The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released its guidance on how we may reopen in person for the 2020-2021 school year. While DESE may release additional guidelines, we have used this valuable information to plan Our Path Forward. Our Path Forward is our plan for reopening in the fall. Several teams have been working on essential components of the plan, including health and safety, academics and instruction, finances, community engagement and more. In all of our planning, we are guided by these five principles:
- We prioritize the health and safety of our students, their families, and our faculty and staff.
- We value the opportunity to learn in person and to gather as a school community.
- We must plan and be prepared for multiple scenarios in case we shift to remote learning or a hybrid of in-person instruction and remote learning.
- We will provide outstanding academic instruction meaningful faith formation, and engaging community experiences.
- We will leverage our partnership with Boston College and with other health and education experts.
Guided by these principles, we are continuing to plan for a return to school with in-person learning. Although our teachers did an excellent job with remote learning this past spring, we recognize the many benefits that come with being together at school. While some of the local public districts have announced hybrid models or remote learning, we are pleased to be able to provide in-person learning five days a week. We have large classrooms that allow us to space students 6 feet apart in every direction. We also have additional spaces, such as the art and music rooms, that we are able to use as classroom spaces. Finally, we do not have some of the considerations, like how to transport students on school buses, that public schools do.
In addition to our spacious indoor facilities, we also have ample outdoor space. We are working with our class schedules to maximize the time that students can be outside for instruction. And as in years past, our playgrounds, field, and yard will be used for recess. Students will remain with just their homeroom classmates for recess, and we will provide classroom recess equipment so that students are not sharing materials with other student groups.
Option for Remote Learning
We are pleased to offer an option for a robust remote learning program in recognition that some students may not be able to attend in-person learning. Full remote learning will be led by a faculty member dedicated to teaching our students at home. The curriculum focuses on core content, including math, ELA, social studies, science, and religion. Students will engage in at least one Zoom meeting each day with their remote learning teacher and classmates. This Zoom meeting will include both a morning meeting and live instruction. Students will also work on assignments asynchronously during the day, with an option to visit their teacher in the afternoon for office hours.
Last spring when we closed our school, we quickly pivoted to a remote learning program within days. We are happy to share this video of our students, family and staff adjusting to the new learning routine.
“We were amazed as to how quickly Saint Columbkille was able to institute remote online learning. Each day we do morning exercises, prayers, and then our two sons begin studies remotely on their computers. The teachers have done an outstanding job in providing assignments, commenting on their work, and providing Zoom meetings for the entire class, as well as individually. The Saint Columbkille staff has certainly taken what could have been a negative and turned it into very positive. As first year parents whom the closing of Saint Jude displaced, we are delighted to be part of the Saint Columbkille community.”
–Adam Walder, dad of a grade 3 and grade 5 student