COVID-19 Webpage » 2020-2021 School Reopening Plan

2020-2021 School Reopening Plan

9-16-2020

Dear Parents,

 

I am sure we all experienced a mix of anxiety and excitement as we approached the opening of school last Tuesday. I began work on the school reopen plans in early June and they were my primary focus throughout the summer. Due to changing health conditions in our local community and state mandates, it felt like the target kept moving. With every announcement came revisions and a wave of emails and phone calls. When the teachers and staff returned on August 27, the pace accelerated as teachers and IA’s learned how to incorporate Schoology in to their daily teaching program and 26 teachers took on the additional leap of faith, learning how to use equipment necessary to deliver remote instruction to over 60 students in Kindergarten – 8th grade.

 

A great antidote arrived on Tuesday to help relieve anxiety – students!  It has been almost 6 months since students were at school. It is hard to find words that adequately describe how much we missed our students. Seeing their faces (the masks could not hide the smiles) and hearing their voices brought an energy to the campus and lit a fire in our hearts. The adults have been stressing over details for months and, in a few minutes, the students reminded us about the importance of being joyful.  The students are very excited to be with their teachers and friends. They have been positive and cooperative as they adapt to new procedures. We are truly blessed to have them back at school, including those who are learning remotely until they are ready to return.

 

I also feel blessed to be working with a committed and talented group of educators. They have worked very hard, harder than ever, to provide our children with an excellent education in a nurturing, faith-filled environment. We all know that school is a crucial place for learning. But school is not just a place where kids are educated. School, especially our school, is a place where God-given talents are honed, hearts are shaped, friendships grow and a deep and loving relationship with Christ is formed. We are very happy to be working with our students in God’s garden, otherwise known as St. Edward the Confessor Parish School

 

Finally, we are blessed by our parents. Seeing you over the past week has bolstered our spirits. We are grateful for your words of encouragement and thanks. Parents got a firsthand glimpse of the work involved in overseeing a child’s education while simultaneously juggling family and professional responsibilities. Educators learned the important role of relationships when working with their students. This has not been easy for any of us, but we are stronger and wiser due to lessons learned on this journey. To be sure, 2020-2021 will be a school year like none other. Together, we’ll find our way with our kids at the center of it.  

 

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St. Edward School Community,

Yesterday, I was directed by Diocesan school leadership to reopen St. Edward Parish School for in-class instruction if the school’s application for a waiver is approved. This means that school will open for TYKE – 6th grade on Tuesday, September 8 if the waiver is approved prior to this date. The decision to comply with the directive was made in consultation with Diocesan leadership and Fr. Philip. Prior to yesterday’s directive, the decision to begin the school year with distance learning was a school based decision. St. Edward Parish School will comply with the directive to support the Diocesan objective for all schools to be aligned with this approach to reopen schools.

This decision may have no impact on school reopen plans as we were planning to reopen school if Orange County is removed from the state COVID-19 watchlist. On August 19, the state confirmed that the county is below all of the state’s monitoring thresholds. The county must maintain this status for three consecutive days in order to be removed from the county monitoring list. If trends continue, Orange County will be removed from the state’s monitoring list on August 22nd.  Provided Orange County is removed from the monitoring list and daily COVID numbers remain below the state set thresholds for 14 consecutive days, schools would be able to resume in-class instruction at the discretion of the local health department and the Diocese. If this timeline holds and we receive approval, we would be able to reopen school for all grades on Tuesday, September 8th.

There are no guarantees that the school’s waiver will be approved. At this time, we have not received word on the status of our application. If the waiver application is approved, it applies to TYKE – 6th grade. Students in 7th and 8th grade would start school following the distance learning platform. The school community will be notified as soon as information is available regarding the school’s waiver application.

I want to assure this school community that either approach is consistent with our strong desire to return to school for in-class instruction as soon as it is safe to do so. Whether children attend classrooms or learn remotely at home, each option carries a risk of harm to students, their families and the adults who work with them. Thank you for your patience and support as we navigate through these difficult decisions. 

Tom Waszak

Principal 

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Dear Parents, 
 
As we prepare for the upcoming school year and the first day of school on Tuesday, September 8, we wanted to send our revised school reopening plans.
Our recent parent survey revealed that 72% of participants were in favor of the school applying for the exemption waiver to allow the school to return to in-person instruction. This waiver only applies to grades TYKE- 6th. As with the majority of private schools in our area, we have submitted our application. However, there is no guarantee when or if we will be granted waiver approval.
 
Therefore, we have made the decision that TYKE – 8th Grade will start school on September 8 with the distance learning model. We did this for three very important reasons:
  • Ensure the safety of our students and staff
  • Remove the uncertainty about how school will start
  • Promote a smooth opening of school and make the best use of instructional time
 
CDC guidelines allow preschool childcare programs to continue operating independently of school restrictions. Our preschool will open on August 24th. For preschool plans Click Here.
 
If we successfully obtain the waiver, we will start in-person instruction for TYKE – 6th Grade on September 28 for the reasons stated above. However, if our county is removed from the watch-list before September 28, we will start in-person instruction for all grades as soon as possible. This decision allows teachers and families to plan knowing what the opening of school will look like. We all want to return to school and we will. But, it is important that we do so as safely as possible.
  • Tuesday, September 8: The first day of school will focus on your student getting set up for school. Activities include meeting their teacher, seeing their classroom and picking up school supplies and devices.
  • Students and a parent will meet in small groups (five students with one parent each, no siblings please) staggered throughout the day to allow for social distancing. Details will be forthcoming.
  • Students will turn in their Summer Solutions ELA and Math workbooks.
  • Wednesday, September 9: Academic instruction will begin utilizing the distance learning platform. An overview of the weekly schedules by grade level are included in the reopen plans. In-class instruction will begin for TYKE – 6th Grade on September 28 assuming we have been granted a waiver, or sooner for all grades, if the county is removed from the watch list. 
 
In our continuous effort to meet the needs of all our families, we are offering an optional distance learning platform for the 20-21 school year to those families with students who are unable to attend in-class school because of underlying health issues or the family is uncomfortable sending their child to school due to COVID-19 related concerns. This option is available to families in TYKE – 8th Grade.
 
As you will read in the plan, one of the most important components of both models is live instruction. To aid in facilitating live instruction necessary for distance learning, a school family has stepped forward and made a generous donation to help underwrite purchasing equipment for our upper school classrooms. The equipment will help facilitate live instruction in both required and optional distance learning. Designated lower school classrooms will be equipped with tools to help with live instruction as well. If you are interested in signing up for the 100% optional distance learning model, please fill out the registration form by Friday, August 21. 
 
We thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times. Please be assured that St. Edward the Confessor Parish School is committed to our rigorous, faith-filled, well-balanced program, regardless of the challenges this coming year may bring. We are compelled, out of love for our students, to provide an environment that is safe, academically rich, socially rewarding and grounded in our faith as a Catholic community. Your continued support and collaboration is greatly appreciated as we move forward. 
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Dear parents,

 

Normally, this is down time in the office but these days are not normal. This week I  worked with the AP’s and several teachers on revising the academic year school calendar, planning opening of school meetings with teachers and students and designing the daily/weekly instructional schedule for our distance learning program. My goal is to send the following information to parents next week:

 

  • Revised academic school year calendar
  • First day of school, including supply pick up information
  • A draft of the daily instructional schedule and learning expectations for distance learning
  • Staffing changes for 2020-2021
  • Revisions to the school reopen plans based on current CDPH guidelines 
  • Update on the waiver application process

 

Thank you for your patience and support during these challenging and uncertain times.

 

Keep our school community in our prayers.

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Dear St. Edward the Confessor Parish School Families,
 
The past five months have been like no other in all my years in education and probably like no other in the history of American education. Despite the many challenges, I have been inspired by the heartfelt actions of our teachers, staff and parents to support our students. I sincerely appreciate what our parents, teachers and staff are doing to support our school during this difficult time. I want to reiterate our commitment to you as we work in partnership to weather these challenging times.
 
Our goal is to provide full day in-class instruction for our students. The reopening school plans were prepared for students, teachers and staff to safely return to school in fall. This is a fluid situation requiring flexibility as we adjust to changing conditions. In light of the revised school reopening guidelines issued by Governor Newsom on July 17, the Diocese has decided to move the first day of school to Tuesday, September 8. This decision will allow additional time for Orange County to be removed from the watch list. The Diocese will continue to explore the waiver process as stated in the revised state guidelines. At this time, the health agency has not identified the process to apply for a waiver so there is no timeline for receiving a waiver. In the absence of a waiver and if the county has not been removed from the watch list by September 8, Diocesan schools will open with distance instruction.
 
While we hope that our school will be open for in-class instruction on September 8, we are prepared to open with instruction in a distance learning format. The school leadership team has been working with teachers to prepare our distance learning program due to mandatory school closure. The primary means of maintaining continuity of learning during distance learning is our new learning management system (LMS). The school invested in Schoology, a platform used by schools across the country, including Orange County, to integrate the daily functions of delivering and assessing instruction utilizing a one-stop platform. Schoology is a tool that will address many of the needs identified by students, teachers and parents. We plan to use the Schoology platform to facilitate instruction in TYKE through 8th grade.
 
Additional information about the reopening of school and the 2020/21 school year:
  •  We would like to provide an opportunity for students to meet their teachers and classmates, and see their classrooms before beginning online instruction. This would also allow for the distribution of school materials including 2019-2020 yearbooks. We will brainstorm ideas on how to get students on campus during the week prior to the first day of instruction. We would stagger the times students are at school to allow for physical distancing. Plans will be shared with parents when they are developed.
  • Students (grades 3 – 8) and staff will be required to wear a facial covering (mask or shield) if mandated
  • We are unable to provide a full online learning option for students who are not able to return to school due to underlying health issues. We investigated the option of live streaming classes but determined that it did not meet our standards due to practical (cost of equipment and need for dedicated staff), academic (limited student-teacher interaction; availability of classroom teacher to facilitate in-class and virtual learning) and privacy issues (students on camera during in-class instruction). Online instruction will be provided for students during temporary school closure.
  • If the school is closed and delivering instruction online, we plan to offer child care for preschool students that includes an educational component. Information will be forthcoming regarding reopening our preschool.
  • There are no plans to adjust educational costs while distance learning is in place.
  • The school calendar will be revised to reflect the new start and end dates. Parent and staff feedback will be included to determine how to accommodate for instructional days lost due to the delayed start of school.
  • Please review the school reopen plans for a complete description of the precautions we are taking to ensure the safety of our students and staff.
 
I know that some parents are discussing the value of a Catholic school tuition based education during distance learning. This is a fair question and I would like to point out how we maintain the distinct advantage of a St. Edward education during distance learning. In this time of anxiety and isolation, the special character of our school is more important than ever. Even when apart, we are committed to educate the whole child in a Christ-centered environment. We will continue to provide an excellent academic program promoting student success using challenging and rigorous curriculum. A good education is not only concerned about academics. We are also good at community, prayer, faith formation, service and creating a Catholic worldview. We ensure that our Catholic identity remains strong even when it is done remotely. Even though we were unable to gather during the spring, we have found ways to celebrate our school community. Our parish priests celebrated a live stream Mass every Friday morning. In addition to giving lessons online, teachers wrote handwritten letters to students, made phone calls, sent video clips, and we prepared a special celebration for our kindergarten and 8th grade graduating class of 2020. How much more important now is the presence of the teacher and a strong faith based community in these unsettling times. Our greatest strength is love that emanates from Christ our Lord. We, as a faith based community of educators display comfort and grace to stressed and overwhelmed students and partner with parents to ensure that students’ education continues without interruption. When this time of distance learning is over students and teachers will be eager to return to school to share in the joy of each other’s company. We will return to school for in-class instruction. We hope and pray that day will come soon. 
 
Tom Waszak
Principal
 
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7-17-2020

 

Dear St. Edward the Confessor Parents, Faculty & Staff:

 

As you have probably heard, this afternoon Governor Newsom announced his school reopening plan for the 2020-2021 academic year in the midst of the pandemic. He issued specific guidelines in conjunction with the California Department of Public Health for when and how schools should reopen for in-person instruction.

 

At this time, we are working closely with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange Office of Catholic Schools to determine how this announcement impacts our reopening plan at St. Edward the Confessor. As soon as we receive further guidance from the Diocese, we will advise our St. Edward community.

 

We thank you for your continued prayers and patience as we navigate these uncharted waters and ensure that St. Edward the Confessor Parish school continues to provide a rigorous, faith-based education while keeping our students, faculty and families safe.

 

Tom Waszak, Principal

 

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