COVID-19 Information

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COVID-19 Information

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATIONS

The health and safety of our Providence School students, families, faculty and staff are of the highest importance. We are monitoring the fluid COVID-19 situation closely and taking proactive measures for safety.

Although campuses are closed, our faculty and students are still engaged in the work of teaching and learning as we use technology to “do school” remotely. 

Please refer to this page for the latest updates, event cancellation notices, messages from the administration, and other resources.

See also the Remote Learning Resources web page, with links to video messages, chapel services, and other Providence School resources.


UPDATES

Monday, April 6, 3:00 p.m.

ERB Standardized Testing; Class Trips Cancelled

From a message to parents from Dr. Tim Loomer, sent Sunday morning, April 5:

After close consultation with the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) and careful consideration of the feasibility of our parents and teachers teaming together to deliver the standardized assessment remotely, we have decided to cancel standardized testing for this year. Remote testing would place an undue burden on parents and students at this time. We will not give the CTP-5 assessment to students in Grades 2–8 this year.

Class trips for Grades 3–6 and the high school Kern River whitewater rafting trip also have been canceled. The business office is working with the trip coordinators and vendors to refund our deposits and initial payments. Families who made payments toward these trips will receive a communication from the business office this week.


Tuesday, March 31, 11:00 a.m.

Date for Return to Campus Learning Pushed to April 20; Perhaps Later

From a message to parents from Dr. Tim Loomer, sent Monday evening, March 30:

As I explained previously, we have decided to announce the continuation of distance learning in two-week increments. Our rationale for this approach is our desire to be back on campus with our students just as soon as possible. Of course, we recognize this will only happen after it is deemed safe for our students, families, and community. Based on the current state of things, we have pushed the date for our return to school to Monday, April 20. We recognize the local public school district has already announced closures through the end of April and that President Trump recently indicated he thinks the shutdown will last through the month of April. We will continue to update you on our plans as we go forward.

We know that this time has been challenging for parents and families. Some have been financially impacted, some are working long hours, some are working in wonky settings, and all are certainly more engaged in the educational process than normal. We are thinking about you and praying for you. We are grateful for you. 


Friday, March 20, 11:30 a.m.

Remote Learning to Continue through April 3; Decisions to Come in Two-Week Increments

From a message to parents from Dr. Tim Loomer, sent Thursday evening, March 19:

We have decided to continue with distance learning the week following Spring Break. So, we now hope to have students return to campus on Monday, April 6. We realize this may be perceived as wishful thinking, but we prefer a position that allows us to resume daily school routines as soon as the opportunity safely presents itself. 

While this situation continues to unfold, know that as a faculty and staff we want nothing more than to be back to school with your children. As a result, we have decided to make decisions related to the closure of campus to students in two-week increments (until we are directed otherwise by a local or state authority).

We will continue to update this website if conditions or decisions regarding opening or closing campuses change. 


Friday, March 13, 12:30 p.m.; updated March 16

Providence Moving to Remote Learning on March 16

From a message to parents from Dr. Tim Loomer:

Providence classes switched over to remote learning beginning today, March 16, in a proactive measure responding to the COVID-19 coronavirus situation. Campuses are closed to students but staff and faculty reported on Monday. Faculty may choose to work from campus or from home for the remainder of the week. Staff will be on campus throughout the week and school offices will be open 9 am–3 pm.

All non-essential, school-related activities are canceled, including athletic practices and games, rehearsals, and other after-school classes and activities.

In his letter to parents announcing the move to remote learning, Dr. Tim Loomer, interim head of school, wrote “The leadership at Providence School has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 coronavirus situation for the past several weeks. While we continue to hear from medical professionals within our community that we can safely continue to operate, we are also very aware of decisions being made by schools and organizations across California to close or switch to remote learning. … Our leadership team and board of directors have concluded that we should proactively close our campuses to students and transition to remote learning next week (Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20). We will hold classes on campus tomorrow, Friday, March 13. Coming together on campus for one more day will allow teachers to prepare students for distance learning and to send them home with books and materials they will need next week.“

Providence is not closing due to any COVID-19 illness within the school community.

“We understand the burden this decision places on our families; it is the last thing we want to do,” wrote Dr. Loomer. “But, at this time, we feel this decision is in the best interest of our families and community at large. We are concerned for the health and wellbeing of all of you, your extended family, and our community.”

Providence is on Spring Break March 21–March 29. The school will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and will evaluate the date for students to return to campus. At the present time, the planned return is for Monday, March 30.


 

Wednesday, March 11, 10 a.m.

The Coronavirus: Prevention and Preparation at Providence

The safety of our students is our highest priority. Providence School leaders are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation. This monitoring includes a wide variety of proactive efforts, including reading local and national news, regularly checking information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Santa Barbara County Department of Health, Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management, and the World Health Organization. 

To date, parents and faculty have received two communications from the school with updated information on the coronavirus. We will update parents and post the information here as the impact of COVID-19 continues to unfold.

Local health officials met with county education leaders on Tuesday, March 10, and reiterated there is “no reason for K-12 schools to close at this time” due to the coronavirus. There have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Santa Barbara County.

In an email sent to Providence parents on Monday evening, March 9, Dr. Tim Loomer, interim head of school, wrote:

“While a closure of Providence School does not appear imminent, some schools have closed in some communities here in the US and abroad. Know that we do not want to close school! We enjoy our time with your children. However, we are working to prepare should it be necessary to close school. Here are a few specific thoughts about this situation as it relates to Providence:

  1. At our faculty inservice meeting on Friday, March 6, we discussed plans if school needs to close for an extended period of time. How we respond will vary based on grade level. We are making plans for students to engage with core academic content from home while guided and supported by teachers remotely.
  2. We anticipate these academic plans will be very minimal for preschool aged children for whom much of their learning involves play and interactions with others.
  3. We recommend parents begin to think about options for childcare and supervision in the event we do need to close school for a period of time. Should we close, I anticipate the government and other agencies will encourage businesses to allow employees to work from home.

“While we are washing and sanitizing hands like crazy, these efforts are just really good practice for the arrival of the virus—should that happen, and prevention of spreading other types of influenza. Here are a few more thoughts about this situation as it relates to our community and travel:

  1. Continue to emphasize good hygiene with your children. Remember, do not send a child to school with a temperature (above normal). Eat well, exercise, and get lots of sleep.
  2. We recommend that families carefully consider travel plans over spring break. While the CDC does not currently list any locations within the US as a caution for travel, it is wise to use good discernment and judgement regarding your plans for spring break.
  3. Parents, should your travel for work or pleasure take you to China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, or Japan, please notify the school. The CDC has issued travel advisories for each of these countries: CDC travel advisory information. Should you visit these locations, we may ask that you and/or your students do not return to school or school-related activities for a period of time or that you submit a test result verifying you are free of the coronavirus.
  4. Regarding upcoming class trips planned for grades three through six: Our business office checked with each organization we contract with for the class trips to determine cancellation dates and refund policies. We have not yet passed cancellation dates, but as you might expect, some monies deposited are non-refundable. At this time we plan to continue with the trips. We are carefully watching the cancellation dates. Should we decide to cancel trips due to issues related to the coronavirus, we will notify parents immediately.
  5. We have reviewed our master calendar and are thinking about what non-essential school activities and events we may cancel should that become necessary. We are aware that in other communities, sporting events, practices, and other gatherings have been canceled to reduce opportunities for the transmission of the virus. At this time we are continuing with extracurricular activities (such as sports and musical practices). We will notify you should that change.”

Notification regarding any changes of plans will be posted on this website and sent to parents via RenWeb and other communication channels.

Please contact Dr. Tim Loomer (tloomer@providencesb.org) with any specific questions regarding Providence School’s prevention practices and plans in the event a coronavirus case is discovered in Santa Barbara.