Notes from the Principal's Desk: 5 Days a Week Return to School plan details
It seems that the Groundhog was correct and we continue to endure a few more weeks of winter. We recognize that virtual snow days are not ideal but I do believe that the Department of Catholic Schools made the correct decision to cancel in-person school today.
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5 Days a Week Return to School Plan
In consultation with the instructional technology team, the administrative team conducted a SWOT analysis regarding having more students return for five days a week instruction. New guidance from the CDC confirms the efficacy of 3 feet social distancing. As a result, we do not need to limit ourselves to the 6 feet social distancing when possible.
We would like to thank the SCMOQ task force, school board, faculty and staff, and parents for their input and feedback regarding the 5 days a week return to school plan. Please understand that we took every effort to address the concerns raised by everyone. Recognizing that no plan will be perfect until all the students are back in the classroom in front of their teachers, we believe we have created the best possible plan given the extraordinary complexities of bringing students back following social distancing guidelines and meeting class schedule requirements.
When possible we were able to accommodate students back into their homerooms. In other cases, we used teacher feedback to relocate remote classrooms, use instructional assistants as classroom facilitators, or create an additional homeroom. You will note that middle school students will be transferred to the North Wing (former convent space). This is an acceleration of the planned move for middle school which was slated to take place for the 2021-2022 school year per our strategic plan. Moving the middle school students now allows us to create additional classrooms for the students in the lower school, while simultaneously allowing the middle school students to take advantage of additional breakout rooms and collaborative workspaces.
This plan will be a gradual rollout. We believe the dates we have students returning to school will allow us time to work out any unforeseen consequences of bringing more students back. Additionally, the gradual rollout will enable us to keep track of the community positivity rates within the school and allow us to adjust the timetable as needed.
Furthermore, the 4th and 5th grades will be the only classes continuing on a hybrid schedule after the second week of the rollout. The hybrid schedule will be adjusted to an alternate A/B schedule to increase interaction with the classroom teacher. You can see what it looks like in the table below.
- Friday, February 26th:
- Classroom in furniture in middle school moved to the North Wing in the afternoon
- Lower school classrooms set up in the middle school
- Monday, March 1st:
- All grades transition to the new class and hybrid schedule
- Grades 6-8 transition to North Wing and remain on hybrid schedule.
- Grades 2 & 3 return. 2nd-grade remote Classroom in middle school and 3rd grade returns to homerooms.
- Monday, March 8th: Grades 6 - 8 return 5 days a week in North Wing
- Monday, March 15th: Grades 4 & 5 return 5 days a week. Remote classrooms in middle school.
Notes and Points of Clarification:
- Julie Mainello will work as an Instructional Assistant in both 1st grades since Sr. Mary Catherine will be working in the 5th-grade remote classroom.
- 3rd grade will return to the 3A and 3B homeroom assignments. The flexible seating will be removed from the classrooms and traditional student seating will be placed in the classrooms.
- 4th grade will have two remote classrooms in middle school.
- One remote classroom in 6A and one in 6B.
- Ms. Winston will be the classroom facilitator in one remote classroom. We are in the process of hiring an additional instructional assistant to staff the second remote classroom.
- 5th grade will have two remote classrooms.
- One in 8A and one in 8B.
- Ms. Unitas will facilitate in one remote classroom
- Sr. Mary Catherine will facilitate in the other remote classroom.
- There remains a possibility that we are not able to acquire the additional instructional assistant for the 4th-grade remote classroom. In this case, the 5th-grade remote classrooms would be combined into one and Christine Unitas would become the facilitator for the 4th-grade classroom.
- Can parents still select to keep their child home if they are scheduled to be in a facilitator-led classroom?
- This will only apply to the 4th and 5th-grade parents. All other grades will be in their homerooms with the classroom teacher.
- We will allow parents of 4th and 5th-grade students to choose whether to send their child into school on the remote classroom days for the remainder of the school year.
- This would only be an option for the remainder of the year.
Call for Parent Volunteers:
Thankfully, we do not need parent volunteers to act as proctors during classroom instruction. However, due to the scheduling changes, we are in need of parent volunteers to cover lunch duty. We are fortunate that volunteers are no longer required to only be present in their child’s cohort or classroom. Below I share the need for volunteers including the days, times, and activity.
2nd Grade- 11:25-11:55 - One (1) Parent volunteer in the classroom for lunch Monday - Friday
3rd-5th Grade- 12:25-12:55 - Five (5) Parent volunteers in the classroom for lunch Monday - Friday
Ravens Band Contest
Finally, we would like to share a fun contest being held by the Baltimore Ravens. To celebrate “Music in Our Schools” Month (March 2021) the Ravens band is having a contest where local school students who play instruments can play the Ravens Fight Song on their instrument and have a chance to win some prizes and be included in a video produced by the Baltimore Ravens. Rules, directions, and sheet music can be found on this website.
We pray that everyone remains safe and warm for the remainder of the week and weekend.
Communication sent February 23, 2021:
We would like to provide some clarifying details regarding the 5 days a week return plan for students. This email will further explain the return attendance schedule and includes a link for parents who are able to volunteer.
Monday, March 1st:
- Students in 2nd and 3rd grades return for five days a week in-person instruction.
- Students in grades 4-8 continue to follow the current hybrid schedule:
- Monday, March 1st- cohort A
- Tuesday, March 2nd- cohort A
- Wednesday, March 3rd- cohort B
- Thursday, March 4th- cohort B
- Friday, March 5th- No school (Professional Development day)
- This is a B1 week.
Monday, March 8th:
- Students in 6th through 8th grade return to five days a week in-person instruction.
- Students in 4th and 5th grade continue to follow the current hybrid schedule:
- Monday, March 8th- cohort A
- Tuesday, March 9th- cohort A
- Wednesday, March 10th- cohort A
- Thursday, March 11th- cohort B
- Friday, March 12th- cohort B
- This is an A2 week.
Monday, March 15th:
- Students in 4th and 5th grade return to five days a week in-person instruction.
As mentioned last week we are in need of parent volunteers, specifically for the 2nd through 5th grades. Below I share the need for volunteers including the days, times, and activity.
- 2nd Grade- 11:25-11:55 - One (1) Parent volunteer in the classroom for lunch Monday - Friday
- 3rd-5th Grade- 12:25-12:55 - Five (5) Parent volunteers in the classroom for lunch Monday - Friday
Parent volunteers can be of any grade level but must be VIRTUS certified. If you are interested or able to volunteer please take a moment to let us know. Survey was included in email. Email Beth Mayr at firstname.lastname@example.org if needed.