SAFE RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN
Dear St. Edward Parents, Guardians, Faculty, Staff and Students,
In these times, the only certainty seems to be uncertainty. With that in mind, our goal is to provide the best educational experience possible for our students while adhering to the guidelines set forth by federal, state, and local government organizations. While we understand that global consensus is rare, our hope is that the information provided in the Safe Return to School Plan will begin to clarify how we will provide the best possible educational experience during the 2020-2021 school year.
So, how best do as we approach the question of returning to in-school learning this fall?
As a secondary school that is accredited by the State of Ohio, we must adhere to the Governor’s guidelines as expressed by the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Education. We have reviewed the guidelines put out by the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. We have had conversations with leaders at The Cleveland Clinic. We continue to study and monitor developments across the country and across the world relative to schools reopening. We also understand that not everything is necessarily known about COVID-19. Conditions have changed throughout these past four-plus months and will likely continue to change as we go forward. Our planning is our best judgment at this point in time guided by the best available science at this time. Therefore, we are thinking of reopening as broad phases, knowing we must continue to be nimble and adjust as we navigate this road.
To that end, here are some guidelines.
As a Catholic, Holy Cross school our mission is unique - to transform the lives of young men through their holistic development in four key areas: Faith Formation; Excellence, Relationships and Servant Leadership. This development of the whole person within the charism of Holy Cross and the community of St. Edward is our charge. To that end, we want to:
Carry out our mission to transform the lives of the young men entrusted to our care
Keep our students, faculty, staff and their families safe
Return to as normal a schedule as possible
In short, our plan is to begin in-person classes for the 2020-2021 school year on September 16. The school day will operate from 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Required student orientations will begin on September 9. The attached plan will outline factors that went into this decision and provide more detail for our course of action.
Some overall considerations:
We cannot eliminate risk; we can only mitigate it. While we are encouraged by recent developments in the search for a vaccine and an improvement in treatment protocols, the best vaccines for the annual flu are approximately 50-percent effective. Expert science says that while no one course of action can eliminate risk, a combination of interventions is the best approach to mitigating the risk as best we can.
Our daily schedule has great efficiency and flexibility. With some adjustments to the daily schedule, we can start on September 16 and have more instructional hours per class this year than in our traditional schedule because of the reduction of community period time and the addition of one more academic period per day. Given we will not sacrifice any class time, a delayed start will give our state more
time to flatten the curve and keep our faculty, staff and students safer, as well as give us extra time to fully implement the mitigation practices and transformation of the building that are required.
Following an extended period of remote learning last school year, all students will need a re-acclimatization and review period in order to take full advantage of this academic year. The additional instructional time will be helpful to both students and teachers, as it maximizes student learning and the ability to fill gaps from the remote learning period last year.
The summer planning has included some wonderfully innovative thinking, including the creation of a course on how to teach teachers to deliver a seamless online/in-person curriculum. Delaying our start will enable teachers to move forward in developing the strategies for their classes that will enhance previous teaching and ensure a manageable transition should we be required to return to online learning at any point during the year. Our style of teaching, commitment to innovation, and the dedication and professionalism of our great faculty has driven our past
successes and will be the key to continued successes.
Our school size is actually a positive versus some other schools as we have fewer students to manage. Fortunately, in the past two years, we have added more than 32,000 square feet to our campus which will help us keep our students distanced as much as possible.
The Safe Return to School Plan will explain the road ahead in much more detail. Obviously, we cannot cover every aspect and contingency in a few pages and realize this plan will raise more questions. The extra time will give us the best opportunity to develop the plan in the most detail and answer the questions this introduction will generate.
Again, we feel comfortable that this plan will provide good guidance and keep us as safe as possible while living our mission this fall.
Our St. Ed’s family continues to be in our prayers daily.
Jim Kubacki, President and KC McKenna, Principal