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Coronavirus Communications Update

(These updates are now being listed on a COVID-19 Updates page which you can easily reference.)

Dear O’Dowd Families,

As new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have emerged in Berkeley and Contra Costa County, and as we monitor the news, I wanted to share what O’Dowd is doing to protect and prepare our school community. As always, our community’s health and safety are our top priority, and our intentional planning and preparation will change as the status of COVID-19 shifts. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been providing valuable guidance for schools that we are following closely. In collaboration with the Diocese and our network of schools, we are monitoring information from local health agencies and following their recommendations for major school decisions.

We are adding information to this page to provide families with up-to-date information as the situation evolves. This will be the best place to find the most up-to-date information related to this. In the event of school closure, we will email families and update this area of our website. Know that we are mapping protocols to address any developments on our campus that would impact our program, in alignment with CDC guidelines, local health agencies, and the Diocese.

Current Status There are no reported cases within our immediate community of students, families, faculty, or staff. Our protocol at this stage involves significantly increasing cleaning and disinfection as well as communication with students about frequent hand washing and other preventive measures. Co-curricular and athletic events continue as scheduled at this point.

Self-Care We have increased reminders to our student community about the importance of preventive self-care measures recommended by the U.S. Department of Education: If you are sick, stay home from school and school events.

  1. Avoid close contact with those who are already sick.

  2. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue or the crook of your arm.

  3. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

  4. Avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

Additionally, the National Association of School Psychologists offers good insight for family conversations about COVID-19.

Heightened Campus Cleaning and Disinfecting Our facilities team is providing all teachers with hand sanitizing wipes. Every classroom has a hand sanitizing station. We are ensuring that high-traffic surfaces on our school buses and vans are wiped with sanitizer after use. AC Transit is also taking additional measures to sanitize their buses. Our food service, as always, is following strict health code protocols to ensure our community’s health. We have added signage in key areas on campus with hand washing tips. A consultant will be providing our custodial staff with additional training for heightened, intensified cleaning during this time. This weekend, per CDC guidance, we are sanitizing the campus.

Online Learning Since the fires last fall, our academic departments have been studying flexible online learning plans. We are currently planning online learning protocols should we need to close our campus for an extended period of time. We will share more information as needed with families.

As always, our community’s flexibility and resilience is a great source of strength for all of us during challenges. Should our school need to close or if the situation changes quickly, we will notify you via direct email and update this area of our website.

Best wishes,

Christopher Smart, Ed.D. Principal 510 577-9100 ext. 175

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