Last Friday, Governor Newsom outlined new reopening guidelines, that include schools. His new plan consists of a four-tier system. Every county has been assigned a tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity. Counties must remain in their assigned tier for at least three weeks before moving forward. As of now, Kern County is in the Widespread (purple) Tier. In this tier, schools are not permitted to open. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Substantial (red) Tier for at least two weeks. The red tier is one tier above the purple tier. For more on the tier system, click here.
Once a county is able to reopen schools, they must follow specific guidelines that include a new cohort system that would allow for limited in-person instruction. These cohorts would not allow for direct instruction. Students would be grouped together by family, carpool or neighborhood and assigned to a room with no more than 14 students and two proctors to assist with distance learning. Teachers would remain in their classrooms, teaching online.
At this time, the Diocese of Fresno has decided not to move forward with the new cohort model and no school campuses in the diocese are to open. The reason for this decision is not to jeopardize the possibility of any of our elementary schools being granted a reopening waiver. Originally high schools were eligible to apply for this waiver, but that is no longer the case. The waiver only applies to elementary schools. One elementary school in Kings County has already been granted the waiver, with another approval from that county expected any day.The diocese expects to hear by mid-September if any other elementary schools have been granted the waiver and will revisit the new cohort plan at that time.
Additionally, athletics are NOT to begin conditioning and/or practices unless granted by the Kern County Public Health Department. We are aware other schools in Kern County have started athletic conditioning; however, the diocese is waiting on a letter from Matthew Constantine, Director of Kern County Public Health, before giving us the approval. Our hope is to begin athletic conditioning September 14th. We will send out more information once we get approval from the diocese.
While this was not the news we wanted to hear, we are trying to keep things as normal as possible for our students and families. This week, we invite you to a night of “Living Hope” as we gather virtually in prayer. Join us live on the Garces Campus Ministry YouTube account on September 2nd at 7 p.m. Following the prayer night, on September 3rd, we are holding a "Virtual Club Day". We encourage every student to participate and find a club that fits their passion! Club Day information will be posted on the ASB tab of our Garces website. We have a lot of other events coming up so be sure to check out the latest issue of "The Ram Page" for more.
Once again, we want to assure you that we are ready when we are allowed to reopen campus. If you would like to review our extensive sanitation plan, please click here. We continue to pray for our families and for Bishop Joseph Brennan as we navigate this unprecedented territory together. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please email Principal Myka Peck.