Pacific Oaks Children’s School – Updates on COVID-19 (coronavirus) Outbreak

Please visit this page regularly for the latest updates on the Pacific Oaks Children’s School’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to read the updates from the oldest to the most recent.


MARCH 13, 2020 UPDATE:

A letter to the Pacific Oaks Children’s School community from Dr. Jack Paduntin
President, Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School


Dear Pacific Oaks Children’s School Families,

From our initial communications regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have worked to balance concerns for the health of our Pacific Oaks Children’s School community with our responsibility to the wider community. After extensive consultation with health and medical experts, local school leaders and our school leadership team, Pacific Oaks Children’s School is confirming the decision to close the school temporarily from Monday, March 16, 2020 with plans to reopen on Monday, April 6.  We will continue to evaluate the situation and make decisions about reopening as we approach Spring Break.

Please note that the Saturday Infant Toddler class will be open on March 14.

Closing a school is never an easy decision to make, but as many of you have indicated, we must advance mitigation efforts. Pacific Oaks Children’s School hopes to do its part to slow the spread of the virus not just in our school, but throughout the broader community. We understand that there are a variety of concerns that arise for families as a result of this decision, and we want to support our entire community on this journey.

We are examining how to approach tuition issues moving forward, seeking to balance the needs of our community and supporting our teachers and staff, and will share our decisions on that when made. Teachers will be paid during this two-week school closure.

We will be working to help families identify resources, activities, and projects to support continued learning across this time of disruption. We are hopeful that we can partner together to support our wonderful community with creative ideas to keep our children engaged and enriched.  The teachers will have a meeting this upcoming Monday to discuss the ways they can support our community during this time.  Expect an updated email late Monday with this information.

In a recent interview in Science, Yale University sociologist and physician Nicholas Christakis observes, “Proactive school closures – closing schools before there’s a case there – have been shown to be one of the most powerful nonpharmaceutical interventions that we can deploy . . . It’s not just about keeping the kids safe. It’s keeping the whole community safe.”

Please remember, this is a proactive closure. There remains no confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Pacific Oaks community.

Medical historian Howard Markel, MD, PhD indicates that proactive measures are not an over-reaction and that “An outbreak anywhere can go everywhere…We all need to pitch in to try to prevent cases both within ourselves and in our communities…It’s called flattening the curve.”

In the meantime, the article: Talking to Kids About Coronavirus might be helpful for sharing information with your children or loved ones. Developmentally appropriate discussions with our children can help mitigate anxiety.

As you plan your activities and childcare needs, please be aware that many local attractions are closed in response to the current coronavirus outbreak:

At the time of this communication, the following attractions are open, but please continue to check their websites for updates:

We understand that you will have questions as we work together on this. Please let us know if one of your questions feel unanswered. Pacific Oaks Children’s School will be sending updates periodically.

We are grateful for you continued support, flexibility, and ability to adjust and adapt. As we face our personal inconveniences, let’s be sure to acknowledge the individuals and families whose health and livelihood are being severely compromised by this pandemic.

Please take care and stay healthy.


Dr. Jack Paduntin

MARCH 12, 2020 UPDATE:

A letter to the Pacific Oaks Children’s School community from Dr. Jack Paduntin
President, Pacific Oaks College & Children’s School

Greetings Pacific Oaks Children’s School Families,

We hope that you are well in spite of the concerning and consistently evolving news surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak.

At the time of this communication no individuals within the Pacific Oaks community (Pasadena campus, San Jose branch campus, Children’s School) have tested positive for COVID-19.

Pasadena has however confirmed the city’s first case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). It is reported that this person “has been in quarantine since the exposure occurred.” All evidence points to the fact that we will see more cases locally and nationally. Our top priority is the safety of our community so please continue to pay close attention to these communications.

As a precautionary measure and to sustain the health and well-being of our community and practice the social distancing advice given to the community, Pacific Oaks Children’s School has elected to close starting Monday, March 16, 2020 through the end of Spring Break. The School will reopen on Monday April 6, 2020.

The School will be open tomorrow Friday March 13, 2020. We understand that this temporary closure on short notice may create complications for your family, and details will need to be taken care of. While we are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused by this change, as responsible citizens and based on the current knowledge about COVID-19, we take our role in keeping our community safe very seriously. There will be another communication early tomorrow to address the many questions that may arise as a result of this message.

Practicing personal protective measures is especially critical at this time. They include but are not limited to:

We want to acknowledge the communication gap from yesterday’s update. We learned that the new email address ([email protected]) was impacted by firewalls related to a mass mailing to external email addresses. This problem doesn’t exist with emails originating from this address or from School Admin so please expect updates from these sources. We apologize for the mix-up and thank everyone who not only brought it to our attention, but forwarded it to those in the community who did not receive it.

We are lucky to have the power of a cohesive group of families and a strong school community to rely upon at times when losing perspective becomes easier and easier. Let’s be sure to provide a little extra support to our community members as we move through this. Thank you all for your kindheartedness and thoughtfulness as we navigate these developments together.

Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


Dr. Jack Paduntin



MARCH 11, 2020 UPDATE:

As many of you know, the World Health Organization has officially identified the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak a pandemic. Los Angeles and Santa Clara Counties have both seen their first deaths due to the virus and the city of Pasadena currently has approximately 50 residents under self-quarantine.

At this time, no individuals within the Pacific Oaks community (Pasadena campus, San Jose campus, Children’s School) have tested positive for COVID-19.

We take this situation very seriously at the Children’s School. In order to ensure that we are acting with diligence and deliberateness, we have convened a COVID-19 Taskforce. This group will be led by Dr. Donald Grant, our Director of Center for Community & Social Impact, who also serves on the board of Huntington Hospital here in Pasadena. The taskforce consists of representatives from the President’s Office, Human Resources, Faculty, the San Jose campus and Academic Affairs. We are also in consultation an external advisory group that include experts in HR, legal and external affairs.

This page is meant to keep you updated on what the Children’s School has done and plans to do in response to this current threat. Our decisions and strategy are being guided by: California Dept. of Public Health’s (DPH) Guidance on COVID-19 for Higher Education, CA DPH Guidance for County Offices of Ed, Pasadena & Santa Clara County Public Health Departments, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Based on the recommendations of the Public Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Association of Independent Schools, we are not yet at a place where the campus will be closed. We are aware that schools like Oakwood and Harvard Westlake have either extended their spring breaks or placed coursework online through the month of March. We are monitoring the decisions of other similar schools to help inform our processes. Pasadena Unified School District has moved into “Scenario Two” of the CA Department of Health’s guidelines. In addition to having not yet met the threshold for closure, our classes are largely outside, which is actually one of the ways identified to maintain school operations and mitigate concerns of community transmission.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Taskforce if you have any questions or concerns about operations in relation to COVID-19. You can email any questions or concerns that you might have to ([email protected]).
This web page has been set up to ensure effective and efficient two-way communication as it relates to COVID-19, this current outbreak, and our response.

The following are some of the steps that the Children’s School has taken so far:

  • Bob and LaWanda are available for daily check-ins with families on COVID-19 from 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. each morning.
  • A weekly communication plan has been developed to ensure that important information is being shared across all campuses and off-site cohort locations.
  • An email [email protected] has been set up to ensure that two-way communication is optimized.
  • Additional disinfectant supplies have been provided in each classroom and for all staff.
  • The Spring Benefit was postponed to June 6.
  • Grandparents and Special Friends Day was postponed to later date.
  • The School will all deliveries at the front gate (FedEx, UPS, etc)
  • All snacks will be provided by the School.
  • Bob has cancelled all observers and upcoming tours. No visitors at the school.
  • Hand washing reminder signs have been posted around the School.

We are finalizing a contract for deep cleaning services to be performed by a specialized vendor. The cleaning supplies used will be for children and adults. Our Human Resource Office is currently working on a plan to support the teachers and staff in an event that we have to temporarily close the Children’s School. More communication on plans and responses will continue to be shared.

Finally, are currently developing an FAQ that answers the questions many in our community have sent us. Please note that our top priority is the safety of all those who are part of our community and we are working very hard and deliberately to that end.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ([email protected].