Catholic School Matters
May 3, 2020
Safety & Normalcy
There certainly is a wealth of speculation about what we can expect when we reopen our schools this fall. It’s worth taking some time to consider the different scenarios and considering how we can meet the needs of our parents. Specifically, it seems most parents want safety and normalcy. What if we can provide exactly that through our planning?
This report from San Diego County has some of the best scenarios I’ve seen and this story about the Denmark schools which have reopened offers us a peek into the future. Check out the 20% and 50% scenarios that the SD report offers. In the 20% scenario, students/families are assigned one day per week to attend face-to-face instruction. The Monday group, for example, would become a larger quarantine circle, if you will, since the students could perhaps socialize with that group. On the other four days, those students would have a larger social circle and parents would have other families to share childcare and home instruction.
For smaller schools, the 50% scenario might make more sense. For schools who’ve set up families or houses, they might incorporate those structures into their cohorts. Putting aside (momentarily) the concerns about how to design simultaneous instruction, I believe our Catholic schools have the agility (and ability) to adapt to these circumstances and insure safety and normalcy. Perhaps not the normalcy of the pre-pandemic world, but a normalcy rooted in planning for every contingency.
If a student becomes infected, then the quarantine circle would have to stay home, not the entire school. As I’ve approached these scenarios, I’ve had this nagging marketing concern that we might want to perhaps play down our planning for remote instruction because our families are hungry for face-to-face instruction and a return to the way things were. Yet these scenarios actually lead to the continuous operations of the school. In the tradition model, for example, one infection might mean the entire school is shut down. In the 20% or 50% hybrid models, the school could continue and thus, we can market ourselves as the safest, most consistent option for the next year.
I offer Faustin Weber’s reflections here for a look at how one Catholic school leader is thinking about planning for next year and another link (in case you missed it) to the “Open Letter to Independent School Leaders.”
Want to keep up with the conversations surrounding Catholic education? Set up your own Google Alert, subscribe to this newsletter by clicking "follow," subscribe to the Catholic Schools Daily, or subscribe to the Catholic School Matters podcast.
Dr. Tim Uhl
This edition of Catholic School Matters is sponsored by the Institute for School and Parish Development (ISPD), a national development consulting firm founded in 1989; ISPD works exclusively with Catholic schools, parishes, and dioceses. In partnership with the University of Dayton, the Institute for School and Parish Development (ISPD) will be offering three new on-line summer courses beginning the week of June 15, 2020. Titled ISPD Summer Institute, 2020, each course will award Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and a Certificate of Completion from the university. Students not interested in the above are invited to audit any one or more of the courses. The three courses are:
- Moving Your Catholic School Forward NOW: How to Create a Plan of Action to Face COVID-19 Challenges through People Engagement
- Moving Your Catholic Parish Forward NOW: How to Create a Plan of Action to Face COVID-19 Challenges through People Engagement
- 15 More Lessons Learned in 30+ Years in Catholic School Development: Moving Forward with Valuable Operational Vitality Lessons Midst the Challenges of COVID-19
For Your Reflection
Resources from the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Teaching Resilience has free downloads and resources
Here is a link to my curated list of Education, Technology, Religion, and Advancement free resources. I'll update daily!
What I'm Reading
The Last 5 Books:
- Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (2012) by David Quammen.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts (1992) by Gary Chapman
Beyond Obedience and Abandonment: Toward a Theory of Dissent in Catholic Education (2012) by Graham P. McDonough
How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning, and Community (2018) by Judith Valente
Evolving Learner: Shifting from Professional Development to Professional Learning (2020) by Lainie Rowell, Kristy Andre, and Lauren Steinmann
Click this link for a full list of my professional reading