Update on Preparations for the 2020-2021 School Year (7/21/20)
Update on Preparations for the 2020-2021 School Year (7/21/20)
As we approach the beginning of the new school year, we realize that there is much apprehension and anxiety concerning the circumstances we face due to COVID-19.
We will continue to work to educate our students in mind, body, and soul. Therefore, our instructional plan during this uncertain time has been created with a holistic approach to education in order to ensure that the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of our Comets are given the same attention as those of the cognitive and spiritual needs. Our commitment to offering excellent educational opportunities in a supported community and rooted in a Catholic worldview is even stronger today as we approach the upcoming school year and the challenges we face during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Our unrivaled spirit will be ever present in all three instructional models.
SCC has enlisted the support of Ochsner Health and the Office of Catholic Schools as we continue to plan for the 2020-2021 school year. SCC remains committed to the health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff. We will continue to take the steps needed to keep our school community safe through proactive and precautionary measures while providing an excellent Catholic high school education. Following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Office of Catholic Schools, the Louisiana Department of Health, the Louisiana Department of Education, and the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA), we continue to focus on details and plan for our 2020-2021 school year.
Please note that SCC’s plan will be released in full once approved by the Archdiocese of New Orleans. However, given the Governor’s message today, we wanted to share with you our instructional models:
The school administration will decide which model is used at any certain time based on the directives from state, local, and archdiocesan officials. Our intention for fall 2020 is to have campus open and return to in-person, traditional classes as much as possible. However, based on the Governor’s announcement today, our school community is ready to move from one school setting model to another seamlessly as needed throughout the school year.
Our faculty know our students by name, our class sizes are small, and we have our 1:1 Apple program in place – this, along with the personal attention from faculty and administrators towards our students and parents helped us significantly when we had to transition during last spring’s stay at home order, and it will help us in the future no matter what model of learning we face. SCC’s expert teacher base, along with small class sizes and sophisticated remote learning components in place makes SCC a special place even during these uncertain times.
School Setting Models:
Traditional Learning -- All students will attend class on campus and in classrooms in front of teachers on a daily basis, with smaller class sizes, social distancing, and sanitation practices in place. This model also includes a late-start Thursday with school beginning at 9 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m. as it does Monday through Wednesday and Friday. We will continue to have Comet Lunch Crunch (a 25-minute enrichment and advisory period) two times per week.
Blended Learning – Students will attend school in person on campus two days a week with classes of approximately 10-12 students in a space and off-campus through remote learning two days a week using Google Meet. Administration, faculty, and staff will report to school daily to provide in-person and remote learning instruction and support.
The off-campus days will require students to remotely attend all online classes through Google Meet following the regular school day schedule. In this model, school will begin at 7:30 am for both groups. Attendance in all classes is mandatory for all students, whether students are on-campus or off-campus.
Students will be organized into two groups (Blue & Gold) cohorts of approximately 200 students each. The Blue group will be on campus Mondays and Wednesdays, and Gold Group will be on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays.
On Fridays, teachers will have a professional development hour from 8-9 am; teachers will provide office hours for students, individual/small group remote tutoring sessions, and/or dual enrollment testing from 9-11 am, and SCC will provide spiritual development opportunities for students (including but not limited to the celebration of the Mass, Rosary, Devotionals), student-life activities, club meetings, etc., from 11 am-12 pm.
Student Blue and Gold groups will be organized alphabetically. We will be utilizing alphabetical groupings across the school to allow siblings to be on the same schedule. The Blue Group will be students with last names A-J and the Gold Group will be students with last names K-Z. (Students in the same household with different last names will be assigned to one group.) Families will be notified of their group before school begins; requests for group changes will be considered by the administration on a case-by-case and space availability basis. Protocol on how to request this change will be sent out at least one week before the start of school.
Remote Learning - In the event we are required to close the school building temporarily, we are fully equipped to provide an outstanding Catholic education virtually. Our faculty continue to work exceptionally well with the Google Learning Platform, and we are equipped to provide the highest quality of virtual instruction if necessary. Students will receive online-live instruction from teachers and will be given assignments to complete just as they would during in-person, on-campus instruction. Attendance in all classes as scheduled is mandatory for all students. As mentioned before, our plan is to return to as traditional a setting as possible. Full tuition will be required during distance learning. This summer the teachers are updating training and knowledge on online instruction, Google Classroom, and Google Suite for Education features, as well as several other educational technology platforms to aid in-person and virtual education, and best practices in curriculum and instruction for distance learning. Should we need to revert to remote learning, our SCC teachers will be prepared to move seamlessly from in-person, to online, and then back to in-person instruction.
SPIRITUAL and EMOTIONAL
Student Life Activities – Our traditional student life activities including retreats, new student orientation, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, campus ministry, and other spiritual student gatherings will continue to be a part of our students’ school experience to the extent possible operating within CDC guidelines.
Mass - Our mission at SCC is focused on excelling in our spiritual lives and service to others. We will continue to celebrate our school-wide Mass each month. At the start of school, our co-chaplains will celebrate Mass in our school chapel located in the heart of campus, and Mass will be live-streamed to each classroom. Students and faculty will participate in Mass from the classrooms, and Holy Communion will be distributed to each classroom during the Liturgy of the Eucharist. When the weather turns cooler, we plan to move our monthly schoolwide Mass to the stadium for all students, guests, parents, and alumni.
Daily Prayer – We will continue to begin all things with prayer at SCC – every class, every meeting, every event. Prayer intentions from students, as well as scripture readings, will take place daily. We will broadcast a virtual prayer service on Friday’s when we are not celebrating Mass.
Emotional Wellness – Our full-time counselor will always be readily available to service our students and families throughout all school configurations. In addition, our school counselor, along with our campus minister, is creating a spiritual calming room through the Google Learning Platform.
Administrative Support – Our Core Administrative team will remain active daily members of our school community. They will continue classroom visits during all configurations of learning. They are always readily available to service our students and families throughout all school configurations.
Athletics and Extracurricular Activities - Our athletic teams and extracurricular activities will operate under the social distancing and sanitation protocols as recommended by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA). SCC athletic practices and competitions will be conducted in accordance with the guidance released by LHSAA.
Community- Together as an SCC family we will work to create and maintain a resilient school community based on active community engagement, sensible human resource practices, and effective communications. We are stronger together, especially during times of stress and the unknown possibilities. We understand that many of our normal school events will be impacted by the current situation, but we will modify our traditional events, as long as we can host them safely and within current CDC guidelines or transition them into virtual events.
PROCEDURES and PROTOCALS
Sanitation Protocols - Throughout the summer, all campus facilities, classrooms, offices, athletic facilities, etc., are being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. We have instituted a continuous schedule of cleaning protocols of all high contact surfaces (desktops, door handles, rest room sinks, light switches, computer keyboards) before, during, and after school. Daily sanitation protocols as recommended by the CDC will continue on an ongoing basis throughout the school year to ensure that our campus is cleaned and disinfected consistent with that guidance. Sanitizer dispensers/stations are located in the foyer, hallways, and Commons. All classrooms will have hand sanitizers available to students.
Face Masks – Everyone (students and staff) will wear facemasks upon arrival to school, during transition times, in the hallways, and in public spaces outside of classrooms. In certain cases (where a fellow student or teacher may be immunocompromised), students may be required to wear facemasks during class. Any person on campus may use a mask at any time anywhere whether required in that location or not. Acceptable masks are those with our school logo, solid school colors (including blue, gold, black and/or white), or the surgical/disposable masks. We don’t want to make this too difficult for our families.
Temperature Checks – Temperature checks for students and staff will be conducted daily upon arrival to school utilizing a touchless thermometer. Students with a temperature of 100.4 or greater will be directed to a supervised isolation space to have his/her temperature re-checked after approximately 10 minutes. If the temperature remains 100.4 or greater, the student must be picked-up from school. It is the parent’s responsibility to promptly pick up the student. Students, faculty, and staff with a temperature at or above 100.4 will not be permitted to attend school until fever-free without medication for at least 72 hours or must present a provider note to return to school. For students who are not permitted to attend classes, video lessons and course assignments will be delivered via Google Classroom. All visitors to campus must have a temperature check as they enter a building.
School Arrival - Upon arrival on campus each morning, students will be required to report directly to their first period class. We are unable to have large groups in the Commons before school at this time. A ‘Grab and Go’ breakfast will be available for purchase in the cafeteria each morning.
Hallways and Lockers -- Building exits and entrances will be designated as one-way only (except in the case of emergencies). We will install directional signage to help remind everyone of the proper flow patterns to limit exposure during class transitions. Lockers will not be available for use this year unless some medical need exists. In this case, a location will be designated that does not hinder traffic flow between classes. To allow for maximum space, there will be no desks or furniture in the hallways. SCC will post signs in highly visible locations that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs.
Classroom Seating -- Student desks in classrooms will be spaced in such a way as to maximize the distance between students. All desks will face in the same direction. All unnecessary furniture that takes up space in rooms will be consolidated or removed in order to provide maximum use of the floor space for student seating.
Social Distancing – Signage has been placed throughout SCC as social distancing reminders. The sharing of electronic devices, calculators, or other learning aids should be avoided. Students should not engage in physical contact with each other throughout the school day.
Water Bottles -- The traditional drinking fountains (bubblers) throughout the campus will be replaced with water bottle fill-station type dispensers. Those that will not be replaced before the start of school will be put out of service until they can be replaced. Students should bring a labeled clear refillable water bottle to school every day to use for personal hydration.
Food Service - We have ordered an outdoor serving cart with water, juice, and milk in order to reduce the number of students in the Commons. Students who bring their lunch will report outside to our new picnic area. We are still working on the details for lunch, but it may be anywhere between students social distancing in the Commons during their scheduled lunch period to certain grade levels being assigned to eat in the gym once per week. “Grab and Go” and other prepared meal options will be available. There will be no condiment cart – individual packets of condiments will be made available. In addition, a workable hand washing station has been upgraded in the Commons. We will make the final decisions regarding lunches at least one week before the first day of school.
Class Sizes – We are working to maintain small class sizes and follow the suggested guidelines of the CDC. We are also working on creating a blended learning plan should the need arise to create classes of 10-15 students in a space. This blended learning plan for our students, if required to implement due to reducing class size, would allow students to attend school in-person two days a week to create classes of 10-15 students in a space. The off-campus days will require students to attend all online classes digitally.
Communication – Parents and students are encouraged to remain in contact by reading the weekly Comet News, checking email daily, and following SCC on social media. The school website will continue to be an excellent resource for our school community.
This pandemic has taught us to be flexible and adaptable. Although circumstances will undoubtedly change, please know the administration, faculty, and staff are working diligently to create a safe and productive learning environment for your teenager.
SCC will continue to follow local, state, federal, and CDC guidelines to protect the health and well-being of our SCC community. Because the health and safety of our SCC family must remain our highest priority when we return to school in August, campus life is going to be a little different than what we’re used to. However, the unrivaled spirit that makes SCC such a special place will be ever present.
Please also know that you and your family are always in our prayers. SCC will continue to plan and prepare and stay strong in our faith. I appreciate your patience as we navigate this path forward.