OVS has opened its doors to all students, and those doors must stay open even on the coldest days.
As Ojai Valley School strives to stay open for in-person education, it must maintain a healthy environment for the students to have a genuine and safe high school experience. OVS headmaster, Mr. Craig Floyd stressed the importance of in-person learning. “It has been shown and proven that getting students back into school after tough situations is important for their own social and emotional wellbeing,” he said. “It’s always been a push for us to make that happen.”
When the school opened up in October as the numbers of COVID-19 cases were dropping, OVS was able to open its doors with various protocols in place. All students wore masks throughout the day while maintaining social distancing.
During the holiday season, OVS increased its testing to minimize the risk of exposure. With day and resident students going home to their families over the break, it was important thatthey tested all returning students to prevent exposure to the virus.
“We wanted to have an environment where we weren’t going to have to regularly pivot between being closed and being virtual for a while,” said Mr. Floyd.
Face to face—or mask to mask — learning is vital to fostering an enriching educational experience.
As OVS hit setbacks and milestones towards returning to normalcy, they continue to preserve the community. “I think we have done a great job,” said Mrs. Quinn, assistant to the Headmaster. “At the end of the day, it is extremely
important to feel a part of a community.” By having in-person learning, OVS has created the feeling of community. “It helps in so many other ways,” she said. “School is not just academic for me, and by opening up the campus, we are filling all of those voids.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are recommending more frequent testing. OVS has increased its testing to every two weeks, and the students on campus must report to the testing centers to ensure the safety of the community. The next testing day will be on March 1st.
Upon returning from holiday break, Mr. Floyd made the bold statement that OVS will remain open until graduation, so long as the government permits. “It’s the sense of what Ojai Valley School is,” he said. “Much like after the Thomas Fire, when I said we would open on time for the second semester, that is what we do. It is easy for anyone to just give up, but that is not who we are.”
While the school may not have all students on campus, it will continue to offer an in-person environment to those that can and will be here. As Mr. Floyd expressed, “The OVS spirit is of grit, determination, flexibility, and adaptability. This is a situation where we will keep our doors open.”