Alameda County Waiver Process: Some of you may have heard that Alameda County opened the waiver process for Elementary Schools to apply for in-person instruction for grades TK-6. In consultation with the faculty, staff, school advisory boards (School Board, PTG and Athletic Board), and the Diocese of Oakland, we are submitting a waiver application. An overview of the waiver application process is linked here. Additionally, you can access the most recent version of Alameda County’s reopening guidelines here.
Following represents a summary of the criteria and obligations for schools and districts applying for the Elementary Waiver.
- Health Department approval based on disease conditions in Alameda County,
- Health screening protocols for students and staff,
- Plans for contact identification and tracing for confirmed COVID-19 cases,
- Testing protocols for staff, and evidence of a partnership with a testing provider,
- Posted plans for cleaning, disinfection and ventilation,
- Healthy hygiene practices including installation of hand washing stations,
- Cohorting of small stable groups for all activities,
- Plans for physical distancing, including entrance, egress and movement
- Plans for face coverings and other essential protective equipment
- Staff training and family education,
- Communication plans,
- Key constituent consultation.
Saint Philip Neri has been working on all of these aspects since June. The School Site Planning Committee produced the Saint Philip Neri Health and Safety Plan. The Instructional Planning Committee developed the Hybrid model for in-person learning. Additionally, the Facilities Committee has made many upgrades as presented in previous Town Hall meetings and the Back to School General Session presentation. We are working with the Diocese of Oakland to meet the Covid testing requirements for all staff.
It is important to note that the health and safety of our faculty, staff and students will drive all of our decisions. Applying for the waiver is a complicated process and does not guarantee we will be granted the waiver. Alameda County is currently classified in the highest tier of Covid transmission - “Widespread.” We will continue to offer a distance learning option even if we open for in-person instruction.
We have been advised that the approval process will take several weeks, will be suspended if Covid related indicators begin to rise, and that the application needs to be approved by the State of California. The County of Alameda will then decide which schools open and when.
Regardless of the Waiver, Saint Philip Neri will decide if and how to open based upon the most up to date research and data. As we move through this process, I will continue to provide updates as we receive them. As we get closer to an actual opening date, I will host a Town Hall meeting to answer questions and provide additional details to our reopening plans.
I am in the process of creating an SPN FAQ document regarding the waiver process and school reopening. Please take a look at these helpful FAQs from the California State Department of Public Health. If you have questions after reading their information, please feel free to email them to me and I will add them to our FAQ list.
Abundant blessings. I am so grateful for this community and your support and partnership. Be well and if you have time this weekend, come take a walk around the school to see the Chalk Walk.