From the Feb. 8, 2021 Newsletter:
School Re-Opening February 15
As many of you probably heard, there have been published peer-reviewed studies that confirmed COVID transmissions in schools are nearly non-existent when mitigation practices are followed. In fact, the CDC is now recommending schools reopen when strong mitigation plans are in place, even if teachers have yet to be vaccinated. Fortunately, unlike many schools across the country (and even in the state), teachers have been receiving their vaccines for the last two and a half weeks, and some are scheduled for their second shot as early as next week.
Given the new diocesan and PCHD guidelines, the St. A's school board has unanimously approved the school to go back to full hybrid on Monday, February 15.
Students choosing not to be on campus may still take their classes via Zoom. We are essentially returning to the same arrangement that was in place last semester.
Here are a few reminders:
The classes will follow the bell schedule below on MONDAY, TUESDAY, THURSDAY and FRIDAY (Wednesdays will continue to be used for Zoom tutorials):
1st Period: 8:00 – 8:50
2nd Period: 9:00 – 9:50
3rd Period: 10:00 – 10:50
4th Period 11:00 – 11:50
LUNCH: 12:00 – 12:25
5th Period: 12:30 – 1:20
6th Period: 1:30 - 2:20
All students must be picked up immediately after 6th period.
For students taking the bus on M,T, Th or F, the schedule for pick-up is:
St. Johns 7:00am
Santa Cruz 7:15am
St. Ambrose 7:25am
The bus will depart from St. A's at 2:25pm.
Students choosing to take their classes on-campus are required to be in uniform, which includes either a St. A's polo or St. A's T-Shirt. They must also must bring their Chrome books and chargers.
All students on campus must wear an appropriate face mask (gaiters are not permitted) at all times except while eating during the lunch period. Social distancing will be strictly enforced in the classroom and at lunch.
If you are getting school lunch, please contact Ms.Gonzales:
For a video from Pima County Health on schools and COVID, please click here
Excerpt from most recent Parent Letter:
This week the diocese made a general recommendation that schools do not return to on-campus learning until all three Pima County Health Department (PCHD) indicators are yellow. Currently, they are all red.
In the last Zoom meeting with PCHD, they indicated they were more willing to allow schools with younger children to open with only one indicator as yellow because younger children followed mitigation protocols better than older students and younger children stayed in cohorts (self contained classes), older students typically did not.
Since August, St. A students have been in nearly 100% compliance with our mitigation plan. Also, our mitigation plan stipulates that students remain in cohorts, which can significantly reduce transmission. Given these factors, and the reality that the St. A’s campus is able to spread students out more safely than most, the school is able to ensure a significantly higher degree of compliance to a strong mitigation plan than most high schools. Because of this, the diocese and PCHD approved St. A’s proposal to expand its definition of “at-risk” students, which is crucial in helping those students that need to be on campus most, while still maintaining a safe environment for all students, faculty, and staff.
Beginning February 8, the school will begin a “modified hybrid” phase of learning for at-risk students.
The school’s definition of at-risk will include those students:
- With problems connecting to the internet at home
- With documented special learning needs
- Whose parents cannot provide adequate supervision or a suitable learning environment during the school day
- That are failing a class
- Who are suffering from depression or similar symptoms caused by being in the remote learning environment
Although the classes will not be fully hybrid as they were last semester, teachers will interact and engage with the at-risk students in their classrooms.
We know that many in our St. Augustine community have been affected by this virus. We pray for the health and safety of all our community during this time.
COVID 19 UPDATES
Excerpt from school's Mitigation Plan
a. If a student in a class cohort shows signs of COVID :
- Isolate the student and monitor symptoms; staff member monitoring must wear PPE including gloves and masks.
- Isolate any area(s) that the student was in for longer than 15 min. and prepare the area for cleaning/disinfecting according to CDC guidelines (wait 24 hours or as long as practicable to clean and disinfect).
- Call the student’s parents/guardians to have them pick up the student
b. Students/Staff who are symptomatic, must isolate for 10 days from start of symptoms, have 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications and show a reduction in symptoms. If the individual receives an alternate diagnosis (not-COVID) from a physician, or receives a negative test result, they do not have to isolate for 10 days, but must have 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications and show a reduction in symptoms.; if diagnosed with COVID, he/she may not return until:
- 24 hours fever-free without the use of fever-reducing medications
- Symptoms improved and
- 10 days isolation since symptoms first appeared and
- Doctor’s note releasing student back to school
c. When there is a diagnosis of COVID, the school notifies parents of the student’s cohort that there was a positive diagnosis of COVID within the cohort and all health/safety protocols were followed. Parents can decide whether to quarantine their children for 14 days or send them to school. If parents keep children home, the school will provide an at-home learning option.
d. The school notifies County Health Dept. with any COVID-positive cases. According to the County Health Dept., because this is a pandemic, if County Health requests names of others possibly exposed in order to do contact tracing, the school can provide the names without violating FERPA.
e. In any cases of symptoms or COVID-positive cases, school staff are alerted to what cohort(s) were affected and what areas of campus are closed until disinfecting is completed.
f. For purposes of this plan, a class outbreak is 2 or more positives that are not epidemiologically linked.
NEW SPORTS GUIDANCE
Pima County Health Department (PCHD) issued in early October new guidance for contact sports. PCHD considers the following St. A's sports to be contact sports:
The new guidance recommends no practices or games unless the community (in this case, Pima County) rate of infection is less than 10 per 100,000. As of mid October, that rate is currently above 50 per 100,000.
This is a difficult issue - it potentially pits the safety of students attending classes on campus against those wishing to play a sport.
St. A's developed the conditions below that will allow our contact sports to continue to participate in their seasons. These conditions, which essentially places each contact sport athlete in a "bubble," were approved by the St. A's school board and reviewed by PCHD.
- All student-athletes involved IN CONTACT SPORTS may not attend classes on campus, they must attend 100% of their classes online.
- All student-athletes involved IN CONTACT SPORTS are not allowed to participate in non-contact sport activities (games, practices, pre-season conditioning) or on-campus clubs during the season they are participating in a contact sport.
- The parents of all student-athletes involved IN CONTACT SPORTS must sign a waiver in order for them to participate in their sport.
- Spectators for CONTACT SPORTS will be limited to only families of senior students, two per student. Masks and social distancing will be required.(We actually have this currently for Volleyball, NOT considered a contact sport).
- Five calendar days after the last contact sport event student athletes may return to on-campus learning providing:
- They are symptom free
- There is no reported positive test from the St. A's team, or the team they had played.
It is quite unfortunate we are forced to require these conditions, but we do so out of an abundance of caution. As always, your cooperation and understanding is greatly appreciated.
Some FAQs during the time the campus is closed. Normally these would have been addressed in person!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How will my child recover from not having his elective classes this semester or for the year if online learning continues?
A: The state elective requirements for graduation is 8 credits (1 to include fine arts). At St. A’s we built into our curriculum to include 4 credits of Theology and 2 credits of World Languages. Your teen will still be able to make up the remaining 2 credits during the remainder of his/her high school years.
Q: What is the typical academic path a student will follow as well as with honors classes.
A: Please refer to the St. Augustine Course Catalog for an explanation of different course tracks: https://www.staugustinehigh.com/editoruploads/files/St__A_s_Course_Catalog_2020-2021.pdf
Q: Are there additional educational sites we should be using in addition to class time?
A: Each teacher will assign any additional sites or resources for their particular class.
Q: How is grading being measured during distant learning?
A: Each class has a syllabus which outlines the grading criteria for that class. Any specific questions on grading should be directed to the student’s teacher.
Q: What flexibility do the students have if assignments can’t be turned in timely due to technology issues?
A: If technology issues prevent a student from turning in or completing work, the parent should notify the teacher by email so they can make accommodations.
Q: When is the best time to contact a teacher on homework issues?
A: Anytime a parent or student has a question on homework they should email the teacher. Emails are responded to within one business day.
Q: Is there any way to track if students submit something through Google Classroom so both teachers and students can confirm when online submissions took place?
A: Yes, all assignments using Google Classroom are time stamped and have a revision history. The revision history would include when it was assigned, turned in and returned
Q: Will students have additional time to complete assignments if struggling in that class? Since this type of learning is new to everyone and may not work for every student.
A: Teachers should be notified by either parents or the student when they are struggling because of the online learning mode. Teachers will make accommodations to help students - the goal is mastery of the content, not mastery of the technology.
Q: Are grades updated automatically or will it take a day or two to post?
A: Per school policy, teachers have one week to grade and update assignments into RenWeb.
Q: How do honors, AP and DE classes work with weighting?
A: Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment Courses are weighted +.5 (an A=4.5) and Honors Courses are weighted +.25 (A=4.25). All other courses are un-weighted (A=4.0).
Q: Are AP classes the same as honor classes?
A: No. Advanced Placement (AP) classes are more rigorous than an honors class, and can count for college credit depending in the grade received on the AP Test (taken in May) and the college the student is entering,
Q: At what point are students allowed to take classes for college credit?
A: Generally students may begin taking Advanced Placement classes beginning in their sophomore year. Dual Enrollment classes are offered to all students who qualify beginning their junior year.
Q: Will Wednesday permanently be made a tutoring day?
A: At this point Wednesday will remain as a tutoring or small group instruction day for as long as a our students remain off-campus. Once back on campus, tutoring will be each afternoon after classes end.
Q: What are the policies for early release or appointments such as dental? Do we need to call the school ahead of time, even during remote learning?
A: Parents should call the office (751-8300) for the absence to be considered excused. This should occur both during the online period, and when the campus reopens. Students are encouraged to email their teachers to see what they will miss but parents must call in order for the absence to be marked as excused.
Q: In Renweb’s attendance records, what is the difference between AE, AU, TE and TU?
A: If a student is not present for a class, they are either marked AU (Absent Unexcused) or AE (Absent Excused). The designation AE is only used when a parent notifies the front office of an impending absence.
For online period: If a student is tardy to class, they will be marked TU (Tardy Unexcused) if they show up within 10 minutes of the start of class. If they are more than 10 minutes late, they will be marked AU. Additionally, during Distance Learning, a teacher will do random attendance checks during class through means such as assessment questions, using chats, and verbal questions. If a student fails to answer or respond in a timely manner, the student may be marked AU.
Once campus reopens: If a student is tardy to class, they will be marked TU (Tardy Unexcused) if they show up within 5 minutes of the start of class. If they are more than 5 minutes late, they will be marked AU. A student may be marked TE (Tardy Excused) if they are late for class, but have a note from an administrator.
Q: What is the policy for missing class that day? And if there is a quiz/test, etc…
A: If the absence is an excused, the teacher will allow the student to make up the quiz in a subsequent class period.
Q: How much advance notice does my child need to notify their teacher in order to schedule tutoring?
A: Students should notify their teachers immediately when they feel they need tutoring. Teachers will make every attempt to schedule the tutoring at their earliest convenience. Teachers are available during their scheduled Wednesday office hours without an appointment.
Q: Is there a cost to tutoring?
A: There is no charge for tutoring.
Q: Do all teachers offer tutoring?
A: Yes, it is school policy that all teachers offer tutoring.
Q: Is there communication with parents when your child doesn’t recognize that tutoring or extra support is needed?
A: Yes. teachers will include parents on emails concerning tardies, unexcused absences, missing work and failing grades.
Q: When/ where are resources available?
A: Students/parents can request a meeting with our Intervention Specialist, Mrs. Thompson, by contacting her directly at email@example.com.
Q: Will there be fall sports?
Yes, we are in the process of scheduling games beginning in early October. In the meantime, St. A’s will continue to allow practices under conditions that maintain a safe environment per CDC guidelines.
Q: Will there be any restrictions on fall sports?
A: There will be a few restrictions on fall sports:
- We will not travel to locations that might require an overnight stay, or a food or bathroom stop along the way.
- We will not allow spectators at our events, and will not travel to locations that allow spectators.
- We will not participate in tournaments
Also, the amount of scheduled Junior Varsity games may be impacted due to travel issues.
Q: Will other seasons be impacted by COVID 19?
A: We are also unsure at this time whether the restrictions placed upon fall sports will be extended to winter or spring sports.
Q: What is the process or timeline with working with the college/career counselor and how does that process work - what grade do they start? Do the kids have to seek her out?
A: The college and career counseling program at St. A’s spans all four years.
- During freshman year, students are guided in looking at graduation requirements and planning their four years to meet them. We also work with student interests to begin learning about potential careers.
- As sophomores, discussion focuses on the benefits of postsecondary education, as well as how students’ personal interests and academic strengths impact their options for continuing their education. We continue to explore career options with these things in mind.
- The focus of junior year is on laying the groundwork for making decisions about postsecondary plans. We discuss the role of admissions tests, begin to work on personal essays, and create a college list.
- Finally, senior year is devoted to completing college applications, financial aid (FAFSA and scholarships), and making decisions about next steps in the students’ education process.
Students interact with the college counselor all four years in class lessons and small group activities. Underclassmen are encouraged to schedule individual meetings with the counselor to ask questions about the college-going process and discuss their postsecondary options. Juniors and seniors are required to attend some individual meetings for guidance and support in the tasks leading to postsecondary education, and to share updates on their progress through the process.
Questions on lunch or buses:
Q: How and when do we sign up for the buses?
A: An email was sent inviting parents to sign up to use the bus service once Pima County health officials have allowed us to reopen the campus. If for whatever reason you didn’t sign up with that email, please call Mrs. Walsh at the school office (751-8300).
Q: Once on-campus classes begin, how do students pay for their lunches?
Lunches are to be ordered through RenWeb regardless of lunch status (Free, Reduced, Full Pay). Funds can be added to your Hot Lunch Prepay Account at any time. You do not have to pay for the lunches when you order.
Links that may help during this time:
Internet service during Coronavirus:
CDC guidelines for Coronavirus
Diocese of Tucson website
Pima County Health Department Updates
How to help your teens who may be anxious during this time