Dear Parents and Students,
Next week, we will be preparing for a much-needed and well deserved Easter Break at the conclusion of a successful three and a half weeks of virtual learning at OLP! We are incredibly proud that we were able to continue educating our students with zero downtime in this transition to online learning. At OLP we are committed to ensuring that our students are provided with not only academic excellence to ensure success, but also a community that supports them spiritually and socially.
During this time of the coronavirus, as the number of cases in San Diego and across California, the nation and world have continued to increase, we have heard each morning in our OLP community prayer how many are suffering more closely from the touchpoint of the virus. Through our faith, we hold each prayer intention up and remember the health of one another during these unknown times, especially our first responders, military, health care professionals and essential workers.
Counselors and faculty have provided for students and families a continual layer of routine and support even in a virtual environment. As we look forward to this much-needed break, it is also with an eye on the future that we reach out today. Those relationships with OLP will continue to be there for all of us in these uncertain times. As many know, this past weekend, here in San Diego, the shelter-at-home guidelines have been extended indefinitely. Our fellow neighboring unified school districts have also extended their online learning deadlines with no date of return.
Furthermore, just yesterday, Tony Thurmond, the California State Superintendent of Public Instruction issued a letter to all Superintendents stating, “Due to the current safety concerns and needs for ongoing social distancing it currently appears that our students will not be able to return to school campuses before the end of the school year.”
In light of this determination, we announce to all of you today that OLP is poised to maintain our online learning program, with no specified date of return to campus, for the remainder of the academic school year. OLP is simultaneously ready to reopen the physical campus and return to normal school operations within just 48 hours notice, should we find that the tide has changed and public health officials believe that it is safe to do so.
As we move forward this year, we will remain focused on how we can best partner with our students and parents through a strategic planning approach to effectively serve our families in a virtual environment spiritually, socially and academically. We have some really exciting ideas coming that we cannot wait to share with you, from car parades to yearbook pick up on Circle Drive at the end of May, weekly club activities, virtual community service opportunities, and even a virtual Community Day celebration–the sky’s the limit for an OLP Pilot!
Rest assured that the Class of 2020 will experience face-to-face graduation on North Terrace as soon as the group gathering restrictions are lifted for San Diego County. This may be as early as the end of June, or we may need to wait until the holiday vacations surrounding Thanksgiving or Christmas of 2020. In the coming weeks we will remain in dialogue with students and parents from the Class of 2020 to evaluate a plan A, and plan B or plan C scenario. We are currently moving forward with a virtual Baccalaureate Mass on May 21 in the OLP Chapel and a virtual Graduation on May 22 at the regularly scheduled times. Our technology team is focused on identifying the best resources for this approach. We are building our plans as we speak and we look forward to your partnership to help us get there!
This is new and will take all of our ingenuity to help look through this with hope and innovation.
On Monday, April 6 at 2:15 pm we will host a Senior Class discussion forum with school leaders to share ideas and brainstorm others. Following Easter Break, we will host our next Coffee with Counselors to keep the lines of dialogue open with our parent community.
We recognize that none of this will look the same as we all anticipated, and this new reality is paired naturally with disappointment. Rest assured that with time to plan, we will have the runway to put amazing things in place to allow for special memories together.
As I was closing up my office and grabbing supplies for home, I took the new devotional book That All May Be One. It has been a source of tremendous guidance for me in these times. Today, I find a reflection from Jane DeLisle, CSJ, titled “Kaleidoscope of the LIttle Design” particularly poignant:
“Generation after generation
A shift of reality and circumstance
New beauty, new grace in response to the Mission
The amazing Little Design adapts
Alert to the next place for Love’s revelation
The cry for unity and reconciliation
A kaleidoscope turns
New patterns emerge
Nothing is lost.”
As we close out the OLP 2020 school year virtually, it will look different for this generation, but it will be special because we will celebrate it together! It will be filled with love and community and unity. I know that it is hard for our Seniors and our students who see what they do not have, but as an OLP community, we will look to the new patterns to emerge and create a different kaleidoscope of memories that will be special for all of us in this time. Ones we will never forget!
When able, we will celebrate once again at Villa Montemar, but until then, we will meet in our OLP Zoom Rooms.
I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning at 8:00 am for Morning Announcements! Join your daughter as we come together as one community.
Lauren Lek, Ed.D.
Head of School