Covid-19 – Update #2

February 28, 2020

Dear SDFAS Community,

As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward. The CDC emphasized that there is not currently a coronavirus pandemic in the United States, and at this time the number of cases across the U.S. is relatively small. However, given how quickly the global situation is evolving, and that there are confirmed cases in California including a few already in San Diego, we are monitoring developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily. Although we have no reported cases within our county’s school communities at this time, we want you to rest assured that we are prepared and ready. Our planning and response will continue to be grounded in directives from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and local governmental organizations: San Diego Unified School District and California Department of Public Health and San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (Public Health).

As a school, we are prepared for a range of possible contingencies, such as school closures, that may occur as this situation develops. In the event that school must be dismissed for an extended period of time, we want to assure you that we will incorporate a variety of instructional strategies to connect with the home. In all eventualities, we are committed to providing you with clear, timely communications about this fluid situation.

Of course, our highest priority is ensuring the health and safety of every member of our community. As we emphasized in the school’s first community-wide message on January 31, 2020, the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is to follow basic health best practices like:

● Enforcing great hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly and covering up coughs/sneezes.

● Ensuring all faculty, staff, and students who are feeling ill to stay home until they recover.

In addition, we are also thinking ahead regarding the potential impact on spring-break travel, upcoming school trips, and other non-typical school activities, should the situation escalate. An increasing number of countries are being placed under travel advisories due to the coronavirus. We ask that you stay informed of the CDC’s travel advisories, particularly because we cannot know what the status of the outbreak will be when spring break time arrives. Given the level of media attention to the coronavirus, some children may become anxious and have concerns about the virus and its transmission. These tips for talking with children about the coronavirus from the New York Times may be helpful to you and your family. Click here for an excellent 3-minute video and comic visual approach to sharing information about the Coronavirus with your children. In addition, it’s important for families to make contingency plans and preparations at home. This NPR article may provide a helpful starting point to guide preparations both at home and work.

As you are probably already aware, the coronavirus has a reported 14-day incubation period. As requested in our first communication at the end of January, out of an abundance of caution, we are asking families who have returned recently from China/Hong Kong/Iran/Italy/Japan/Singapore/South Korea/Taiwan/Thailand, or if you have been exposed to someone who has, to strongly consider self-imposing a 14-day quarantine from your date of return or date of contact with another traveler. If you decide to take this action, please contact your child’s teachers and division director. Students’ grades will not be impacted during their absence and our teachers will do all they can to make sure work and materials are sent electronically or are otherwise accessible online.

If you would like to discuss your family’s circumstances or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact a division director or me. Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we work together for the health and safety of all our students.

In times like this, we are particularly grateful for the strength and togetherness of our community. Please be assured that further communications from us will continue in the event new information directly impacts our school community.  I look forward to staying in touch on this matter.

Mark E. Rosenblum, Head of School