In line with guidance from the State of California and the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, Mirman School began its 2020-2021 school year virtually on September 2. In accordance with guidance from the LADPH, we currently have Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade classes operating in a hybrid cohort model and plan to expand this through Sixth Grade following all LADPH and CA Department of Health Guidelines. Seventh and Eighth grade will continue remotely at this time, although we are paying close attention to current and future changes in transmission rates.
Since the start of the pandemic, work has been underway throughout the spring and summer to ready our campus for our eventual safe return. This work touches on all aspects of life on campus — from consulting with medical professionals on health and hygiene protocols to rearranging physical classroom spaces to accommodate a safe, socially distant (yet physically present) experience for students.
Please note that as conditions change and new information emerges, so, too, may our plans shift. We are committed to providing our community with prompt and transparent communication during this time. At present, we've assembled the following information for you to peruse and will continue to keep this page updated.
Thank you for your patience and partnership as we navigate these uncharted waters. In the meantime, please know you are welcome to contact our Health Coordinator, Jowana Nasrallah, with any questions or concerns.
Whether at home or on campus, Mirman is committed to serving the unique needs of highly gifted students. Learning from our experience in the spring after going remote, our administration and faculty have dedicated considerable time to research and professional development around the specific skills necessary to facilitate successful remote learning. While lessons will vary from grade to grade and class to class, all are connected by a philosophy emphasizing access and engagement through a mix of synchronous and asynchronous content, small group discussions, individuated groups for mathematics, and more. From a revised schedule in the Upper School offering more time to dive deeper into subjects to providing new age-appropriate devices for our youngest learners in Lower School, we are working hard to bring the campus home to you.
While much of our campus life is based around gathering as a community, we will continue to look for opportunities to connect our students, faculty, staff, and families. These include but are not limited to ample parent education panels on timely topics, Town Halls with the administration and Trustees, enrichment and social offerings for our students, and, of course, all-school assemblies.
Safety on Campus
Mirman is committed to keeping our entire community safe no matter the circumstances. Throughout the summer of 2020, the members of a Scenario Planning Task Force, comprised of administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and medical professionals, worked to develop practices and protocols to create a safe school while keeping on top of shifting conditions and new information from state, local, and federal agencies. We have also made changes to our physical plant to better allow for safe distancing and heightened hygiene practices. That having been said, as we are a community that stretches far beyond our campus space, we ask that all of our community members make a commitment to keeping each other safe by practicing vigilance and safety at home and elsewhere.
Procedure changes include, but are not limited to:
- Weekly on-campus testing for students and their families as well as employees and their families
- Daily health and travel reporting requirements for employees and families using the SchoolPass app
- Screening all individuals for symptoms as they enter campus, including temperature checks performed by staff in full PPE
- Utilizing a limited-size cohort model to limit exposure and assist with contact tracing
- Additional staffing to account for smaller class sizes
- No sharing of classroom materials among students
- Staggered start and end times
- The elimination of congregation in common areas (faculty/staff breaks and workstations will be moved elsewhere)
- Closing campus to outside visitors with strict screening requirements for essential vendors
- Switching from a buffet-style lunch and washable serving-ware to single-use products and pre-packaged meals in strict accordance with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health standards
- Use of outdoor spaces and tenting for outdoor classes when possible
- Eliminating shared bus service and restricting carpools to immediate family members only
- Suspension of all large on-campus gatherings and large in-person meetings where physical distancing is not possible
- Universal masking requirements for all individuals on campus
- Maintaining physical distancing of 6 feet at all times
- Required COVID-19 training for all faculty/staff through SafeSchools
- Hiring additional professional cleaning staff and frequently sanitizing and disinfecting high-touch surfaces
- Enhanced nightly cleaning measures including electrostatic fog
- Upgrading and testing HVAC systems to ensure proper air circulation and filtering
- Additional sanitizer stations and handwash sinks installed throughout campus
- Creating additional classroom spaces to reduce class size
- Additional spacing between desks and installing plexiglass barriers where necessary
- Clear signage promoting healthy practices and managing traffic flow and occupancy
- A separate infirmary space for individuals who are a concern for COVID-19 symptoms or exposure
- Hiring a dedicated Health Coordinator
COVID-19 Response on Campus
While our ideal focus is prevention of COVID-19, plans must be made for containment and communication in the case that someone in the Mirman community is symptomatic, has been exposed to COVID-19, or receives a positive test result. Our Scenario Task Force has also examined these issues and created policies in accordance with city and state guidance.
Absence reporting requirements for COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or confirmed case
- All individuals will agree to exercise “full COVID-19 precautions” if they are a potential concern for COVID-19 (CC-19) or have been directly exposed to a CC-19. This includes self-quarantining for 14 days.
- Parents/guardians and employees will agree to immediately notify the School if anyone in their household or close network (childcare providers, tutor, visitors to the home, etc.) has potentially been exposed to or tested positive for COVID-19.
- If an individual is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19, they must stay home. If there has been known exposure to COVID-19, individuals will quarantine for 14 days and be tested as advised by their healthcare provider. Individuals cannot return to campus while test results are pending. If there is no known exposure to COVID-19 and there is a negative test result, the individual may recuperate at home and return to campus three days after their symptoms resolve.
Individuals who exhibit potential COVID-19 symptoms while on campus
Teachers will send symptomatic individuals to a dedicated provider in full PPE who will receive them and take them to an isolated infirmary specifically for potential COVID-19 cases where they will await pickup. The individual should be evaluated by a healthcare provider and be tested for COVID-19. If there is a negative test result and symptoms have resolved for more than three days, the child can return to school. If testing is indicated, individuals cannot return to campus while test results are pending. If the test is positive, additional steps are detailed below.
School communication and closure in the event of an exposure or confirmed case
School communication will be informed by local and state requirements, and when a confirmed case is present, will involve notifying the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Mirman School will take all reasonable steps to maintain the privacy of an individual's medical information; having said this, this public health crisis does require swift reporting and communication to those who may be affected by a potential COVID-19 exposure. As of this writing, the State mandates are as follows when there has been a confirmed case of COVID-19:
- Schools should consult with a public health officer first
- A classroom cohort goes home when there is a confirmed case
- An entire school goes home when multiple cohorts have cases or more than 5% of students and/or staff test positive
Baseline communication steps our community can expect:
- If a student or faculty/staff reports that they have been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, the faculty/staff and students in the corresponding cohorts will be notified and that individual should quarantine for 14 days.
- If a student or faculty/staff reports that they have tested positive for COVID-19, the affected cohorts and any siblings of that cohort will be notified to quarantine immediately for a period of no less than 14 days. The students in the cohort of affected siblings do not have to quarantine unless that student is found to be COVID-19 positive. The larger school community will be notified of the cohorts under quarantine and will be kept updated as the situation unfolds.
Return to school after a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case
In the case that an individual tests positive for COVID-19 or is likely COVID-19 positive, in order to return to school they must be fever-free for 3 days AND 14 days after the start of symptoms AND with improvement in symptoms. For individuals that test positive for COVID-19 but never develop symptoms, they may return 14 days after a positive test.
State and City Guidance
According to state directives, reopening for public and independent schools in Los Angeles County is tied to the state's COVID-19 watchlist. This list is based on several factors; chief among those factors are positivity rates. As of this writing, Los Angeles County is in the state's Purple Tier.* More information about the watchlist and reopening requirements can be found at the following links:
- California COVID-19 County Data Table
- CA State Reopening Guidance
- Los Angeles Department of Health Reopening Protocols for K-12 Schools
* Purple Tier schools can currently reopen K-2 and 25% of the rest of the school's total population; can bring back K-6 once the county case rate is less than 25 per 100,000 per day for five consecutive days; and cannot reopen grades 7-12.
Mirman's Required Reopening Protocol Documentation
- CA COVID-19 School Guidance Checklist
- Mirman School COVID-19 Prevention Program
- Fall 2020 Reopening Protocols for K-12 Schools Checklist
Admission for the 2021-22 School Year
COVID-19 Health and Safety Resources
- LA Community Resources (food, emergency, WIC, other services) list
- Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety
- WHO: COVID-19 Pandemic Page
- Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus
Talking to Kids About COVID-19
- Childmind.org - Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
- Helping Manage Kids Anxiety around COVID-19
- NPR’s BrainsOn Science Podcast
- Betsy Brown Braun blog
- NPR’s A Comic Exploring Coronavirus - NPR
- NYTimes Coronavirus Resources: Teaching, Learning, and Thinking Critically
Parenting a Distance Learner
- National Assoc. for Gifted Children - Covid-19 Parent Resource Guild
- Common Sense Media COVID-19 Family Resource Hub
- Suddenly Homeschooling: A Message from a Veteran Homeschool Parent
- NYT: Schools Are Closing for Coronavirus. Now What?
- HBR: How Working Parents Can Prepare for Coronavirus Closures
- NYT: How to HomeSchool During Coronavirus—It’s not easy, even for professionals
- A new REALM - Tips for Distance Learning
- NYT: Homeschooling Teens and Tweens During Coronavirus School Closures
Social-Emotional Learning and Mindfulness
- Guided Meditation for Children
- Mindful Activity for Kids and Teens
- Mindful Activity Videos for Kids - Stop Breathe Think
- Free Meditation from Ten Percent Happier
- Dreamy Kid
- Breathe, Think, Do, Sesame
At-Home Activities and Extracurricular Resources
- Virtual Field Trips
- We are Teachers Online Learning Resources
- Kennedy Center Media and Interactive Learning
- Common Sense Media - Online activities for kids at home
- CultureLA.org’s Arts Resources During Remote Learning
- At-Home Learning on-air programming with PBS, KCET, & LAUSD
- PBS Early Elementary Resources and Lessons
- Common Sense Media - Wide Open School