July 24 Update for the Villanova Community:
I hope you are doing well and staying safe. I would like to share an update with you on our reopening plans for the upcoming semester.
This summer, our administrative team invested an incredible amount of time and energy to prepare our campus for in-person classes beginning on August 19. Although we were aware of the COVID-19 surge within the county over the last few weeks, we were optimistic that the county infection rates would decline and return to the levels that we saw in May and early June. More specifically, the Ojai Valley has had a low rate of infections (approximately one-half of one percent of the population), so there was confidence our school would be ready to provide on-campus classes for our students with the appropriate modifications to provide a safe and secure environment for all.
On Friday, Governor Newsom announced new protocols that require schools that are within the counties on the state monitoring list to not open for in-person instruction until the county has been off of the list for 14 consecutive days. Our administration has reviewed the directives from the state over the last few days and concluded that the instructions are inclusive of private schools. As a result, the decision to return to in-person classes is out of our control and we are required to follow the directives outlined by the state.
As a result of this news, we now anticipate that Villanova will begin with distance learning starting on August 19. Our teachers have been preparing during the summer to teach classes online in case we were required to close our campus due to health and safety issues related to COVID-19. All faculty members have taken at least one week of professional development with many completing additional training as well. They have been diligently preparing classes during the summer so that our school would be able to provide high-quality courses that will meet the needs and expectations of our Villanova students.
Although I cannot offer any estimations of when we are able to begin in-person classes, I can share with you the time frame of how the transition to on-campus classes will be communicated to the community. On the first day that Ventura County is no longer on the state’s monitoring list, I will send a communication to all members of the community indicating the potential of resuming in-person classes in two weeks. We will continue with online classes until the 14th day when we will have permission to begin in-person classes. If Ventura County returns to the monitoring list after we resume in-person classes, we will have the ability to make the decision at that time whether or not we remain in-person, move to hybrid classes, or go fully online.
It is possible that the county or state may modify these directives for private Catholic schools in the next few weeks. This would allow us to have more control over making the decision regarding offering online, hybrid, or in-person classes for our students. If this is the case, the administration will prudently evaluate whether or not it is safe for us to provide on-campus classes. One this has been determined, our decision will be communicated to the Villanova community. Please know that when our campus resumes classroom instruction, you will still have the option to continue online learning for the remainder of the semester (if you prefer this option).
The on-campus student experience is integral to our Catholic Augustinian educational tradition and is the optimal way for our community to live out the core values of unity, truth, and love. We want nothing more than to return to traditional classroom instruction, even in a modified setting, and will do everything possible to ensure our campus protocols exceed the local, state, and national requirements to ensure the health and safety of every member of the community.
As a result of the state’s mandate for us to start with distance learning, our requirement for COVID-19 testing has been postponed for day students. We are still expecting resident students that plan to reside in our dorms next month to obtain a negative COVID-19 test prior to their arrival on campus.
I will continue to update you as soon as I receive more information from the county and state and am happy to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, I hope and pray that you have a healthy and blessed remainder of your summer vacation. May God bless you and your family!
UPDATES FROM THE HEADMASTER:
June 23 Update for the Villanova Community:
I hope that you and your family are doing well as we are a couple of weeks into our summer vacation. Right now, we are working very hard to prepare our campus for the Fall Semester and can say with confidence that our school will be open for in-person classes on Wednesday, August 19. We are committed to offering the very best for all students and are eager to provide a well-rounded Catholic educational experience that you have come to expect from Villanova Prep while following the national, state, and local guidelines to protect the health and safety of every perons on campus. We are grateful for the dedication of our teachers who are currently completing an online inservice this week so that we can continue to enhance our ability to provide online classes in case we need to move to distance learning for a period of time during the school year.
The Villanova Administration and our Reopening Task Force have been working together to ensure everything is in place before we begin the 2020-21 School Year. We have linked a document below that provides more specific information related to our plans for reopening. I will continue to keep you updated throughout the summer on our reopening plans and welcome any questions or comments that you may have about our on-campus procedures for next year.
May the peace and love of God be with you and your family!
June 8 Update for the Villanova Community:
The main office is now open to public visitors. The office is open from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday. There are social distancing guidelines posted at the entrance to the main office and all visitors are required to wear a face covering in the office. The main office hallways are marked with directional arrows to help encourage social distancing in the office. Please do not visit the office if you are experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate through the office reopening.
April 24 Update for the Villanova Community:
We returned this week from a short break and now enter into the home stretch of the school year. This week, we were able to continue online classes but also offer opportunities for the community to join together in daily morning prayer and announcements, an online community Mass, student competitions, and class meetings. We hope to continue with events that will help our Villanova community remain as connected as possible.
Our goal is to continue to offer online classes that are engaging and consistent with our standards at Villanova while being sensitive to the different personal and academic struggles that have occurred during this unprecedented time. Please know that the administration, faculty, and staff are continually discussing ways to ensure we are doing what we can to support our students through the remainder of the school year. This includes teachers connecting online in live classes with students, organizing Mass, prayer, and retreat opportunities for our community, planning fun and engaging activities outside of the curriculum and making sure we do our best to honor our beloved Class of 2020.
Next week, we are excited to announce Fr. Greg Boyle will be joining us via Zoom, Seniors will have a virtual breakfast (with Mr. Galetto as the special guest), and Senior College Signing Day will be on Friday. Please see below for more information.
We will continue to keep you updated through this newsletter, our website, email, and social media and will do our best to answer any questions and address any concerns that arise in these final weeks of the school year. May God bless you and Mary protect you!
April 17 Update for Students:I hope you had a wonderful Easter with your family and are doing well during this unprecedented and unpredictable time.As mentioned before our Easter break, we are going to continue with online classes until the end of the semester. Although we are very disappointed that we cannot resume on-campus classes, we realize the importance of the health and safety of everyone is our top priority. I'm sure I can speak for our teachers and staff on how much we miss our wonderful and spirited Villanova students!Now that distance learning has transitioned from a temporary state to a permanent one, the school has made a few adjustments to ensure we continue to deliver a quality and consistent online academic experience for you.Beginning next week, we will be implementing a new online schedule for the remaining weeks of the school year. The schedule for next week is linked below.Some of the modifications to the schedule include:
Starting next week, please note the following:
- Periods A, B, C, and D will meet on Mondays and Thursdays and Periods E, F, and G will meet on Tuesdays and Fridays. The first class will begin at 8:40.
- On Wednesdays, all teachers will either hold class or be available for office hours during the day. It will be a late start day with classes/office hours beginning at 9:00.
- Morning prayer and announcements will take place after the first block period of the day at 9:45 (except Wednesday). On Wednesday, prayer and announcements will begin at 10:15 (after Period B).
- Check email and Google Classroom before the first class of the day as well as at the end of the day for any updates and assignments.
- If you are in Mr. Roney's Period B & C IB History class, Mrs. Devine-Dulka's Period D & G TOK1 class, or Mr. Fox's Period E &F Economics class, your classes will meet on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:45-2:45 pm and not during the regular period. It is indicated as the C.C. (Combined Class) Period on the schedule.
- There will be a variety of activities planned during the day as well. We will have online class meetings, fun activities, competitions, spiritual activities, and guest speakers on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Please let your class officers or Ms. Muñoz know if there are any fun online activities you would like to see our school plan for the community.
Please know that our faculty and staff are here to support you along the way. Don't hesitate to reach out to anyone at Villanova if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to connect with us. Although the circumstances have shifted how we operate, Villanova has not changed in our philosophy and mission and will continue to remain committed to providing you with a quality educational experience.April 8 Update to the Villanova Community:
- Please review the Villanova Student Guidelines for Distance Learning before your classes resume on Monday.
- Teachers will be meeting with students at least twice a week. It is expected for you to be in attendance from the beginning of the class until the teacher concludes the lesson.
- Please communicate with your teacher(s) if you are not sure of how to connect with a live class.
- If you are having any technical issues with accessing classes or assignments, please inform your teacher and Mr. Aquino.
- Dr. Mallon will be scheduling times for students to pick up their belongings from their school and gym lockers.
I hope all of you are doing well and staying safe during this unprecedented time. I sent out a letter to all parents and students on Friday explaining our rationale for closing our campus and continuing distance learning for the remainder of the semester. (I have linked the letter below in case you missed it.) With all of the reasons mentioned for the closure of our campus through the end of the year, I want to emphasize the priority for us, in good conscience, is the health and safety of every member of the Villanova community. We know that this adjustment has not been easy for everyone but I am grateful for the flexibility, patience, and support of everyone at Villanova during the transition. We are especially disappointed that the hallmark senior events and athletic seasons have been canceled as a result of this health crisis we are currently experiencing. We plan to make announcements regarding rescheduled events in the coming weeks.
On a positive note, the last few weeks have not only consisted of online classes led by our talented teachers but also spirit competitions, Instagram contests, and prayer. We were blessed this week to have a live online version of the Stations of the Cross for our Villanova community. (Feel free to click on the hyperlink if you would like to experience our Stations of the Cross reflection yesterday.)
As we head towards our Easter Break, I want to wish you a safe and blessed Easter Triduum and pray for the health and safety of you and your family during this very difficult time for our country and our world. Let us continue to pray for one another and especially for those affected by the coronavirus. May God bless you and Mary protect you!
April 3 Letter to the Villanova Community:
Dear Villanova Parents and Students,
I hope this letter finds you safe and well during these challenging and uncertain times. With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our county and across the nation, we are becoming more aware of the severe consequences we face if we don’t do our part to remain safe and help prevent
the spread of the coronavirus. Many of you are aware of the widely-reported projections that we are still approximately three weeks away from the predicted peak of COVID-19 infections in the state of California. It is also estimated that the number of people who will have this contagious disease will remain significantly high throughout the month of May.
On Wednesday, Governor Gavin Newsom did not hesitate in announcing his preference for all school campuses in California to remain closed through the rest of the school year. Subsequently, following the recommendations of the California Department of Education and the Ventura County Office of Public Health, it was announced by the Ventura County Office of Education that all public schools in the county will not reopen for the rest of the academic year.
Based on the information available to us, the administration reviewed the data and projections, weighed the statewide, county, and Archdiocesan recommendations, and, most importantly, considered the health and safety of every member of the Villanova community. As a result of these considerations, we have decided to extend our campus closure and continue with distance learning for all Villanova students for the remainder of the school year. This means that all scheduled group events (including athletics, awards ceremonies, school events, etc.) will be postponed or cancelled.
Although it was a difficult decision to make, we need to proceed with prudence and an abundance of caution for the sake of every member of our school community. In good conscience, we cannot allow the risk of the coronavirus to enter and spread among our community members by reopening our campus to approximately 300 students, faculty, and staff.
As we wrap up our third week of distance learning, we are proud that we have been able to offer quality online classes for our Villanova students during these difficult and unprecedented times. We are grateful to the students and teachers who were instrumental in the successful transition to online learning. We also recognize the need to improve and enhance distance learning for the remainder of the school year for our students. After Easter Break, we will be modifying our daily schedule and providing additional online learning opportunities. We ask students to be aware of the daily schedule, attend all live classes, submit assignments on-time, remain in consistent communication with teachers, follow the VPS Student Guidelines for Distance Learning, and join the community for online prayer and announcements every morning. Students are also urged to remain home, practice social distancing, and stay away from public and private social gatherings during this time.
We realize this announcement will be met with heartbreak and disappointment by members of the senior class. The month of May is supposed to be filled with joy and celebration and I am saddened by the impact this decision will have on those significant events. Our administration, along with the senior class moderators, will be reaching out to the ASB and Senior Class officers to discuss and help make decisions on how we can move forward despite the restrictions placed on us at this time. We will continue our plans to hold an on-campus graduation ceremony, even if it must be done at a later time, and are exploring other options to ensure the memorable hallmarks of senior year can still take place after the social distancing requirements have been lifted and the risk for contracting the disease has been minimized. More information about senior events will be forthcoming.
We also realize the impact this decision has on our families. We appreciate the adjustments parents have made to enable their son/daughter(s) to be successful in this new learning environment. We are grateful for our parents who have offered support and encouragement for their child(ren) during this difficult time. There will be no online classes scheduled during the upcoming Easter Break from April 9-19. Although travel is not recommended, we hope you are able to use this time as an opportunity for prayer and reflection as a family during Holy Week and throughout the Easter season. The dormitory will remain open during the break to accommodate any resident students who prefer to remain on campus and not travel.
As we continue online learning this semester, please continue to follow the updates on our website and in Wildcat Weekly. If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me via phone or email.
We hope that by working in solidarity with our local agencies and schools, we will contribute to the effort of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. We will overcome this health crisis through our efforts, prudent decisions, and the grace of God.
Let us continue to pray for one another, and especially for those who are afflicted with the coronavirus, those who are caring for the sick, those who are working to stop the spread of this illness, and for all who have been affected in some way by this pandemic. Please know my prayers and the prayers of the Augustinian community will continue for the safety and well-being of your family during this time. Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us!
VPS Head of School
March 19 Letter to Students:
It was announced yesterday that 13 residents in Ventura County have been positively diagnosed with COVID-19. Agencies across the state and around the world have been facing a difficult challenge fighting the spread of this dangerous virus and there is significant concern by the Ventura County Office of Public Health that the number of cases will continue to increase in our area.
Although the risk for contracting the virus remains low in Ventura County, we still need to be prudent and consider what is in the best interest of the health and safety of every member of our Villanova community. During this unprecedented time, we need to become partners with the schools and agencies in our county to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Based on the most recent information presented by the Ventura County Office of Public Health and the current recommendation by the Ventura County Office of Education, Villanova will extend online classes until Wednesday, April 8. From April 9-19, Villanova will be on Easter Break (as scheduled) and then resume on-campus classes on Monday, April 20. We are optimistic to resume on April 20 but will continue to follow the recommendations from local and state agencies and keep you updated via email and on our website.
You will continue with their online classes until April 8 and there will be no classes between April 9-19. You are expected to attend live classes and turn in assignments by the established due dates and times. On school days, you should check their email and Google Classroom at 8:00am every morning and at 3:00pm every afternoon for information and assignments. It is highly recommended that you remain home, practice social distancing, and stay away from public gatherings during this time.
If you would like to receive counseling services, Mrs. Benson is available for online appointments. Please contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Villanova campus will remain closed to the public until Sunday, April 19. Resident students are welcome to remain on-campus throughout the Easter Break. Please contact our Director of Resident Life, Mr. Joshua Kruse, for more information about this opportunity.
We hope that by working in solidarity with our local agencies and schools, we will help in the effort to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Let us continue to pray for those affected by COVID-19 as well as those who are caring for the sick and working to stop its spread. Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us!
VPS Head of School
March 13 Letter to Parents and Students:
Dear Villanova Parents and Students,
As you know, California has been facing an unprecedented challenge fighting the spread of the Coronavirus. Although the risk for contracting the virus is low in Ventura County, we still need to be vigilant and make decisions that are in the best interest of the health and safety of our Villanova community. After reviewing the recommendations of Ventura County agencies and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Villanova will transition to online classes for two weeks from Tuesday, March 17 through Friday, March 27.
Villanova day students are welcome to come onto campus on Monday to pick up books, binders, or any other belongings from their lockers. From March 16-27, there will be no on-campus classes or extra-curricular activities. The procedures for visiting the campus after March 16 will be announced in a separate email on Monday.
On Tuesday, online classes will begin for all Villanova students. Information about the requirements and schedule of each class will be communicated by individual teachers via Google Classroom or by email. Attendance policies for live online classes and due dates established by teachers will be enforced during this period.
For our resident students and staff, we have taken additional precautions to ensure all high-traffic areas are thoroughly cleaned and have eliminated self-serving in the Dining Room. Resident families will be receiving additional information and updates over the next two weeks from our Director of Resident Life, Mr. Joshua Kruse.
We will continue to evaluate the recommendations from the Ventura County Office of Education, Ventura County Office of Public Health, Ventura County Office of Emergency, and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles during this time. Depending on what transpires over the next two weeks, we may decide to extend online classes beyond Friday, March 27.
We recognize the decision to close our campus for two weeks and the transition to online learning will have an impact on many families. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to ease any inconvenience this may cause. We hope that by working in solidarity with our local agencies and schools, we will help in the effort to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Let us continue to pray for those affected by the Coronavirus as well as those who are working to prevent the spread of the illness. Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us!
VPS Head of School
March 12 Letter to Parents:
Dear Villanova Parents,
I would like to update you on the latest information about the Coronavirus cases in Ventura County and our response plans in case we need to close the school as a result of an outbreak of the disease.
On Wednesday, the CDC confirmed the first case of a Ventura County resident with the Coronavirus. A second presumptive positive case was announced last night by the Ventura County Office of Public Health (VCPH) and they are awaiting confirmation from the CDC. Both cases were travel-related and not a result of person-to-person transmission of the disease in our county.
The Ventura County Office of Public Health advises that schools do not need to limit or cancel any school-related classes, events, or activities. VCPH indicates the coronavirus risk in Ventura County remains low but has advised all schools to be ready in the case of an outbreak.
If your son or daughter is sick, they should not come to school and remain home until they have fully recovered. This is especially important for students who have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Your child will be able to remain in communication with their teachers through Google Classroom and/or email.
As we continue to monitor the spread of the Coronavirus, we would like to give you an update on Villanova’s preparations. We formed a task force last month to develop plans in the case of a county-wide outbreak of the Coronavirus. We have already taken the following steps:
Modifications of check-in/check-out procedures for visitors to our campus
Limiting trips in the dorm to public places.
Advising our students to use common sense and follow preventive actions such as washing hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap, covering coughs and sneezes with our elbows, not touching our faces, not sharing cups, water bottles, and eating utensils, and requiring students to stay home if they are sick.
Ensuring all areas of the campus are receiving extended and more frequent cleaning. Neutral Disinfectant and Germ Wipe (which has been proven effective against the Coronavirus) are being used by our cleaning staff. The school is cleaning all high traffic areas including bathrooms, lobby and reception areas, kitchens, and other general utility rooms used by our students and staff. They are also carefully sanitizing surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, restroom surfaces, and telephones.
We have restricted international travel for our resident students and strongly recommend all Villanova families to rethink travel plans during the Easter Break. The CDC provides a list of affected areas that are not advisable for travel. In the near future, we will be asking all Villanova families to fill out a Google Form to identify travel locations during the Easter vacation. This form will be emailed to parents separately and will also be available on our website. We are asking for your cooperation to submit this form before the end of Spring Break and we will work with families on an individual basis if there are any concerns about students returning to campus.
In the case of a school closure, teachers are prepared to conduct classes online for an extended period of time so students can continue to stay on target academically during this semester. We will use Google Classroom and email as the primary avenues of class communication. This will be used for sending out course materials and assignments as well as the method for students to submit assignments for grading. On-campus school events will also be postponed or cancelled for that time period as well.
We are continually monitoring this ever-changing situation and are following the guidelines from the CDC, California Department of Public Health, Ventura County Office of Public Health, Ventura County Office of Education, Ventura County Office of Emergency Services, and the Los Angeles Archdiocese as the health and well-being of our Villanova community remains our primary concern.
We will continue to give updates on our website and are happy to answer any questions by phone or email.
Let us continue to pray for all of those affected by the Coronavirus and for those involved with limiting the spread of this virus. Mary, Health of the Sick, pray for us.
Head of School
Villanova Preparatory School