Dear SJBS Community,
A blessed September to all of you! At school, as in all our lives, it can be extraordinarily busy and I thank you for taking a few minutes to read through this update.
1. Where do we stand with reopening the school for in-person instruction?
- As you may be aware, this past week the state of California changed its reopening criteria and process for the counties. Instead of just having a system in which counties are either on or off the state COVID-19 watch list, now there is a tier system:
- Currently, Santa Clara County is in the "purple" or widespread tier. This has taken the place of what was previously the county data monitoring list. No counties in the purple tier are allowed to hold in-person school without a waiver. Once new cases and positive tests both meet the threshold for the red tier, the county will need to remain there for two consecutive weeks in order to be eligible for in-person school.
- The waiver: The Diocese of San Jose is applying for the waiver that would allow students from TK-6 to return to campus while the county is still in the purple tier. This week, all the DSJ elementary schools (including SJBS) are finishing and submitting their final reopening plans as part of the diocesan application for a waiver. After that point, we will wait as the application goes through the county Board of Education, Health Department, and the State.
- Limits to the waiver: As you can see, the waiver only applies to TK-6. This means that students in grades 7 and 8 will remain in distance learning until the county meets the state criteria for reopening schools that is described above (being in the "red" tier for two consecutive weeks).
- Reviewing parent commitments: At some point next week, the teachers will be reaching out to all of their parents with the list of who committed to which platform -- remaining in distance learning or moving to in-person learning as it is available. They will also indicate which parents did not reply to the original request for a commitment back in mid-July. At this point, parents will either reaffirm their commitment, change their original decision, or commit for the first time. From the time school reopens, families who commit to distance learning must remain in it until at least the end of the first trimester, allowing for stable in-person cohorts. Families with in-person students may choose to return to distance learning after this time but may not return until after the end of the trimester.
- Hybrid instruction: Beginning the year in several weeks of distance learning has been a good opportunity to work on doing one thing as well as possible. Over the coming weeks, the staff will be working together on making the transition to hybrid instruction as smoothly as we can. In welcoming some students for in-person instruction, teachers and instructional assistants will remain just as present with students in distance learning as they are now. This means the continuation of live teaching on Zoom. There will inevitably be some changes in schedules as we establish an effective hybrid platform. We will have the benefit of experience from schools around the country that are currently doing hybrid instruction, and we will also receive guidance and support from the Department of Catholic Schools. Once we know when the reopening will be, the school will hold a "reopening information night" which will describe what physical reopening will look like, including hybrid learning.
- We will also be publishing the Reopening Plan after the waiver application has been completed.
2. Back to School Night
- Back to School Night will be held this coming Tuesday, September 8 beginning at 7:00 PM. We will begin together for prayer, welcome, and some updates. Then parents will go to the various teachers' Zoom links for class meetings. TK-5 teachers will host two sessions each to accommodate families with multiple children. Middle School will have three sessions, one with teach homeroom/major subject teacher. Please sign in to each teacher's Zoom link in order to attend each session
- The schedule is as follows:
- 7:00-7:20 PM → Opening & Welcome
- 7:25-7:45 PM → Session 1
- 7:45-8:05 PM → Session 2
- 8:05-8:25 PM → Session 3 (Middle School only)
- 6-8: Parents will begin in homeroom, then move “up” grade levels
- 6 → 7 → 8
- 7 → 8 → 6
- 8 → 6 → 7
3. Family Service Signups
- By this Friday, you will receive an announcement that the Family Service list is available on MySJBS. From that point, each family will have one week to sign up for a family service volunteer job (or jobs) for this year. Thank you for your patience while this list was completely revised to meet the needs of a very unusual school year. Thank you, parents and families, for all you are doing and all you will do this coming year to build our school community in many different ways.
God bless you and your families,
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