WHPS Blog

COVID-Times - WHPS Weekly Update 12/23/2020

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

WHPS families: 

I mean this in the nicest possible way, and I know many of us are tired of hearing it...but there is absolutely no room for bending the gathering or travel rules right now.

We seriously advise everyone to reconsider any plans that could expose your family and the school.  If you are spending time with people who don't live in your home or traveling, we are not judging, but you must quarantine for 14-days before returning to school. 

AVOIDING A SCHOOL SHUTDOWN

Essential services such as schools and grocery stores are starting to see outbreaks, where this was not commonly happening before. I am appealing to everyone, as hard as this is, please do not put us in the difficult position of potentially exposing the community, having to send children home, and potentially having to terminate your services for breaking the guidelines. An outbreak at WHPS could mean a two-week school shutdown for the whole school, let alone risk to the health and safety of your class family group. 

POTENTIAL SHORT-TERM CLASS CLOSURES

We have been working tirelessly since June to ensure the most seamless school year possible. This includes working with families on how to be safe off campus and continuous hiring of qualified substitute teachers, while meeting the many staffing COVID-19 guidelines and limitations. However, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it is possible that we may exhaust our available staff, and families need to be prepared for potential classroom closures and switching to remote learning.

Weekly Update: 12/23/2020

LA COUNTY COVID METRICS


We remain in the most restrictive Tier 1 (widespread)

  • SOCAL ICU capacity = 0% (leading to potentially rationed care)
  • Hospital capacity currently going to COVID patient care = 75%
  • LA County has surpassed 600K cases (up from 500K in an 8 day period)
  • New COVID-19 cases per day per 100K: 106 (doubled in past 2 weeks)
  • Adjusted case rate per 100K: 53 (doubled in past 2 weeks)
  • Positivity rate: 14.3% (up from 11.4% last week and from just 3% in October)
  • Health equity positivity rate:  20.3% (up from 17% last week)
  • Hospitalizations: 5,866 (up from 4,864 last week)

 QUARANTINE UPDATES - Alert WHPS immediately of any of the following:


  • 14 Day Quarantine Required for:
    • Any non-household gatherings
    • Travel (including travel within CA - e.g. Northern California)
    • 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'tt wait for the positive test result before quarantining from household members.

 CLASS & CAMPUS NOTIFICATIONS - You will always be notified if:


  • A positive case is reported in your class/on campus (where the individual was presumed to have been positive while on campus)
  • A possible exposure to someone testing positive for COVID-19 is reported in your class
  • Someone in your class has developed a symptom that can be synonymous with possible COVID-19 infection (cough, fever, diarrhea, vomiting)

 

VACCINE FAQs

Vaccines are rolling out; even some WHPS parents who are essential healthcare workers have begun to get vaccinated. It appears that teachers will receive priority in the next phase (1B), but some details are still being worked out by DPH. Because children are at lower risk of serious complications from COVID-19, they may be among the last to receive the vaccine. What does all this mean for schools? 


SUBMIT YOUR VACCINE QUESTIONS

We will be sharing answers to some of the most common school-related COVID-19 vaccine questions in next week's newsletter. Submit your questions for our expert panel to review and answer. Watch for a full list of FAQs next week. 

 

SCHOOL NEWS

 

Registration is now open for fall 2021:

Thank you for your continued support and happy holidays!

Seth Pozzi

Head of School

COVID-Times - WHPS Weekly Update 12/18/2020

Written by Seth Pozzi on .

WHPS families: 

Christmas and New Year's holidays begin less than a week from now. Los Angeles and much of the country are now dealing with the ramifications of Thanksgiving gatherings: We Need Everyone's Help
We need to be serious about protecting each other and safeguarding the WHPS community; this is not a time to travel, gather, or bend the rules. If you do any of these things, you must plan for a 14-day quarantine before returning to school. The post-gathering quarantine is not required by law, but it is required by WHPS right now if you are returning to school in person. 
 
Be Prepared for Potential Short-Term Class Closures
We have been working tirelessly since June 2020 to ensure as seamless a school year as possible for the children. This has included working with families on how to be safe off campus and continuous hiring of qualified substitute teachers, while meeting the many staffing COVID-19 guidelines and limitations. However, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it is possible that we may exhaust our available staff, and we ask that families be prepared for potential classroom closures and switching to remote learning.
 
Top questions addressed in this post:
  • How bad are things looking?
  • What is the current travel, gathering, and exposure quarantine guidance?
  • When might teachers get vaccinated? 
  • What about children?
  • Will the vaccine be required?
Weekly Update: 12/18/2020
LA COUNTY COVID METRICS. We remain in the most restrictive Tier 1 (widespread)
  • Southern California remaining ICU capacity = 0%
  • 1 in 80 LA County residents has COVID & IS INFECTING OTHERS 
    • Doubled since Thanksgiving
    • 10x October numbers
  • New COVID-19 cases per day per 100K84.4 (up from 41.8 from last week)
    • Last week: 12,819 daily cases
    • 2 weeks ago: 7,854 daily cases
    • 14,418 total daily cases on 12/17
    • 1,745 health care worker cases (up 2x from last week)
  • Adjusted case rate per 100K: 42.2 cases (up from 26.9 last week)
  • Positivity rate: 11.4%
  • Health equity positivity rate:  17.0% 
  • Hospitalizations: 4,864 (up from 3,433 last week)
QUARANTINE UPDATES - Alert WHPS immediately of any of the following:
  • 14 Day Quarantine Required for:
    • Any non-household gatherings
    • Travel (including travel within CA - e.g. Northern California)
    • 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.
VACCINE - SCHOOL BRIEFING 12/17/20
DPH said it's their extreme hope that by fall 2021, there will be enough people vaccinated (75-85% of population) that we may have herd immunity. This would interrupt community transmission, and it could look more like normal times.  
  • Best Estimate: Widely available to the public in late spring or early summer.

WHAT WE KNOW NOW

  • LA County has received 82,875K doses (Pfizer) this week (each person needs 2 doses).
  • Another allocation will come later this month; we don't know how many doses but expect ongoing flow.
  • They are establishing processes to ensure fair and equitable distribution.
  • Vaccinations will begin rolling out in phases (more info. coming soon)
    • 1st Phase - 1A (tiered by risk level)
      • Healthcare workers 
      • Long term care residents
    • 2nd Phase - 1B (essential workers - very large group)
      • Education/childcare
        • Teachers expected to get priority
        • Not yet clear if it would be required
      • EMS providers
      • Food/agriculture/sanitation
    • 3rd Phase - 1C (1/3 of the adult population)
      • Other high-risk groups (65+ and certain health conditions)
    • Children (prioritized below most adults due to lower risk of serious complications) 
      • Will be studied as vaccines roll out
      • In the meantime: masks & distancing!
    • We will be sharing any additional vaccine FAQs next week.
SCHOOL NEWS

WINTER SHOWS & TALENT SHOW

If all the news and restrictions have you feeling a little down, this will definitely warm your heart and end your week on a high note! Watch the show for your child's division or watch them all. Download a copy to keep forever or click the link from your phone or tablet to view. Enjoy!

Thank you for your continued support.

Head of School 

COVID-Times - WHPS Weekly Update 12/4/2020

Written by Seth Pozzi on .

WHPS families:

The pandemic situation is as hopeful as it’s been all year and as grim as it’s been all year at the same time. Vaccines are clearly on the horizon, but the pandemic is surging, and we need to continue to work together to keep the school community safe. Thanks in advance for reviewing and complying with all guidance below.

CRITICALLY IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Until further notice, do NOT travel outside the region (regardless of transport method or accommodations) or gather indoors or outdoors with anyone who does not live in your home.
  • These weekly emails supersede any previous guidance.
  • We are always available to help you through any COVID-19 questions you may have.

The safety of our community and our integrity and credibility are not negotiable. 

  • If you gather, travel, or have a playdate, even outside, you can only return to school after quarantining 14 days from the last exposure. (Resource: Safer at Home Order). 
  • All families signed an agreement for the 2020-2021 school year to comply with all local, county, state, and CDC orders, recommendations, and guidance/guidelines in an effort to protect their Class Family Groups and the WHPS Community.
  • If a family is found to not be following the current guidance/guidelines/restrictions, it will result in immediate quarantine/suspension, or termination.

Weekly Update: 12/3/2020

LA COUNTY COVID METRICS

We remain in the most restrictive Tier 1 (widespread)

  • New COVID-19 cases per day per 100K40.3 (up from 31.9 last week)
    • 7,854 total cases (12/2)
    • 747 health care worker cases (12/2) - 71% increase
  • Adjusted case rate per 100K:  20.2 (up from 16.0 last week)
  • Positivity rate:  7.0% (up from 6.6% last week)
  • Equity rate:  N/A
  • Hospitalizations: 3,433 (up 86% since the beginning of November

CDC QUARANTINE GUIDANCE 

  • CDC released alternative guidance of 7-10 day quarantine.
  • According to CDC: “CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus.”
  • The new guidance is meant to lessen stress on the public health system, especially when trying to get healthcare and other essential workers back to work when new infections are rapidly rising.
  • DPH advised schools to continue to follow 14 day quarantine at this time.

SCHOOL REMINDERS

IMMEDIATELY REPORT TO WHPS

FEVER  ◌  DIARRHEA  ◌  NEW COUGH  ◌  VOMITING  ◌  COVID INFECTION or EXPOSURE

  • DON’T WAIT - CALL OR EMAIL SCHOOL SAME DAY - IMMEDIATELY

(we track all symptoms, date of onset, date of exposure, test dates, etc.)

  • Child with COVID-like symptoms either needs a COVID test or an alternative diagnosis from the doctor.
  • We contact trace, determine next steps, send appropriate notice(s) and information.

Also report runny nose, and keep children home. If a child’s nose is running, they cannot safely wear their mask (runny nose with NO other symptoms does not require COVID test).

TK & K APPLICATIONS - DUE DECEMBER 4

  • TK and Kindergarten early applications due December 4 (accepted as late as Monday, December 7)
  • Over 4-times typical number of applications, waitlist is starting MUCH earlier
  • Admission Page (Application Forms)

Thank you for your continued support.

Seth Pozzi

Head of School

COVID-Times - WHPS Weekly Update 12/11/2020

Written by Seth Pozzi on .

WHPS families:

The COVID surge is very concerning, and the level of community spread means we are likely to have some exposures or cases that touch the WHPS community. There has been no known case of transmission from one person to another at school, and at this time we are exercising a lot of extra caution on campus with regard to physical distancing, limiting cross-contact, and keeping students and staff outdoors as much as possible. We are also asking for a renewed commitment from parents not to let “COVID fatigue” set in.

MOST COMMON QUESTION WE ARE GETTING

  1. Has the 14-day quarantine guidance changed based on updates from CDC?
  2. We mentioned this in last week's email, but the short answer is:

As of now, DPH has not changed the 14 day quarantine guidance for schools. 14 days matches COVID-19’s incubation period of 2-14 days.  If anyone participates in a gathering with people they don’t live with (including playdates) indoors or outdoors or any non-essential travel, DPH has asked schools to treat that as an exposure and follow up with a 14 day quarantine. As soon as there are any changes to the guidance or timeline, we will notify you.

Weekly Update: 12/11/2020

LA COUNTY COVID METRICS

We remain in the most restrictive Tier 1 (widespread)

  • New COVID-19 cases per day per 100K41.8 (up 31% from 2 weeks ago)
    • 12,819 total daily cases (increased over 267% since beginning of November)
      • Last week: 7,854 daily cases
      • 2 weeks ago: just over 5,000 daily cases
    • 1,745 health care worker cases (up 133% from just 2 weeks ago)
  • Adjusted case rate per 100K: 26.9 cases (up 68% from 2 weeks ago)
  • Positivity rate: 8.7% (up 129% since beginning of November)
  • Hospitalizations: 3,433 (up 213% since beginning of November)

SAFER AT HOME ORDERS - THROUGH DECEMBER 27

  • LA County updated the Safer at Home order to align more closely with state directives, including but not limited to:
    • LA County residents are being asked to stay home, except for essential activities and outdoor exercise, only with people who live in your household.
    • Gatherings of any size with persons who don’t live in your home are notpermitted.
    • Personal care establishments closed; strict limits on capacity of essential business.

SCHOOL REMINDERS

IMMEDIATELY REPORT TO WHPS

FEVER  -  DIARRHEA  -  NEW COUGH  -  VOMITING  -  COVID INFECTION or EXPOSURE

  • DON’T WAIT - CALL OR EMAIL SCHOOL SAME DAY - IMMEDIATELY

(we track all symptoms, date of onset, date of exposure, test dates, etc.)

  • Child with COVID-like symptoms either needs a COVID test or an alternative diagnosis from the doctor.
  • We contact trace, determine next steps, send appropriate notice(s) and information.

 Also report runny nose, and keep children home. If a child’s nose is running, they cannot safely wear their mask (runny nose with NO other symptoms does not require COVID test).

WINTER SHOW & TALENT SHOW - RELEASE 12/18

We are doing our very best to make school in COVID-times fun and engaging, while still sprinkling in the special and unique aspects of WHPS with safety in mind. 

Next week, I am excited to share with you the preschool winter shows and elementary virtual talent show, which have been recorded with COVID safety in mind. As someone who’s gotten to see behind the scenes, they’re so sweet and special. Watch for an email on Friday, December 18 with a link to view at home. Elementary will have viewing parties for the students during school on Friday.  

Thank you for your continued support.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Head of School

Elementary Division FAQs - 2020-2021

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

We have summarized some of the common parent questions about what to expect this year in "COVID times." While of course we are subject to any new orders from government and health officials, here are some FAQs based on what we know at this time. We hope it will answer many of your questions.

Q. Is school open for in person instruction?

  • TK-3rd grade is open in person for regular school, 5 full days/week.
  • 4th-5th grade should be able to reopen in person once LA County gets to "Tier 2" according to the state COVID-19 metrics. 
  • TK-3rd grade families have the choice to be on distance learning or in person, based on their family's preference (e.g. higher-risk family members at home).

Q. How comprehensive is distance learning?

Distance learning includes LIVE daily instruction throughout the morning in SEL, Math, Reading, Writing, and Phonics. In the afternoon, specialist classes are also taught live: Spanish, Music, PE, Technology, Art, Animal & Nature Studies.

Here is an example of the elementary distance learning schedule (all BLUE classes are taught live).

Q. How are we keeping students, families and staff safe at school?

This is not an exhaustive list, but here are some key safety guidelines:

    • Face Coverings - REQUIRED FOR EVERYONE ON CAMPUS 
    • Class Family Groups - A static group of no more than 16 students with one teacher. The children in each group will learn, eat, play and have specialist classes together but may not physically mingle with others on campus. 
    • Outdoor Learning Spaces - COVID-19 is much less likely to spread outdoors. We have added additional sheltered outdoor learning spaces with clear partitions between students and new portable classrooms that are fully heated/cooled and can be open-air on nice days. 
    • Visitor Restrictions - Health officials currently recommend that parents use rolling drop off and do not get out of their vehicles at school. 
    • Physical Distancing - Enforced through Interactive Modeling and gentle reminders.
    • Scheduled Hand Washing (and of course as needed)
    • Temperature & Symptom Screening - Anyone coming on campus will be screened for a fever or symptoms. 
    • Sick Policy - Anyone coming on campus must be symptom free (fever, diarrhea, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose) for 24 hours without medication. Out of an abundance of caution, staff/students will need to go home immediately if symptoms occur at school. 
    • COVID-19 Testing - We ask that all families and students get tested before returning to school and to follow all public health guidelines to protect the health and safety of everyone in our Class Family Group.
    • "The COVID Times" - We share a weekly community update every Friday with updates to the guidelines and restrictions. All families and staff must follow these in order to attend school in person. 

Q. Are all the special area classes (Spanish, Music, Art, PE, Science/Social Studies, Animal & Nature Studies, Tech-Lab) still happening? 

Yes. Specialist classes are happening, but students may not go to the Art Studio, Computer Lab, etc. This is to avoid having multiple Class Family Groups cycle through a shared learning space. Most specialist classes are being taught outdoors. We have also expanded 1:1 devices for every student in grades 1-5 so each student has a dedicated device (laptop, Chromebook, iPad, depending on grade). Some special area classes may be taught through Zoom - into the classrooms.

Q. What about after school classes like Mandarin, Team Sports, Robotics, Art, Drama, Cooking, Speech & Debate, etc.?

These classes are temporarily on hold. Because the current guidelines and best practices suggest keeping students in static groups and not mixing, after school classes are temporarily suspended until we are able to mix or combine groups. We plan to bring these classes back as soon as it's safe. 

Q. I saw that when WHPS reopened in June, campus is now open 8am-5pm. Will you go back to 7am-6pm in the fall?

We know families rely on us for childcare, and we will do everything we can to get back to 7-6 as soon as possible. The reduced hours are primarily because of the strict cohorting requirements (we can't mix students from different Class Family Groups). We will resume normal hours when the cohorting requirement is lifted.     

Q. What if there is another temporary closure?

  • The Class Family Group structure and preventative measures now in place should help us prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in the school community. The procedures we now have in place are based on the guidelines for childcare centers that stayed open during March-May
  • If we do have a temporary closure this year, it may only impact one classroom or certain classrooms. 

Q. Will tuition be discounted if there is another temporary closure next year?

  • We are sensitive to the financial impact even a short-term temporary closure has on families. As much as we do understand these costs for parents, the cost of staffing and running school doesn't change for us if we are temporarily on distance learning. If there is a longer closure or further intensified pandemic, our board will evaluate the situation at that time, but there are no guarantees that we could discount tuition and still continue to have a viable program. We really appreciate families understanding and making sure you are ready to make the annual commitment when you sign on for our program. And, in return, we are committed to offering a high quality program, with or without a temporary closure. 

Q. What else should I know?

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