March 12, 2020
Dear SDFAS Community,
General Update – School Decision Making as of 3-12-2020
Keeping in mind that as of today there are widely varying opinions within our own community and within San Diego and beyond, what follows in the school’s position as of today at 2 pm.
•As most in our community are probably aware, the Covid–19 health crisis remains fluid. SDFAS has prepared and will continue to prepare for potential school campus closure as a result of the Covid–19 health risk. At this time there are no known confirmed cases of Covid–19 within the SDFAS community. With that said, school campus closure could happen on short notice. In the event of SDFAS campus closure, the school will seek to operate, wherever and in every way possible, through distance learning.
•SDFAS campus closure is most likely to be triggered by an increased threat in the local community. Such triggers would include an increase in the number of diagnosed cases in our city, country or region, any member of the school community diagnosed as Covid–19 case positive or any member of the school community reported as having been in close physical proximity with a positively diagnosed Covid–19 individual.
•It is imperative that families communicate any exposure to a positive Covid–19 case to the school immediately. All families should rest assured that confidentiality will be respected to the highest degree possible. The Head of School is open to directly receive any such information by email (firstname.lastname@example.org
•It is also imperative that staff, children and parents with symptoms (fever and severe cough) or otherwise feeling unwell, should stay away from school at this time. Indeed, we ask that every member of your immediate household – children and adults – take or have their temperature taken each morning before leaving to come to school. Please also know that we ask everyone to err on the side of caution in this regard.
•All families should rest assured there will be no adverse effect to your child(ren)’s attendance or academic records (including grades and report cards) for absences at this time. Please just inform the school so that we know the reason for any absence.
•The school will, of course, continue to follow local, state and federal health authority guidelines or directives issued with respect to school campus closure or other types of measures.
•The school is monitoring and adapting to developments on an hourly and daily basis. We will continue to update you as the situation evolves.
Preparation for a Transition to Distance Learning
To prepare for the possibility of transitioning at SDFAS to distance learning, each student in grades 1 – 8 will need:
•Access to a reliable high-speed Internet connection at home; and
•An appropriate computing device: desktop computer, laptop, Chromebook, tablet, or iPad. If none of those are available, a smart phone can work although less ideal.
We will use a different approach for our youngest students (PK to K), see more details below.
If your child(ren) do not currently have access to a high-speed Internet connection at home or if an appropriate computing device is simply not available for each child in your household, please communicate with your Division Director to talk through potential solutions. Please also communicate with your Division Director if you anticipate any issues with your child(ren) participating in school via distance learning. Division Directors emails are:
For Elementary: Francis Carlier (email@example.com)
For Middle School: Micheline Ghattas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Overview of SDFAS Distance Learning Plan
As with our peer schools around the state and beyond, our educational continuance plan for distance learning evolves daily as we continue as a faculty and administration to research best practices, strategize and plan. This is an ongoing process. Ultimately, if necessary, campus closure and a move to distance learning will require patience and a mind-set for everyone that all students will continue to learn curricular content, build academic skills, as well as practice formal academic Internet etiquette.
At the same time, in an ongoing fashion, we will all be learning more and more each day about how to implement over time ever more refined distance learning activities. The overall vision for our SDFAS distance learning plan consists in an age-appropriate combination of online instruction (class groups, small groups, pairs and/or one-on-one student-teacher sessions) and teacher-directed work (students to work alone for periods of time – or in pairs or small groups – with clear teacher instructions and scheduled teacher office or consultation sessions):
•For the lower elementary grades, an adult in the home may well need to assist both with the logistics of distance learning Internet platforms and the learning process itself (e.g. students in grades 1 and 2 especially). To the degree that you have time and are able, going shopping to provision your home with basic school and art supplies would be a very helpful thing to do.
•For our youngest students in PK and K, teachers and teacher assistants will prepare and send on a daily basis activities they feel could be reasonably accomplished in the home with an adult acting as substitute teacher. Teachers may well also share images, videos, video of themselves reading stories or otherwise engaging the children. Teachers and teacher assistants would then make themselves available remotely to assist parents at predetermined times. To the degree that you have time and are able, going shopping to provision your home with basic school and art supplies would be a very helpful thing to do.
If and when we transition to distance learning, further detail and instructions will come from each division director as well as from each teacher individually. Please be aware that administration and teachers may well need the first two days of a campus closure to complete our education continuance plans. Students would, depending on their age and grade, work doing these first two days to complete any previously assigned work or projects.
All travel for school business by any SDFAS employee has been suspended. We urge all families at them time to postpone or cancel any non-essential domestic or international travel, and in particular by airplane. We are instructed per guidelines from the California Department of Public Health that any family in which an individual has recently returned or having come in contact with a traveler who has arrived or returned within the last 14 days from a “Level 3” designated country should immediately self-quarantine all family members for 14 days from the date of arrival or contact. As indicated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)), “Level 3” travel advisories are currently in place for China, Iran, South Korea, Japan and most of Europe. At “Level 2” is the rest of the world. Remember, if you decide to self-quarantine, please contact your child’s teachers, division director or the Head of School.
Please be reminded that the most effective way to stay healthy and minimize the spread of infectious disease is for every child and adult at school, at home and in the community to follow basic health best practices:
● Enforcing great hygiene, like washing hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and covering up coughs/sneezes
● Avoid touching one’s mouth, nose, eyes or face
● Ensuring all faculty, staff, and students stay at home until fully recovered if feeling ill (minimum 24 hours fever free)
● Practicing social distancing: consider remaining 6 feet apart from others, avoid shaking hands, and avoid kissing each other on cheeks when we greet and take leave.
As detailed in my last communication #3 dated March 6, 2020, our dedicated custodial team continues with intensified cleaning and disinfecting protocols on campus:
•They are using a CDC-recommended light bleach solution that is sprayed as a mist on all regularly touched surfaces as part of nightly cleaning.
•Visual color posters indicating how to properly do hand-washing are posted in all classrooms and bathrooms across campus. Hand sanitizer and non-chemically dangerous sanitizing wipes are available in all classrooms, at all lunch areas and used regularly by students and teachers.
•Messages are regularly sent from the Head of School to the faculty and staff reminding them to remind all children to regularly and thoroughly wash their hands at school throughout the day (as well as their own hands).
Links to Consult
Helpful links to consult that have been shared in previous communications:
As stated in our previous communications, we are committed to providing you with clear, timely information. I will provide another update by day’s end tomorrow at latest.
If you would like to discuss your family’s circumstances or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact a division director or me. In times like this, as I’ve stated previously, we are truly grateful for the strength and togetherness of our community.
Mark E. Rosenblum, Head of School and the SDFAS Covid–19 Emergency Response Team
Mark’s email: email@example.com