August 31, 2020
Good Evening OPA Families,
As many of you may have heard, Governor Newsom announced a new system for determining which counties can move forward with reopening plans. Under the new system, which is outlined below, Orange County has been placed in the highest risk level (purple), and therefore schools will not be able to reopen for any in-person instruction until 14 days after the OC has been moved to the next tier in the system (red).
How the Tier System Works
Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its rate of new cases and positivity. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. See the graphic below for a description of the tiers. However, for this first metric, those counties who meet the criteria for the next level on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, may move up without waiting the three weeks.
IMPORTANT Next Steps and What is Needed from Each OPA Family
We are continually monitoring the situation. However, in order to plan for a return to in-person instruction, we are asking that all families complete the Instructional Program Selection Survey for each OPA student. This survey must be completed by this Friday, September 4, 2020, by every parent/guardian, so that we can begin to plan for a return to in-person instruction for those families who wish to send their students back to campus.
COVID-19 and OPA
As we continue to plan, we are also assessing possible scenarios and safety precautions to update our School Reopening Planning Guide. These include how OPA will handle COVID-19 cases among staff, students, and families and modeling regarding the effects of exposure on in-person instruction. OPA will follow all state and CDC guidelines for in-person instruction, including quarantining any student or staff member who has a confirmed case of COVID-19 and those they have come in contact with. Additionally, according to the CDHP guidelines, school closure may be appropriate when there are multiple cases in multiple cohorts at a school or when at least 5 percent of the total number of teachers/student/staff are positive within a 14-day period. Therefore, before reopening, we want to try to mitigate the chances of OPA re-opening and closing back down multiple times throughout the year, in order to decrease the disruption and emotional effects on our students, staff, and all families.
Our modeling shows that with all safety precautions and guidelines in place, if a student attends in person classes at OPA while infected, he/she would be quarantined for 14 days, as well as the cohort he/she belongs to. If a teacher attends classes while infected, the teacher and both the AM and PM cohorts would need to be quarantined for 14 days. If a shared staff member (Saddleback Valley and South Orange County) attends classes or meets with students while infected, multiple cohorts and classes may need to be quarantined for 14 days at each school site. This could additionally result in the closure of one or both schools.
When this crisis first started, we stated that we would be as open and transparent with our OPA community as possible, while still maintaining the privacy of our staff and families. To that end, we must inform you that one of our OPA staff members has tested positive for COVID-19. This staff member has not had any contact with staff or students since last school year, and prior to being exposed to the virus this summer. Therefore, because we are currently conducting classes virtually, no OPA students of staff have been exposed to the virus by this staff member. However, we felt it important to let our community know that this virus is still affecting us, and we must all continue to remain diligent and follow all health and safety guidelines.
We will continue to inform you of any new developments. As always, thank you for your unwavering dedication and support of our OPA community. We will get through this together, and we will continue to provide our champions with the best possible educational experiences. Also, for OPA to plan appropriately, it is required that you please complete the Instructional Program Selection Survey by Friday, September 4, 2020. We must receive a response for each student this week. Have a wonderful week OPA!!!
The OPA Administrative Team