Dear Saklan Community,
Below you will find a letter that was scheduled to be delivered prior to the Governor’s news conference today. As you most likely know, all schools in Contra Costa County are to be closed until the “numbers” improve. While Saklan had every intention of opening in person on August 19th, that now does not look possible. The COVID-19 Task Force and Board will be meeting over the next several days and we will communicate with more specifics by the end of next week. Please take a moment to read the information below as it still pertains to specifics of our reopening. When Contra Costa County does receive the green light, Saklan will be immediately ready to have every child on campus every day. Thank you for your continued support and patience.
Dear Saklan Community,
I know it has only been a week since you have heard from me, but the COVID-19 Task Force believes that with such a changing landscape, shorter weekly communications with more timely information is a better approach. We will work to keep these emails brief but informative while also being judicious with any other communications coming out of the School.
The two things that are constant with the pandemic are change and unpredictability. Six weeks ago, we were having conversations about starting school earlier in the summer because of a predicted surge in late fall. Today, while still working hard to be ready for in-person learning on August 19th, we are keeping an eye on current trends and considering what impact they may have for in-person learning. Tangentially, I want to use this opportunity to please encourage all families, faculty, and staff to limit exposures (and travel) for two weeks (14 days) before returning to campus.
Task Force Updates
Batching, Monitoring and Reducing Time and Exposure
The community’s health and safety is our top priority, and we continue to monitor information from the county, state, CDC, and other health organizations. When working towards keeping everyone safe, we are following an approach of “batching, monitoring, and reducing time & exposure.”
In brief, what that means is that we will keep groups small, continually monitor our population for health and hygiene, and reduce the amount of time students, staff, and teachers are in “close” proximity to each other.
In practical terms, what that means is:
Batching: students will be in small, physically distanced cohorts that will not mix with other cohorts. Classes will stay in the same room, while the teachers are coming to them.
Monitoring: We will be screening children before they come on to campus (while also asking parents to do the same) for any sign of illness. We have set up isolation rooms for anyone in our community that develops symptoms during the school day. We will meet or exceed CDC guidelines for cleaning of campus throughout the day, while also implementing hand washing schedules for students.
Reducing time and exposure: Classrooms will be arranged with six feet between students, thus reducing “close contact.” According to CDC guidelines, close contact is being nearer than six feet to another individual for more than 15 minutes. Ventilation inside classrooms is being increased, and over 2000 sq ft of outdoor learning space is being developed.
Thank you to those who filled in the transportation survey. I want to make a couple of follow-up points that came up in the survey. The Orinda Van service will be discontinued as we need to focus on having all available staff members on campus each morning (we do hope to restart it as soon as possible). Also, there were questions about the fee increase; please see the FAQs for an explanation.
Entering and Exiting School
As part of the screening process, we will have several check-in points for students to enter school. Parents will need to be with their children when they drop them off, and parent and visitor access to campus will be restricted. It is quite likely that the parking lot will be blocked, and families will need to park and walk their children to campus. We will have dismissal times staggered by 10 minutes. More details coming.
How to Get Your Student Ready for Fall
There have been a lot of questions from parents regarding how they can get their students ready to return to campus (fingers crossed) this August. Here are some things to think about.
Due to the pandemic, our one-page calendar with all events has not been published yet. Please refer to this document for important dates. As always, our online calendar has the most current information.
Continue to check back with our FAQ page as we update it weekly; all updates will be marked. Also, visit our COVID-19 page for past communications and information.
Lastly, we are working diligently to ensure that students are able to safely come to campus in August. That said, we are also highly aware of the changing dynamics of the situation and that in-person learning may not be possible or a significant number of families may initially choose to do distance learning. While we have been focused on policies and procedures to get the campus ready for the students to safely return, we are shifting some of our focus to the other two scenarios and thinking of creative ways to tackle those problems. None of this would be possible without the fantastic support we have received from teachers, committee members and families.
Be well and wear a mask, :)