Good Afternoon Royals!
MCP has been refining our reopening plans in consultation with both our Diocese and the health department and we are ready to provide an outstanding education this fall under any scenario. The SLO County Department of Public Health continues to endorse returning students to on-campus learning for the fall. They have advised mask wearing, frequent symptom checks, cleaning/disinfecting with frequency, and social distancing to the degree practicable. The final decision will be made by our Diocese but we are eager to have students back on campus, on schedule next month.
There are still two possible 'on-campus' scenarios that we have planned for the fall (with classes starting on August 17th): 100% of students on campus, five days a week, and a 50:50 split of students where one group is on-campus for two full days and then off- campus for two full days. The off-campus days would still require students to be up and online at the start of each class (so, four times a day), they would check in with the class, participate in prayer, receive final instructions, and then logoff to begin their independent work. This would be a much more synchronous approach to off-campus instruction than students experienced in the spring.
Conditions continue to evolve every few days so a final decision about which scenario will be made by Aug. 3 and communicated out to all parents through our MCP email and social media platforms. The 50:50 model will group students through a combination of home location and alphabetical listing to allow for transportation coordination among families and keeping siblings on the same rotation.
One change that will go into effect, regardless of the scenario we adopt, will be a change to the normal school day. For the 20-21 Academic Year, the school day will begin at 8:30 am and conclude at 2:30 pm. Office Hours will occur both before and after school and we are shortening break and lunch periods. This change is driven by a combination of several factors including the vast body of scientific evidence that affirms sleep as a critical need for developing brains, a need for Office Hours before the school day (the afternoon Office Hours being so often impacted by sports and other events), and it is in anticipation of the State of California's public school mandate for 8:30 start times beginning with the 21-22 school year. While we learned many things from our Distance Learning in the spring, one of the clearest messages was the relief students felt in having more time to sleep and complete their work. We have vetted our new schedule through our entire faculty and also sought input from various parents and educational and health professionals. Whether the school is operating on campus or off campus, the 8:30 am start time will mark the beginning of instruction for this year.
On the topic of Athletics, as many of you may know, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) which governs high school athletics in our state, will be making an announcement this Monday afternoon regarding the official 'season of sport' for the '20-'21 school year. This body does not have policy making authority at any school but it does provide rules on how sports may operate in our state. We anticipate that on Monday the CIF will be redefining the earliest start date for legal practice and competition for all high school sports. While they have not put out any advanced announcement, the most likely results from Monday will be that the start of high school sports will be delayed until later in the school year. The only question is, "how much later?" We will wait and see what happens Monday but we are already planning for all outcomes and will be ready to carry on.
My last announcement for this message is an invitation to any interested parents to participate in a 'Town Hall' style Zoom conference next Tuesday, July 21 at 5:30 pm. This is an opportunity to ask questions directly of me about any topic surrounding the upcoming school year. The Zoom session will coordinated by MCP Junior parent (and P '17), Kristina Kuchinski. Details about signing in to this session will be forthcoming on Monday, July 20. Please look for those directions at that time. Any MCP parent is welcome to take part in this event to either ask questions or just listen in, and I look forward to hearing from you all.
I know we are all eager to move to a future that includes full schools and a full calendar of school events. The most effective education comes from the personal interaction of students, instructors, coaches, staff, and peers. Let us do all we can to make this a reality for these incredible young students in our community. To arrive promptly at that future, it is up to each of us to do our part in mitigating the spread of disease in our community. I would ask that the MCP community commit to the directives and guidance from our local health professionals.
These are challenging times. Keep praying for the grace and wisdom necessary carry out our individual calling. Give my best to your children. We are eager to have them back with us and are looking forward to an absolutely amazing year. There will be an after to this crisis and WeWill arrive there as a community.
Yours in Christ,