Our Lady of Malibu School plans to return to full-time, in-person learning on September 8, a date by which they believe they will either be off the county watchlist or able to apply for a waiver for in-person instruction.
Their planned protocols “exceed those implemented by the CDC and the California Department of Public Health,” they announced online.
Class sizes will be limited to twelve students, with each student “having” more than 48 square feet in their classrooms.
“OLM prides itself on small class sizes and we are currently waitlisted in several grades,” according to their website.
Our Lady of Malibu has also established a “COVID-19 task force” to ensure safety. The task force includes several doctors, such as parent Larken Cumberland, who holds a P.h.D. in chemistry and spoke with The Malibu Times in June.
“Kids will be involved in helping their safety and coming up with smart ideas on how to do that,” she told The Malibu Times while still in the planning stages of their back-to-school strategy.
One unique component of Our Lady of Malibu’s in-person school plan is the “extensive” social and emotional intelligence training that all teachers have had, Dr. Jennifer Johnston-Jones said in an interview with The Malibu Times. Johnston-Jones, a clinical psychologist and the founder of Roots and Wings Institute of Social and Emotional Learning for the Prevention of Childhood Trauma, has worked with Our Lady of Malibu staff for the past three years to credential them in a trauma-informed, evidence-based teaching program after the Woolsey Fire.
“Unfortunately, Woolsey prepared us, helped us get ready for COVID,” she said. Because the teachers have had this training, “the kids at OLM are coming into a place that can really help provide an emotional safety net for them” during the pandemic.
Our Lady of Malibu has now solidified their plans to return next month. The school is currently available for socially distanced tours Monday through Friday.