August 28, 2020

Operational Plans for Health and Wellbeing, Tritons Together (3 of 3)

We are continuing in prayer for each of you and for our return to school. Earlier today, our governor drastically changed the framework for reopening various sectors of our economy. In result, the guidelines for reopening schools also changed. Fortunately, Dr. Clayton Chau, our County Health Officer, confirmed late this afternoon that as long as Orange County continues its positive COVID-19 trends, schools can re-open for in-person instruction on Pacifica’s stated start date of September 8, 2020. Thus, our plan remains to open school in-person on September 8th using Pacifica’s Hybrid Learning Scenario.  

It seems right to recognize that this moment affects each of us in different ways. The return to learning and community for many is welcome and met with great enthusiasm and anticipation. Others are feeling varying levels of trepidation for a myriad of reasons and circumstances. And, all of us, are Tritons! Love, courage, patience, and humility, are required of each of us as we begin this new school year. 

I come to this moment with great hope. The Pacifica story, from its very beginning, is a story of brave men and women sacrificially seeking the good of young people through the means of our unique mission. Each year, we invite our students to do the same. Thinking and living well is not the easy road, and is certainly the road less traveled. Together, with scripture and Christ as our foundation and exemplar, we pursue truth, beauty, and goodness. In the midst of this pursuit we are presented with disagreements, personal challenges, and choices. To our surprise, often it is in these moments where we forge belief, find our courage, and establish lasting friendships. Tritons Together is a reminder that no matter the challenges or disagreements that may still confront us, together, this year we will – by God’s Grace – grow in belief, courage, and friendship. 

Indeed, there is so much more for our community to look forward to this year. Our team continues to amaze us all with their resourcefulness and imagination in planning for learning, student life, arts, athletics, and more. Keeping our Tritons Together amidst this season will be a community effort. Our operations for this fall will look different than past years.  Some of these temporary guidelines and policies will receive agreement while others will receive criticism. Let me be clear what my intentions are with all of these things, no matter what may come, that the Tritons are Together – in grace and truth. Mitigation of risk, while easing restrictions over time, will be needed for the foreseeable future; and will provide our community with the greatest possibility for continuity of this learning community and good health for its members. I believe in the Tritons! 

Below I provide more updates on the start of school, links to our Tritons Together microsite that outlines various policies, and a download link to the most recent version of the Tritons Together Handbook.

In order to effectively train students in an organized fashion and to implement new COVID-related policies and protocols effectively, students’ first day on-campus will be separated into two cohorts based upon color teams. Blue and Green team students will arrive on campus at 7:40am and leave or be picked up from campus at 11:20am. Red and Orange team students will arrive on campus 11:50am and leave or be picked up from campus at 3:30pm. Each cohort of students will attend an assembly and abbreviated versions of their classes during periods 1, 2, 3, and 4. 

Pacifica’s 6th Annual Dedication Service will take place on Thursday, September 3 at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. Due to physical distancing restrictions of the church, this year’s Dedication Service is limited to freshman students and their parents only. We will run two services splitting the freshman families into two groups. The first service will begin at 4:30 pm and the second at 6:00 PM and will run 45 minutes in length.

Regrettably, this year, our tradition of this service being an all-school celebration for students and their parents is not feasible, but we look forward to ushering in this new class and welcoming them into our community. Details regarding groupings and start times will be emailed to freshmen families in the coming days. 

Over the past several months, our team invested hundreds of hours exploring various learning solutions, collaborated with educators from leading schools around the country on every aspect of school operations, and incorporated best practices from schools, health agencies, and other professionals for managing this moment. The Tritons Together Handbook and Microsite outline the temporary guidelines and policies that are in place to manage the school’s operations throughout the remainder of this pandemic.

Temporary guidelines and policies can be found on the school’s COVID-19 microsite at  

We recommend that you carefully review these temporary changes in preparation for the start of school:

Temporary Changes to Operations:

Community Health & Wellness

Face Coverings While on Campus

Sickness & Positive COVID Cases

  • What to do if your child is sick or has covid-like symptoms?
  • What to do if someone in your home contracts COVID-19 but your child does not have COVID?
  • School’s response to positive case of COVID-19 within our community
  • How the school will make a decision to temporarily move to distance learning due to a Pacifica community spread of COVID-19.
  • Click here to read these guidelines & policies

This document provides an overview of the school’s temporary operations throughout the remainder of this pandemic. Policies, procedures, and guidance found within this handbook supersede policies within the student, staff, and faculty handbooks for as long as this handbook is in effect. Guidance and policies within are subject to change at any time. 
Click here to download the current version of the handbook. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time with our students this week and I look forward to the start of this new school year. 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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