Saint Paul's Choir School Update

July 31, 2020

Dear Saint Paul's Community:

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits, today. After recovering from severe injuries at battle as a young man, he began to keep a record of his spiritual life and his prayer, which led him to eventually compose his famous “Spiritual Exercises.” At the age of 33, he decided to pursue an education to help him learn better how he could serve others, but he had to start at the beginning. He sat in a classroom with young boys and began learning basic Latin grammar. He progressed in his studies, and traveled to several different schools, finally earning a masters degree at the age of 43 at the University of Paris. Today the Jesuits are the largest order of priests and brothers in the world. They are well-known for their ministry of education—the order leads more than 500 universities and colleges. They teach hundreds of thousands of students every year. I share the inspirational life story of Ignatius to remind us of the transformative value of education and to remember that our spiritual exercises are central to our educational mission.

Re-Entry Planning Update: Our planning continues to be guided by our foremost concern for the health and safety of students, faculty, families, and the greater community with which we are in regular contact. In our session this week with our external consultants we discussed the importance of our entire communities’ contribution to mitigating, each in their own way, the risks of infection. We know that our educational goals will best move forward with in-person instruction. We remind all that this will require the commitment of our entire community to meet the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am confident that our thorough planning and thoughtful and innovative thinking will allow us to engage our students in person in a dynamic, vigorous, and fun learning environment even as the nation’s health landscape evolves.

Communication Plan: I was pleased to be joined with many from our parent community for a morning coffee on Wednesday, during which I shared some of the details of our re-entry plan. We will continue to offer various ways to keep all informed and increasingly include details of the plans that will be essential for all to know prior to our return to the school building in early September. We have posted on our website some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) that we have been receiving and answers as they are known at this time. I remind everyone that while our intent is to keep everyone informed, the nature of a pandemic is that the conditions on the ground are changing and we must all do our best to stay updated to the latest information available.

Please make every effort to attend the Monday Zoom Sessions at 8:30 am with Mrs. Flaherty, our parent liaison. She will be sharing mission critical information regarding the safety and health protocols that we will institute for all students as we return to school. Her Zoom sessions will be recorded and made available on our website if you are unable to attend any of the sessions. We have intentionally staggered information dissemination over the course of the month of August as to not overwhelm and also to ensure that we are sharing the most up-to-date information as it becomes available. Prior to allowing students to return to school we will ask all parents to sign a waiver indicating that they are familiar with all of the information we have shared on these Zoom sessions.

We know that this information requires time and dedicated attention to fully digest. Please know that we welcome your questions and remain committed to providing the best information we have available to help you to partner with us in making returning to school safe while maintaining the highest quality of education and music training consistent with our mission. We urge you to jjoin in the Zoom information sessions to become better acquainted with all that we will do to ensure the safety of our children, families and staff.

I encourage everyone to continue to pray for a successful year ahead and share the Zoom information below if you wish to join our Zoom Rosary prayer that meets every evening at 8:00 p.m. Our families have collectively prayed the rosary continuously every day since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to everyone for your unwavering support of our school and prayers for peace and good health for our nation and the world.

Thomas Haferd

Head of School

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