September 23, 2020
HBIC Parents, Staff & Constituents,
In late August, COVID-19 health trends in Orange County on the (then) State Monitoring Watch List was showing movement towards the potential authorization for reopening schools, with modifications, in early September. Soon thereafter, Governor Newsom introduced the four-tiered system to track COVID-19 by county. The new system placed Orange County in the “Widespread” level, restricting the return to in-person learning. Just before the Labor Day weekend, Orange County moved to the less restrictive Red Tier. Providing COVID-19 “positivity rates” remained consistent for two weeks, OC schools would be given the option of reopening to a Hybrid model. This opportunity, with modifications) would be (was) on September 22nd.
While school districts in Orange County may be able to return to in-person learning in a Hybrid model, individual districts throughout the county are taking vastly different approaches as they consider what is an appropriate plan for their specific setting.
The Cleta Harder Developmental School (CHDS), like a handful of other non-public schools, is unique and must consider additional factors. While located in Orange County, we have students that travel from Los Angeles County, which currently remains on the state’s “Widespread” tier. In addition, we have students that travel (within Orange County) from areas with significantly higher “positivity rates.”
As has always been with our decisions during the pandemic, the health, safety and welfare of our students and staff is our primary concern. Therefore, we will not set a specific reopening date at this time. We want to ensure that “positivity rates” remain low following the Labor Day weekend. We are also monitoring ‘Hot Spots’ (significantly higher positivity rates) where some of our students would be traveling from, as recommended by OCDPH and OCDE. If we were to reopen and then be forced to close and return to 100% Distance Learning due to a spike in Orange County or CHDS COVID-19 numbers, we feel it would completely disrupt family life and routine.
While we have a Reopening Plan developed (previous update regarding PHASES), it would be premature and irresponsible to reopen at this time. We are all very aware of the additional stress and strains the pandemic has placed on everyone. Rest assured that we are working towards a SAFE & HEALTHY return to campus. Thank you for your understanding and support.
Jason E. Cecil, MA
From the Director...
Like many of you, we have spent the last several days and weeks learning about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and how it is impacting our communities. For HBIC, that means understanding how it affects our employees, our students, and our clients, and then making the necessary adjustments to our daily operations. The information and guidance we are following comes directly from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH), and the Orange County Department of Education. We are monitoring each of these institutions daily.
The health and well-being of our staff and program participants is our top priority. While additional precautionary measures are being taken, the following actions must be followed and adhered to by everyone for protection against the virus:
WASH HANDS WITH SOAP & WATER
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Do not touch eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
If you are sick, STAY HOME
If your child is sick, KEEP THEM HOME
Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow; wash hands afterwards
Clean & disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
HBIC will be strictly enforcing our ILLNESS & INJURIES policy as outlined in the Parent/Guardian Handbook. If your child is sick or presents symptoms, be prepared for them to NOT ATTEND PROGRAM. If they present symptoms after arriving to program, you will be contacted and expected to pick your child up immediately. We understand that this can be an inconvenience, but again, the health & safety of all our staff, students, and clients is our primary concern.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding. As we receive pertinent information, we will share it with you.
Jason E. Cecil, MA