We would like to take this opportunity to address the recent letter to the editor titled, “Scaredemic” published in the December 10th issue of the Irrigator to clarify the sequence of events.

First and foremost, the health and safety of our staff and students is our top priority. Sacred Heart Catholic School (SHCS) received a waiver from the County Dept. of Public Health (DoPH) and the Diocese of Stockton, after developing a comprehensive safety plan, to open the school for in-person instruction. The plan includes extensive measures for screenings of all staff, students, and visitors.

December 2, 2020, SHCS was informed a staff member had been exposed to COVID-19 and a letter was sent to parents informing them of the situation. In accordance and consultation with the DoPH, the staff member was quarantined and at the time was asymptomatic.

December 7, 2020, SHCS was informed the staff member had tested positive for COVID-19 and another letter was sent to parents. Since the staff member had quarantined since Dec. 2 and isolated at home for over 48 hours prior to experiencing symptoms, the guidance from the DoPH was to continue exisiting quarantine; furthermore, since symptoms did not appear for more than 48 hours after being on campus, the school was not advised to have classrooms quarantine.

SHCS has continued to follow the established safety protocols and guidance received from the DoPH.

Schools across the country have grappled with how to provide a robust educational experience during this pandemic. SHCS has developed and implemented a plan to re-open the school that balances the educational, social, psychological, and spiritual needs and well-being of our students, with the ultimate decision to send their children to in-person classes or distance learning from home to parents.

SHCS remains committed to working with the Diocese and DoPH to mitigate the risks of exposure, minimize the spread, and ensure the health and safety of students and staff.

We do not intend to discourage any member of our community from exercising their first amendment rights. We encourage open and candid dialogue, predicated on facts. However, when the application of free speech has the potential to disparage the institution we serve, we want to be sure all the facts are made available, so the reader may arrive at a more fully informed decision.

God bless,

SHCS School Advisory Board

Patterson

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