Dear Palm Valley Community,
It is my sincere hope that this message reaches you while you are safe, healthy, and somewhere enjoying air conditioning! There has been a lot of media coverage over the past few days on the differing perspectives on schools opening this fall. While the multitude of voices weigh in on that topic, it is important to remember that the considerations on whether to open schools to students for in person instruction are wide reaching and complex. Schools vary significantly in several important aspects including enrollment levels, student age, campus geography, etc.
I am writing to you today to tell you that our stance at Palm Valley Schools has not wavered. We remain poised to open our campus, as scheduled, to daily physical attendance on August 26th. Though clearly, school this fall will be a very different experience than in the past. Our desire to balance student and staff safety with the continued in person instruction of our students has given rise to many changes. These changes are all aligned with the CDC and California’s Department of Education guidelines and include regular cleaning and sanitization, physical distancing, the wearing of masks, limiting access to our buildings and hallways, staggering pick up and drop off times, etc.
On July 31st, all Palm Valley families that are enrolled for the upcoming 2020 – 2021 school year will be sent the annual back to school August mailing. This packet of information will include many important items for our families including a comprehensive explanation of the changes due to the coronavirus that are relevant to each division. Our schedule of classes for the Middle and Upper Schools has been set and all teachers and staff have been hired in preparation for the upcoming school year.
I want to provide one final assurance: We agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics position that “students should be physically present in school this fall”. We are fortunate at Palm Valley to enjoy an expansive campus with ample room for both cohort maintenance and physical distancing requirements, low student to teacher ratios that allow for safer teacher-student interaction, and innovative professionals that can adapt instructional pedagogy to the needs of our students amidst this pandemic. I would encourage anyone to schedule a “no contact” tour to witness the uniqueness of our campus and see the benefits of the vast physical space that we enjoy.
Stay safe and cool!
Counting the days to August 26th…..
Dr. Steven Sherman
Head of School