Home About Us COVID-19 Response
Park Day School has created this page as a resource for our community, with links to school communications about COVID-19. Currently all in-person learning is cancelled, as are all events. Content posted here will be updated regularly, although ParentSquare remains the primary means of communication for our school community. Questions? Please contact us.
Dear Park Day Community,
Park Day School will transition to a Remote Learning Program on Monday, March 16. The campus will be closed to students and families. This decision represents Park Day School participating in the social distancing necessary to mitigate the transmission of the coronavirus. While there are no known positive tests for COVID-19 infection in our community, it is important for our community to take this proactive measure. The compelling case for social distancing and for being particularly mindful of our community health habits is made in the resource, Flatten the Curve. Even though Alameda County Public Health Department has not yet made the recommendation to close schools, the CAIS independent schools have been sharing on our listserv this evening that most will move to remote learning early next week.
The actual end of the remote learning plan will depend on the status of the coronavirus in our community. The administration will review the status on Thursday, March 26 to chart the course of learning until our Spring Break in the week of April 13. We need to be prepared for a long stretch. Tomorrow, please remember to bring home from school personal belongings and key materials for learning activities at home. On Monday and Tuesday next week, the students will engage in a Temporary Remote Learning Plan, as our teachers will be on campus training, collaborating, and transforming lessons for digital platforms and independent activities. On Wednesday, March 18, we will confirm and republish our Remote Learning Program that will include digital collaboration platforms, online resources, remote meeting schedules, and lessons and activities. All subject areas will participate, so your student will be engaged in a range intellectual, creative, and physical activities. Also, we are mindful of maintaining our community while we are distanced from one another, so there will be times and platforms when we will simply get together to check in.
I will send more details in the coming days. Thank you for your patience and support.
Since I last updated you about Park Day School’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a pandemic, and private and parochial schools have been making decisions to move to remote learning proactively. At Park Day School, we remain at Risk Level 2, with no known exposures to COVID-19. We do have families and staff heeding our call to stay home if they don’t feel well, and we have others who have chosen to practice social distancing and are staying home to minimize the possibility of transmitting the virus into the family system. The recommendations and guidelines from the Alameda County of Public Health Department have not changed since March 10. The County has a more conservative approach to school closures, wanting students to remain on campuses, for many reasons beyond teaching and learning, such as access to food, shelter, and digital resources. At Park Day School, we are balancing the equity consideration of the hardship on families who will need to care for a young child at home, and our role as an institution in Oakland trying to stem the spread of the coronavirus in our area.
Among the recommendations for schools in our circumstances is to prepare for remote learning. At Park Day School, we are already designing lessons for independent learning, and practicing with online collaboration tools for opportunities to connect with teachers and one another through video conferencing. We realize that while we will be intentionally distanced from one another, we need to be equally as intentional to maintain our sense of community. In the event that we announce a move to remote learning, the campus will be closed to students and families. We will follow a temporary plan for the first three days, using ParentSquare, Google Classroom, Zoom, and online platforms that many of our students are already familiar with. During this time, faculty and administrators will be on campus, training and collaborating to design activities and experiences that can be accomplished in the home environment.
It is important for our families also to prepare. Please know that the health and safety landscape in our broader community and also at Park Day are shifting rapidly, so there will be little advance notice for when we transition to remote learning. In grades 3 – 8 there will be a component of regular online engagement, and our K-2 student will likely engage in online learning at times. Park Day has a set of Chromebooks that students may check out to bring home if necessary. And it is important that not all learning requires electronic devices. One goal is to have students working with a wide range of learning materials. Considering that most if not all schools will move to remote learning at some point soon, there may be a run on school and art supplies that are typically located in school. Also, we encourage our families to have a plan regarding learning spaces in the home and new expectations regarding screen time.
There are so many sources of information about the COVID-19 coronavirus out there that I felt it was important to curate a bit and share some resources that the administration is monitoring. Currently, Park Day School remains at Risk Level 2. Today, March 10, Alameda County Public Health Department updated the guidelines to recommend cancelling non-essential mass gatherings and large community events. So we are in sync. These proactive measures are efforts to slow and decrease the spread of the virus. In the new guidelines, I appreciated the conservative approach to school closure recommendations and the offer of ACPHD to work with any school who has a direct exposure to COVID-19.
Below are select resources arranged in order of broadening communities, from Alameda County to the world. In all of them, there are fundamental disease control fundamentals: practice good hygiene, wash hands thoroughly, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, stay isolated when sick, and practice “social distancing” to reduce possible transmission of the virus.
COVID-19 Information and Guidelines
Alameda County Public Health Department
California Department of Public Health
Center for Disease Control and Prevention Resources:
Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center
World Health Organization
From our new, more vigilant routines to our ongoing interpersonal conversations to all sources of news, the community response to the coronavirus is very present in our lives. Our young students are not only hearing bits and pieces of information, but they are also tuning into our tone and reactions to the news. It can be confusing and unsettling. My intention of sharing regular updates is to marshall community support for calm, deliberate, proactive measures. Yet I realize that this frequency could have the opposite effect to elevate concerns. Below are a couple of resources to support your children as they process the spread of the virus.
I am looking forward to another beautiful, joyful day on campus tomorrow. As I communicate about these serious community topics, we should not lose sight of the fact that the students are building and painting, wondering and debating, playing and celebrating, thinking and planning, laughing and singing, and all that other great stuff. I am excited for even more joy as we get comfortable with a great book or two on Friday for our Annual Read-a-thon.
Our school community has been thoughtful and deliberate in supporting our community health. Thank you to the families who have kept a sick child or family member at home. Your cooperation has helped to keep our school at Risk Level 2. The most recent update (March 8) from the Alameda County Public Health Department has no new guidelines or recommendations.
While Park Day will certainly adhere to our protocols if there is new knowledge of exposure to COVID-19, we also view ourselves as integral members of the broader Oakland community. Because schools are hubs that gather large numbers of potential carriers in close proximity, we could be a mechanism of circulation of this virus. Our school community has a generally low risk population, and it is a value to our larger community to maximize the access to health care and hospital beds for our more vulnerable population. We will make the decisions that we can to maintain our core purpose of educating children while participating in the social distancing that may delay an epidemic.
As of today, Monday, March 9, Park Day School is tightening its restrictions on field trips, co-curricular programs, and special events and community gatherings through the month of March.
These further restrictions are consistent with policies initiated by our peer schools in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. While these measures apply to an elevated Risk Level, we have made the decision to be proactive. We are grateful for the hours and hard work that many members of our community have devoted to generate our vibrant programs, which has made this decision all the more difficult. We will review this policy in the week of March 23.
We are continuing with the events that are part of our core program, and cancelling non-essential special events and community gatherings. In the next two weeks here are the events affected:
With the rapidly changing health and safety landscape, we are making decisions to prolong our core program on campus as long as possible. The cancellation of events helps to shift more of our human resources to planning for the possibility of remote teaching and learning. We are also preparing for online/video collaboration that could apply to Family Conferences at the end of the month if the circumstances should require that. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding. I will send further updates as our preparations coalesce.
Park Day School is monitoring daily the spread of COVID-19. The most recent update from the Alameda County Public Health Department was posted on Friday, March 6: http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx. You will see that the recommendations are consistent with how Park Day typically manages community health: stay home if you are ill, practice good hygiene habits, cough or sneeze into your sleeve or a tissue, clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces and objects. The site also recommends that you get a flu shot. Lastly, county recommends planning for school dismissals and potential cancellation of mass gatherings.
The CAIS schools have a weekly conference call to share our responses to COVID-19. One tool that CAIS has distributed is an assessment of Risk Level and associated protocols. In future communications regarding the school’s action steps, I will reference the Risk Level outlined below.
Park Day School, like most schools at this time, is following the protocols for Risk Level 2. The biggest differences between between Level 2 and Level 3 are the suspension of co-curricular programs, the postponement/cancellation of community events, and the restriction of visitors to campus. Park Day School will remain open. If the Risk Level elevates to Level 4, the school will close and we will implement a distance learning program so that we can isolate and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Looking ahead this week, we are going forward with the DJA meeting on Tuesday, the 7th Grade Drama/Humanities Performance and the Read-a-thon Story Hour on Thursday. On Friday, we are excited for our Read-a-thon, a celebration of literacy and fundraising tradition that has been a part of Park Day School since its founding. All of these events fit within our precautions for managing our community health.
Our communication is crucial at this time. I will continue to send updates. Please report any exposure you may have had to a positive case of COVID-19 to Cassandra McCraw. Thank you for your vigilance in supporting our community health.
Thank you for being a caretaker of the Park Day community with regard to our community health. I appreciate that you have heeded advice to be cautious as you assess illness in your own homes and commit to staying home if you or your child is sick. If you are ill, please consider reaching out to your health care provider sooner than you might typically call. We are also attentive to our community’s emotional health, and we are working hard to keep our connections to one another strong at this time. We want to provide as much reassurance as we can to our students and dispel and myths or bias that can surface.
We are closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in our community. As testing kits become more available in local doctors’ offices, we expect the number of positive tests for the virus to spike in the next few days. This is expected. We are learning that some of our peer schools have chosen to close through the weekend as a member of their community had some level of exposure to a person who tested positive. At Park Day School, we are following the guidance/requirements from Alameda County Department of Public Health (http://www.acphd.org/2019-ncov.aspx) and the Centers for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/).
While much of our program and operations are progressing as they have long before the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have instituted additional precautions and procedures because we are in the Bay Area where our degrees of separation from the disease are getting narrower. We have increased our cleaning and disinfecting, and we are more vigilant about classroom routines for personal and community hygiene. Here is a new request for our community health: Please report to Cassandra McCraw if you have had direct or indirect exposure to a positive test of COVID-19. This helps the administration assess what the risk level is in our community.
We are educators and caretakers. If our exposure to COVID-19 becomes such that being together in our learning environment on campus compromises the health and safety of our community and our official advice is that we restrict the campus, then we will implement a remote learning plan. Our teachers are currently developing lesson plans and communication protocols so that we can continue our program at a distance. While we are preparing for the more extreme situation, our focus now is on holding and educating the students in a moment of potential rising fear and uncertainty. We notice that the images and stories of the coronavirus can spur bias and exclusion. We notice that the natural concerns in the adult community are making their way to the young people. We are assuring our students that everyone in our community is committed to keep us safe and healthy. Thank you for supporting this community effort.
As news about the spread of coronavirus intensifies, I am reminded about the importance of community. We enjoy the strength of our community to be advocates for the wellness and social good for all people, and we rely on the tightness of our community to uphold standards maintaining the health and safety of one another. I am proud to be a part of the Park Day community.
We are closely monitoring information about the status of coronavirus (COVID-19). The suggested protocol for airborne disease prevention is consistent with our ongoing daily practices at school: washing hands thoroughly, covering up coughs and sneezes, frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, and staying home when ill. At this time, we request that all members of the community – students, staff, and parents (even if just dropping off a child) – stay home if they are feeling ill until they fully recover. It is appropriate to re-emphasize our school policy that, in the case of a fever, a child must be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school. We understand that an illness of any sort can be a hardship on a family to adjust the family routine, and for the sake of our community health, we ask you to be cautious in your judgement assessing illness.
We stand ready to adjust to protocols recommended by officials. Our guidance comes from Alameda County Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control. Additionally, our school associations, California Association of Independent Schools and California Independent School Business Officers Association, are sharing with all schools protocols and communications.