August 27, 2020

Introduction, Tritons Together (1 of 3)

My Dearest Pacifica,

Grace and peace I send to you!

Our faculty and staff are diligently working together on our plans for our return to learning and to campus. There is so much to share with you and so much for you to learn about our operations for the fall. Rather than share all of this information within one email, we are breaking it down into three sequential emails:

  1. Introduction & consent (this email, 1 of 3)    
  2. Learning scenarios (2 of 3, Thursday, August 27)
  3. Community health and wellness, temporary changes to operations, and how we will manage COVID-19 for the foreseeable future (3 of 3, Friday, August 28)

Our plan remains to open the school on September 8 with in-person learning. We are continually monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County and throughout the state through OCHCA and CDPH. We celebrate our county’s declining numbers over the past several weeks and our removal from the State’s county watch-list. Today starts our fourth day off the list. This is wonderful news and yet our hearts mourn with those whose lives have been most affected by this disease.

Our preparation for a thoughtful and healthy return to school this fall includes preparing for full in-person instruction and other learning scenarios should they be required. We note that we may need to utilize more than one learning scenario throughout this school year. Our next email will include the various learning scenarios we have prepared for, as well as reasons why they might be employed at some point. We also developed plans that are reasonable and appropriate to do our part to stay healthy and maintain campus life as close to normal where feasible. These plans will be shared with you in our third email this Friday. Of course, these plans are subject to change depending on future developments, but what we are sharing with you we hope will allow us to keep our Tritons Together in the community we so deeply love and value. 

The high school years are some of the most formative years of a person’s intellect and faith. During this time, teenagers grow in wisdom, knowledge, creativity, and Christian faith and charity. All of this is preparation for faithful lives of contribution to the flourishing of people around the world as they work, serve, play, and worship. All for God’s glory!

It is imperative, especially in a season like this one, that we thoughtfully and intentionally educate these young people, for their good and the good of the world! As a school, this is our moral obligation to our students and society. I continue to be thankful for our team that is striving towards these ends during this unprecedented time.

In considering on-campus learning during the current and future phases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, Pacifica is continuously evaluating the risk of direct infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among our staff and students with the potential harms of prolonged school closures on our students, staff, and broader communities. We also recognize there are varying levels of susceptibility and concern across our community regarding contracting or spreading the disease. The Tritons Together Handbook (to be shared in our 3rd email) outlines our mitigation efforts regarding: 1) the potential risk of a community spread of COVID-19 and 2) exposure of the virus to those who may be most susceptible. 

The Tritons Together Handbook that we will publish on Friday provides you with an overview of the school’s temporary operations throughout the remainder of this pandemic. Policies, procedures, and guidance found within it supersede policies within the student, staff, and faculty handbooks for as long as this handbook is in effect. 

We acknowledge the existence of numerous guiding documents from jurisdictions in our local community, state, country, and around the world. Much of that guidance informed the creation of Pacifica’s plans for the fall. Additional guidance will continue to be published as we learn more about the nature and treatment of COVID-19 throughout the school year. We acknowledge that difficulties will arise over disputes regarding which policy or behavior is right and best. The school reserves the right to modify policies and procedures at any time to best meet the needs of this community and align with our growing understanding of the virus.


It must also be recognized that it is not possible to remove all risk of infection and disease now that SARS-CoV-2 is well established in our county, state, and nation. Mitigation of risk, while easing restrictions over time, will be needed for the foreseeable future.

For this reason, all families are required to sign Pacifica’s SY20/21 Return to Campus Consent Form prior to the start of classes. Once you finish your review of the information we share with you this week, you can sign the form within MyPacifica by clicking here.

I continue to thank you for your patience and trust throughout these incredibly challenging past few months. There may likely be more challenges ahead of us, but together the Tritonscan weather those storms too, providing a beacon amid troubled waters. Let us remain together, steadfast in prayer for one another, for the decline of this virus, and for God’s love and peace to be with us.  

Tritons Together, in love and prayers,

David O’Neil
Head of School

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