I hope your family is having a wonderful summer and that you have been able to spend time relaxing and having fun. I believe that during this unusual time of COVID it is even more important to spend quality time with your children. Laughter and love can lessen anxiety and stress.
As we enter July, I wanted to get some information out so that you could mark your calendars. We are preparing to return to school in a traditional format for the 2020-2021 school year. The first day of school is August 12, and we look forward to having children in the building. I have been working on policies and procedures that support the overall health and well-being of all children. This plan is created to aid in the return to campus to minimize the possibility of transmission of Covid-19 while communicating the numerous measures being taken for the safety of everyone. This plan is being developed using recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and The Path Forward: School Continuity Guidelines for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. In addition, this plan is being developed in consultation with our school faculty and a committee of parents. The parent committee has consisted of two nurses, one medical doctor, a representative from the School Advisory Council, and a previous member of the School Advisory Council. I am hopeful the final plan for St. Philip Neri can be shared with you late next week or the week after. As we have learned through this pandemic, data and information changes daily, therefore plans may need to be adjusted accordingly. As always, we appreciate your patience and support while we navigate through this uncertain time.
Due to social distancing recommendations to help reduce the spread of the virus, we will need to decrease the opportunities for people (outside of faculty, staff and students) to visit the school building. One way to do this is to have virtual meetings with parents rather than in-person meetings. At the beginning of each school year, we typically have welcome gatherings to review policies and procedures for our families. We also have an orientation for middle school families. This year these meetings will be virtual. The meeting dates and times are listed below. While we would much prefer to have meetings face to face, anything we can do to limit the spread of the virus will benefit all of us. We believe that embracing policies that allow students to start the school year in the building and keep them in the building is of utmost importance.
There is only one event where a parent can be in the building with their child: Open House Day on Monday, August 10. Open House Day is a socially distant version of our previous Open House Night. Only one parent is permitted to attend with one child to meet the teacher and drop off school supplies. Each family will have a designated time to do this. Please use this event to ease your child’s transition into a new classroom as parents will not be allowed to walk their children to class on the first day of school. You will get more information about both of these events in the coming weeks. Please mark your calendar with the dates below.
- August 6: 5:30 p.m. – Preschool and Kindergarten Parent Zoom Meeting
- August 6: 7:30 p.m.- 1st through 5th grade Parent Zoom Meeting
- August 10: Open House Day
- August 12: First day of school
- August 19: 6 p.m.- Middle School Parent Zoom Meeting
I have heard some parents express concern that we had so many teachers leave this year. It is true we have lost some outstanding faculty, but all for different and personal reasons. I want to share great news about our newest St. Philip Neri faculty member. We have hired Mrs. Angie Jones for music. She has tremendous experience with nineteem years of teaching. She has taught in two other Catholic schools, a public school and a private school. She has also run her own music studio for twenty years. The most exciting part of this story is that Mrs. Jones is going to start a ukulele program in the middle school. I have received two anonymous donations to fund the purchase of a class set of ukuleles. The instruments will not go home with the student, but parents can purchase the same ukulele at the same price the school will pay to have a practice instrument at home.
I am very excited for the 2020-2021 school year. It definitely will be different than past years, but it will be a year of learning and growth for all of us. I am so happy to have the students back in the building. As a community we will do what it takes to make sure the safety and well-being of the children is priority. I look forward to partnering with you as parents to help our school year be a great one. It will be a challenge, but one that we are ready to take on and persevere to the end.
“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Blessed Stanley Rother, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, protect us.
St. Philip Neri, pray for us.
Brenda K. Tener, M.Ed.
Class of ’71