From Principal Tom Korta
I will start sending regular emails about our plans to re-open Pius this fall. This announcement is intended to communicate some initial decisions we have made, and also to inform you of our process for future decisions. If the Lincoln Lancaster County Health Department’s COVID dial (found here) is in the red zone, we will move to complete remote learning as we did this past spring. Otherwise…
1. We will begin the school year on August 17th with students physically in attendance, following a normal, 8 period schedule every day.
2. All students and staff will be required to wear a mask when indoors.
3. The fall kickoff dance is canceled. We are exploring options for the Homecoming Dance.
Our decision to require masks is based on consultation with local medical professionals and representatives from the health department. These are just a few of the compelling bits of information that informed our decision:
1. COVID is primarily spread “breath-to-breath”
2. If everyone is wearing masks and one student tests positive, the only student who has to stay home is the one who tested positive. Otherwise, all students in each of his or her classes would have to stay home.
3. COVID can be spread without a person showing symptoms
4. When everyone is masked, strict social distancing becomes less of a concern. It is far easier to enforce mask-wearing than 6-ft distancing at all times
5. Our school is a social intersection for the entire city—we draw students from literally all across the city and even beyond its borders. We have a heightened responsibility to the community to reduce the risk of spreading COVID.
We will be educating our students and staff on the three W’s: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, and Wait (maintain social distance). I encourage you to begin talking with your students about the Three W’s soon.
We have formed committees to look at various aspects of re-opening school:
1. Instruction and Remote Learning
2. Facilities Issues
3. Medical Policies and Protocols
4. Alternative Scheduling Options
An email like this could well trigger more questions than it does give answers. I am sorry to say that I cannot give too many more specific answers to questions right now. I plan to communicate much more about our plans on or before July 20th, with the goal of giving you a very clear picture of what school will look like for your students. I am aware that not everyone wants their child to wear masks at school. I expect that we will have greater rates of student and teacher absenteeism, and we will be working on a plan to provide continued instruction to those who cannot be physically present due to illness or self-quarantine. We also have to be prepared for the possibility that Pius is forced to go entirely to remote learning at some point during the school year.
Our focus will be on providing quality instruction while doing what we can to protect the health of our staff and students. We will constantly be weighing the benefits of various activities and social events against the potential risks they might present.
I ask your prayers for wisdom and good guidance for all who are involved in this summer’s decision-making process. Of course I hope that you and your loved ones remain healthy and safe this summer.