COVID-19 Information

 

 

COVID-19 Protocol

The safety of our students, community and guests are extremely important. Alverno is a closed campus and guests must have an appointment to enter campus during this time. All those on campus, including guests, must wear a mask and maintain 6ft of social distance. Anyone who enters campus will have their temperature taken and must check in at the front office desk. Thank you! 

COVID-19 Protocols and Procedures for 2020-2021 School Year 

COVID-19 PROTOCOLS AND PROCEDURES

NB: Changes are happening on a daily basis and this is a fluid document as new directives and regulations are provided by the State of California and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

The COVID-19 pandemic presents the most serious public health crisis the world has experienced in generations. Looking forward to the 2020-21 school year and beyond, Alverno Heights Academy is resolved to do everything we can to reopen our campus because we believe doing so is in the best interest of our young women. And yet, we recognize that Alverno needs to find a pathway for reopening its campus safely with the health and wellbeing of our entire community in mind. Our intention is to take action as we move into this new future reimagined.

We need all members of our community to accept new responsibilities within this changed culture over the next year. Acting with self-awareness, sensitivity to others, and agency will be key. When your child expresses frustration with rules that limit her/his social interactions, express your understanding, but discourage her/his cynicism and remind her/him why the measures are in place. When your child comes down with a cough or fever and complains of not feeling well, please keep her/him home until she/he is asymptomatic. If your workplace has a particularly innovative way to address occupational safety, please pass it along. A collective and unified community effort has never been so important!

The Guideline for Reopening is guided by the assumption that vaccine rollout will take time, which means Alverno needs to be able to respond quickly to circumstances in its own school community as well as to conditions in the local area. 

This Guideline for Reopening is guided by five principles:

  1. Act with commitment to the Alverno Mission and values of inclusive learning within a diverse student environment.
  2. Prefer face to face learning over remote learning whenever it is safe to do so.
  3. Prioritize student, faculty, and staff health, safety, and wellbeing over other principles.
  4. Ensure hygiene and health-related policies are research-based, clearly communicated, effectively implemented, and diligently enforced.
  5. Promote practices and policies to reduce risk of virus transmission and support our capacity to be responsive and agile when facing changing health circumstances.

CURRENT LEARNING STRUCTURE

In October 2020, Alverno Heights Academy received a waiver from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health allowing for students in kindergarten, first, and second grades to return to campus. The school’s transitional kindergarten also returned at the same time as these students. 

Students in TK-2 are broken up into two stable cohort groups of 12 students with one teacher each. Students in these cohort groups are identified by wristbands (red, blue, white, etc.) and are instructed in two different classroom spaces and have separate areas for recess, lunch, and play. One additional adult is available to each group to help with supervision during outdoor activities and restroom breaks. 

At this time, students in grades 3-8 remain at home in remote learning. They are in class from 8:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. A small cohort from these grades, 10 students, has been brought onto campus for academic intervention in the campus’ Learning Technology Center (LTC). 

The upper school, composed of grades 9-12, also remains home in remote learning due to the current protocols. These students are online from 8:15 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. with the availability of virtual office hours and virtual student activities. Currently, the Cross Country, Volleyball, and Softball teams are permitted to hold athletic conditioning under current guidelines. 

FACE COVERINGS/MASKS

Face coverings are required for all students, staff, and faculty. Alverno has provided each student with one washable, reusable mask. All members of the community should have at least two (2) masks with them at all times. Faculty/staff members have also been supplied with a shield for appropriate environments.  

Masks should be cloth face coverings that fit snugly to the face, cover the mouth and nose, and are made of at least two layers of material. It is important to clean reusable masks or use new disposable masks so they are fresh each day. 

Faculty, staff, and students can also wear their own face coverings of any colors or patterns, provided they meet the safety criteria above and are inline with Alverno’s free dress guidelines. 

Face shields may be used along with masks, but not as a substitute for masks. 

Masks should be worn by faculty and staff at all times when in shared space indoors. The only exceptions are at lunchtime or in a private office that is not shared by colleagues or students. 

For PE and athletic conditioning, classes are held outdoors as much as possible so masks may be removed during periods of heavy exertion while maintaining physical distance.

HEALTH SCREENINGS FOR STUDENTS AND STAFF

Lower School: Before arrival each day, parents will assess their child’s health status and faculty and staff will assess their own health status. Upon arrival daily, completion of health screening questions will be confirmed for students, and a required temperature check will be conducted of all faculty, staff, and students.

Upper School: Before arrival each day, parents will assess their child’s health status using the ALMA Health and Wellness questionnaire and faculty and staff will assess their own health status. Upon arrival daily, satisfactory completion of this screening questionnaire will be confirmed for students, and a required temperature check will be conducted of all faculty, staff, and students.

HEALTH HYGIENE PRACTICES 

HVAC System: Alverno has recently updated the HVAC system in the upper school by installing Wall-Mounted Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling Units. The units feature advanced filtration features to deodorize and purify the air in your home, contributing to better health. Filters include multi-stage allergen filtration to remove particulates and contaminants from the air with continuous fan operation for better air circulation. The anti-allergen filter traps dust, allergens and other particles to improve indoor air quality.

The lower school bungalows have brand-new heating and cooling systems that were serviced in August when the bungalows were placed. 

Regular checks and cleaning are in place for our air-handling units. 

Cleaning Protocols: New, intensified cleaning protocols have been introduced for classrooms, restrooms, and other shared spaces. Frequently touched surfaces (such as restrooms and doorknobs) are cleaned regularly throughout the day with an EPA-approved disinfectant.

Restroom Policy: Alverno is observing new, intensified cleaning protocols for restrooms with cleaning every hour. There are also limitations on the number of people who can be in restrooms at the same time and stalls/sinks have been marked as out of use.

Disinfection/Hand-Washing: Students will be encouraged and reminded to wash their hands frequently and use hand sanitizer throughout the day. Students are required to use sanitizer when entering and leaving the classroom, and before and after lunch/break/restroom visits.    

RESPONSE PROTOCOLS 

Alverno Heights Academy will be following the response protocols from the California Department of Public Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health regarding measures to be taken when a community member has symptoms, is diagnosed with COVID-19, or has been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed. Per the protocols, “contact” is defined by a person who is less than 6 feet from a case for greater than 15 minutes. Our response to these scenarios is further informed by work done by the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (ADLA) who have given us additional guidelines. Specifically:

  • If a student or staff member has COVID-19 Symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing), he or she will be sent home and testing will be required. The school must be notified of the test results.
  • If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, the individual and all of their contacts at school (cohort and affiliated faculty and staff) will be notified and must isolate and quarantine for 10 days from the test date. Testing for the cohort will be required. Space will be sanitized and the school community as well as the local health department will be notified.
  • If a student or staff member tests negative after experiencing symptoms, he or she may return to school at least 24 hours hours after the last fever without the use of fever reducing medications. Test results must be presented to the school
  • If a student or staff member has close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the individual will be sent home and testing will be required. If the confirmed case is not a household member and the student or staff member in close contact’s test is negative, he or she will remain home for 10 days. If the confirmed case is a household member, the student or staff member will stay home for 10 days after the COVID-19 positive household member completes their isolation. Household members must also be tested. Test results must be presented to the school.

The outline below illustrates scenarios regarding exposure, symptoms, testing and notifications: 

SCENARIO I

A student or faculty/staff member either exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, answers “yes” to a health screening question, or has a temperature of 100.4 or above. 

Immediate Actions: 
  • Student/faculty/staff sent home
  • Student/faculty/staff instructed to get tested
  • Campus space is cleaned and sanitized. 
Communication: 
  • No action is needed
SCENARIO II

A family member or someone in close contact with a student or faculty/staff member (outside the Alverno community) tests positive for COVID- 19.

Immediate Actions: 
  • Student/faculty/staff sent home
  • Campus space is cleaned and sanitized. 
  • Student/faculty/staff instructed to get tested
  • Student/faculty/staff instructed to quarantine, even if they test negative, for a full 14 days after date of last exposure
  • Student/faculty/staff instructed to quarantine while COVID-19 positive household member completes their isolation
  • If Student/faculty/staff test positive, see Scenario III below
  • School administration notified
Communication: 
  • Notify those involved with the student, family or staff member
SCENARIO III

A student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19.

Immediate Actions:
  • Student/faculty/staff sent home if not already quarantined
  • Student/faculty/staff instructed to isolate for 10 days after symptom onset AND at least until 24 hours have passed since the last fever without fever reducing medications. (If never symptomatic, isolate for 10 days after the positive test.)
  • Contact the LA County Department of Public Health as soon as possible.
    • Call 213-240-7941
    • LADPH will help the school determine if the classroom, cohort, or school needs to be closed.
    • Schools with smaller and more contained cohorts are less likely to require school-wide closure.
  • Work with LADPH to identify individuals who had close contact with the person with COVID-19. Exposed individuals or their families should be notified, know how to get tested, and understand when they or their child can return to school, usually 10 days after the exposure.
  • Open windows in areas used by the sick person to maximize outdoor air circulation. Close off those areas as soon as feasible, until they can be cleaned and disinfected
Communication:
  • Notify student family/faculty/staff regarding COVID-19.
  • Notify student families and faculty/staff members identified as close contacts.
  • Notify all school staff, families, and students that an individual in the school has had confirmed COVID-19.
  • Do not disclose the identity of the person as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.
SCENARIO IV

A student or staff member tests negative for COVID-19 after Scenario I (symptomatic). 

Immediate Actions: 
  • Student/faculty/staff may return to school 24 hours after resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications.
Communication: 
  • Student family/faculty/staff to bring evidence of negative COVID-19 test or medical note if testing is not performed.
SCENARIO V

A student or staff member tests negative after Scenario II (close contact). 

Immediate Actions: 
  • Student/staff must remain in quarantine for a full 10 days after:
  1. date of last exposure to COVID-19 positive non-household contact or
  2. date that COVID-19 positive household members complete their isolation.
Communication: 
  • No action is needed
SCENARIO VI

A student or staff member tests negative after routine surveillance testing (no symptoms and no close contact to a confirmed COVID-19 case)

Immediate Actions: 
  • Can return to school/work immediately
Communication: 
  • No action is needed

We have defined protocols for various scenarios around illness or testing positive for COVID-19, whether or not symptoms are present, including what to do if someone in a class is sick or someone in the household of a student, faculty, or staff member is ill or tests positive. The protocol, as well as definitions and symptoms, are detailed in “Response Protocols.” The situation is fluid, however, and we anticipate that the protocol will continue to evolve as we learn more about the disease. We anticipate, too, that some decisions will need to be made on a case-by-case basis. 

If we learn that a member of our community has been diagnosed with COVID or has COVID-like symptoms, we will assign a staff member to speak with that student, staff, or faculty member to identify where they have been and who they have been in contact with. This includes anyone outside of their traditional schedule that they encountered on campus (i.e. restroom, staff member, etc). That will help us figure out who else needs to isolate at home for 10 days while we monitor their symptoms. This will be reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

PHYSICAL DISTANCING

Numerous steps have been taken:

  • Classrooms have been rearranged and unnecessary items have been removed temporarily to maximize social distancing. 
  • Desks have been spaced out to allow 6 feet between students per recommendations from the CDC. 
  • Class sizes have been reduced to work within our classrooms with our largest classes (max 21 students) to be moved to an acceptable location for their size. 

All classrooms have been rearranged to accommodate social distancing. Class sizes have been reduced and space has been repurposed to ensure that every class has enough space. Class size was determined by the 6-foot side-by-side and 6-feet front to back between desks for each classroom. Classes that do not fit into a classroom will be moved to different locations on campus.   

The lockers and other campus spaces have been marked with signs reminding students and faculty/staff members to remain 6 feet apart to help observe social distancing. 

When we return to school at full capacity, new travel patterns in the hallways and other traffic areas will be clearly marked to help everyone observe social distancing. 

STAFF TRAINING AND FAMILY EDUCATION

The Alverno Heights Academy faculty and staff have been working diligently since June 2020 for the safe reopening of our entire campus. Faculty and staff meetings have focused on safe protocols and procedures in weekly meetings since the start of school in August. Alverno maintains a Health and Safety Committee composed of different members of the community that meets on a quarterly basis to review all policies and procedures in addition to regular meetings of the Leadership Team to review changes. 

Alverno families receive weekly communication from the school about current protocols for students who are on campus. Students in TK-2, along with their parents, participated in “orientation days” for their return to campus in November. Students that are in remote learning receive updates regarding the plans for returning to campus, changes to COVID procedures, and other relevant information. COVID updates are also available on the website. 

TESTING OF STAFF

Alverno is not equipped to perform virologic testing. If a student or staff member has a known exposure to COVID-19, a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 test, or has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, Alverno will work with the family and refer to their health care provider or other local provider for testing.

Alverno is requiring that all faculty and staff participate in COVID testing every two (2) weeks. 

TESTING OF STUDENTS 

We are unable to require students to be tested; however, we would like to request that families willingly submit a negative COVID-19 test five days prior to returning to campus. These may be e-mailed to health@alvernoheights.org. In line with the LADPH, Alverno would like to recommend that all members of our community receive a flu vaccination.

If a parent notifies Alverno that a student has been exposed to COVID-19, Alverno will require that the student and their family participate in testing. Additionally, students will be required to quarantine at home and participate in remote learning for a period of ten (10) days. Students may return to campus if they do not show any symptoms during that time and can produce a negative test. 

IDENTIFICATION AND REPORTING OF CASES

If we learn that a member of our community has been diagnosed with COVID or has COVID-like symptoms, we will assign a staff member to speak with that student, staff, or faculty member to identify where they have been and who they have been in contact with. This includes anyone outside of their traditional schedule that they encountered on campus (i.e. restroom, staff member, etc). That will help us figure out who else needs to isolate at home for 10 days while we monitor their symptoms. This will be reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

COMMUNICATION PLANS

The Leadership Team will communicate with families through email and phone calls, when warranted, regarding positive cases and exposure at the school. Additionally, the Head of School will contact the Los Angeles Department of Public Health when there are related cases at the school.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

SAFETY PROCEDURES

What is Alverno Heights Academy doing to keep everyone safe? 

The health and well-being of our faculty, staff, and students are our utmost priority. We have instituted the following measures to keep everyone safe, including:  

Mandated personal behaviors:

  • Daily health screenings
  • Wearing a mask at all times unless you are isolated in designated indoor spaces
  • Regular hand washing
  • Maintaining physical distance
  • Not sharing supplies, tools, or food 

Modified group behaviors: 

  • Group activities reimagined, cancelled, or postponed
  • Online meetings 

Student cohorts

  • Student cohorts have been created in the Lower School for TK-2, and each division will be separate from the others, to limit viral exposure and spread.

Modified physical environment: 

  • Removed unnecessary items from classroom spaces to maximize social distancing. 
  • Updated HVAC infrastructure and maintenance protocol including HEPPA filters.
  • Increased and intensified cleaning
  • Cleaning high touch surfaces multiple times a day
  • Created new flows of traffic when all community members return to campus 

What screening protocols and processes will be in place when a student, faculty, or staff member arrives on campus?

Before arrival each day, parents will assess their child’s health status and faculty and staff will assess their own health status. Upon arrival daily, satisfactory completion of screening questionnaires will be confirmed for students, and a required temperature check will be conducted of all faculty, staff, and students.

What is the protocol for wearing masks?

Face coverings will be required for all students, staff, and faculty. Alverno has provided each student with one washable, reusable mask. All members of the community should have at least two (2) masks with them at all times. Faculty/staff members have also been supplied with a shield for appropriate environments.  

Masks should be cloth face coverings that fit snugly to the face, cover the mouth and nose, and are made of at least two layers of material. It is important to clean reusable masks or use new disposable masks so they are fresh each day. 

Faculty, staff, and students can also wear their own face coverings of any colors or patterns, provided they meet the safety criteria above and are inline with Alverno’s free dress guidelines. 

Face shields may be used along with masks, but not as a substitute for masks. 

Masks should be worn by faculty and staff at all times when in shared space indoors. The only exceptions are at lunchtime or in a private office that is not shared by colleagues or students. 

For PE and athletic conditioning, classes will be held outdoors as much as possible so masks can be removed during physical activity while maintaining physical distance.

Why are face coverings required for everyone on campus?

Emerging research shows that face coverings are an important and effective way to limit the spread of COVID-19. As cases continue to rise in California, Governor Newsom has required that masks be worn in all public settings.  

Will the School supply extra masks?

Everyone should wear a mask each day and have an additional two (2) with them at all times. Alverno does have additional masks for emergency purposes. Students will be given the first two (2) disposable masks for free and will be charged for any subsequent masks. 

Can students choose their own masks?

Students, faculty, and staff can also wear their own face coverings, provided they are within the Alverno Free Dress Guidelines. Masks can be any color or pattern but should be free of political and controversial statements. 

Can students/faculty/staff wear protective gloves?

Gloves are not recommended for the general public to use during everyday activities. Practicing everyday preventive actions like keeping social distance (at least 6 feet) from others, washing your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol), and wearing a cloth face covering when you have to go out in public are the best actions to take. Information on when glove use is appropriate can be found at the CDC website. Alverno is discouraging the use of everyday gloves. 

CAMPUS FACILITIES/CLASSROOMS

Can you tell us more about the physical logistics of classrooms?

Numerous steps have been taken:

  • Classrooms have been rearranged and unnecessary items have been removed temporarily to maximize social distancing. 
  • Desks have been spaced out to allow 6 feet between students per recommendations from the CDC. 
  • Class sizes have been reduced to work within our classrooms with our largest classes (max 21 students) to be moved to an acceptable location for their size. 

How has air circulation been improved? 

Alverno has updated the HVAC system in the upper school by installing Wall-Mounted Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling Units. The units feature advanced filtration features to deodorize and purify the air in spaces, contributing to better health. Filters include multi-stage allergen filtration to remove particulates and contaminants from the air with continuous fan operation for better air circulation. The anti-allergen filter traps dust, allergens and other particles to improve indoor air quality.

The lower school bungalows include brand-new HVAC systems that were tested and cleaned upon installation in August. 

What about other movements within the school?

The lockers and other campus spaces have been marked with signs reminding students and faculty/staff members to remain 6 feet apart to help observe social distancing. 

When we return to school at full capacity, new travel patterns in the hallways and other traffic areas will be clearly marked to help everyone observe social distancing

How will drop-off and pick-up be handled?

The Lower and Upper School have separate locations for drop-off and pick-up. The Lower School location is through Michillinda Avenue Gate down to Highland Avenue. The Upper School location is through the North Wilson Avenue Gate and out the South Wilson Avenue Gate. 

For students on campus in TK-2, parents are requested to roll down their windows five minutes before entering the school parking lot to allow air flow into the vehicle. Before exiting the car, students have their temperature checked by a staff member and parents verify their child’s health status for the day. Children head immediately to their appropriate cohort locations. 

As we move closer to full reopening, the complete protocols for 3-12 will be released.  

Will there be food service? Access to microwaves? 

For the time-being, there will not be any food service during the 2020-2021 school year. Additionally, microwaves will not be available for student use.  

How will lockers be handled?

Lockers will not be used at the upper school to help preserve social distancing in the hallways. Students will need to carry backpacks with the materials they need to use throughout the day.  

How will students maintain social distancing in classrooms?

All classrooms have been rearranged to accommodate social distancing. Class sizes have been reduced and space has been repurposed to ensure that every class has enough space. Class size was determined by the 6-foot side-by-side and 6-feet front to back between desks for each classroom. Classes that do not fit into a classroom will be moved to different locations on campus.   

How will traffic patterns change throughout the school?

Classrooms, entrances, and exits are located in close proximity to minimize the need for students and teachers to travel around the School. In addition, there are new travel patterns in the hallways and other traffic areas which will be thoroughly explained to help everyone observe the recommended spacing.

How will Alverno provide adequate ventilation/air-filtration in each classroom?

Alverno has updated the HVAC system in the upper school by installing Wall-Mounted Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling Units. The units feature advanced filtration features to deodorize and purify the air in your home, contributing to better health. Filters include multi-stage allergen filtration to remove particulates and contaminants from the air with continuous fan operation for better air circulation. The anti-allergen filter traps dust, allergens and other particles to improve indoor air quality.

Regular checks and cleaning are in place for our air-handling units. 

What are the new cleaning protocols?

New, intensified cleaning protocols have been introduced for classrooms, restrooms, and other shared spaces. Frequently touched surfaces (such as restrooms and doorknobs) are cleaned regularly throughout the day with an EPA-approved disinfectant.

What will be the protocol for restrooms?

Alverno is observing new, intensified cleaning protocols for restrooms with cleaning every hour. There are limitations on the number of people who can be in restrooms at the same time.

Is there a disinfection protocol in place for on-campus students? How will frequent hand washing be encouraged?

Students will be encouraged and reminded to wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Students are required to use sanitizer when entering and leaving the classroom, and before and after lunch/break/restroom visits.    

What is the visitor policy?

To limit unnecessary exposure to the virus, parents, guests, and visitors are limited on campus and must adhere to health screening protocols. Tutors and therapists are able to interact with students virtually or off campus.  

RESPONSE PROTOCOLS

What happens if someone at Alverno Heights Academy is sick or tests positive for COVID-19?

We have defined protocols for various scenarios around illness or testing positive for COVID-19, whether or not symptoms are present, including what to do if someone in a class is sick or someone in the household of a student, faculty, or staff member is ill or tests positive. The protocol, as well as definitions and symptoms, are detailed above. The situation is fluid, however, and we anticipate that the protocol will continue to evolve as we learn more about the disease. We anticipate, too, that some decisions will need to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Can you describe the process for contact tracing?

If we learn that a member of our community has been diagnosed with COVID or has COVID-like symptoms, we will assign a staff member to speak with that student, staff, or faculty member to identify where they have been and who they have been in contact with. This includes anyone outside of their traditional schedule that they encountered on campus (i.e. restroom, staff member, etc). That will help us figure out who else needs to isolate at home for 10 days while we monitor their symptoms. This will be reported to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. 

What if members of our community are not adhering to health guidance, on or off campus?

As we continue to build a culture of care for one another, we hope to teach and encourage everybody to adhere to the health safety practices and protocols we set forward. On campus, that will take vigilance from all of us. Off campus, it will depend on our integrity and discipline. If we find that students or families repeatedly fail to adhere to those guidelines, on or off campus, those students will be asked to take part in distance learning only.

Are there COVID-19 Illness and Quarantine Guidelines?

Yes, please see the “Response Protocols” section.  

Is a negative Covid-19 test required to return to campus?

At this time, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is requiring all faculty/staff members to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to returning to campus. Additionally, we have requested that faculty/staff members receive a flu vaccination. 

We are unable to require students to be tested; however, we would like to request that families willingly submit a negative COVID-19 test five days prior to returning to campus. These may be e-mailed to health@alvernoheights.org. In line with the LADPH, Alverno would like to recommend that all members of our community receive a flu vaccination. 

What will happen if members of the community are diagnosed with COVID-19?

Any student, staff, or faculty member who is feeling ill, has relevant symptoms, or is running a fever should not come to campus. We have included protocols and a checklist to help families determine when a child should stay home. Additionally, members of the community are asked to notify Alverno Heights Academy right away if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have a family member or other close contact who tested positive. This will allow us to identify whom they may have been in contact with in the community and to take appropriate measures to protect our community. Students, staff, and faculty diagnosed with COVID-19, with suspected or documented exposure, or with relevant symptoms will be asked to self-quarantine at home for 10 days or until they are determined not to be contagious. Additionally, families who travel more than 100 miles outside of Los Angeles County should plan to quarantine for 10 days upon their return. 

What happens if a student or teacher tests positive for Covid-19? Will the entire class need to quarantine?

In the Lower School, if a teacher or student tests positive or has symptoms, the entire classroom, plus any students, faculty, or staff outside of the classroom who are determined through contact tracing to have been in close contact, will need to quarantine. In Middle or Upper School, if a teacher or student tests positive or has symptoms, contact tracing will be used to determine close contacts among students, faculty, and staff, and they will be notified of the need to quarantine. 

What is the protocol if a family member or other close contact tests positive?

If a student has a documented exposure to COVID-19 in the home or through another close contact, that student will be asked to self-quarantine at home for 10 days from the time their close contact first showed symptoms; monitor for symptoms, taking their temperature twice daily; and notify Alverno if any symptoms develop. A student will engage in distance learning through that time. They may return to school after 10 days if no symptoms have developed.

If someone has previously tested positive for COVID-19, do they still need to quarantine if newly exposed to someone who has the virus?

Alverno will follow CDC and Los Angeles County guidelines, which state that a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days does NOT need to quarantine if contact tracing shows they have been exposed to someone with the virus. However, if the positive test result was more than 90 days prior to exposure, they will still need to quarantine at home for 10 days. This is because there is some evidence that COVID immunity may diminish after 90 days and people may be able to become reinfected again. 

What if someone gets ill at school?

Anyone who develops symptoms consistent with COVID-19 during the school day will be removed to a separate area on campus for isolation and assessment. Because we want to err on the side of caution, this may include students, staff, and faculty who develop seasonal illness such as colds and flu. If a case of COVID-19 is suspected or confirmed, contact tracing will be conducted to identify who in the Alverno community may have been exposed. Recommended procedures will be followed for self-quarantine at home until the person is recovered and until any other community members who may have been exposed are determined to be symptom-free.

What is the protocol for someone who has recovered from Covid-19? 

A student, faculty, or staff member who tested positive for the virus and/or had any symptoms may return to School according to the following protocol issued by the LADPH:

With symptoms*:

  • At least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared AND
  • At least 24 hours have passed fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medication AND
  • Other symptoms have improved

 Without symptoms*:

  • At least 10 days have passed and no symptoms have developed

*Specific days. Subject to change based on new protocols. 

Will Alverno be equipped to test students, staff, and faculty for COVID-19?

Alverno is not equipped to perform virologic testing. If a student or staff member has a known exposure to COVID-19, a laboratory-confirmed positive COVID-19 test, or has symptoms consistent with COVID-19, Alverno will work with the family and refer to their health care provider or other local provider for testing.

What responsibilities do members of the Alverno community have to help keep one another safe?

Keeping our community safe is a shared responsibility, and we are counting on everyone to do their part. Members of the community are asked to notify Alverno right away if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have a family member or other close contact who tested positive. This will allow Alverno to identify whom they may have been in contact with in the community and to take appropriate measures to protect our community. Any student, staff, or faculty member who is feeling ill, has relevant symptoms, or is running a fever should not come to campus. We are developing protocols and a checklist to help families determine when a child should stay home.

What guidance is Alverno following to establish health and safety protocols?

We are guided by information and advice provided by the Centers for Disease Control, Los Angeles County Department of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, school and athletic associations, and other public health resources to inform our reopening plans. 

Plans for the 2020-21 school year have been developed by a core leadership team and a COVID-19 Task Force.   

How will you prevent children who test positive and are allowed to return to School from being singled out or bullied? 

All bullying incidents are met with a team approach between the parents and Leadership Team. Bullying is not tolerated at Alverno. Please reference the bullying policy in the Student-Parent Handbook.  

Is there a travel policy? 

The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in many states and countries. Persons arriving in California from other states or Californians returning from other states or countries could increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. In addition, travel itself can be a risk for exposure to COVID-19, particularly travel through shared conveyance such as air, bus or rail travel.

Persons arriving in California from other states or countries, including returning California residents, should practice self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival. These persons should limit their interactions to their immediate household. This recommendation does not apply to individuals who cross state or country borders for essential travel. 

Californians are encouraged to stay home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries. Avoiding travel can reduce the risk of virus transmission and bringing the virus back to California.

If your family is traveling out of state or out of the country, please contact health@alvernoheights.org to inquire whether quarantine is necessary. 

Is Alverno requiring employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? 

At this time, Alverno is not requiring but strongly encouraging faculty and staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccination when it becomes available. A survey of our staff report that more than 80% intend to receive the vaccine in the next few weeks. 

Is Alverno requiring students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine? 

The current vaccinations available have not been tested on students younger than 16 and we do not anticipate that further research will be available until the summer. Alverno will follow the guidelines outlined by the State of California and the Department of Education in terms of COVID-19 vaccination protocols for students. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

JUne 29, 2020

Dear Alverno Heights Academy, 

We hope this letter finds you and your family healthy, safe, and well. We also hope that you and your family are able to enjoy some peace and relaxation during this summer. 

With the Alverno Summer Institute now  a week underway, we know that many of you have questions regarding our return to campus in fall. While we wish we could tell you that there were answers to every single question, there are simply too many variables still in play. We do want to give you as much information as possible so that you can plan and prepare. As we move forward with our planning, you can expect to receive communication from Alverno every two weeks as well as information as more crucial decisions are made. Please continue to regularly check the Alverno website for updated information and have your daughter continue to access her Alverno e-mail. 

Alverno, like all of the schools in our area, has been closely monitoring all of the information released from state and local authorities concerning COVID-19 and schools. The Leadership Team and Ms. Andrea Bertollini, Director of Facilities, have participated in numerous calls, webinars, and discussions with peer schools to discuss reopening plans in Los Angeles, California, and across the country. These conversations and presentations include information on hygiene, sanitation, health checks, masks, social distancing, remote learning, and much more. Additionally, we have been preparing for our return with continued intensive cleaning, purchasing of supplies, and rearranging campus spaces to accommodate for social distancing. 

We have created a Reopening Task Force, which includes constituents from the Alverno community, to work on contingency plans for Fall 2020. Alverno’s goal, and hope, is to re-open the campus on Tuesday, August 18 with precautions and safety measures in place and orientations for each class to the new procedures on subsequent days and remote learning for the others. The goal is to return to traditional on-campus learning on Monday, August 24 with a full schedule. We are working on plans for hybrid learning and continued remote learning should orders shift from the state and health department. 

While our goal is to return to on-campus learning, we must also address that it will be a different Alverno than the one we left in March. Students will be required to wear masks; there will be cleaning between class periods; larger classes may need to be moved to spaces like the LTC, cafeteria, or Villa; and social distancing will be enforced. Even the way in which our students move through campus will need to be reworked. It will be different but we are confident that returning to on-campus learning is in the best interest of our young women. The goal of each plan is to provide our students with the full measure of their education during this most challenging time. 

We would also like to use this letter as an opportunity to share with you some updates regarding the lower school. We are thrilled to share that we currently have nearly 130 students enrolled in grades TK-8 with interest growing! The excitement and enthusiasm these families have for our new school is contagious and we look forward to officially welcoming them into the Alverno family. The lower school will start on September 8, 2020.

We are fortunate to have hired some fantastic educators whose skills and expertise will not only benefit our new Junior Jaguars but also our girls at the upper school. They look forward to getting to know and working with your daughters. Many of them have taught or know current Alverno students or alumnae and are looking forward to the example our young women will set for our new younger students. 

Finally, the City of Sierra Madre has approved all of our plans and we anticipate that work will begin on the lower school site in the next two weeks. This will include grading the landscape, electrical work, and preparing for the delivery of the modular classrooms which began this weekend. 

As you know, the COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to deeply impact our school communities and country. In a time when many independent schools have struggled to survive, we are grateful that Alverno has been blessed with an opportunity to grow and thrive. We want to thank all of you for your support and understanding as we begin this new chapter in Alverno’s history– it’s truly groundbreaking! 

We will continue to provide you updates as new information becomes available from the State of California, Department of Education, and both LA Public Health as well as  Pasadena Public Health Department regarding our reopening plans. In the meantime, we wish you and your families peace, health, and safety. You continue to be in our thoughts and prayers and we look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you. 

Best, 

Julia V. Fanara and the Leadership Team

 


March 22, 2020

Dear Alverno Heights Academy Families, 

This has been a big week for Alverno Heights Academy. Your daughter and her teachers embarked on remote learning and from all that I heard, it was a big success. Report cards also went out, so both you and your daughter will have a sense of where she is as she enters into the fourth and final quarter. We are doing everything possible to try and keep her school life as normal as possible in these uncertain times.

Because Governor Newsom has put California on a “Stay At Home” mandate until Sunday, April 19, we have extended our time away from school. Remote learning will resume on Tuesday, April 14 after Easter Break, as planned. This will mean that we will have to postpone the Prom, Ring Ceremony, and Sophomore Retreat. We are so sorry to give you this news. We also must face the reality that we may be unable to return to campus for the remainder of the school year. We are hoping that this will not be the case and we are waiting for what authorities tell us, but be aware, that it is a possibility. If that is the decision that we must make, we will inform you immediately, and give you detailed information of our plans to move forward.

We are here to support your daughters in whatever way we can. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have concerns about her well-being during this time of isolation or if you need some support or reassurance. We have found that attendance is good and that they enjoy being in class with their classmates. We are all learning to adjust.

If you have any questions about your daughter’s report card, tutoring for her, or academic support please do not hesitate to reach out to Ms. McCarthy. Also, please see the announcement about AP testing from the College Board. The Leadership Team and support staff meet daily through Google hangouts, Zoom, and other means, so we are all in constant contact with one another. We are continuing to work throughout this time of separation and isolation.

This Monday, the faculty and staff will be attending a virtual Faculty/Staff meeting at 8:00 a.m. and remote learning will start on for the girls at 9:00 a.m. sharp.Thank you, as always, for your support and for sharing your amazing daughters with us.

Be Well,

Julia Fanara, P’01, P’03, and P’05, M.Ed. 
Head of School
 

 
COVID-19 Information-Alverno Heights Academy Website

Frequently Asked Questions

What about Senior Retreat and the Fullerton College Theatre Festival?
Unfortunately, we have made the decision to postpone Senior Retreat and withdraw from the Fullerton College Theatre Festival. What about Prom?
Due to the “Stay at Home” mandate issued by Governor Newsom, we have made the decision, along with Noor, to postpone our Prom. We will be working to plan a new date. What about Graduation?
Our wish is to be able to continue with holding all school events including Graduation; however, we will not be able to make a final determination until a later date. We realize that families often travel for Graduation and will do our best to provide timely information.How can I avoid Covid-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.

Should my daughter self-quarantine and/or be tested for COVID-19?
As an educational institution, we cannot make medical recommendations or decisions. We highly encourage you to reach out to your doctor for guidance. We have been told by medical professionals, the CDC, and the PPHD that it is recommended that everyone (symptomatic or not) exercise “social distancing.” If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please contact your healthcare provider immediately for advice and possible screening.

Should I inform Alverno staff if I suspect exposure to the COVID-19?
Yes. Please contact Ms. Julia V/ Fanara, Head of School immediately should you or a family member have symptoms, test positive, suspect exposure, is in self-quarantine due to exposure, or been quarantined by the health department or your place of employment for COVID-19. Ms. Fanara may be reached through Ms. Michelle Gray, Administrative Assistant, at 626-355-3463 x. 223.

How long will a closure last?
Per the letter above we are developing strategies to provide remote lessons to students, taking accessibility into consideration, as well as looking at tools to staying connected as a community. A school closure could last anywhere from a few days to a week to several weeks. At this time, we are planning on returning to school when it is deemed safe. Currently, the stay at home order is in place until May 15, 2020; however, our return date to on campus learning is fluid as things continue to evolve. 

 

March 16, 2020

Dear Parents, 

Beginning with our earliest communications to you about COVID-19, and even as we’ve seen its impact grow to become a World Health Organization pandemic, Alverno Heights Academy consistently has sought to balance our concerns for the health of our community with our responsibility to our students, their families, and our colleagues.

Last week, the Leadership Team made the difficult call to temporarily transition from in-person learning to remote learning. This was not an easy decision and we heavily weighed all the options but ultimately decided that this was in the best interest of our students, faculty, and staff. It was followed by initiatives from Governor Newsom and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to close schools.

We proactively suspended in-person learning at the conclusion of classes on Friday, March 13. Remote learning will begin Wednesday, March 18 and continue through Friday, March 27. Alverno will be closed for an extended Easter Break from March 30-April 13, with a planned reopening on Tuesday, April 14. As of this afternoon at 4:00 p.m., the Alverno Heights Academy campus will be closed to students until further communicated. 

Today, our faculty participated in a day of professional development to help with their preparations for remote learning. Tomorrow, March 17, will also be used for this preparation. On Wednesday, March 18 at 9:00 am school will resume online.

As a college preparatory educational institution, our responsibility is to ensure all of our students meet a high set of standards throughout the course of the year. Time in the classroom is crucial to academic success, which is why students will still be expected to be present during the remote learning period.

A schedule for the next two weeks has been attached to this e-mail. It is imperative that you and your daughter pay attention to the schedule and be present when class is in session. If she falls ill or is unable to participate in class for any reason, you must e-mail attendance@alvernoheights.org. If her teacher falls ill and is unable to update the course, we will contact you. 

A couple of very important notes:

  • Teachers will be using ALMA, Google Classroom, and Zoom during remote learning. They may also have additional educational platforms they are using based on their specific course; however, ALMA and Google Classroom will be the “home base” for everything. I strongly recommend that you regularly access ALMA to monitor your daughter’s progress.
  • Teachers will have office hours from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. each day during the 8-day period of classes. They will be able to answer parent and student e-mails at this time. 
  • Attendance, participation, and engagement is crucial. Teachers will be regularly updating each course’s gradebook and students who are absent or do not complete assignments will see their grades impacted. 
  • Your daughter does not need to check-in to her study hall or an independent course with the exception of “Independent Math” taught by Ms. Judy Lee; however, she should be using this time, including the Easter Break, to work on these classes. 

One of the things that has concerned me most with transitioning to remote learning, is the social and emotional health of our students. There is a great deal of uncertainty along with an abundance of information that can weigh heavily on an adolescent’s mind. Although we are not physically on campus, Outreach Concern remains available to our students through their Crisis Hotline at 1-800-4-CONCERN. If you feel that your daughter can use extra support during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to them. 

We understand that this will be a difficult time for many of our students and their families and although we cannot physically be with one another, please know that we are still here to support you and your daughter. This is an unprecedented time in your daughter’s life, and in many of ours as well. There will be challenges and there will be struggles; however, I am confident that as a community we will rise from this empowered and resilient. 

I will continue to be available to students and parents through e-mail during remote learning and Easter Break. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you during this difficult time in our nation’s history. I pray for a peaceful and healthy resolution and look forward to seeing your daughter on campus on Tuesday, April 14.  

Be Well, 

Sara McCarthy ’05 M.Ed. 

Assistant Head of School

March 12, 2020

Dear Alverno Heights Academy Community,

As you know, the news about COVID-19 changes by the moment. Since our planning session yesterday and letter last evening, the situation with COVID-19 has once again evolved and forced us to reassess our current plans.

This morning, I participated in a phone call with the Pasadena Area School Heads (PASH) composed of Heads of School from many of the schools within the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) network in the greater Pasadena area. After reviewing new information and the updates provided from the office of Governor Newsom, we have elected to take a professional development day on Monday, March 16, 2020 and move to remote learning on Tuesday, March 17 until the conclusion of Easter Break on Monday, March April 14, 2020 unless otherwise communicated. The PASH high schools have agreed to finish out the week with business as usual. Alverno Heights Academy, Mayfield Senior School, and Providence High School will continue with pre-planned spring musicals and admission events; however, beginning on Monday all student activities will conclude.

Moving to remote learning was a difficult decision to make as we have not been issued a directive by the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), CAIS, or the Archdiocese of Los Angeles; however, the City of Sierra Madre has recommended that local schools consider campus closures beginning on Monday. At this moment, the Archdiocese has no plans of closing school, canceling masses, or other services.

In order to help simplify what will be occurring, our plan has been outlined below:

  • Friday, March 13, 2020: School will be open and all students are expected to be on campus. This will be a crucial day to make sure that students have all appropriate software, books, etc. for their remote coursework. Students should plan to take all their textbooks, notebooks, and other school items from their lockers as the campus will be closed. Please make sure your daughter brings her fully-charged laptop tomorrow.
  • Monday, March 16, 2020: School will be closed to students but the faculty and staff will be present to work on plans and protocol for remote learning. This is a day off for students and no coursework is required.
  • Tuesday, March 17, 2020: Remote learning will begin. These are official school days and your daughter is expected to attend. Attendance will be taken throughout remote learning and assignments will be given. Students who do not complete remote coursework will have their grades impacted.
  • Monday, March 30-Monday, April 13, 2020: We realize that remote learning will be a new experience for many of our students, as well as our faculty, and have decided to extend Easter Break by an additional week. Easter Vacation will commence on March 30 and conclude on Monday, April 13, 2020.
  • Tuesday, April 14, 2020: Our goal is to return to on-campus classes as we would have following Easter Break. This date is tentative and we will be in on regular communication about any new developments.
  • Senior Retreat: With regret, we informed the Class of 2020 that their Senior Retreat has been postponed. We hope to be able to reschedule but the decision will be dependent on a number of factors.
  • Fullerton College Theatre Festival: For the safety of our students, we have made the decision to withdraw from the Fullerton College Theatre Festival. As of today, Fullerton College has not canceled the event; however, we feel this is the best decision for our students.
  • Athletics: We are still waiting for the information from the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) or the Horizon League, which falls under the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools. We are hoping to have more information as early as this afternoon.
  • Student Activities: All student activities on campus will be cancelled until after Easter Break.

During the campus closure, we encourage families to practice social distancing in their own lives. This means avoiding large gathering places including malls, stadiums, amusement parks, movie theaters, etc. And again, please continue to follow the recommendation of the CDC and PPHD about good hygiene and tips to prevent the spread of the virus.

We are grateful for our Alverno Heights Academy students and families and the support and understanding that we have received. This is a new challenge and experience for all of us and a pandemic that many of us have never seen the likes of in our lifetimes. As fearful as it may be, this is a historical moment in your daughter’s life and a time for us to pull together and support one another.

Public health emergencies, such as the outbreak of COVID-19, are stressful times for people and communities. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of our local communities and those impacted worldwide by this devastating pandemic. Rest assured that our priority will continue to be the safety of our community and that we will provide updated information as they become available.

Thank you. 

Be Well, 

Julia Fanara P’01, P’03, and P’05, M.Ed. 

Head of School

March 11, 2020

Dear Alverno Heights Academy Families and Communities,

As of this morning, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, pointing to the over 118,000 cases of the coronavirus illness in over 110 countries and territories around the world and the sustained risk of further global spread (who.int).

Many of you will know that our neighboring city of Pasadena has declared a State of Emergency in response to the growth of the virus. According to the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD), more and more individuals will be recommended by their physicians to be tested for COVID-19 due to broadened criteria from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This does not mean that individuals may have the infection; however, if there are identified cases they will be communicated quickly.

At this time, there have been no cases of COVID-19 identified at Alverno Heights Academy, in Sierra Madre, Pasadena Unified schools, or any of our local independent or Catholic schools. There has been one graduate student at Caltech tested for COVID-19 by the PPHD; however, those results are pending and the student remains in isolation (“Caltech: Coronavirus,” 2020). One additional case in Pasadena was confirmed this afternoon but the individual is in recovery and being monitored closely by the PPHD. In light of these developments and President Trump’s address, Alverno is taking proactive steps and measures to ensure the safety of our students and community.
Alverno has been working to develop plans and arrangements to protect all of our constituents and will be taking the following immediate steps:

  • Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: As Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will run only this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, we have decided to continue with the production. The cast, crew, and Ms. Cales have worked incredibly hard on the show and the theater has been rented and paid for with limited availability for postponing and moving the show. Unlike the Sierra Madre Playhouse, the Lanterman Auditorium is a large facility allowing for plenty of room between audience members.
  • Alverno’s Annual Gala: We regret to inform you that we must postpone our “Diamond Gala… Celebrating 60 Years” scheduled for Saturday, March 21. At this time, the CDC has recommended that schools and businesses consider cancelling events and activities that will result in more than 100 people attending. While we are disappointed that we will have to wait to celebrate together, the health and well-being of our school community is our top priority. I would like to commend the Advancement Office, especially Wendy Finch-Burk and Andrea Bertollini, and our Gala Co-chairs, Julie Dyer-Lopez ’23 and Susana Torres ’21, for all of the work they have already put into planning this celebration. We will keep you updated about the details of this special event as we move forward and we thank you for your understanding.
  • Athletics: At this time, school athletics will continue until information has been confirmed with CIF. Track meets and softball games may be adjusted due to updated and constantly changing information. As track competes at Occidental College, schedule adjustments may be required if Occidental moves to online education for their students.
  • Off-Campus Trips: All unnecessary off-campus field trips and activities have been cancelled or postponed.
  • Faculty/Staff Illness on Campus: Teachers and staff with any fever or respiratory infection symptoms have been recommended to not come to work. Teachers and staff will self-screen (i.e. check themselves for fever 100F or higher and/or respiratory systems such as a productive cough) for respiratory infection symptoms each morning before interacting with students.

At this time, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (ADLA), the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), and Public Health does not recommend proactively closing schools. We know from many of our alumnae at colleges locally and across the country that classes have already begun moving online with many more adding to the list each day. The Leadership Team recognizes that at any moment schools at the elementary and secondary levels may be called to do the same. Therefore, we are also taking the following additional actions:

  • Faculty and Staff Training on Remote Education: On Monday, March 16 our faculty and staff will participate in an in-service to develop plans for remote education through our existing systems, including Alma, Google Classroom, Edmodo, and Acellus. Additionally, we will be exploring the use of remote programs including Google Meet and Zoom. The purpose of this in-service will be to create a strong, cohesive, and clear plan should Alverno be recommended to close.
  • Student Training: Following the in-service, our faculty and staff members will be working with students to guarantee that they understand the expectations and responsibilities they will have for remote learning. Per the guidelines of the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS), students will be expected to complete at least 3.5 hours of coursework per day during remote education in order to earn credits. Although school will not physically be in session, learning and coursework will continue during this crucial part of the school year. As we do not know how long a period of self-isolation may last, we must plan for an extended period of time.
  • School Test Day: On Tuesday, March 24 Alverno will be closed to students for a test day of the remote education systems. Faculty will be on campus and students will be expected to log-on online to complete the work provided for them. This is a mandatory school day and just as a normal day on campus, your daughter is expected to be working.
    As we move forward, we will continue with the regular cleaning of our campus and have asked our cleaning crew to take additional steps in their nightly processes. Additionally, it is crucial that you continue to take all possible precautions to help reduce the risk of spreading germs to others. These include the following recommendations from public health officials:
  • • Keep children who are sick at home and away from others if they have a fever of 99°F or above.
    • #1 prevention method is frequent hand-washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol can be used. Use of soap and water is best.
    • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve (not your hands).
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
    • Limit close contact, like kissing and sharing cups or utensils, with people who are sick.
    • Face masks are most effective when used appropriately by health care workers and people who are sick.
    • Clean frequently used surfaces.
    • Get the flu vaccine if you have not done so this season. It’s not too late to get the flu vaccine. Being protected against the flu will decrease the number of people using healthcare resources and allow resources to be available for people who may have COVID-19.
    • Practicing simple steps that limit your exposure to others who may be ill (such as verbal salutations instead of handshakes and hugs, not sharing utensils, cups and linens).

You can learn more about our COVID-19 response on the Alverno Heights Academy website under the “Parent” tab.

Please be aware that in times like these, anything may change at a moment’s notice. These are constantly evolving situations and the Leadership Team is monitoring them closely and prepared to take actions as needed. We are working diligently to continue to provide your daughter with an exceptional education whether she is here on campus or at home.

One last, but very important, note. We understand the desire to collect information can be comforting when there are so many unanswered questions. Let us not forget that we are a community and need to be respectful of one another; it is one of our core values. Fanning the flames with rumors and gossip can lead to spreading misinformation, anxiety, and the kind of isolation we do not need to be experiencing at a time like this. This damages the very fabric of our community, which we all deeply depend on.

This is a time for us to pull together, not push each other apart. I am extremely proud of our community as we have been tested by different crises. I am certain we will continue to go from strength to strength after the COVID-19 situation is behind us. We thank you for your support as we work through this challenging and questionable times. We will continue to pray for the health and safety of our local communities and those impacted worldwide by this devastating pandemic. Rest assured that our priority will continue to be the safety of our community and that we will provide updated information as they become available.

Be Well,

Julia Fanara P’01, P’03, and P’05, M.Ed. 

Head of School

Frequently Asked Questions

What about Senior Retreat and the Fullerton College Theatre Festival?
We will be working with Ms. Cynthia Cales, Theatre Director, and Ms. Katharine Guerrero, Campus Minister, to contact the students involved in these activities directly. 

What about Prom?
Our wish is to be able to continue with holding all school events including the Prom; however, we will not be able to make a final determination on this event until a later date.

What about Graduation?
Our wish is to be able to continue with holding all school events including Graduation; however, we will not be able to make a final determination until a later date. We realize that families often travel for Graduation and will do our best to provide timely information.

How can I avoid Covid-19?
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    Stay home if you are sick.
    Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
    Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
    Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.

Should my daughter self-quarantine and/or be tested for COVID-19?
As an educational institution, we cannot make medical recommendations or decisions. We highly encourage you to reach out to your doctor for guidance. We have been told by medical professionals, the CDC, and the PPHD that it is recommended that everyone (symptomatic or not) exercise “social distancing.” If you are experiencing any symptoms of illness, please contact your healthcare provider immediately for advice and possible screening.

Should I inform Alverno staff if I suspect exposure to the COVID-19?
Yes. Please contact Ms. Julia V/ Fanara, Head of School immediately should you or a family member have symptoms, test positive, suspect exposure, is in self-quarantine due to exposure, or been quarantined by the health department or your place of employment for COVID-19. Ms. Fanara may be reached through Ms. Michelle Gray, Administrative Assistant, at 626-355-3463 x. 223.

What is the absence policy?
Alverno strongly suggests all faculty, staff, and students who are feeling ill to stay home until they recover. The CDC lists the following symptoms that would warrant anyone to stay home: Fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other flu-like symptoms. Students are given eight (8) absences per semester; however, Alverno will evaluate on a case-by-case basis as we have not been given a closing directive. Students should contact their teachers in order to make arrangements in regards to school work.

What will the school do in the event of an extended closure? How long will a closure last?
Per the letter above we are developing strategies to provide remote lessons to students, taking accessibility into consideration, as well as looking at tools to staying connected as a community. These are unprecedented times and there are still many variables; a school closure could last anywhere from a few days to a week to several weeks. Unfortunately, we will not know until the time comes.

How will the school decide if it should close?
The decision to close school will come from government agencies including the PPHD or the recommendation of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the California Association of Independent Schools or if the Leadership Team determines that it would be safer for our students to be home. We will make that decision independently, based on facts and science. In either case, we will notify parents immediately.

What kind of support can students receive to address anxiety?
Given the level of attention that COVID-19 has attracted, students may understandably become anxious and have concerns about the virus and its transmission. Please remember that the Leadership Team and Outreach Concern counselors are available to meet with students to address concerns and fears.

Support resources:
“How to Talk To Your Anxious Child About the Coronavirus” from Psychology Today

“9 Questions Parents May Have About Coronavirus” from The New York Times  

“Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus” from Child Mind Institute

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