August 5, 2020 
Dear St. Pius X Family:

As we all know, this pandemic has created a constantly shifting landscape. We have delayed our back to school announcements...because we wanted to make the best possible choice for everyone based on the most up to date information...information that was updated as late as this afternoon. Your student's safety and that of our faculty is of the utmost importance to us and we have not entered into these decisions lightly. We think it is important to reiterate that St. Pius X is the largest private/parochial high school in Atlanta. When our school is at full capacity, we number more than 1,250 souls. Our decisions regarding the opening of school were based, in part, on our size. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these difficult waters.

Now that you are aware of the schedule for the first three days of school, we want to share our plans for school operations and the education of your student(s) through Friday, September 4, 2020, including choosing in-person population (IPP) or full-time virtual learning (FTV) for your student(s). Once this decision has been made, it will remain in effect through September 4. More detailed information regarding these two options, as well as the link to make a choice for your student(s), is shared later in this letter. 

We will reassess the current situation again at the end of August and make a determination regarding our school schedule for the next portion of the semester, or for as far as we feel appropriate at the time. You can expect to hear from us again on August 28 in this regard. At that time you will once again be given an option for choosing in-person or full-time virtual for your student(s) for that next period of time. 

As we continue to assess the effects of COVID-19, we hope to adjust the in-person population schedule. This could include more frequent days in the classroom or a larger in-person population, but we cannot make that decision until we have more information from the health community.

On Monday, August 3 we shared the schedule for the first three days of school. We are including it again here:  
 
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. 

Please note that on August 11, Freshmen are to wear their uniforms to Orientation.
 
IMPORTANT AND UPDATED INFORMATION REGARDING AUGUST 12-14
We understand that these first days are important for getting acclimated to current school protocols, and it allows students to meet their teachers in person. We will be providing a virtual option for students on these days. In addition, families who choose full-time virtual learning for their student have the option of sending their student to school on their appointed day, August 12-14. If you contacted the school regarding your child's absence for one of these days and now would like to have your child attend school, either in-person or virtually, please contact Jen Polzin. A full schedule for August 12-14 is included in the Return to School Plan.

IN-PERSON VS. FULL-TIME VIRTUAL
Beginning August 17, the choice you make regarding in-person population (IPP) or full-time virtual (FTV) will go into effect. Those families who choose in-person population will follow the schedule below. Those who choose full-time virtual will begin learning virtually full-time on August 17.

The Archdiocese has instructed us that we cannot divulge the names of faculty members who will be working virtually due to confidentiality. However, our current hybrid schedule has reduced the number of faculty who are teaching virtually by more than 70%, with less than ten teachers working remotely. Each classroom will have adult supervision at all times, and classroom instruction will not be hindered. You can expect the same level of quality instruction that you would expect from any of our teachers. 

The schedule for in-person population (IPP) will be as follows:

Monday - Families with last names starting with A to G will report to campus for in-person learning. These students will be engaged in in-person learning on August 17, August 24 and August 31. All other IPP students (H-Z) will engage in virtual learning from home. 

Tuesday - All students will engage in virtual learning from home while the school is thoroughly sanitized.

Wednesday -  Families with last names starting with H to N will report to campus for in-person learning. These students will be engaged in in-person learning on August 19, August 26 and September 2. All other IPP students (A-G and O-Z) will engage in virtual learning from home.

Thursday - All students will engage in virtual learning from home while the school is thoroughly sanitized.

Friday - Families with last names starting with O to Z will report to campus for in-person learning. These students will be engaged in in-person learning on August 21, August 28 and September 4. All other IPP students (A-N) will engage in virtual learning from home.

To simplify, if you select in-person learning, your student will be on campus one day per week and will learn virtually the other four days. Broken down this equates to an estimated 360 students on campus per day as opposed to the full population of 1,100.

Again, we will reassess the current situation at the end of August and make a determination regarding our school schedule for the next portion of the semester, or for as far as we feel appropriate at the time. 

CHOOSING IN-PERSON VS. FULL-TIME VIRTUAL
At this time you must choose whether your student will be in the in-person population (IPP) or full-time virtual (FTV) from August 17-September 4. We have created descriptions and expectations for each of these groups to help you determine which choice is best for your family. 

Please submit this form by Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m., indicating if you would like your student to be in the in-person population or in the full-time virtual learning track. Once you choose, your choice will be in effect through Friday, September 4, 2020. After the school year begins, in-person population students may transition to full-time virtual learning if they so choose. Parents must send an email stating their requested change to schoolchoice@spx.org. Parents will be notified once the request has been approved, at which time the student will transition to full-time virtual. Once families opt into full-time virtual school, students are required to continue learning virtually through September 4, 2020. If you do not submit this form by Monday, August 10 at 9 a.m., your student will be automatically enrolled in the in-person population through September 4, 2020.

In-Person Population (IPP)
Students returning to St. Pius X in the Fall of 2020 are presented with the option to elect for an in-person educational track. Those that are considering this option must abide by all the increased health, safety, and academic protocols established for the 2020-2021 school year.

This educational model will focus on in-person education in accordance with archdiocesan mandates and necessary safety demands. Students will be expected to attend and participate at school in accordance with regular school rules and regulations as detailed in the SPX handbook. This includes all health protocols for school attendance. 

If in-person instruction conditions warrant a shift in capacity or attendance, St. Pius X will communicate alternate academic plans.

Expectations for In-Person Instruction

Students are required to:
  • Arrive at school before 7:30 a.m. to be screened for school admittance.
  • Wear appropriate SPX uniforms including face masks at all times. 
  • Be in attendance for and participate in all scheduled advisory meetings.
  • Follow all hallway, locker, cafeteria, and common space protocols.
  • Students and/or parents are required to respond via email to the SPX faculty or staff sender within 24 hours.
  • Established deadlines for attendance, assignments, and assessments, will be strictly adhered to. No exceptions.
  • Students are held accountable for all honor code requirements (as stated in the SPX handbook) for assignments, assessments, activities, and attire. 
  • Students must follow all technological protocols for virtual learning, including but not limited to: appropriate attire (white SPX polo), digital backgrounds, and proper social media interactions. 

We reserve the right to make changes to these requirements and expectations based on instructional needs and will send updates as such. 


Full-Time Virtual (FTV)
Students enrolled in St. Pius X in the Fall of 2020 may choose a fully virtual educational track. To enroll in the virtual option, students must have the technological capabilities to be an active participant in all eight class periods each day as required by the teacher.

This educational model will be a mix of synchronous and asynchronous instruction. Every day is different in the classroom, and student instruction will vary between sections, days, teachers, and periods. Students are required to participate in a full SPX bell schedule day as required by each teacher's instructions.

Selection of this option signifies that the student becomes a Full-Time Virtual (FTV) student at St. Pius X from August 17-September 4. 


Expectations for Full-Time Virtual Instruction
   
Students are required to:
  • Submit virtual attendance via the PSL Google Form for FTV students by 8:00 am each morning.
  • Be present and available for every class period's requirements as listed on the instructor's PSL page.
  • Be in attendance for and participate in all scheduled advisory meetings.
  • Students and/or parents are required to respond via email to the SPX faculty or staff sender within 24 hours.
  • Be accessible via technology during lunch periods for communication/participation with counseling, campus ministry, administration, and other teachers. 
  • Student assignments must be submitted at the start of the scheduled class period.
  • Adhere to established deadlines for attendance, assignments, and assessments. No exceptions.
  • Uphold all honor code requirements (as stated in the SPX handbook and virtual handbook) for assignments, assessments, activities, and attire. 
  • Follow all technological protocols for virtual learning, including but not limited to: appropriate attire (white SPX polo, appropriate hairstyle, and clean shaven face), fully visible face and name on Zoom or other platforms, digital backgrounds, and proper social media interactions. 

We reserve the right to make changes to these requirements and expectations based on instructional needs and will send updates as such. 

We have created a detailed document for you that includes many specifics regarding back to school plans, including health and safety protocols. That document can be found here. We hope you find this information useful as you determine which choice, in-person population or full-time virtual, is best for your family.

CORRECTION TO REQUESTED FORMS
As we updated our forms to meet the current situation, we realized some forms are no longer needed, namely the Assumption of the Risk and Waiver of Liability Relating to COVID-19 form. This form should not have been included. We apologize for missing that, as it should have been deleted. 

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)
  • 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)
  • 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 
If your child will not be attending August 12-14, you will need to mail the necessary forms by August 12.

If you still have questions after reading this letter and the attached Return to School Plan, please send your questions to questions@spx.org. We will post answers on the Back to School page

Please remember, the current Return to School Plan is only in effect until September 4. This is just four short weeks. We will reassess the situation at the end of August and communicate our next steps then. Thank you for your patience and support, knowing we are making very difficult and complex decisions for the good of our entire community.

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