Dear St. Matthew’s Community,

We write to you today about a topic at the foremost of many people’s minds, that of the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (or COVID-19). While the unknowns about this virus in terms of spread and virulence cause understandable anxiety, please note that the School is taking many proactive steps to ensure the safety of students, faculty and visitors above and beyond what we normally do each flu season. Communication is key and our Kindergarten-Grade 8 students and faculty were addressed in Chapel on Monday. We discussed the importance of increasing handwashing, staying home when sick, and retaining our welcoming nature through smiles and fist bumps even while we may be unfortunately decreasing our handshakes with one another temporarily. Please also refer to the article in the Falcon Flyer last Thursday, February 27 .

The Board of Trustees and the Senior Administration of the School are in continual communication with one another on this topic. St. Matthew’s has been in touch with our Los Angeles County Public Health Department (LACPHD) and will be apprised of any changes to recommendations or protocols. No school specific advice has been given yet on this topic by our local, state or federal government authorities. New updates that relate to our local school community will be sent to you as they become available and will also be posted on the School website .

We are a global traveling community in 2020. Therefore, we ask that if you or someone in your household has traveled to or travels in the future to an area of the world that has been identified as a Center for Disease Control (CDC) travel advisory zone related to coronavirus, that you please notify the school and cooperate with any self-quarantine for you and your student recommended by up-to-date standards. If you or anyone living or working in your household has potential contact with a known coronavirus patient please contact the School immediately in accordance with CDC recommendations. These travel advisories and guidelines are ever changing, so we refer you to the CDC website below for up-to-date information.

There are many good resources to learn about COVID-19 and we include several links below. However, first and foremost we ask that families discuss the importance of staying home when ill with a fever or cough. Do not send your child to school until they have been afebrile for 24 hours off of fever lowering medications. Parent volunteers and faculty should also stay home if ill. It’s important to note that hand washing at home and at School is the number one way to prevent virus transmission. The School faculty have been instructed to request that students wash their hands with soap and water prior to eating and when coming in from play.

As you know this topic is rapidly evolving. St. Matthew’s will continue to address this issue directly and reassess daily. There have been no changes to our School calendar as of yet, and none are recommended by current health resources. We are exploring technology-based work and teach from home options that could be used in the event of any extended school closure in the future (e.g., illness, fire, earthquake). But please note that the school will evaluate each week based upon the best evidence and guidelines available to discern the safest course of action and will advise parents and our community in real-time.

Ed Kim
Head of School
Callene Momtazee, MD
Chair, Board of Trustees
COVID-19 related links:

Please visit the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) website for Frequent Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding COVID-19. This also includes many timely recommendations for decreasing the spread of all viruses including influenza:
Please take an opportunity to review travel guidelines with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) prior to departure and before arrival home as circumstances change:
Frequent travelers are advised by the State Department to consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler program to obtain real-time updates when abroad:
World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 website: