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Principals Message - Campus Reopening News

Dear Royals Family,

I am pleased to announce that based upon the consistent health trends in our county over the past several months, MCP has been given permission to begin implementing our return to school plan.  We are reopening; to a campus that has been readied for safe operations. 

It must be noted that while early elements of this plan have already begun, it will still take time to fully implement, and it will be rolled out in phases.  Throughout all phases of implementation MCP is committed to serving those students who are unable to return to campus at this time

Please also be aware that while MCP has been cleared to reopen, it remains the case that the SLO Department of Public Health still requires that for all on-campus activities or events, students and adults are to be in masks, maintain social distance at all times, and participate in daily symptom checks, as well as other safety and hygiene measures.

The plan outlined below has been developed with our commitment to the safety of both students and staff, in fidelity to the level of excellence for our ministry to which we hold ourselves, and also to honor our sacred partnership with all MCP parents and families. I am particularly grateful to the broad coalition of stakeholders and experts who have contributed to our plan: the MCP Department Chairs, faculty, and staff; the Executive and Home Teams of the MCP Administration; the MCP Board of Regents; Dr. Penny Borenstein and the Department of Public Health for San Luis Obispo; Dr. Trees Ritter, Infectious Disease specialist; Mr. Jude Fledderman, Executive Director of Facilities Operations for CalPoly; Mr. Terrance Harris, Assistant Vice Provost of Admission and Enrollment Development at CalPoly; countless parents and community members; as well as the Superintendent for Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Monterey, Mrs. Kimberly Cheng for their collective efforts in shaping these plans.  

Phased Reopening Summary:

Phase One-10/21-11/8: Expansion of Cocurricular programming and a change in the Instructional Week 

Phase Two-11/9-11/24: Student return to on-campus instruction at 25% capacity 

Phase Three-1/11/21 and ongoing for the second semester: Scaled return to 100% on-campus instruction

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Phase One-10/21-11/8: Expansion of Cocurricular programming and a change in the Instructional Week

The first phase of our return to campus will be launched on 10/21 with an outdoor mass on our field for all sophomores and juniors (live streamed for our entire community).  This will occur after the regular (online) instructional program for that day (sophomore and junior parents will receive additional messaging on this by Monday).  

The following Wednesday, 10/28, MCP will begin altering instructional weeks to include an Asynchronous Learning day every Wednesday.  Instruction on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday will remain under the current bell schedule, but Wednesday instruction will happen much like the instructional experience from last spring; teachers will assign independent work (researching, reading, writing, reflecting, or any number of other, student-driven explorations of a topic) to be completed on the student’s schedule for that day.  This means that every week will include two days of synchronous learning, one day of asynchronous learning, then two more days of synchronous learning (what we are calling a “2+1+2” Instructional Week). 

Starting 10/21 but ongoing we will be inviting groups of students to campus for Wednesday programming with other events and activities geared towards both specific age groups and also towards the general student population.  Additionally, while the reopening plans include abundant resources for maintaining a clean and safe campus environment, 2+1+2 allows for even greater time to clean and sanitize classrooms and student spaces.

As mentioned, on Wednesday 10/21 we will be inviting all sophomore and junior class members to come to campus at 2:30pm for outdoor mass on our back field.  On 10/28 Freshman are invited to come to campus for the 18th annual freshman hike to “Paint the M'' on Cerro San Luis.  A senior event is coming on 11/4, as well as our Junior Retreat, and then a sophomore event day on Nov. 18. Overnight events are still not allowed and so the Junior retreat will be held over two consecutive days on Nov. 16 and 17.

Also in Phase I there will be an expansion of all on-campus, cocurricular programming opportunities for all students: Drama, clubs, Mock Trial, and all types of sports specific programming will see an increase.

More details about all of the above events will be forthcoming as they get closer and the online calendar has been updated to reflect the asynchronous days: 10/28, 11/4, 11/18, 12/2, 12/9 (with Veterans Day 11/11 and Thanksgiving Break 11/25 as holidays).  

Phase Two-11/9-11/24: Student return to on-campus instruction at 25% of campus capacity 

Beginning with the week of 11/9 students will be invited to return to campus (with their personal laptop and headphones required) for several days of in-person instruction, based upon class level.  This will start with Freshmen Nov. 9-13, Sophomores only November 16 and 17, Seniors only Nov. 19, and 20, and Juniors only Nov. 23 and 24 (still in our 2+1+2 format). 

Keeping the campus at 25% capacity (only one grade level) each day allows us to meet multiple needs: we can scale our reopening in a manner that is safe for students and staff and in compliance with county mandates, it allows us to test our symptom check-in process (and other campus alterations), it means that teachers at each grade level will experience several days of full classes, but it also means the every MCP student will have the option to return to campus during Phase Two, and all of this while still keeping the overall campus relatively open.  Again, those who cannot return will still be tuning in to class at their regularly scheduled time, as full participants.  

After the Thanksgiving holiday, instruction will temporarily again go fully online. This is exclusively due to the Final Exam schedule but it also allows for a natural quarantine following any Thanksgiving travel and also allows students and instructors the critical time to focus on final exams. Final exams will be administered online on December 11, 14 and 16.  December 17 is a day for any conflict or missed exams and Christmas break will extend from Dec.18 until January 10.  

Please note, traveling (or family plans) during the Thanksgiving or Christmas breaks have been identified by our Health officers as having the potential to impact virus levels in our community.  They are recommending an extended Christmas break and that the week of January 1-8 be utilized for isolation (or recovery) should a student have been exposed during their time on break.

Phase Three-1/11/21 and ongoing for the second semester: Scaled return to 100% on-campus instruction

Beginning on Monday, January 11, 2021 we will begin a prompt scaling up to a 100% return of students to our campus.  The pace of that process will be largely determined by what we learn from our Phase II experience but we are eager to get our students back with us.  

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We are grateful for this incredible partnership between school and home.  None of this plan (and no plan at any school in our state) is approaching anything like return-to-school-as-normal. However, every element of our plan: from the timing, phasing, pacing, and scale have been measured against both our commitment to safety and our mission.  That mission is to create a culture of care and accountability, in partnership with families, to form women and men of scholarship, inspiration, and leadership, in service to deeper life with God and deeper life with one another.

This plan represents the best possible path forward for our community considering the unprecedented health crisis we are facing and the needs of our entire community: students, teachers, coaches, staff and MCP families.  It also allows us to continue to deliver outstanding education even to those students who are unable to attend on-campus classes due to health limits (as well as MCP staff with their own health limitations).

I know there are many further details that are critical to a parent’s full understanding of this plan.  For this reason I am inviting all parents, by grade level, to participate in Town Hall style Zoom sessions where I will be available to answer any questions.  Those events are tentatively scheduled for the evenings of 10/21 (open to all parents), and then on 10/26 for Freshmen parents, 10/27 for Sophomores, 10/28 for Juniors, and 10/29 for Seniors.  The zoom link will be sent to each family based upon their youngest child at MCP.

Thank you again for your faith and trust in this ministry.  We continue to pray for the grace and wisdom to discern God’s will in all of this.  Please continue to support our amazing faculty who remain on the front lines of this crisis and please pray for the enduring success of our school.  There will be an after to this crisis and WeWill arrive there as a community.

Yours in Christ,

Mike Susank

Principal