I want to first wish everyone a Happy New Year as we leave 2020 behind and look to 2021 with hope and determination to experience a greater sense of normality in the coming months.
I begin by reminding everyone of the messaging sent out back on December 18. If you haven't read that communication, please do so for context.
In assessing student and faculty survey results, there are modifications to be made to our hybrid learning environment. COVID has made teaching and learning very difficult, but students who have opted into hybrid believe that being on campus makes a positive difference to their learning experience. By the end of the semester, however, the success of the program was made more difficult due to the variation in attendance numbers.
As a result, for spring semester, you received a survey asking your family to commit to being in our virtual or hybrid environment for an extended period of time. This is a reminder to please complete that survey by Friday, January 8 at midnight so that we have accurate numbers to use for planning purposes.
Accurate numbers will allow us to focus on aspects of our hybrid learning that we can improve. In order to provide adequate time to revise spring semester, we will spend the week of January 11-15 in our distance learning environment. Other factors that influenced this decision include:
There may be the opportunity to have students on campus more than the two days per week. To realistically consider this possibility we need clear numbers on how many students intend to participate in hybrid at the beginning of spring semester (our student survey from December showed 354 students wanted to return with 197 undecided and over 20% not responding), Beginning in distance learning will give us the time to consider the logistics of this possibility.
- Today and tomorrow, we have created professional development time for teachers to create more efficacious teaching and learning in our hybrid environment. Distance learning will provide time for our teachers to implement new strategies to create the most effective environment possible.
- Teachers and students working in a single platform at the beginning of the semester will provide the opportunity for clear expectations and community building in classes without a split focus and to provide an equitable start to the semester for all students.
Please understand this is only a one-week shift. Our return to the hybrid learning model starts on Tuesday, January 19 after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.
We will message next week about cohort groupings and introduce any additional changes once all surveys are completed, and we know exactly how many students to expect on campus for hybrid learning.
We’ve organized another On-Campus COVID Test on Wednesday, January 13. Our expectation is that all students who will be returning to campus will be tested on January 13 at Carondelet, to begin with the assurance that there are no positive COVID cases on campus. We will continue to follow all protocols that were successfully implemented last semester resulting in zero on-campus spread of the virus.
As you can imagine, reopening Carondelet last semester was no small feat, and our continuing goal is to remain open and accommodate as many students on campus as possible. To do this well we need to make modifications and based on numbers, we may be able to offer even more on-campus learning, but we need time to work through the possibilities and logistics to make certain our students and teachers have the best opportunity for success.
Thank you for your cooperation with our leadership, faculty, and staff as we navigate our environment to ensure your student’s learning experience is effective and safe.
Blessings to you and your family for safety and well-being in the new year,