COVID-Times - WHPS Weekly Update 1/8/2021

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

WHPS families:

As we brace for the impact and potential disruptions of this surge in January 2021, we need everyone to follow strict restrictions on travel and gatherings. At this time, many preschools are struggling to avoid closures as cases outside school grounds rapidly increase. Very few elementary schools are able to provide a full five day program for their families. Our goal is to continue to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and families and to do our very best to continue providing on campus learning. 

This week, the LA County Health Department stated:

“The anticipated surge from winter holiday gatherings has now begun and tens of thousands of people are paying the price with new COVID-19 infections. We are likely to experience the worst conditions in January that we have faced the entire pandemic.”

Many families and staff have made great sacrifices to keep classes and school open. Therefore, if you choose to travel or gather, please do not compromise others’ access to childcare and respect the rest of the WHPS community and quarantine for 14 days. If there is a case in which someone does not properly quarantine, services will be suspended, and tuition will not be adjusted.


The state has changed their recommendation for schools, now asking families and staff to pursue weekly testing. At the same time, DPH noted that testing facilities are strained, and they will be adding additional mobile sites in LA County. 

We know the burden of taking time to get tested every week is significant, and we have been working with other other area schools and doctors on a potential on-site testing program for saliva swabs. We hope to launch the pilot program soon, but there is a lot of work to get it set up and ramp up testing frequency, including gathering and inputting all of your insurance information, having every family participate in a brief telehealth visit on Zoom, and WHPS manually ordering each test individually. You will not be required to use our system, but in the meantime we ask all families to get your household tested every 1-2 weeks if you are here for on campus learning. You should be able to do this through the free county sites. 


Class Shutdown

  • An individual in the Class Family Group tests positive for COVID-19 and was on campus.
  • Staffing limitations
  • Staff vaccinations
  • Launch of Testing Pilot Program - Plan for possible 2 week elementary class/school shutdown and distance learning (see below).

School Shutdown

  • Elementary - 3 or more epidemiologically linked cases are reported to DPH and elementary school shuts down for 14 days.
  • Preschool - DPH reviews 3 or more epidemiologically linked cases and determines if a class shutdown or school shutdown is required.


Weekly Health Department Update: 1/7/2020


We remain in the most restrictive Tier 1 (widespread)

  • SOCAL ICU capacity = 0% (rationed care)
  • New COVID-19 cases per day
    • Total: 19,719 (1/7/21)
    • Per 100K: 107.9
  • Adjusted case rate per 100K: 65.8
  • Positivity rate: 17.8%
  • Health equity positivity rate:  25.0%
  • Hospitalizations: 8,098 (up from 6,914 last week)
  • Deaths per day: 309 (1/8/21) (up from around 13 in November)


  • 14 Day Quarantine Required for:
    • Any non-household gatherings
    • Travel (including any travel outside LA County)
    • Known exposure (being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period)
  • 10 Day Quarantine Required for:
    • Confirmed COVID positive individuals
  • Symptoms:
    • Quarantine/Isolate immediately if you develop COVID-like symptoms.  Don’t wait for the positive test result before quarantining from household members.

We were briefed by DPH this week on plans for school staff vaccinations. They hope to finish vaccinating healthcare workers this month, and school staff have top priority for the next phase, hopefully beginning in February. DPH does not intend to send teams out to school sites to do vaccinations. Among other reasons, with the caseloads so high, they do not want to drive any additional traffic on to school sites.
Pharmacies, clinics, and county run sites are preparing to begin vaccinating teachers and school staff. DPH will be launching an online scheduling system, which is not ready yet. This means staff will be making appointments at various times. We will do everything we can to limit the disruption to classrooms, but this will take priority and may cause some temporary closures. Please be prepared and be patient with us.
Potential Side Effects: Early indications are that side effects tend to occur more in younger people (under 45) due to their having more robust immune systems. It is apparently the opposite of when they get COVID-19, to where younger people experience mostly mild symptoms or are asymptomatic. If any staff develop a fever or do not feel well enough to work, some may need to take 1-2 sick days after being vaccinated. 

Registration is now open for fall 2021:

Please continue to stay safe!

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