Dear Seton Catholic Preparatory Community,
I pray this message finds you and your family well. This message is part of my regular updates over the summer to help keep you informed as to our plans for August 2020. The Mission of Seton Catholic Preparatory is to provide a college preparatory curriculum within a Catholic faith community focusing on academic excellence, leadership and loving service to others. We continue to work on our plan to reopen the school in August and I hope to provide a summary later next week. To reiterate our goals to reopen in August, we plan to serve our mission while at the same time try to protect the health and safety of our students, parents, and staff.
While our preference is always to have our community together in-person and on campus, our plan will outline different operating approaches to serve our mission through various means - online, hybrid/blended, and in-person. Our goal is to begin classes in August with in-person instruction, but we have plans in place if this is not possible. We recognize the need to have different models in place to work between throughout the school year. Flexibility (short-term) and adaptability (long-term) will play a significant role in any plan moving forward and we recognize the need to allow for such changes as the situation dictates. What will trigger the move to one instructional approach to another will be the school’s COVID-19 exposure and in consultation with the Maricopa Public Health Department and the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Phoenix.
Below are some additional areas I wish to address in the meantime:
Students and staff members who feel ill or who have COVID-19 symptoms will need to stay home. The days of fighting through a cold or illness to make it to a test or for an after-school event are over. Staying home is part of practicing personal responsibility to help protect the greater community. In-person lessons will be recorded and available for students and parents who choose to stay home.
Gov. Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-44
We were originally scheduled to begin with students on August 10, 2020. If we are required to begin in-person instruction after August 17, 2020 as per Gov. Ducey’s Executive Order, we will make up those days in a revised annual calendar as needed. If we are delayed until the 17th, we will begin with small group orientation of Freshmen the week of August 10, 2020 and more specific information will be sent to Freshman parents and students at a later date. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will begin their instruction on the 17th under this scenario.
Synchronous v. Asynchronous Online Learning
We plan on offering synchronous learning opportunities for students if we are required to move towards online learning at any time during the school year. Students will have a schedule of online classes where they will meet with their teacher for instruction. Below is an explanation from Instructure to help better understand the difference between synchronous and asynchronous learning.
Asynchronous e-learning, is a just-in-time, on-demand student learning experience. It is commonly facilitated by internet communications media such as e-mail and discussion boards. Students do not need to schedule their time around the predetermined plan of the instructor. There is complete flexibility with asynchronous training, which comes in two forms, facilitated and self-paced. Asynchronous e-learning makes it possible for learners to log on to an e-learning environment at any time and download documents or send messages to teachers or peers. In other words, participants communicate at different times from different places using the same communication tool.
Synchronous e-learning involves geographically dispersed students accessing the same web site at the same time as an instructor. This type of learning is commonly supported by internet communications media such as videoconferencing and chat. The instructor typically "drives" a slideshow presentation, which the students watch while connected to a conference web site. Students can ask questions or provide comments through the phone line, or through a chat window.
Isolation Room on Campus
Students and staff members who begin to feel symptoms of COVID-19 while on campus are to report to the isolation room and contact the main office by phone. The location of the school's isolation room will be announced in the coming weeks.
Thanks again for your continued support and may God’s blessings be with you and your families.