August 25, 2020
Head of School Update
St. John's Community,
I write today with additional, important updates regarding our continued plans for the 2020-21 school year.
K-6 Waiver Approval: We are very excited to share that today, St. John's received a waiver to open on-campus for in-person instruction for students in grades K-6 from the State of California Department of Public Health, in coordination with the Orange County Health Care Agency.
This waiver serves as confirmation of the County and State's thorough review of our Return to Campus Plan, our safety and wellness protocols, and the local epidemiological data that we may be able to operate safely within California Guidelines for Return to Schools, even while Orange County remained on the state's watch list.
We plan to welcome our K-6 students back to campus, as scheduled, for our first day of classes on Thursday, September 3. Students and families wishing to start the year remotely are asked to commit to the St. John's Live-Streaming Experience (LSE) via a registration form that must be completed by Wednesday, August 26.
A Possible Return for 7th & 8th Grades: As you may know, Orange County dropped off the state's watch list on Sunday, August 23. The County will need to remain off the state's watch list for fourteen consecutive days in order for K-12 schools to reopen on-site (regardless of waiver status). Therefore, we could be welcoming our 7th and 8th grade students back to campus, as early as the Tuesday following Labor Day: September 8. Until that time, our 7th and 8th grade students will operate in our Live Streaming modality, beginning on our first day of school, Thursday, September 3.
In each of the above cases, for the safety of our community, we will still be required to adhere to the state's standards for the reopening of schools, until further guidance dictates otherwise. Please see our Return to Campus Plan for more details.
Our Community Responsibility: While each of the above items are worth celebration, they also underscore the social responsibility we all bear in our planned return to campus. Opening on-site may be a key step, but staying open will depend on the actions of every St. John's community member, both on and away from campus. So, for the sake of your personal health and our community's health—as well as in support of our ability to remain on-campus—consider the following: wash your hands, wear a mask, avoid group gatherings, and coordinate with your family doctor and the school in the case of suspected illness or exposure to COVID-19 (Important Note: St. John's COVID-19 Sick & Reporting Policy requires all community members to contact the SJES Health Center to report illness or COVID-19 exposure as soon as possible).
We recognize that we have provided a lot of email communication to our families—which we will continue as plans are enacted and adjusted over the course of the first weeks of school—we appreciate every family's attention to these updates. Later this week, we will share important notes on two efforts to preserve our community safety and wellness: a wellness tracking app that will be required of all families for drop-off each day, as well as the opportunity for COVID-19 testing for our entire St. John's community. Please be on the lookout for those to come very soon.
In the meantime, thank you for your family's continued commitment to St. John's.
Head of School