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A Letter From the Leadership Team

Dear Alverno Heights Academy Community,

We are writing to you today to keep you informed of the new developments in our community. As you all know, last Friday Governor Newsom mandated that all schools in the counties on California’s watchlist must begin the school year with remote learning. Once we read through all of the material that was posted online and information shared with us by CAIS, we learned that there is a waiver option for elementary schools “only.” The initial information provided was vague, but stated that if it was possible to meet the conditions of state and the county, there may be a possibility that elementary schools could open. We are investigating the waiver option along with many other private, Catholic, and independent schools, not only in this area, but throughout the state. Studies have shown that younger students do not do well with distance learning and are unable to stay home alone with more and more parents returning to work, unlike older students. Additionally, studies have shown that they do not seem to be affected by the virus as older students or adults. I have attached the information about the waiver.

Article: California Districts May Seek Waivers for Elementary Schools For Ban On In-School Instruction

Ideally, we would all be back at school under normal circumstances. We see the benefit for all students to be receiving face-to-face instruction and connecting with their peers. However, after looking at the results of our survey (prior to the Governor’s announcement), 28% of the upper school families wanted to return full-time on campus; 46% preferred hybrid learning; and 27% wanted remote learning only. That means that nearly 85% of our families are still not comfortable being back on campus full-time. Unfortunately, for the high school students, Governor Newsom’s mandate definitively prohibits us returning to on-campus learning until Los Angeles County has been off the state's COVID-19 watch list for 14 consecutive days. However, all is not lost. The Archdiocese, CAIS, and our Leadership Team are currently investigating ways to bring you onto campus in small cohorts for socializing, club opportunities, government, conditioning, orientation, liturgy, etc. 

None of this is guaranteed, but we felt it was important for you to know what we are doing to try and make the beginning of the school year more palatable and what we are working towards. Again, health, safety, and well-being is our first priority for all members of our community. Whatever we are able to do, we will be following all of the guidelines put out by the state, the CDC, and the public health agencies. As mentioned last week, we are continuing to prepare for a return to on-campus learning by purchasing necessary supplies and equipment, participating in webinars and discussions, and more. 

Thank you for entrusting us with the education of your daughter and partnering with us while we prepare the way for our return to school. We are in this together, and ready for the journey ahead. Thank you for your patience and understanding during these tumultuous times.


Julia Fanara, M.A. and M.Ed. P'01, P'03, and P'05, Head of School
Sara McCarthy, '05, M.Ed. Assistant Head of School
Lisa Primero-Solano, M.Ed., Dean of Students

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Our mailing address is: 200 North Michillinda Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024 

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