The Academy of Our Lady of Peace in North Park is switching to partial distance learning after two students tested positive for COVID-19.
The private school spent half a million dollars on renovations to make sure students would be safe when they all returned to campus last week. Within days, the school decided to make a change.
"The cases were unrelated for us, though it was the impetus to say, 'How can we make sure we're doing everything we can?’’ Head of School Lauren Lek said.
Lek said the students contracted the virus over the weekend, with one family going out of town for the holiday. She said the students tested positive Tuesday and never returned to campus.
The school will shift to hybrid learning, during which time there will be a focus on the need for social distancing. Lek acknowledged students had a difficult time social distancing when they were together on campus earlier in the week.
“Trying to keep two girls at a table when you might have other girls who want to hang out with them is just too confusing,” Lek said.
Picnic tables will be removed, but outdoor chairs that worked well for social distancing will remain.
“If you don’t break that norm to create anew, you’re not going to get there,” Lek said about the need to change the mindset regarding social distancing in order to get students all back on campus again. “But I do believe we will get back there, it just may be a slower journey and that’s ok that’s alright.”
The question is, even with all the renovations, can it be done?
"It's not a failure. The failure would be if we stopped trying and we have not," Lek said. "These two cases taught us - hey, we're ready to move here, we need to, and then we'll be ready to go back.”
When asked about the situation at Our Lady of Peace, San Diego School Board Vice President Richard Barrera wrote in a text, “That's why the district will continue to go slowly and bring students back on campus in phases.”
"Everyone needs to remember there is substantial community spread, and everyone must still take personal responsibility at home or at school," a spokesperson for San Diego County said. "If you don’t, you put your health --- and ability to go to school --- at risk."