St. Catharine Families:

Once again, I wanted to show my gratitude to all of our staff, students, and parents within our St. Catharine community. Although our circumstances this summer have been filled with uncertainty, I want to thank this community for your patience, compassion, and empathy for each other. This is a special community, because of all of you.

There is a balance between communicating too much, too early and vaguely communicating not often enough. We are trying to be transparent with our communication with as much detail as possible. With the fluid changes that happen, we are also trying to avoid contradictions. 
Reopening Plans
There have been several school districts in Central Ohio who have made the decision to go completely online to start the school year. This has initiated some questions about our school and I wanted to address this. We had an administrator meeting this morning with all principals from the Diocese of Columbus and the Office of Catholic Schools. To paraphrase the message from Superintendent Adam Dufault and the Diocese:

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Columbus cover 15 counties, none of which are part of any particular school district. Decisions by those school districts do not represent the decisions of the Diocese.

The Diocese has not made a decision about returning to schools in-person. The diocese feels it is too early to make this decision and all schools should be prepared to return to schools in all 3 tiers. The decision to move to Distance learning will be made by the governor or the superintendent of Catholic schools. The diocese has been in consistent meetings with Franklin County Public Health and Columbus Public Health. We are just under six weeks until the first full-day of school and we will communicate any decisions that are made as quickly as possible.
Parent Survey
There are several questions in this survey to help keep our students safe and to maximize the spiritual, social-emotional, and academic development of our students. Every family is in a unique situation, so it will be impossible to fit everyone’s needs exactly.

Tier 2 Blended Learning is a full academic day with 3 hours of that day being spend in the classroom and the other portion of the day spent at home. In order to maintain social distancing protocols of six-feet distancing and eliminate cross-contamination, it is important to divide each class into two smaller groups, as close to half, as possible.

To be honest, an easier method would have been to split up the morning and afternoon groups alphabetically. That would enviably lead to further discussions and the desire to switch groups. We are hoping that families with some flexibility in their daily routine will indicate as such.
Please indicate your preference for the in-person learning session for our Blended Learning Tier.

At the very minimum, we are planning to offer Latchkey services in a limited basis. We would like to offer before-school, morning latchkey for the families whose students are in-school for the morning session and after-school, afternoon latchkey for the families whose students are in-school for the afternoon session.

Before School Latchkey          7:00 AM until 7:45 AM
After School Latchkey             3:30 PM until 5:30 PM

We will not be offering latchkey services between the hours of 7:45 AM and 3:30 PM. We are currently looking into adjusting and finalizing the fees.
Opting for Tier 3
In that case that a family decided they do not want to send their child back to school in a face-to-face capacity, and chooses to have their full-day at home, there is a question on this survey to indicate this. As you and I know, situations have changed rapidly and so might your opinion about learning environments. This is just to give us an idea in general.
Future Communication
We will continue to communicate any and all updates to the reopening plan and will be sending a technology survey in the next several weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. 
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. - Isaiah 43:2

Yours in Christ,
Mark Watts