Announcement of plan for Nov. 30-Dec. 19

Dear Keystone Families,

We hope you’re staying safe. Before we share with you the plans for the period between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we’d like to take a moment to thank you for all your support in keeping our community as safe as possible.

Due in large part to your efforts, we have seen only a single positive test of the coronavirus among students, faculty and staff since school began. More importantly, up to now, there’s been no transmission within our community. In large part, this is because of your commitment to safety and vigilance. Thank you!

Even though there have been many exposures among our students, faculty and staff, our community is doing excellent work in taking precautions by wearing masks and maintaining distance. Your children have been great, and we applaud them.

Still, we note with alarm the rising positivity rate, the growing hospitalization statistics, and the increasing number of cases in San Antonio, throughout Texas and across the country. In addition, we are concerned with the likelihood of transmission among our families resulting from travel, hosting relatives, and welcoming home college students.

On our campus, we were sending out notifications of COVID exposure or COVID-like symptoms almost daily over the past week, giving us even more reason to worry about transmission. Based on all the information we have gathered from experts in the medical community, we believe the situation in San Antonio will worsen dramatically in the coming weeks.

Please know that our decision-making process continues to be rooted in a profound care and compassion for your children, your family, and concern for the well-being of our faculty/staff.

We want to share with you our plans now so you can have time to make arrangements for the coming weeks.

In an effort to prevent even more exposures and possible transmission of the coronavirus at school, we will implement a model that has some children on campus and some in distance learning for the next rotation from Monday, November 30-Friday, December 19. This plan is grounded in what we know from the most recent medical science and data concerning the spread of COVID.

In addition, one of our guiding principles for dealing with COVID since last spring is to try to do what works best for each division while keeping in mind the needs of the overall school.

For the rotation beginning Monday, November 30 through Friday December 18, we will have children in grades PK-3rd Grade on campus, and children in 4th grade and above in distance learning mode. Here are the reasons for this approach:

  • There’s still a significant difference in the infection and transmission rates between children approximately 10 and younger versus those older than 10 (i.e. 4th grade). This plan would decrease the chance of community spread.
  • Children around 10 and younger are the least infectious and therefore pose the least risk to others, as well as adults, including our faculty/staff.
  • The plan will keep one grade level each on the floors of West Hall. The first floor will house 2nd grade and the second floor will house 3rd grade.
  • This action takes into consideration college students returning home. Very often, if a family has a child in college and a student at Keystone, the younger sibling is in either middle or high school.
  • For high schoolers, this would mean missing only one week of being on campus in our hybrid model, since the final week is exams. This semester, all exams will be virtual.

Little and Lower School parents, you may ask why we had you bring boxes of materials home before the break only to bring them back for the next rotation. The reason is that we want to be prepared and maintain learning even if there’s a major spike in COVID cases during the break or a local lockdown order that would force the entire school into distance learning mode.

We have created this post-Thanksgiving plan in consultation with members of our Medical Advisory Committee, our Safety Committee, and local public health professionals.

We know that some of you may be disappointed by this news. Candidly, we are disappointed as well. We would much rather have the students on campus.

However, we believe that this approach protects your children and our faculty/staff more than a full return to campus, and it’s not as restrictive as all grades going into full distance learning mode.

Our primary goal is to keep the Keystone community healthy and safe. This model shields those students most vulnerable to possible infection and transmission-children in fourth grade and above-as well as our faculty/staff.

We also hope that this approach will enable us to come back sooner and safer in the new year than if we had everyone back on campus after Thanksgiving and experienced more exposures and positive cases.

Students in grades PK3-3 have the option to attend class on campus or remotely and parents should return their questionnaires immediately if they haven’t already done so. As with the previous rotations, if you chose to be in distance learning, we ask you to remain in that mode for the full time. If you change your mind before we return to school on November 30, please inform your child’s teachers by Sunday, November 29.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to monitor public health indicators and the status of our own community, so we can bring back all of our students who wish to be on campus as soon and as safely as possible.

Thank you for your dedication and your efforts in keeping our community safe. Together, we will get through this.

We also wish you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

With hope and determination,


Billy Handmaker
Head of School