February 9, 2021
Dear OCSA Families, Faculty, and Staff,

We hope this message finds you well and that you have had a smooth start to the spring semester. Today’s installment of the Academy Announcements newsletter contains updates on the campus reopening, in addition to some useful information about the COVID-19 vaccination timeline for educators in Orange County. Please stay tuned for regular Academy Announcements throughout the semester that will continue to provide details about OCSA’s plans to open for in-person instruction as well as information regarding the dual learning academy model.
As of Monday, January 25, California’s regional Stay-at-Home Order covering Orange County has been lifted. At this point in time, however, Orange County still remains in the Purple Tier of California’s tiered reopening system based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which means that OCSA is not permitted to open for in-person instruction.

There will be no in-person instruction offered until such time that the county moves back into the Red Tier and has remained in the Red Tier for at least five consecutive days. Please note that the blueprint previously mandated a 14-day period in the Red Tier prior to a school reopening, but guidelines were recently updated to reflect a requirement of only five consecutive days. The first day a county is considered in the Red Tier is the Wednesday after the weekly county tier assignments are announced and posted on the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website. As such, our anticipated campus reopening will likely be on a Monday (five calendar days after we enter the Red Tier on a Wednesday).

Students and teachers have been assigned schedules for the spring semester in alignment with their preference for virtual or hybrid/in-person instruction. All spring courses, including those that are designated as hybrid/in-person courses, will continue to be offered through a distance learning format until OCSA is able to safely open for in-person instruction.

We are prepared to open for hybrid/in-person instruction as soon as we are cleared by the state and local officials, so please consider preparing as necessary for that transition. Once guidelines permit and we are able to return to campus safely, Hybrid/In-Person Learning Academy students and teachers will transition to a hybrid/in-person format for the remainder of their spring semester classes. As we move closer to opening the campus for hybrid/in-person instruction, we will communicate additional details pertaining to school health and safety protocols, how to find a carpool, what campus food services will look like, how drop-off/pick-up will work, and more. In the meantime, please continue to stay safe and healthy. We thank you for your patience and support.
Orange County has launched an effort to complete all county COVID-19 vaccinations by Sunday, July 4. Vaccines are being given to the public in a phased, tiered approach.

We are pleased to share that the Orange County Health Care Agency has authorized school psychologists, counselors, speech/language pathologists, and related direct school service providers to receive their vaccination in Phase 1A, which is the county’s currently active phase. All other school employees, including teachers, will be eligible for a vaccination during Tier 1 of Phase 1B. The anticipated timeline of the Phase 1B/Tier 1 distribution is mid to late February.

To learn more about the Orange County vaccination timeline and to view a list of those who are currently eligible to receive a vaccine, please click here.
With the likelihood of reopening our campus for the Hybrid/In-Person Learning Academy on the horizon, the OCSA Administrative Team has been actively preparing the facilities for the return to in-person instruction. We would like to take this opportunity to confirm some of the enhancements that have been made to support a safe reopening of OCSA’s campus for all stakeholders.

  • Western Allied completed an analysis of all campus HVAC systems in December. Their report confirms that all classrooms, offices, and workspaces meet or exceed the recommended benchmark of at least four air changes per hour (ACH). When combined with HEPA filters for each space, the total ACH is further enhanced.

  • All classrooms have received desk shields for student and teacher desks, as well as hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes so that students can disinfect their space prior to the start of each class.

  • Mobile temperature stations and hand sanitizer stands are prepared for deployment at all campus building entrances. This will ensure an effective screening procedure for all students and staff upon arrival to campus each morning.

  • New hands-free water bottle filling stations have been installed across campus to promote health and safety.

  • Symphony Hall has been designated as the facility where additional health screenings will occur if students do present symptoms at any time during the day.

  • OCSA is producing a health and safety protocol video to educate all OCSA stakeholders on the COVID-19 campus procedures and updates. This will be finalized for distribution before our return to campus.

  • OCSA is crafting a tiered approach for notifications when a positive COVID-19 case is identified on campus. See below for more details.

Our top priority remains ensuring a safe environment for all faculty, staff, and students, and we are fully prepared to reopen our campus as soon as we are cleared by state and local officials.
As we prepare for the return to on-campus instruction, the OCSA Administrative Team is continuing to strengthen the school’s contact tracing and notification protocols. Once OCSA reopens for hybrid/in-person instruction and all Hybrid/In-Person Learning Academy students and teachers return to campus, the school will begin following a detailed, multi-step COVID-19 notification process.

Each time OCSA is notified of a positive case of COVID-19 exposure on campus related to a student, faculty/staff member, or community member, our Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs), who are certified in contact tracing, will determine the level of exposure and initiate the notification process. Individuals will receive specific notifications based on their personal level of exposure, such as close contact or low risk. We are also planning to send general community notifications so that all stakeholders, including those with zero exposure, remain informed of any positive COVID-19 cases that have been reported on campus. Please stay tuned for further details related to this topic in a future newsletter.
It continues to be our goal to safely promote school culture and connection for our students, both before and after the return to campus for in-person instruction. Our student leadership and school administrators have been working diligently to brainstorm creative ways to support these connections.

In future Academy Announcements newsletters, we will share details for upcoming events that are currently being planned for students at all grade levels. Today, however, we are focusing on sharing some of the opportunities specifically designed to celebrate our Class of 2021, both virtually and through safely distanced in-person activities. We hope all our seniors enjoyed the drive-through wall painting event last week! Additional opportunities promoting senior connection that are currently in the works include:
  • Senior Decision Instagram and OCSA College Decisions on 10th Street (similar to what has previously been done in the Humanities Tower Lobby)
  • Senior T-Shirts/Sweatshirts
  • OCSA Pen Pals
  • Game Night
  • Yoga Night
  • Senior Slideshow (compiling memories of OCSA by students and staff from the last six years)
  • Senior Movie Night & Concert (tentative based on health guidance for the time)

To read more about plans for senior activities and celebrations, including Graduation, please click here.

We will continue to share information on upcoming opportunities encouraging culture and student connection as they become available. Please stay tuned!
If you have any remaining questions about OCSA's dual learning academy instructional model, COVID-19 procedures, or our return to campus, please review the following documents for further clarification:

If you feel your question was not adequately addressed in the resources above, please contact OCSA Administration at ocsa.administration@ocsarts.net. If your question is specific to your student’s conservatory, please email your conservatory director for assistance.
We will continue to provide you with necessary information and exciting announcements as we work to prepare the campus and strengthen the instructional program to create an unparalleled experience for all OCSA students and staff this spring. Thank you for your ongoing support.


OCSA Administration

Michael Ciecek, Principal
Gregory Endelman, Ed.D., Executive Director of Special Services
Becca Freeland, Dean of Student Services
Maria Lazarova, D.M.A., Dean of Arts
Sally Lopez, Dean of Instruction
Leon Metoyer, Special Services Learning Specialist