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Re-Entry Communications

Our Head of School - Rebecca Zipprich's re-entry communications to the Shu Ren community for the 2020-2021 school year.

March 18, 2021: Shu Ren Condemns Racism and Violence Against the Asian Community

Dear Shu Ren Community,

Recent incidents of violence against members of the Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community, culminating in yesterday's horrific shooting in which eight people were killed, has made us reflect and consider how we as a school can address issues of racism in a safe, inclusive, and meaningful way. We are deeply sensitive to the fact that for many of our families these events have caused considerable stress and concern, and we stand in solidarity with each and every one of you.

In response to recent events, and our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we are currently focusing on the following:

Safety protocols

  • Share resources with faculty and staff on how they can be safe.
  • Inform faculty and staff of additional ways we can be extra vigilant about campus security and safety.
  • Continue to practice safety drills that teach our students how to be prepared for an emergency.

Curriculum

  • “The International Baccalaureate aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect.” Today, in our faculty meeting, we reflected on recent hate crimes against the AAPI. We explored how we can build on the mission by further expanding our curriculum to more fully address diversity, equity, and inclusion. 
  • We will continue to explore age-appropriate ways to promote identity, tolerance, and cultural competency while considering anti-bias and anti-racist education.

Community involvement and action

  • We invite parents to share any resources they have to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you know of any guest speakers, community leaders, or organizations that can support our work, please feel free to contact Rebecca. 

Parent Resources

Talking to your child about racism and violence may feel overwhelming, and like many parents, you may not know where to start or how to engage in this conversation. Here are some resources that we found helpful in approaching these critical conversations.

Beyond the Golden Rule: A Parent’s Guide to Preventing and Responding to Prejudice 

Resources for Parents: Uplifting Youth Through Healthy Communications About Race

Why parents really need to talk to their children about the news

At Shu Ren, we stand up against racism and violence, and we will do everything within our power to support our community. We need change. We need peace. We need love. We need unity. What gets us through these challenging times is the belief that we are educating and raising future change-makers who will advocate for better policies and practices that honor and value humanity.

Sincerely,

Shu Ren Leadership Team

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

January 13, 2021

Dear Shu Ren Community,

We are all aware of the surge in COVID-19 rates in California and across the U.S. Providing in-person learning for our students in this current context requires an unwavering commitment from every single member of our school community to engage in behaviors that protect us from virus transmission. We request that you thoroughly read this email to better understand actions from our Health and Safety Plan that require your immediate attention. We have also included pertinent information on several new school policies that have been developed in response to the higher community prevalence rates in Alameda County. 

We must be a united front in ensuring the health and safety of our community. Each member of our community must double down on their responsibility and commitment to strictly upholding and adhering to Public Health requirements both inside and outside of our school. 

CURRENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE

Monitoring and reporting your child’s illness- Every night and every morning before school, check your child for any COVID-19 symptoms. Even the slightest symptom should be taken seriously and you should keep your child at home and report the illness to the school. You must also take your child’s temperature before they arrive at school, as well as complete their symptom check through the Procare App.

Immediately leave after morning drop-off and pick-up- We have noticed that families may spend time during the morning drop-off or at dismissal to catch up with other parents in class or teachers. We also miss having those conversations, but now more than ever we need you to immediately drop off/pick up your child and avoid social interactions while on campus. 

Social Distancing- Please remember to maintain 6 feet distance when talking to teachers and other members of the school community. 

NEW POLICY AND PROCEDURES

It is essential that you keep your child home if you believe they have had any potential exposure to COVID-19 inside or outside of your home. We depend on you to make the best judgment about potential exposure to protect our entire community.

We have been informed by health professionals within our community that they are seeing a greater occurrence of transmission within households. For this reason, we have developed two new policies that relate to household contact. These policies were developed by the school out of an abundance of caution and go beyond the requirements of local health authorities.

1. School Exclusion - Member of Household in contact with confirmed COVID-19 positive case

If a member of your household has been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, your child will need to:

  • Stay home for fourteen days from the last day the household member had contact with the positive case.

  • Get tested for COVID-19 4-10 days after the last date the household member had contact with the positive case. 

2. School Exclusion - Individual in household with symptoms: 

If a member of your household is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, your child will need to:

  • Stay home until at least 10 days have passed after the household member first became ill AND at least 1 day after they have recovered. Recovery means that your fever is gone for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications and your symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath, etc.) have improved.”

There are two options to return to school before the 10 day period.

Option 1: Medical Evaluation

If the member of household is NOT tested but has a medical evaluation, student can return before 10 days have passed if:

  • Symptoms have resolved, AND 

  • A medical evaluator (generally a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a certified physician assistant) indicates that 1) an alternative diagnosis has been made, and 2) the symptoms are NOT due to COVID-19. 

Option 2: COVID-19 Test

If the member of the household COVID-19 test is negative, they can return if: 

  • The member of household is feeling better (symptoms do not have to be completely resolved), AND

  • There have been at least 24 hours with no fever, without taking medicines to lower a fever, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), AND 

  • A medical evaluator (generally a doctor, a nurse practitioner, or a certified physician assistant) indicates that 1) the symptoms are NOT due to COVID19, AND 2) the COVID-19 test was negative. If it is not possible to consult with a medical provider, the individual must obtain a COVID-19 negative result indicating that a molecular test or PCR was performed.

In addition to the new household contact policies, we have also developed new policies surrounding the upcoming February holiday (February 11-19). We will re-evaluate the policies surrounding upcoming breaks, including Spring break, in accordance with community prevalence rates. 

1. Distance Learning- The week of February 22-26 students in pre-k to grade 6. This is an extra level of prevention to help our community feel safe after returning from a long break. We expect that all Shu Ren community members will adhere to the shelter-in-place guidelines. However, with rising community prevalence rates across the U.S. following holiday periods, this is another strategy schools are instituting to help reduce the risk of exposure in our classrooms. More details on how this policy relates to Winter Camp will be provided at a later date. 

2. Required testing- We want to stress that the most effective way to reduce the risk of exposure is to stay home and only leave your house for essential purposes. However, with community prevalence rates high, we have determined that mandatory testing for students returning to in-person learning is another layer of safety for our school community. More details on a testing event will be provided leading up to the February break.

The COVID-19 pandemic is an evolving situation that requires us to continually evaluate our policy, procedures, and practices. These changes in policy are intended to be preventive and were developed to further protect our community from another COVID-19 case. We all understand our inherent risk of opening/attending/teaching in a school during a pandemic and our aim through these policies is to mitigate the risk of transmission to the greatest extent possible. 

Distance Learning Clarifications

Since the start of the school year we have received questions about when students can participate in distance learning. The following intends to clarify some items surrounding the distance learning option. 

Distance learning is provided when:

1.A student is previously enrolled in the distance learning program or moved to distance learning due to concerns about COVID-19 community prevalence.
2.A student is excluded from class due to a COVID-19 related issue. When this occurs the child can join virtual learning after 24 hours. In that time, the teachers will prepare learning materials for pick-up and will redesign lesson plans to accommodate the new home learner. 
3.The class closed due to a COVID-19 positive case.
4.The school closed due to a mandated shut down by the city/county/state. 

Distance learning is NOT provided when:

1. The family is traveling
2. The student has to attend an appointment that is scheduled during part of the day 
3. The student feels tired and prefers to learn from home
4. An event occurs at home that makes it more convenient for the student to remain at home and join distance learning. 

Thank you again for being our partners in educating students during a pandemic. We would like to thank our teachers and staff for their courageous efforts in offering in-person learning during these unprecedented times. Their love, care, and dedication are demonstrated in how they persevere through challenges and continue to offer our children the very best education possible. 

As always, please feel free to email if you have any questions and Reply All so that Que Yi is included in your reply.

Be strong. Be safe. Be together.

Sincerely,
Rebecca

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

December 11, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

I hope this email finds you all safe and well. As COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations increase in the Bay Area, California, and across the country, we all have a shared responsibility to keep our communities safe. Staying at home and sheltering-in-place is one of the best ways to avoid contracting the virus. 

According to the most current Alameda County Shelter-In-Place Order, “Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, December 7, 2020, all activities and businesses currently permitted in Alameda County will be subject to the restrictions imposed by the State of California in its Regional Stay Home Order of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” I’ve highlighted items from The State of California Regional Stay at Home Order.

  • All gatherings with members of other households are prohibited in the Region except as expressly permitted herein.
  •  All individuals living in the Region shall stay home or at their place of residence except as necessary to conduct activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of critical infrastructure, as required by law, or as specifically permitted in this order. 
  • Nothing in this Order prevents any number of persons from the same household from leaving their residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation, as long as they do not engage in any interaction with (or otherwise gather with) any number of persons from any other household, except as specifically permitted herein.

Our Travel Requirements

We expect that our community will adhere to the Regional Stay at Home Order, Alameda County and Berkeley SIP, as well as the California Travel Advisory to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If your family must travel under circumstances permitted in these orders, please inform the school immediately and we will communicate your options for a return to in-person learning after the holiday. We will only provide distance learning after the holiday for families who were already enrolled in distance learning, have been excluded for COVID-19 symptoms, or traveled under circumstances permitted in these health orders.

We urge our school community to heed both the restrictions and the guidance being provided by our public health officers that prohibit travel and gatherings outside of your household. Keep yourself and others safe by social distancing, frequent hand-washing, and cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. 

Our safe return to school on January 4, 2021 is only achieved through our collective efforts. As always, thank you for your partnership in keeping Shu Ren a safe and healthy learning environment. 

 

Warm Regards,

Rebecca

Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

November 16, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

Today the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) issued a press release announcing that the county has moved back into the Purple Tier. This currently does not affect our school’s ability to provide in-person learning for students in pre-k to Grade 6. The press release indicates, “Any school that currently has students attending classes in person may continue to do so.” As we are all aware, this is an evolving situation and we will keep you updated if these guidelines should change. 

New Travel Requirements

On November 9, the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD)  issued new recommendations for safe holiday travel. We have updated our travel policy to reflect these new recommendations. If you plan to travel outside of the Bay Area, you will either have to self-quarantine for 14 days or take a COVID-19 test 4 days after travel before returning to campus.

Stay Home. Stay Safe.

We cannot control the inevitable increase of COVID-19 cases in Alameda County, but we can reduce exposure in our school community. To keep our students, faculty, and staff safe, we must all remain committed to actions that reduce the risk of transmission. Staying at home and sheltering in place is one of the best ways to avoid contracting the virus. 

We urge our school communities to heed both the restrictions and the guidance being provided by our public health officers to limit gatherings outside of your household, mask-wearing, hand-washing, and cleaning and disinfection of surfaces especially as we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday.

As always, thank you for your partnership in keeping Shu Ren a safe and healthy learning environment.

Warm Regards,

Rebecca
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

September 29, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

Since the start of the school year, we have communicated our commitment to safely resuming in-person learning for our K-6 students. 

Our PreK program is currently open, as is emergency care for essential workers.

We are currently pursuing two paths to reopening. This email provides a summary of each path’s status:

1. Reopening Waiver

On September 14, according to the ACOE-ACPHD Waiver Tracker, the Alameda County Public Health Department  (ACPHD) received our reopening waiver request. Last Thursday, September 24, we learned that the City of Berkeley will evaluate all waiver applications for schools located in Berkeley, this includes Shu Ren. The Berkeley School and Child Care Liaison has informed us that it will take several weeks to review each school’s waiver. Our current best estimate is that Berkeley will complete this process mid-October. 

2. Tier 2 Alameda County Reopening

Last week, Alameda County moved from “widespread” Tier 3 to “substantial” Tier 2 status.  This is great news, as it means that COVID-19 is less prevalent in the community.  In response to this change in status, ACPHD stated:  “Bringing students back for in-person learning is a top priority for the next phase of reopening. Though counties in the Red Tier are permitted to open schools for in-person learning after two weeks in the Red Tier, our Health Officer Order issued on August 28 clarified that schools must continue distance learning until such time that local conditions support in-person learning, even if the County meets the State’s criteria for in-person learning.” 

The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) echoed ACPHD’s desire to return students to in-person learning, but cautioned that any reopening will be subject to restrictions to protect the health and safety of students and staff.

 If Alameda County remains in Tier 2 past October 6, we anticipate that all schools in Alameda County will be able to reopen sometime in October in accordance with  California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. 

We must remain strong and hopeful that our K-6 students will return to campus in October. We will continue to work with the ACPHD, the City of Berkeley, and the Shu Ren community to advocate for our student’s safe return to in-person learning. We will continue to provide you updates as more information becomes available. As always, please feel free to email me with any questions. 

Warm Regards,

Rebecca

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

September 16, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

Yesterday we welcomed our K and G1 students to campus! Teachers and students were brimming over with excitement to be learning together in person. It warmed our hearts to see them back on campus. Classrooms are set up to encourage physical distancing, outdoor covered learning areas are available, and our health screening runs efficiently. For our distance students, they were able to participate in synchronous lessons with their classmates and receive individualized feedback from teachers.  Thank you to our teachers and staff for their tremendous effort in making this a reality!

We are also excited to share that our Form of Interest to Reopen was accepted by the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) and we have submitted the Reopening Waiver for K-6. We are proud to announce that we are currently among 4 out of 112 schools in Alameda County that have moved to phase three (the final phase) of the reopening waiver process. 

Our target date for reopening campus to all K-6 students is Monday, October 5. However, this date will be dependent upon how quickly our application moves through phase three of the ACPHD waiver process. We remain cautiously optimistic that K-6 students who choose in-person learning will be back on campus in 2.5 weeks! 

Next week we will send an email to Grade 2-6 families to confirm their preference for in-person or blended learning. As always, feel free to send me any questions.

Warm Regards,

Rebecca

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

September 3, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

This email is intended to provide the latest update on our re-entry plans for K-6. As you will see, we are initiating two separate plans based on the most current State and local guidelines.  As always, I am available to answer any questions you may have regarding these new plans.

In-person Pre-K learning is off to a great start and is unaffected by this announcement.

PLAN FOR KINDERGARTEN, GRADE 1, AND EMERGENCY CARE STUDENTS

Return To Campus Date: Monday, September 14.

We received new guidelines from the State and have received confirmation from our local health officials that our Kindergarten and Grade 1 students may return to in-person learning on campus. The new guidelines are presented below for your reference:
     Guidance for Small Cohorts/Groups of Children and Youth 
     FAQ: Providing Targeted, Specialized Support and Services at School. 

 Key Points From The New Guidance

  • We can provide in-person learning for students whom we consider our most vulnerable population.
  • We must maintain stable cohorts of 14 or fewer students.
  • Each cohort may have no more than two full-time supervising adults.
  • We may use up to 25% of our physical building capacity for K-6 students.

Our Vulnerable Population

We have identified Kindergarten and Grade 1 students, as well as Grade 2-6 emergency care students as our most vulnerable population. It is clear that distance learning is the most challenging for this age group, which is why we have prioritized their return to campus. 

Stable Cohorts 

State guidelines require students to be in stable cohorts of no more than 14 with a maximum of two full-time supervising adults for a minimum period of three weeks. Data collected before the start of the year through the Family Re-entry Survey indicated that K and G1 classes each have 14 or fewer students who prefer in-person learning. Our in-person classes will reopen based on this data and no changes in preference can occur for the first three weeks of reopening. If the school hasn’t received a waiver by October 5, parents will have a chance to change their preference to in-person learning. If an in-person class exceeds 14 students when preferences change, we will reassess our reopening model and discuss options with our families. 

Blended Learning

In the Blended Learning Model, students learning at-home and at-school follow the same schedule. All students will continue to receive English, Art, Music, and Drama through our online learning platforms.

Day and Time

Monday through Friday from 8:30-3:15. A staggered arrival and dismissal time will be communicated before students return.

Aftercare

3:15-4:00 extended school day. We will provide care for families in need during the 3:15-4:00 period. This was originally intended for homework support, but homework will not be assigned this school year, due to changes in our blended and distance learning model. This is free of charge, but we do request that families only use this option, if it is absolutely necessary. 

Aftercare from 4:00-5:00 will only be provided for children of essential workers. We currently only have students in Grade 2-6 enrolled in aftercare and will not be accepting any additional students in K and Grade 1. 

Due to current COVID-19 guidelines, we are not able to mix-groups for aftercare, which is why our options for aftercare are limited.  We hope to be able to offer more aftercare options for families in the future when it is safe to do so.

Additional Information
Additional information will be sent home to Kindergarten and Grade 1 families next week.  

PLAN FOR GRADE 2-6

Return To Campus Date: Estimated by the end of September or the first week of October

As indicated above, we can only use 25% of our physical capacity under the new State guidelines, which is why we cannot bring all K-6 students back to campus. However, last night the Alameda County Office of Education announced that the Elementary School Reopening Waiver Process is now open. The first step in this process is for schools to complete the in-person Learning Readiness Questionnaire, which we completed last night. Next, the Alameda County Office of Education will review the questionnaire and will send a link to complete the formal waiver application. After speaking with our local health officer yesterday, it will likely take several weeks for the application to be processed, once submitted. 

Again, we are fully confident that the waiver will be accepted and our K-6 students will be back on campus in the next couple of weeks! 

Thank you all for your continued support and patience, as we work with local agencies to implement these re-entry plans.

Warm Regards,

Rebecca

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

August 25, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Families,

Last Friday, August 21 we received an update from the Alameda County Health Department regarding new guidelines for schools offering Academic Camps. 

Based on this update, we shared with you all our plan to offer in-person Academic Camps to support distance learning and provide childcare for all our families. 

We spent the last four days working out the details for implementation on this plan and were about to hit the send button on that email when just this afternoon, Community Care Licensing released new and unexpected rules that appear to implicate our plans. https://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/CCLD/PINs/2020/CCP/PIN-20-22-CCP.pdf

We have to put our Academic Camp plan on hold, while we review and incorporate this new order and any additional requirements. We know you are anxious for details, please bear with us for a few more days. We want to send you information that will be accurate and not immediately obsolete. 

We understand your frustration at the uncertainty of the current situation. We share your feelings. 

Here is what we do know:

Care for essential workers will be offered as planned beginning Monday, August 31. More details will be sent to these families by Friday, August 28.

Distance learning for elementary students will begin August 31. You can learn more about our Blended and Distance Learning Plans for the 2020-2021 school year here.

We will continue to work towards the deployment of Academic Camps in a safe and legal manner. At a minimum Academic Camps will not open before September 7.

We will send out updated information as soon as possible.

Warm Regards,

Rebecca

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

August 18, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Families,

We’ve been working around the clock these past couple of months preparing for the moment when we open our doors again for students this Fall. I envisioned that the email sent two weeks before the start of the year would welcome families and provide an overview of the Reopening Health and Safety Plan we have established and implemented over the last two months to promote the health and safety of our community.

I am disheartened that despite our greatest efforts, in-person learning will not be an option for our K-6 students on August 31 for the following reasons:

Alameda County is not issuing COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Elementary Education Waiver at this time.

Alameda County prevalence rates currently exceed the State requirements for issuing waivers. According to the latest data, our testing positivity rate is currently above 8%.

This weekend we received notice from our local health officials that we cannot offer Academic Camps. 

As a working mother of two children at Shu Ren, I feel the anxiety and sadness that comes with this information. After so many months of SIP, it is hard to grapple with the reality that the Coronavirus is more present in our community than ever. We must all continue to make unprecedented sacrifices for the health of those we love and our larger community. 

Our community and the talented group of educators I am privileged to work with is what gives me hope every day.  We are all committed to doing everything possible to make this the best experience for our children. 

The following is information to help you prepare for the start of the school year.  More information will be sent home from your classroom teacher on Monday, August 24. 

Pre-K Program

In-person learning-The pre-k program is not affected by COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year. On August 31, we will continue to offer in-person learning while adhering to the SIP and Community Care Licensing guidelines. Families who choose to remain at home will participate in our virtual learning program.

K-6 Program

Secure a device for your child

The School has invested a significant amount of money and resources to support in-person and distance learning this school year. It is not feasible for us to provide a device for every K-6 student, so we will need your support on securing a device for your child. 

You may choose to use a device already in your home that meets the minimum requirements, or you may purchase a dedicated student device. If this is not financially feasible for your family, we have a limited number of devices available that you may borrow for the year. Please contact Jill at yunju.bao@shurenschool.org and she will reach out with further details.

We are not making any specific recommendations regarding which device is the right one for your family and child.  This is a personal decision.  We recognize that parents will be the primary tech support, so it should be something you are comfortable helping your child use.  

Whatever you choose, please ensure it meets the following:

Grades K-1: Required: 

  • Compatibility with Seesaw and Zoom Apps. 
  • Minimum 10” diameter screen. 
  • Touch screen. 
  • Rear and front camera & microphone. Wi-Fi capable. 8 hour battery. 

    Recommended: Keyboard (either built-in or bluetooth is fine). Stylus compatible.

Grades 2-6: Required: 

  • Compatibility with Seesaw and Zoom Apps. 
  • Minimum 10” diameter screen. 
  • Keyboard (either built-in or bluetooth is fine).  
  • Rear & Front camera & microphone. Wi-Fi capable. 8 hour battery. 

    Recommended: Touch Screen. Stylus compatible.

All of the devices listed below are compatible with all the minimum technical requirements for grades K-6.

...

Emergency Childcare

It has been confirmed that we are able to open one classroom for Emergency Childcare. We’ve already received emails from families who required this care. If you have to physically return to work on August 31 under the current Berkeley SIP and need childcare, please send an email to Alyssa at alyssa.senoren@shurenschool.org. We’ll include you on the list of families who will need essential worker childcare during the distance learning period.

 

Upcoming Events

Monday, August 24: 4:00-5:00 Virtual welcome Back Q and A with school leadership-More details will be available next week.

Thursday, August 27: 4:00-5:00 Virtual Meet the Teacher Q and A- More details will be available next week.

Friday, August 28: In-Person (students only) K-6 Meet Your Teacher Day-We’ve created a Meet Your Teacher schedule that fits within the parameters of local health and safety guidelines. Though not the same as our usual Meet Your Teacher Day, we are thrilled that our students will be able to come to campus on August 28 for small group gatherings. Times are staggered and more details will be available next week.

Kindergarten: 9:00-10:00
Grade 1: 10:30-11:30
Grade 2/3 12:00-1:00
Grade 4/5/6: 1:30-2:30

Risk Reduction at Home

In preparation for these in-person activities (meet your teacher day and pre-k return to campus), we are asking all families to begin a risk reduction lifestyle.  

  • Please limit your contact with those outside of your household. 
  • Wear well-fitted masks when outside of the home and keep six feet of distance from non-household members as much as possible. 
  • Learn and check each other for good handwashing technique and timing.
  • Choose not to go to that end-of-summer party; instead, spend quality time with your family unit, engage in outside and distanced activities, and use technology to connect with friends.
  • The home-school partnership is critical and the choices you make now will help reduce the risk of symptomatic or asymptomatic viral spread. 

This is not the start of the year we were all hoping for.  However, we remain united in our goal of resuming in-person education as soon as safely possible. We will continue to advocate for the Academic Camp option, as well as the school waiver when that becomes available. Together, we are building resiliency and modeling it for our children. It’s clearer than ever that we are living in a changing world and education that connects, inspires, and deepens our thinking is critical. Our teachers and staff are putting together an academic year that will go beyond the ordinary - wherever we learn from.  

As always, I am here to answer your questions.

Warm Regards,
Rebecca

--

Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

August 7, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

I am writing to give you the latest update on our return to school this fall. For our Pre-K families, we are operating under the assumption that we will continue our on-campus learning while adhering to the SIP and Community Care Licensing guidelines. We have been implementing this modified Pre-K program very successfully since mid-June.  For our Elementary families, on August 3, the California Department of Public Health released the COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Elementary Education Waiver Process. The document provides guidance for local health officers (LHOs) to consider when reviewing Elementary Education Waivers that would allow elementary schools to open for in-person instruction under specified conditions. This additional guidance follows Governor Newsom’s announcement on July 17 that schools in California would not be permitted to open for in-person learning if located in a county on the state watch list. 

After receiving this latest guidance we immediately contacted the Berkeley and Alameda County Local Health Officers (LHO) to apply for the waiver. We were disheartened to learn that Berkeley/Alameda County is not accepting any waiver applications at this time and they have put the process on hold until local indicators improve and the county is removed from the state watch list. This is particularly frustrating to us, as we have been open for in-person learning for the past eight weeks for Pre-K and Grade K-3 summer school students and we sincerely believe that we can provide a safe and healthy on-campus learning environment for our students and teachers. We have developed, piloted, and are fully ready to implement safe in-person learning.  We are ready to submit our waiver application for in-person learning as soon as the Alameda LHO is accepting them.

We are so grateful for your trust and support as we navigate uncharted waters. The ongoing uncertainty in our lives is deeply unsettling for us all.  We talk a lot at Shu Ren about how the strength of our community sets us apart from other schools, and it has been an honor to witness this among our students and families these past months.  Building on that trust and spirit of cooperation, we want to share with you the various avenues we are pursuing to safely return students to in-person learning and/or care on August 31.

Our Plans

While our first choice would be to receive a waiver from the Alameda LHO, we are working on several potential “Plans B”.  The plans, outlined below, are being pursued in tandem.  However, as you will see, with each of them there are limitations and hurdles to implementation.  This is why we consider them Plan B, not our first choice or ideal scenario. 

Academic Camp Plan: We are currently offering in-person summer school camps for students in grade K-3 and are following the youth extracurricular activities guidelines published in the latest City of Berkeley Shelter in Place Order.  We will continue to run academic camps beginning August 31. More details on that option will be available before school starts. 

Limitations: Based on the current City of Berkeley Shelter in Place Order we can continue to offer camps for Elementary students. However, we are mindful that the current guidelines are for summer school and may be subject to change. If new guidelines are issued and they are more restrictive, we may not be able to continue running these camps.

Childcare for Essential workers Plan: If we have to reopen with the distance learning plan and cannot offer academic camps, we will provide childcare for children of essential workers on campus. More details on that option will be available before school starts. 

Limitations: We are consulting with local health agencies on any limitations.  

Family Plans

We are doing everything possible to support in-person learning and care at Shu Ren, but there is a high possibility that Elementary students will begin the school year in distance learning. If you have to physically return to work on August 31 under the current Berkeley SIP and need childcare, please send an email to Alyssa at alyssa.senoren@shurenschool.org. We’ll include you on the list of families who will need essential worker childcare during the distance learning period.

If distance learning appears to be the only option for Elementary students’ return to school, we will provide our family details of that plan by August 21.

For our Pre-K families, we are operating under the assumption that we will continue our on-campus learning while adhering to the Berkeley SIP and Community Care Licensing guidelines.

We will continue to keep you updated on current developments, as well as our plans and preparations for the start of the school year on August 31.

Be safe. Be strong. Be together.

Warm Regards,
Rebecca

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Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School

July 24, 2020

Dear Shu Ren Community,

Last Friday I shared the State’s latest document on reopening school this fall: “COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Learning Framework for K-12 Schools in California, 2020-2021 School Year.” The Framework provides that schools may reopen for in-person instruction at any time if they are located in a county that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days. Alameda County is currently on the monitoring list, but that may change over the coming weeks. 

The Framework provides a waiver process, in which a local health officer may allow elementary schools to open for in-person instruction. Last Friday, we immediately contacted the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) to apply for this waiver and have since been in contact with the Berkeley Health Department, as well as attended meetings with the Alameda County Office of Education(ACOE) and ACPHD.  We have been told that Alameda County is waiting for more information from the State regarding waivers, and is therefore not currently issuing any waivers. We will continue to pursue an in-person waiver from ACPHD.

We feel we have a strong argument for receiving the waiver. First, we have developed and implemented a robust safety plan. Second,  we are currently offering in-person instruction for our pre-k and G1-3 summer school students. Third, we have a relatively small student population and large facility relative to other schools.  However, we still have to prepare for the possibility that the school year may start with distance learning for our K-6 student population. If this occurs, we are fully prepared to offer on-campus childcare options for families who have returned to work under conditions identified in the Berkeley Shelter In Place Order (SIP). 

We have worked tirelessly to reopen for in-person learning in the Fall and we are still hopeful that this will be a possibility. Our team will continue to be responsive and adaptive to the challenges put before us, as we persevere to create learning scenarios that are in the best interest of our students.

Next Steps

  • Continue pursuing a waiver from our local health officer.
  • Continue dialogue with Berkeley and Alameda Public Health Departments to explore all possibilities for safely reopening under the current SIP.
  • Continue planning for both distance and in-person learning scenarios.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. As we continue to navigate unchartered waters, we have to believe that together we can get through this. As always, I welcome your questions, concerns, and suggestions, as we journey forward. 

Kind Regards,

Rebecca

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Rebecca Zipprich
Head of School
Shu Ren International School / An IB World School