Saint Paul's Choir School

Response to Corona Virus Outbreak - March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Massachusetts - Closing of all non-essential businesses

As announced yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker issued an order closing all non-essential businesses and a stay-at-home directive commencing today, March 24. See the series of documents in the links below for more information.

However, in the document from the Governor on “essential services,” an exception is carved out for “educators and staff supporting...K-12 schools...for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing.” As a basic matter, if our staff can perform functions at home rather than at the school, they should do so. But this language does give you some latitude for staff to visit schools for needed materials, etc.

· Press Release: Governor Charlie Baker orders all non-essential businesses to cease in-person operations

· Click here for the full list of categories of “COVID-19 Essential Services”

· Click here for a copy of the Emergency Order

· Click here for a copy of the Guidance of Assemblages

Yesterday's COVID-19 Briefings from the Government

· White House: White House Announces New Partnership to Unleash U.S. Supercomputing Resources to Fight COVID-19

· City of Boston

Saint Paul’s Choir School Updates

Today our amazing faculty met to reflect upon the first week of remote learning. We are all experiencing some disorientation in this time lacking any sense of normalcy. However, one factor brought solace to all – that we are maintaining regular contact with students and families and learning is moving forward. For example, faculty and staff reported that students were engaged in academic work for anywhere between 2 to 4 hours every day. Yes, for some it could be more. We typically spend from 7:30 to 3:15 in school every day. However, that includes almost three and a half hours of rehearsal and daily Mass, which we have yet to find a way to replicate. We are pleased with this start, but as we move forward, and it looks to be a longer period of time for this “at home” stage, we can and will be making adjustments and improvements. We are currently preparing to teach remotely for the next month or more.

Thanks to technology, we are holding faculty meetings, and many of the usual SPCS questions were raised: How can I best help my students understand the material? How can I best support each and every one of my students? Where are the best resources for my subject area? How can we teachers effectively share resources and ideas with one another? Are there better ways to deliver instruction online?

As you can imagine at one of our meetings, there’s quite a bit of humor: you can’t have a virtual meeting room full of entertaining, committed, intelligent and thoughtful people who love working with children without encountering a lot of wisdom and humor, especially in these challenging times.

Is online teaching and learning working smoothly for everyone? Not at all. There are areas where we know that, and we have heard from you that we have missed. There are inevitable technical challenges. Do we think that this is going better than if we were all in the classroom? Absolutely not. Nothing is as good as the back-and-forth of teacher/student dialogue, not to mention the humor and wisdom of student-to-student dialogue. We miss out on all the informal interaction that inevitably leads to engagement at a level impossible online. Yet, despite the radical change, our staff are committed to meet students where they are at and move them forward on their learning journeys. More than ever, our faculty are responding with an open mind, flexibility in the moment and determination to engage every student as best they can. Thanks to all families, we are making progress every day.

Again this evening consider enriching your spiritual life during this time of social distancing by joining us for the SPCS virtual rosary at 6:30 p.m. and tuning into Cardinal O’Malley for his virtual retreat at 7:00 p.m.

SPCS Rosary ZOOM details:

Meeting ID: 323 048 8975

No password required.