January 2022 — Mask up & Knock Covid-19 Down

From Alpha to Omicron, sometimes it is incredible to look back on the journey from the “two week remote” that happened in the spring of 2020.  Although each new variant comes with earned worry, as a school and as a country we have learned tried and true mitigation strategies that can help keep us all healthy.  During this post-holiday peak, we will wear N95s or KN95s to protect ourselves and one another.  The likelihood of transmission when two people are wearing N95s is very minimal which will help us keep our school open for in-person learning.  We are all very much looking forward to when this can all be put behind us, but for the time being we must continue to stay home when sick, test regularly, social distance when possible, and practice good hand hygiene. Hopefully this New Year brings us all good health and the end of COVID-19. 

Click on the plus below to expand and view the letter from our COVID-19 Team, click again to minimize. 

An Update from Kehillah’s COVID-19 Leadership Team

Dear Kehillah,

Now that we have been back on campus for two weeks, we want to provide you with a status update. Our plan is to provide another update in early February, if one is not needed sooner. We will continue to send notice of any changes in our COVID policy, procedures, or protocol. 

My gratitude to you for the support and trust you have shown us, to our students for their impressive cooperation and discipline in COVID-safe behavior, to our dedicated teachers and operations staff, to our expert advisors, and to Kehillah’s COVID Leadership Team who collaborate on everything including putting together this update: 

Talia Anders, Director of Health & Safety
Patti Carbery, Assistant Head of School
Susie Green, Director of Human Resources
Ryan Greenfield, Director of Athletics
Josh Krug, Director of Jewish Life & Learning
Luis Velasco, Facilities Manager

Kol tuv and enjoy the long weekend.



Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives.  – Dr. Martin Luther King



Thankfully, experts and sewer data report the peak is near or may have already passed. Here at Kehillah, we are seeing much of the same thing. Our largest number of COVID-related absences – confirmed cases or close contacts – was last week. This week we are seeing many fewer numbers. 

We will continue wearing N95 and KN95 masks, as recommended by the CDC. These masks are 75 times more effective at reducing transmission than a three-ply surgical mask. We feel confident that the community’s move to N95 and KN95 masks has been instrumental in keeping our transmission rates low. We are faring far better than many schools locally and nationally. 



  • Currently, just over 1% of our population has a confirmed case of COVID. This is a lower number than the Bay Area’s.
  • We have had only one case that might have been a result of community spread.
  • Our testing has picked up only two asymptomatic COVID cases. 
    • This means that we are doing an excellent job detecting our symptoms at home and not coming into the building when sick and possibly contagious. 
  • The consistent use of FeverFree has improved greatly.
  • Our mitigation strategies are working as intended. We are not seeing the outbreaks that are common in other schools.


Kol hakavod to our kehillah!



  • Close contacts need to stay home. We know it is tempting to come to school because you are feeling well, but that is not fair to our community. 
  • We are still seeing students unmasked in cars together.
  • Too many students are not socially distancing while unmasked at lunch. 
  • Every community member is testing each week, but we have to remind people to test. Having our testers available on two days should make it easy for everyone to do the required weekly testing.
  • Doing FeverFree at home helps get students into class on time and minimizes the line at the front door.



There will be no change to our testing schedule this coming week. We will have Antigen tests on Wednesday and Thursday. Students must take a test on one of those days. 

A quick refresher on signing up for tests:

  1. Scheduling Link
  2. Be sure to schedule using the ANTIGEN button 




As of January 15, 2022, you can get reimbursed by your health insurance plan without cost share for the costs of over-the-counter diagnostic COVID-19 tests until the end of the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency. Diagnostic tests are performed if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have been recently exposed. Both screening and diagnostic tests are covered for insurance groups in California.


Where can you find a test?

  • Visit COVIDtests.gov for information on free tests that may be available through government programs. These may include your doctor’s office, a pharmacy or health clinic, or an urgent care center.  
  • Over-the-counter diagnostic tests can be purchased online, at a local pharmacy, or from a big-box store.


How are the over-the-counter tests covered?

From January 15, 2022, until the end of the Coronavirus Public Health Emergency, members of a group health insurance plan can get up to eight over-the-counter tests each month. If you purchase a test kit that includes two rapid tests, that will count as two of your eight covered tests. The federal requirement covers the cost for diagnostic tests. However, in compliance with California state law, some plans also cover COVID-19 screening tests with no out-of-pocket costs. If you are not sure whether your insurance company plan covers COVID-19 screening, you should call your Member Services number on your member ID card.


We thank you for your continued cooperation and flexibility as we respond to the changing guidelines and considerations of what is best for our community. Any changes to our policy will be communicated by email and available on our website. View our Addendum HERE.


Santa Clara County and the City of Palo Alto require all students to wear masks. For more information about Kehillah’s mask policy, click HERE.


Kehillah is using a layered mitigation strategy to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Our 6 Pillars of Prevention are as follows HERE.


All members of our community are required to test weekly. We offer rapid testing weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Testing is only required on one of these days.  Proof of a negative test is required to enter the building. Members of our greater community are welcome to come to Kehillah for COVID-19 testing. Students not tested at Kehillah must submit a negative COVID-19 test on Thursday of each week. Testing on campus is highly preferable as it provides us with an aggregate report. Click HERE for testing information.


Q: Will there be a remote option for students?

For answers to this and many other questions, click HERE.


Kehillah has partnered with FeverFree for daily health screening. More information here


All food must be consumed outdoors. Kehillah will not be providing lunch. Food must be Kosher style: no mixing of meat and dairy products, no shellfish, no pork. The JCC also has lunch options. For more information, click HERE.


Any day that Kehillah is remote, athletics will not be offered. Kehillah is following the county guidelines for athletics. Right now indoor sports must be played in KN95 or N95 masks, while masks are optional for outside. Click HERE for more.


All students and staff (that are eligible) are required to be fully vaccinated.  The booster shot a part of full vaccination. Any employee or student that needs a religious or health vaccination exemption must speak with Talia Anders. Read more HERE.


  • Prioritize the physical health, safety, and social-emotional wellbeing of our students, staff, and faculty.
  • Maintain Kehillah’s exceptional academic program and supportive environment.
  • Remain committed to an education rooted in Jewish values and provide for our pluralistic community.
  • Prepare for multiple responsive shifts with fidelity.
  • Make data-informed and evidence-based decisions.



In August, our Head of School, Daisy Pellant, convened her advisory team. To read more about who is on the team