March 23, 2020
As the number of COVID-19 cases increase in our region, ere are a few more resources to help those in need:
Shelter in Place Defined
Millions of people in Northern California were ordered to shelter in place— one of the strictest preventative measures utilized yet during the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order two days later telling people statewide to stay at home. What does that mean?
United Way Assists With Utilities and Housing Payments
United Way of San Diego County is offering emergency assistance to low-wage workers affected by pandemic-related layoffs or reduced working hours to help pay utility bills and housing payments. Click Here
San Diego Blood Bank Needs Donations –Click Here
There is a need for blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic – despite the stay at home order.
Families First Act
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. (Brief by Supervisor Kristin Gaspar) Click Here
March 20, 2020
In an unprecedented action that denotes a significant escalation in the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Gavin Newsom issued tonight new orders to stay home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus. Many parts of the state were already under ‘shelter in place’ or ‘safer at home’ orders, including the near-simultaneous order issued for all of Los Angeles County just minutes before the statewide order was issued, effective 11:59 TONIGHT.
This escalation of distancing measures are mandatory and there is no set timetable for lifting the orders. It is critically important that if we are to succeed in ‘flattening the curve’ of infection and morbidity, we need to do everything possible to follow public health directives.
These Executive Orders and guidance laid the tracks upon which all public schools can build a path to continued operations and supporting student learning in a way that stabilizes learning loss and provides for the social and emotional support of students in isolation over the long run. As distancing orders become stricter, it should become apparent that it is counter-productive and short-sighted to think of this crisis as a sequence of two-week periods where we hope orders will lift. This will only cause lurch and frustrated communications with staff and parents. It is better to begin to plan internally and calibrate external messaging under the assumption that on-site operations will not return to normal before the end of the year, and back map a plan accordingly, while reserving the option to return.
We know that there are still unanswered questions and forthcoming guidance on complex issues like Special Education. Rest assured, we are on it, researching, consulting and advocating in all the right places to find answers as quickly and completely as possible. The same can be said with the consequences of the suspension of testing for 2019-2020. Now that a ‘Stay at Home’ order has been issued, we anticipate that the variation of execution of guidance across local and regional jurisdictions may smooth out, and we can focus on the mid- to long-term challenges.
Staying aligned and in constant communication is more important than ever. Our teams are engaged to serve students and families remotely.
Thank you for all you do, even while navigating the intense personal disruptions to support your own families as you serve your students. I honor each and every one of you, and please stay safe.
March 19, 2020
With the closing of schools and businesses due to COVID-19, we understand many families are impacted. Many families work in the service industry, are single parents, or are unable to go to work and may lose wages. We want to make sure that families have access to the resources they need. Below, you will find resources to assist your family that may have been impacted by this unprecedented pandemic.
Employment, Unemployment, Childcare, Reduced Work Hours, Tax Assistance and Health Resources. Per Governor Newsom: California has waived the 1-week waiting period for those unemployed or disabled as a result of Covid – 19 Click Here
Relief Fund for food service workers who have lost work. This fund applies to restaurant workers, delivery drivers, bartenders and anyone that receives tips. Click Here
Utility Assistance- Click Here
Housing Assistance- Click Here
Mental Health Services- Click Here
North County Food Pantries- Click Here
Nutrition Resources – Click Here
State Department Information for Employees and Employers Click Here
Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance for Businesses, Private Non Profits, Homeowners, and Renters. Click Here
Small Business Development Center– Survival Guide for Small Business – Click Here
City of San Diego Business Relief and Support – Click Here
March 18, 2020
Special Announcement: School Closure Update
Governor Newsom said: “Let me be candid, and this is a very sober thing to say, and I cannot say this with certainty, but I can say this quite learnedly, don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week, don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a few weeks… I would plan and assume that it is unlikely that many of these schools will open before the summer break.”
The team at The Classical Academies is currently working to ensure that each of our students will be receiving high quality education opportunities when we return from Spring Break. We understand that this statement from the governor is troubling, jarring, and frankly overwhelming. We understand as parents ourselves, this is unprecedented in our lifetime and getting our hands around this in a few hours is not possible.
What I know to be true is that The Classical Academies are uniquely positioned to service our students well, because that is what we do well. Will our team be stretched, will we be questioning our abilities, all the while relying on each other more than ever to meet our community’s expectations? Absolutely! One thing that I have learned over the years is that together greatness happens. The partnership we share with families is the catalyst to making great things happen for our students daily.
In the days and short weeks ahead, until we enter Spring Break, you have our undivided attention to launching our distance learning program that will include several elements to support each student to achieve their personal success. In the meantime, every teacher is engaged, available, and wanting to help you. Don’t shy away from reaching out now to get support or encouragement.
We are here for you and know that we will be successful together. We are not called to easy, we are called to fulfill our place in history so that our sons and daughters rise to become better thinkers,
communicators, and achievers in such a time as this.
March 13, 2020
Important Update: School Closure
In consultation with the Department of Health, The Classical Academies will be closed Monday, March 16, 2020 through Monday, April 6, 2020. This organizational closure will be followed by Spring Break Monday, April 6, 2020 through Friday, April 10, 2020. This means that our organization will be closed for a period of 20 days. Our plan is to be back in session on Monday, April 13, 2020.
We understand that this will be upsetting to some and comforting to others. This school closure will impact all sports, musical theater, and extracurricular activities. All of these activities will be suspended.
This important move is to support families and align with growing concerns regarding contact with the COVID-19 Coronavirus. During our school closure, our team will be disconnected taking care of their families and themselves. We desire that all families continue to engage in learning and we will be sharing great learning ideas next week that will be relevant for your son and daughter. Is this required? No, however, we know the importance of maintaining normality for our students and including daily learning we believe is important.
Thank you for being part of our community, caring about one another, and being people who value a meaningful and engaged partnership with The Classical Academies.
Remember, stay safe, wash your hands, eat well, and get to bed on time! Your health is important to us all.
March 11, 2020
News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the playground at school. Many parents are wondering how to talk about this national health conversation in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. With parent training and providing information at the heart of our program, here is some advice from the experts at the Child Mind Institute that may be relevant for you in speaking with your son or daughter.
- Don’t be afraid to discuss the Coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. “You take on the news and you’re the person who filters the news to your kid,” explains Janine Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news.
- Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
- Take your cues from your child. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the Coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
- Deal with your own anxiety. “When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that is not the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the Coronavirus,” warns Dr. Domingues. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
- Be reassuring. Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the Coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child about how rare the Coronavirus actually is (the flu is much more common) and that kids actually seem to have milder symptoms.
- Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe. An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Jamie Howard, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, notes, “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” We know that mostly coughing and touching surfaces transmit the coronavirus. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If kids ask about facemasks, explain that the experts at the CDC say they aren’t necessary for most people. If kids see people wearing facemasks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
- Stick to routine. “We don’t like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be helpful right now,” advises Dr. Domingues. This is particularly important if your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during a spring break or summer vacation. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
- Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more. “Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open,” says Dr. Domingues. “You can say, ‘Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, mom or dad will let you know, too.’”
March 09, 2020
We continue to monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in San Diego County. Our efforts to review announcements from the State, regional officials, and the San Diego County Health Department is happening daily. Just this weekend, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued a 6-page School Guidance document for all public schools to review. We are using all of this information to drive key decisions and keep our community informed as a result.
We remain vigilant regarding prevention and would ask that families do the same.
- If your student is sick, please keep them home from school.
- If your student has respiratory symptoms and fever of greater than 100 degrees, they should stay home from school and other activities until they have no fever for 24 hours without fever medication.
- In addition, if your student has a severe productive cough (i.e., with respiratory droplets) that is not typical for them, they should stay home.
- If you feel your student may have or has been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your doctor immediately.
- Families that have traveled internationally in the past month and returned from a known infection zone are asked by the CDC to self-quarantine and to not come to school. If this is your family, please inform your school principal immediately.
Campus Cleaning: In an effort to prevent the spread of germs, our teams will be wiping down all desks, work areas, and door handles after school each day. Due to a bio-hazard concern, we do not use Clorox wipes when students are present. For all Chromebooks, we do use Lysol wipes on each device to ensure their cleanliness. In addition, we encourage and allow students and team members to wash their hands during the day. We are also working with our campus janitorial crews to ensure that each campus gets a daily deeper clean with more emphasis on heavily trafficked areas. Stay Informed: We encourage you to stay informed of the situation by regularly checking updates from San Diego County Public Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). You can support prevention efforts by following these standard precautionary measures:
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60%) when soap is not available.
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when sick and call your school to report fever and respiratory symptoms.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
- Continue to receive an annual flu shot.
Parent Choice: Our core belief as an organization is that parents are the primary educator of their children. We know that some may want to keep their students at home during this time and we respect that decision. If that is the case for your family, please connect with your son’s or daughter’s teachers so that they are aware and can be supportive. Families exercising this choice should plan to complete schoolwork so that your son or daughter is engaged in learning and meeting expectations while not on a school campus. If you have recently moved, changed your cell phone number or email address, please contact the school to ensure that we have your most up-to-date emergency contact information for your family. You can do that by emailing the registrar at email@example.com. Please include the specific school name so that the right person reviews your records and responds accordingly.
School Closures: Our parents should begin to think about the real possibility the Governor may issue guidance to close schools regionally or statewide. We are watching this happen in other parts of the country and believe that it is only a matter of time before it happens here in North San Diego County. As our team prepares for that scenario during a school closure, families should be prepared to have students at home full time. What you can expect from us is not to embrace fear, be wise in our decision-making, all the while checking multiple sources before forming opinions and sharing information. As we have all witnessed, this is a rapidly shifting situation and we want to be in a place of supporting families during an unprecedented time in our country. Be assured, we will be sending updates and sharing information that we believe will be of benefit to you and your family.
March 06, 2020
How to Talk To Your Kids About Coronavirus
By Deborah Farmer Kris, KPBS
Earlier this week, I overheard my kids engaged in a round of “I heard” and “Did you know?” while they were getting ready for bed.
“I heard that Margaret’s dad has it,” said my six-year-old.
“Did you know that it’s the worst sickness ever?” added my eight-year-old.
Neither statement is accurate, but they were revealing: I had thought my initial conversations with my kids about COVID-19 had been good enough. But with adults, kids at school and the news all hyper-focused on this coronavirus outbreak, my reassuring voice needed to be a little louder.
A favorite Mister Rogers’ quote ran through my mind: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”
So before lights out, we talked. I asked what they had heard about the coronavirus. We got it all out — their questions, their “I heards” and their fears. The rest of the conversation had three themes.
First, I shared age-appropriate facts and corrected misinformation. Because my kids are young, I kept it simple. “You know what it’s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? This is kind of like that. Most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get all better. And we have wonderful doctors and nurses who can help people when they need it.”
Second, I reassured them that they are safe, which is the most important message my kids can hear from me. I know that they take their emotional cues from my tone. “You don’t need to worry. Right now, lots of amazing grown ups are working hard to keep people healthy. Luckily, we already know a lot about how to keep healthy!”
Third, I emphasized simple things our family can do to be “germ busters” — for all types of germs that are out there! As Harvard’s Dr. Richard Weissbourd once shared with me, kids and adults alike are “more distressed when we feel helpless and passive, and more comfortable when we are taking action.” The hygiene routines that slow the spread of the COVID-19 are the same habits that help keep us healthy all year round.
Here are four ways we can help young kids build germ-busting habits.
Wash Your Hands
Make it a family routine before every meal and snack to wash hands. If you do it together, you can model for them how to use soap, rub your hands together and rinse. For a timer, try slowly singing the ABCs together while you scrub. In Curious George, the Man with the Yellow Hat has a cold.He teaches George how germs can move from person to person and that’s important to wash your hands and avoid sharing utensils. Good hand washers, like Daniel Tiger, are germ busters!
Catch that Cough
When kids cough or sneeze, they tend to do it right into their hands — and then they use those hands to touch everything in sight! Instead, we can cough and sneeze into our elbow
Make it a game with kids. Can they catch the cough in their elbow? In the beginning, cheer when they do: “You caught it! That’s what germ busters do!” If they accidentally “catch it in their hands,” they can simply wash their hands with soap and water and start the game again.
“Rest is Best”
Daniel Tiger reminds us that “When you’re sick, rest is best!” This is a good episode to show kids and a great song to sing when they are feeling under the weather. Tell them: When we are sick, we can stay home and rest our bodies; we can be germ busters by not spreading germs or going to school sick. And as parents, we can keep ourselves and our kids home if we have a fever or other symptoms.
Practice Healthy Habits
Remind kids that sleep, exercise and eating healthy foods are good, everyday ways to strengthen our bodies. We will all get sick sometimes! They have probably already had at least one cold this season. But we can be responsible germ busters when we practice hand-washing, cough-catching, resting and basic healthy living.
Looking for more easy, helpful tools to practice healthy habits with your children?
Check out these PBS KIDS videos, games and activities all about hand washing and staying healthy.
February 10, 2020
The 2019 novel coronavirus is a virus that was recently identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and is now being spread widely in other parts of mainland China. More cases are being detected worldwide. The virus causes respiratory illness. You can learn more at the California Department of Public Health page.
The risk of exposure to this new coronavirus is low in California. Local health departments are communicating with travelers returning from mainland China to provide guidance about limiting public interactions for 14 days. Travelers from mainland China arriving in the United States since February 3, 2020 should be excluded from school for 14 days, beginning the day after they left China.
Here is the CDC guidance on returning travelers: Click Here
All students, parents, and staff should take the following everyday preventive actions:
- Stay home when sick
- Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines
- Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe
- Use “respiratory etiquette”
- Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve
- Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans
- Wash hands frequently
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.
- Separate those who are sick from others until they can go home. When feasible, identify a “sick room” through which others do not regularly pass.
A note about face masks: face masks are most useful for preventing disease spread when they are worn by people who have symptoms. This is why people are asked to wear a mask at doctors’ offices and hospitals if they are coughing or sneezing.