By Sandra G. León
A girls’ Catholic high school in San Diego closed after just nine days of in-class schooling after two new COVID-19 cases were reported among students.
Our Lady of Peace (OLP) in North Park had invested over $500,000 in modifications to help protect students and teachers from the spread of the virus, but went back to online distance learning to prevent more new cases.
The school reopened on September 1st after county officials reported lower cases and allowed schools, restaurants, and movie theatres to open again.
In a letter to parents, the school administration blamed students for the spread of the virus.
“We recognize that despite our best efforts the girls are struggling with maintaining the rules of physical distancing both on and off campus,” the letter read. “Effective immediately, we are implementing a pause in our face-to-face learning model and moving to virtual distance learning (while maintaining the same class schedule). This will allow time for the community to separate, practice physical distancing and reflect on the importance and privilege of our time together on the OLP campus.”
The school also announced that it would institute a hybrid learning program beginning on September 17, with students attending class only two days a week in two separate groups separated alphabetically by last name.
The state guidelines that allowed schools to reopen require that schools close again if 5% of students or staff in a classroom test positive for COVID-19, if there are multiple cases in multiple classrooms, or if 5% of the student body or staff test positive for the virus.
OLP was among nearly 50 local private schools that asked the county for permission to reopened on or after September 1st, but public school districts have remained on distance learning programs using only online instruction.