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Important Announcement: Villanova Will Remain Closed for the Remainder of the Semester; Will Continue Online Classes until June 3.

April 3, 2020

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!

 

Sincerely,

Brian Grisin

VPS Head of School