Happy Thanksgiving!! We express our gratitude for you and your family being a part of our community. We express our gratitude for your support and trust in our Catholic school community. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!
Today is our next decision point for our mode of instruction. Our decisions described below could change depending on circumstances following the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Community spread of COVID-19 in Johnson County is extremely high as indicated by the positive test rate as well as the number of new cases. We continue to watch the data carefully to understand the context within which we are operating and ensure that we are being responsible members of our community. Having said that, we have learned a lot over the last six months. While community spread is an important factor in our decision-making for our mode of instruction, we have come to believe the most important data points are as follows:
The number of active COVID-19 cases in our student body and our ability to contact trace and quarantine close contacts.
The number of incidences of COVID-19 being contracted while at school.
The number of cases amongst our staff members and whether that would allow us to properly staff our school.
Here is our current status at Saint Thomas Aquinas High School (update on 11/20)
Current Number of Positive Cases 12 (all back after Thanksgiving)
Current Number Close Contacts Quarantined 48 (44 back after Thanksgiving)
Please note that if we see any in school transmissions or we are unable to staff our building, then we would move to remote learning for a period of time. That is not the case at this time. Simply put, if going to school is not contributing to community spread and we can continue to effectively staff, operate, and manage our school day safely, then we believe we should be in school.
We will be using a combination of 12:15 dismissals and office hours in the afternoon for the first 8 schools days after Thanksgiving break. We do this for a couple of reasons. One, we are removing lunch, which is a higher risk event in which students are not wearing masks. Once we go back to full schedule, this will place us 2 weeks after Thanksgiving. Two, we feel our students will benefit from the use of office hours to get caught up. The intention of this time is that students will be able to come visit their teacher to get help or make-up a test at school. Please encourage your students to use this time. After school practices will not begin until 3:00. Our schedule will look like this:
1 & 2 8:00 - 9:00
STA & 4 9:05 - 10:05
5 & 6 10:10 - 11:10
7 & 8 11:15 - 12:15
Office Hours 1:00 - 2:30
Monday 11/30 - Odd 12:15 Dismissal
Tuesday 12/1 - Even 12:15 Dismissal
Wednesday 12/2 - Odd 12:15 Dismissal
Thursday 12/3 - Even 12:15 Dismissal
Friday 12/4 - Odd 12:15 Dismissal
Monday 12/7 - Even 12:15 Dismissal
Tuesday 12/8 - Odd 12:15 Dismissal
Wednesday 12/9 - Even 12:15 Dismissal
Thursday 12/10 - Odd - full day
Friday 12/11 - Even - full day
Monday 12/14 - Odd - full day
Tuesday 12/15 - Even - full day
Wednesday 12/16 - Odd - full day
Thursday 12/17 - Even - full day
Finals exams...we are still going to have final exams. We are going to adjust things a bit. We are going to reduce the weight of final exams to be worth 10%. We will also be giving every student a “Merry Covid Christmas Waiver”. Students will be able to use this for any class and for any grade. We will still be using an exempt for anyone with a grade of 96% or higher.
Here is the finals schedule…
Hour 1: 8:00 - 9:30
Hour 2: 9:40 - 11:10
Hour 4: 8:00 - 9:30
Hour 5: 9:40 - 11:10
Hour 6: 11:40 - 1:10
Hour 7: 8:00 - 9:30
Hour 8: 9:40 - 11:10
Please celebrate Thanksgiving safely and responsibly so that we can continue to have school safely and responsibly! Encourage you students to make wise decisions with the mask wearing, and the size of groups. Size of gatherings, wearing masks, washing hands, and staying physically distant from others continue to be the recommendations of health officials throughout the country.
As Advent begins soon, we will notify the students when opportunities for Reconciliation will be available.