Dear Laurence Families,
As we approach Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude, I am feeling especially appreciative of our Laurence community and the strides we have made together to bring students safely back to our campus. Less than one month ago, there were no students on campus, and now we have our Kindergarten through 2nd graders back full time, as well as sports conditioning for 3rd through 6th graders. We are also in the process of finding ways to bring our upper grade students to campus more regularly, consistent with the rules of the Los Angeles Department of Public Health ("LACDPH"), which still prohibit a full opening of grades 3-6.
So many of you contributed your time, energy, resources, and talents to make that possible. From providing critical advice and counsel to donating tents and equipment, from helping us maintain our strong sense of community to supporting our school financially, and by supporting our teachers and staff with your flexibility and cooperation, Laurence School is truly Stronger (and Safer) Together!
This year, it is crucial that every member of our community act with continued vigilance over the holidays to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within our Laurence family. As Thanksgiving approaches, case numbers are once again on the rise. The health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and families remains our paramount concern as we work hard to protect everyone, while keeping our campus open so students can learn in-person and we can bring back even more students.
Coming back together after the Thanksgiving holiday poses increased risks to our community, and I am writing today to let you know our plans for managing these risks, and to share important guidance from the County, State, and the CDC.
Pursuant to guidance from the LACDPH, which we received today and is based on increasing case numbers in Los Angeles, learning will be virtual for all students the week after Thanksgiving (Nov. 30-Dec. 4). We will resume regular on-campus classes for grades K-2 and other on-campus activities beginning Monday, December 7th. This will provide us time to test our faculty and staff after the holiday, prior to your children returning to campus.
Additionally, we ask that you please adhere to the following guidelines:
- Please do not use this virtual-learning week to extend your travel plans. The purpose of having a virtual week of learning is to allow our families and employees to return home from any traveling or celebrations, and monitor for symptoms and/or test before we all come back together after the holiday.
- If your family will be attending or hosting gatherings, traveling, or attending group activities beyond what your family is currently doing, we recommend that your family (adults and children) get tested for COVID-19 (with PCR tests) prior to your children returning to campus the week of December 7th. Melissa Walkes and Nurse Anna in our Health Office can provide you with recommendations for local testing facilities that administer PCR tests, return results quickly, and take insurance.
- Please monitor yourselves and your children closely for any COVID-19 related symptoms, and do not send your children to school if they have any symptoms at all. As a reminder, if a student in a class goes home with symptoms, the entire cohort may also have to remain at home until it can be determined that the student does not have COVID-19.
- See below for important County, State and CDC guidelines regarding travel and other higher risk activities, including private gatherings and celebrating holidays, and make your plans in accordance with public health and safety guidelines for preventing and reducing the risk of COVID-19.
The health and safety of our teachers and staff, your children's classmates, and their families is in your hands. The ability of the school to keep our students learning on campus remains the responsibility of each of us during this time.
Please note that we have not yet made a decision as to what our post-Winter Break risk mitigation plans will be. Each holiday will be examined on a case-by-case basis, and our decision will be informed by the circumstances of the pandemic at the time, as well as the latest guidance from LACDPH.
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While our holiday celebrations will no doubt look different this year, we can still find ways to practice gratitude, reflect and recharge, safely spend time with loved ones in person and virtually, and make new memories. For advice on how to help your family and children cope with the changes this year, Dr. Kavanaugh recommends the article, Holidays during the Pandemic, which includes "tips for reducing stress, helping kids cope, and making new traditions."
Let's all do our part to Represent the "L" and "Keep Kind in Mind" this holiday season as we work to ensure the health and safety of our community and keep Laurence moving forward toward our goal of bringing every student back to campus.
Important Guidance from the County, State & CDC
Higher Risk Activities: You can read the CDC's guidelines for traveling and higher risk activities here.
Celebrating the Holidays Safely: The CDC guidance for Holiday Celebrations and Small Gatherings includes important and helpful information for staying safe and preventing the spread of COVID-19.