Letter to Parents and Guardians ~ June 25, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Today the state issued its initial guidelines regarding a return to school in the fall. The document provides adjusted guidance to the staff in planning for the upcoming year. Staff has already spent time discussing and planning for alternative plans outlined in these guidelines- with a specific focus on getting
as many students as possible back to school safely in the fall. We met Monday-Wednesday last week to plan for the safe return of students on Sept. 1st, and the return of education on-site at SPXS. Utilizing current non-class spaces for classrooms, we devised scenarios where we can accommodate all grades in
existing school spaces. We also discussed additional changes that will be required for example, revamping the schedule, and addressing the social-emotional needs of students. We are very much aware that children returning to school may have issues or concerns that we have not seen previously. We are so fortunate to have Kate Martin, our Guidance Counselor to assist students and teachers in this area. She continued to reach out and assist students and parents during our quarantine period and was a tremendous asset!
Teachers also spent time last week discussing Distance Learning, focusing both on what worked and what requires fine-tuning. Much as we do not want to, we are very aware that transitioning back to this type of instruction and learning at some point seems inevitable. Proper preparation to smoothly slip
from classroom teaching to remote teaching is necessary. We are looking at age-appropriate platforms, flipping classrooms, implementing technology for live streaming, scheduling options, and other factors we defined that needed addressing. In addition to the planning we’ve done for the options outlined we
have submitted our order for PPE’s to the diocese, and they align with the state requirements. Our nursing office has already been evaluated for dealing with COVID-19 affected students or staff. I am grateful to the diocese for their ongoing efforts to assist the Catholic schools of the diocese in these
The guidelines released today can be found on the school website under the Parent tab. The guidelines for return are optimistic and are workable, though SPXS might look and function somewhat differently in the upcoming year. Yet, this past year showed that we can definitely adapt, as we have done since
March 13th. The community of SPXS, which continued to thrive from a distance, will return this fall, and return safely!
Stay safe, healthy, and happy. God bless!
DESE Initial Fall Reopening Guidelines ~ June 25, 2020
Excerpt from Notes from the Office ~ June 10, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students,
Well, we have made it to the last week of school during a most-unusual year. Fortunately, within the past week, the state is beginning to outline recommendations for schools in the fall, with optimism in these guidelines. Back in May, I outlined three possible school scenarios for the upcoming year. These were:
1. Return to school With necessary modifications for the safety and health of all
2. Continued distance learning. This model requires additional pre-planning for staff, and the understanding it might need to be implemented at some point during the year once again
3. A combination of 1 and 2- referred to as hybrid learning, with some students at school on certain days, working from home others.
Currently, it appears that the state, which will set the guidelines for all schools- public, charter, private- is at least leaning towards students returning to school, with modifications. The state will rely on health guidelines to develop these policies.
Whatever we do specifically, will be guided by MDPH, state and diocesan guidelines, and will reflect what other schools are doing. A diocesan group has been planning for the 2020-2021 school year for several weeks now. I am a member of this committee, and our goal is to be prepared for any of the
three scenarios above. We all certainly hope and pray that we return to school September 1st. In the event we can all return, everyone, every day, we will follow
required guidelines for health and safety. However, we need to be prepared if that cannot happen. Within the diocesan committee and the school, we have particularly spent time discussing #3 as planning for a hybrid model is the most challenging. This model would require implementation if class sizes are limited.
The model the diocese has formulated is a version that keeps as many of the students in the building as possible, with limited students at home part of the time. How that will look at each school might vary slightly. In one setting, Grades 5-8 might have some students in school some days, with others learning from home. At SPXS, the model we are currently looking at is to keep PreK-Gr. 6 on campus all day. With current classroom size guidelines, this will require utilizing space that is not typically classroom space.
Seventh and eighth grade would become hybrid learners with some days on-campus each week, and some days at-home. We are investigating live-streaming from classrooms so that students at home are actually part of the class, learning. This hybrid model is not necessarily a year-long model, but one to be used until we can all return. If distance learning were necessary, we would incorporate live streaming as much as possible as the preferable option for teaching and learning.
At this point, no plan is set in stone, changes will evolve week-to-week as the state continues to monitor the metrics it is utilizing to track COVID-19.