Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

August 8, 2022
Latest Message from our Head of School

Dear Saint John’s School Community:

Covid-19 has us starting the year with some restrictions, but we know that our school is prepared with proper safety and health procedures as noted:  

·       We will continue protocols of social distancing, frequent handwashing, masks, and sanitation of the classrooms.

·       Please keep sick children at home and support return to class with a negative Covid test.

·       A sick child must be picked up from school upon notification.

·       Parents must contact the school if their child tests positive and email the principal the student’s name, grade, and Covid Test Result. Positive results are reported via the Bioportal.

·       Close contact with an individual testing positive when fully vaccinated requires observation for symptoms x 10 days.

·       If you are not fully vaccinated and come in close contact with someone testing positive, quarantine x 5 days, present a negative test on day 5 to return to school, and continue observing for another five days.

·       If one becomes ill during school hours, the nurse will give a test prescription (use ONLY at participating labs found on the Department of Health website).

·       If one is positive for Covid Virus, the quarantine time is specified by one’s vaccination status.

·       Asymptomatic/vaccines complete:
5 days (day one is the date of positivity/return day)

·       Symptomatic/vaccines complete:
7 days (day one is the date of positivity/return on day 7)

·       Not vaccinated/incomplete series/immunocompromised:
Return is on day 11

·       Anyone with symptoms after following the above guidelines should see their physician.

·       The Department of Health plans to perform monthly Covid screenings at school. Parents will receive the required permission forms to be returned the following day.

Saint John’s School follows the Department of Health guidelines, “Guía para la Prevención de COVID-19 en las Instituciones Educativas: Año Académico 2022-2023” set forth by the Puerto Rico Department of Health. They can be contacted at: 787-765-2929 or at https://www.salud.gov.pr 

The well-being of our students, teachers, administrators, and staff is our utmost priority. Let us work together to keep Saint John’s School healthy and vibrant.

María M. Meléndez, Ph.D

List of 38 items.

  • Head of School COVID Update #10 - March 9, 2022

    Dear Saint John's School Community, 

    The latest Executive Order is encouraging as it begins to relax and ease COVID-19 protocols in Puerto Rico. Schools, however, are required to abide by the additional requirements that the Puerto Rico Department of Health imposes. As such, here are the changes we are making to the Saint John’s School’s COVID-19 protocols, which will be effective tomorrow, Thursday, March 10th.

    • Masks will only be required indoors. Indoor masking is a Puerto Rico Department of Health requirement for all schools. Non-compliance can lead to school closure. Therefore, all students and teachers must wear masks inside the classrooms.
    • Students will not be required to wear masks outdoors. Masks will not be required during Physical Education classes, athletic events, recess, or in the Hurricane Center.
    • School community members will NOT be required to complete the Health Screening Surveys on Sundays.
    • Fully vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine or test after travel. Non-vaccinated individuals will need to test 48 hours before or after travel before returning to campus.
    • Body temperature will not be checked at school entrances. Sanitizer will be offered.
    • The in-person option will be available for parent meetings with teachers or principals. Please remember that all meetings with teachers, principals, or school personnel must be previously scheduled.
    • After 3:30 p.m., parents will be allowed on-campus. All visitors and students must exit campus by 6:00 p.m., except for previously scheduled activities.
    • Athletes will be allowed two guests per home game, and all SJS students will be allowed to attend home games.
    • Plastic dividers in the cafeteria and classrooms will be removed during the next few days.
    Our administration and I are hopeful that protocols will continue to be tempered and that we will be able to hold all end-of-year activities in person and at full capacity so we can celebrate the end of this year together.
    Thank you for your continued support.

    Lorraine Lago
  • Head of School COVID Update #9 - January 26, 2022

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    The Revised Department of Health Guidelines for the Safe Re-Opening of Schools has been reviewed. Changes are outlined below. Please be advised that these guidelines may change again; we will promptly update the community and adjust our protocols accordingly if they do.
    Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID Vaccination Procedures and Terminology: 
    I. Who is fully vaccinated? 
    An individual is fully vaccinated fourteen (14) days after receiving all doses and vaccine booster shots for which they are eligible. 
    • Children 5-11 years old: 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine
    • Children 12-18 years old & Adults: All doses of vaccine plus vaccine booster shot
    • Children 0-4 years old: Children who are not eligible to be vaccinated are considered not vaccinated.
    II. Who is not fully vaccinated?
    An individual is not fully vaccinated if
    • Fourteen (14) days have not passed since the last dose for which the individual is eligible.
    • The individual has never been vaccinated.
    • The individual has only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 
    III. Who needs to quarantine? And for how long? 
    • An individual needs to quarantine for ten (10) days when he/she is a confirmed COVID positive case or has COVID symptoms. 
    • An individual needs to quarantine if he/she has had close contact with a confirmed COVID case or symptomatic individual regardless of vaccination status. He/she needs to quarantine for seven (7) days or until testing negative on a test performed between days 3-5 since contact. 
    IV. What is close contact?
    The following scenarios constitute close contact:
        • an individual has been less than six (6) feet of distance from an infected person for a cumulative period of fifteen (15) minutes or more within twenty-four (24) hours 
        • an individual is the caretaker of somebody with COVID
        • an individual has had physical contact, like hugging or kissing, and/or has shared eating or drinking utensils
        • an infected person has sneezed or coughed in the individual's proximity. 
    V. What do non-vaccinated individuals with valid exemptions need to do? 
    A non-vaccinated individual with a medical or religious exemption must provide the school, at their own expense, a weekly negative Covid test. This test can be an antigen, ID Now, or molecular PCR test.
    VI. What about travel?
    All travelers, fully-vaccinated or not fully-vaccinated, must present a negative Covid test (antigen, ID Now, or molecular PCR) taken 48 hours before or 48 hours upon arrival to Puerto Rico in order to return to in-person instruction.
    Lorraine Lago
  • Head of School COVID Update #8 - January 21, 2022

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    I am happy to report that our first week of in-person instruction was a success. Teachers happily greeted students, and lessons were engaging and pertinent. Early Childhood students enjoyed developmentally appropriate playtime outside. Elementary students were thrilled to be back in the Hurricane Student Center for lunch, and our Secondary Students are happily socializing, albeit with the 3 feet of distance between them. Our school day now includes our Power Hours Program, and clubs, fitness, and creative activities will begin in February.
    Through the continued collaboration among staff, students, and parents, we will sustain the success of this first week. The new Guide for the Prevention of Covid-19 in K-12 Schools, published by the Puerto Rico Department of Health, was released yesterday. There are minor changes to language and protocols with which we must comply in order to keep our school open. Please read them carefully, and email your Division Principals if you have any questions.

    • The PR Department of Health will continue to perform random antigen tests in schools. They require that all students have a signed consent form on file. If you have not signed the form for your child/children, please do so before January 24th. You can find the consent form here - COVID-19 Testing Consent-Escuelas Privadas-2021.08.09 (2) (1).pdf
    • In subsequent communications, we will be using the terms “fully-vaccinated” and “not fully-vaccinated.” For your reference, these are the definitions of each term.
        • Fully-Vaccinated – An individual is fully-vaccinated 14 days after receiving the vaccine booster shot.
        • Not-Fully Vaccinated – An individual who has not received all doses and the vaccine booster shot. Students who have completed the first round of the vaccine but are NOT boosted are now considered Not-Fully Vaccinated.
        • Students 12-years old or above must upload the vaccination card, with evidence of full vaccination, by February 15th or as soon as they are eligible to be boosted. The PR Department of Health mandates that we comply with this requirement to keep school open.
    • Universal mask-wearing MUST be observed. Only surgical masks, KN95 masks, and/or N95 masks are allowed. Cloth masks can be worn over the required masks, but not as the sole face covering.
    We will continue to share information regarding protocols and school operations as it becomes available. Thank you for continuing to comply and cooperate. Keeping our children in school is our shared priority.
    Enjoy the weekend,
    Lorraine Lago
  • Head of School COVID Update #7 - January 14, 2022

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    The first day of in-person classes is almost here. Your teachers, principals, and I are excited to see you on Tuesday. To make the morning arrival as seamless as possible and to keep each and every member of the school community safe, here are a few things to remember: 

    • Security personnel, principals, and teachers will be assisting with arrival; we ask that you cooperate and exhibit patience so that the processes run smoothly.
    • Please complete for your child or have your child complete the Health Screening Survey, sent by email regularly on Sundays, before arriving at school on Tuesday. Students must be ready to show it to our personnel as they approach the School entrance.
    • Please upload all required documents by Monday, January 17th. Links to upload documents can be found here: Saint John's School | From the Nurse's Office (sjspr.org)
    • CorePlus test results will be available on or before Monday, January 17th. Laboratories have been receiving an extremely high volume of samples and may take longer to report results. The CorePlus app is also receiving higher than normal traffic. To ensure you receive results before Tuesday, CorePlus will be emailing results as well as posting them to the app.
    • CorePlus will alert our Nurse’s Office by Monday afternoon of any positive student cases. If you have not received your results or a call from School by Monday evening, you can assume your child has tested negative and can attend in-person classes on Tuesday.
    • Executive Order 2022-002, issued on January 13, 2022, requires that all students, ages 12 and older, have the third dose of the COVID vaccine, or booster, by February 15, 2022, to continue attending in-person classes. Please make the necessary arrangements to ensure that your child has the booster by February 15th.
    • We will continue to observe universal mask-wearing. Please send your child to school with a properly fitting surgical mask and a replacement if one is lost or damaged. We will, as always, also have additional masks available in school.
    • If your child needs to attend school virtually due to a COVID positive result, please email the corresponding principal to inform that the child is in quarantine. The child will be able to connect by clicking on the Google Meet links on the teachers’ class pages.
    • If your Early Childhood and/or Elementary child/ren will be eating lunch from AliveSchool Cafeteria, please remember to choose from next week’s menu. To order from Alive and/or make a deposit to the PaySchools Central account, go to: www.payschoolscentral.com.
    • Power Hours will be available beginning on Tuesday, January 18th.
    I hope you enjoy this long weekend before the hustle and bustle of school begins again. Let’s continue to work as a team to keep our school open safely.
    With anticipation,
    Lorraine Lago
    Head of School
  • Head of School COVID Update #6 - January 7, 2022

    Dear Saint John’s School Family:
    We are all eager to welcome students back on campus for the start of the second semester of the academic year 2021-2022. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico is again battling a rapid rise in COVID cases. Based on the data and in close consultation with healthcare experts, we will be taking extra precautions as everyone returns to campus. These additional steps will entail delaying the start of in-person learning in order to ensure that every member of the community is tested before entering campusOur Early Childhood and Elementary Programs will begin classes in person on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Secondary School students will begin virtually on Thursday, January 13, 2022, and in person on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.
    We are aware that variations to scheduled dates are inconvenient and appreciate your understanding. Our commitment is to do everything possible to mitigate the spread of COVID within our community in order to keep your children safe and our school open. We are confident that being extra vigilant at the start of the semester will allow us to begin the school year with as little disruption as possible and decrease interruptions to instruction later in the semester.
    Below you will find all the pertinent information on Testing, Documentation, and Protocols. Please read these carefully.
    Students and employees will be tested following this schedule:
    • Monday, January 10th - All employees report to work on-campus. Faculty will receive more information in a separate email. Students, Grades PPK to 6, pick up testing kits at school (drive-through details to follow).
    • Tuesday, January 11th - Employee kits collected by CorePlus. Grades 7 to 12 students pick up testing kits at school (drive-through details to follow).
    • Wednesday, January 12thALL students drop off testing kits at school (details to follow).
    • Thursday, January 13th - Secondary Division first day of classes, virtual learning.
    • Tuesday, January 18th- In-person start for ALL students, Grades PPK to 12th.
    Our partner laboratory, CorePlus, has created an application to expedite the processing of samples and the reporting of results. In December, instructions for downloading and using the app were shared with the community. Please refer to these instructions if you have not yet downloaded the app - Core Plus App Instructions in English.pdf. All sample tubes MUST be scanned in the app before they are returned to school on the designated drop-off date.
    Required Documents for School Attendance
    Due to current high positivity rates in our municipality, ALL students must present a negative PCR result prior to attending in-person classes. If the PCR is performed through school with our partner laboratory, CorePlus, we will have access to the results. If the testing is done elsewhere, the student must bring the negative result with him or her to school on January the 18th and present it to our personnel before entering campus. Please remember we require a PCR molecular test.
    As per the Executive Order in place, all students, ages five (5) and older, must be fully vaccinated in order to attend in-person classes. Although the order mandates that students be vaccinated by January 31st, to keep our Early Childhood students and teachers safe, we ask that all students who wish to start classes in person on Monday, January 18th, 2022, have all pertinent documents uploaded into our system.
    Vaccination cards must be uploaded for every eligible student who wishes to attend school in person. Please refer to instructions listed under the tab SCHOOL LIFE on our school website homepage, in the section From the Nurse's OfficeIf you have not done so yet, you may upload the card here
    If a child has a medical or religious exemption, required original documents must be on file in the Nurses’ Office before the student attends in-person classes.
    A child who has tested positive for COVID-19 and cannot yet be vaccinated must upload a dated test result before he/she starts in-person school. A link to upload this document is here. It is also available in the section From the Nurse’s Office
    A child who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 90 days does not need to have a saliva sample PCR test done in school next week. If that is the case for your child/ren, please upload the dated positive result here. 
    Students and employees who have received a booster in addition to the initial full course of vaccination must upload vaccine cards with the updated information. If you have not done so yet, you may upload a copy of the card here. Again, please see the section From the Nurse's Office on our school website for additional information.
    Daily Protocols
    The protocols that have proven successful in keeping contagion in our school community extremely low will continue to be in place. Students and employees must observe universal mask-wearing. Temperature checks will continue to be performed at school entrances, and sanitizer will be distributed. Frequent handwashing will be encouraged and monitored in the lower grades.
    We will continue randomly testing 20% of our student population and ALL faculty and staff weekly.
    Students who present symptoms either at home or at school must be tested. A positive result will need to quarantine for ten (10) days before returning to school. A negative result may return to school immediately.
    Boosted individuals will not need to quarantine after coming into close contact with a positive individual. Those who only have the initial doses of the vaccine will have to quarantine for three (3) days before being tested and may return to campus once a negative result is obtained.
    Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine after travel.
    Additional information for each of the divisions will be forthcoming, as well as further instructions for uploading documents. We will also communicate minor changes to our academic calendar to make up the days we will lose at the beginning of January. Please be patient, as we are looking for ways to make up the time without causing major disruption to activities that have already been scheduled, including graduations. Please note that we are planning to hold all activities beyond January as scheduled. If we need to make any changes, they will be clearly communicated through the school’s official channels.
    I am certain we will be successful in keeping our children safe and our instruction uninterrupted. We have worked as a unified community during this entire pandemic and, together, as a family, we will continue to succeed. I look forward to our collaboration this semester as well. 
    Lorraine Lago
  • Head of School COVID Update #5 - December 23, 2021

    Dear Saint John’s School Family,
    I hope that everyone has found the time to rest, relax, and spend time with loved ones these first few days of our well-deserved vacation. I am certainly trying to disconnect and practice some self-care, although the times we are living don’t always allow for that.
    My administrators and I have been following the news of the increasing positivity rate in Puerto Rico very closely. The Department of Health Bioportal also keeps us up-to-date on cases within our community, even now that we are not in session. Several schools in the metropolitan area have already announced that they will be starting next semester virtually and so, naturally, some parents have expressed anxiety about the weeks ahead and the start of school for Saint John’s.
    First, let me assure you that we continue to consult expert epidemiologists and virologists through our partnership with Fusion Cell, who is our consultant for Covid-19 health and safety. We are also in communication with our assigned epidemiologist at the Puerto Rico Department of Health, and we monitor the Bioportal daily. We are also looking at local data and reviewing the latest executive orders, and CDC and Department of Health recommendations.
    What the data shows is that the new omicron variant is much more contagious, but causes significantly fewer and less severe symptoms. Hospitals in Puerto Rico, at the moment, are not overwhelmed with Covid patients, and the mortality rate has not risen. The CDC states that the Covid-19 virus is now endemic, which means that, like influenza, it will continue to exist in our population, but can be successfully mitigated with vaccination, medication, and precautionary measures. As such, we recommend that everyone in our community who is eligible, get vaccinated and/or receive a booster. Please remember that any student, age 5 or older, who wishes to attend school in person next semester, must be fully vaccinated by January 31st, 2022. The only exceptions to this mandate are students who have valid medical or religious reasons not to do so.
    Based on the Puerto Rico data we have as of today, our School will open as scheduled on January 10th, 2022 for in-person learning. We will continue to follow existing protocols closely, among them temperature checks upon entry, frequent sanitizing and handwashing, weekly school-sponsored PCR testing, and, most importantly, universal mask-wearing. We continue to rely on the cooperation of every member of the community to observe precautionary measures at all times. These protocols, coupled with parent and student compliance and cooperation, have kept our community safe so far. I am confident we can keep each other safe as well once school opens in January.
    After-school activities for all divisions will begin the second week of school. This is so that we can ensure we have all vaccination records uploaded and that we have all of the PCR results of the testing we will perform during the first week of school to mitigate the risk of an asymptomatic student spreading the virus to others in the community.
    Please check your email in the next few weeks, as I will continue to keep you updated in case we need to modify any plans in the best interest of our community. For now, stay safe and healthy, and enjoy the holidays.
    Lorraine Lago
    Head of School
  • Head of School COVID Update #4 - December 16, 2021

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    As our semester comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to wish every member of the Saint John’s School family a restful and joyful holiday break.
    We have been highly successful in delivering our world-class education on-campus while keeping our population safe because of the work of our faculty and administration, the support of our Board of Trustees, and, most importantly, the cooperation of our students and parents. Thank you to all of you for your continued compliance with our Covid-19 mitigation protocols. I am happy to inform you that ALL of the Covid tests performed on the week of November 29th on our students and employees after our November break yielded negative results. The precautions families took during the time off and while traveling proved to be effective in preventing outbreaks in our community. I urge all of you to continue to take precautions as necessary so that we can ensure an uninterrupted return to school in January.
    We will perform PCR molecular tests during the first week of school in January, as per the following schedule:
    • Early Childhood and Elementary School Students and Teachers – Kits will be sent home on Tuesday, January  11th and must be returned on Wednesday, January 12th
    • Secondary School Students and Teachers – Kits will be sent home on Thursday, January 13th and must be returned Friday, January 14th.
    • All Other Faculty and Staff – Kits will be distributed on Wednesday, January 12th and must be returned on Thursday, January 13th.
    Please note that to expedite the testing and reporting process, we will be using the CorePlus App to track samples and receive results starting in January. Therefore, we ask that you set up your account on the app. Click here Core Plus App Instructions in English.pdf to read the downloading instructions. If you have questions or encounter any issues, please write to wecare@corepluspr.com or call (855) 711-2763 or (787) 342-1042.
    Your continued compliance with our Covid screening schedule will add another layer of security to our community upon our return to school.
    On behalf of our administrative team and our Board of Trustees, thank you for continuing to follow our protocols closely and actively collaborate with us to keep our community safe. You help us make Saint John’s School stronger than ever.
    Happy Holidays,
    Lorraine Lago
  • Head of School COVID Update #3 - November 19, 2021

    Dear Saint John’s School Families:
    As we all wind down to rest and give thanks, it is my sincere hope that each and every one of you finds the space to connect with your families and to practice some much-needed self-care. The effects of last year’s lockdown, and this year’s return to reality with restrictions, are real, and time for ourselves is of utmost importance.
    I would like to remind everyone of the shorter quarantine period for unvaccinated students who travel during this break. Unvaccinated students who travel must be tested three days after arrival to Puerto Rico and may return to school as soon as a negative result is available. At any rate, all students, vaccinated or not vaccinated, will be tested through the School on December 2nd, 2021.
    My administration and I are confident that, given the unwavering cooperation of all of our families during this crisis, our return after this break will be seamless and that we will be able to finish the semester without interruption. We look forward to receiving everyone, renewed and refreshed, on November 30th.
    Lorraine Lago
  • Vaccines for 5-11 year-olds & Change in Protocol

    As you probably know, the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Before health care providers can start administering the first dose, the CDC has to express consent in writing, which is likely to happen in the next few days.  
    In a press conference yesterday, Governor Pierluisi stated that vaccination against COVID-19 will be mandatory for students in this age group who wish to continue attending in-person classes. As soon as the new Executive Order is issued, Saint John’s School will abide by all expressed regulations, and our internal protocols will be revised accordingly.
    At this time, the Department of Health is not allowing vaccination to occur outside of health facilities. Thus, we are working with Ashford Hospital and Centro de Vacunación to secure dates and times for SJS students. More information about this event is forthcoming.
    As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and some families prepare to travel, please note a minor change in our protocol for unvaccinated students who travel. This change will be effective after the Thanksgiving holiday. 
    Given the low positivity rate in Puerto Rico and within our school community, we have shortened the quarantine for unvaccinated students. They must test on day 3 after arrival in Puerto Rico and, if asymptomatic, may return to school once a negative result is obtainedVaccinated students do not need to test or quarantine. As an additional precautionary measure, we will test all students after the Thanksgiving break on Thursday, December 2. Unvaccinated students must repeat the test on that day. 
    Puerto Rico is faring extremely well against this pandemic, and our School continues to keep its positivity rate extremely low thanks to the cooperation of every member of our community. I am certain our upcoming break will not be an exception.
  • Department of Health Visit - October 26, 2021

    Dear Saint John’s School Families:
    This morning, Saint John’s School received an unannounced visit from Department of Health personnel during which a sample of students from all divisions was screened for Covid-19 with rapid antigen tests. Please be advised that only students who had signed consent forms on file at the School Nurse’s Office were tested and that these visits are a routine part of the Covid-19 Department of Health protocols. Parents with email addresses on file will receive their child’s result.
    I am, once again, thrilled to announce that all of the students tested today received negative results. This outcome is a testament to the commitment of our entire community to keeping our students and faculty safe and our school open. I commend our faculty and staff who ensure the protocols' implementation and the students for their compliance and cooperation. I am grateful to our Saint John’s School families because they choose to follow our guidelines strictly, communicate with the school as necessary, and observe the highest level of consideration for other members of our community.
    Thank you for your collaboration and compliance during these different times. Let’s keep Saint John’s stronger than ever.
    Lorraine Lago
    Head of School
  • Head of School COVID Update #2 - August 31, 2021

    Dear Saint John's School Community,
    In order to continue our efforts to keep the school open and our community safe, we have adapted our school protocols to reflect the updated guidelines published yesterday by the Department of Health. The below change is effective immediately.

    • All students, vaccinated or unvaccinated, who come into contact with someone who is positive for COVID-19 must quarantine for 7 days, perform a PCR test on day 5, and return on day 8 after a negative result. If the result is positive, the student must quarantine for 14 days and can return to school after a negative PCR test result. If the PCR test is again positive after the 14 day quarantine, the student must obtain a certification from a pediatrician that there is no symptomatology associated with COVID-19 before returning to school.
    We thank you in advance for your understanding. Our protocols may continue to change as we work to keep our school open. You cooperation is key to ensuring that all our students can attend SJS in person with as little disruption as possible.
    Please continue to visit the Covid-19 Update on our website for the latest school guidelines, and contact your division principals if you have any questions.
    Thank you,
    Lorraine Lago

  • Change to our COVID Protocol

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    New data about the Delta variant of the SARS virus that causes Covid-19 continues to be collected every day. In order to keep our community safe and our school open, Saint John’s School consults with our Health Task Force and the Puerto Rico Department of Health to make changes to our protocols as new information becomes available.
    As such, we are making the following changes to our protocol effective immediately:
    • Any student or employee, vaccinated or non-vaccinated, who comes into contact with a confirmed positive Covid case must perform a PCR test 72 hours after said contact and remain in quarantine until a negative result is obtained. Please note that this requirement applies to both vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.
    • In our continued effort to safeguard the health of our community, Saint John’s School reserves the right to require PCR testing at any time.
    These changes will be reflected on our SJS Master Back-to-School Plan and Back-to-School Guidelines within the next few days. 
    We thank you in advance for understanding that our protocols may continue to change. Your full compliance is required for us to keep our community safe and our school open. In addition, please continue to visit the Covid-19 Update on our website and keep the communication open with your division principals regarding all matters pertaining to the safety and health of our community. 
    If you have any additional questions, please contact your division offices or our School’s Nurse.
    Lorraine Lago
  • Head of School COVID Update #1 - August 9, 2021

    Dear Saint John's School Community,  
    Within the next few days, students in grades 1st through 6th will kick off the 2021-2022 school year by beginning classes in-person and on-campus. They will be joined a few days later by our Pre-Pre-K through Kinder students, our 2022 Seniors, and our entire Secondary Division. Once that happens, our school family of faculty, staff, and students will be complete; the goals we have set for the new school year will keep us motivated, focused, and united for the months to come.  
    Our immediate and most important goal this year is to keep the school open for in-person instruction. This requires that we preserve a safe school environment and that our community remain in good health. To achieve that goal, we must not only enforce our own health and safety guidelines, but also comply with the protocols mandated by the Puerto Rico Department of Health and the governor's Executive Orders. As such, we must continue to work together, remembering that the individual choices we make, particularly during a global pandemic, have an impact on our entire community, and that our success in keeping our school open depends on every single one of us. 
    Please take the time to read our SJS Back-to-School Guidelines, which are also posted under the COVID-19 Update tab in our website. Our Master Back-to-School Plan, which was modified to comply with the latest Executive Orders and is more comprehensive, is also posted there. Both documents are predicated on our emphasis on clear and effective communication and on compliance with local regulations. 
    • Prevention is our priority. We will continue to communicate often about the pandemic and how it affects our institution. Written communications, as well as in-person and virtual meetings with parents, will be vehicles for discussing the latest data about the pandemic. Community efforts will be imperative in preventing further outbreaks: the use of face masks, social distancing, avoidance of large gatherings of people, and vaccination, among others.  
    • All school personnel and students, age 12 and above, are required to be vaccinated for Covid-19. Evidence of full vaccination must be submitted to our School Nurse. The only two exemptions to this rule are medical or religious, and they must be certified. Please refer to our SJS Back-to-School Guidelines for specific information regarding vaccination. 
    • Non-vaccinated students who travel outside of Puerto Rico must either submit a negative PCR test or quarantine after travel before returning to school. A PCR test must be performed between days 3 and 5 after arrival on the island. If the result is negative, the student can return to campus on day 7. If the result is positive, the student must quarantine for 14 days. Alternatively, if the student is not tested for COVID-19, she must also quarantine for 14 days. The distance learning option will be available to students who are in quarantine. 
    • All school personnel and students must wear face masks at all times while in school. Face masks can only be removed when eating or drinking. Students are also allowed to remove the masks during Physical Education classes, which will be held outdoors space permitting. Students with cognitive and sensory conditions are also exempted from wearing masks. Please notify your division principal if you child falls under either of these categories. 
    • We encourage hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer as frequently as possible. Our cleaning staff will disinfect all spaces on a daily basis and high-touch areas will be disinfected throughout the day. We urge all employees and students who do not feel well to remain at home. 
    • Parents will not be allowed on campus, as per the latest Guide for Safe School Re-Opening from the Department of Health. Only essential visitors and contractors who are vaccinated will be allowed to enter campus. Please contact division offices to schedule virtual meetings if necessary. 
    • The Puerto Rico Department of Health also requires student medical records (grades PPK-12th) to be up-to-date and filed in our School Nurse’s office prior to the first day of school. If you have not already done so, please visit the From the Nurse's Office tab, under Student Life in our website, for information about requirements and filing procedures.  
    The dynamic nature of the times we are living during this pandemic require that our prevention strategies and guidelines be adjusted according to any new evidence and findings about transmission risks and effectiveness of these measures against Covid-19 and its variants. We commit to keeping you informed and to communicate as often as it is necessary.  
    My team and I are looking forward to welcoming your children back on campus. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns. 
    Lorraine Lago 
  • Beginning of the 2021-2022 School Year

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    As we head into the last week in July, our administrators are completing the planning to ensure a safe and successful return to campus for all students in August. We have revised important documents that have most of the information you will need to prepare for the 2021-2022 school year: the Back to School Guidelines and the Master Back to School Plan, which will be sent out closer to the first day of school. 

    Both documents have been updated in accordance with the requirements and protocols of the P.R. Department of Health. 
    It is important that you review these two documents with your child. If you have questions, you may email any of our offices - Contact Us. Please remember that many of our administrators also take time off in July. If you do not hear back from us immediately, please know that we we will be back on August 2nd and respond to any inquiries then.
    For a full overview of the school year, please see the Academic Calendar 2021-2022 and Calendar 2021-2022
    I would also like to take this opportunity to share some important dates:
    Meet and Greet & On-Campus Uniform Sale
    Thursday, August 5th
    8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Parent Orientations (Virtual - Links will be sent later)
    PPK: Thursday, August 12th - 9:00 a.m.
    Pre-K: Thursday, August 12th - 10:00 a.m.
    Kindergarten: Thursday, August 12th - 11:00 a.m.
    1st Grade: Monday, August 9th - 1:00 p.m.
    2nd Grade: Monday, August 9th - 2:00 p.m.
    School Start Dates
    PPK-K: Monday, August 16th
    1st-2nd: Wednesday, August 11th
    School Supplies
    Meet and Greet & On-Campus Uniform Sale
    Thursday, August 5th
    8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Parent Orientations (Virtual - Links will be sent later)
    3rd Grade: Monday, August 9th - 9:00 a.m.
    4th Grade: Monday, August 9th - 10:00 a.m.
    5th Grade: Monday, August 9th - 11:00 a.m.
    6th Grade: Monday, August 9th - 12:00 p.m.
    School Start Date
    3rd-6th: Wednesday, August 11th
    School Supplies
    Meet and Greet & On-Campus Uniform Sale
    Thursday, August 5th - 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
    Orientation for All 7th Grade Parents & New Parents Grades 8-12
    Friday, August 6th - 9:00 a.m. (in person, specific location to be announced). 
    New Student Orientation for Grades 8th-12th (Students Only) 
    Friday, August 6th  - 10:30 a.m. (in person, specific location to be announced).   
    7th Grade Student Orientation (All Students)
    Monday, August 9th - 9:00 a.m. (in person, specific location to be announced).   
    ID Card Making
    Wednesday, August 4th - Friday, August 6th 
    (A letter with details about specific date, location and time for each student will go out on August 2nd.)
    Locker Access Dates
    Tuesday, August 10th - Thursday, August 12nd
    (A letter with details about specific date, location and time for each student will go out on August 2nd.)
    For the Summer Reading List and School Supplies, please visit the "Quick Links" section in our homepage. 
    Courses and Academic Advisors
    Students who have questions regarding courses for the 2021-2022 school year should contact their corresponding academic advisor after August 2, 2021:
    • 11th-12th: Ms. DJ Meehan & Dr. Mark Bowen
    • 9th-10th: Mrs. Maria de Lourdes Seijo
    • 7th-8th: Mr. David Sanabria
    School Start Date
    7th-12th: Monday, August 16th
    My colleagues and I are looking forward to welcoming our students back on campus and to the many activities planned for an exciting 2021-2022 school year.
    Lorraine Lago
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #23 - May 9, 2021

    Dear Colleagues:
    As you probably know, Saint John’s School will reopen campus on Monday, May 10th as per the Executive Order issued today, so we will see you in-person then.
    Please remember the following:
    • You must fill out the Staffulty Health Screening Questionnaire before entering campus. Please show a screenshot of the completed questionnaire to one of our security guards.
    • Work hours are from 7:30 a.m. until one hour after dismissal, except for Fridays, when you can leave right after dismissal.
    • Aliveschool cafeteria services will be available. If you would like to receive lunch from Aliveschool, we suggest you complete your orders between today and tomorrow Friday. To choose the menu go to: www.payschoolscentral.com.  For further information please contact alive@sjspr.org
    • Review the protocols in both the SJS Re-Opening Plan and the Reopening Guidelines if you have questions or need reminders about COVID safety measures in school.
    • This is the final stretch of what has been a truly unbelievable year. Let’s support each other and finish #sjsstrongerthanever.
    See you on Monday,
    Lorraine Lago
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #22 - May 6, 2021

    Dear Saint John’s School Community:
    As the end of the school year quickly approaches, we remain firm in our resolve to continue advocating for the opening of schools for in-person instruction, leveraging significant government contacts and joining forces with other schools and organizations to effect the desired changes in the Department of Health’s protocols. We have also filed a request for a dispensation that could allow our School to open immediately.
    The Governor is expected to announce changes to the current Executive Order within the next few days. We are ready to open our campus, and give students and teachers the closure they deserve after such a challenging year. Regardless of the decisions made this week, we will tirelessly persist in our efforts to ensure schools will be allowed to open in August. Please be advised that our distance learning option will continue to be available to families who prefer to exercise it throughout academic year 2021-2022.
    Thank you for continuing to support our school. Your feedback is invaluable to us, as is your collaboration in advancing this issue. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please contact your Division Principal: Maika Marchan at mmarchan@sjspr.org, Yoly Adames at yadames@sjspr.org, David Sanabria at dsanabria@sjspr.org, and/or our Board Chair, Jessica Wattman, at jessica.wattman@sjspr.org. They will be able to address concerns and channel your ideas appropriately. Let’s continue to work together for the benefit of our children, our families, our community, and all of the children of Puerto Rico.
    Lorraine Lago
    Head of School
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #21 - April 22, 2021

    The Governor’s announcement yesterday informing citizens that, based on high levels of transmission on the island, schools will remain closed, has intensified the frustration we all feel as we continue to keep our children at home. It is indeed frustrating to see schools remain closed when the data collected by Puerto Rico’s own Department of Health shows that community transmission is not happening within schools. It is also frustrating in light of the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, which state that “K-12 should be the last settings to close after all other mitigation measures in the community have been employed, and the first to reopen when they can do so safely. This implies that schools should be prioritized for reopening and remaining open for in-person instruction over nonessential businesses and activities.”
    This frustration is also fueled by the fact that we were able to keep our community safe during the few weeks we were allowed to open. Once the government allowed schools to open, we ensured compliance with every requisite outlined by the Department of Health’s Protocol for Schools Re-Opening, and registered our School in the Bioportal. We vaccinated our employees, established entry procedures, re-grouped students and changed schedules to ensure social distancing during school hours, and, most importantly, tested all employees and a randomly selected 10% of students attending in-person school on a weekly basis. Test results confirmed there was no transmission while our school was open in March.
    Confident that our protocols work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 within our campus, we continue to do what we can so that Saint John’s School can open its doors as soon as it is safe and possible. In his statements yesterday, the Governor alluded to the possibility of allowing schools to open via special permission once transmission levels decrease. As such, we have already contacted Fortaleza to process a dispensation, so that, in the event this possibility materializes, we are a step closer to reopening this semester, and ready with all documentation necessary to open in August.
    We understand that not all parents will feel comfortable sending their children to school regardless of the safety measures the school takes, and we respect every family that makes the choice to keep children at home. This is why we have invested in training and equipment that will ensure the highest quality hybrid program for families who exercise that option, and we will continue to offer the hybrid option for the duration of the pandemic, regardless of whether or not we return on-campus.
    We will continue to update you promptly as new information becomes available. Please know that we are not waiting quietly for the situation to change but rather, we are responsibly advocating for in-person learning for your children.
    Thank you for your continued support.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #20 - April 15, 2021

    Last weekthe governor’s Executive Order required that all schools in Puerto Rico, public and private, close their school buildings for in-person instruction for two weeks. As such, Saint John’s School will continue imparting instruction via distance learning until Friday, April 23rd. According to the latest Community Transmission Analysis of the Department of Health, levels of transmission have continued to rise.
    These week-to-week decisions, and the measures our government is taking to keep our communities safe have been causing undue stress to our families, and are completely disrupting our daily lives. This latest school closure has been even more difficult, as we had just begun to gain momentum as an in-person school again. Please know that the administration, the faculty, and I understand your frustration, and we are here to answer questions, listen to concerns, and work with you to make this experience as positive as it can be for your children. will continue to update you frequently about any changes to our current status. 
    Several school activities were planned for the coming weeks. Please be advised that there may be changes of format, venue, or dates depending on what the government mandates allow or prohibit. 
    Please stay safe. I am hoping to see the children back on our campus soon.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #19 - April 8, 2021

    As per the Puerto Rico Department of Health Covid Protocol and the latest Executive OrderSaint John’s School will be closed during the week of Monday, April 12th to Sunday, April 18th 
    Both private and public schools are regulated by the Department of Health Protocol. Every Wednesday, the Department publishes a report of community spread by municipality titled "Informe semanal del análisis de transmisión comunitaria del COVID-19 para la toma de decisiones en las comunidades escolares en Puerto Rico." Schools operating in any municipality that reaches a positivity rate of 15% or higher (coded RED) must close during the week following the report.   
    As per this week’s report, San Juan is coded RED and therefore our School must remain closed next week. On Thursday, April 15th, after the next weekly report is issued, we will be able to update the community about plans for the following week. 
    Please be advised of the following: 

    • Grades PPK and PK operate under a license from the Departamento de la Familia and are allowed to remain open. Classes for those grades will be held in-person next week.
    • All K-12 students and teachers will engage in distance learning. Teachers and students in these grades will NOT be allowed on campus.
    • All office personnel will be working remotely during regular School hours and can be contacted as usual.
    • School activities scheduled for next week may be postponed or held virtually. You will receive more specific information about these events from the Office of Student Life or your division principals
    We are disappointed by this turn of events and understand the high level of frustration that this closing brings to both parents and students. We are also aware of the disruption that closing school may cause to your daily routines. Please reach out to us if we can support you or your child in any way. Our community is strong, and I am proud of everyone's commitment to giving their best during these challenging times.
  • Hybrid Learning COVID Update #18 - March 26, 2021

    The last two weeks have been some of the most fulfilling of my careerNothing compares to welcoming students back to a place of comfort and familiarity in the midst of a global crisis. Our teachers have been successful in creating an inclusive learning environment that tends to the needs of students that have joined us in-person as well as those who have chosen to stay at home. Teachers and students alike have followed protocols and cooperated with school requests to help us comply with the Department of Health regulations and to allow our school to remain open. The laughter of our students is the evidence we need to validate that this return was necessary and positive.
    As a team, and with the support of our Health Task Force, we have upheld our commitment to the health and well-being of our community by strictly following our School Reopening Plan. At the beginning of each week, we tested our entire faculty and staff, and a random 10% sample of our student bodyfor Covid-19Our employees and students are regularly screened for symptoms and required to follow the policies established when they move around the building.
    In order for us to continue preserving a safe environment when we return after this break, please remember the following:
    • You need to complete the Health Screening Survey before your children return to campus. We will send the document to you on Friday, April 2nd so that you can complete it ahead of time. 
    • If you and your children travel outside of Puerto Rico, your children will need to quarantine for 14 days. Alternatively, your children can return on campus after day 7 if you perform a PCR between the third and fifth day after your arrival on the island and receive a negative result. 
    I hope your break is restful
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #17 - March 17, 2021

    It was with great enthusiasm that we officially welcomed our Senior Class of 2021 into the school building last Monday. Their socially distanced "Senior Entrance" cheerfully marked the beginning of in-person instruction for our Secondary students. When the Elementary students walked through our doors this morning to join our Early Childhood students, we celebrated that our School family is finally together. Our hybrid model of instruction is in full effect; and more importantly, we are a step closer to a full opening of our campus the way we knew it and the way we love.
    Continued compliance with the health and safety measures that are in place will not only ensure the health and safety of all of our students and staff, but it will also determine whether or not we receive the final certification from the Department of Health in the next few days. It is imperative that every member of our community continues to adhere to the requirements outlined in the Department of Health's protocols. Your cooperation is as important as ever.  
    Therefore, I would like to remind you of the following 
    • Students will be asked to complete a Health Screening Survey to determine their history of exposure to Covid-19 upon their return to campus and upon their return from an extended School recess. This Survey will be sent via email on the Friday before classes resume. 
    • All employees are required to answer the survey weekly and after returning from extended recesses, vacations, and other absences.  
    • All employees and a random selection of 10% of students will be tested for Covid-19 on a weekly basis. Please complete the required documentation, including a consent form as soon as possible if you have not already done so. We are happy to report that everyone tested this week received a negative result. 
    • We held a School Reopening Webinar for Parents on March 5th. If you missed it, we recommend you take the time watch it. This webinar is also found in the Resources section of our website. 
    • We also recommend that you take the time to review our SJS Reopening Planas it was revised again in March 2021. This important document is also found in the Covid-19 Update section of our website.  
    • In addition, please review Reopening Guidelines for Parents and Students, which is also available in the Covid-19 Update section of our website. 
    • Talk to your children about the importance of following all health and safety measuresof wearing a mask properly at all times, and of answering the Health Screening Survey truthfully.  
    One of the many lessons we have learned during this pandemic is that communities must work together to succeed together. The actions of each and every member of our community can affect the health and safety of the community as a whole. A return to “normalcy” depends not on the actions of a few, but on the actions of all, and there are no seemingly inconsequential exceptions. Let’s continue to be focused on keeping our school open safely, and on the physical and mental health of every member of this family. We have gotten this far successfully because we have worked together.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #16 - March 12, 2021

    Within the next days, students of all grades will finally be on campus. We are taking every measure to ensure that this transition goes smoothly. 
    It is of utmost importance that we comply with every one of the requirements of the protocol of the Department of Health. Two of those requirements are random student testing and updated vaccine records. We need you to submit all documents requested below for random testing by Monday, March 15th so that we can remain in compliance with the Department and can keep our school campus open. 
    Random Testing 
    As per the Department of Health, we are required to randomly test 10% of our student population on a weekly basis. Please visit these links to fill out the forms and upload the documents for each one of your children who attends Saint John's School. Also, although the samples for the Covid tests will be collected on campus, the lab that will process them is in Carolina. So when asked to choose a location between Ponce and Carolina on the enrollment form, please choose Carolina

    As in previous years, we require that parents hand deliver the following to the nurse’s office before the first day of school: 
    • An original PVAC (PR Immunization Form) - The PR Department of Health requires vaccines for children at ages 4, 11, and 16.  
    • An original SJS Medical Examination Form - This should be signed by the pediatrician and submitted annually. 
    • An original dental certificate supplied by the child's dentist and submitted annually as well. 

    Please help us to comply with the Department of Health's protocols by giving priority to this communication.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #15 - March 4, 2021

    As we continue preparing for the re-opening of our campus, we are completing requisites and checking final details. Based on the progress we have made and in order to maximize the number of days in school, our start dates have changed as follows:
              Monday, March 15th         K – 2nd  
                                                         10th – 11th  
              Tuesday, March 16th         7th – 9th   
              Wednesday, March 17th    3rd – 6th  
    As mentioned in our previous Update, the Early Childhood and Elementary students will have their orientations in real time on the first day of school by their homeroom teachers. The orientations for the Secondary students are as follows:  
              Wednesday, March 10th     9:00 a.m.   Seniors 
                                                           11:00 a.m.  11th Grade 
              Thursday, March 11th        9:00 a.m.   10th Grade 
                                                           11:00 a.m.  9th Grade 
              Friday, March 12th             9:00 a.m.   8th Grade  
                                                           11:00 a.m.  7th Grade 
    Tomorrow Friday, March 5th, I will host a webinar Re-Opening Our Campus: Policies and Procedures Review for ParentsThis webinar will start at 9:00 a.m., and it will cover the most important information about our school re-opening. The link for this event is here: https://zoom.us/j/95364621888 . There will be a panel representing the different divisions and departments. You will have an opportunity to ask questionsIf you are not able to join us tomorrow, the webinar will be available on-demand on the Resources page of our website. 
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #14 - February 24, 2021

    Today's Update will focus on three important topics: the School’s Re-opening Plan, our Annual Parents Meeting, and an update on AliveSchool. 
    The re-opening of school is fast approaching. We are looking forward to the day when we see our students; the feeling is invigorating.
    On Friday, February 19th, the Department of Health issued a document titled "Protocolo para la vigilancia de COVID-19 en el sector educativo de Puerto Rico en respuesta y preparación a la apertura de escuelas." It outlines a set of protocols to precede the re-opening of schools. As of today, no school is certified to open because schools must comply with the guidelines and protocols outlined therein, and the protocol was just amended last Monday.  
    As per the new requirements outlined in the document, Saint John’s School must: 
    • register in the BioPortal for contact tracing by uploading all employee, student, and parent information into the system, 
    • certify all school personnel by offering the webinars required, and,  
    • complete the checklist provided in the Protocolo para la vigilancia de COVID-19" and certify compliance.  
    In the last few days, we have already made progress toward this certification. We completed the registration in the BioPortal for contact tracing and received the current month’s certification. The BioPortal information has to be uploaded every month. 
    Just today, the webinars required by the Department's protocol were shared with the schools. We have created a timeline between today and next Wednesday for all school personnel to complete them. Once our personnel is certified, we can begin to complete the protocol checklist. We expect to have the certification and be able to open by mid-March at the latest. We are not able to determine an exact date until we have a better idea of how the webinar certification will advance, but we expect to communicate those dates early next week. 
    Even after certification, there will be community indicators that must be met before any school can re-open. The positivity rate in Puerto Rico, coded by color and reported by the Department of Health every Wednesday, will determine if a school can open or stay open (regardless of certification status) the following Monday. If the island or the school's municipality is coded red, the school will not be able to open. 
    In addition, if the municipality is coded orange, the school will have to randomly test 10% of its student population twice during that week. We are in the process of securing a partnership with a provider that will allow us to perform these tests quickly and efficiently. If the municipality is coded yellow or blue, we will be able to conduct operations as per our re-opening plan. 
    Last evening, we held our 2021 Annual Parents Meeting. As it was held virtually, we had great attendance. The Board presented the School’s finances, and I presented the state of academic affairs. If you missed it, we invite you to review our FinancialUpdateBudgetOutlook_Feb2021_SJS FINAL.pdf and Annual Parents Meeting February 2021_final.pptx or visit our website. Both of these documents are available on the Parent Resources page.  
    As announced in Update #12, Aliveschool has invested in a platform called Payschools Central. Aliveschool believes it is the most advanced and effective method to continue providing the quality of service we are accustomed to. This is more important than ever since students will not be allowed to step off campus or to receive any food delivery from outside vendors, parents, or caregivers.  
    In Payschools Central you can: 
    1. Register to manage the cafeteria account
    2. Add money (make deposits) into the cafeteria account to pay for lunch
    3. Pre-order your meals
    4. Program things like auto-replenish so you never run out of funds
    5. Program messages for lunch balance 
    We highly encourage you to register and set up your account here: https://www.aliveschoolpr.com/lunch-step-by-step 
    In the next few days we will communicate more concrete plans about our school re-opening plans. We are working diligently to make this happen as soon as possible. 
  • Official Statement

    Date: February 21, 2021

    Official Statement

    San Juan, P.R. - Saint John’s School did not take advantage of any privilege to vaccinate people who did not qualify under Phase 1B of the vaccination plan. All school employees, faculty, administrators, staff, and trustees qualified to be vaccinated under the vaccination phase that was in effect at that moment.
    On January 19th, 2021, the Department of Health opened Phase 1B for vaccination against COVID-19. This phase included people over 65, frontline workers, and both public and private education sectors. Given that Saint John’s School had an existing partnership with the Ashford Hospital to perform COVID-19 testing for its community, Saint John’s administration scheduled dates to vaccinate its teachers, administrators, staff, and trustees on January 22nd and 26th. Several days after the first dose was administered, the Department of Health reverted its decision and limited Phase 1B exclusively to people over 65. The Ashford Hospital immediately notified the school that, as per new parameters, they would only administer second doses to those who had received the first dose in January. This second dose was administered on February 12th and 16th, 2021. A total of 177 members of faculty, staff, administration, and 13 members of the Board of Trustees were vaccinated. It is important to note that parents who are not employees or trustees were not vaccinated with the Saint John’s School group.
    In the case of independent schools, trustees qualify for inoculation, as they are the governing body with a fiduciary responsibility over the institution. The board’s role is crucial to the operation of the school and critical during crises. The trustees cannot fulfill their role if they cannot safely access the school grounds or interact with members of the community.
    Saint John’s School is a non-profit, college preparatory, non-sectarian, co-educational day school in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #13 - February 17, 2021

    Yesterday, a majority of our faculty and staff received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. We once again thank our partners at the Ashford Hospital, and are grateful to our School Nurse, Ms. Sunny Semidei, and to Board members and parent volunteers who helped us throughout the vaccination process.
    During the last week in February, our teachers will begin to teach from campus. This will allow us to test our network’s capacity and make adjustments if necessary for when the students arrive. We will also be able to set up each classroom and the additional technology we have acquired to maximize the hybrid learning experience. All other approvals and government requirements have been secured.
    Our plan is to bring students back in groups. Once the executive order states the official day in March when we will be allowed to open, we will send a communication with details of start dates for each grade. We are looking forward to welcoming the students, to the daily hustle and bustle of school life, and to celebrate the Seniors in their red shirts and for what will be their last months at Saint John’s School.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #12- February 12, 2021

    I hope these weekly updates convey our faculty and staff’s excitement about the safe re-opening of school.
    One of the most frequent concerns expressed to us by parents is regarding our policies on snacks and lunch services once school re-opens. Our School’s Re-Opening plan outlines those policies, and we will continue reminding you of them and alert you of any changes during the weeks leading up to that first day back.  
    • All students will be required to bring snacks from home.
    • Early Childhood and Elementary Division students will eat snacks in the classroom. They will not be permitted to share snacks.
    • Secondary Division students will eat snacks either in their classroom or in the cafeteria (with appropriate physical distancing measures).
    • All students, grades PPK to 12 can either choose to bring lunch from home or pre-order their lunch from the school cafeteria, which will continue to be managed by Aliveschool. Students will not be able to order food in the cafeteria. 
    • Early Childhood and Elementary Division students will eat lunch in their classrooms. 
    • Secondary Division students will have lunch at designated times in the cafeteria and with appropriate physical distancing. 
    We are confident that this will be a safe and efficient process because Aliveschool is already providing cafeteria services in a manner that complies with school’s protocols to PPK and PreK students on campus. Parents will be asked to register their children for lunch services BEFORE they return to campus. As such, during the next few weeks, Aliveschool will be sending more information in a separate email. Please respond to the email as soon as possible to help facilitate the lunch process. For additional details, you can also email them at alive@sjspr.org.  
    For the safety and health of the SJS community, and as per our protocol, we will require that students, faculty and staff remain in the school campus throughout the day. The delivery of food from outside vendors, parents, or caregivers will not be allowed once all grades return to campus. This is a requirement that we cannot waive for any reason. 
    Abiding by safety standards without sacrificing the quality of the food offering or the convenience of giving parents easy access and control to pre-order lunch are important measures to maintain, especially in these different times. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and compliance. It takes all of us to keep our community safe. 
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #11 - February 3, 2021

    As many of you know, we were successful in working with the Ashford Hospital to get our teachers, staff, and administrators vaccinated for Covid-19 during the last weeks of January. We had a very large participation rate, as over 190 of our employees received the first dose then. All of these employees are scheduled to receive the second dose during mid-February.
    The seamless vaccination process would not have been possible without the tireless work of our School Nurse, Sunny Semidei, and the members of our Health Taskforce, who coordinated the effort with our partners at the hospital. This collaboration is evidence that when communities work together, they succeed.  
    Vaccine is one critical mitigation strategy, but it is not the only one. We have many safety protocols already in place; we shared them with you on Virtual Learning under Covid, Update #9 dated January 20, 2021. These protocols need to be followed once school re-opens to ensure the continued safety of all members of our community. As per recent news, we are hoping private schools are indeed allowed to re-open early in March. 
    I take this opportunity to encourage you to re-read our School Reopening PlanDuring the next few weeks we will share additional materials that will help us all get ready for our eventual return to campus. 
    Until then, stay safe. 
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #10- January 28, 2021

    If there is something we have learned these past 10 months, it is that pandemics require a community response. I am most proud to say that the Saint John's School community responded to the demands placed on us by the coronavirus pandemic in a way that will transcend into the future and improve our program for years to come. It is in the teaching and learning that we believe we have made the most progress. And while the societal costs of the pandemic continue to be insurmountable and it is something we hope not to endure again, our academic program has been largely improved because of it. The Saint John's School faculty truly came together with little time to build a top-tier distance learning program while continuing to improve academics across the school. These are changes that paint a brighter future for our educational institution.  
    Early on we realized that we are well prepared at multiple levels. Our school has teams assembled to tackle almost any problem a school could face. 
    • Each division has an academic leadership team made up of teacher leaders that support their content teams and provide their division heads valuable information to make the best decisions for our students. 
    • Our technology team consists of members who are experts at managing large-scale network operations as well as supporting teachers with enhancing their curricula with technology. This team was also responsible for researching, purchasing, and distributing new laptops to all our teachers so they could have the resources they needed. This was all made possible once our board fast-tracked their proposal after it was identified as an area of need. 
    • The monitoring and support of students' mental health and the mental health of our faculty has been of critical importance since the beginning of distance learning. School psychologists, Dr. Sayra González and Dr. Nelymar Reyes, quickly designed multiple ways for students to ask for support as well as daily surveys to keep a pulse on student well-being. The team has delivered professional development sessions to faculty on stress reduction strategies. 
    The situation presented many issues that required some swift action. It still does. But we have requested and responded to feedback quickly. Regular surveys are sent out to families to monitor the efficacy of our distance learning program. The results of these surveys are reviewed by the administration, and changes are enacted as needed. Some key changes that have come from the survey results were: 
    • Increased synchronous learning time in Early Childhood. 
    • In the Secondary Division, Wednesdays are now reserved for student clubs to meet and for faculty to engage in professional development. 
    • General feedback on lesson design and program tools (Seesaw, Google Suite, Classkick). 
    Saint John's School has continued to improve and innovate within our academic programs because we have intentionally designed systems and teams in the right places and have been able to respond to the needs of the community with resolve and firmness. Below is a list of academic initiatives undertaken by Saint John's School this school year alone: 
    • Adopted a structured phonics program for grades K-2. 
    • Expanded the updated ELA Curriculum to grades 3 – 12. 
    • Adopted a new Math Curriculum for grades 2 – 10. 
    • Enhanced the Department Chair Role to include observation and coaching. 
    • Updated our observation protocol to improve student outcomes. 
    • Designed an assessment plan to collect better student data. 
    • Launched the Race and Equity Committee with the vision that Saint John's School faculty will be leaders in anti-racism in our community. 
    Our goal is to continue pushing forward as always and to live our mission that every classroom is a dynamic learning environment which fosters the discovery of individual talents and develops students with integrity and compassion who will shape a changing world. Our mission statement has truly driven our actions for the last ten months; and it is because of it that our vision is enhanced, and our future will be brighter than ever. 
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #9 - January 20, 2021

    During the last months, our Facilities Department has focused on adapting our buildings and classrooms to our new reality by researching and implementing systems and protocols that will keep our environment clean, our air quality superb, and everyone healthy. 
    Here the list of the accomplishments of our Facilities Department's Preparation for School Re-Opening:
    1. All maintenance employees were trained in COVID-19 safeguards, personal protection equipment (PPE) management, and high standard procedures for cleaning and disinfecting our facilities.
    2. We trained our personnel in the use of an electrostatic sprayer for nightly classroom disinfection.
    3. We scheduled a routine of cleaning procedures for high touch areas, dust control, deep cleaning, and disinfection in our buildings.
    4. We improved our A/C and ventilation system to exceed the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) guidelines and the guidelines for the environmental control of infections within facilities recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
      • The ventilation was increased while preserving the efficiency, temperature, and humidity levels in each area.
      • The percentage of outside air circulating in the system was increased.
      • Routine preventive maintenance to A/C units was completed: filter changes, cleaning of the "coils," adjustment of pulleys, cleaning of the drainage system, and cleaning of grids and ducts.
      • The airflow patterns of the units were optimized, considering humidity, temperature, and efficiency.
      • Ultra-violet lights were installed in all our central A/C units and mini-split units to inactivate microorganisms in airborne particles.
    5. We established temperature checkpoints at the Ashford Avenue gate, Nairn Street entrances (2), and Ashford Avenue Elementary School entrance.
    6. We installed COVID-19 awareness signs and posters.
    7. We pasted floor graphics to direct people flow during drop off, class changes, and dismissal times.
    8. We set up a new area for the infirmary, easily accessible from both Nairn Street entrances. It includes a holding area with an air extraction system and an in-room recirculation air purifier.
    9. We provided protective acrylic counter and table shields for all administrative offices and classrooms.
    As our PPK and PreK classes reconvened for in-person teaching and learning yesterday, they were welcomed into a remarkably safe school environment. Our goal now is to bring students from all grades back into the school building as safely and quickly as possible. 
    Lorraine Lago
    Head of School                   
    Eng. Lourdes García Martorell
    Director of Facilities
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #8 - January 13, 2021

    The second semester of our 2020-2021 school year is off to a propitious start. Classes have reconvened virtually, but recent developments -- including upcoming vaccinations -- are moving us closer to the re-opening of our campus. The facility is prepared to keep our population healthy; classrooms are decorated and bright, and teachers are setting up their devices and technology to ensure that they can welcome students in person and at a distance simultaneously. The excitement within our buildings is contagious and we are eager for our students to arrive.
    This week marks the beginning of the Saint John’s journey for 21 new and returning students. To them and their families, we extend the warmest of welcomes. For another 78 students, 30 of whom have been with us since Kindergarten, this week marks the last stage of their Saint John’s journey as they approach their graduation in May. And on January 19th, we will welcome our PPK and Pre-K students back in person. With endings and new beginnings, this semester is shaping up to be a special one.
    Our partners at Ashford Hospital anticipate that we will begin vaccinating our faculty and staff the last week of January. Once we have received the first dose of the vaccine, we will be able to establish a tentative date for re-opening. Until then, we will be sharing information with you and your children that will help all of us be ready for that anticipated “first” day back. Please confirm that your email address is updated in our system, and that you can access MySJS so that you don’t miss any of our communications.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #7 - January 8, 2021

    As the well-deserved break nears its end, our team continues to stay abreast of the latest developments around the Covid-19 crisis. School will reconvene virtually on Monday, January 11th, 2021. Based on governor Pierluisi's preliminary plans and current vaccination schedules, however, we are optimistic that we might be able to re-open our campus sometime in March. 
    As a result of the continuous efforts of our school nurse, Ms. Sunny Semidei, we are in the final stages of securing vaccinations for our teachers and school staff through a collaboration with the Ashford Presbyterian Hospital. This vital partnership will ensure that Saint John's School will have immediate access to vaccines once they become available for school personnel during phase 1B of the government's vaccination plan.
    In the meantime, we continue to review our School Re-Opening Plan to include the vaccine, which is now available. With the Health Task-Force guidance, we will monitor the vaccination progress and other relevant factors and update our campus' projected re-opening plans and date accordingly. I encourage you to review the plan again once we publish the new version to stay informed about new developments. The latest version of the plan is available on our website under the COVID Update section.
    Please be advised that, once our campus re-opens for in-person learning, our distance learning option will continue to be available for students whose families feel more comfortable with that option. More information on this will be available in the coming weeks.
    My team and I look forward to this new semester's successful beginning and a healthy and safe transition back into campus. We will continue to update you weekly on the progress of our vaccination schedule and any updates to the re-opening plans.
    Stay safe,
    Lorraine Lago
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #6 - December 18, 2020

    As this atypical semester comes to a close, I am encouraged by the good news emerging from every direction. Social media is filled with heartwarming pictures of medical personnel receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, the first FDA-approved over-the-counter test is on the front pages of newspapers and websites, and our Saint John’s School community has remained strong and healthy. This week some of us celebrated at our virtual wine tasting event, others joined the party by arriving at the student council-sponsored parranda singing and cheering loudly, and the Seniors honored each other by celebrating the wonderful college acceptances that have only just begun to roll in.
    Internally, our teachers and administrators have closed the year on a high note. The Early Childhood Program succeeded in implementing a phonics component to their world-class curriculum, despite the difficulties they faced within the virtual environment. They also secured a day-care license that will allow PPK and PK to return to in-person learning in January. The Elementary Division elevated its program to new heights. With creativity and dedication, teachers transformed their methodologies to engage students virtually and deepen the rigor of their classes. The Secondary Division used technology in ways unique to each content area, maximizing the tools that we provided to guide students to achieve deeper learning. Our beloved principals and deans worked endless hours, using data from parent, student, and teacher surveys to implement changes almost weekly and arrive at the world-class distance learning program with which we are closing this semester.
    Our administrative team also adapted admirably to this new modality, implementing new processes to maintain high levels of parent satisfaction, re-enforcing the sense of community, even at a distance, and preparing the building for our in-person return. 
    Our Board of Trustees and the Health Task Force supported us every step of the way. The re-opening plan is ready because of their dedication to our school and their willingness to give of their time to collaborate with us for the benefit of our community. As per the feedback we received in the parent meetings where we discussed the re-opening plan, you will soon receive a shorter document with the most important information parents and students need to know before school reopens. We are also working on several videos that will familiarize all students with new protocols and procedures. Please check your email this Sunday or later during the break, as the document will be included in the last 2020 volume of The Breeze. You can also visit www.sjspr.org to access these as soon as they become available.
    For a year that has been difficult and long, this last month has felt light and full of hope. As you slow down your daily routines in the next few weeks, take a moment to look back at this semester. You will be marveled at everything our community has accomplished. Children have been resilient, families have made compromises, teachers have been dedicated and creative, and we all have reshuffled our priorities; I am sure that health and family have moved to the top spots of every list. It inspires me to see how we have thrived, together, and look forward to continuing the work of this, our Saint John's School family, in 2021.
    Have a healthy and peaceful holiday season, and many blessings for the new year.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #5 - November 22, 2020

    As we continue to navigate the challenges of this COVID-19 pandemic, our Saint John’s School team persists in the work of fulfilling our School’s mission. We continue to research virtual learning best practices and to train our teachers, we continue to analyze your feedback and use it to make improvements to the program, and we have prepared our facility to receive our students, teachers and staff while mitigating the spread of COVID and its effect on our program.
    As such, an updated Saint John’s School Re-Opening Plan has been posted on our website. Although we do not have a definite re-opening date at this time, as school closures remain in place as per the Executive Order, I encourage you to read through the plan and familiarize yourself with the protocols that will be in place once we return to campus. Talk about procedures with your children. Practice wearing masks for longer intervals and keeping social distance. The more automatic these behaviors become, the better our probability of keeping each other safe upon our return.
    During the first week of December, and in-lieu of the Coffee with the Head of School scheduled for December 4th, I will be hosting parent meetings to answer questions you may have about the re-opening plan. These will be organized by division and co-hosted by our school principals and members of our Health Task Force. The meeting schedule is as follows:
    Wednesday, December 2nd, 8:30 am – Secondary School Parent Meeting
    Thursday, December 3rd, 8:30 am – Elementary School Parent Meeting
    Friday, December 4th, 8:30 am – Early Childhood Parent Meeting
    The links for these meetings will be sent out later.
    As we begin the Thanksgiving recess, let us not forget that now, more than ever,  gratitude can be extremely powerful. During crises, our brains focus on a sense of threat and fear that can be debilitating. Practicing gratitude refocuses us on the wonderful people and things we already have in our lives, and it allows our brains to rest. You may enjoy this TED talk and the suggestions it offers to help us refocus our brains during these difficult times. 
    My administrative team and our Board of Trustees wish you a restful holiday.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #4 - October 27, 2020

    The Office of the Head of School and the Communications Office have continued to receive questions regarding the re-opening of our school campus for in-person learning. On Friday, October 16th, I held a Coffee with the Head of School, where I addressed that concern and explained why our school cannot open until the state government's Executive Order allows. Understanding that not everyone was able to join us, we subsequently shared the PowerPoint presentation from that morning via a push page. The presentation, however, does not give a detailed explanation as to why private schools need to remain closed.
    For the benefit of those who were not there on Friday, the Executive Order certainly applies to private schools, as stated in Section 7, Subsection 29 of the Order: OE-2020-077, where it states that, "no students can physically attend schools under any circumstances.'' In addition, and contrary to what you may have heard, private schools cannot operate as independent private businesses. Although private schools in Puerto Rico enjoy some independence when it comes to choosing most of the curricula, methodology, and ideology, all private schools must be licensed by the Consejo de Educación de Puerto Rico, an agency under the umbrella of the Department of State, to operate on the island. Therefore, although we are private, we cannot operate without a license from the Consejo, and are, indeed, subject to government regulation regarding re-opening. Please note that LICENSING from the Consejo is mandatory; ACCREDITATION from the Consejo is not. Saint John’s School chooses to be accredited by the Middle States Association, but MUST be licensed by the Consejo de Educación.
    We understand the urgency many of you have regarding the return to in-person learning. Nobody feels that urgency more than our teachers and administrators. We choose to work in a school because we thrive on the teaching and learning process. We thrive on the looks on the faces of students when something “clicks”, on the sounds of laughter in the hallways, and the stories we hear from our high schoolers. We thrive on the successes of each child and are motivated by helping each overcome challenges. We love going to the building because we thrive on the learning community of which we are a part. We fiercely miss your children and the process of teaching and learning. And our colleagues in other schools share this sentiment. In short, we cannot wait to have our students around on campus. 
    As such, the Asociación de Escuelas Privadas, of which we are members, continues to lobby the government to allow private schools to re-open their doors. United as a group under the Association, we are stronger and have been successful in previous lobbying. The Puerto Rican Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is also lobbying the Department of Health to allow children to return to their campuses.
    In the meantime, we must abide by the Executive Order. As I have stated in previous communications, we will update our plan according to the situation in Puerto Rico once the Executive Order is lifted. We are prepared with protocols, materials, employee training, and facility readiness so that we can open nimbly once we are allowed. I ask for your patience and continued support, and for your trust. We are doing everything in our power so that we can bring your children back to Saint John’s School as soon and safely as possible.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #3 - October 6, 2020

    I would like to thank you, once again, for your support and understanding as we continue to adapt our academic offering and school calendar to the demands placed on us, as an educational institution, by the Covid-19 pandemic. I remain proud of the way in which our students and teachers, as well as the families that make up our school community, have responded to the many and unimaginable challenges ensued by the present times. We know that these are uncertain and anxious times for everyone, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding.
    As stated from the beginning of this crisis, the health and safety of our students and teachers is of paramount importance, and it remains our utmost priorityAs you know, we are also under the strict mandates of the Government of Puerto RicoOn October 1stthe governor of Puerto Rico extended the executive order (OE-2020-066) until October 16, 2020, upon recommendation of the Department of Health. This executive order prohibits any educational institution, whether private or public, from “allowing students back in the schools under any circumstances.” All instruction must be done online. The aim of this decision remains the same as when it was originally ordered: to preserve public health against a virus of pandemic levels and for which there is no vaccine.
    At Saint John’s School, we have every intent to comply with this executive orderAccording to the order, “private schools must present online classes until it is determined that the rate of confirmed new cases of Covid-19 has decreased.” Unfortunately, this has not happened yet; and therefore, we will continue our remote learning program until directed otherwise by our government and until a decrease in cases in our community is achieved.  
    Once the restriction of the executive order (OE-2020-066) is lifted, Saint John’s School is prepared to open its campus. We have drafted a comprehensive plan that will allow us to safely open our school following a hybrid model of on-campus and virtual learning. This plan was approved by all required government agencies and published on our website in July 2020Based on present uncertainty and the volatility of the situation, and rather than publishing a revised plan every time the situation changeswe removed the plan from the website in August, when it became clear we would not be able to open campus as planned. We will make the plaavailable to the community again once we know in more certain terms when our School will open, with revisions if necessary.  
    In the meantime, we will continue to work as a community to provide an education of excellence to all our students. Please stay connected by visiting our website frequently and checking our online calendar, by reading all communications from the school, by viewing programming on our YouTube channel SJSPR Media, and soon on our sjspr.radio section of the website, by following us on social media, and most importantly, by participating in all the school events that are taking place this semester. Our Hurricane Breeze Newsletter is sent weekly to help you and your family get ready for the week ahead. Finally, our Office of Communications is always available to answer questions via info@sjspr.org.
    At Saint John’s School, we understand it is impossible to meet the needs of every single family in our community during these challenging times, but we remain committed to and guided by our mission. We thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding as we comply with the executive order and strive to do what is best for ALL. 
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #2 - September 4, 2020

    As we close Week 3 of our new semester via virtual learning, my administration, the Board of Trustees and I thank all of you for your continued support as we navigate through the challenges of teaching our students online, and the stresses this new modality brings to all of us alike. I assure you that we are closely observing the dynamics of the program, that we receive your feedback and analyze it, and that we will continue to make necessary and pertinent changes to ensure that we deliver the Saint John’s School experience virtually while we look out for the well-being of our students and faculty.
    Beginning next week, we will implement some changes that respond to feedback we have received thus far. Here is an update of those changes and of our continued work to ensure a seamless return to on-campus learning:
    Schedule Change – After three weeks of the program, it became apparent that both students and faculty were becoming worn out quickly. The semester is still only beginning, and, after calculating instruction time and comparing it to instruction time in school, factoring in passing time from class to class, time in line for snack and lunch and the time it takes a class to settle in the classroom before the teacher can begin, we decided to modify our schedule so classes end at 12 noon every Friday. This change does not significantly impact instruction time. Students will receive the details of how this change impacts their specific divisions next week.
    Building Updates – While students, teachers and many parents are busy with virtual learning, our Facilities team has been continuously working on our campus. We have almost completed the work of updating every space of our building as per the latest earthquake codes. We have performed the usual summer projects that include deep cleaning of classrooms and floors and painting where necessary. Most importantly, we have prepared the building for our eventual return to on-campus learning during this COVID emergency. Updates include:
    • Countertop acrylic partitions for classrooms and offices,
    • COVID-19 and Traffic flow signage,
    • Trailer to isolate the infirmary,
    • UV lighting for all air conditioning units, and
    • Training for housekeeping staff on the use of disinfecting products and proper disinfecting techniques
    Upcoming Activities -  It was after much deliberation and with great sadness that we decided to cancel the production of Grease the Musical scheduled for this semester. Our Eighth Grade Graduation will be substituted with a drive-through diploma ceremony, where students will receive their diplomas and awards, have the opportunity to take individual pictures, and get to see teachers and administrators.
    We will continue to keep you updated about changes to our program and decisions we make regarding school activities and campus re-opening plans. Please be assured that we keep the health and safety of our students, our faculty and our parents as our utmost priority.
  • Virtual Learning COVID Update #1 - July 29, 2020

    As per the government mandate announced on Wednesday, July 22nd, and considering the exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico, Saint John’s School will begin its academic program for all divisions and all students on August 17th, 2020 via distance learning. Our published re-opening plan, which allows students in grades PPK to 5th to attend in-person classes daily, and grades 6th-12th to engage in a hybrid of in-person instruction and distance learning, will be placed on hold. It will go into effect when government orders allow and if our expert Health Task Force believes all conditions have been met for a safe re-entry into campus. An updated version of the re-opening plan will be available under our Resources page on the website early next week.
    Because our re-opening plan always included a virtual learning option for students who needed or preferred to stay home, our teachers are extremely well-prepared to deliver our rigorous academic program effectively via distance learning, using research-based methodologies and assessment tools. The School invested in state-of-the-art devices for every teacher, additional hardware, and educational software to enable a seamless and successful delivery of the curriculum at all levels. Teachers and administrators will engage in additional professional development during the first weeks in August to learn to maximize the use of new technology and to practice methodologies that have been proven efficacious for distance learning. We have designed our plan to be flexible so that when we decide it is safe to bring students back to campus, we will be able to do so nimbly and adeptly.
    Each Principal will send a communication outlining specific requirements and pertinent information for each division. The Early Childhood Program and the Upper Elementary Division will host orientations and parent workshops virtually before the start of school to help families prepare for distance learning. The dates and times of these meetings will also be sent in separate communications.
    The uncertainty of the times we are living has made planning ahead and honoring plans extremely challenging for our institution. It has also made it extremely difficult for us to make decisions about what activities to hold and how to hold them safely. Official school ceremonies have been scheduled and re-scheduled, venues have been changed, and countless hours have been spent coordinating resources to make activities a reality and fulfill student and parent expectations amidst a global pandemic.
    In light of the deteriorating situation in Puerto Rico, however, we are, once again, refocusing our decisions on our mission and our core values. As a leading educational institution in Puerto Rico, we must acknowledge our role in our community and prioritize social responsibility. If we are preparing students to shape our changing world, then we must be part, albeit small, of the solution to the problem our world is facing.  Right now, this means avoiding all gatherings that could potentially precipitate contagion. For this reason, and with much sadness and disappointment, we have decided to postpone all school activities and ceremonies scheduled for the first semester of academic year 2020-2021.
    These activities include the Senior Graduation, which was scheduled for August 6th, the 8th Grade Graduation, scheduled for August 29th and the Junior Class Ring Ceremony, scheduled for August 22nd. We continue committed to giving these students the proper and well-deserved celebration for their achievements, but we cannot commit to a date until we are certain that we can host gatherings safely for everyone in our community.
    The 2019-2020 School Musical, which had also been re-scheduled for August, has been calendarized for March. We will revisit its viability closer to the scheduled date. Given the uncertainty regarding venues and the inability for casts to rehearse as necessary, we have decided to hold the performances of last year’s Musical this academic year. Regular Musicals will resume academic year 2021-2022.
    Considering that we will not be hosting activities this semester, the school will credit each student’s account a pro-rated amount of the activities fee.
    This unprecedented situation has certainly tested our resiliency as a community.  It has forced us to make difficult decisions, to come to consensus after tough disagreements, to share disappointments, to recalibrate our priorities and to strengthen our sense of compassion. Let us use the lessons we have learned these past five months to enhance the work we still have ahead of us. Let us view each new challenge with empathy and with the hope that it will bring us closer to the end of this crisis.
    I am looking forward to beginning the work of educating our children together, once again, this August.
COVID-19 Community Updates
February 27 -  June 22, 2020

List of 16 items.

  • Update #16 - June 22, 2020

    As I communicated in Update #15, Saint John’s School plans to re-open the campus as scheduled in August. Our administrative team, our Board of Trustees, and our Health Task Force continue working together to finalize the comprehensive re-opening plan. We plan to share it with the community the first week in July, with the understanding that it will be subject to change to comply with any additional government regulations that may be in place in August.
    In the meantime, we wanted to communicate what we do know about next year so that families can plan accordingly and prepare for what will definitely be a different start to the school year.
    Re-opening the school in the face of the crisis we are living, will require that we all remember our School Mission, that we are willing to be flexible, that we communicate effectively and frequently, and that we work together to keep everyone in our community safe. As such, there are several principles that each stakeholder group must embrace.
    Saint John’s School Principles
    • To take every reasonable step to promote the safest possible environment for all members of our community upon our reopening.
    • To ensure that every student achieves all curricular expectations for the academic year, both in skills and content.
    • To offer the option of distance learning simultaneously for the duration of this crisis.
    • To communicate all related policies and procedures as clearly and as often as is necessary.
    Parent Principles
    • To be flexible if our plan does change to comply with changing government regulations.
    • To model and promote adherence to all guidance related to social distancing and personal protective equipment.
    • To closely monitor the health of our children as well as all members of our household, and to inform the school promptly of a positive result for COVID-19 within the household.
    • To become familiar with and follow all related rules and regulations included in the school Handbook regarding identifying, tracing, and monitoring possible infection.
    Student Principles
    • To closely follow all newly established policies and procedures in place upon our return to school.
    • To communicate any health concerns with the School’s nurse or a family member.
    • To follow all directives regarding social distancing, hand washing, and face-coverings.
    • To become familiar with and follow all related rules and regulations included in the school Handbook regarding identifying, tracing, and monitoring possible infection
    Faculty Principles
    • To fully comply with and support all instituted principles and procedures related to the current pandemic as it impacts our school community.
    • To be vigilant and communicative both about our own health as well as that of all members of our households.
    • To model and follow all directives regarding social distancing, hand washing, and face-coverings.
    • To become familiar with and follow all related rules and regulations included in the school Handbook regarding identifying, tracing, and monitoring possible infection.
    We are certain that, if we all uphold these principles, we can re-open our campus safely while preserving the health of every member of our community.
    Although we are still working on several final details of the plan, here is what we can tell you as of today.
    • Academic Calendar – Our 2020-2021 academic calendar will be available on our website next week. Please remember that all dates are subject to government mandates and regulations. We have, however, established staggered start dates by grades.
      • First day for grades PPK-K – August 10th
      • First day for grades 1-6 – August 12th
      • First day for grades 7-12 – August 17th
    • Grades PPK – 8 will be in-school. We have already established a plan that allows us to have all students in grades PPK to 8 in school next semester. Schedules will be modified to accommodate additional sections created in order to comply with social distancing occupancy limits. Daily schedules will be available in August. Please remember that plans may change to comply with changing government regulations.
    • Grades 9-12 will follow a hybrid schedule of in-school instruction and distance learning. The details of the academic plan for these grades will be available in early July.
    • Distance Learning Option – We will offer a distance-learning option for students in grades 3 to 12. Students who need to stay home but are well enough to attend classes will be able to connect to the classroom via GoogleMeet. Families who are not comfortable sending their children to school because the student or a family member is high-risk will also have the option of joining class via GoogleMeet. The distance learning option needs to be discussed with the division principal prior to its execution to ensure the best learning scenario for the student.
    • Invoicing -  Smart Tuition invoices went out on June 12th. We have, however, moved the first payment due date to July 15th. This will give parents time to review the re-opening plan before making the payment. Families on a 1-payment, 2-payment, and 9-payment options can make their payments in August without a late fee. Families on the 8-payment option will not have to make their first payment until August 15th.
    • Extensive new protocols will be put in place for students as well as faculty and staff. These protocols will include:
      • Daily temperature checks and health screening upon arrival to school
      • Required wearing of face masks. Early Childhood Program students will be required to wear both face masks and face shields.
      • Social distancing, including maximum occupancy limits in classrooms
      • Modified daily schedules
      • Regular inter-day surface cleaning
      • Daily after-hours disinfection of all spaces
    • COVID-19 Testing – Testing for all employees will be required before the beginning of the school year. Testing will also be part of our monitoring plan for all suspected cases of COVID-19 within our community once the school year begins. More information about this topic will be forthcoming.
    • Parent and Other Visitors – To safeguard the health of our students, faculty, and staff while on campus, we will significantly restrict access to parents and other visitors. Our comprehensive plan addresses this topic in more detail.
    • Beginning of School Events – Most events scheduled for the beginning of the year will be held virtually as an additional precaution. These include Early Childhood and Upper Elementary orientations, the Meet and Greet event, Coffee with the Head of School, and the New Parent Cocktail. Secondary School student orientations will be held on-campus and will be previously scheduled so that students come in small groups and can observe social distancing. The uniform sale will also take place in school for the convenience of parents. All safety measures will be observed during all on-campus events.
    • Interscholastic Athletics – The re-opening of interscholastic sports is still being determined by the corresponding leagues. We will share decisions regarding athletics as soon as they become available.
    In a few weeks, I will be sharing the comprehensive plan with the community, as well as a brochure of must-know information for parents and students in preparing for arrival on-campus.
    I hope that everyone continues to stay safe while finding ways to disconnect and rest this summer. The last few months have been extremely difficult for everyone, not necessarily physically, but mentally and emotionally. It is important that we all find ways to take care of ourselves and recharge so that we can begin the year with energy to continue facing the uncertainty of the months to come.
  • Update #15 - May 14, 2020

    Our Administration and Health Task Force continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation locally to prepare and implement the protocols required to re-open school in the fall of 2020. We remain optimistic, as Puerto Rico data shows that both confirmed and new cases are on a downward trend with case fatality rates also on the decline. As such, we are working on an extensive plan to re-open our campus as scheduled in August. 
    As per the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), plans for re-opening schools should consider the following:
    The local situation and epidemiology of COVID-19
    Puerto Rico has reported a decline in new COVID-19 cases in May.  The available data shows that the predicted case peak was reached earlier than the estimated date of May 8th. We are hopeful that, if this trend continues, the local government will allow schools to re-open in August. Hence, we are planning accordingly.
    The local school setting and ability to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures
    We are currently finalizing the re-opening plan for August, which is being collaboratively constructed by our academic administrators, our facilities team, our re-opening committee, and validated by our Health Task Force. It has been informed by the latest data and recommendations available from reputable sources. It considers the safety of our students and employees, begins with entry measures, and provides for social distancing regulations within the building, alternative scenarios for lunch and playtimes, student hygiene, cleaning and sanitizing protocols, and required personal protective gear. The plan also takes into consideration employees and students who may be high-risk, or students who may want to continue to quarantine at home until the situation becomes less uncertain, and offers flexibility for remote work and learning. Any student, faculty, or administrator that falls in the high-risk group due to age or other conditions must contact the Human Resources Director or the School Nurse for specific instructions before the start of the school year. The comprehensive plan will be shared with the community in early July.
    The current understanding about COVID-19 transmission and severity in children
    Our team is keeping a close eye on new information about COVID-19 in children as it becomes available. We are ready and able to implement additional health and safety measures if necessary and required. Given the uncertainty and unpredictability of the situation we are living, our team is also preparing plans for alternate scenarios if government regulations continue to restrict schools’ on-campus operations beyond our scheduled opening date.
    Returning to school while COVID-19 remains a threat to our community will require extreme discipline and strict adherence to rules. Everyone’s cooperation will be necessary for us to protect our community’s health and safety. Exceptions to the established campus rules will not be considered. School-life under this threat will be different, and we all need to embrace our new reality.
    Once we unveil our plan, we will ask parents to practice the use of protective gear with their children, to discuss the importance of handwashing, and to support our efforts by reminding students that they must follow their teachers’ instructions at all times. For a school opening to be successful and sustainable, we all need to work together.
    For now, let us focus on ending this school year successfully. We only have two more weeks of school, and then a summer to practice and prepare for the new reality we will embrace in August.
  • Update #14 - May 7, 2020

    As the semester end draws near, we continue hard at work, ensuring that our daily programs run smoothly and that our campus remains in optimal conditions. Our Seniors have finished school, and we celebrated them with fun virtual activities and surprises throughout last week. Elections for our student council and class boards were held virtually, and our annual talent show—also held virtually—had over 100 people in attendance. Amidst the fun, students and teachers continue to plan for end-of-the-year assessments and activities.
    Our administrative team, with the expert advice of our Health Task Force, has been working on several scenarios for re-opening our campus—either fully or partially—next academic year. Although at this time it is premature to make a final decision about the fall semester, as the local COVID-19 situation continues to change, we are creating several plans for the possibilities we may face come August.  These plans prioritize the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff, but also consider the implications of the slow re-opening of the economy and the needs of parents who must return to work.  We will continue to update you on our progress and notify all decisions as soon as they are finalized. I thank you in advance for your patience
    During this on-going crisis, technology has been essential in allowing us to deliver our academic program, extracurriculars, and community gatherings. As I visited classrooms these last couple of weeks and marveled at the rigorous tasks and deep conversations taking place, I was reminded of a quote I once heard from a social media entrepreneur: “Technology is best when it brings people together.” That is exactly what we have experienced these last eight weeks. While it is true that technology has brought us together so that our people—teachers and students—can continue to learn and grow, it has been our people, not the technology, who have created wonder amidst unpredictable and difficult circumstances. Let us not forget that what makes our school truly amazing is our people.
    My team and I are hopeful that the sacrifices we have all made during this time will enable us to come together as a community sooner rather than later. Until then, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay strong.
  • Update #13 - April 23, 2020

    As our team continues to monitor the local COVID-19 situation to make decisions for our community, the main focus of our discussions continues to be our people. The well-being of every member of our community has been at the center of every determination we have made during this unprecedented crisis.
    Most recently, and with almost five weeks of distance learning data informing our deliberations, we revisited the issue of tuition credits. Initially, the decision of not crediting tuition in any grade level seemed to be the right decision. After all, our team of educators went above and beyond to transition our academic program seamlessly to an online platform. Synchronous lessons are being conducted in all grades and the prescribed curriculum is being delivered. Even when the mode of the delivery has had to change because of outside circumstances, we are ensuring that all skills and content are covered and evidencing student learning through assessments, hence, delivering the product covered by the tuition payment.
    In the Early Childhood Program, however, this has not been quite the case. Our teachers have worked tirelessly and creatively to deliver instruction of literacy and numeracy skills in each grade and have scheduled appropriate contact time with the children. The curricula in these grades, however, are largely comprised of skills that cannot be taught or assessed virtually. From PPK to second grade, as part of the curriculum students are expected to learn and practice the following skills:
    Attending to Basic Needs: In the pre-school grades, students practice using the bathroom independently, putting on shoes, tying shoelaces, setting up for lunch, putting materials away, and following classroom routines.
    Fine Motor Skills: Students in these grades develop fine motor skills by using play dough, crayons, pencils, paintbrushes, and paint, and by cutting and pasting. They need to be physically guided to do so.
    Listening Skills: Children learn to take turns while speaking by being in a classroom with other children. They practice remembering and executing instructions in a controlled environment and with constant teacher supervision.
    Socialization and Conflict Resolution: In these grades, teachers orchestrate situations so that students practice playing with other children, sharing toys and materials, taking turns, and resolving conflicts independently when they arise.
    Free, Unstructured Play: Teachers in these grades ensure that students have access to toys and materials and that they play independently, without a specific purpose, to help them develop language and creativity.
    Regardless of the quality of distance learning for early childhood students, it is impossible to teach these skills virtually. As such we believe that crediting the percentage of tuition that corresponds to the percentage of the undelivered curriculum in these grades is the right thing to do.
    Our Board of Trustees approved a tiered credit structure, where PPK parents receive a larger percentage credit of two months’ tuition. This percentage credit decreases according to the amount of curriculum that we were able to deliver in each grade, as follows:
    PPK – 80% two-month tuition credit
    PK – 50% two-month tuition credit
    K, 1st and 2nd grades – 20% two month-tuition credit
    Under the present circumstances, every parent—not only Early Childhood parents—has had to step in to perform some of the tasks that are part of a school day when our campus is open. That is the result of the pandemic and the reality of the lifestyle we have had to adopt for the common good. The credit is not compensating this parental time. Rather, it is a refund for essential curriculum that could not be covered in the Early Childhood grades.
    During the next few weeks, parents with children in these grades will receive a notification from our business office outlining the dollar amount of the credit owed to them. Parents will be able to choose whether to apply the credit to next year’s tuition or to donate the amount of the credit to our endowment or scholarship funds.
    The decision to credit tuition for these grade levels goes against the recommendations of all independent school associations, and it is not what other independent schools in Puerto Rico are doing to date. But the right decision is not always the popular decision. This decision is true to our mission; it reflects our focus on all of our people, our promise of transparency, our commitment to excellence under any circumstance, and our values of empathy and compassion.
    I am beyond proud to lead an institution that truly lives its’ values, even in the most difficult times. I am blessed to work with and for a Board and an Administration that are not afraid to make and support the tough decisions. And I am honored to represent a community of families with unparalleled resilience and commitment.
  • Update #12 - April 16, 2020

    As we resume the work of educating your children, the global crisis we are living continues to be like nothing we have experienced before.  It has called on our deepest reserves of kindness, selflessness, patience, and ingenuity.
    Ingenuity, in particular, has been instrumental in helping us overcome the initial hurdles we faced as an educational institution in the shadow of COVID-19. Showing originality, and perseverance, teachers are delivering quality education, complying with curricular plans, and utilizing technology in an array of innovative ways to deliver their lessons. Showing cleverness and adaptability, our students are learning the necessary content and skills in each of their classes, as evidenced by the data teachers collect through formative assessments.  Administrative tasks have not missed a beat as we hold faculty meetings via Google Meet, visit virtual classrooms, counsel students in choosing next year’s courses, and attend Board and Committee meetings. Student life activities continue enthusiastically through the virtual gatherings of extracurricular clubs, spirit-building activities. and our student council elections. Even our larger community came together for our first Virtual Coffee with the Head of School and our first Virtual SJS Family Retreat. We have courageously risen to the challenge of delivering our quality Saint John’s education online.
    We are now facing the second set of hurdles thrust upon us by this pandemic. Many in our community have urgent questions about what to expect these next six weeks of the semester, this summer, and in the coming academic year. Making longer-term decisions in the face of such uncertainty is very difficult, and our Health Task Force, our Board of Trustees and our Administration are constantly trying to strive a balance between lowering our community’s anxiety and rushing our deliberations. I ask that you continue to be patient with us, and I promise that we will continue to be transparent in our decision-making process and to have our community’s health and safety as our utmost priority.
    Considering that our Governor extended the lockdown until May 3rd, weighing the risk of bringing our community--or part of our community--into the building shortly after that, and analyzing the logistics of protecting our students and employees while in school, the Health Task Force recommended, and the Board approved, that we finish the semester via distance learning.
    We anticipated that this decision would incite questions about the closing of the semester and the end-of-the-year activities. As such, we have updated the Frequently Asked Questions on our COVID-19 Update Center to address many of the concerns that will surface. If your questions are not answered in our Update Center, you can email your division principal for more information.
    The Musical and Graduations have been rescheduled as follows:
    • The Senior Banquet and Graduation have been postponed. We have a tentative plan to hold them the first week in August, but this plan depends on the development of the COVID-19 situation locally and on the availability of venues. We will confirm the dates later in the summer.
    • Grease, The Musical has been tentatively scheduled the weekend of August 14th. Dates will be confirmed once the venue has been secured.
    • The Eighth Grade Graduation will be held at Saint John’s on August 8th.
    Please be advised that all of these dates are tentative and can change based on the development of the COVID-19 situation locally.
    Our 2019-2020 Academic Calendar has been updated to reflect the changes we made to accommodate a virtual end to the semester. If you have questions about any of the activities scheduled for May, please email our Communications Specialist at mcharak@sjspr.org.
    Thank you for your continued patience throughout these weeks. As we enter our second month of social distancing, we may begin to experience more intense frustration, anxiety, and exhaustion. Your children and their teachers have these feelings too, and they are magnified by the usual May depletion they feel at the end of any uneventful school year. Remember, and remind your children, to continue being compassionate, not only with others but, more importantly, with yourselves.
    We will get through this together.
  • Update #11 - April 3, 2020

    As we wind down before this well-deserved break, I want to remind us all that we continue to be connected as a community. In response to feedback from families, students, and employees over this last week, we will be offering a Virtual Family Wellbeing Retreat for our entire community, free of charge, next Wednesday, April 8th, from 9 am to 12 pm.
    The Retreat will consist of several offerings, and participants will be able to choose two of the offerings. The themes are varied and cater to families with young children, high school students, faculty, and parents. You can find more detailed descriptions of the offerings here. If interested, please choose the two options which you would like to join so we can get a sense of how many community members will participate and plan accordingly. We hope that many of you can honor yourselves by taking advantage of this gift.
    Our Week 3 Survey is also open until this Sunday. Please take a moment to give us your feedback. Additionally, the Covid-19 Update Center continues to have useful information. Most recently, we have included the number for the PAS hotline and the link to their website so that our community members can have access to psychological services immediately at any time during the pandemic.
    I hope you will join us on Wednesday, but if you are unable to do so, remember to find ways to take care of yourself this week, so that you return on April 13th recharged to continue working together with and for our community.
  • Update #10 - April 1,2020

    On behalf of the Saint John’s School administration and the Board of Trustees, I would like to wish every one of our families a healthy and restful spring break next week. We will return to our regular distance learning schedule on Monday, April 13th. The decision regarding our return to campus will be made after that date and based on the development of the COVID-19 situation locally.
    The quarantine experience has been different for everyone, and every household has faced unique challenges. Some may be enjoying more free time at home during the lockdown. But our teachers have been working full time while learning new technologies and methodologies to maximize student learning. Your children have been working hard as well, attending classes, meeting the same intellectual demands asked of them while in regular school, but with the added stress and anxiety of being under lockdown and away from the comfort of school routines.  We cannot minimize the emotional effects these circumstances may be having on our teachers and students and in order to preserve their mental health and ensure a successful end to the school year—whatever the venue—we need to take this break.
    Some parents have expressed concerns about taking time off right now.  They perceive that we have reduced class time, specifically because we are not holding formal classes on Fridays, and recommended we use this week to comply with curricular demands. Our modified schedule, however, does preserve instructional time. Keep in mind that the distance learning modality affords teachers more contact time with students as it eliminates class-to-class travel time, daily routines and classroom preparations. In addition, many activities that are typically scheduled during the school day are being held at alternate times. When you take all these factors into consideration, the actual instructional time our distance learning schedule allows in four days is almost identical to instructional time during a regular school week. In this modality, Fridays provide bonus time for students to meet individually with teachers, clarify doubts, deepen understanding and further enhance the learning experience.
    Although concerns about instructional time are valid, we are certain that our students will not suffer any academic losses during distance learning. Even one less day of instruction or a topic not covered will not make a difference in our students’ readiness for the next academic year.  More critical, and arguably more important for our children, is that they learn the lessons this pandemic is desperately trying to teach. 
    For every one of us who worries about the perceived loss of instructional time, there are thousands of children in neighboring communities who have lost all access to education for the foreseeable future. Whether because they are served by an underperforming school, or because they don’t have access to internet service, or to a device, or because their home environment is not conducive to learning, the academic gap for these children keeps broadening. For every one of us who complains about how much food our children are eating while stuck at home, there are thousands who have lost access to the meal they received at school, possibly the only meal they ate any one day. For every one of us who can’t wait for our spouse to go back to work, there are thousands who have said goodbye to a loved one never to see them again.
    When we reflect on the effects of this pandemic on our world, and on other children, it seems silly to worry about the one or two topics that the teacher may not cover. Imagine if, in place of a unit missed, our children learned about privilege, about inequity, about the flaws in our public system of education. What if they came out of this crisis with the resolve to truly shape our changing world, to make our world good for everyone? What if, by hearing about what others are experiencing,  they begin to understand and embody our school’s Mission? Isn’t that worth a spring break?
    Enjoy this week of unstructured time, of meaningful conversations, of creative projects, of ice cream and cookies, of classic movies, of board games, and of the things that truly matter.
  • Update #9 - March 27, 2020

    As we close our week 2 of distance learning, it is important we celebrate the seamless transition our faculty and students have made into this modality. It has been seamless because of the work of an inspiring faculty, a resourceful administrative team, and a student body that reflects our core values in everything they do, particularly resilience. As a community, we have adapted so well that it feels as if we have been doing this for months. It has only been nine days. Please congratulate your children and yourselves.
    In order to continue improving the distance learning experience for our students, we need parent feedback. Please complete the Week 2 Survey. It will be open until Sunday, March 29th in the evening, at which point, our academic administrators will analyze the data and make pertinent changes to our programming for next week. You will have the opportunity to complete the survey at the end of every week of distance learning.
    Our administrators and Board of Trustees continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Puerto Rico daily. We are specifically discussing whether to postpone school activities scheduled for April and May. Although we understand that uncertainty can aggravate our community’s anxiety, we believe that making decisions too quickly can also be detrimental and demoralizing. For that reason, we have decided to wait two more weeks before making decisions about graduations and post-graduation celebrations in order to have more information about the development of this situation locally. This way, we hope to make decisions that will be more closely aligned to the reality we will be living at the time.
    The Ring Ceremony, however, which is a Junior activity, has been postponed until August. Our Juniors will all be here with us then, and the ceremony is held at school. Although the students will experience a level of disappointment, we believe their perspective can change if they are open to the notion that receiving the Saint John’s School ring could be a wonderful way to mark the beginning of their year as Seniors.
    There may very well be more disappointing decisions made in the next few weeks. As the adults in the community, we need to help our children and teenagers process these disappointments. But we also need to help them embrace the lessons of the times: help them see that the essence of humans is not found in what we have, but in who we are and in how we choose to behave; help them see that celebrations are not about the venue or the dress, but about what we celebrate and who celebrates with us; help them see their health as the gift that it is, regardless of how far removed our teenagers may be from the fragility of life. Help them to see that the sacrifices we make for the greater good make our world a better home for all of us.
    This is, indeed a difficult time, and it may get more difficult before it gets better. Let’s not disconnect from each other. Remember that communities lift the individual in times of crisis. And remember that Saint John’s is YOUR community. Let’s remain together.
  • Update #8 - March 20, 2020

    It is hard to believe that we have already completed our first week of distance learning. The messages our team has received have been overwhelmingly positive. The constructive feedback is being analyzed and, when pertinent and possible, being incorporated into our plans for next week.
    In order to collect your feedback in a systematic way, our Dean of Academics and our School’s Psychologists have collaborated in creating a Weekly Survey for Parents. The information you provide us through this tool will help us sustain what is already working well and improve or add components to make this distance learning experience better next week. We ask that you take a few minutes to complete it thoughtfully.
    Our distance learning experience so far has felt very well-rounded because it has been. In a very short time, our administrative team collaborated to incorporate the most important components of a healthy school environment into the distance experience—daily life interactions, rigorous tasks, varied activities and, importantly, tools to safeguard everyone’s mental health. And every week, we hope to incorporate a little bit more.
    Next week, we aspire to create experiences that nurture our sense of community from afar. I will host my first virtual Coffee with the Head of School, on Wednesday, March 25th.  You will receive an invitation via email with the link to join the meeting live. The invitation will also be posted on our website so that parents can access directly from our page if they so prefer.
    In addition, club advisors will reach out to their officers to organize virtual club meetings. We believe this social interaction to be very important, not only to support the emotional well-being of our students but to create spaces where our future leaders can brainstorm how to support each other and the world in the middle of this crisis. These club meetings may prove to be deep learning experiences as well.
    We are still facing uncertain times in Puerto Rico and the world and, with the information that we have available right now, it is impossible to make decisions beyond the next few days. Please practice mindfulness (you will have to log in to your MySJS account for access) and enjoy the here and now. Savor your weekend. Balance social time and alone time. Be tolerant and patient. Appreciate each other. Recharge for Monday. And be well.
  • Update #7 - March 17, 2020

    Our first official day of distance learning was a success. We experienced fewer glitches than anticipated, teachers were phenomenal, students excited, and parents grateful. Our technology team responded to questions quickly and was able to offer help remotely. Congratulations to all of you for doing your part in making this situation not only productive but also enriching.
    While our academic program is flowing rather smoothly, the COVID-19 situation in Puerto Rico continues to change daily, and transitioning to life entirely at home can be difficult. The fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in children and adults. Those feelings, coupled with the additional stress of being quarantined, can result in aggravated symptoms. To be truly successful during this difficult time, we need to cope with all of the stress that has been added to our daily lives.
    As such, Saint John’s School has taken decisive steps to maintain our community’s physical and mental health. Starting tomorrow, students will have access to a mental health check-in tool where they can let us know how they feel.  They will also be able to reach out to our psychologists, Dr. Nelymar Reyes and Dr. Sayra González if they feel they need additional support.
    The SJS Daily Check-in will be found, starting tomorrow, on each teacher’s class page. We recommend that each child completes the Daily Check-in at least once during the day.
    PPK-4th grade students – Parents should begin the day by asking their child how he/she is feeling and completing the check-in with him/her.
    Fifth-12th grade students – Older students will be prompted by their first-period teacher to fill out the check-in but will have it available in every class in case something changes throughout the day.
    Dra. Nelymar Reyes will be available to parents and students from grades PPK to 6th. Dra. Sayra González will be available for students in grades 7th to 12th. If a child clicks on the “I’d like to speak to someone” option, a text box will open where they can write their name and subsequently be contacted by the corresponding psychologist. It is important to note that our psychologists are licensed to offer services during normal school hours, not emergency help. If you believe your child needs emergency care, please contact your nearest hospital. You can also call Linea PAS 1-800-981-0023 or visit their site.
    We have also created the Mental Health Matters community group. Here you will find material that has been curated for our community’s needs regarding coping strategies, mental health tips, and other resources to help take care of our mental health during this infectious disease outbreak and quarantine.
    Please remember that even though we are maintaining social distance, we are not socially isolated. We will get through this as we always have, together.
  • Update #6 - March 16, 2020

    Last week, in consultation with our Health Task Force, Saint John’s School made the difficult decisions of deploying our Distance Learning Plan and postponing all school-sponsored activities and travel until further notice. Over the weekend, Puerto Rico’s leadership took the necessary actions to ensure the spread of COVID-19 can be contained and properly managed. I am grateful to the team of administrators and faculty, and to our Board of Trustees and expert volunteer parents for collaborating to get our school ready for the possibility of this lockdown before it was a reality. Today, our teachers are ready and our students eager because, thanks to timely decisions, we were able to prepare them for this challenge.
    Tomorrow is the first day Saint John’s School goes live at a distance. Although we have prepared as much as possible, it would be naïve to expect no glitches. Even if Google Meet, our chosen platform for distance learning, works beautifully, and our teachers and students adapt to learning this way quickly, island-wide Internet could become overwhelmed. For that reason, we have a contingency plan in place that enables students to learn by following detailed learning activities that teachers will outline. Detailed instructions on how to use Google Meet and the contingency plan can be found on our webpage under Resources and in the COVID-19 link at the top of the SJS Homepage.
    It is important that students get familiarized with their distance learning schedules. Fifth and sixth grade students and parents were emailed their schedules today. Please review the schedule with your child and ensure he/she has a comfortable area to work. Seventh through twelfth grades will see their temporary schedules when they log on to MySJS.
    I urge you to be flexible—with the School and with your child—during these first few days as we are all learning how to navigate the distance learning world. You can write to us at help@saintjohnsschool.on.spiceworks.com with questions or feedback. 
    In the time since my appointment as Head of School, we have navigated several crises successfully. I have no doubt that, as a strengthened community, we will, once again, overcome this challenge together.
  • Update #5 - March 13, 2020

    Coronavirus Update #5 
    Please visit the COVID-19 page on www.sjspr.org for the latest message from our Head of School and updates about the COVID-19 situation as it relates to Saint John’s School. 
  • Update #4 - March 12, 2020

    The Saint John’s School Administration and our Health Response Task Force met today to discuss the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 situation in Puerto Rico. As you are aware, the situation changes daily.
    The principles that guide our decision-making process during these meetings are the health and safety of our community and our social responsibility. As a school that brings families together with the goal of educating future leaders, we take our responsibility to be part of the solution in a crisis like the one we are facing extremely seriously.
    In line with these principles, we have made the following decisions:
    •  After-school activities and extra-curricular activities will run as scheduled today, Thursday, March 12th, but will be cancelled starting tomorrow, Friday, March 13th. Interscholastic athletic events have been cancelled until further notice.
    • School will be in session tomorrow, Friday, March 13th. All students will be dismissed at 12:30 PM.
    • As per government mandate, GreaseThe Musical will be postponed until further notice. Tonight's rehearsal is cancelled. More information about rescheduling this event will be forthcoming.
    • Saint John’s School will deploy its Distance Learning Plan beginning Monday, March 16th, 2020. We are taking this important step to minimize the possibility of transmission of the virus in our community. We invite all members of our community to follow CDC guidelines at home, especially if there are family members who might have been exposed or are at higher risk of contracting or transmitting the virus. We want to work with and support each and every family during this time. If you feel that, in any way or for any reason, keeping your child at home would carry a higher risk of contamination or a higher risk for a member of your family than sending him/her to school, please contact your division principal. We are open to working with you to find reasonable alternatives.
    • Grades 5th – 12th will use Google Meet to hold classes. Instructions for students and parents will be available on our resources page and emailed to the community on Monday, March 16th, 2020.
    • Grades PPK – 4th will post learning videos, materials, assignments, and instructions for parents on their class pages.
    • To be prepared for distance learning, please use the next few days to analyze the status of your learning environment at home.
    • Prepare a quiet work environment.
    • Have paper, pencils, glue sticks, crayons, and other school supplies available.
    • Make sure your internet access supports video content.
    • Make a computer or tablet, preferably with a camera, available to your child.
    • Know your child’s and family’s login information for MYSJS.
    • The decision to re-open school will be made during our scheduled spring break the week of April 6th, and it will be based on the latest information available at the time.
    Thank you for your cooperation and calm during these uncertain times. I invite you to visit the COVID-19 Update link on our website for our latest communications and links to reliable sources. Communication and collaboration will be crucial in the upcoming weeks and we will need each other’s support.
  • Update #3 -March 11, 2020

    Aware of the rapidly changing scenario in light of the COVID-19 virus, our Saint John’s School Administration and our Health Response Task Force are closely monitoring the situation and taking affirmative actions to protect the school’s community and minimize spreading of the virus. We continue meeting regularly to make decisions as facts become available and the situation changes.
    At present, Puerto Rico is in a LEVEL 1 state of alert, which means that no COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. As such, we continue practicing prevention.  The latest school updates are as follows:
    • GREASEThe Musical, will continue as scheduled.
    • The School is taking all the necessary precautions in and out of the theater to keep our community safe.
    • We strongly recommend that older members of our community and/or those with severe chronic conditions who may be attending this event take special precautions according to the guidelines established by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
    • All activities related to the Early Childhood’s Week of the Young Child will continue as scheduled, including the Fun and Fitness Day on Friday, March 13th.
    • Decisions about activities scheduled for April and May will be made in the upcoming weeks as the situation changes and more information becomes available.
    We are also adding a link on the website where you can find all of the communications the school has sent regarding the COVID-19 issue, along with answers to questions you may have, and information directly from reliable sources. Please rest assured that Saint John’s School continues to monitor the situation carefully and will keep the community informed of any new developments.
  • Update #2 - March 9, 2020

    The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is evolving quickly and we continue to stay informed regarding new developments using, among others, the following sources:
    Our Administrative team meets on a daily basis to review the situation and make changes to our practices as necessary. Our Board of Trustees is also putting together a task force comprised of health experts and school administrators to continue monitoring the situation and advise our decision-making process.
    We continue to take the steps necessary to minimize the spread of any infectious disease within our community. Please review the following:
    Personal Hygiene
    We continue reminding our students, employees, and visitors of the following:
    • Hands must be washed frequently using the proper technique. If hands cannot be washed, sanitizer should be used.
    • One should cough or sneeze into one’s elbow or into a tissue and avoid touching one’s face.
    • Greetings should be modified to avoid hand-shaking and/or kissing.
    Facilities Cleaning
    Our maintenance crew continues to follow our cleaning protocols. There is hand-sanitizer in every office and classroom and at the school entrance. Classroom surfaces, tables, and railings are cleaned with disinfectant wipes several times during the day.
    Parent and/or Guardian Support
    Parents and guardians need to continue supporting us by doing the following:
    • Avoid sending your child to school if fever and cough are present. Call a health-care facility or your pediatrician before you show up to the doctor’s office or the emergency room.
    • Inform the school immediately of any positive test results.
    • Disinfect surfaces at home, including laptops and phones.
    • Make sure your access to MYSJS on our webpage www.sjspr.org is enabled and that your cell phone number is part of your contact information. This will be the preferred way of communication should we need to close the school.
    In addition to the measures that were already in place, we have decided to take these additional precautions:
    • Off-campus lunch privileges for juniors and seniors will be suspended until further notice. Our school is located in a tourist area and we want to minimize student exposure to travelers.
    • Families who travel over spring break will be asked to disclose travel destinations. Travel forms will be available on our website in the next few days. Those who travel to areas under CDC Travel Alerts  2 and above will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return. Students will not be penalized for their absences.
    • School-sponsored trips for the remainder of the school year have been postponed.
    • Distance Learning Plan has been drafted in case the school needs to close for an extended period of time. A school closing would be determined by internal protocols and/or CDC recommendations. The plan provides a framework for how we would continue to advance student learning during an extended closure. We encourage parents to prepare by ensuring proper internet access at home. The plan can be found under Resources in MySJS.
    Please continue to use reputable sources to stay informed regarding the Coronavirus situation. If we work together to make decisions based on facts, avoid hysteria, and minimize the spread of this and other infectious diseases, we will, once again, emerge from this crisis as a stronger, more united community.
  • Update #1 - February 27, 2020

    Although there is no evidence of cases of Coronavirus in Puerto Rico, the Center for Disease Control alerts that the situation could change rapidly. As such, Saint John’s School is staying informed regarding the spread of this new virus and other infectious diseases that are prevalent during this season, such as influenza A and B, and we are closely following the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control.
    Our established protocol for minimizing the spread of infectious diseases on our campus has been active since the beginning of flu season, and includes the following precautions:
    • Encouraging students and employees to stay home when sick.
    • Reminding students to avoid sharing food and drink, with special caution in the lower grades.
    • Sending students and/or employees who develop a fever or cough while in school back home.
    • Cleaning table surfaces several times a day with disinfectant wipes.
    • Teaching proper handwashing techniques.
    • Providing hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes in every classroom, office and common space.
    • Performing routine environmental cleaning and fumigation.
    You can continue to help us keep our environment as safe as possible in light of the potential threat of Coronavirus by following these recommendations:
    • Visit a doctor for a persistent cough or fever.
    • Avoid close contact with others when sick.
    • Inform the school immediately if any positive test results become available.
    • Clean surfaces at home with disinfectant detergents, including athletic gear, phones, IPads, doorknobs and banisters.
    • Use reliable sources for current health data; we encourage you to visit the Center for Disease Control website: www.cdc.gov
    The website contains the most updated information about the virus and specific recommendations for travelers.
    If and when necessary, the School will activate additional protocols to continue keeping our community safe and inform you of any changes accordingly.
    Please see these links for factual information:  CDC Coronavirus Fact Sheet and What to do if you're sick.
    Questions or concerns should be directed to each division officethe school nurse and/or the Head of School office.

Additional Resources

Provided by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Please contact our School Nurse for any questions or concerns. Click on BIO to reach the virtual nurse's office

List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Sunny Semidei

    Sunny Semidei 

    School Nurse
    Thomas Edison State University - BSN

Saint John’s School

Saint John’s School is a non-profit, college preparatory, nonsectarian, coeducational day school founded in 1915. The school, located in a residential area of Condado, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has an enrollment of over 800 students from pre pre-kinder to grade twelve. Instruction is mostly in English with the exception of language courses.