News + Notes



Dear Oxbow community members,

We are very excited to welcome our next student community onto our campus in the spring! Though we remain committed to our decision to remain closed and offer online courses and on campus workshops for Fall 2020, we miss the daily joys of hosting a semester of students all eager to learn and grow together. The Oxbow community has always been marked by resilience, and we look forward to responsibly reopening with you and your children and our team during this pandemic.

As we continue to monitor the conditions of COVID-19 in our community and across the country, please keep in mind that our reopening plan may shift accordingly, especially as we get closer to reopening for in-person instruction for our spring 2021 semester cohort. The health and safety of our students and staff continue to be our utmost priority and at the forefront for establishing thorough safety precautions that will enable all of us to have a successful semester. Despite these efforts to implement strict protocols to keep us healthy, please be aware that the virus could still make its way onto our campus. To prevent this from happening, we must have support from all community members prior to arrival and throughout the semester. There are obvious risks associated with running a school during a pandemic. It is important that all staff and parents work together as a team to ensure the safety of the entire Oxbow community, as well as the local Napa community. While The Oxbow School is in very close proximity to state of the art hospitals and medical services, it is our goal to maintain a “prevention mindset” so that local members of the community can still easily access much-needed medical attention if necessary. We appreciate your support and look forward to partnering with you during these unprecedented times!

Warm regards,

Jennifer Jordan

Head of School

Current Conditions and California State Guidelines for Reopening Schools for In-person Instruction

80% of counties across California have been instructed to begin the school year in August using remote learning platforms. If the local health jurisdiction has been on the monitoring list within the last 14 days, schools must conduct distance learning only. Only until the local health jurisdiction has been off the monitoring list for at least 14 days can schools begin to welcome students back to campus for in-person instruction. While confirmed COVID-19 cases are relatively low in Napa in comparison to surrounding communities, Napa County is on the monitoring list until confirmed cases are stabilized and/or begin to decrease in number. We are hopeful that we will see a decline in numbers prior to our spring semester start date, allowing us to safely reopen the campus for an immersive in-person experience.

Guidance Once Re-Opened to In-Person Instruction

How should schools think about testing?

Once schools are reopened to in-person instruction, it is recommended that surveillance testing be implemented based on local disease trends. If epidemiological data indicates concern for increasing community transmission, we will increase testing of staff to detect potential cases as lab testing capacity allows. The Oxbow School intends to contract with a private testing lab to test and receive test results in a timely manner.

Who should be tested and how often?

School staff are essential workers, and the Oxbow staff includes: faculty members, tutors, chefs, maintenance workers, and office staff. Staff will be tested periodically, as testing capacity permits and as practicable. (State recommended frequency includes testing all staff over 2 months, where 25% of staff are tested every 2 weeks, or 50% every month to rotate testing of all staff over time.)

What if a school or school district reopens to in-person instruction, but the county is later placed on the county monitoring list?

Schools should begin testing staff, or increase frequency of staff testing but are not required to close.

Oxbow Re-Opening Phases

There will be 3 phases to the reopening strategy:

Phase 1 - All Oxbow students and staff will be required to self-quarantine at home, followed by a quarantine on campus and testing for COVID-19.

Phase 2 - If tests return negative, we will begin loosening restrictions on campus to allow for more interaction within the Oxbow community.

Phase 3 - If conditions continue to improve in Napa and it is deemed safe to do so, we will consider (but not guarantee) limited off-campus permissions with masks and physical distancing requirements in place. Please note that this travel will be considered only for short excursions into town or natural landscapes and may require staff supervision.

A School Like No Other