October 5, 2020
Dear St. Mark Families:
We hope that all families are safe and in good health. We wanted to share some information with you as we start the 5th week of this school year.
The medical grade air purifiers that were ordered in the summer finally arrived last week and have been placed in each classroom and the school cafeteria. Even with these high-quality air purifiers, we will continue the practice of keeping windows slightly open and a fan running in classrooms. As you are aware, research has shown the importance of proper ventilation in helping to disperse airborne particles. We will continue to monitor the research and to add to our use of PPE as recommended.
You may have read that Governor Cuomo has called on schools to report COVID-19 cases to the “Daily School District Department of Health Survey Report Card.” Our school has completed this survey each day that it has been required and we reported our single case that occurred in early September. You may check this “report card” by signing on their dashboard. You check the “Private Schools” box then enter the school name. It must be written as Saint Mark School.
Returning to school under the hybrid model has been stressful and challenging for students, teachers, and families. These are unusual times and teachers have been working diligently to meet the instructional requirements of both in-person and distance learning. This is not an easy task and has required much trial and error to smooth out problem areas. There is also the added stress, which cannot be overemphasized, on staff of the possibility of being infected with COVID-19 due to daily close contact with groups of individuals. This is a real concern as the events of this weekend demonstrate that even the most powerful and best protected can still not prevent infection.
Some schools, due to attendance number and size, are full in-person while other schools are using a hybrid model and many schools have not had students in attendance at all. Each situation brings about its own set of concerns that must be worked out. As these items are being resolved, it is important to remember these issues can be worked out in a collegial and calm manner. While the majority of communications are respectful and appropriate, others have been demeaning, demanding or disrespectful and have no place in the St. Mark Community. While not every decision made at the school level is expected to be met with total approval, it is expected that families assume the best intentions of all our teachers the way they do of their students and families.
We will continue to keep families updated on our school safety measures and any changes that will come about in our hybrid model of instruction. This situation is in constant flux and we will do our best to communicate in a timely manner.
We hope that all families will enjoy the long weekend coming up and enjoy the Fall season in Western New York.
R. Clemens & H. McCarthy