January 13, 2021
Dear ECS Community,
I hope that this letter finds you and your family healthy and well. I am writing to update you on recent guidance we have received from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH). I’m sure that very little in this update will be new to you, as we have all watched the recent surge in LA County cases with a great level of sadness and fear.
On January 7, the DPH sent schools a strong recommendation to suspend, “in person student instruction, services and activities during the month of January as much as possible.” Therefore, through January ECS will continue to provide food distribution and other minimum essential operations to support distance learning but will limit all other in person activities, In person support for high need students will be limited to services and assessments that cannot be delivered virtually and cannot reasonably be postponed until February.
The LACDPH issued this new guidance in response to LA’s unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases, which is overwhelming hospitals and ERs. My husband, who is a physician at Torrance Memorial Hospital, tells me that the daily COVID numbers at Torrance have increased from summer rates of about 15 per day to 160 COVID patients per day. The hospital has canceled all non-essential procedures, as there is not enough staff to care for the current patients, COVID or not.
For all these reasons, it is especially important to do all we can to reduce transmission. To protect ourselves, our families and our communities, we must continue to:
- Wear face coverings
- Physically distance
- Wash our hands
- Remain at home as much as possible
- Limit your social interactions to your immediate household members
Public health experts believe we haven’t seen the full impact of the travel and social gatherings that occurred during the holiday break, so it’s especially important to be careful right now. High rates of COVID in our communities make the likelihood of a campus COVID outbreak much greater than it was before winter break. An outbreak at an ECS school site would lead the DPH to close the campus temporarily, disrupting the essential services we are currently providing.
To protect our staff and families health and safety and to avoid any additional disruption to school services, we will be following the public health guidance and limiting on-campus services.
Thank you all for your ongoing support of our students during this difficult time. We are truly grateful for our community and the many ways that we work together.
Sending you all my best,
CEO, Environmental Charter Schools