Dear St. Serra Community,

It’s already July, and the start of the new school year is right around the corner! I am very excited to meet all of you and to get to know your students.

Last week, the Diocese of Orange issued guidance for schools to reopen campuses in August. The following is an excerpt from the guidelines that we received:
 
“As of now, based on the CDC checklist for reopening schools, we believe that we can open all schools in person in the fall and maintain a robust system of monitoring and response. Our plans to meet these guidelines are based around four foundations:
 
1.     Monitoring and responding to student and faculty health.
2.     Limiting and eliminating unnecessary or risky activities.
3.     Revising cleaning and disinfection protocols.
4.     Having additional blended learning and virtual learning options available for planned or unplanned shutdowns.
 
The health and safety of students and staff is the top priority when making the decision to physically reopen school campuses for use by students, staff and others.”
 
We will rely on this valuable guidance as we move forward with our campus reopening plans. As we move toward the first day of school, Tuesday, August 25, we are focusing on the following primary areas:

  • Develop physical distancing protocols in all areas and for all gatherings

  • Minimize access to campus by limiting nonessential visitors, utilizing facility use permits, and monitoring volunteers.

  • Increase healthy hygiene practices to ensure personal health and safety in school facilities (frequent hand washing, wide spread availability of hygiene supplies such as soap, hand sanitizer, tissues, disinfectant wipes, etc.).

  • Meet cleanliness and disinfecting standards in school facilities. Classrooms, restrooms, touched surfaces and shared objects will be cleaned thoroughly daily and frequently throughout the day with EPA approved disinfectants.

  • Develop a daily temperature check system for all persons coming onto campus.

  • Require faculty/staff/ parents/school visitors to wear face coverings on campus. Students will be encouraged to use cloth face coverings. Cloth face coverings are most essential in settings where physical distancing cannot easily be maintained, such as school buses or other settings where space may be insufficient.

We are working on creating specific guidelines for when students should wear face coverings. Since classrooms will be configured to observe physical distancing requirements, we believe students will be able to choose to be mask-free when they are working at their desks in the classroom.

  • Establish a plan to close, if necessary, and quickly implement a Distance Learning program should a student, teacher, staff member, visitor, or member of the household test positive for COVID-19. Any such action would be in consultation with local public health officials.

  • Develop and implement a Social-Emotional Wellness program for students and faculty-staff. This is based on parent feedback regarding the toll that this situation has taken on their children both socially and emotionally. We want to ensure that, as we reopen, we restore the sense of community and personal connections that the children are missing and focus on meeting their social and emotional needs.
 
The Diocese has also provided us with guidance regarding various Instructional Models, which can include a full-day traditional model if all requirements are met. At SJSC, our plan is to reopen using the full-day traditional model. We are also actively planning to offer remote learning options for parents who may not be comfortable having their children return to campus.
 
In addition, we have made a change to the school schedule for the 2020-2021 school year. We will begin the school day at the same time as last year, which is 7:40 a.m. However, the school day will end for all students at 2:40 p.m . The process of getting students to their parents’ cars during pick-up each day is going to become more complex. Having one pick-up time will help to simplify this daily activity.
 
There are many other details to consider as part of our reopening plan. As we move forward throughout the summer, we will continue to gather up-to-date information from the CDC, the state of California, the Orange County Department of Education, the Orange County Health Agency, and the Diocese of Orange. With this guidance, we will make ongoing adjustments to the 2020-2021 Reopening Plan.  We will update you on the status throughout the summer, primarily via email communication from me. You will also be able to see updates on the SJSC website.
 
The past few months have been very difficult for everyone, and we are all looking forward to getting “back to normal” safely, and as soon as possible. Please be assured that our entire team is diligently working throughout the summer to ensure the health, safety and well-being of everyone who steps onto campus in the new school year.
 
Always Striving…

Tim Tolzda
Senior Principal