October 23, 2020
It is difficult to believe we are approximately a week away from the month of November. As the first quarter shortly comes to an end, I thought this would be a great time to update our SRA families and students on several key items. We will maintain the hybrid model (Purple & Gold Teams) at Saint Raphael Academy through the month of November. The administration will review the COVID-19 infection rates locally and nationally at the end of every month and make a decision based on the safety and wellbeing of all Saint Raphael Academy community members. We have all seen the COVID-19 infection rates spike in Rhode Island and I am asking for your support to “flatten the curve” in Rhode Island. Please do NOT attend (or plan) large Halloween parties next weekend with your friends. Additionally, your Thanksgiving gathering next month should be limited to immediate family members. The better we control the infection rate in Rhode Island, the more likely we will be of opening SRA to full in-person instruction later this school year!
There are some key dates in November that will affect Saint Raphael Academy, and you all need to know about them:
- Tuesday, November 3 – Election Day – Professional Development Day for SRA faculty; all students will have a virtual day and assignments will be sent to the students a day prior
- Tuesday, November 10 – Parent/Teacher Conferences - All instruction will end at noon; virtual parent/teacher conferences will be from 4:00-6:00 pm (more info to follow)
- Wednesday, November 11 – Veterans Day – No school; no virtual instruction
- Wednesday, November 25 – Day Before Thanksgiving – All instruction will end at noon
Next week (October 26 -30, 2020) will be our Spirit Week! This is a wonderful week, and our students will be allowed to wear different attire daily to support the theme for each day. The information regarding Spirit Week was sent to all our students and it will also be posted on the SRA website. Parental support to insure your child wears the proper clothing during SRA Spirit Week is encouraged!
Lastly, these are challenging times, and on certain days it can be difficult. With that said, I am SO proud of our students. They routinely wear their masks throughout the day, the vast majority of our students are excelling academically and are getting “their business done” (as Mr. Thibault often says!). They are a wonderful group of young men and women and we are all very proud of them! I also want to highlight the SRA faculty. Every day they are doing the next-to-impossible: engaging and teaching the students directly in front of them and the students scattered throughout Rhode Island virtually. Very few SRA teachers have missed even a day this quarter, and they (in my opinion) are the BEST faculty in the state! Finally, I would like to thank the parents. Thank you for putting your trust and your child(ren) at Saint Raphael Academy. All of you have done a great job keeping your child home when you need to and encouraging them to be at SRA when they should be in our classrooms. Keep up the wonderful work!
September 18, 2020
I was thrilled to see students walking up and down Walcott Street this week! I would like to commend the students for being so conscientious about wearing their face masks and our wonderful faculty for their continuous dedication and commitment toward their students. I have been very pleased with our first full week of school. The protocols and procedures we have in place are working, and all stakeholders are focused on the safety and well-being of all members of the Saints community. I stated throughout the summer that Saint Raphael Academy would take “baby steps” toward a full in-person learning option; we will continue down this path throughout the next few weeks.
Our original plan was to have a “virtual” day of instruction at home for ALL students every Wednesday. We are going to modify our original plan; beginning next week, we will have a group of students on campus every Wednesday. Next week the Gold Team will receive in-person instruction at SRA on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (September 23-25, 2020). The following week, the Purple Team will be at SRA on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (September 28-30, 2020). We will remind the students throughout the week about the amended schedule. It is also our hope that Saint Raphael Academy will open full in-person on Monday, October 5, 2020. As we plan for this, we will be assessing the spread of the virus in the surrounding area prior to making a final decision.
During the past few weeks, the Academy has supported all parental requests to move students into and out of the Purple and Gold groups. This is creating confusion in the classrooms and with the student’s schedule. Since we are planning on abandoning the Purple/Gold groups in a few weeks (when we go full in-person), we will cease changing students’ schedules into and out of the groups beginning next Tuesday, September 22, 2020. Parents will still be able to place their students in a “virtual-only” mode of instruction.
Finally, I’d like to thank all our parents. I know we are asking a lot of you, but you have answered the call. Continue to keep your child home if they don’t feel well, don’t hesitate to contact the Academy if you have any questions, and know we are serious about keeping your child safe and providing them the best high school experience we can during these challenging times.
August 18, 2020
I hope your summer is going well, and we all look forward to starting school in a few weeks. I have attached a very important document (Outbreak Response Protocol) written by the RI Department of Health. This document provides guidance on how to respond if a child exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19. There are several pages in the "playbook" I would like to highlight. Pages 10 and 11 clearly delineate what symptoms make a student a probable case, if your child presents these symptoms at SRA, they will be sent to the school nurse and she will contact the child's parents for pick-up. If your child leaves the Academy as a probable case, the parents MUST follow the guidance on Page 17. Simply stated, your child at a minimum, needs to be tested for the COVID-19 virus and follow the required steps prior to their return to SRA. If your child left SRA as a probable case, they must be tested for the COVID-19 virus and provide documentation of this test prior to readmittance at our Academy.
My final takeaway from this document is, if your child is showing any of the symptoms listed on Page 10, do NOT send them to school. If they remain home, the student will still be able to learn their lessons virtually and you can monitor their symptoms for the next 24 hours and make a more knowledgeable determination the following day.
Please take the time to review this document; the better informed you are, the better decisions we all can make!
PS - It was wonderful meeting with all of you last week during our Zoom meetings. Your comments were thoughtful and very insightful; I appreciated the feedback.
July 20, 2020
I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer break! I know it is the summertime but starting this week, I will begin my Principal Blog. The question that many of you are asking is, “How will SRA begin the school year?” My goal is to have all the students back daily at SRA when we open at the end of August. We have spent the last month diligently working on plans to insure everyone’s safety.
We have also developed protocols for all of us to follow in an effort to keep the entire Saints community (students/faculty/staff) safe! These plans and protocols still need to be refined and reviewed prior to me disseminating them to SRA students and families. I know everyone wants to be physically present in school this fall, however, let me be very clear—we will have the entire school community in attendance only if it makes sense and we can do so safely. The spread of the COVID-19 virus will dictate how we open in the fall. Our priority is to keep everyone safe and healthy.
If we can’t open with all our students in attendance every day at SRA, then our next option would be a hybrid model. Using the hybrid model would allow the Academy to provide both direct instruction and virtual learning to our students. The students would be divided into two groups and they would receive approximately 50% of their student instruction at SRA and the other half at home via distant learning. The advantage of the hybrid model is that we would limit the number of students at SRA to half the normal amount, allowing us to maintain social distancing between all community members.
Our final option would be virtual instruction (or distant learning). Fortunately, for the last six weeks we have convened an SRA action group comprised of our faculty members who are developing plans to make distant learning even better than last year. The committee is incorporating feedback from the students and is working on enhancing teacher instruction to all students. I continue to be extremely proud of the SRA community. Please know that our teachers and staff are continuously working to prepare for the fall. All of us want to provide the best educational and social experience for your children.
My goal is to try and be as transparent as possible, and I will use the Principal Blog to keep everyone updated during these very tumultuous times.