Head of School Communications
October 9, 2020
Dear High Point Community,
Kindergarten In-Person Instruction at HPA Allowed Beginning October 26th & HPA Submits Waiver Application for 1st-2nd Grade In-Person Instruction
Exciting Update on In-Person Instruction Option for Kindergarten Students
I am pleased to announce the Pasadena Public Health Department (PPHD) recently authorized High Point to open its campus to kindergarten students for in-person instruction beginning on Monday, October 26th. The PPHD permitted High Point to utilize the provisions in the PPHD’s Reopening Protocols for K-12 Schools and State Guidance Relating to Cohorts. These provisions allow for a limited number of high-need students to return to campus for specialized support and services. While High Point looks forward to the time when all students can return to campus, this State provision allows for no more than 10% of our total student population to return to campus at this time. High Point specifically identified our kindergarten class as the "highest need" population for in-person instruction, for developmental reasons and challenges arising from remote learning at this grade level. I wish to emphasize that High Point will continue to provide remote learning for kindergarten families who selected this option on the parent survey released in late September. High Point will provide more detailed information to the kindergarten families in the coming weeks.
High Point Has Officially Applied for a Waiver for 1st-2nd Grade In-Person Instruction
High Point, submitted a waiver application for Kindergarten-2nd grade in-person instruction to the Pasadena Public Health Department this week. Although the PPHD has already permitted kindergarten students to return to campus as the “highest need” population for in-person instruction beginning on October 26th, High Point included Kindergarten in the waiver application at the advice of PPHD.
Survey results indicated that a significant majority of parents support High Point’s pursuit of a waiver for in-person instruction. A survey of High Point employees (faculty, staff, and administration) also showed support for an application for a waiver. Ultimately, based on the demonstrated level of support for a waiver among various constituencies at High Point, High Point’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion authorizing the school to seek a waiver for in-person instruction.
I wish to emphasize that the waiver application process likely will involve an extensive period of time. Notably, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to approve up to a total of only 30 schools per week in LA County for transitional kindergarten (TK)-2nd grade reopening waivers. Moreover, schools with a high number of students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (measured by the percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meal services) will receive priority during the waiver application and approval process.
Regarding High Point and other Pasadena-based schools, the decision to grant a waiver will be based in part on a school's ability to fully adhere to the Pasadena Public Health Department
school re-opening protocols. The waiver process ultimately requires consultation with the California Department of Public Health. When our waiver application is reviewed, we are confident High Point will effectively fulfill school re-opening protocols in alignment with its extensive “Guidelines For a Safe Return to Campus: 2020-2021 Academic Year.”
Improving COVID-19 Metrics in Los Angeles County
We are pleased about the continued significant improvements in several COVID-19 metrics in Los Angeles County, including a significant reduction in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and the positivity rate. Los Angeles County remains in Tier 1 (the most restrictive tier) due to its adjusted daily case rate. As of October 6th, the current adjusted daily case rate is 7.4 cases per 100,000 residents. Per the State guidelines, to transition to Tier 2, the County’s case rate needs to be 7 or fewer new cases a day per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks. The County’s test positivity rate is 2.8%, well below the 8% threshold for Tier 1. In addition to the daily case rate per 100,000 and the test positivity rate, the State of California recently added a new third metric (equity metric) to help determine how counties are placed in tiers. The equity metric uses a Health Place Index with numerous indicators based on socioeconomic opportunities. On a positive note, once LA County transitions to Tier 2, local public health officials could potentially authorize a more comprehensive reopening of schools for in-person instruction in some capacity without a waiver.
We will continue to provide consistent updates and look forward to the opportunity to safely reunite on campus.
Head of School