April 27, 2021, After School Choirs Return to in-person rehearsals
POSITIVE CASE PROCEDURE
- If a chorister tests positive, or is a case contact of someone with a positive diagnosis, it is the parent of the chorister’s responsibility as a member of the PBA community to notify their Director confidentially and as soon as possible. Names will not be shared with anyone other than the PBA Directors.
- If your chorister tests positive for COVID-19, they may not come to rehearsal until the 14 day quarantine period is over, and you provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
- The affected chorister should also provide their or their case contact’s to the County Public Health Unit. A case contact is defined as an individual who had exposure to a person with probable/confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis within the period of communicability, from 48hrs prior to symptom onset/diagnosis to 14 days after symptom onset/diagnosis. Exposure may be within the household, school, community or other extracurricular activities.
- We respect choristers’ privacy, particularly about their personal health experiences; however, by coming together to sing as a group, we have a responsibility to protect each other. It is crucial to commit to sharing a positive diagnosis or relation to a positive case with your Director as soon as possible.
REHEARSAL PROTOCOL/RETURNING TO VIRTUAL REHEARSAL
- PBA will cancel subsequent in-person rehearsal(s) and make subsequent rehearsals virtual-only in the following conditions:
- A chorister who attended rehearsal in the last 14 days has tested positive;
- A chorister was asymptomatic at the time of rehearsal and subsequently tested positive
- PBA may also consider switching to virtual rehearsals if a chorister is identified as a case contact but is asymptomatic; this will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the level of exposure risk.
PERSONAL AND CHORISTER PROTECTION
- Due to the greater safety afforded by the outdoors, PBA commits to rehearsing outdoors as long as it is comfortable and safe to do so.
- Masks are mandatory while anywhere on the PBA campus. We are gathering as an organization, engaging in a group activity, and therefore choose to abide by the principle of mandatory masking to protect each other.
- Bandanas, handkerchiefs, neck gaiters, masks with valves, and face shields (without the use of a mask) will not satisfy PBA’s requirement for wearing a mask.
- After each rehearsal, please sanitize reusable masks or dispose of single-use masks appropriately.
- Water bottles cannot be filled on PBA campus. Please bring a full water bottle to each rehearsal.
- A minimum physical distancing of 6ft must be adhered to at all times.
- At the start of each rehearsal, choristers will be asked to perform a symptom self-assessment and may be asked to have his/her temperature taken. Choristers with any symptoms or a fever will be sent home, and will not be penalized for leaving rehearsal.
- During rehearsals, and when using the restroom, choristers are expected to practice proper and safe hygiene.
- Wash hands with soap and water prior to rehearsal and after using the restroom.
- Cough or sneeze into the elbow, even with a mask on.
- Sanitize hands before and after touching high contact surfaces (e.g. door handles, chairs). PBA has made hand sanitizer available throughout the campus.
March 15, 2021 - Campus Re-Opening Plan
Pacific Boychoir Academy
215 Ridgeway Ave., Oakland, CA 94611
Table of Contents
Latest Updates 4
Student and Employee Training 4
Authority and Responsibility 5
Student and Employee Preparation 5
Daily Health Screenings for Students, Faculty, and Staff 6
Social Distancing 7
Arrival and Dismissal 7
Face Coverings and other essential protective gear 7-8
Learning and Community Spaces 8
Healthy Hygiene Practices 8
Cleaning and Disinfecting 8
Identification of COVID-19 and Tracing of Contacts 9
Triggers for switching to Distance Learning 10
Communication Plans 11
Family Commitment and Home PODS 11
INTRODUCTION TO FAMILIES
Below you will find the Pacific Boychoir Reopening Plan. In prior communications, we have made clear that our school has strong plans in place for both remote and in-person learning, and we are closely following government orders and health and safety guidelines. We look forward to the opportunity to welcome our students safely back to campus.
Our reopening team, consisting of educators and administrators, has worked hard to develop detailed protocols and strategies for safely returning our students and staff to campus, based on guidance and requirements set forth by our county and state health departments. We have also gathered data from our PBA community through surveys. Central to any decisions we make regarding reopening is our commitment to a high quality of education for all our students and their physical and social-emotional health.
The dynamic nature of this pandemic requires us to be flexible in our planning. We appreciate your support and patience as we navigate a multitude of information in order to make safe and healthy decisions. We also understand that this is a challenging time for families and we are here to offer any support you may need.
Please review the information below to help keep yourself updated on our current protocols and practices. We will continue to update families on our progress through direct email. Please reach out to us with any questions:
Summer Dittmer, Executive Director/Head of School: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bethany Edstrom, Dean of Academics: email@example.com
Leo Knudtson, Dean of Student Activities: firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Miles, Board President: email@example.com
Required ACOE Information
Head of School: Summer Dittmer
School Type: Private School
Current Reopening Date: March 15, 2021
Date of Submission: October 29, 2020
Number of students returning onsite: 25
Number of staff returning onsite: 9
Grade Levels Served by the School: 3-8
Grade Levels Proposed to be reopened: 3-8
Rev. 02/21/21 *The following is our most current update on our planning for the 2020-21 school year.
Our goal remains to work within the guidance from the State and County Public Health Departments and move toward safely reopening school. Given our small class sizes, ample classroom spaces (indoor and outdoor), and innovative teachers, we remain confident that we are well equipped and ready to resume on-campus learning safely now that we are off the governor’s “monitoring list.” We will also offer remote learning options for students once we return to in-person learning. Whether we are learning in-person or remotely, our tightly knit community will stay connected and work to take care of our community.
This guide is designed to provide the school administration, faculty, and staff with a practical guide and toolkit to implement specific recommendations provided by the Alameda County Department of Public Health, California Department of Public Health, and CDC, in relation to risk reduction at schools. The objective of this guide is to provide educational materials for staff to reduce potential exposures to and spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19. The recommendations provided here are designed to be implemented according to federal guidance.
This plan will provide both long-term and short-term solutions for Pacific Boychoir Academy’s response to the pandemic. This strategic plan puts forth student and community safety first and foremost. We have collected information and resources from multiple groups to help us. The short-term planning has taken shape to include phases of reopening and sustaining the school environment. Considerations include providing a
social/emotional focused curriculum to support students in this new normal, staggered
attendance, continued strengthening of our digital learning platforms, social
distancing education and culture, and maintenance measures. Long-term planning, reimagined to best suit our current environment, takes into consideration our strategic goals which include the PBA mission, vision and philosophy, our campus facilities, along with student learning but reimagined in the current environment.
Original Proposed Date of Reopening: October 29, 2020
Current Reopen Date: March 15, 2021
AUTHORITY AND RESPONSIBILITY:
Summer Dittmer and Bethany Edstrom have overall authority and responsibility for implementing the provisions of this plan in our workplace. In addition, all faculty and staff are responsible for implementing and maintaining the plan in their assigned work areas. All faculty, staff, and students are responsible for using safe work practices, following all directives, policies and procedures, and assisting in maintaining a safe work environment. PBA will continue to maintain regular and timely communication with our employees, students, and families. Employees and students must report Covid-19 symptoms to Summer Dittmer, head of the Covid-19 Safety Team. All information will be kept confidential. PBA’s goals are the safety of the school community and the preservation of the employees’ and students’ rights. Employee and Student Training Regarding Covid-19 Safety Procedures will occur during town hall and faculty meetings prior to the start of in-person school. Once school is open, students and employees will continue to get information through regular email updates, and by reviewing PBA’s Covid-19 Safety Plan.
Students and employees will be made aware of the following prior to the return to in-person school:
- COVID-19 policies and procedures to protect employees from COVID-19 hazards, including the fact that COVID-19 is an infectious disease that can be spread through the air; it may be transmitted when a person touches a contaminated object and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth; and an infectious person may have no symptoms.
- The methods of physical distancing and the importance of combining physical distancing with the wearing of required facecoverings; that particles containing the virus can travel more than six feet, especially indoors, so physical distancing must be combined with other controls, including face coverings and hand hygiene, to be effective; that frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is important; that using hand sanitizer when employees do not have immediate access to a sink or hand washing facility is important; and that hand sanitizer does not work if the hands are soiled. Employees and students will know the proper use of face coverings and that face coverings are not respiratory protective equipment but are intended to primarily protect other individuals from the wearer of the face covering.
Students have been informed of the various Covid-19 symptoms, the importance of obtaining a Covid -19 test, and that they should not come to school if they exhibit Covid-19 symptoms.
Vaccines are now available to educators in Alameda County. PBA is proud that every employee who is returning to campus has been vaccinated. As there is some uncertainty whether vaccination prevents a person from infecting others, all employees will be required to adhere to all Covid-19 safety protocols, including wearing masks and social distancing.
PBA will screen faculty/staff and students. All students and employees must complete a daily symptom check prior to attending class on campus. While CDPH guidelines state that temperature checks are no longer considered as effective as a screening measure, PBA will continue to take student temperatures as an extra precaution. Students will be required to wear face coverings—we suggest an N95 mask, KN94 mask, or a double mask (cloth and surgical mask together) have proven to be most effective, as they provide 95% protection according to the CDC.
CORRECTION OF COVID-19 HAZARDS
Unsafe work conditions, practices or procedures will be documented (see Appendix B: Covid-19 Inspections form) and corrected in a timely manner as follows: The severity of the hazard will be assessed and correction time frames assigned, accordingly. Summer Dittmer leads the Covid-19 Safety Team. All safety practices and procedures will be observed continually by the Covid-19 Safety Team and faculty/staff and will be corrected immediately. Students and employees will wear appropriate cloth or medical face masks at all times during school hours. All employees and students are required to bring appropriate masks every day. All students and faculty/staff are expected to provide their own appropriate masks. Chronically neglecting to bring proper masks to campus will result in an individual being sent home. Regular surface cleaning and disinfection of the entire campus will be completed on a regular schedule. This includes examination of presence of hand sanitizing and hand-washing stations, and examination of the campus ventilation and filter maintenance. All windows will be opened and will be inspected to make sure they function properly. Normal after-class classroom cleaning will be completed by classroom teachers, and teachers will make sure all doors and windows that can open will be open at all times during school hours, weather permitting. Individuals responsible for timely correction: Summer Dittmer and Bethany Edstrom are responsible for timely correction of any safety practices or procedures deemed insufficient.
CONTROL OF COVID-19 HAZARDS
A minimum of six feet of physical distancing will be enforced at all times on campus by: • Limiting the number of students (maximum 25) on campus in order to abide by social distancing protocols.
- Placing all student desks six feet apart from each other.
- Marking the ground/floors of all common areas with visual cues six feet apart that students will know what spacing to maintain.
- Having teachers enforce the physical distancing rule in classrooms and on campus at all times.
- Scheduling staggered student breaks and lunch times to lessen cohort interaction.
- Scheduling elementary and middle school students on different days, with different teachers, in their own classrooms in order to limit interactions.
Visitors will not be allowed on campus unless pre-arranged.
Dropping Off and Picking Up Students
Students arriving at school will be dropped off in a staggered fashion, by cohort grouping, with a minimum of ten minutes in between. Greens will be dismissed at 2:40 and Blues at 2:50. At the end of the school day students will remain six feet apart as they await their rides home.
PBA requires that masks be worn by faculty/staff and students. Masks must be properly worn by students and employees over the nose and mouth when indoors; when outdoors and less than six feet away from another person, including non-employees; and where required by orders from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) or local health department. Faculty/staff will make sure every student and adult on campus is wearing a mask. Students and employees will be instructed regarding what kinds of masks are acceptable and how often masks should be laundered or replaced. All faculty and staff will be trained in how to identify and immediately address a student or adult who is not wearing face coverings so that the violation is immediately corrected.
The following are exceptions to the use of face coverings in our workplace:
- When a teacher, administrator, or staff member is alone in a room.
- Eating and drinking at lunch and break times will be done outdoors with individuals six feet apart. If weather prevents outdoor eating, the windows and doors to cohort-specific classrooms will be kept open and students spaced six-feet apart.
Identification and Evaluation of COVID-19 Hazards
PBA will do the following:
- Conduct workplace-specific evaluations
- Evaluate potential workplace exposures to all employees, students, & visitors on campus.
- Review applicable orders and general and industry-specific guidance from the State of California, Cal/OSHA, and the local health department related to Covid -19 hazards and prevention.
- Evaluate existing Covid -19 prevention controls in our workplace and the need for different or additional controls.
All spaces on campus allow for six feet of spacing. Masks will be worn by faculty/staff and students. Following these masking practices provides additional protection in transitory situations in which six foot spacing is not possible. The CDC and public health authorities have determined that indoor spaces with open doors and windows provide adequate ventilation; therefore, the windows of all classrooms, offices, and other indoor gathering spaces will be kept open, weather permitting. Each room is equipped with a new air filter. Outdoor spaces areas have been identified for classes to be held and for individual student study.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
We implement the following cleaning and disinfection measures for frequently touched surfaces:
- PBA will continue to acquire ample amounts of disinfectant, surface cleanser, sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer.
- Summer Dittmer will inform the employees and authorized employee representatives of the frequency and scope of cleaning and disinfection. Employees are expected to clean their rooms after eac in-person teaching day. This cleaning schedule has been explained to the faculty and staff. Students will be bringing disinfectant wipes for wiping surfaces at the start of each class and for daily touch-up cleaning.
In order to implement effective hand sanitizing procedures, we have:
- Identified and evaluated the campus handwashing facilities to ensure cleanliness and accessibility.
- Added hand-sanitizing stations around campus, and bottles of hand sanitizer have been placed in every room on campus.
- Encouraged our employees to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds each time.
In the Event a Covid-19 Case Is Detected on Campus
Should there be a COVID-19 case on campus, we will implement the following procedures:
- PBA will always follow the most up-to-date state and county guidelines about managing COVID cases and exposures. We will take temperatures and monitor symptoms daily upon staggered entry. Any individual who feels sick, develops a fever during the day, develops a cough, loses their sense of taste and smell, or has trouble breathing will be isolated from the group immediately, ideally in an outdoor setting if weather permits, supervised by a masked and socially distanced adult. If a member of our campus community learns that they have had close contact with a confirmed COVID case, we will ask that they let us know immediately. Contact tracing will be done.
If that person is at school when they learn of the exposure, they will be sent home. Any person with a known exposure (defined by the state as being less than six feet from a person with a known case for more than 15 minutes) will be required to quarantine for 14 days. We will encourage that person to get tested, but a negative test will not shorten the length of the quarantine. At present, the state allows schools and classrooms to remain open after an exposure; we will continue to observe the state’s instructions as they evolve.
If a quarantined student is asymptomatic or experiencing only mild symptoms, we will expect him to continue to learn with his cohort using virtual tools. Because all lesson plans can be carried out via distance learning, the quarantined student can enter a Zoom call with the teacher and participate in class activities and discussions.
If a teacher is quarantined but able to teach, we will aim to have a non-teaching adult in the classroom while the teacher instructs the class via Zoom. If needed, a substitute teacher may instruct the class for part of the day and then supervise the students while the teacher instructs online. If a teacher is quarantined and too ill to teach for the full two weeks, we will provide an in-person substitute if at all possible, but it may be necessary to send the cohort home if a long-term in-person sub is not available.
If a member of our campus community is diagnosed with COVID, we will follow all state and local guidelines:
- We will notify the local public health department,
- We will isolate the individual and exclude them from school for 10 days from symptom onset or test date,
- We will quarantine the individual’s known contacts (likely the entire cohort) for 14 days after the last date the individual was at school, and
- We will notify the whole school community.
- After seven days the possibly exposed student can take a Covid-19 test. A negative test result will allow the student to return to on-campus activities.
Finally, if a member of our community is sent home with symptoms of COVID but then tests negative, that individual may return to school three days after symptoms resolve.
* As of now, the state and county do not require us to close the school if a community member tests positive.
The janitorial team will clean and disinfect all areas, materials, and equipment used by an individual COVID-19 case during the high-risk exposure period. They have been trained in cleaning and disinfecting. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE, eg., gloves, goggles and face shields) will not be shared. Similarly, phones, headsets, desks, keyboards, writing materials, instruments and tools will not be shared, to the extent feasible. All items will be disinfected regularly by employees themselves.
The Head of School or Dean of Academics will communicate with parents, staff, and students about any exposures at school through email.
Triggers for Switching to Remote Learning
PBA will follow county health recommendations regarding when to close campus and transition to remote learning. PBA will return to remote learning for all students if the county moves back to the purple tier or if there is a shelter in place.
We ask that families exercise vigilance in following all public health orders when students are not on campus. We will rely on our community to follow the County Public Health guidance at home and on campus. Without adherence to these ordinances, virus mitigation becomes far more difficult and life as we once knew it becomes much less likely. We also ask that families tell us when students or family members have travelled to high-risk areas. The more we work together to follow safety guidelines both in and out of school, the sooner we can return to normalcy.
We understand and are sympathetic to families that form “home pods” based on their child-care needs. PBA is not in a position to organize or affiliate ourselves with these home pods as they trigger significant liability issues for us as a school. However, our recommendations for those considering forming such home pods are as follows:
- Follow all health department safety protocols
- Align pods with our cohorts as much as possible to minimize exposure risks
- Make them accessible to all families
This is certainly a lot of information to process. I hope it provides reassurance and clarity. It may also raise new questions for you. Please feel free to reach out to any of us with questions, specifically, the contacts listed at the beginning of this document.
June 26, 2020 - Update from Executive Director
Day School Fall 2020 Plans
June 26, 2020
A message from Executive Director, Summer Dittmer
I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start. As you know, we can’t predict how the pandemic will evolve and what challenges we will face as we go forward, but we are extremely grateful that our small class sizes will allow us to be back on campus in the fall. Throughout the last two months, our faculty and staff have been collaborating with the goal of creating a safe and meaningful educational experience come September; based on the most recent state and county guidelines and recommendations, we are laying out several plans below for what seem to be the most likely scenarios. These plans are quite detailed, as we know you are eager to learn what your son’s school experience will look like upon returning to campus. First, though, I’d like to provide you with a summary of the priorities and principles that are guiding our decisions:
· We are confident that we can return to school for in-person classes in the fall of 2020. The only circumstance that would preclude in-person classes would be a second government-ordered shutdown.
· We are confident that we can meet all the safety guidelines set by the state and the county (and, if needed, adapt to these guidelines as they change).
· Our campus space will be reserved for day school students and staff throughout the 2020-21 school year or until a widely available vaccine eliminates the threat of community spread of Covid-19. Until such time, afterschool choirs will not meet on our campus, nor will we rent our facilities to outside groups.
Furthermore, we are in negotiations with St. Leo’s School, which is located two short blocks from PBA at 4238 Howe St, to borrow or rent some of their facilities. St. Leo’s has already announced that all of its classes will be held online in the fall, so their campus will be empty. Some of the ways we hope to use St. Leo’s facilities are outlined below.
Plan A is based on the state and county guidelines that are in place right now. This plan allows groups of up to twelve students to learn together in a dedicated classroom space, interacting with no more than two teachers. In this model, students will wear masks and remain socially distanced from one another at a distance of six feet. Teachers may remove their masks when they are teaching, but they will remain behind transparent plexiglass shields while their masks are removed. Teachers and classrooms may be reassigned no more frequently than every three weeks. Outdoor spaces like our front play area may be shared, but only one cohort may use the space at any given time. Each cohort will have its own balls and other play equipment.
PBA’s plan under these guidelines is as follows:
· We will create two middle school cohorts of approximately nine students each in grades 6-8. Our multi-age elementary cohort will remain together as planned.
· Each cohort will have 2-3 designated indoor spaces, one designated outdoor space, such as one of PBA’s back gardens or the 8thgrade lunch area, and one music rehearsal area. Providing multiple spaces for each group will allow teachers to group students by grade to work on separate assignments, separate instructional space from an area where project materials can be spread out, or simply move from space to space throughout the day for a change of scenery.
· One academic teacher and one music teacher will be assigned to work with each cohort in person. Students may receive instruction from other PBA teachers via Zoom. In addition to teaching the subjects of their specialty, teaching teams will make sure students participate in art, P.E., and social-emotional activities regularly.
· After each three-week period, cohorts will rotate to work with two additional teachers. All classroom spaces will be deep-cleaned before a new group begins to use them.
· Pencils, pens, books, scissors, glue, and other classroom supplies will not be shared. Students will have their own supplies to keep in their desks. In addition, each student will be provided with a school-owned laptop or ipad for his exclusive use.
· Students will eat their snacks and lunches with their own cohorts in their designated spaces, and each cohort will use the playground separately for recess and PE at designated times. Hand and surface sanitation products will be available in each classroom. No public water fountains will be available; students will be allowed to drink only from their own water bottles.
· Each cohort will be assigned its own arrival and departure time on school days. Unfortunately, we will be unable to offer early-morning supervision and aftercare. Middle school students will not be assigned lockers. They will store their belongings in their classrooms instead.
· Bathrooms: Each cohort will be assigned to a specific restroom, and usage will be staggered. Signs will be posted with handwashing guidelines, and no-touch soap dispensers will be installed. We have also developed a schedule for increased routine cleaning and disinfection of our restrooms.
· In certain situations, such as the need to administer first aid, teachers may need to violate social distancing regulations. In these instances, teachers will wear masks and gloves. Band-aids and other common first aid supplies will be available in classrooms for students to access themselves whenever possible.
· While these guidelines are far from ideal, we will treat them as opportunities whenever possible. Spending all day with a team of two teachers will allow students to make deeper dives into subject matter, take on more detailed projects, and explore more meaningful connections between music and academics than we can manage in our usual framework of 40-minute classes. At the same time, we will also ensure that students are receiving frequent practice in key skills (math, reading, writing, Spanish) regardless of which academic teacher is assigned to their cohort at any given time.
· While some classroom lessons may be virtual, all cohorts will participate in a live music rehearsal each day. In many cases, rehearsals will be held outdoors, with a minimum of ten feet of social distancing between choristers. This added distance will allow the students to sing without masks. In the event of rain, we will use the indoor rehearsal spaces provided to each cohort. Because of its small size, we will not hold any music rehearsals in the music room. However, if we are able to use a large rehearsal space at St. Leo’s, we may be able to allow both middle school cohorts to use it at once, with a large space between the cohorts to allow for social distancing. In effect, we would be able to hold full varsity choir rehearsals in person!
Plan B will be applied if state and county restrictions are loosened somewhat. For example, Alameda County has indicated that it may be possible for groups of up to twelve students to have contact with four teachers over the course of a school day. In this event, we would modify Plan A so that students could participate in most of their academic classes in person. In this event:
· Students will continue to remain with their assigned cohorts all day, in their designated classrooms, rehearsal rooms, and outdoor spaces. Teachers will rotate from room to room.
· All guidelines above regarding masks, social distancing, and hygiene will remain in place unless we are notified by authorities that we may lift them.
In the event that restrictions are loosened before we return to school in the fall, we will craft a more detailed Plan B and share it with you as soon as we can.
Plan C allows for the possibility that we may be required to close school again and make another transition to distance learning. While we hope this doesn’t happen, we think it is important to learn from both our mistakes and our successes this spring and craft the best possible distance learning program for our students and families. To this end, we are holding a Community Town Hall from 5:00-6:00 pm on Wednesday, July 1, and we invite all day school families to join us and share your feedback on what did and did not work for your child during our quarantine this spring. After this meeting, we will meet as a faculty to review your feedback and draft a plan for high-quality distance learning programs in academics and music. We will then release that plan to you as soon as possible.
Our students are essential to everything we do at PBA, and they are close to our hearts even during our summer vacation. Our faculty and staff have been also working hard to adapt our summer camp offerings to a Covid-friendly format, and we invite you to check out our website for more information on Camp Choirantine and Bishops Ranch Off-Site Camp (BROS). In late August, all students and parents will also be required to attend an online orientation, in which we will review these guidelines, along with our new campus expectations regarding healthy behaviors, environments, and operations implemented at PBA in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The past few months have been an interesting learning experience to say the least, but despite the stress and uncertainty, we feel extremely fortunate that we will have the opportunity to be back on campus in the fall; we continue to think of our families and hope that you and all your loved ones are healthy and safe. See all of you next Wednesday!
Pacific Boychoir Academy
May 15, 2020 - Update from Executive Director
What I Am Certain of During These “Uncertain Times”
May 15, 2020
A message from Executive Director, Summer Dittmer
During these trying times, these unprecedented times, these uncertain times – all phrases that have become commonplace in the last 45 days. Nearly every email or letter I open, and yes, even ones that I have written, begin with one of those phrases. What I have come to realize is that these times have made our school, our programs and our community even stronger; while many educators have expressed levels of anxiety and uncertainty, at PBA, we are more certain than ever; our history of flexibility and resilience has provided a solid foundation throughout this unforeseen crisis. We have hit our fundraising goals three months in a row, classes are taught daily, instruction remains meaningful, music rehearsals are held each school day, and students are still participating in school clubs and community meetings; we have transformed in the face of adversity. I attribute part of this to our community’s prior focus on growth mindset, just over a year ago. During challenging times, a growth mindset unlocks our ability to learn and to grow, and allows us to thrive. In this newsletter, you will find many examples of how we are thriving, keeping our heads up, and pushing forward. As we celebrate teacher appreciation week, I want to recognize the incredible teachers we have at PBA who are working day and night to serve our students, and creatively as ever. I meet with them throughout the week, and one thing is for sure, we are all missing our students dearly and long to see them, sans Zoom, once again. We are beyond appreciative of our parents and staff for their positivity and support since the minute our campus closed. In the words of the legendary football coach, Lou Holtz, “How one responds in the second half, will determine what they become after the game.” With a month left of school, as we cross the finish line, we will all be stronger, smarter, and more resilient because of this journey. Our past experiences at PBA will undoubtedly make us stronger when we come out on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this seems overwhelming and extremely unfamiliar to all of us, history is being written, and we hold the pen. Together, with your continued support, the Pacific Boychoir Academy will continue to write the most magnificent story for our students and choristers, one they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Summer Dittmer with Head Boy, Cadence Strange, honored by the City of Pittsburg
March 13, 2020 - School Closure Announced
As you know, the coronavirus pandemic continues to be rapidly evolving, and PBA is taking a proactive approach to protecting our community. As concerns about coronavirus have risen, the PBA academic faculty, music staff and I have been working closely with the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) and the Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE). Last night I attended a COVID-19 county video conference, led by the Alameda County Health Advisor, Erica Pan and Karen Monroe, the County Superintendent of Schools; the goal was to discuss the possible closure of districts within the county. PBA has continued to stay in contact with local agencies that have kept us up-to-date on the best recommendations for how to conduct school business during this time of uncertainty. This is why we have kept our schools open until today. As of 6:00 p.m. today, the Pacific Boychoir Academy, along with all schools within OUSD will be closed to students through Sunday, April 5, the end of Spring Break. Because of the evolving nature of the coronavirus pandemic, we hope to be able to resume instruction on Monday, April 6, but will continually assess the conditions to determine if this is the best time for reopening school. There will be no rehearsals or previously scheduled events throughout the closure, including this evening’s Studio Launch and Listening Party and the Shakespeare production. We will notify families when these events are rescheduled. During this period of closure, our school will receive a deep cleaning.
Hopefully this time will allow all students, choristers, school staff and families to do what they need to do to keep themselves healthy and help prevent the spread of coronavirus. This is an imperfect solution, because ACPHD experts tell us that unless children stay in their homes away from other people for the duration of the closure, then they still run the risk of potential exposure.
Choristers can expect updates from the music faculty regarding any additional performance postponements or cancelations. Our day school families will receive lessons and instructions within the week, including information on laptop and book check out that will be available within the next few days. Day school faculty will provide assignments to our students throughout the closure using Gradelink and other platforms that our students are already familiar with; families can expect to hear from teachers by Monday, March 16. This effort is not designed to replace in-person classroom instruction, but it will help keep students engaged and prepared to resume class when it is safe to do so. We will continue to communicate with you as information becomes available.
Again, thank you for your support and cooperation as we work together to keep our students and PBA community safe.
Head of School