Sandia Prep's Reopening Plan

Plans for Reopening School
Still Inspiring Minds. No Matter What.
Please review Sandia Prep's plan for reopening our campus by reviewing the information and options below. As the ever-evolving situation progresses, we will email and post additional information. After reading through the plan, you may still have questions. We understand. Please click here to send any questions you may have.
Beginning Monday, February 8, we will open classes to all MIDDLE SCHOOL students who did not elect to learn virtually and wish to come to on-campus, in-person learning. (Upper school students who are signed up for Monday/Tuesday also may come to the campus for in-person learning.)

Beginning Thursday, February 11, we will add all UPPER SCHOOL students who did not elect to learn virtually and wish to come to on-campus, in-person learning. (Students who are already assigned to Thursday/Friday in-person classes and both middle and upper school students that wish to attend on-campus, in-person learning may come to campus.)
**If you responded to the last survey that you want your child(ren) to attend classes 100 percent virtually, we ask that you continue to do so for now.


Dear Sandia Prep Parents and Students,

As you may know, Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham recently announced that private schools are able to open to 50 percent of their classroom capacity. (Capacity is determined by the fire marshal.) This new adjustment allows us to open our campus to more students for Monday/Tuesday and Thursday/Friday classes.

We are all very excited about having our students back in class; however, with increased numbers on campus, we must be highly diligent about following the safety protocols we have had in place all year.

So, this is how we will bring our students back to campus:

  1. If you responded to the last survey that you wanted to have your child(ren) attend classes 100 percent virtually, we ask that you continue to do so, until we can gather classroom counts.
  2. If you want your child(ren) to continue with the hybrid platform that includes in-person instruction on Monday/Tuesday OR Thursday/Friday, you are welcome to do so.
  3. If you would like to have your child(ren) attend all four in-person learning days (Monday/Tuesday AND Thursday/Friday), they are welcome to do so.

Because we want to be sure we have everything in place for a safe reentry for students, we will invite students in by school level, starting with middle school on Monday and adding upper school on Thursday.

Beginning Monday, February 8, we will open classes to MIDDLE SCHOOL students who did not elect to learn virtually and wish to come to on-campus, in-person learning on all four days. (Upper school students who are signed up for Monday/Tuesday also may come to the campus for in-person learning.)

Beginning Thursday, February 11, we will open classes to UPPER SCHOOL students who did not elect to learn virtually and wish to come to on-campus, in-person learning on all four days. (Students who are already assigned to Thursday/Friday in-person classes and any middle or upper school students that wish to come all four days can come to campus.)

The reason for this type of roll-out is so that we can get class counts and ensure that we are not in violation of the Governor’s Public Health Order to maintain 50 percent capacity in each classroom. We anticipate that our class sizes and on-campus student body will be larger than we’ve previously experienced.

With this in mind, we will insist that students follow the COVID-19 safety protocols that include:
  • Wearing a well-fitting face mask (no neck gators, bandanas, or masks with valves)
  • Observing a six-foot social distance when in class, at lunch, or using the walkways
  • Using hand sanitizer frequently, particularly when entering a classroom
  • Sanitizing desks and surfaces between classes
  • Monitoring through screenings and temperature checks
  • Eating lunch outside whenever possible

Wednesdays will continue to be a time for students to meet with their teachers or participate in a club or activity. We will open additional activities for our students. This social time is, we believe, essential for our students’ and our teachers’ mental health.

For students who are not comfortable returning to campus full-time, our hybrid learning and virtual learning models are still available.

Please understand, friends, that we are doing our best to bring our students back to campus. However, we will follow the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) directives. Should we find ourselves in a situation where our community is at risk, we will pivot to a virtual alternative. I hope that this will not happen, but I will make that decision should I think it absolutely necessary.

A few final notes:
  1. Please ensure that your children are not showing symptoms of cold or flu when you bring them to campus. We’ve had a few situations when a child has taken a fever-relieving medication before coming to school, only to be sent home when the symptoms showed themselves later in the day. (Thankfully, these cases did not result in a COVID-19 diagnosis.) We need to work together as a community to ensure this does not happen.
  2. Whenever possible, students will eat lunch outdoors. Of course, during inclement weather, we have safe indoor spaces available. Please, please, please… have your children dress for cold weather. I know that I have said this before, but when a child comes to school in February/March wearing shorts and a T-shirt, they are not dressed appropriately. Get them to wear (or, at least, bring) additional layers.
  3. Please make every effort to arrive at campus early, as there will be more families and pre-screening lines will inevitably be longer. Gates open at 7:15 a.m. 
  4. During this time of transition, we recognize that some students may be feeling some anxiety. We invite them and our parents to contact our School Psychologist and Director of Wellness, Dr. Amber Hayes, for additional support at

Well, by gosh, I know that there’s a lot to digest in this email. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me ( or Dean of Students Scott Jeffries (

Bill Sinfield
Head of School

Learn how Sandia Prep is preparing for a safe and gentle return to campus while still offering a robust virtual learning option.


School Nurse Ms. Lynn Jeffries explains the new procedures for our safe return to campus.

  • The campus will be open to students from 7:15 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (with the exception of students who are playing on teams). If a child needs to be on campus before 8:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m., they must be in a supervised area. Parents should make every effort to make arrangements to get their children off campus soon after dismissal.
  • Before entering campus, students will be screened using a questionnaire and temperature check. (We are looking at launching an app with which parents can have students self-report prior to arriving at the campus.) The screening will take place at three different entry locations to the school.
  • If all students return to campus, there will be five to 16 students in a classroom, depending on the course. Each classroom is restructured to ensure social distancing. (Teachers have taken on extra sections of some classes to limit the number of students per section.)
  • Each classroom is equipped with touchless hand sanitizers, and students will be required to sanitize their hands as they enter, and as they leave the classroom.
  • Desks, chairs, equipment, and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned between each class.
  • In middle school, students will be grouped in cohorts organized according to their foreign language selection and their electives.
  • Advisories will consist of 10 students that will be organized, using input from parents and students, so that a positive social mix is accomplished.
  • During any free/study period, students will be required to go to a supervised indoor or outdoor location.
  • Students, faculty, and staff will wear masks and maintain appropriate social distancing at all times.
  • While our cafeteria will offer a limited menu, we strongly suggest that students bring their own lunches to school. Please note that microwaves and refrigerators will not be available. 
  • Lunch will take place in supervised indoor and outdoor areas with socially-distanced spacing. 
  • In-person activities and office hours will take place on Wednesdays based on a student's activity and office hour sign-ups.
  • The release of students after each class and at dismissal will be slightly staggered to help avoid any congestion, and foot traffic throughout the campus will be directed by signs and stanchions.
  • The school has purchased electrostatic sprayers and will high traffic areas will be disinfected each night.
  • All faculty and staff were tested for COVID-19 prior to the start of school and will be tested throughout the year using surveillance testing.
  • Water fountains have been disabled. Touchless water bottle filling stations are available. All students must bring their own water bottle to school each day. It is important for students to stay hydrated, especially during the warmer months while wearing a mask.
  • Lockers will not be assigned.
  • Families will notify the school nurse when traveling out of the state (and all public health orders for New Mexico regarding travel will be adhered to).
  • Substitute teachers will come from within the school (newly hired Sandia Prep only substitutes, non-teaching faculty, staff).

  • While offering instruction within their classroom, teachers will be streaming and/or recording their classes for students who are at home.
  • Students will be able to engage, in real-time, with teachers and fellow students.
  • Kits for various subjects (such as science labs, art projects, engineering, etc.) will be made available for students to pick up from the school.
  • Computer equipment, musical instruments, and other essential equipment will be loaned to students who elect to take the Virtual At-Home option.
  • All assignments will be posted on Veracross/PrepNet Portal in advance.
  • Students will have the opportunity to participate in some of the activities/clubs offered.
  • Our faculty have been working throughout the summer to develop their distance learning programs in order to provide the best virtual at-home learning experience possible.

The Reopening Daily School Schedule applies to both on-campus, in-person learning AND virtual at-home learning. Click here to view the schedule. 

Click here to view the 2-Hour Delay schedule for both virtual-learning and hybrid learning students.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up Locations and Times for Monday & Tuesday and Thursday & Friday

Please click on the links or images below to view the campus traffic flow maps.

Drop Off Locations
Pick Up Locations

Drop-Off, Pick-Up, and Dismissal Times for Siblings

Families with multi-grade level children: Defer to the youngest student for drop-off location, unless the older student drives, in which case they enter via the 10th -12th grade location.

Upper school students who have a middle school sibling, whether they are driving the sibling or not, will be dismissed at 2:50 p.m. with middle school students.
  • If a parent/guardian is driving: Students get picked up at the youngest sibling's pick-up location.
  • If an upper school sibling is driving: All the siblings (upper and middle school) will report to the West Gym parking lot (to the student's car).   

Drop-Off and Pick-Up Locations and Times for Wednesdays

There will be no regular classes on Wednesdays during the 2021 spring semester. Instead, activities and office hours will take place on campus on Wednesdays. 

Please click here or on the images below to view the Wednesday campus traffic flow maps.

Wednesday Traffic Drop Off Map

Wednesday Pickup Map

BLT with Pasta SaladBuffalo Sandwich with Mac SaladCrispy Chicken Ranch Wrap

As with many aspects of school this year, the cafeteria services at Sandia Prep will be a little different.

Families will be able to pre-order and prepay bag lunches using Sandia Prep’s food service account provider, MyKidsSpending. There, you can fund your child's lunch account online for use at the Prep Café, view account activity, request PDF statements, and even set up automatic funding. You also will be able to view the menu and pre-order for the week.

Setting Up Your MyKidsSpending Account

  • If your student does not have an account, please click here to access MyKidsSpending. You will click the button that says "Create Account or Add Student.” You will be asked to provide a Student ID number which is has been emailed to families.
  • If your student already has an account, please log in to to review your account balances and payment options.

    Note: The MyKidsSpending system may tell you that the information cannot be verified at this time. MyKidsSpending, in some cases, requires 24 hours to connect you with your student's account. If you haven't received confirmation of your new account after 24 hours, or if you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at

All students engaging in sports practices will need to “check in” with the Dr. Owl app, a free screening and monitoring tool to help protect schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will need to download the app onto their phones, create an account, then answer the questions on the app. All students must be screened and temperature checked before being allowed to participate for the day. If an athlete doesn't have a phone, they will be able to log in on iPads available at the school.

Directions for activating on Android devices:

  • Click here to download app for Android devices.
  • Open the app and sign up. Please make sure to use your Sandia Prep email address and create a password. You will then receive a confirmation email or code to your phone. 
  • After confirming your account, it will take you to another screen. Press the orange check-in button on the right side of the screen. On the next screen, type in “Sandia Prep School Athletics.” 
  • Answer all questions but stop when you get to the "What is your temperature?" question. Your coach will take your temperature, then you will enter it. Press the orange check-in button and show the phone to your coach with the slow blinking green checkmark. Each day, you will go to the app, log in, and tap the orange check-in button, proceed to the questions, have your temperature checked, then present your phone with the slow blinking green checkmark.

Directions for activating on iPhones:
  • Click here to download the app for iPhones.
  • Open the app and sign up. Please make sure to use your Sandia Prep email address and create a password. You will then receive a confirmation or code to your phone. 
  • After confirming your account, it will take you to another screen. Press the orange check-in button on the right side of the screen. On the next screen, type in “Sandia Prep School Athletics.” 
  • Answer all questions but stop when you get to the "What is your temperature?" question. Your coach will take your temperature, then you will enter it. Press the orange check-in button and show the phone to your coach with the slow blinking green checkmark. Each day, you will go to the app, log in, and tap the orange check-in button, proceed to the questions, have your temperature checked, then present your phone with the slow blinking green checkmark.

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Please click here or the image below for the 2020-2021 Student/Parent Handbook, which includes a Crisis Addendum addressing requirements/procedures during the COVID pandemic.
2020 - 2021 Parent and Student Handbook

Many parents and students have asked the question: What will elective classes look like on the virtual at-home learning platform and on the restructured campus? Click here to learn more about our elective programs.

As of 9.14.20

As we strive to create the safest possible environment for our in-person learning, we will continue to implement a 14-day virtual learning platform for any student(s) who travels out of the state for any reason. We realize this is more restrictive than current guidelines from the Governor’s office, but believe this is necessary for the time being for several reasons.

With travel restrictions to certain states lifting and many activities resuming, we recognize that more students will be potentially traveling out of the state for a variety of reasons. It is not possible to track all students' travel plans to determine the potential level of exposure or participation in high-risk activities. Therefore, we need all students to follow the same guideline of participating virtually for the 14-day period.

We are confident this creates the lowest possible risk for our on-campus students and faculty/staff while still providing strong academics to our students utilizing the virtual environment.

Thank you for your understanding and support of this policy.


Sandia Prep is working to respond rapidly to state and federal health guidelines and implement safety procedures. We are creating opportunities for students to connect with each other and teachers in ways that will meet safety guidelines, including prescreening, masks, social distancing, and outdoor classrooms. While we are starting with a virtual platform, we will continue working to connect with you and finding innovative ways to continue existing Sandia Prep culture and traditions that hold true to our essential mission and ourselves.

Here are some things you and your family can think about and do right now to prepare.

Dear Prep Parents and Students,

In a year full of difficult decisions, I am compelled to make the most difficult decision I have made in my career as a Head of School. As of Monday, November 9, all Sandia Prep classes will be held virtually, with no in-person learning on campus. This decision weighs heavily on me, as I know how badly the students want to be back at school, but I feel strongly that it is the right decision.

Over the past months, we have made decisions that have been directed by the science. This has allowed Sandia Prep to stay open to students using the hybrid learning model. However, conditions across New Mexico have worsened considerably since we returned this fall. In August, cases in New Mexico ranged from 73 to 197 per day. This week, cases are roughly 10 times that. We are also hearing from many of our parents about their potential exposure and exposure of their children in the wider community. Medical experts on our COVID task force advise that the chances of a case on our campus are significantly increasing. All these factors are adding to the stress and fatigue teachers feel as they worry about the safety of their students and their colleagues. I am sure many parents are feeling that same stress. Despite all our efforts and the efforts of our faculty to navigate this storm, there comes a time when we need to take shelter behind the lee side, and let the worst of the storm pass over.

Our plan is to remain virtual until Tuesday, January 19, 2021. This will provide for a two-week quarantine time after the holidays. Data is showing that family gatherings and travel are directly related to the increased COVID spread. With anticipated travel, the return of students from college, and holiday gatherings over Thanksgiving and winter breaks, medical experts are predicting worsening trends to come. 

Should the trends turn around (i.e., a decrease of positivity rates and hospitalizations), we are prepared to pivot back to our hybrid model immediately.

While the timing of this decision may seem odd, it is strategic. Teachers feel strongly that they can create a higher-quality experience for students by planning in advance for remote learning rather than reacting to mandated closures. Remote learning also gives teachers additional time and opportunity for one-on-one contact with students, an aspect of their work that they feel has been neglected.

For now, we will continue to offer our after-school programs, and we are planning on creating special events that will bring our students back to campus in a safe manner.

I recognize that this shift to virtual at-home learning will cause inconveniences for families. Please know, though, that we are committed to educating the whole child and fostering their social and emotional health, and we are still steadfast in our goal to bring our students back to a safe campus for in-person learning.

Bill Sinfield
Head of School 


Dear Parents,

Over the past two weeks, we have had the advisories from each grade come to school so that we could orient the students to the new protocols, acclimate them to being on campus, and give them the opportunity to have some fun. Having the students back has taught us a few things. Most evident, we have great kids at Sandia Prep, and they tried hard to do the right thing.

However, it has become apparent that we are just not ready to bring 500 students onto our campus by next Friday. There are two issues with which we are concerned. The Governor's Office has not yet changed the mandate that independent schools must maintain a 25 percent capacity limit per classroom. While it was originally our plan to use our outdoor space for classrooms and advisories, we recognized this week that, even though they are willing to try, the students struggle to maintain social distancing. This is not an issue in the classrooms, where they are seated safely at a social distance. Rather, it is the transitioning that is proving problematic. The students need a bit more time to adjust, as do faculty and staff.

To provide that extra time, while still allowing for as much in-person learning as possible, we are amending next week's schedule. We need more students on campus in order for us to determine how to best manage those outdoor classrooms and transitions. We will continue to evaluate and revise our procedures as necessary. While I truly understand the frustration that this may cause some families, I believe this is the best approach for achieving full occupancy of our campus.
Blended Learning Platform
A number of parents have asked if their children may select the blended (hybrid) model in which their children would attend school on select days of the week and continue virtual learning on the other days. We will open up this option, but not until late September or early October, as we want to ensure that we are keeping sound attendance records and seating charts. We will need to be able to do accurate contract tracing should a student or teacher test positive for COVID-19.

Other changes were made as a result of our observations.

Drop-off and Pick-up Locations were tweaked. They are now as follows: 

Grades 6 and 7 (2:50 p.m.)
Drop off - through Outdoor Leadership Program (OLP) gates, in front of 200 building
Pick up - in front of the McCall Performing Arts Center; exit through the main Osuna gate

Grades 8 and 9 (Grade 8 at 2:50 p.m. / Grade 9 at 3:10 p.m.) 
Drop off - Field House parking lot
Pick up - Field House parking lot

Grades 10 through 12 (3:10 p.m.) 
Drop off - at West Gym entrance
Pick up - in front of the PAC and exit through the main Osuna gate.

Families with multi-grade children defer to the youngest student for pick-up and drop-off, unless the older student drives, in which case they enter with the 10-12 grade.
Additional Updates 
We noted during the week that bringing masks was not a problem. However, many students forgot to bring water bottles. We want to make sure that students are hydrated throughout the day, especially given that they will spend more time outdoors.
1. Campus will open at 7:15 a.m. (with no earlier drop-off.) We ask that parents avoid bringing their children to school at 7:55 a.m., as the screening process takes time, and if the screening line is long, your children will be late for class, and you may be late for work.
2. We will stagger dismissal so that middle school students are released at 2:50 p.m. and upper school students are released at 3:10 p.m. PLEASE don’t come too early so that you're waiting in the parking lot, and don’t come too late.
3. Any student on campus after 3:30 p.m. will be sent/brought to a safe, supervised location. Upper school students will go to the library, and middle school students will be sent to the Russell Student Center. Students will work quietly on homework or read during these times.
4. All students must be picked up by 4:30 p.m. When parents arrive for pick up between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., they will check-in at the guard shack (wearing a mask, of course) and be directed to the pick-up lines in front of the PAC. The guard shack will call the appropriate location to let them know the parents are here. The student will be sent out to their parents’ car to leave campus.
5. If a student has a free period at the start of the day, they may arrive late and enter through the main gate (Osuna) to be screened.
6. Students with a free period at the end of the day may be picked up/leave early. If parents are picking up a child early, they must tell the security guards, and they will wait in their cars for the student to come out.
7. There is no re-entry during the day after a student has left the campus.
8. If you are taking your family out-of-state this Labor Day weekend, please keep your students at home and continuing on the Virtual Platform for two weeks after your return. Because we are offering the Virtual Learning option, we'd rather be safe than sorry.
As always, we appreciate your patience as we work to keep everyone in the Prep community safe.


Dear Sandia Prep Families,

I want to start by thanking you for your patience, which I understand may be stretched to the limits. In the many questions that you have forwarded me, I can read your concerns, fears, and frustrations. The uncertainty of these times is the hardest thing to deal with. It is so difficult to make definitive plans when this situation continues to change in real-time. Even as I write this, the situation is changing, as the White House is reconsidering its position, and our Governor may update Public Health Orders.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have witnessed the spiking of COVID cases all around us, and that news is certainly alarming and disheartening. I realize that many of you are growing more concerned about the prospect of sending your children back to school in these conditions. Our faculty and administration share your fears, as we, too, have children and families that we are worried about. Also, with so many school districts announcing that they will maintain online learning, we have felt the pressure to provide for your children safe alternative models. So, over the last week, we have had to regroup and reassess our plan.

I must, first, concede that there is no perfect plan. Not everybody will be satisfied, and we cannot completely assuage your fears. The physical and mental health of your children weighs heavily on my mind, as does the physical and mental health of our teachers. The basis of our plan is to provide choice, within the restrictions of Best Practices. Because we all have differing views about how the school should reopen, you will need to make decisions as to what will work for your children and what provides all of us the most confidence that we will be safe and will continue to provide and receive a quality education. We believe that, in this time of crisis, it will be the schools that provide innovative solutions that will survive and, indeed, thrive.
With this said, we are offering two options to parents. One option is to have your children return to the campus for in-person learning. The second is to have your children continue to do virtual at-home learning. More information about each option can be found below. The schedule that I provided in the last communication will apply to either of these options. (Please click here to view schedule.)
By providing both of these learning platforms, parents who wish to keep their children at home or who must keep their children at home (for health and safety reasons) can be assured that their children will have the tools to keep up with the work being done in class.
Blended Learning:
We also are considering a third “blended” option that will allow parents and students to determine the days of the week that they will be in class and those days when they will learn through the virtual platform. This option will require parents and students to sign up for those classes in advance. There are many details that need to be worked out with this option, so information is to come.
Revision to Opening Weeks of School:
I realize that in my original School Reopening Plan, we had students coming onto campus as early as August 10. That plan has changed. Instead, we are electing to take a much slower, gentler approach to reintegrating our students onto the campus. So, until at least at Labor Day (September 7), all students will do Virtual At-Home Learning. Teachers will be in their classrooms producing and streaming their lessons, so you will have a chance to see how they work. The first two weeks will be completely virtual; the following two week period (beginning August 21), we will schedule very small groups of students (by grade and advisory) to come to the campus for orientation. We want the students to get a feel for the campus enhancements, learn more about the protocols we have put in place for their safety, and have a chance to say hello to their friends (from a social distance). Also, it allows the school to iron out any details to improve our protocols and safety measures.
Again, thank you all for your patience and support. We look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Bill Sinfield, Head of School