Notes from the Principal's Desk: Important Update from Mr. Wright about the 5 Days a Week Return to School plan


While the prospect of several more weeks of a chilling winter is still looming, I warmly share the latest outline of the return plan to bring more students back five days a week. After many meetings with the SCMOQ task force, faculty and staff, and the School Board, we believe we have a workable plan to begin to bring back the students for five days a week instruction in a staggered manner that will continue to provide for the safety and well-being of the students, faculty, and staff.

It is important to note that this is an evolution of the current hybrid plan that was laid forth at the beginning of the year. New CDC guidance and Maryland State Department of Education guidance 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. Therefore, we have been able to re-evaluate the use of space within the school to accommodate more students. 

However, before we are able to begin implementing the plan, we will need to gather data via a survey from the school families regarding the intention to send their child or children to school five days a week. Below I share the outline of the most recent iteration of the plan so parents can make the most informed choice possible. A link to a short survey is provided following the outline of the plan. It is important to remember that this return plan is fluid and we may have to modify it based on the data we collect. Finally, it is important to note that the 100% remote option will remain in effect for the remainder of the school year.

Five Days a Week Return Plan Outline

Timeline
Beginning in March, we anticipate bringing back students five days a week in a staggered fashion over three weeks to ensure the sustainability and success of the rollout.
Week 1: Grades 2 & 3 return
Week 2: Grades 6, 7, & 8 return
Week 3: Grades 4 & 5 return

Logistics
After re-evaluating the available space following the 3 feet social distancing protocol, we have found opportunities to create more classrooms to accommodate more students. In some grades, students will be able to return to the classroom with their homeroom teacher five days a week. 

In other grades, we will have to continue to follow the hybrid schedule. For those grades in which numbers dictate that we need to continue to use the hybrid schedule remote classrooms will be created wherein students will stream into the teachers classroom on days in which the student is not scheduled to be in the classroom with the teacher. 

An instructional assistant will be in these classrooms to act as proctors. In these remote classrooms the students will be able to hear, see, and ask questions about what is being taught in the classroom and the teacher will be able to see and hear any questions in the remote classroom. The proctors will act as facilitators during instruction. 

Grades 6-8 will move their classrooms to the north wing. This is an acceleration of the anticipated move of the middle school to the north wing for the 2021-2022 school year as part of our strategic plan.
All middle school students would be in their homerooms five days a week.

Grades 2 - 5 will have remote classrooms created in the middle school.
Students follow the current hybrid schedule and attend school in the remote classroom on days when they are not scheduled to be in the classroom with the teacher.
It is possible, if numbers allow, that a remote classroom could become a third self-contained homeroom. If numbers do not allow, the remote classroom with a proctor would be utilized for students to attend school. 
Students will eat lunch in their cohort. Students would be able to play together during recess when outside, as long as mask-wearing is in place and social distancing guidelines are followed.
For specialty classes, students in the remote classrooms will participate asynchronously and choose from a menu of options for that day's specialty class.
When students are in the classroom with the teacher, they will attend their regularly-scheduled specialty class.

For this year only, we will give parents the opportunity to choose to send their child to school on the days when the student is scheduled to be in a remote classroom or to learn remotely at home. In order to best prepare the classrooms and finalize the plan, we will need to gather information from parents regarding the intention to send their child to school on the remote classroom days or if you will keep your child home on the days they are not scheduled to be in the classroom. We ask that parents in grades 2-8 complete this survey so we can compile this data.

(Need the survey? Email Mrs. Mayr at bmayr@cmoq.org) 

A Letter regarding the Family Life Religion Curriculum

Dear Parents and Guardians,

The Archdiocese of Baltimore is committed to providing parents and their children with education about child sexual abuse. The VIRTUS program is used to educate parents and volunteers. The religion curriculum is used to inform all of our students.

As a part of the religion curriculum, the family life catechesis textbooks used here teach the children about the dignity of human life, Catholic morality, and family relationships. These textbooks have been carefully reviewed and selected because they faithfully present Catholic teaching in a sensitive and age-appropriate matter.

Our school has been using the Benziger Family Life Program for the past sixteen years. Since their initial publication, new information on protecting children has become available. Associated Catholic Charities, in collaboration with the Office for Child and Youth Protection, the Division of Catholic Schools, and the Division of Evangelization and Catechesis, has produced a Curriculum Update designed to enhance the child protection elements of the required family life catechesis program and the Family Life textbooks used in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

The lessons provided in the 2011 Family Life Catechesis Curriculum Child Protection Update will supplement the textbook with current information and strategies based on best practice recommendations made by experts in the field of abuse prevention and treatment. The goals of the Child Protection Update are as follows:

Goal 1: Encourage formation of healthy relationships and Christian family life
Goal 2: Reduce the risk of abuse for all children
Goal 3: Reduce the risk that our children will grow up to be perpetrators
Goal 4: Reduce the stigma and shame associated with sexual abuse, in turn fostering the ability of victims to share their stories and seek help

The Benziger Family Life Program is organized around five key themes.

God’s Gift of Family – respect for the family and its sacramental nature
God’s Gift of Self – respect for oneself as a child of God created in God’s    image to grow in love
God’s Gift of Life – celebrating God’s precious gift and understanding the need to protect and cherish life
God’s Gift of Sexuality – gradual development of a healthy, wholesome Catholic attitude toward sexuality
God’s Gift of Community – respect for others, responsibility, and the call to Christian service

The materials will be available for you to review in the school office through February. Fifth grade will have a special lesson in April, before Easter, that parents will be notified separately about by their teachers. Should you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher. 

If for some reason, you do not want your child to participate in this program, please call me at school to discuss this personally.

Looking Ahead

Friday, 2/12 - Valentine's Tag Day
Friday, 2/12 - CASPA Board Meeting
Friday, 2/12 - Mustang Market open
Sunday, 2/14 - B4 week
Monday, 2/15 - Re-enrollment deadline - we have a large number of new applicants; don't delay in re-enrolling this year to secure your spot for your student!
Monday, 2/15 - School CLOSED for Presidents' Day
Wednesday, 2/17 - Lent @ Home begins, sign up now!
Wednesday, 2/17 - Ash Wednesday: 
7am - Mass and Ashes, all are welcome
8:15am - K-1 Prayer Service and Ashes (families welcome to join!)
10:30am - Gr. 2-4 Prayer Service and Ashes (families welcome to join!)
12noon - Gr. 5-8 Prayer Service and Ashes (families welcome to join!)
4pm - OUTDOOR Prayer Service and Ashes, all are welcome
5:30pm - Mass and Ashes, all are welcome
Wednesday, 2/17 - B4 day
Friday, 2/19 - Spirit Day
Friday, 2/19 - Mustang Market open

Thank you and God Bless,
Michael Wright