campus.
  • Wear masks with two or more layers to stop the spread of Covid-19
  • Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin; make sure your mask fits snugly against the sides of your face
  • Do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators
Exemptions: If mask-wearing endangers a person’s health or safety, an exemption may be requested in advance of arrival on campus. 

In the event of a mask exemption, you will be required to wear a face shield with drape. We will provide one of these per individual. It will be your responsibility to maintain the cleanliness and good condition of this PPE. If you break or lose it, you will be responsible for purchasing additional face shields and ensuring you have one when you come to campus.

You will not be allowed to come on campus and participate in activities if you do not have the face shield/drape with you.

6 Feet of Distance

A distance of six (6) feet must be maintained between individuals at all times. This will be emphasized and supported by the placement of furniture in classrooms, markings on the ground (for waiting in lines), and signage around campus.
  • No congregating is allowed, including during arrival and departure in the parking lot and during passing times between classes
  • Dismissal from class or on-campus activities will be on a staggered schedule, with students exiting singly and in a socially distant manner
  • Directional signs will be posted to establish safe campus navigation
  • Entry and exit doors are clearly marked and need to be used accordingly
  • Elevators are available for single use only
  • Community members are required to comply with all protocols and posted signage, including specified entry and exit doors, campus movement routes, and cohort boundaries.

Wash Your Hands!

Increased hygiene practices are the new norm.

Students and staffulty should wash their hands frequently throughout the day, including before and after eating; after coughing or sneezing; after classes where they handle shared items, such as outside recreation, art, or shop; and before and after using the restroom.

In addition to classroom and restroom sinks, outdoor hand-washing stations are available throughout the campus and students are encouraged to wash their hands whenever they are moving from one class/activity/space to another.

Hand sanitizer is available on stands outside each classroom and near offices in all buildings. All rooms are equipped with bottles of hand sanitizer.

There will be hand washing or hand sanitation stations outside every classroom and building entry point. 

Increased Cleaning Protocols

Cleaning & Disinfection: During the School Day

  • All spaces and furniture will begin the day in a clean, disinfected state
  • All classrooms are equipped with spray bottles of disinfectant, paper towels, waste containers, and plastic gloves
  • Students are encouraged to clean their desks using available materials when they arrive in a new space or return to a previous space after a lunch or other break
Cleaning & Disinfection: Overnight
  • All individual classrooms, shared spaces, and outdoor furniture will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected every evening
  • We partner with Select Building Services for custodial support. Their cleaning protocols are customized by a healthcare professional and they have established a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to minimize risks associated with infectious agents such as Covid-19
  • We will use electrostatic sprayers as a key component in ensuring a clean and safe environment.

Air Filtration

We have upgraded all HVAC filters to MERV 13, which is the same filter used for general surgery and hospital inpatient care areas. The MERV 13 filter is able to filter down to 0.3-1.0 micron particle size, including mold spores, legionella, bacteria, sneeze nuclei, and more.

As air moves through our buildings’ HVAC systems, air filters trap and collect large and small particles such as dust, allergens and microorganisms. This filtration helps provide healthier indoor air quality and is captured in a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) number. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20. Regular commercial HVAC units are
generally not designed to handle anything higher than MERV 13 filters

Outdoor Classrooms

We are creating more outdoor classroom spaces so that teachers will have the option to move their classes outdoors when it makes sense. Outside spaces are available as extended classrooms through the use of shaded areas already part of the building or through the addition of tents.

Single Use Restrooms

All restrooms will be single use only. Exterior door signage indicates if space is occupied or vacant. Users should check the sign and enter when the sign says “Vacant” moving the sign to “Occupied” to ensure single use. Upon departing, the sign should be returned to the “Vacant” setting.


Water fountains are not available. Touch-free bottle fillers are available and community members need to bring their own water containers.

Symptom Self-Check

Please stay home when sick! It is not ok to come to campus if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms:
  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Congestion or runny nose

Seek emergency medical attention if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone

Covid-19 Symptoms, Diagnosis, Or Exposure

Covid-19 Symptoms
  • If you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 (see Symptom Self-Check):
  • Do not come to campus
  • Contact your healthcare provider
  • Obtain a Covid-19 test and isolate yourself to the extent possible until you receive your test results
  • If the test results are negative, stay home until your symptoms resolve
  • You will be required to provide documentation of your negative results before being allowed to return to campus
  • You may return to campus activities once you have been symptom and fever-free for 24 hours without medication 
Covid-19 Symptoms While on Campus/Health Screening Failure
  • If you develop any Covid-19 symptoms while on campus, or fail the health screening upon arrival:
  • You will be sent to an isolation area(s) by the Healthcare Coordinator and arrangements will
  • be made for you to return home
  • If your symptoms intensify while on campus, including persistent pain or pressure in the
  • chest, confusion or blue-tinged lips or face, we will call 911
  • Once home, follow the procedures for symptoms outlined above
Covid-19 Diagnosis or Positive Covid-19 Test
  • Do not come to campus.
  • Contact your healthcare provider and follow all medical advice.
    All community members must notify the Healthcare Team ( immediately if they receive a positive Covid-19 test result, as per their signed on-campus agreement with the school.
  • Quarantine yourself for 14 days.
  • In order to return to campus you must be symptom-free (without the use of medication) and provide a note from your healthcare practitioner clearing you to return to in-person activities.
  • If you did not have symptoms, but did have a positive Covid-19 test, you may return to campus activities 14 days after your positive test result AND you have received another Covid-19 test with negative results. Obtaining a negative test result will not shorten the duration of time you must remain off-campus.
Covid-19 Exposure
While each case is unique and will be reviewed individually, in general, the Health Department Guidelines for what is considered an exposure is to have been in close contact (closer than 6 feet distance) for 15 minutes or more, whether indoors or outdoors, and whether  wearing masks or not. 

If you have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 or with a positive Covid-19 test:
  • Follow the guidance of the health department, if you have been contacted by them.
  • Contact your healthcare provider and follow their medical advice.
  • Notify the Healthcare Team at
  • Isolate yourself for 14 days from the last exposure.
  • Obtain a Covid-19 test (though a negative result will not reduce the isolation period).
  • You will be able to return to campus once you have completed your 14-day isolation period and have obtained a Covid-19 test with negative results. You will be required to provide documentation of your negative results before being allowed to return to campus.
All areas used by a Covid-19 positive individual will be closed off for a period of 24 hours and then cleaned and disinfected before others are allowed back into the space.Members of the cohort(s) in which the Covid-19 positive individual participated will be notified and asked to isolate themselves for 14 days. We will maintain the highest level of confidentiality possible with regard to Covid-19 testing and personal health information.

Travel/Holiday Policy

To maintain a healthy learning environment and to support students and employees returning to school safely following breaks from school, or after any travel, we have adopted a Travel Policy.

This policy applies to any student or staffulty member engaged in on-campus instruction or work.

If your student/family member:
  • Travels by public transportation (including air)
  • Hosts a gathering or event involving people from more than three households
  • Attends a holiday or other gathering with more than three households
  • Attends a gathering where people do not wear masks or abide by the school’s Health & Safety Agreement
Your student will need to stay home for 10 days after returning from travel OR have a negative Covid-19 test on/after day 7 of the last day of travel. During this isolation period, students will need to participate in distance learning and may not come to campus for any reason.
2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770

Sonoma Academy Is...

...the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.

Sonoma Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.