August 20 - Where Does Reopening Stand?

School still does not start until September 14, yet all of us are watching as the world unfolds plans for the fall. This pandemic has been devastating all around the world and people are not in agreement as to what the right thing is to do on a daily basis. The hardest part with all of this is because this is an unprecedented event, there are no right answers and there are no wrong answers. There is a lot of predictive guesswork and emotion.

Today, a lot of our alumni went off to college out of state. While only about 30% of colleges are opening in person this year, for some of our alumni, they are still moving into dorms to experience their freshman year. Congratulations and have a great year. Other states are dealing with Covid-19 differently and only time is going to decide who was right. It is interesting how views change and how facts and statistics are deciphered and skewed to meet each state's narrative. (It is a great lesson in the news media if you want to spend some time fact checking to see how different states have decoded the same message.)

As you recall, we have a solid plan on how we plan to reopen. Our detailed plan can be found at I thought I would give everyone a recap today so you know where we are.

Encore has adopted a plan where there are four programs for the safe return to school starting on September 14. These programs are listed as "family choice." We have been calling every family individually to confirm your family choice.

  1. Independent Study - This program takes the guesswork out of this school year and places your student on permanent independent / home study school. They meet with their coordinators weekly online and have access to teachers throughout the school year live streaming.

  2. Hybrid Study - This program places your student on campus two to three days per week for either an academic or arts track. When they are not on campus during a school day, they log on at home and complete work in the same fashion as an independent study student.

  3. Traditional Study - This program places your student on campus full time as soon as California allows for students to return to school. This group will have priority based on CDC Guidelines for returning to school.

  4. COVID Study - This program places your student in real-time school, but at home. Students will log in and do all of their classes online at home in real-time with their teachers. They will be scheduled in classes and will have seats reserved for them at school on campus for when it is determined by the state and your family that it is safe to return to school.

All programs will start on September 14. There are device days scheduled starting on September 11, so check out device day registration at

In yesterday's Covid-19 briefing with Governor Newsom, there are still 39 counties in the state of California that are on the watchlist. This is a very important list to watch to be able to understand how the school will reopen on the 14th. San Bernardino county is still on this list, but San Diego County was removed from the list yesterday and San Francisco is predicted to be removed from the list today.

The Governor has placed the guideline for reopening as the county where the school resides has to be off of the state watchlist for 14 or more consecutive days before the schools can reopen under the CDC Guidelines. Encore is poised for this to happen as the cases of COVID and the hospitalizations are decreasing in California. Our administration is watching these numbers every day. This watchlist will determine the reopening of school. Should San Bernardino not meet the criteria for in person school by the 14th, we will resume classes online until San Bernardino county meets the criteria. For information regarding online classes based on your "family choice" program, please reference the Covid-19 school plans on the website.

There is good news in all of this seemingly endless Covid-19 saga. The cases are going down. According to the CDC in a message sent to me on Sunday, most people that contract Covid-19 are not hospitalized and can work through the illness safely at home. The best way to control the spread is to follow the CDC Guidelines of wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, sanitizing communal spaces frequently, and social distancing.

The even better news for us is that we have a dynamic teaching team that has been working their tails off to make sure we have a successful school year for academics and arts regardless of the situation. Virtual auditions for courses happen next week on August 27 and then team auditions will still be taking place very soon after a virtual team rush is planned and dates released next week. Virtual is not going to mean less. It is going to mean that we are rethinking everything that we do so our kids can still experience Encore, even at a distance if that is what is prescribed. Your academic programs are being developed for the new school year and it looks amazing. Your arts classes are being formalized and developed for the new school year and they also look amazing. The silver lining in all of this is that we have been able to have time to update some of our traditional traits and save our traditions in a new technology based world. This is so exciting!

We will continue to watch Governor Newsom's updates and we will update you as things change, or don't change, based on the fabric of our world today. Please share this information with fellow parents and students and please subscribe to the blog so you can have up to date information every day. You can subscribe by clicking the log in button on the margin of our homepage at

Our inservice starts on Monday of next week for our teachers. We will be starting this remotely. Our offices reopen on Tuesday and will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 am to 2 pm. You can also ask any questions that you may have by filling out the contact form on the website. Contact forms are replied to every day on weekdays (before I write the daily blog.) If you have questions that you think I should address in the blog, please ask in the Contact form. I want to do my best to make sure that you are supported and that I am responding to the questions you may have. My priority is transparent communication with parents and students.

No matter how the year starts out, we are preparing for another fantastic school year. Thank you for your ongoing support of youth arts and thank you for your ongoing support of Encore High School.

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Denise Griffin, CEO is the author of this blog for Encore Education Corporation. Part of Encore Education Corporation is Encore High School, a free public performing arts regional high school in Southern California grades 7 - 12. Encore's program is currently taking applications for the fall 2020 enrollment. Encore offers full time, hybrid time, and independent study programs. Encore offers transporation from the Inland Empire and the high desert. Where arts and academics grow together. WASC Accredited. Copyright 2020.

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