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Principal Memo – August 10th

Dear Parents,

Below please find the initial planning document for the opening of our school.  Please read it carefully.  The key question, which I know is very concerning, is whether to send your child back to school or remain home for distance learning.  Right now the choice is full at home or a combination of in school and distance learning.

Please do not respond yet as more information will probably be coming.  Next week I will ask you to give us your choice for the start of the school year.  It is not a permanent decision, it can change week to week as events unfold.  We are trying to be as flexible as possible.

As you know many schools were closed in our diocese over the summer and the reason is always low enrollment and uncollected tuition.  We are in good shape at this time.  Some have inquired about a discount for distance learning but we cannot do that as our bills remain the same , primarily salaries. Our teachers will be working extra hard as essentially each one class is equal to two (in school and distance).  Cash flow is going to be critical to our viability.

If you have not already done so please register for FACTS tuition collection.  We can talk about individual situations once the school office re-opens.  Today the rewiring project is beginning and will take at least 2 weeks so I do not expect to have the office open until August 24 but we will continue to monitor and respond to emails.

Please stay well and enjoy the remaining weeks of summer.

Robert J. Lowenberg
Principal
St. Nicholas of Tolentine Catholic Academy
80-22 Parsons Blvd.
Jamaica, NY 11432
Telephone: 718-380-1900
Fax:  718-591-6977

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Logistics and Planning
August 9, 2020

Below are the tentative plans as of this date for the re-opening of SNT so parents can make an informed decision for their children. Please be aware that all are subject to change. All the items are included in the Logistics and Planning Document submitted to New York State and Office of the Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn.

Facility: The entire school, classrooms, hallways and bathrooms, will be cleaned and sanitized professionally each evening. The school has also purchased sanitizing equipment for use during the day as needed. Social Distancing will be maintained in classrooms and hallways. One stairway will be designated to going up and the other for down. Bathrooms will be cleaned midmorning and after lunch periods and as needed.

Entry and Exit: Doors in schoolyard will be used between 7:55 and 8:15 am by grades 1-8 and will be monitored by an adult to maintain proper distancing. Kindergarten will enter through cafeteria doors between 7:55 and 8:15. PK 3 and 4 (SNT program) will use Goethalls Avenue entrance. PKA will enter from 8:20 to 8:30
Latecomers will have to be dropped off at main school doors but parents may not enter beyond entranceway. This will also apply should be pick up be needed during the school day.
Dismissal times will be staggered. Specific times will be announced during the first week of school.

Health: All students, teachers and staff are required to do a temperature check at home before entering school. No protocols for verification have yet been devised by the Board of Health. Everyone is urged to stay home if they are not feeling well for their own and other’s protection.
Masks must be worn in the building. We realize this may be difficult especially for younger children and will try to have healthy break times.
No visitors will be allowed in school.
As of this date there will be no usage of the school building by any group or organization including Religious Education and CYO.

Classrooms: At this time the guidance is not to use air conditioners to maintain air flow. We will try to use fans and keep windows and doors open. Donations of fans would be appreciated.
Students will be kept in cohorts. This means that teachers in grades 5 to 8 will change classes while students remain in their assigned room.
Students will be encouraged to wipe down desks throughout the day. We will purchase wipes but appreciate parents supplying what they can.
Masks will be provided as needed but again we appreciate students coming to school with their own and a spare.
No books will be stored in student desks. Books may be kept home and brought to school as needed.
We expect to have enough electronic devices for each student. These can be brought home but parents are required to provide a carrying case and assume financial responsibility.
Students will eat lunch in their classrooms.
Recess schedules will be staggered.

After School: We are still planning how to maintain proper distancing in the after school program. We may have to limit numbers and grades. More details will follow.

Contact Information: It is critical that the school be able to contact you should there be a need during the day. Be sure your information is current on Option C. It is also a good idea to give this information to your child’s teacher and also note it somewhere in their backpacks or a notebook.
It is also advisable to inform the school of a few alternate adults who can pick up a child who may get sick during the school day.

Schedule: Parents will be asked to decide to begin the school year with full distance learning or an in school/distance blended approach. This schedule is subject to change based on the number of families who choose one option or the other. For example, if a large number of families opt for staying home we can accommodate more students for more days in school.
The plan at this time for the blended approach is to assign each class into A and B groups. This will allow for appropriate class sizes to maintain distance. When Group A is in school, Group B would be at home. This will allow for 2 days per week of in school learning from Monday to Thursday. Siblings even in different grades will be assigned to the same group designation.
Fridays will be allotted for teachers to:
• Designate more time to work with students who have Distance Learning Exclusively
• Allow students to catch up on work from the week with teachers available via Zoom
• Allow time for parents to meet with teachers via Zoom
• Allow time for teachers to prepare and record distance learning for the following week
• Allow time for teacher Professional Development

Once we get firm numbers on class sizes and number of distance learning and blended groups we may be able to offer more in school days up to 4 per week by utilizing other spaces in the school building. This will be decided in mid to late September.

Dress Code: Since we cannot use the air conditioners students will not required to wear uniforms at least through the month of September.

Tuition: Regular payment of tuition is critical. If you have not already done so please open a FACTS account so we can maintain cash flow. No financial assistance will be granted without a FACTS account and a commitment to make regular payments.

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