The Plan for Fall 2020
In the past several weeks, I have been working with people (and information) from the Seattle Archdiocese, Superintendent's Office, the Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept (TPCHD), CDC, local Catholic School principals, and many of our families regarding the plans for this fall. In fact, I have spent much time going through the survey information so thank you for your time and responses. Fr. Michael and I appreciate your input. We had 83% of families respond and the information was very detailed and helpful!! If you would like to read the results, scroll down.
I want you to know that these decisions are not easy because they impact so many and everyone has different needs and different perspectives. In the end, the most important thing for me to consider is how do we keep the kids learning and keep them (and our entire community) safe? With that lens in mind, I feel that we need to adhere to the recommendation from the local (Tacoma Pierce County) Health Department and go with remote instruction at this time.
The local Pierce County Catholic School principals had a 1 hr Zoom meeting with Dr. Chen and staff from the TPCHD and he strongly emphasized that the current level of COVID positive cases in Pierce County indicate that there is massive community spread and they do not have control of the situation. They can manage cases when they are 15/100,000 but we are currently (as of yesterday) at 145/100,000 in Pierce County. With all this in mind, the decision has been made for Holy Rosary Bilingual Academy to begin the year with remote instruction for most students. This may change if the case counts come down and the health dept feels it is safe for us to have all of our students on campus, but Dr. Chen said that the case counts would need to level off, be at a much lower number, and then show a steady decline. None of this is happening. When we went to phase 2, we were having 10-15 positive cases daily. Now, we are over 100 many days of the week.
With all that being said, we are hoping to be able to have Pre-K and Kindergarten students on site daily, even if it is for "child care" (in the event of a stay home order from the governor). These are very small classes. Ms. Patty would do full 100% Spanish immersion with her Pre-K and Ms. Raquel would do 50% Spanish and 50% English with her group of kindergarten. This is the plan, but we are still working through final licensing with the Dept of Children Youth and Families and the Dept of Health is coming out with new guidelines in the coming days. Additionally, for grades 1 - 8, this is the plan for the start of the year:
- 1:1 Chromebooks (each child would have their own Chromebook).
- Teachers would teach from their classroom every day, providing online instruction to all students.
- Students would receive high quality online instruction in all subjects (language arts/English and Spanish, religion, math, social studies, science) daily.
- Synchronous instruction would be provided in the morning (8 am - 12 pm) with breaks during that time period and the length of each class would be based on the age of the student.
- We would like to offer tutoring in small groups on site 1 - 2 days per week (depending on group size...no more than 5) when the children could work with their teacher in Math and English Language Arts in person. This all depends on the new DOH (Dept of Health) document that is coming out in the next couple of days, which offers guidance on tutoring groups, as well as childcare, and what is allowed.
- Ms. Dempsey will be on site with the teachers so that classes can be monitored and we can have consistency with respect to instructional time, Zoom expectations, grading, etc.
I wanted to let you know our plans based on the most current information, even if a few things are still changing from the Dept of Health. If the governor shuts all schools down with a stay home order, we could likely still do child care for the little ones, but may not have on site tutoring classes in the afternoon for the students in grades 1 - 8. On the other hand, if we can get the numbers down in Pierce County and the health department feels it is safe to return to school, we will be back on site, full steam!! We have our health/cleaning protocols in place and our PPE will be here in 2 weeks so we are ready to re-start safely!
I know that parents are so conflicted about all of this. The data continues to change and so do things at work for so many of our families. This may be welcome news for some of you and unwelcome for others. Right now, regardless of the news, I think we all just want to know WHAT is happening, so that we can plan accordingly. Please know that we are committed to the following:
- Providing a high quality online learning program for students in all grades and subjects with continual professional development opportunities for teachers.
- Refining the program that we began in the spring to allow for more consistent instructional time, grading, and expectations.
- Being prepared to pivot to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe to do so.
- Doing all necessary/advised cleaning and health screening protocols for all students and staff whenever they are on campus.
- Maintaining high levels of communication between staff, students, and parents whether on-site or online.
- Promoting our Catholic Identity at all times and in all locations.
Again, I know this is a challenging time for everyone. Please know that we have spent many, many hours trying to determine the best decision for everyone. In the end, it came down to balancing the health and safety concerns with providing the best possible instruction and so this "hybrid" model seems to be the most effective. Please give me your input in the latest survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3SSNRYC
I really want to hear from you, so thank you in advance for your survey. Please know that we will continue to monitor the situation and make changes as needed. I can assure you that both teachers and students want to be together in person, so we want to make that happen as soon as possible. Thank you for your time and please complete the survey!
Survey Monkey Results
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU...we had 83% of families respond to last week's survey!! Here are the results by question:
Q1: Are you aware of the guidance from the Tacoma Pierce County Health Dept that Pierce County schools should have remote learning in the fall of 2020?
- Yes = 93%
- No = 7%
Q2: What is your wish, as of today, with respect to re-opening in the Fall of 2020?
- I want 100% in-class instruction = 30%
- I want in-class instruction, but I understand the need for remote learning during periods of high case counts = 53%
- I do not feel that it is safe for my child to return and wish for remote learning only = 17%
Q3: If the school goes with remote learning would it change your enrollment status?
- Yes = 18%
- No = 45%
- Unsure = 37%
Q4: How are you doing with all of this information?
- Doing well = 15%
- Trying to go with the flow = 70%
- I'm panicking = 15%
Q5: What is other information you would like us to be aware of (job, mental health, etc.)?
- A lot of the information provided had to do with job situations, health concerns, not wanting to do online for Pre-K, etc.