We are in the home stretch! We are grateful that with the hard work and commitment of the entire school community we have been able to offer 5 day a week in-person quality Catholic education for the 2020-21 school year. We are so pleased that due to our protocols and commitment we were never in a position to close down a pod, grade level or the school. We managed to cover quarantined staff with qualified substitutes, and we were able to offer quarantined students quality home learning opportunities. I am happy to share that on Friday, May 7th we finally had our first day since August when we had no staff and no students quarantined! Since our cases are currently under control and in consultation with Franklin County Public Health (FCPH), we are happy to announce that we are going to begin mixing pods at recess while wearing masks the week of May 17th.
Based on the advice of the health department and the fact that contact tracing at recess will basically now not be possible, we may have situations that will require a grade level or large group of students to be in a modified quarantine. Click here to read information regarding modified quarantines: COVID-19 Fact Sheet K-12 School Quarantine Guidelines
Whole grade recess along with offering students a return to weekly Mass, Supergames, holding Graduation Mass and other special end of the year activities for our 8th graders are the beginning of our return to a more normal school routine. We are moving forward and planning to open in August with our school looking as normal as possible. We follow guidance regarding masking and social distancing from FCPH. Our hope is to be in a configuration of 2 classrooms versus 3 pods, and this is looking very possible using the 3 foot guidance ruling. Currently, the guidance is requiring 6 foot distancing for lunch or whenever students are not wearing a mask, therefore one of our first big hurdles is figuring out logistics for 6 foot distancing at lunch, if that remains a FCPH requirement. By the time that we return to school, we are hopeful that FCPH will lessen their requirements regarding children and masking and distancing in school settings. We will communicate over the summer as changes are made.
Social Emotional Health
Our student’s social emotional health has taken on enhanced importance. One of our tasks this summer will be to continue our work in developing a systemic approach to address the needs of mental wellness to reach a wider array of students. We must guide our students in the development of mental wellness strategies and offer needed supports. With new importance, we need to continue to prepare our children for the real world by educating the whole child : academically, spiritually and emotionally. We recognize that socializing and being with friends at school has been difficult this year. One small way to signal to our children that we are moving forward to normal next year is to allow them to give input to their teachers by sharing some ideas of what will continue to make them feel safe at school, and what will continue to make them feel welcome or important next school year.
We have always said that our strict protocols were not forever; they were just for now, and now that the numbers are improving and we know so much more about the virus, we are excited to keep moving forward towards normal. As always, our decisions will be made with members of our Task Force by following the directives and guidelines from FCPH, the CDC, and the Diocese of Columbus, along with the input from the whole school community from our recent survey.
Thank you to the many (212) families who responded to the most recent parent survey. Click here to view a summary of the results. In addition to the results above, families were given the opportunity to provide any other feedback. Families are extremely grateful that we have been in school full time all year and the fact that we have done our best to keep everyone healthy and safe. Families would also like for things to go back to some sense of "normalcy," whatever this may look like depending on recommended guidelines and mandates. We appreciate the parent feedback as it is important that we consider all community perspectives when making decisions for the future. Thank you for believing in and supporting our school community!
We are excited to announce that our task force has been revitalized. The following individuals will be serving on the committee:
Kathy O'Reilly, Cindy Lombardo, Jill Carfagna - Administration
Peggy Iannarino (transitioning to new nurse once hired) - School Nurse
Hillary Harper - Preschool Director
Bridget DeSocio - Special Area Team
Shelley O'Neil - K-2 Team
Makenzie Veeder - 3-4 Team
Kerinan Jordan - 5-6 Team
Jen Maschari - 7-8 Team
Stacie Williams - Counselor
Jake Groce - Facilities Manager
Dr. Art Palmer - School Parent, Physician Director, Central Ohio Primary Care Same Day Centers
Stacy Austin - School Parent, SAC Representative
Leila Ulrich- School Parent, Home and School Representative
Aileen Hoffman - School Parent, Vice President @ Nationwide Children's Hospital Big Lots Behavioral Health Services
The members of this task force will be divided into subcommittees to focus on topics such as Catholic Identity, wellness, logistics, community, communication, and instruction. The work and decisions of the task force will be guided by the CDC, state of Ohio, FCPH, and the Diocese of Columbus guidance. Our first meeting will occur in the weeks to come.
We have been working with an educational consultant who has observed all teachers K-8, focusing on instructional strategies and techniques. He will be drafting a report of his findings, and we will be using the findings to continue best practices and to refine instructional practices that would have added benefits for the students.
We are also working to purchase updated technology equipment and will be working to ensure that teachers have the capacity to utilize the equipment for the benefit of the students.
Thank you for your confidence in our task force as we plan for the 2021-2022 school year. We will continue to communicate regularly and with more details as our plans continue to develop. Msgr. Hendricks and the school staff are committed to holding true to the mission of the Church. As we continue to celebrate our school’s 25th anniversary, we remain dedicated to fully supporting families in caring for their children and in educating them in the Catholic faith while providing academic excellence and social and emotional support.
Please continue to pray for our school community and for each other.