As we continue to navigate through these difficult times for our families and our country, we thank God for the opportunity to interact with our students on a daily basis. We will continue our vigilance in all of the safety protocols to keep our community as safe as possible. I diligently attend the weekly county health Zoom meetings to stay up-to-date on all of the latest recommendations and mandates as well as staying informed regarding the availability of the vaccine for our faculty, staff and students. I will share this information as it becomes available. As of today, phase 1A of the vaccine is being administered. Our faculty and staff are considered to be essential workers. Therefore, we will be included in phase 1B. There has not been any information regarding a timeline yet. I will keep you posted. Please note that the quarantine for out-of-state travel remains in effect. If you choose to travel out of California over this long weekend, you are required to self-quarantine for 10 days before returning to school on the eleventh day. A negative COVID test does not change your length of quarantine. I thank you for cooperating with us to keep our entire community safe and healthy. Enjoy your long weekend (Friday, January 15-Monday, January 18). We will see you all back on Tuesday.
Happy New Year and welcome back to school! As we proceed forward with “re-entry” into our daily routines, we appreciate your patience, cooperation and support. These first couple of weeks back to school requires consistency and follow-through by teachers, students and parents. Our first two days have gone well and have set the stage for a continued smooth transition into the remainder of our school year. Thank you to our entire SMA community!
To keep us all up-to-date on the current status of COVID mandates, recommendations and policies set forth by our state and local health officials, I attend a weekly Zoom meeting with representatives from the San Diego County Health and Human Services Department. Yesterday’s meeting confirmed that a 10-day quarantine for anyone traveling out-of-state remains in effect until further notice. Therefore, we will continue to support these guidelines as we move forward and continue on with our school year. Vaccination availability for our teachers and staff was also discussed at the meeting. School teachers and employees are considered to be “essential workers”. Therefore, vaccines will be made available to us in the 1B section of vaccine distributions. As of today, no specific date for distribution has been determined.
Please join myself and our entire SMA faculty and staff by welcoming Ms. Megan Hughes to our SMA family as our 8th grade homeroom/ religion teacher and middle school science teacher. We look forward to a great second half of our school year! She has already commented to me on how “nice” our students are…way to go SMA!
In closing, I would like to share with our families that as Catholic Schools Week approaches (January 31- February 5) please be aware that the events we have come to know and love as tradition, such as Catholic Schools Sunday Mass/Open House and Grandparents’ Day will look very different. We are working together to brainstorm creative ways to celebrate these days, understanding that celebrating together in person will not be possible this year. Please continue to watch for updates in our weekly newsletters.
Christmas is in the air! Fun and joyfulness are alive and well at SMA! Christmas clothes, Christmas program recording, and pajama day on Friday! We are so blessed that our students are on campus and that we can all celebrate this wonderful time of year. The promise fulfilled by the birth of the Savior in a manger is reason to pause and take time to thank God for all He has given to us. We must also spread this joy through our daily actions this Christmas season and throughout the entire year. Small acts of kindness go a long way. Many thanks for your generosity with our Christmas “Angel/Giving Tree” outreach project. We collected $1,000 in cash and grocery gift cards for Fr. Joe’s Village and $800 in cash and grocery gift cards for Doors For Change. Thank you for helping to make it a brighter Christmas for those who are less fortunate than ourselves.
Amid all of this joy, I unfortunately, must share the news that Mrs. Jones, our 8th grade homeroom/Middle School Science teacher will be moving to Colorado over the Christmas break. She will be missed terribly. Her caring attitude and love for her students and for teaching has been such a gift to SMA. We wish her well on this new venture. Upon our return on January 5, we will welcome Miss Megan Hughes to SMA as our new teacher. She comes to us with the highest of recommendations from her experience at Valhalla High School. Miss Hughes is a graduate of San Diego State University and Point Loma Nazarene University. She has earned multiple subject credentials in General and Bio/Life Sciences with relevant coursework in Physics, Biology and Kinesiology. Miss Hughes has also expressed interest in beginning an after school cross country team. I am confident that she will be a wonderful addition to our SMA family. Please join me in a grateful farewell to our Mrs. Jones and a warm welcome to Miss Hughes.
Thank you, in advance, to those families that will travel out of state over the Christmas break. We ask you to follow the state and county guidelines and quarantine for 10 days prior to returning to school.
In closing, on behalf of the entire faculty and staff of Stella Maris Academy, I would like to wish you and your families a joyful and blessed Christmas. May 2021 bring us health and restore peace to our country.
Give a “taste” of hope and holiday cheer to those in need this Christmas. Father Joe’s Villages is asking the faith community of Mary, Star of the Sea and Stella Maris Academy to donate gift cards or cash for the purchase of turkeys and hams to be served at their annual Christmas holiday meal to homeless neighbors in need. The tradition of Father Joe’s Villages serving a Christmas meal provides the blessings and nutrition of the season to those who would otherwise go without. Bring the joy and true meaning of Christmas with a donation of a turkey or ham to Father Joe’s Villages.
What a wonderful time of the year! I pray that we can all see through the stress and uncertainty of these times and be thankful for the ultimate gift of the Son of God that we have been blessed with. We should rejoice in the good health of our school and parish communities and continued good health of our families. Nothing can take the joy of the Christmas season away from us! So worship…decorate…bake…hug your children…and let your faith in the child Jesus handle the rest!
Please note that we have included public health recommendations for the Christmas break below this message. We are asking, as we did at Thanksgiving, that any families that travel out of state follow a 10-day quarantine before returning to school. Additionally, if you celebrate with family members that exhibit any cold or flu type symptoms over the holiday, we encourage you to get a Covid test before returning to school. I want to thank our families that were responsible over the Thanksgiving break by self-quarantining before returning to school. We are blessed to be on campus and much of this is due to all of us working together with the understanding that our personal actions can affect the entire school community.
Please feel free to follow additional links embedded in the public health documents below for further information.
In place of my weekly message, I would like to share this letter from the San Diego County Office of Education regarding the upcoming holidays.
As we approach the holiday season, many families may be planning to travel or get together with friends or relatives outside of their immediate family. We understand how important these connections and activities are during the holidays. As you make your plans, please keep in mind that following all relevant county, state, and national guidelines relating to gatherings and travel can help prevent you and your loved ones from getting sick. This means that it’s important to wear a mask, wash your hands, and practice physical distancing wherever you go, and stay home if you’re feeling sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together a list of considerations to help protect individuals and their families, friends, and communities from COVID-19 around the holidays. These include knowing the community levels of COVID-19 in the community where you’re gathering as well as where attendees are coming from; the location of the gathering; and the behaviors of those gathering. A full list of things to consider is available on the CDC website.
San Diego County is following the California Department of Public Health requirements for gatherings. At this time, gatherings should be limited to no more than three households and should be held outdoors. All attendees should follow the standard hygiene protocols noted above. Public health officials are also encouraging all individuals to avoid unnecessary travel, especially if you or someone in your family is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. If you plan to travel, please review the CDC’s travel considerations before you go. Upon returning from travel, the CDC recommends individuals maintain physical distancing, wear a mask while in public, wash their hands, and monitor their health for symptoms of COVID-19. If you return from any high-risk areas and believe you or a family member may have come in contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive, please contact your health care provider and/or get tested.
We know this time of year may be difficult for many families. We hope that you are able to celebrate and spend time with loved ones safely and responsibly. Thank you for your continued cooperation and support.
We made it through our first and hopefully last “Pandemic Halloween”! Many thanks to the families that had the time to stop by my home Halloween night. What fun it was to see the children and to visit with parents outside of school. This may become a new SMA tradition! Now on to the holiday season. Please be watching for information coming from your room parents or classroom teacher regarding items we will be collecting for our annual Thanksgiving Basket donations. School, parish and additional struggling families will be the recipients of your generosity. Looking forward to our Christmas outreach…we will be sharing with those less fortunate via a “Gift-Giving Tree”. Additional information will be coming in the next couple of weeks. Many thanks to the PTO board, the room parents and the classroom teachers for their support of these opportunities for stewardship and outreach to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.
Additional thanks to all of the parents and students for your amazing efforts on this year’s saint costumes. The parade was great with lots of parent spectators.
In closing, I would like to extend appreciation to Mrs. Pina, Mrs. Sanchez, and Dr. Amador for all of their work on the beautiful Dia de los Muertos Ofrenda, located in the junior yard. Please be sure to take a peek…you don’t want to miss this! Is this an amazing school or what? We are so blessed!
It is hard to believe that October is drawing to an end and the holiday season is quickly approaching. We look forward to celebrating with our students and families over the upcoming weeks. It will look a bit different, but, nonetheless, it will be joyful and heartfelt. We began our celebrations with our Halloween fun today. The students and teachers looked festive and spirits were high! We are excited about Friday’s annual “Saints Parade”. Get those saints costumes ready! TK-5th grades will begin their parade at approximately 10:40. They will walk around the block, beginning in front of the junior yard. 3rd-5th graders will complete their parade at the church where they will join Fr. Pat to celebrate Mass. 6th -8th graders will participate in their parade at a separate time to allow for social distancing. The middle school teachers will communicate the time to these families. Let’s share the importance of living our lives as God wants us to by this simple act of evangelizing to our local community.
What a joyful week it has been to welcome our students, teachers and staff back on campus! God is Good!!!
Many thanks to those of you that attended our “Coffee with the Principal” Zoom meeting last night. During these uncertain times, communication, compassion and the spirit of working together is more important than ever before. I remain vigilant in keeping your children and our staff safe as we continue on this ever-changing journey of implementing safety protocols, providing rigorous academic opportunities and modeling our Catholic values. I encourage you to continue to reach out to me with concerns, recommendations and affirmations of how we are doing. I will definitely pass any kind words on to our teachers. Please know that a kind word goes a very long way. Our teachers put in countless hours and we all realize the stress our school families are experiencing as well. Relying on our faith in God and the support of one another, will get us through this and we will be stronger for it! A million thanks for your continued patience and support!