OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE & SCHOOL REOPENING PLAN
Updates for reopening in Fall 2020 will be posted here and sent to all parents via the Anchor Splash.
UPDATE AS OF 9/25/20
COVID-19 Updates & News From The Archdiocese
I am excited to announce that we have received hopeful updates from LA County and the LA Archdiocese this past week. The Archdiocese has announced that nine schools from Santa Barbara and Ventura County have had their TK-6 waivers approved to reopen school. In addition to that news, the Superintendent announced yesterday that the LA Archdiocese has now fully launched an advocacy group to petition to the county of Los Angeles to open all Catholic schools. The advocacy group, Students First Coalition of Los Angeles, has partnered with local public and private schools to actively advocate for the reopening of our school campuses. Our Superintendent, Mr. Paul Escala, has now asked that any parent wanting to advocate for the reopening of schools can do so by attending the next LA County Superintendent Board Meeting. The information is attached here.
In addition to the Archdiocese wanting to now openly advocate for the reopening of schools, the COVID-19 statistics are trending in a good direction. For the first time since the start of the pandemic, LA County has a lower number of positivity rates and new cases per 100K people than Ventura County! With the guidelines how they are, LA County will be off of the Purple Zone and in the Red Zone in 2 weeks. What does this mean? In theory, being in the Red Zone means that all students can return to campus. However, LA County stated that even if the county is in the Red Zone, they will not allow schools to reopen for another 6 weeks minimum. With so much uncertainty going on, I can assure you that St. Jude’s will have the most up-to-date reopening plan and take all the precautions necessary to reopen campus as soon as we can. I am hopeful that we will see a return to campus for those that choose to do so. In addition, we will have a completely online option for all of our families for the remainder of the school year. As it gets closer to looking like we will reopen, we will hold a virtual meeting for all parents before opening school.
UPDATE AS OF 9/18/20
Remote Learning Updates
The numbers in LA County are starting to trend in the right direction and we are getting closer to being off of the “Purple Zone.” Once our county moves into the “Red Zone” we are able to apply for a waiver for our K-6 students to return to campus. While the LADPH announced that they will not review waivers until November, St. Jude’s waiver will be ready to submit the first day they are accepting applications. We have been working in conjunction with all other Catholic schools in Ventura County to make sure we have all the necessary information and data in our waiver to ensure the best chance for approval.
As stated in earlier Anchor Splash messages, St. Jude’s will be offering a 100% remote learning option for students for the remainder of the year as well. When we are able to bring students on campus, the remote learning plan will also be sent out for families to choose from.
UPDATE AS OF 9/4/20
School Reopening News
Much anticipated news about school reopening plans has come forward to us from the Archdiocese and local government. The Archdiocese has given us the clearance to prepare our waiver paperwork and have it ready for submission. Santa Barbara and Ventura County are not open as of now but are accepting applications. Las County is not accepting applications at this time but our county numbers are improving. If you want to read more about the improvised state reopening plans and follow the data more closely, please visit the state’s website at: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.
While Santa Barbara and Ventura County are accepting applications, they have rejected all 10 applications from other Archdiocese schools. While this is not the news many were hoping to hear, the good news is that they gave us all very specific information for what is required on campus to have an approved application. Our waiver application will have the most up-to-date information and guidelines enforced to ensure our campus is safe and healthy for all to return.
Part of the data we need is a parent survey, with a written statement, on how you feel about school reopening for on-campus learning. Next week you will receive a special Anchor Splash with a survey attached. It is extremely important, for the application to be accepted, that we have more than 80% of our parents fill out the survey. We appreciate your attention to this matter when the survey is released next week.
School Reopening Hybrid Plans
While we continue to stay up-to-date on all measures needing to return to campus, we also are working on our school’s hybrid model. This model will be available for any family who feels that a return to campus is not the best option for them. The Hybrid plan will involve detailed information about how your child can still learn from home, even when we are open again for on-campus instruction. While there are always changes to be expected in the days ahead, our administrative team will be working on a plan to be set in place when the day comes to reopen. We will ensure that before the school reopens, you will get a chance to see the Hybrid model before having to choose.
UPDATE AS OF 8/19/20
First Day of School Event
To ensure the health and safety of all in our community, we will be taking many precautions to make this event fun and memorable. Please read the following guidelines and regulations before attending the event by reading our guide here.
Online Protocols & Expectations
Please see our recently updated online policies for this upcoming school year. We want to ensure that our students are in the best position to learn each day during remote learning. It is important that parents understand that to make our students as successful as possible, we need to allow them room to grow and make mistakes. Making mistakes is a part of education and we encourage you to review the guidelines prior to the year starting.
UPDATE AS OF 8/14/20
Click here to see our updated remote learning plan. Please read through it carefully and see important information about how we are scheduling the school day, the times and dates for Back To School Night and online policies for school this upcoming year.
Please note that students will not need to wear uniforms for school during remote learning. It would be a good idea to start ordering uniforms for when we return to school on campus. Please visit Dennis Uniform for more information.
Important Dates and Events
- New Parent Orientation In Person! (9am – 10am)
- Laptop Distribution Day (10am – 1pm)
- Packet Due Date! All forms must be completed and turned in by the end of the day on 8/20. Please click HERE to see all forms online.
- First Day Of School! Check out what time your student may come on campus to pick up books and meet their teacher!
- First night of our Online Back To School Night, grades Kinder-2nd only (8/25 will be 3rd – 5th grade, and 8/26 will be for our middle school.)
New Parent Orientation – New parents are welcome to join us for a presentation outside in the covered seating area where masses are currently being held. We look forward to seeing you all and welcoming you with a friendly introduction to our school.
Laptop Distribution – If you registered to borrow a laptop you can pick it up in the main office on August 20th between 10am and 1pm. If you want to register for a laptop please click HERE
First Day Of School – We will be bringing our students on to campus to meet their teachers, pick up supplies and have the opportunity to take a “First Day of School” picture! Each class will be given a scheduled time to arrive and directions to follow next week. The times will be as follows:
8:00 – Kindergarten
8:30 – 1st Graders
9:00 – 2nd Graders
9:30 – 3rd Graders
10:00 – 4th Graders
10:30 – 5th Graders
11:00 – 6th Graders
11:30 – 7th Graders
12:00 – 8th Graders
UPDATE AS OF 8/7/20
I am sure many of you have heard that the waiver to open up K-6th grade will not be accepted by LA County. While this may be seen as a set back to some, we will remain positive about our remote learning plans moving forward. The mindset I’d love to have us all take away from this is that we at least know what school will look like to start the year and we can plan accordingly. We appreciate your support and look forward to building a great remote learning plan.
The Archdiocese has decided not to offer the Mother of Divine Grace option that was previously offered. If you have any more questions please feel free to contact Mr. Freel.
Back To School Night & Packet Day
This year we will be holding our Back To School Night on August 24th, 25th and 26th remotely, via Google Meets. We believe that moving the Back To School Night up to the first week of school will be beneficial for our students and families to understand our remote learning protocols and needed information. More information will be included in the “Remote Learning Plan” that will be released early next week.
Due to COVID 19, we will not hold Packet Day in person this year. We have made all forms available online and they are in fillable documents. You can send in the documents to Mrs. Frawley via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can print them out and turn them into the office anytime. We need all documents filled out and submitted before the start of school. Please visit our website to find the information at http://stjudeschool.org/parent-forms/
Our new parent orientation will still continue to happen on August 20th. We are still looking to find a way to hold this meeting in person. More details and information will be made available to you all very soon. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we try to provide a safe but engaging environment to welcome in our new families! We are blessed to have so many wonderful new families join our community this year!
UPDATE AS OF 7/24/20
Distance Learning Reopening Plan
Our reopening plan is focusing on key areas that our staff has identified as areas in need of great focus for next school year online. Our distance learning program will have the following:
- We will provide structure throughout the school day for students and families
- There will be live teacher-led instruction every day in all of our classes
- We believe in providing Enrichment Opportunities for our students. These opportunities will be additional supports for both social development and academic achievement
- Attendance will be taken every day
- Students will be required to turn on the camera and be in an appropriate setting to learn
- K-5th will have Core Academic Instruction from 8:30-11:30. 6-8th will go from 8:30-12:30 and will work on a block schedule. (More information on the middle school block schedule to come soon)
- Students K-8 will have Enrichment Opportunities from 1-3pm every day. These opportunities will include both social and academic support. The social development programs will include clubs and small group activities. Academic Enrichment will include teacher office hours, elective classes (Spanish, Music, etc), and academic resources for parents to use to help provide additional support and advancement opportunities for students.
- There will be live teaching done every day during the Core Academic Instruction time slot
- Students will work during those hours in either a whole group lesson, small group, and independent work. We will not have 3+ hours of face to face instruction but the teacher will be online and available to answer questions and provide support when not leading instruction
- We will provide teacher office hours between 1-3 pm and your child (And parent if appropriate) can arrange a time to meet with the teacher for additional supports
Information From ADLA About Possible Campus Reopening Options
Waivers: There is a provision in the governor’s public health order that allows elementary schools to apply for a waiver to re-open in advance of the county/local health jurisdiction to be removed from the state’s monitor list. Here is the language:
A waiver of this criteria may be granted by the local health officer for elementary schools to open for in-person instruction. A waiver may only be granted if one is requested by the superintendent (or equivalent for charter or private schools), in consultation with labor, parent and community organizations. Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with CDPH when considering a waiver request.
We have learned that the state and county public health departments are developing procedures to receive waiver applications. ADLA is investigating this further and will provide further details about how to pursue these waivers. Please note that the waiver process does not guarantee a waiver will be approved. It’s likely that county health departments will be reluctant to grant waivers if a school is in an area exceeding the state’s monitoring thresholds (i.e. transmission rates, hospitalizations, hospital capacity). Here is an article on the waiver issue on EdSource: https://edsource.org/2020/california-districts-can-seek-waiver-for-elementary-schools-from-ban-on-in-school-instruction/636807
Advocacy: ADLA and private/parochial schools throughout the state are deeply concerned about the application of this order on our schools and the impact it will have on our families and schools, particularly when the state is not providing us with financial support. While none of us would invite our students and staff back to campus if we could not implement necessary safety modifications, we also recognize our enrollments are generally smaller than our public peers and we have more flexibility with schedules and facilities to ensure safety measures can be met. We are working through the California Association of Private School Organizations (CAPSO) and the California Catholic Conference on seeking relief for our schools, but we cannot do this alone. There is also work at that federal level led by the USCCB to include Catholic schools in the next stimulus bill, such as expanding a tuition scholarship program nation-wide. I encourage your school communities, students, parents, and staff to share their concerns with their county supervisors and governor, along with congress on the stimulus bill. Your voice matters!
*School reopening plan is subject to change.
UPDATE AS OF 7/17/20
I pray that this message finds you all safe and healthy. Our staff has been working extremely hard this past week to finalize our plans to reopen campus and have our students back in the classroom as soon as possible. However, as many of you know, Governor Newsom held a press conference today to discuss the reopening of our schools in California. I want to take this opportunity to highlight what was announced and how this will affect St. Jude’s.
Governor Newsom stated today that schools will need to start the year remotely in both LA and Ventura County. Schools cannot reopen until the county that the school resides in (LA County for St. Jude’s) has been off the COVID-19 watch list for 14 days. Also stated was that this order is in effect for both public and private schools. The Archdiocese has officially stated that all Catholic schools need to prepare to start the school year online. It is important to state that we want our school to open in the fall and understand the tremendous burden this may bring to many of you if we do in fact start the year online.
At this time, we will still continue to prepare to reopen our schools safely when we are allowed to do so. In the meantime, our school will prepare to enhance our online academic curriculum, create faith-based instructional plans and work on how to develop social-emotional skills through distance learning. Though this is not the result we were hoping to hear today, we will continue to be proactive in our approach to providing a strong, faith-based education.
This is an incredibly important time as a school and a community on how we decide to respond to the changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a school we believe that in-person instruction is the best way to properly educate students and recognize that online instruction can be difficult. In these trying times, it is important to remember that what makes St. Jude special is our community. I cannot stress enough that our sense of community and commitment to our school will be greater than ever as we navigate these uncharted times. In times of crisis, we need to remember to keep our focus on God and how we can serve Him best. As a community, I pray that we embrace these difficult times with great positivity and hope for a better future.
While I believe strongly in the strength of this community to stay close with one another and support each other, there is a great need for clarity and honest communication during these times. I will ensure that any changes, new information or relevant items will be communicated with you all as soon as possible. Please look for additional messages in the coming days and weeks.
*School reopening plan is subject to change.
UPDATE AS OF 7/10/20
We want to keep our families in the loop about what our projection for next year will look like. It is important to understand that any plans that will be sent out are subject to change at any time. Our plans need to be flexible and responsive to local health metrics. Our school’s administration will be closely monitoring county data on a daily basis and will be continually updating our plan throughout the summer. As of today, the Archdiocese has given each school reopening guidelines and has announced that they plan to open in the fall. We intend to follow all guidelines and always keep our focus on the health and safety of our school community.
We are excited to announce that our school is finalizing details on how to safely reopen, Monday through Friday, for full-day instruction. School, as of today, will begin on August 24th. We are working closely with the Archdiocese and we’re in communication with other local K-8 Catholic schools to provide the best plan possible. We foresee being able to open school due to our small size and availability to provide alternative learning spaces for our students. To do this, we need to prepare our staff and campus adequately and will be conducting the following action items this summer:
Our campus will receive an entire deep clean before students arrive on campus. Every item of use on campus will be sanitized every day after student use.
We will be providing hand sanitizing stations throughout campus and in classrooms for student and staff use.
Our students will receive a health screening and have their temperature taken by a contactless thermometer before entering campus every day.
It will be required that students have a mask with them on campus but it will be at the staff’s discretion as to when students will need to wear them. More specific guidelines on this will come shortly. It is our goal to limit the amount of time a student wears a mask throughout the day as much as possible.
We have purchased a mask and face shield for every staff member on campus to wear throughout the day.
An electrostatic cleaner has been purchased to disinfect our learning and office spaces multiple times throughout the day.
In addition to the precautions we are taking to keep our campus clean and students healthy, we are aiming to be extremely proactive in how we approach next year. Our staff will work diligently to provide a great education for every student and provide a “blended” learning environment for all students. To prepare, the following measures will be taken:
Our teachers will “blend” their in-classroom materials with their online platforms, either Google Classroom or Jupiter Ed. This means that any activities or assignments that are happening in class will also be available online that same day. If for any reason a student cannot be on campus, students will be able to stay up to task on all assignments while out.
Teachers will receive Professional Development on how to use online classroom platforms and how to best maximize their teaching online in the case that our schools are shut down and we need to work remotely again.
Staff will have the opportunity to complete a summer course on “COVID-19 Contact Tracing” provided by Johns Hopkins University. This course shares best practices and ways to limit the spread of the virus.
Thank you to Dr. Gupta and Dr. Rana, two St. Jude parents, for volunteering their time to present to all students on the first week back to school to discuss best practices for self-sanitizing and preventing the spread of germs.
All classrooms and eating spaces have been measured for 6-foot distancing. Our team has made arrangements to find alternative learning spaces for all students as needed.
*School reopening plan is subject to change.