Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information

April 3, 2020

Latest message from our Head of School regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Coronavirus Update #11
Dear Saint John’s School Community:
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.
Many blessings,
Lorraine Lago
Head of School

List of 10 items.

  • 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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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

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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.