Update #2 from Merdinian’s Safe Reopening Taskforce


Dear Merdinian Families, 

We hope this memo finds you and your families in good health. Please accept our sincere gratitude for your patience, as we critically assess and strategize all the components necessary to open Merdinian School for the 2020-21 academic year.

As you know, our Reopening Taskforce has been examining every guideline and contemplating every possible option presented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Los Angeles County, and the State of California public health agencies.

We have assembled the basic tenets of our safe reopening guidelines and reaffirm that our primary goal is to secure the safety of our students, staff, and families while providing a traditional school experience, as much as possible.

With that said, we invite you to participate in a virtual Town Hall On Wednesday, July 22nd at 7:00 p.m. Further details will be shared soon. 

As of now, our plan is to reopen the school and invite our students back on campus for in-person instruction, starting on August 20th. As you know, the COVID-19 situation is extremely fluid and new guidelines can force us to alter our course. We will notify you if necessary and keep you updated on our plans to safely reopen Merdinian. 

Below you will find the preliminary guidelines that we will likely follow.

These guidelines are based on the current state of the pandemic, as well as current operating rules from the State of California. We will revise the guidelines to accommodate any changes to the aforementioned, as necessary.

Safe Reopening Tentative Guidelines During COVID-19

Class Size & Physical Distancing:

  • The school will be divided into zones, for the primary purpose of creating spaces where students will be assigned for learning purposes
  • In their assigned classroom, students will be allotted the recommended safe distance from each other.
  • Students will receive instruction in the same room.  
  • During all activities, efforts will be made to abide by social distancing recommendations.

Arrival Procedures:

  • There will be at least 2-3 designated drop-off areas to allow for the implementation of required health screenings and to avoid overcrowding.
  • Upon arrival, all students and staff are required to wear masks at all times. 
  • Students’ temperatures will be taken and recorded, upon arrival. Anyone with a temperature at or above 100.4 will not be allowed to enter the campus.
  • Parents or caretakers will not be allowed to enter the campus. (Parents of Preschool students will be advised with separate instruction.)

Departure Procedures:

  • Upon parent arrival, children will be escorted to the designated pick up areas.
  • Parents will sign out their child from outside of the building using the aforementioned predetermined system

Daily Activities and Hours:

  • The school’s hours of operation will remain the same. In order to allow staff ample time to adhere to CDC safety and disinfection guidelines, there will be no after school care at this time.
  • Classroom environments and student activities will be reconfigured and reimagined in a creative and child-friendly manner, in compliance with CDC guidelines.
  • Individually served lunches will be provided to students in their designated classroom

Hygiene and Sick Child Policy:

  • Any adult exhibiting signs of flu and/or COVID-19 symptoms will be required to leave the premises immediately and follow CDC guidelines for a safe return to school.
  • If a student exhibits signs of flu and/or COVID-19 symptoms, parents will be notified immediately and will be required to pick up the student. The student will be isolated in a designated room/area, with a staff member, until they are picked up. 
  • The student will be expected to follow CDC guidelines for a safe return to school.
  • Students and staff will be required to adhere to CDC hand washing policies.
  • All teachers and adults will be required to wear face coverings at all times.
  • Students must wear face coverings

As noted above, these preliminary guidelines are subject to change, to meet evolving policies and regulatory recommendations. Upon approval from the Merdinian Board of Directors, a final version of the guidelines and a waiver will be provided to parents for signatory agreement.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We will remain in communication with you in the coming days and weeks. Together, we will overcome the unique challenges this year has presented. Your children, our students, are our number one priority. Now, more than ever, Merdinian School needs your support and partnership in meeting the above guidelines.

To fulfill all these requirements, the school will be required to augment its fiscal budget by making physical changes to the facility, hiring additional staff, and allocating additional funds for specific health and safety equipment and cleaning supplies. A COVID Health and Safety fee will be charged to each student.

We look forward to meeting with you at the upcoming Town Hall and to welcoming our precious children back to school in August.

Merdinian Reopening Taskforce

Commencement Exercises Held at Merdinian School Despite COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and current public safety measures, the C. & E. Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School in Sherman Oaks, CA held its graduation ceremonies in the School’s parking lot, on Sunday, June 14, 2020. Beginning at 9:30 am, the School had three separate ceremonies.

At the Kindergarten Graduation, Principal Lina Arslanian pointed out in her remarks that due to the situation created by COVID-19, the School faced an urgent and unprecedented situation. In a matter of a few days, the School administration, and the teaching staff, in cooperation with the parents, managed to switch to distance learning and complete the school year. Following her speech, Mrs. Arslanian invited the Kindergarten graduates and their parents to approach the stage while staying in their cars to receive their diplomas and gifts.

Following the Kindergarten “drive through” graduation ceremony, the Elementary School graduates and their parents entered the School’s parking lot in their cars and parked. Hovhannes Benneian, the student with the highest average grade in the class, read his message in Armenian, and Adriana Arakelian, the student with the second highest average grade, read her message in English. Graduating students were then called to the stage one by one to receive their diplomas and gifts and be photographed in front of a special poster.

Finally, the eighth-grade students entered the School’s parking lot in their parents’ cars and parked near the stage area. Following the social distancing rules, each graduating student got out of their parents’ car and stood in front of the stage.

Julia Ayrapetyan

Julia Ayrapetyan, who had the second highest average grade in class, read her salutatorian message in English. She noted that she had only attended Merdinian this year, yet she was thankful to everyone for how well she was received. She added that she had gained so much knowledge in that short period of time, which will serve as a foundation for her future education, and for countless pleasant moments that will never be forgotten.

Nayiri Karadjian and Alexa Buchakian, who had scored the highest average grade in the class, read their valedictorian messages. Nairi in her Armenian message confirmed that Merdinian was not only a school but also a home that helped her grow and develop, sowing the seeds of success. In her English valedictorian message, Alexa mentioned the words of Winnie the Pooh, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard,” and added that, that something was Merdinian for her. She had spent eleven years in a place where she felt safe and secure. “My days at this wonderful school are unforgettable. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, and I am grateful to my teachers who inspired me and have always been by my side,” she said.

Hovsep Ayvazyan

Hovsep Ayvazyan, who scored the third highest average grade in the class, on behalf of his classmates handed Mrs. Arslanian a beautiful framed collage of the graduating class pictures to be displayed next to the previous years’ class photo collage.

The ceremony ended with a prayer offered by Lena Ekmekjian, Head of Merdinian’s Religion Department.

Merdinian has completed an unusual school year and the Class of 2020 will always remember that they are the graduates of an extraordinary year. Congratulations and bon voyage to the graduates!

Established in 1982, the C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School is the only Armenian Evangelical School in the United States. The School offers a broad-based curriculum that fosters academic excellence, high moral values, and spiritual enrichment in the Armenian Evangelical tradition. The School strives to create a safe and nurturing environment where every student receives personal attention to become a successful and responsible individual. For more information, you may contact Principal Arslanian at 818.907.8149.

(Adapted by Louisa Janbazian from an Armenian article)

Update from Merdinian’s Safe Reopening Taskforce

Dear Merdinian Family,

A few weeks ago, the Merdinian Board of Directors established the Safe Reopening Taskforce to study, analyze, and recommend the next steps for safely reopening Merdinian. The Taskforce is made up of members of the board and includes representatives from the administration and parents.

After several meetings and a review of the results of a survey that was sent out to parents, teachers, and prospective families, the Safe Reopening Taskforce recommended to the Merdinian Board of Directors to safely reopen the school in Fall 2020 academic year. The Taskforce also made the recommendation to cancel summer programs this year. We want to thank you for taking the time and participating in the survey. The feedback you provided was essential in our decision-making process.

While our current plan is to resume in-person instruction in August, this decision was made in consideration of the facts as we know them today and may evolve with changing public health orders and guidance that will be in place at the start of the school year.

In the coming weeks and months, the Taskforce will continue to research, strategize, and seek industry guidance to develop a detailed plan to reopen Merdinian by prioritizing the health and safety of the Merdinian community and its commitment to the student and teacher school experience, while appropriately mitigating the risks presented by COVID-19.

The Merdinian safe reopening plan will follow all Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines to ensure the well being of our entire community.

Thank you for your support, patience, and commitment to Merdinian. We look forward to seeing you on campus in the Fall!

C&E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School Board of Directors

Merdinian School at United Armenian Congregational Church, Los Angeles, Sunday, October 27, 2019.

Merdinian was UACC’s Mission of the Month for October.

Our dynamic Principal Lina Arslanian had a powerful presentation about the School and its mission — the only Armenian Evangelical School in the United States, established in 1982 by the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Evangelical Union of North America and UACC with the support of the other local Armenian Evangelical Churches. After the Principal’s presentation a short video was presented about the School followed by two recitations by Peter and Sarah who are members of UACC and current students of Merdinian School.

Thank you Rev. Ron and UACC for your continued support and for giving us this opportunity to present and share with all of you.

Watch the video of our presentation at UACC.

Our Athletic Director and Head Coach, Zorik Isajane Named Armenia’s U16 Boys Basketball Head Coach

On September 19, 2019, the Basketball Federation of Armenia announced Zorik Isajane as the new head coach of Armenia’s U16 boys basketball team to compete in FIBA Europe in July 2020. Since 2015, Isajane has served as the athletic director and head coach of the Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School in Sherman Oaks, California. Previously, he served in the same capacity at the Tekeyan Arshag Dickranian School in Hollywood.  He was the head coach of Raffi in Iran from 2007-2009. After relocating to Los Angeles from Tehran, Isajane was an assistant coach at Glendale College from 2011-2015.

Isajane competed throughout FIBA Asia as a member of the Iranian national basketball team and also played professional basketball in Iran. His playing career included leading Tehran to a silver medal in men’s basketball at the first Pan Armenian Games in Yerevan, Armenia in 1999. Isajane also served as the top assistant coach of the gold medal winning Los Angeles men’s (2011) and women’s (2015) basketball teams in the Pan Armenian Games.

Joining Isajane on the staff are Sevag Ketenjian of Lebanon and Sargis Stepanyan of Armenia. The team will be comprised of players from Armenia and the diaspora born in the year 2004 or later. FIBA Europe will announce the site of the upcoming tournament in Europe in the next few months.

Article from Mirror-Spectator

C&M Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School Opens its Doors for the 2019-20 Academic Year

By Louisa Janbazian

It’s another new School Year. Teachers, students, and parents, after a two-month break, have enthusiastically returned to their daily lives and challenges at Merdinian School. For the 38th year, by the grace of God, the School opened its doors to Armenian children and embraced them with the promise of a safe environment, where the students will grow up and develop in spirit and mind.

On Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 8:00 am, Merdinian School welcomed 36 full time faculty members and 230 students, who were ready to start the new academic year with renewed energy, goals, and opportunities. As the “First Bell” rang, students, faculty, parents, and Board members gathered at the Aram and Anahis D. Boolghoorjian Hall for the Opening Ceremony of the current school year. The program started with National anthems led by music teacher Alice Der Kevorkian, followed by the recitation of Psalm 121 by three 6th grade students led by Religion Department Chair Lena Ekmekjian.

Rev. Serop Megerditchian, Merdinian School Board member and Senior Pastor of the Armenian Cilicia Evangelical Church of Pasadena, CA addressed the students, parents, and the teachers with the Bible verse “Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52), and emphasized that “Merdinian’s students are called upon to develop and grow not only physically, but also in academics, education, wisdom as well as Christian and Armenian heritage. As such, when they successfully complete their schooling, they will be able to find favor from God and from men.”

Board Vice Chair Rita Meneshian addressed the students, faculty, and parents on behalf of the School Board, and thanked the parents for entrusting their children’s education to Merdinian School.

In her remarks, School Principal Lina Arslanian gladly announced the increase in student numbers and made a quick overview of the summer camp activities as well as current and new programs to be implemented in the coming school year, such as the revamping of the technology curriculum and the new Technology Lab equipped with new computers, 3D printers (which were gifts from departing 8th grade students), a Robotics table, and Chromebooks to be used by the 5th-8th grade students in their classrooms and at home.

After introducing the teaching staff and their responsibilities for the 2019-20 academic year, Mrs. Arslanian concluded her remarks and said “We continue to find new ways to live our mission, educate our students, and pursue excellence. Together we are transforming teaching and learning.”

The Opening Ceremony ended with the singing of the Lord’s Prayer “Hayr Mehr” and Benediction offered by Rev. Megerditchian.

The Merdinian Preschool held its Opening Ceremony on Monday, August 19, 2019. Mrs. Arslanian welcomed the students and expressed her enthusiasm over the expansion of the Preschool to accommodate 74 preschool students. She thanked the Preschool Director Marijan Kevorkian for her input and valuable leadership and wished the preschool faculty the best for a productive and successful year. Mrs. Kevorkian, in her turn, welcomed all parents assuring them that their children at Merdinian Preshool will enjoy loving care in a nurturing environment. The parents then visited the classrooms for an orientation session with their children’s teachers.

Established in 1982 by the Armenian Missionary Association of America and the Armenian Evangelical Union of North America, Merdinian School, located in Sherman Oaks, CA, is the only Armenian Evangelical School in the United States. The School offers a broad-based curriculum that fosters academic excellence, high moral values, and spiritual enrichment in the Armenian Evangelical tradition. Merdinian strives to create a safe and nurturing environment where every student receives personal attention to become a successful and responsible individual. For more information, you may contact the School directly at 818.907.8149.

Merdinian School Announces Expansion of Preschool

In an effort to address a long student waiting list, C & E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School has expanded its preschool capacity once more, five years after the initial increase in 2014 from 36 to 57 students. We are pleased to announce that currently, the school will be able to accommodate 74 preschool students. A new classroom has been opened to accommodate the additional students.

Our preschool is licensed by the State of California to serve the needs of children ages 3 to 5 years. The objective of the preschool program is to provide an age and developmentally appropriate curriculum combined with Christian, Armenian, and American education to enhance the growth of the child as an individual. Creative activities are incorporated daily to teach children skills needed to move to the next developmental stage. Experimentation, exploration, and discovery are encouraged. Our experienced teachers help children learn in a caring, warm, loving, and nurturing environment.

God has blessed our efforts with a thriving Merdinian School and a highly qualified and dedicated faculty, staff, and Board of Directors. We pray for God’s continued blessings and our community’s ongoing full support.

Established in 1982, Merdinian is the only Armenian Evangelical School in the United States. The school offers a broad-based curriculum that fosters academic excellence, high moral values, and spiritual enrichment in the Armenian Evangelical tradition. Merdinian strives to create a safe and nurturing environment where every student receives personal attention to become a successful and responsible individual.

Article from Asbarez