Point Loma-OB private schools prepare for return to campus
Private schools in the Point Loma-Ocean Beach area are preparing to welcome students back to in-person learning in light of San Diego County’s expectation that all schools will be allowed to reopen Sept. 1 if the county keeps its coronavirus case rate below 100 per 100,000 people.
Three area private schools were already in the process of scheduling their returns to campus through a waiver application process for kindergarten through sixth grade that the county suspended Aug. 24 in anticipation of all schools being allowed to reopen.
The Community School of San Diego in Ocean Beach and the Rock Academy in Point Loma had their waivers approved Aug. 19. The waiver application for Warren-Walker School in Point Loma was approved Aug. 25.
Public schools in the area did not apply for the waiver to reopen. As part of the San Diego Unified School District, they do not have the autonomy to apply individually. SDUSD has said it will begin the school year online Monday, Aug. 31, with strict reopening guidelines that could keep classrooms closed for months.
As many as 12,000 students could qualify for the optional, appointment-based sessions, which could start in late September.
The Rock Academy, which began the school year Aug. 10 with online learning, plans to return to campus Aug. 31 with students up to sixth grade.
“We’re excited,” Head of School Chuck Leslie said, adding that the school has “very strict COVID-19 prevention plans in place.”
The Rock’s seventh- through 12th-graders will return Tuesday, Sept. 8, Leslie said. He said 90 percent of the school’s students plan to return, with the rest remaining in online learning due to health risks or comfort levels.
Amy Hall, Warren-Walker School’s director of admissions, advancement and community relations, said its pre-K through fifth-graders will be back on campus Wednesday, Sept. 9.
“We are thrilled to have our school community together again,” she said.
“The vast majority of our students will be learning in person and on campus,” Hall said. “Families who are enrolled do have the option to have their children learn remotely from home if they aren’t yet comfortable having them return to campus.”
Warren-Walker’s Safe Reopening Plan, posted on its website, details many of the coronavirus safety protocols in place, including hand sanitizer stations and upgrades to the ventilation system.
The Community School, also called Pioneer Programs, will allow its kindergartners through sixth-graders on campus Sept. 8, according to Chief Executive A.J. Genovese. Middle and high school students will return Monday, Sept. 14, for a “hybrid schedule to maintain safety protocols,” he said.
The school serves students with exceptional needs who don’t “really benefit from online instruction,” Genovese said.
“Right now, there’s a lot of planning that needs to be done,” involving coordination with school districts regarding transportation and reaching out to parents to gauge their interest in returning to on-campus instruction, he said.
— San Diego Union-Tribune staff writer Kristen Taketa contributed to this report.