January 18, 2022
Dear OPA Families and Staff,
I hope that you all had a wonderful three-day weekend, celebrating the incredible contributions Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made to the Civil Rights Movement and the continuing efforts toward racial equality in the United States.
Sadly, last week also marked the highest positivity rate and daily average of positive cases for COVID-19 in Orange County since the start of the pandemic, currently 27.5% and 8,833, respectively. In addition, the Omicron Variant has led to dramatic increases in positivity and hospitalization rates among school aged children. Even at our two OPA campuses, positivity rates among students and staff have dramatically increased since the beginning of December and are at the highest rate since the pandemic began.
Therefore, we have decided to postpone our Open House Showcase events until March 9 for South Orange County and March 10 for Saddleback Valley. We feel that it is extremely important to have these events on campus so that parents, students, and staff can celebrate the amazing projects, activities, and learning experiences that have occurred at OPA this year. However, currently, it is not safe to have large numbers of people on campus. However, January 26 for SOC and January 27 for SV will still remain minimum days for students. More specific information about Open House will be shared by your champion’s Chancellor in the coming weeks.
Because of the large increase in COVID-19 cases, the CDPH is now recommending that everyone, including students, wear N95 masks or at the least, surgical masks, instead of cloth masks while in public. Although we are not currently mandating this, we are recommending that students and staff wear an upgraded mask. For more information about this recommendation and the effectiveness of various types of masks, visit California’s COVID-19 information page. Although N95 masks may not fit younger children, they are encouraged for older children. As of yesterday, small size N95 masks were available for purchase on Amazon. Please remember that all students must, at minimum, wear a 3-layer cloth mask that fits over the nose and mouth. Single-ply gators or cloth masks and masks with valves are not permitted.
In light of the increased cases on campus and in accordance with guidance from the Orange County Health Care Agency (OCHCA), OPA will be moving to a letter-based notification of close contacts at our schools, instead of individual phone calls. If your child is a close contact, you will receive a letter, via email, describing next steps. As some of you may have heard, at least one surrounding district will no longer be publishing a COVID-19 Dashboard. However, for transparency and to ensure parents have information necessary to make informed decisions regarding your champions, OPA will continue to post and regularly update our COVID-19 dashboard on our website. Please note, however, that the dashboard may not be updated every day, as our staff is prioritizing testing, contact tracing, and notification of positive cases and close contacts. But we will update it as frequently as possible.
Thank you all for your continued support of our OPA champions during this challenging time. Also, please remember to keep your champion home if he or she has any symptoms. Together, we can all help to ensure that everyone at OPA stays safe and healthy. Have a wonderful week.