COVID-19 Updates

Coronavirus Outbreak

The Classical Academies leadership is closely monitoring the worldwide situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the changing advisories and conditions that are happening daily. We are doing everything we can to mitigate campus exposure and are prepared to respond quickly should conditions change. This resource page provides the latest updates on COVID-19 and any impact to The Classical Academies. More information about COVID-19 is available at

COVID-19 Prevention Plan

The Classical Academies has a COVID-19 Prevention Plan as required by Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard to reduce the risk of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus that may occur in our workplace in accordance with Title 8, section 3205(c). The COVID-19 Prevention Plan is maintained by the Health & Safety Team and overseen alongside the Injury and Illness Prevention plan. Please email with any questions or concerns.

Other Resources

COVID-19 Testing Plan

Testing for COVID-19 remains an essential tool to decrease transmission, keep students and employees safe, and keep schools open for in-person instruction while mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

In accordance with the requirements set out in Senate Bill 1479, The Classical Academies’ hereby notifies students and employees that it will follow the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Testing Framework for K–12 Schools for the 2022–2023 School Year, which is consistent with the guidance that is available in the CDPH COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K–12 Schools to Support Safe In-Person Learning, 2022–2023 School Year. Any updates to the referenced documents are hereby incorporated into The Classical Academies’ COVID-19 testing plan.

The prescribed testing plan includes the following elements: 

  • Identify a COVID Testing Point of Contact
  • Review and reference current testing recommendations 
  • Maintain situational awareness of the testing resources and programs
  • Monitor community COVID data as a method of identifying when to increase or reestablish school testing operations
  • Communicate any questions, concerns to CDPH as needed

For questions, concerns or to reach the COVID Testing Point of Contact, email the TCA Health & Safety Team at

This testing plan and notice will remain in effect until January 1, 2026

Latest Updates:

March 15, 2023 - Notification Update

Please be aware that The Classical Academies will no longer send notification letters to parents regarding their symptomatic student. Letters will still be sent in relation to students who report a COVID-19 positive.

Symptomatic Students:

  • Students who appear ill (ie. fever, stomach aches, diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting) should not be sent to school
  • If your student is sick, please call the front office
  • Cold, allergy, flu, and COVID symptoms all look alike. It is important not to self-diagnose these symptoms
  • If your student experiences any of the following symptoms: fever, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, body aches, or more tired than normal, we recommend taking a COVID test when symptoms begin and before returning to school. Free test kits are available at the front office
  • A student must be fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine (i.e. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen) for 24 hours before returning to school

If you have any questions, please reach out to Thank you and please stay healthy!

October 10, 2022 - Cold and Flu Season

As we enter the cold, allergy, flu and holiday seasons please be reminded that certain viruses can spread very quickly. Your cooperation in keeping our community healthy is greatly appreciated. Please remind your students to wash their hands often and to not share food and drinks. It is always good to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before eating. 

Here are some important reminders regarding our Sick Child policy: 

  • Students who appear ill (ie. fever, stomach aches, diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting) should not be sent to school
  • If your student is sick, please call the front office
  • Cold, allergy, flu and COVID symptoms all look alike. It is important to not self-diagnose these symptoms
  • If your student experiences any of the following symptoms: fever, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, body aches, more tired than normal, we recommend taking a COVID test when symptoms begin and before returning to school. Free test kits are available at the front office
  • A student must be fever free without the use of fever-reducing medicine (i.e. acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen) for 24 hours before returning to school

 Thank you and please stay healthy!

February 15, 2022 - Masking in Schools

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently updated mask guidance; effective February 16, 2022, universal masking indoors will no longer be required, except for in specific settings, including schools. What does this mean for the Classical Academies? All individuals, including students, employees, and visitors, must continue to wear a mask indoors at a school setting when students are present, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional when outdoors. We trust that students will continue to follow these health and safety guidelines while at school. Masking mandates for schools are currently under review, and we expect an announcement in the coming weeks. We will continue to monitor the latest updates from the state, county, and local health officials and will keep you updated as we learn more.

January 24, 2022 - Asymptomatic Close Contact

We want to inform you of a recent Decision Tree update, which will impact students exposed to COVID-19 while on campus. This new protocol ONLY applies to those students who, while on campus, may have been exposed to an individual who has tested positive.

What are the new group contact tracing procedures?
Effectively immediately, we will no longer be tracing specific, close contacts. Instead, all groups of individuals that may have been exposed to a COVID-positive individual will be notified. These “potentially exposed” individual groups may include classrooms, athletic teams, musical theater cohorts, etc.

What do I do if I receive a group “potential exposure” notice?
Regardless of vaccination status, your child may remain in school and continue to participate in extra-curricular activities unless they develop symptoms or test positive for COVID-19. Your child will need to get tested for COVID-19 within 3-5 days of the date of exposure noted in the letter. Over-the-counter (at-home) tests are acceptable. You do not need to provide negative test results for your child to remain in school.

If your child develops symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19, please ensure they isolate at home immediately and notify your campus COVID Liaison, who will work with you on the next steps so that your child may return to school. Your child must continue to wear a mask indoors while in school. High-quality face coverings with the best fit and filtration will provide the best protection for your child and the school community.

We rely on your continued support to make this new approach a success. Do not send your child to school if they are experiencing COVID-19 type symptoms.

Where can I get a free at-home COVID-19 test?
Free home testing kits are now available from the federal government. For more information and to order your kits, visit

One of our top priorities is to keep our students engaged and learning. Group contact tracing will enable us to balance the safety of our community during this pandemic with our desire to provide a quality, in-person education.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your campus COVID Liaison or the Health & Safety Team at

January 1, 2022 - Preparing for Your Return to Campus

As we prepare to return to school next week, we wanted to provide our community with an update on some of the questions asked in our absence over the holidays.

Knowing the importance and value of staying connected with you, even over a break, please review the following so that you are up to date with what we are doing and requiring for participation in on-campus programming at The Classical Academies when we return to school the week of January 4, 2022.

  • Does my student need to provide proof of a negative COVID test to return to on-campus programming? No. If your student was not in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID during Christmas Break, they are not required to provide proof of a negative COVID test to return to on-campus programming.
  • My student was diagnosed with or was close to someone diagnosed with COVID  during Christmas Break. What should we do? Please contact your campus’ COVID Liaison or the Health & Safety Team to determine the next steps. Your student’s return date will be determined based on several factors following the County of San Diego COVID Decision Tree.
  • Are students experiencing illness of any kind to be kept at home? If your student is experiencing any illness, they must remain home until they are well. If they are experiencing any symptoms associated with COVID, please contact your campus’ COVID Liaison or the Health & Safety Team to determine the next steps.
  • Are students experiencing illness encouraged to get a COVID test? The Classical Academies recognize that medical decisions are private and respect the personal choices of all families. We highly encourage students experiencing symptoms associated with COVID to get tested. Although testing is not mandatory, it may impact how soon your student can return to on-campus programming.
  • Can students exposed to COVID show proof of a negative test to return to on-campus programming? Asymptomatic students identified as a close contact with a COVID+ individual may be eligible to return to campus upon providing proof of a negative test. Return date is based on several factors and following the County of San Diego COVID Decision Tree. If you have questions, please contact your campus’ COVID Liaison or the TCA Health & Safety Team.
  • Will mask-wearing continue to be required for all indoor on-campus programming? In accordance with recent CDPH guidance, masks must be worn in all indoor public settings, regardless of vaccine status, until January 15, 2022. Beyond that date, all individuals, including students, employees, and visitors, must wear a mask indoors at a school setting when students are present, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are optional when outdoors.
  • Are students required to be vaccinated to attend on-campus programming? Students are not required to be vaccinated against COVID to participate in on-campus programming.
  • Are The Classical Academies closing schools due to Omicron? The Classical Academies will not be closing due to the Omicron variant as long as our workforce can perform their jobs and be present for students. With the national need for substitute teachers, we find ourselves in the same situation as all other school districts: a shortage of qualified adults in every room while our regular employees are out sick.
  • Will the state be providing COVID home test kits? Unfortunately, those in charge in Sacramento have failed to provide local and regional support organizations with COVID home test kits. There is no firm timeline if and when they will be available. If they are made available, we will inform our community, so those that want them will be provided with these tests for their students.

We will continue to monitor the latest updates from the state, county, and local health officials and will keep you updated as we learn more. If you have any questions, please reach out to the TCA Health & Safety Team at

November 18, 2021 - Court Case Brings Review of our COVID Protocols

On November 12, 2021, the San Diego Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by a local parent group, Let Them Breathe. The case sought to overturn student mask mandates throughout California and other quarantine and COVID-19 testing requirements.

In light of recent media attention, our schools have received an uptick of emails and social media requests asking us to relax mask mandates and quarantine requirements. We are always grateful for the active and meaningful participation from parents asking questions and staying engaged in their son and daughter’s education.

Through her written decision, the judge affirmed that the state’s
COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year (“State K-12 Guidance”) includes both mandatory requirements, as well as recommendations and resources to inform decision-making. Being an organization under the authority of local school districts, and the County Office of Education, we cannot exercise any flexibility with these established protocols and health directives.

The Classical Academies, in consultation with our attorneys, has closely reviewed the judge’s ruling. We have concluded that masks must continue to be worn by all adults and students in an indoor school setting when students are present. While testing and quarantining protocols are recommendations in the State K-12 Guidance, schools are required to follow them under San Diego County health orders. In this particular case, local health orders from the County of San Diego supersede the guidelines from the State. We are told that ignoring these requirements will result in liability, violation citings, fines, and charter revocation.

The Classical Academies do not have a choice and will continue to follow current state and county COVID-19 mandates and orders. As a guiding principle, as soon as it is legally viable to offer a choice on masking and quarantines, we are committed to quickly pivoting in that direction.

We know this information will bring disappointment to some and relief to others. As the cold and flu season approaches and with cases spiking worldwide, we hope that all students and families stay healthy, safe, and engaged in learning.

September 7, 2021

The California Department of Public Health released updated Guidance for K-12 Schools, 2021-22 School Year, providing recommendations and requirements for school-based extracurricular activities.

Following the updated Guidance, individuals participating in indoor extracurricular activities, including sports, band, choir, and clubs, must wear a mask unless medically exempted. If the activity cannot be performed with a mask, we will consider one of the recommended alternatives, such as conducting the activity outdoors or modified face coverings/bell covers on instruments and social distancing.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Health & Safety team

August 24, 2021 - Decision Tree: When a Student or Employee is a Close Contact or Tests Positive for COVID

The COVID-19 Decision Tree is a co-effort between the San Diego County Office of Education and San Diego County Public Health designed to assist school personnel in evaluating the appropriate responses for students and adults who:

  • Are you experiencing one or more symptoms associated with COVID-19, or
  • Have been in close contact with someone who is known to have COVID-19

When a student or employee experiences one or more COVID symptoms, tests positive for COVID, or is deemed close to an individual with COVID, The Classical Academies will follow the Decision Tree to determine the appropriate action. The Decision Tree is updated as needed to reflect the latest public health guidance. You may bookmark this page to ensure you are viewing the latest version of the Decision Tree.

August 22, 2021 - Back-to-school during COVID-19: What parents need to know, By Kristen Taketa, SD Union Tribune

Students are starting the new school year this month in a turbulent time with a fast-spreading coronavirus variant and fights about COVID-19 safety measures.

The Delta variant is increasing COVID-19 case rates and raising concerns among parents about whether their child will be safe at school. Meanwhile, some parents who don’t want to wear masks are working to discredit face coverings, which experts say are the most important measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after vaccines.

Here are answers to some of the parents’ frequently asked questions about going back to school during COVID-19.

Q: Is it safe to send my kid to school?
A: As long as schools are doing all the right things, mainly enforcing universal masking and increasing ventilation in classrooms, students can be safe at school, said Josef Zwass, neonatal medicine specialist at Kaiser Permanente San Diego.
School districts that started the new school year last month have reported hundreds of COVID-19 cases in school. But most COVID-19 cases originate from outside the school, school officials say.
“The school is only as safe as the community. When community rates rise, we’re going to see more cases in school,” said Jaime Friedman, a pediatrician at Children’s Primary Care Medical Group and spokesperson for the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “Whatever parents can do now to help their communities be safer will help the schools be safer.”
There have been 72 outbreaks in K-12 schools, out of 1,789 total outbreaks in San Diego County since the pandemic began. That’s compared to 703 outbreaks in businesses and 337 in restaurants and bars. Outbreaks are when there are three probable or confirmed COVID-19 cases within a 14-day period.

Q: When will kids under 12 be able to get vaccinated?
A: Pfizer expects to have trial data for an emergency use authorization of a vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 by the end of September, a Pfizer spokesperson told NPR in a story last week. Trial data for children under 5 will follow shortly after that.
Moderna is expecting to have data for authorization of a vaccine for children ages 6 to 11 by the end of the year. Currently, Moderna’s vaccine is only allowed for people 18 and up.

Q: How likely is it that kids will get COVID-19, spread COVID-19, or get hospitalized or die because of COVID-19?
A: Children are less likely to get seriously sick than adults, but the number of children getting COVID-19 has increased recently.
One reason is the Delta variant, which is much more transmissible than previous versions of the coronavirus and has been increasing COVID-19 rates regardless of age or vaccination status.
Second, states have lifted the bulk of COVID-19 mitigation measures and people are more comfortable going out and having more potential COVID-19 exposure, Friedman noted. Schools are no longer closed. Lockdowns and mask mandates have been lifted, even in areas where vaccination rates are low, Friedman said.
Also, children under 12 years old are the only age group who can’t get vaccinated yet.
As of Aug. 17, the 7-day average case rate for San Diego County children 9 years old and under was 27.4 per 100,000 people, according to county COVID data collected and analyzed by data scientist Elizabeth Shulok of the group San Diegans for Safe Schools. That was lower than the 37.1 per 100,000 case rate for the overall county population.
The COVID-19 hospitalization rate for children 9 years old and under was 1.3 percent, and for children 10-19 it was 0.7 percent.

Q: Does my child have to wear a mask? Do masks work?
A: Yes, students in all public and private K-12 schools must wear masks while indoors, according to state rules. All school staff must also wear masks while indoors with students.
Studies have shown that masks are highly effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.
A study released in June of more than 864,000 students attending in-person school last spring in North Carolina, where masks were mandatory, found that there were only 308 student cases where COVID-19 spread at school. There was a less than 1 percent chance of getting COVID-19 at school, the study found.
Another study of about 5,500 students and staff in rural Wisconsin schools found that, with required universal masking, COVID-19 rates were lower for schools than the community at large and only one in 20 cases found in school had been transmitted in school.

Q: Are masks unhealthy for kids? For example, will my kid get sick from bacteria in their mask, or do masks hurt kids’ well-being?
A: There is no evidence that masks make people sick or hurt children’s development, Friedman said. When she works with babies while wearing a mask, the babies can still see her smile behind her mask, and they smile back, she said.
Friedman has never seen or heard of a patient who got a bacterial infection from wearing a mask. She noted that everybody already has bacteria on their skin and in their mouth — bacteria that could theoretically get on the mask — but that bacteria doesn’t re-infect people.
Friedman said the biggest harm to children’s development is if they’re not around other children, and if wearing masks means they can be at school with their friends, then wearing masks is the much better choice.
Zwass and Friedman said there’s a simple solution to concerns about mask bacteria: use masks properly.
Only use disposable masks for a day, and wash then dry reusable masks after each day of use.

Q: What happens if someone tests positive for COVID-19 at my kid’s school? What happens if my kid tests positive?
A: Your child may have to quarantine if they become a close contact, which means they spent more than 15 minutes over a 24-hour period, indoors, within six feet of somebody who tests positive for COVID-19.
If your student is a close contact but has been vaccinated or has had COVID-19 within the past three months, they do not have to quarantine as long as they don’t show symptoms.
That’s why experts and educators are urging parents to get their kids vaccinated — not only because they provide protection against COVID-19, but because vaccination will reduce the number of time kids miss school due to quarantine.
If your child is not vaccinated, but both your child and the COVID-positive person were wearing masks, then your child can continue going to school in-person if they have no symptoms, undergo COVID-19 testing twice weekly for 10 days, and quarantine from extracurricular activities.
If your child is not vaccinated, is a close contact, and was not wearing a mask, or the person who tests positive was not wearing a mask, then your child must quarantine for at least seven days. If he or she takes a COVID-19 test after the fifth day of quarantine and tests negative, then they can go back to school after the seventh day. Otherwise, without testing, the student can go back to school after 10 days.

Q: What if I don’t want to send my kid to school?
A: All public schools are required this year to provide an at-home learning option for students, called independent study. Independent study can be virtual schools with live teacher instruction; others can look more like home school, where students work on assignments on their own and check-in with a teacher periodically.
Many school districts have deadlines for signing up for the independent study option. Once students sign up for independent study, they are generally expected to commit to that option for the entire school year.

August 20, 2021

The Classical Academies will continue to follow the K-12 guidance of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding masking mandates and exemptions. This means that we will continue to require a note from a qualified medical professional for an exemption before a student coming on campus without a mask or alternate face covering.

As per CDPH Guidance on Face Coverings, “persons with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask” as well as “persons who are hearing impaired” may be exempt from wearing masks. In these situations, a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with a drape on the bottom edge, will be required, as long as the child’s condition permits it.

Assessing for an exemption to our mask policy due to a medical condition, mental health condition, a disability that prevents wearing a mask, or hearing impairment is a medical determination. It, therefore, must be made by a physician, nurse practitioner, or other licensed medical professional practicing under the license of a physician. Self-attestation and parental attestation for mask exemptions do not constitute medical determinations.

Additional supports such as health plans, 504 academic plans, and counseling services are available to ensure that we provide all necessary accommodations for your child’s health conditions.

August 19, 2021

The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) has released its General guidelines for schools and the COVID-19 Decision Tree.

August 11, 2021

We are excited about the 2021-22 school year and are happy to announce that The Classical Academies will return to in-person learning for all students and team members.

Based on evolving health guidance and requirements, layered mitigation strategies are in place to more effectively reduce the risk of virus transmission and maintain the safety of students and staff as we resume full-time in-person instruction.

What to Expect

  • All seven brick and mortar school sites will resume in-person instruction
  • Stay home when sick. Temperature checks and health screenings will not be conducted on school campuses. Parents are asked to perform daily health screenings and temperature checks at home before sending their students to school
  • Social distancing will no longer be required
  • Supports and resources will be available for ongoing mental and emotional health and wellness
  • School sites will offer breakfast meal kits to students each day on campus, free of charge. Students must pre-order their breakfast kit online

Face Coverings & Personal Protective Equipment

Per the latest guidance, face coverings are required indoors, in a school setting, for all students and employees, regardless of vaccination status. Face coverings are not required for anyone outdoors. Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is available upon request.

Contact Tracing & Quarantine Requirements

The Classical Academies will continue contact tracing and quarantine measures based on the most current guidance. Students who are fully vaccinated, asymptomatic need not be excluded from school or extracurricular activities, including athletics.

Cleaning & Ventilation

Hand sanitizing stations and signage and universal handwashing and hand sanitizing protocols are available on all campuses. We will continue to perform regular cleaning, sanitizing classrooms and common spaces, and clean and disinfecting a space occupied by a sick individual. The following mitigation strategies are in place to optimize ventilation: regular disinfection using electrostatic sprayers; Each campus is equipped with GPS Ionization systems that drastically reduce airborne particles, neutralizes odors, and, most importantly, reduces pathogens, including viruses, mold spores, and bacteria. The most recent third-party testing of GPS shows that it is over 99% effective in deactivating the COVID 19 causing virus.

For more information about health and safety protocols at The Classical Academies, please visit our 2021-22 TCA Health and Safety FAQs.
If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at

July 30, 2021

Dear Classical Academy Families,

I am capturing my last few days of summer break. My email and social media have been inundated with questions and requests from our community on the County Health mandate, the governor’s orders, and mask-wearing at The Classical Academies. Here is what you need to know.

The current mandate from the California Department of Public Health officials is that masks are a requirement by all in a school setting. Vaccinated or not, all are required to wear a mask indoors. The CDC just yesterday recommended that all should wear masks in a school setting – vaccination or not, all should wear a mask.

What have public schools been told about defying or refusing masks mandates?

The Superintendent has informed Charter public schools and traditional districts in San Diego County of the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) that failure to comply with the mask mandates could result in the following:

  • Insurance cancellation – The San Diego County Risk Management Joint Powers Authority has stated that failing or refusing to implement and enforce state guidance could result in a loss of insurance coverage for liability claims related to COVID-19.
  • Liability for damages – San Diego County Office of Education’s legal services department warns that willfully refusing to implement mandated COVID-19 prevention measures could negate the immunity that may be granted to a public entity and increase liability for damages.
  • Violation citings – Cal/OSHA has provided that local educational agencies that fail to or refuse to enact requirements issued by the CDPH could also be cited for violations related to employee safety.
  • Misdemeanor, fines, and/or imprisonment – The current San Diego County public health order states: “According to Health and Safety Code section 120175.5 (b), all governmental entities in the county shall continue to take necessary measures within the governmental entity’s control to ensure compliance with State and local laws, regulations, and orders related to the control of COVID-19.” Therefore, school leaders should be mindful of the provisions outlined in Health and Safety Code Section 120295, which provides that anyone who fails to comply with local health orders may be subject to a misdemeanor, fines, and/or imprisonment.
  • Charter revocation – In my conversations with local superintendents, board members, and those overseeing our charters, if we fail to enforce the mask and health mandates, our charters could be pulled, and our schools can be closed.

In speaking with our attorneys, we have been reminded that failing to follow the mask and health mandates is unwise and can open us up to everything that the County Office of Education shared in their request for our compliance.

Is the mask-wearing decision made locally?
As many of you know, I shared my hopes for the future that mask-wearing would be optional. Clearly, the state and local officials see that this is not possible under current conditions. I am aware of a petition being circulated under the Let Them Breathe organization directed at our parents wanting to express their desire to have freedom from the mask mandates. This effort should be focused on those in power, as mask mandates are not a local decision made by myself or the Board for The Classical Academies. Based on what I shared above, having The Classical Academies defy the wishes of said officials would put us in a fight we cannot win.

I have appreciated the confidence and belief that many of you have placed in my abilities. I have never wavered in my commitment to this organization or the children and parents I am honored to serve. This past year we were the first to sue the state for funding equity, and we await the court’s decision daily. The fight for mask choice is not mine to carry. Rather the sustainability and long-term success of The Classical Academies, my responsibility with the help and support of my team.

Are parents sharing their points of view?
I see daily communications from those wanting and desiring masks for themselves, their children, and their children’s friends. In that same review, I see equal amounts of communications from parents desiring choice and freedom not to wear a mask. I am in the middle of trying to broker a deal and knowing that the daily winds of change are happening all around us. No matter your thoughts on the topic, we all have choices to make, advocacy calls to make, and people to see, hoping that our side wins in the end. Your personal advocacy on any front, to have your views heard by elected officials, is always beneficial.

I read the recent news that a parent group has sued the state over mask-wearing, and we wait to see if a judge rules to dismiss or entertain the plea. Either way, that decision will bring relief to some and frustration to others. Be that as it may, you have my assurance that my team will keep the needs of students first, effectively work with parents, and stay focused on academics for the growth and success of your children.

In sum, yes, while the laws are in effect, we will uphold mask-wearing for students on campus. Current requirements are supposed to be re-evaluated in November, and if mask-wearing becomes optional at that time–or any other time during the school year–the choice to wear masks or not will be up to parents and students. In the meantime, we expect that students and adults will comply, students and teachers will be engaged in academics, and together we will be successful.

Can you support my family if I choose to educate my children at home?
If wearing a mask is a deterrent to your children attending programming on campus, we have programming to support families for the 2021/2022 school year. Our options include our well-established Track C program, grades TK-8, and Independent Study program for 9-12.

These programs include:

· A credentialed teacher who is well versed in the options available to students in various grade levels and who will help each family navigate the change to Track C or Independent Study.

· New in 2021-2022 for grades 1-8, virtual class time two days a week, called C’lectives Distance Learning is available. Families who are on Track C have the option to sign up for these classes.

If you are interested in these options, don’t hesitate to contact your school site for more information.

In closing, please know that your school team is focused on the academic success of students. We look forward to interacting with you and your family and desire the day that all of this is behind us. I will be counting the days and weeks ahead as we travel together, supporting one another keeping students first. I hope to see many, if not most of you, at our Jumpstart Parent Conference on August 12, 2021, in Escondido.

November 20, 2020 - Health Screening App

When students or employees come on campus for any reason, they will be asked to complete a health screening on their mobile device via Parent Square. This will help us ensure all individuals are free of COVID symptoms while at school. This will help us save time when checking students in. To view instructions on how to download the app visit here.

November 18, 2020

As The Classical Academies move closer to reopening, the organization will be installing the following system at each campus to improve the air quality.

Gamma Plasma Solutions Ionization

The GPS ionization system is a product on the front lines of fighting COVID. This system produces pathogen diffusing ions into the building air supply through means of the building fan systems. This system is proven to deactivate pathogens, eliminate odor (including smoke), and reduce particulates in the occupied space’s air and surfaces.


  1. Why are we selecting this product? GPS is a permanent solution for increasing indoor air quality. The schools will benefit from safe, clean air for years to come. As opposed to other air quality solutions, GPS deactivates pathogens (including the COVID-causing virus) in the air and upon surfaces within each classroom.
  2. How is it better than Hepa Filters? HEPA filters can be a good source of purifying the air. However, many HEPA filters do not filter down to the micron level of a pathogen. HEPA filters also depend on drawing the air from a room into the filter section, thus circulating potential pathogens in the classroom. HEPA filters also will not be able to deactivate pathogens on surfaces. Lastly, HEPA filters require constant maintenance and filter changes to ensure adequate filtration. This allows more margin for error in maintaining indoor air quality.  The classrooms’ GPS product requires no maintenance and has a published life expectancy of 10-years with no replacement parts and no degradation in performance.
  3. How will it benefit students? With GPS installed, students, parents, and teachers can rest assured that their air quality is top quality. More than just eliminating pathogens, GPS will increase the air quality in general. Seasonal allergens, odors, and particulates will be greatly minimized, allowing healthier learning.
  4. What other benefits does this offer?  The GPS would also work to mitigate VOCs, odor, smoke, mold, and bacteria.

In addition to a new air filtration system, additional cleaning measures have been implemented. Our janitorial service has expanded to ensure a high level of cleaning and disinfecting occurs throughout each campus, including, cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces throughout the campus before school begins each day and before and after classes. All high touch areas will be disinfected, including door handles, light switches, sinks, and worktops. All campuses have been equipped with foggers using a hydroperoxide solution to disinfect high-touch surfaces.

October 2, 2020

With the current Executive Order and health mandates in place, The Classical Academies will begin the school year with Distance Learning at least until October 2, 2020. The Classical Academies will monitor state and county guidelines to determine when the shift from Distance Learning to a blended model can take place. It is the hope that students can return to regular programming.

Here is a brief overview of the elements it contains to support our students:

Distance Learning

For students enrolled in Tracks A, B, M, Summit, C’lectives, and High School

  • School days will be a blend of synchronous “real time” classes and work assigned through Schoology/Summit platform
  • Each week targeted support will be offered
  • Each week intentional time will be devoted to building community and making student connections

For students enrolled in Track C and Independent Study

  • Schoology lessons will be provided with step-by-step lesson plans
  • Educational Specialists are available to support
  • Parent support groups will be created to connect families who wish to participate

Clubs & Activities

  • Students in grades 7-12 will continue with pre-established clubs and ASB via Distance Learning. Campus specific updates will be given in the first few weeks of school.

Parent Support

  • August 13, 2020 is the Annual Jumpstart Parent Education Conference! It is designed to inspire, connect, and motivate parents as they kick off the school year! The conference features a keynote address and educational breakout sessions.
  • Parent Orientations and Coffee Chats are another way to learn about each campus. Look for more information once school begins.
  • Parent support groups are being created for new Track C families. Your Educational Specialist will share more about this support group in August.

Special Education

  • IEP Services will be synchronous “real time” sessions, if/when needed services may be provided as pre-recorded lessons.
  • IEP Meetings will be held via Google Meet
  • Case managers will reach out to families before the school year begins to discuss students service schedule
September 24,  2020

As The Classical Academies move toward a version of reopening, we are working closely with county health officials and the San Diego Office of Education. Please review the following compliance, health, and safety guidelines.

COVID-PreventionPlanMasterTemplate – This template was developed in consultation with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Public Health Services and is based on guidance articulated by the California Department of Public Health in its COVID-19 INDUSTRY GUIDANCE: Schools and School Based Programs (July 17, 2020) and COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year.

The template mirrors the organizational structure of the CDPH industry guidance for schools and is modeled on the COVID-19 Prevention Plan for Schools Checklist. Schools are not required to use this template; however, doing so will ensure that the school’s COVID-19 Prevention Plan responds to each of the elements in the industry guidance.

COVID-Decision-Tree – In the event that a student or employee has COVID symptoms, is exposed to COVID, or contracts COVID the decision tree can be used to determine appropriate steps to take. The decision tree was developed by the San Diego County Office of Education.

COVID-IsolationAndReporting – The Classical Academies isolation and reporting process.

COVID-RiskAssessment – The Classical Academies risk assessment guide is a practical guide to exercising COVID prevention for common/typical school activities.

Wellness Check Anyone on campus is required to perform a symptom check daily prior to coming on campus.

COVID-19 Safety Guide for Parents– Strict safety precautions are being implemented on each campus to ensure student safety.

August 10,  2020 - School Reopening Plan

With the current Executive Order and health mandates in place, The Classical Academies will begin the school year with Distance Learning at least until October 2, 2020. The Classical Academies will monitor state and county guidelines to determine when the shift from Distance Learning to a blended model can take place. It is the hope that students can return to regular programming.

July 20,  2020

At his Friday, July 17, 2020 news conference, California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered counties on the state’s coronavirus watch list to shut down school campuses this fall, at least to begin the school year. The 32 counties on the list — which include Los Angeles and most of Southern California — must switch to virtual instruction only.

The state’s two largest districts, Los Angeles Unified and San Diego Unified, announced plans to begin the new academic year with online-only courses. The mandate applies to private as well as public schools, according to Newsom. In order to physically reopen schools, counties will have to meet the state’s attestation requirements.

The Administration’s guidance for school reopening considers the same criteria used by CDPH in determining county closure, including things like:

  • Positivity rates
  • Transmission rates
  • Hospital Capacity
  • ICU capacity
  • Ventilator availability

Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Diego and Riverside counties are on the watch list. Asked about adjusting school guidelines that might allow for outdoor classrooms, Newsom said he was open to considering that in counties that come off the state’s watch list.

The Classical Academies remains flexible and ready to deliver rigorous academic programming to all students remotely, if necessary. It is our hope that this fluid situation continues to change and we are able to welcome students back on campus this fall in some capacity.

June 29,  2020

This past May, we asked for your input to help us understand your preferences as we plan for the return to school in the fall. We received over 2,000 survey responses and here are some highlights:

  • 66% of our families prefer to return to our traditional blended learning environment.
  • 17% of our families prefer a modified version of our traditional blended learning model.
  • 8% of our families would prefer independent study at home exclusively.
  • 11% of families indicated they would not be able to return to any campus based activities due to health concerns.

We have reviewed parent feedback, San Diego County health guidelines, and educational best practices, as we are developing plans for Fall 2020:

Plan A: Return to our regular blended “pre-COVID” programming. We are planning for this type of opening to the greatest extent possible.

Plan B: This is a modification of our regular blended model. The number of students on campus will be limited in this plan, due to social distancing guidelines and the physical size of classrooms. At this time, our plan is as follows:

  • Tracks A, B, M and Summit programs – each student attends one full day on campus, once per week.
  • C’lectives – each student attends their regularly scheduled class on campus every other week.
  • High School – each student attends, at minimum, each class on campus once per week.

We understand that this information will generate additional questions. We ask that you will allow us time to complete our planning, watch for regular summer updates, and be ready to engage with us as we near August 2020.  We believe that health officials will continue to review their orders, issue modified guidelines, and school plans will adjust as a result.  You can also click here for our Frequently Asked Questions document.

At this time, if you are a family who knows your student will not participate in on-campus learning regardless of which Plan is implemented in the fall of 2020, please let us know by completing an opt out form: click here.  This information will be vital as we create individual student schedules.  If you have questions about the impact of this decision on your student’s spot in AB/M, Studio, etc, please see our FAQs, link above.

As The Classical Academies prepares for the upcoming school year, our vision remains to “Inspire Every Student to Think Critically, Communicate Effectively, and Achieve Success.”  We are confident that both Plan A and Plan B will provide high quality programs and opportunities for students in the 2020-2021 school year.

Our priority will continue to be focused on the health and success of our students, their families, and our team members. We will follow local and state mandates and keep you informed as new guidelines emerge.

Look for additional summer updates on July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th.

Thank you for your continued partnership! Stay safe, and enjoy your summer!

June 15,  2020

The Classical Academies will communicate a possible plan for what the fall may look like in the coming weeks. As the CDC and state health and safety guidelines for schools are developed, we will adjust plans accordingly. During the summer, we will be creating plans based on the changing recommendations. You can expect an organizational update on June 30th, July 14th, July 28th, and August 11th. It is our hope that we will be back on campus “like normal” or a “new normal” if we are able. We are fortunate that our organization is founded on choice and anticipate providing many options from which to choose. Whatever the plan will be, we will continue to ensure high levels of learning and teaching, supporting students and partnering with parents!

April 20,  2020

Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) are extremely concerned about the mental health and wellness of students whose lives have dramatically changed during the COVID-19 response, as well as the health of staff who are also coping with these changes.

To support students, schools, and communities during this challenging time, the CDE has developed new web pages with information regarding mental health resources, including links for students to get direct access to mental health professionals. The new “Help for Students in Crisis” web page includes crisis and warm line numbers, along with other COVID-19-related resources for providing virtual mental health services and information for mental health providers, families, and youth. The web page is available at

April 1,  2020

Governor Gavin Newsom, State Board of Education President Linda Darling Hammond, and State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced today at a press conference that school districts should be prepared for distance learning for the remainder of the school year in response to COVID-19. While the Governor did not mandate school closures through June, he did warn schools to be prepared that it will be unsafe to open sooner. The Classical Academies are already implementing distance learning and are well-prepared for this challenge. It is our hope that county health officials will declare it safe for students to return to school in May for graduation and promotion celebrations. Until that time, our teachers and team members are engaged, working remotely, and are available to support students and families.

March 23, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases increase in our region, ere are a few more resources to help those in need:

Shelter in Place Defined

Millions of people in Northern California were ordered to shelter in place— one of the strictest preventative measures utilized yet during the coronavirus outbreak. Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order two days later telling people statewide to stay at home. What does that mean?

United Way Assists With Utilities and Housing Payments

United Way of San Diego County is offering emergency assistance to low-wage workers affected by pandemic-related layoffs or reduced working hours to help pay utility bills and housing payments. Click Here

San Diego Blood Bank Needs Donations –Click Here

There is a need for blood donations amid the coronavirus pandemic – despite the stay at home order.

Families First Act

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick or family leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. (Brief by Supervisor Kristin Gaspar) Click Here

March 20, 2020

In an unprecedented action that denotes a significant escalation in the state’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, Governor Gavin Newsom issued tonight new orders to stay home, marking the first mandatory restrictions placed on the lives of all 40 million residents in the state’s fight against the novel coronavirus. Many parts of the state were already under ‘shelter in place’ or ‘safer at home’ orders, including the near-simultaneous order issued for all of Los Angeles County just minutes before the statewide order was issued, effective 11:59 TONIGHT.

This escalation of distancing measures are mandatory and there is no set timetable for lifting the orders. It is critically important that if we are to succeed in ‘flattening the curve’ of infection and morbidity, we need to do everything possible to follow public health directives.

These Executive Orders and guidance laid the tracks upon which all public schools can build a path to continued operations and supporting student learning in a way that stabilizes learning loss and provides for the social and emotional support of students in isolation over the long run. As distancing orders become stricter, it should become apparent that it is counter-productive and short-sighted to think of this crisis as a sequence of two-week periods where we hope orders will lift. This will only cause lurch and frustrated communications with staff and parents. It is better to begin to plan internally and calibrate external messaging under the assumption that on-site operations will not return to normal before the end of the year, and back map a plan accordingly, while reserving the option to return.

We know that there are still unanswered questions and forthcoming guidance on complex issues like Special Education. Rest assured, we are on it, researching, consulting and advocating in all the right places to find answers as quickly and completely as possible. The same can be said with the consequences of the suspension of testing for 2019-2020. Now that a ‘Stay at Home’ order has been issued, we anticipate that the variation of execution of guidance across local and regional jurisdictions may smooth out, and we can focus on the mid- to long-term challenges.

Staying aligned and in constant communication is more important than ever. Our teams are engaged to serve students and families remotely.

Thank you for all you do, even while navigating the intense personal disruptions to support your own families as you serve your students. I honor each and every one of you, and please stay safe.

March 19, 2020

Emergency Resources

With the closing of schools and businesses due to COVID-19, we understand many families are impacted. Many families work in the service industry, are single parents, or are unable to go to work and may lose wages. We want to make sure that families have access to the resources they need. Below, you will find resources to assist your family that may have been impacted by this unprecedented pandemic.

Employment, Unemployment, Childcare, Reduced Work Hours, Tax Assistance and Health Resources. Per Governor Newsom: California has waived the 1-week waiting period for those unemployed or disabled as a result of Covid – 19 Click Here

Relief Fund for food service workers who have lost work. This fund applies to restaurant workers, delivery drivers, bartenders and anyone that receives tips. Click Here

Utility Assistance- Click Here

Housing Assistance- Click Here

Mental Health Services- Click Here

North County Food Pantries- Click Here

Nutrition Resources Click Here

State Department Information for Employees and Employers Click Here

Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance for Businesses, Private Non Profits, Homeowners, and Renters. Click Here

Small Business Development CenterSurvival Guide for Small Business – Click Here

City of San Diego Business Relief and Support Click Here

March 18, 2020

Special Announcement: School Closure Update

Governor Newsom said: “Let me be candid, and this is a very sober thing to say, and I cannot say this with certainty, but I can say this quite learnedly, don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a week, don’t anticipate schools are going to open up in a few weeks… I would plan and assume that it is unlikely that many of these schools will open before the summer break.”

The team at The Classical Academies is currently working to ensure that each of our students will be receiving high quality education opportunities when we return from Spring Break. We understand that this statement from the governor is troubling, jarring, and frankly overwhelming. We understand as parents ourselves, this is unprecedented in our lifetime and getting our hands around this in a few hours is not possible.

What I know to be true is that The Classical Academies are uniquely positioned to service our students well, because that is what we do well. Will our team be stretched, will we be questioning our abilities, all the while relying on each other more than ever to meet our community’s expectations? Absolutely! One thing that I have learned over the years is that together greatness happens. The partnership we share with families is the catalyst to making great things happen for our students daily.

In the days and short weeks ahead, until we enter Spring Break, you have our undivided attention to launching our distance learning program that will include several elements to support each student to achieve their personal success. In the meantime, every teacher is engaged, available, and wanting to help you. Don’t shy away from reaching out now to get support or encouragement.

We are here for you and know that we will be successful together. We are not called to easy, we are called to fulfill our place in history so that our sons and daughters rise to become better thinkers,
communicators, and achievers in such a time as this.

March 13, 2020

Important Update: School Closure

In consultation with the Department of Health, The Classical Academies will be closed Monday, March 16, 2020 through Monday, April 6, 2020.  This organizational closure will be followed by Spring Break Monday, April 6, 2020 through Friday, April 10, 2020.  This means that our organization will be closed for a period of 20 days.  Our plan is to be back in session on Monday, April 13, 2020.

We understand that this will be upsetting to some and comforting to others. This school closure will impact all sports, musical theater, and extracurricular activities.  All of these activities will be suspended.

This important move is to support families and align with growing concerns regarding contact with the COVID-19 Coronavirus.  During our school closure, our team will be disconnected taking care of their families and themselves.  We desire that all families continue to engage in learning and we will be sharing great learning ideas next week that will be relevant for your son and daughter.  Is this required? No, however, we know the importance of maintaining normality for our students and including daily learning we believe is important.

Thank you for being part of our community, caring about one another, and being people who value a meaningful and engaged partnership with The Classical Academies.

Remember, stay safe, wash your hands, eat well, and get to bed on time!  Your health is important to us all.

March 11, 2020

News of the coronavirus COVID-19 is everywhere, from the front page of all the papers to the playground at school. Many parents are wondering how to talk about this national health conversation in a way that will be reassuring and not make kids more worried than they already may be. With parent training and providing information at the heart of our program, here is some advice from the experts at the Child Mind Institute that may be relevant for you in speaking with your son or daughter.

  • Don’t be afraid to discuss the Coronavirus. Most children will have already heard about the virus or seen people wearing face masks, so parents shouldn’t avoid talking about it. Not talking about something can actually make kids worry more. Look at the conversation as an opportunity to convey the facts and set the emotional tone. “You take on the news and you’re the person who filters the news to your kid,” explains Janine Domingues, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. Your goal is to help your children feel informed and get fact-based information that is likely more reassuring than whatever they’re hearing from their friends or on the news.
  • Be developmentally appropriate. Don’t volunteer too much information, as this may be overwhelming. Instead, try to answer your child’s questions. Do your best to answer honestly and clearly. It’s okay if you can’t answer everything; being available to your child is what matters.
  • Take your cues from your child. Invite your child to tell you anything they may have heard about the Coronavirus, and how they feel. Give them ample opportunity to ask questions. You want to be prepared to answer (but not prompt) questions. Your goal is to avoid encouraging frightening fantasies.
  • Deal with your own anxiety. “When you’re feeling most anxious or panicked, that is not the time to talk to your kids about what’s happening with the Coronavirus,” warns Dr. Domingues. If you notice that you are feeling anxious, take some time to calm down before trying to have a conversation or answer your child’s questions.
  • Be reassuring. Children are very egocentric, so hearing about the Coronavirus on the news may be enough to make them seriously worry that they’ll catch it. It’s helpful to reassure your child about how rare the Coronavirus actually is (the flu is much more common) and that kids actually seem to have milder symptoms.
  • Focus on what you’re doing to stay safe. An important way to reassure kids is to emphasize the safety precautions that you are taking. Jamie Howard, PhD, a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, notes, “Kids feel empowered when they know what to do to keep themselves safe.” We know that mostly coughing and touching surfaces transmit the coronavirus. The CDC recommends thoroughly washing your hands as the primary means of staying healthy. So remind kids that they are taking care of themselves by washing their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds (or the length of two “Happy Birthday” songs) when they come in from outside, before they eat, and after blowing their nose, coughing, sneezing or using the bathroom. If kids ask about facemasks, explain that the experts at the CDC say they aren’t necessary for most people. If kids see people wearing facemasks, explain that those people are being extra cautious.
  • Stick to routine. “We don’t like uncertainty, so staying rooted in routines and predictability is going to be helpful right now,” advises Dr. Domingues. This is particularly important if your child’s school or daycare shuts down. Make sure you are taking care of the basics just like you would during a spring break or summer vacation. Structured days with regular mealtimes and bedtimes are an essential part of keeping kids happy and healthy.
  • Keep talking. Tell kids that you will continue to keep them updated as you learn more. “Let them know that the lines of communication are going to be open,” says Dr. Domingues. “You can say, ‘Even though we don’t have the answers to everything right now, know that once we know more, mom or dad will let you know, too.’”
March 9, 2020

We continue to monitor the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in San Diego County. Our efforts to review announcements from the State, regional officials, and the San Diego County Health Department is happening daily.  Just this weekend, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued a 6-page School Guidance document for all public schools to review. We are using all of this information to drive key decisions and keep our community informed as a result.

We remain vigilant regarding prevention and would ask that families do the same.

  • If your student is sick, please keep them home from school.
  • If your student has respiratory symptoms and fever of greater than 100 degrees, they should stay home from school and other activities until they have no fever for 24 hours without fever medication.
  • In addition, if your student has a severe productive cough (i.e., with respiratory droplets) that is not typical for them, they should stay home.
  • If you feel your student may have or has been exposed to the novel coronavirus, please contact your doctor immediately.
  • Families that have traveled internationally in the past month and returned from a known infection zone are asked by the CDC to self-quarantine and to not come to school.  If this is your family, please inform your school principal immediately.

Campus Cleaning:   In an effort to prevent the spread of germs, our teams will be wiping down all desks, work areas, and door handles after school each day.  Due to a bio-hazard concern, we do not use Clorox wipes when students are present. For all Chromebooks, we do use Lysol wipes on each device to ensure their cleanliness.  In addition, we encourage and allow students and team members to wash their hands during the day.  We are also working with our campus janitorial crews to ensure that each campus gets a daily deeper clean with more emphasis on heavily trafficked areas.

Stay Informed:   We encourage you to stay informed of the situation by regularly checking updates from San Diego County Public Health Services and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).    You can support prevention efforts by following these standard precautionary measures:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60%) when soap is not available.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when sick and call your school to report fever and respiratory symptoms.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, throw the tissue in the trash, and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Individuals with chronic health issues and/or individuals experiencing severe symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Continue to receive an annual flu shot.

Parent Choice: Our core belief as an organization is that parents are the primary educator of their children.  We know that some may want to keep their students at home during this time and we respect that decision. If that is the case for your family, please connect with your son’s or daughter’s teachers so that they are aware and can be supportive. Families exercising this choice should plan to complete schoolwork so that your son or daughter is engaged in learning and meeting expectations while not on a school campus. If you have recently moved, changed your cell phone number or email address, please contact the school to ensure that we have your most up-to-date emergency contact information for your family. You can do that by emailing the registrar at Please include the specific school name so that the right person reviews your records and responds accordingly.

School Closures: Our parents should begin to think about the real possibility the Governor may issue guidance to close schools regionally or statewide. We are watching this happen in other parts of the country and believe that it is only a matter of time before it happens here in North San Diego County. As our team prepares for that scenario during a school closure, families should be prepared to have students at home full time. What you can expect from us is not to embrace fear, be wise in our decision-making, all the while checking multiple sources before forming opinions and sharing information.  As we have all witnessed, this is a rapidly shifting situation and we want to be in a place of supporting families during an unprecedented time in our country. Be assured, we will be sending updates and sharing information that we believe will be of benefit to you and your family.

March 6, 2020

How to Talk To Your Kids About Coronavirus

By Deborah Farmer Kris, KPBS

Earlier this week, I overheard my kids engaged in a round of “I heard” and “Did you know?” while they were getting ready for bed.

“I heard that Margaret’s dad has it,” said my six-year-old.

“Did you know that it’s the worst sickness ever?” added my eight-year-old.

Neither statement is accurate, but they were revealing: I had thought my initial conversations with my kids about COVID-19 had been good enough. But with adults, kids at school and the news all hyper-focused on this coronavirus outbreak, my reassuring voice needed to be a little louder.

A favorite Mister Rogers’ quote ran through my mind: “Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary.”

So before lights out, we talked. I asked what they had heard about the coronavirus. We got it all out — their questions, their “I heards” and their fears. The rest of the conversation had three themes.

First, I shared age-appropriate facts and corrected misinformation. Because my kids are young, I kept it simple. “You know what it’s like to have a cold or the flu — how sometimes you get a cough or have a fever? This is kind of like that. Most people who catch this sickness stay home, rest and get all better. And we have wonderful doctors and nurses who can help people when they need it.”

Second, I reassured them that they are safe, which is the most important message my kids can hear from me. I know that they take their emotional cues from my tone. “You don’t need to worry. Right now, lots of amazing grown ups are working hard to keep people healthy. Luckily, we already know a lot about how to keep healthy!”

Third, I emphasized simple things our family can do to be “germ busters” — for all types of germs that are out there! As Harvard’s Dr. Richard Weissbourd once shared with me, kids and adults alike are “more distressed when we feel helpless and passive, and more comfortable when we are taking action.” The hygiene routines that slow the spread of the COVID-19 are the same habits that help keep us healthy all year round.

Here are four ways we can help young kids build germ-busting habits.

Wash Your Hands

Make it a family routine before every meal and snack to wash hands. If you do it together, you can

model for them how to use soap, rub your hands together and rinse. For a timer, try slowly singing the ABCs together while you scrub. In Curious George, the Man with the Yellow Hat has a cold.He teaches George how germs can move from person to person and that’s important to wash your hands and avoid sharing utensils. Good hand washers, like Daniel Tiger, are germ busters!

Catch that Cough

When kids cough or sneeze, they tend to do it right into their hands — and then they use those hands to touch everything in sight! Instead, we can cough and sneeze into our elbow

Make it a game with kids. Can they catch the cough in their elbow? In the beginning, cheer when they do: “You caught it! That’s what germ busters do!” If they accidentally “catch it in their hands,” they can simply wash their hands with soap and water and start the game again.

“Rest is Best”

Daniel Tiger reminds us that “When you’re sick, rest is best!” This is a good episode to show kids and a great song to sing when they are feeling under the weather. Tell them: When we are sick, we can stay home and rest our bodies; we can be germ busters by not spreading germs or going to school sick. And as parents, we can keep ourselves and our kids home if we have a fever or other symptoms.

Practice Healthy Habits

Remind kids that sleep, exercise and eating healthy foods are good, everyday ways to strengthen our bodies. We will all get sick sometimes! They have probably already had at least one cold this season. But we can be responsible germ busters when we practice hand-washing, cough-catching, resting and basic healthy living.

Looking for more easy, helpful tools to practice healthy habits with your children?

Check out these PBS KIDS videos, games and activities all about hand washing and staying healthy.

February 10, 2020

The 2019 novel coronavirus is a virus that was recently identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, and is now being spread widely in other parts of mainland China. More cases are being detected worldwide. The virus causes respiratory illness. You can learn more at the California Department of Public Health page.

The risk of exposure to this new coronavirus is low in California. Local health departments are communicating with travelers returning from mainland China to provide guidance about limiting public interactions for 14 days. Travelers from mainland China arriving in the United States since February 3, 2020 should be excluded from school for 14 days, beginning the day after they left China.

Here is the CDC guidance on returning travelers: Click Here

All students, parents, and staff should take the following everyday preventive actions:

  • Stay home when sick
  • Remain at home until fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicines
  • Seek immediate medical care if symptoms become more severe
  • Use “respiratory etiquette”
  • Cover cough with a tissue or sleeve
  • Provide adequate supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.
  • Separate those who are sick from others until they can go home. When feasible, identify a “sick room” through which others do not regularly pass.

A note about face masks: face masks are most useful for preventing disease spread when they are worn by people who have symptoms. This is why people are asked to wear a mask at doctors’ offices and hospitals if they are coughing or sneezing.