Dear Parents, Guardians, Alumni, Parishioners, and Friends of St. Joseph School,
I hope this finds all of you staying healthy and taking advantage of the beautiful place we all call home! Please read this update thoroughly, as it outlines the process and reasoning behind our SJS Reopening Plan. As I write these words, please note: ALL REOPENING PLANS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS WE RESPOND, ADJUST, AND APPLY FLEXIBILITY TO THE CURRENT PANDEMIC SITUATION.
Over the last six weeks, three highly dedicated SJS faculty members and myself have been working on a solid, responsive, and innovative reopening plan for the St. Joe’s community. In doing so, we focused on the key tenants of: individual safety, continuity/least amount of change, CDC compliance, local Missoula/Montana compliance, impacts on budget, impacts on working parents, and meeting the needs of current and prospective families and students while providing a rigorous and dynamic learning experience. The plan has been approved by the Superintendent of Montana Catholic Schools and submitted to the Missoula Health Department for review.
1. As you take a look at the plan (CLICK HERE to read) , you can assume we will be in Phase 2, but you can see that consideration was given to different phases that we may have to move in and out of throughout the school year. Please note that SJS will keep its original August 26th start date and end the year approximately early June (also due to change if we have to adjust our instructional hours due to closures of any kind). However, SJS will adopt a modified calendar and an extended school day in an attempt to maximize on-site learning prior to regular high flu season. You will see in our modified calendar that we will either close or be in remote learning during anticipated high flu months. SJS will have on-site learning Monday-Thursday of each week, with Fridays limited to remote learning for ALL SJS students.
2. We also want to incorporate remote learning platforms consistently so our students and teachers will be fluent and comfortable with all remote learning offerings and expectations if faced with shifts in state and/or local reopening phases.
3. We also will provide remote learning for any family/student who cannot attend due to being immunocompromised or living with someone who is OR who is not comfortable returning to school given the pandemic. We ask all families/students who will be opting for 100% remote learning to contact me directly at email@example.com by August 4,so that faculty can plan their lessons accordingly.
4. The document you are reviewing today does not encompass all new routines and protocols that will be in place within the building as we strive to keep the learning environment safe and healthy. Those details will be shared as they are developed in the upcoming weeks. However, please be aware that ALL students, faculty, and staff will be wearing masks, washing hands multiple times a day, and practicing social distancing.
5. Calendar changes to take note of for planning purposes: August 26th start date. Extended school day to 3:30 M-Th for on-site learning. Fridays are remote learning for ALL SJS students. Minimal days off until Thanksgiving break. Remote learning for ALL SJS students Nov. 30-Dec. 11th. Winter Break is Dec.14-Jan. 18 to provide families with time to travel if needed and/or quarantine (if they did travel), prior to returning to school. We tried to keep regular high flu season in mind and avoid having students in the building as much as possible. Our modified calendar is similar to that adopted by the University of Montana and Montana State University.
I understand that this is a lot to consider in this time of uncertainty and change! Please feel comfortable contacting me with your questions and I will do my best to answer them. Thank you to all of you who have communicated thus far, offered your ideas, knowledge, support and generosity as we all work towards a safe and productive back-to-school experience for St. Joseph School students and families.
In closing, stay well and continue to mask up and do our individual part in keeping one another healthy. I continue to pray for all of Missoula Catholic Schools, our selfless faculty and staff, and each of you each day.
In Christ’s Peace,
Christina Vierra McGill, SJS Principal