COVID-19 – Update #20

Dear SDFAS Community,

I hope that you and your families are doing well despite all that is going on in the world. Our children need us to be there for them more than ever. Below are several updates.

“Talking About Race” – National Museum of African-American History and Culture (Smithsonian)

There are perhaps no conversations more important to have with our children right now than talks surrounding race, bias, privilege and social justice. I shared a number of resources in my message this past Friday evening. If you were to select just one and only one resource to focus on for reading, conversations and introspection, I would strongly recommend the “Talking About Race” pages developed by the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (Smithsonian).

Successful Reopening of Preschool Campus

We are pleased to report the first week of our reopened Preschool campus (for children of essential workers) was successful. I want to thank our Pre-Elementary Directors Sophie and Babeth as well as our two teams of educators: Gaëlle and Martha / Tiphaine and Brooke. I also want to thank the families of the roughly twenty Preschool children whom we welcomed on campus for the week, respecting carefully-conceived and implemented measures for health and safety.

Working Toward an SDFAS Reopening Plan

On June 5, The California Department of Public Health released official statewide guidelines effective June 12 for the reopening of schools and school-based programs. We can not consider reopening the SDFAS campus for summer programs until San Diego County gives permission and issues local guidelines. The new information from the state is useful and we have begun to use it as we continue work elaborating our SDFAS Reopening Plan.

In terms of process, a number of work groups and outside experts are involved: an administrative task force, a board-level team, community consultants bringing expertise in infectious disease, public health, emergency room care, science, technology, and legal matters. Our work groups also consult regularly with a number of French and American school networks and receive information about guidelines and protocols as they are communicated by national, state, and county health authorities. As stated in previous communications and in accordance with state guidelines known so far, our plan will include among others protocols for:

•Health Screening and Checking for Signs & Symptoms

•Healthy Hygiene Practices

•Intensified Cleaning, Disinfection and Ventilation

•Distancing Measures Inside and Outside the Classroom

•Limited Sharing

•Restricting Parents and Visitors on Campus

•Planning for If a Staff Member, Child or Visitor Becomes Sick

•Considering Partial or Total Closure

There is still much work to do. For example, we need to explore the logistics of staggered arrival and departure times, if and how extended care will work, if and how ASA programs might function, if and how Middle School clubs might function, if and how the Girard Gourmet lunch service might operate, protocols for recess, bathroom usage and lunch, and transportation protocols for the school bus. As far as the academic program is concerned, our plan will lay out scenarios for:

•On-Campus Teaching and Learning (Schedule): We still anticipate accommodating all enrolled students in all three divisions for full school days five days a week

•Curriculum Modifications, if any

•Plan for a Distance Learning for students who are either temporarily –or for extended periods of time– at home

•Space Usage on Campus

Classroom Capacity

As communicated a week ago, one thing we do know is that guidelines for physical distancing within classrooms will limit our enrollment capacity in each grade. This is beyond our control. Our planning for each grade’s designated classrooms takes into account enrollment lists from June 1. Going forward, qualified new or returning students will be offered enrollment agreements only if space and staffing permit.

Virtual Summer Camp

Click here to view information about virtual summer camps. Beginning the week of June 22 we are offering various camp sessions per day for which you may register “à la carte” (cooking, sports/exercise, robotics, and a choice of various languages). Each daily session lasts for 75 minutes and it is possible to select from one to five of them per day, for one week at a time. State and county authorities permitting, we will revert to on-campus programming if at that time there is sufficient community interest. As indicated above, the Preschool campus will remain open for the children of essential workers through the end of July.

 Final Week, Moving Up and Graduation Ceremonies

Three months of distance learning is a long time. We’ve made it to the final week. Although much still remains uncertain, the end of a school year is all the same a time for celebration.

Commencement ceremonies, even if in a different format than what we are used to, are milestones in a young person’s life (and in that of their parents). The 8th grade will celebrate through a virtual Zoom webinar format ceremony in the late morning on June 12 followed by a festive afternoon car parade on campus so that students can be recognized and admired in their moment of transition by their teachers and each other.

Kindergarten students will also celebrate their moving up to the Elementary Division with their own drive through car parade to be recognized and admired in their moment of transition by their teachers, assistant teachers, and administrators.

Finally, despite all of the chaos and unrest in the world today, it is important that we take pause to recognize and admire how hard everyone has worked during this prolonged period of distance learning: teachers, students, parents and administrators. We have together endured many challenges. We have together demonstrated tenacity and resilience. We have together modeled these traits for our children.

Have a smooth final week,