August 3, 2020 
Dear St. Pius X Family:

Two quotes that perfectly describe our current state of affairs: 

Charles Dickens,
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." 

Thomas Payne, 
"These are the times that try men's souls."  

As we approach the start of a new school year, let me validate your frustrations by saying, We are ALL frustrated.  As I survey my colleagues at other private schools, our counterparts in the public arena, and even my friends at the college level, all share the same sentiments.  

You have been patiently waiting for a decision from us, but know that the last thing we wanted to do was to send out a premature plan, and have it change multiple times.  We have deliberately planned for any contingency and believe we are close enough to the start of school to reveal our best thinking as of today.  

With full transparency, I want you to know that we had our four plans developed to meet any contingency for opening school.  We were presented another challenge when legislation was passed at the federal level, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), an act specifically developed to protect employees and their jobs during this pandemic.  It's broad reach did affect us at St. Pius X. We have 103 teachers, some of whom have either personal medical issues, child care issues, or have been thrust into a position of caring for older parents or other medically fragile people in their homes. To date, we have had a significant number of teachers who qualify for consideration of the FFCRA.  Given those numbers, our plan is for those teachers to teach virtually from home.

That said, I know that whatever we do, there are going to be people upset with the decision.  Like you, I would love to have every child in the school at the same time, doing what we do best, educating them.  However, with the current escalating numbers of this virus, a cautious approach seems prudent at this time.  

We are going to start by reducing the number of students on the campus at one time for the first three school days by dividing up the total enrollment, by families, into thirds.  Our first few days of school will be conducted using the following staggered on-campus plan:

Wednesday, August 12
Families with last names starting with A to G will report to school for their first day of school.  

Thursday, August 13
Families with last names starting with H to N will report to school for their first day of school.

Friday, August 14
Families with last names starting with O to Z will report to school for their first day of school.  
 
INSTRUCTION on August 12, 13, or 14
On their appointed day, students will report to school, present and seated in their classrooms by 8:00 a.m.  Students will come in uniform and be prepared for a full instructional day.     This will allow us to reduce our numbers, practice social distancing in the hallways and in classes, practice temperature taking procedures prior to entering school, and practice new lunchroom procedures including how we offer lunches and the locations for students to sit and eat.  We will also share the health safeguards and practices that we have put into place.  By utilizing such small groups, this will allow students to ask questions in a comfortable environment and be sure that everyone is familiar with what we need to do to protect the health and well-being of our entire school family.  Teachers will review each class's expectations, share their class syllabus, access etextbooks and/or collect any workbooks that teachers have for in-person distribution, assign homework, and any other expectations for their classes.  

Each and every current student must turn in the following originally signed forms on their assigned day of school, August 12-14.  Forms should be submitted to the grade specific bins in the front hall.  All forms must have an original parent and student signature.  Forms can be found on the SPX website (Current Families, Student Handbook, Click Here for Existing Family Packet)
  • Assumption of the Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to COVID-19
  • Handbook Signature Page (includes acceptance of the Honor Code)

Each and every new student must turn in the following originally signed forms on their assigned day of school, August 12 - 14.  Forms should be submitted to the grade specific bins in the front hall.  All forms must have an original parent and/or student signature.  Forms can be found on the SPX website (Current Families, Student Handbook, Click Here for New Family Packet)
  • Assumption of the Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to COVID-19
  • Handbook Signature Page (includes acceptance of the Honor Code)
  • Media Release Form
  • Archdiocese of Atlanta Student Substance Abuse Policy Acknowledgement Form, and Screening Consent & Release Form 

On the days when the student is not in attendance on campus, they will be expected to work on the assignments shared by their teachers in order to be prepared for Monday, August 17 when school begins in full.

If you do not intend to send your student on their assigned day (August 12, 13, or 14) please email attendance@spx.org no later than August 10 with your notice of absence.  There will be no virtual option for the August 12-14 school days if your student is not able to attend.  I wanted you to have this information now in order to make more immediate plans for next week. If your child will not be attending August 12-14, you will need to mail the necessary forms by August 12.

Additional information will come out shortly, allowing you to formally choose your option, in-person learning or full-time virtual learning, and outlining the parameters of each option so that you can make an informed decision for your family.

Sincerely,
Steve Spellman
President
St. Pius X Catholic High School
2674 Johnson Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30345