Message from FRIDAY, March 27, 2020
“This too shall pass.” It is a old adage that feels newly relevant as we conclude Week Two of remote learning, and, frankly, yearn for the return to normalcy. Like you, we are eager to hear laughter on campus again, to being away from our screens, and to engaging in the type of personal connections and collaborations that distinguish OVS from other schools. The reality is, for this unfortunate moment in time, we are making the best of a tough situation and doing it as well as we can thanks to the tremendous effort of our teachers, students and parents…
READ MORE in this week’s Notes From OVS.
Support Our Local Business!
Social distancing rules are hitting local businesses hard. But many have adapted by offering take-out and delivery options. We’ve compiled a list of restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and markets as a helpful resource. Please join us in supporting our local businesses during the stay-home order for Ventura County!
Message from TUESDAY, March 17, 2020
Today, Ojai Valley School students began remote learning after in-person classes were suspended for three weeks to help prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Going forward, classes will meet each morning and students will be given assignments to complete during their afternoon study time. Teachers will be available during office hours and by email.
Here are this week’s academic schedules by division:
The academic schedules leave time in the afternoons for exercise and other activities. For working parents, or those now staying at home in response to calls for social distancing, we recognize that filling the afternoon hours, especially for younger children, may be challenging.
Here are a few suggestions for ways to keep your students engaged and entertained, as well as resources for how to manage stress and anxiety amid the coronavirus outbreak:
Build in Reading Time
There’s no such thing as too much reading. Being home, especially on a rainy day, is a great opportunity to dive into a good book or podcast. Book publishers Scholastic and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are providing free resources to parents. The Ventura County Library also has resources available.
Take a Virtual Field Trip
Modern technology has made it possible to visit some of the world’s most famous museums, from the Louvre in Paris to The Met in NYC, with the click of a computer mouse. We found a fun website that provides links to 12 museums that offer virtual tours.
Games Without Screens
Remember crossword puzzles? Sudoku? Scrabble? Banana grams? There are numerous math puzzles and word games that are both entertaining and educational. Jigsaw puzzles are also a great hands-on activity that students of all ages can enjoy.
Encourage Creativity and Hands-on Projects
Drawing, painting, building with Legos, creating videos, singing or playing music are all excellent ways to engage students. Find some rocks, or recycled materials,and let your kids paint them. Check out The Kennedy Center web page for lunch doodles with Education Artist-in-Residence Mo Willems. In the coming days, we will be sending out challenges for Lego-building and other fun projects that can be shared with the school community.
Outdoor time benefits everyone. Try to build in time each day to get outside with your students for a walk, bike ride, or short hike. Breathing fresh air and appreciating the natural environment around us is not just a good way to burn off steam after hours indoors, it can help reduce stress and anxiety. The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy provides educational resources, such as field guides of local wildflowers, as well as a trail finder map.
Manage Stress and Anxiety
The increasing spread of COVID-19 is causing understandable concern for adults. We want to minimize, to the extent possible, any anxiety or stress it may be creating for our students. There are many resources out there. Here are two we recommend from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of School Psychologists.
We will continue to update this list in the days ahead and provide additional links. Of course, even with the best-planned schedule and established routine, there may be days you won’t have the energy to rally your troops for a post-school activity. It’s OK to let them play video games or watch Frozen II on a loop. We won’t judge you. We are all in this together.
Message from MONDAY, March 16, 2020
Dear OVS families,
Tomorrow we will launch a new phase of learning at Ojai Valley School as we move to online classes amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Our teachers have been working hard, particularly today during in-service training on both campuses to prepare for this transition. We know it may not be seamless, and we ask for your patience and feedback as we initiate our remote learning plans.
These are unprecedented times and no one can predict what lies ahead. But we have the benefit of being a resilient and close-knit community, one with a proven track record of overcoming adversity. We are all learning to adapt to change and that is a good lesson for our students. Our philosophy is to develop the academic strength, the character, and the self-confidence to meet life’s challenges in an ever-changing world, and that could not be more true than it is today.
The responsibilities of running our school are ongoing. We will not stop planning for our future, even as we work from a distance. Our main offices remain open, and we will continue to share news and updates by email and through our website at www.ovs.org/covid-19-advisory.
In the flurry of communications last week, you may have missed some outstanding campus news stories about how our college alumni are faring during the COVID-19 crisis, how our students and faculty rallied to support a 7th grader’s campaign to support medical research for pediatric cancer, and how our middle school students re-enacted an epic battle with cardboard and duct tape. We’ve included links to these stories below and will share more in the days and weeks ahead. For now, take care and let us know if there is anything we can do to support you.
Ojai Valley School
Message from FRIDAY, March 13:
Dear OVS Students, Families and Faculty,
Since our COVID-19 Announcement yesterday, the current threat of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) has increased and the Ventura County Department of Public Health has now declared a local state of emergency.
Given the fact that community spread of the COVID-19 is occurring in our neighboring communities, we are making the decision to suspend in-person classes, effective at the end of the academic day, and move to online learning for the next three weeks. Our plan is to resume in-person classes after Spring Break.
On Monday, there will be no classes while our teachers participate in in-service training. We will initiate our remote learning plan on Tuesday, March 17. The Heads of School will send additional information later today about specific school schedules and distance learning plans.
I want to emphasize that we do not currently have a known COVID-19 case at Ojai Valley School, or in the Ojai Valley. However, given the increasing spread regionally, and the heightened concern globally, we are making this decision to prioritize the health and well-being of our students, employees, and families. We have the opportunity now to prevent the spread of this virus, and that is why we are taking this action.
We know that a small number of resident students will need to remain on campus as they are unable to return home immediately due to a variety of travel restrictions already in place. We are staffed and ready to support the needs of those students in our dormitories for as long as necessary. However, if you are able, please try to make arrangements for your resident student to come home as soon as possible. If you live locally and are able to home-stay a student, please contact us.
Moving forward, we are restricting all non-essential visitor access to our two campuses and we are requesting that students, employees, and families avoid large public gatherings and practice social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has been clear: The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
We will complete a deep cleaning of our two campuses during this time, and will be in frequent communication in the coming days and weeks. We will continue to post updates to this page.
This is a necessary change in plans for all of us, and we appreciate your flexibility and support during this challenging time.
Ojai Valley School
The following specific steps are being taken to reduce the chances of exposure to the COVID-19 virus:
EVENTS, ATHLETICS & OUTDOOR EDUCATION
Ojai Valley School has postponed Family Weekend at Lower Campus, including the middle school play and Grandparent Day. Prom and High Tea will also be rescheduled. Field trips, outdoor trips, and sports contests on the March calendar will be postponed, and we hope to resume after Spring Break.
Starting on Tuesday, March 17, Ojai Valley School will move to alternative learning methods, including online classes. Faculty have been preparing for this and exploring creative options. Teachers will meet on Monday, March 16, for in-service training and there will be no in-person or online classes that day. We will provide more detailed information on the remote learning plan by academic division as instructional tools will differ for high school, middle school, elementary and primary students. For now, we encourage day parents to prepare for this transition. Consider whether your student(s) have adequate and reliable access to the internet, computers, and other resources to continue their studies effectively in an online environment.
Ojai Valley School is restricting all non-essential visitors to our two campuses. We ask parents and employees to not bring guests to campus at this time. Please contact the Admission Office at (805) 646-1423 for information about future visits, virtual tours, and online interviews.
We will not be offering day bus service while distance learning takes place. We expect Day Bus service to resume on Monday, April 16.
The Lower Campus Spring Break trip to Italy has been canceled. Any students or employees traveling to countries for which the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued specific travel warnings will not be permitted to return after Spring Break until they have been isolated off-campus for a minimum of two weeks following their arrival in the United States. Students and families must engage in this period of self-quarantine away from our two campuses. Families are encouraged to regularly check the CDC website for up-to-date travel advisories: cdc.gov/travel/notices. Students or employees traveling domestically to areas within the U.S. known to have confirmed COVID-19 cases may need to self-quarantine for a minimum of two weeks for the protection of the school community.
Campus dormitories remain open for resident students in grades 5-12 who cannot go home due to travel restrictions. We ask that resident students with family members in the region try to make accommodations now to care for students during the upcoming break. Please contact our offices by email at email@example.com or by phone at (805) 646-1423 for more information.
The OVS Health Center remains open and is a resource for students and families. Our nurses are collaborating with Ventura County Public Health, as well as neighboring schools and local healthcare providers to monitor and to prevent the spread of illness. More COVID-19 information is available on Ventura County’s website: ventura.org/covid19/
OVS employees will implement social distancing protocols. While some employees will work from home, offices will remain open and fully functioning. On both campuses, maintenance and housekeeping staff are increasing cleaning of classrooms, dorms, and offices to to minimize exposure and transmission of germs.
Updated on March 17 at 5:20 p.m. Please check back to this web page for more updates.