Dear Students First Coalition Supporters,
Through your support, the Students First Coalition has made significant progress in sharing the private and independent school community’s desire to reopen our campuses responsibly and safely in cooperation with Los Angeles County officials.
We are encouraged that some public school districts and parent groups have joined our cause. The Students First Coalition has regular meetings with the L.A. County Department of Public Health and the L.A. County Supervisors which have paved the way to some in-person instruction through the waiver process, more school-based choice in applying cohort guidance, and the potential for further school openings in the new year. Moreover, as the recent surge in cases caused officials to close other sectors of the economy, the gains granted to schools were not removed.
Our goal remains the same… To collectively voice our strong desire to safely reopen our campuses with proper mitigation and protocols so we can serve our students with in-person instruction for their betterment academically, spiritually, relationally, mentally, and physically.
We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County and when the recent surge starts to trend down, we will continue to advocate for students and asked that when Los Angeles County officials make any decisions about closing and reopening sectors of the economy, they put the health and welfare of students first. We have also been closely tracking the timing and delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the other three that are in trials. As the California Allocation Guidelines and Recommendations are announced and the priority of residents continues to be determined, we will be monitoring when school employees will have the opportunity to be vaccinated.
We are compelled by the emerging science and data that show the health and emotional risks to school-aged children are much higher than the spread of the virus. Schools that have been open around the country, and in metropolitan areas like New York City, have demonstrated that the virus does not spread in school settings. The majority of private and independent schools have been prepared to operate effectively since August, creating COVID-19 Compliance Task Forces within their Health Offices and Administrations, and developed Exposure Management Plans that would minimize epidemiologically linked cases on campus.
We are more than ready to reopen our school campuses and strongly believe the second semester is the time. Opening our schools in January will help lessen the disruption to our students’ academic progress and strengthen our teacher’s plans for the rest of the academic year. The L.A. County Department of Public Health and the Supervisors are aware that Private School Administrators have invested heavily in health and safety precautions to ensure our families, faculty, and staff feel confident we can safely reopen our campuses.
We call on every school employee, family, and student to express their desire to reopen through phone calls and emails to their County Supervisor.
We appreciate your continued support and partnership! With your help, we hope that by January we will have gained more traction and a broader groundswell of support that will result in students returning to our campuses.
May the next few weeks bring much joy, laughter, and peace to you and your family. Have a very Happy Holiday and a blessed New Year.
With our sincerest gratitude,