Dear Bishop McDevitt Parents/Guardians and Students,
I would like to send this communication to update our families on Bishop McDevitt’s plans for Reopening school in the fall. At this time we continue to plan for a full reopening of in person learning in the fall. I am sure by now we can all appreciate (or not) the ever changing landscape of the country’s Covid-19 response efforts. While we are aware that some schools have begun to publish their plans, we believe we need to review our efforts prior to publishing these plans as the landscape continues to change and our commitment to student, staff, and community safety will drive our decisions. We do not take these efforts lightly. With that said, we do feel comfortable highlighting some key points of discussion for our community prior to publishing our full and comprehensive Reopening Plan.
We believe our plans need to be as adaptable to our student and family needs as possible as well as to the potential for the changing conditions with the Covid-19 response efforts. Despite changing conditions, Bishop McDevitt will be prepared to provide students with a comprehensive educational experience. Our current planning provides that all students will be able to receive in-person instruction in the building. We will provide those parents and students who may be uncomfortable or apprehensive about in-person learning with virtual options to include: a distance learning approach (remote from home); full online approach; and blended approach (in-person and online). Families will receive a communication that provides details of these different modalities in the coming weeks so they may choose which approach they are most comfortable with. Our curricular planning for the 2020-21 Covid-19 response will greatly minimize the adapted and more student independent curricular model presented during the emergency closure in the Spring by offering a more synchronous online component to instruction via distance learning and the presentation of real time instruction for those students and families who may choose not to be in the building.
Our plan has and will continue to receive input from teams at the Diocesan consisting of epidemiologists, administrators, solicitors, and Diocesan School Board Members. Our local team will consist of an extension of the Diocesan team and building personnel. Some details of the plan will consist of:
Based on current orders from the Governor and Secretary of Health, ALL students and staff must wear a face covering while on school transportation, in hallways and in all classrooms. Students may remove face coverings when they are: Eating or drinking and spaced at least 6 feet apart; engaged in activity(ies) where proper social distancing of 6 feet can be maintained.
All students should be prescreened by a parent or guardian each day, at home, prior to riding the bus or coming to school to assess for symptoms of illness. Any student with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher should not report to school. Any student who is ill for any other reason should also not report to school. Students not reporting to school can still access instruction via our virtual or distance learning options.
All staff will take temperatures at home each day and follow similar protocols as students.
Specific protocols for cleaning and daily hygiene practices will be implemented and assessed regularly. Additional cleaning efforts will be implemented daily and nightly.
Water fountains will not be used. Students should bring a water bottle to school each day.
Classroom spacing for students will be at minimum 3 feet as recommended by the WHO and CDC up to 6 feet when feasible.
Bishop McDevitt will implement plans to communicate any concerns about possible community or school spread of the virus should there be staff or student exposure in the school. Bishop McDevitt’s response to school and community exposure will be evaluated regularly to determine school opening and closure responses. Responses to exposure will include:
remaining fully open;
closing school for short periods of time (ranging from 24 hours to 2 weeks) to implement quarantine and sanitation efforts;
restructuring attendance schedule for cohorts of students to alternate days of face to face attendance;
and possible long term closures.
(***Please note these are highlights of the Reopening plan. A full comprehensive plan will be published for community review in the coming weeks***)
All staff, students, parent/guardians should be mindful that as long as there is COVID-19 in the community, there are no strategies that can completely eliminate the risk of transmission within the school population. Our goal is to keep transmission as low as possible to safely continue school activities and provide our students with a conscientious and rigorous Catholic Education. Based on public health status within our state and county, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Department of Health, or the Diocese of Harrisburg may designate a phase of reopening (Red, Yellow, Green) which may require our reopening plans to be amended.
Thank you and God Bless.
Vincent Harper ’92