August 7 email from Principal Sepich – “Return to School Information”

August 7, 2020

Hello SPSL Families,

I hope you all continue to have a great summer and you are all finding moments of peace and fun with your families and loved ones. I am writing to update you on our most current plans for the start of the upcoming 2020/21 school year. Currently, as it stands today, August 7th at the time of sending this email, we are still planning on starting school with all students attending classes in the school building on August 20th for Kindergarten – 8th grade and with Pre-Kindergarten on August 24th. That is based on the recommendations from local health officials given all the work and planning we have been able to do and maximizing our advantages and talents to creatively make that start as safe as possible. That being said, I am in constant contact with these health officials, and predicated on our changing environment here in Omaha and their opinions, we are prepared to go to our planned “Yellow” or “Red” status if need be. Also, we have to be prepared as a school community that this could still happen before the planned start date for school. I promise to keep you informed.

I have received some questions about what the threshold is for making a decision for SPSL to move from “Green” status to either “Yellow” or “Red”. That threshold for determining any move for SPSL is not a certain number but is instead a decision that will be made through counsel with the local health officials and experts and their recommendations for SPSL as an individual school. In my collaboration and communication with local school leaders and health officials, certain schools are making decisions to move to a hybrid setting with alternating days based on the unique needs of those schools, and in many cases, it is because those schools do not have the advantages we do and have made those moves to get to a place where we here at SPSL currently are at (small class sizes, ability to isolate classrooms, social distancing, mask mandates, etc.). Thus, one school or school district’s decision to move to another type of learning may be predicated on reasons and/or variables not pertaining to SPSL and our advantages.

This summer has been very busy in our planning for next year and I know that there is a lot of anxiety and stress surrounding the current pandemic and the discussion around opening up schools, not just in Omaha, but across the nation. Also, with the ever changing landscape of this pandemic, we are all reading news about public and private school districts making decisions surrounding full time in school/person learning, hybrid status for learning and remote learning. Throughout this process, our planning at SPSL has been to make the best decision we can for our community with the advice of our health officials and the experts. Additionally, those decisions that we are making for SPSL is not predicated on what other districts, both public and private, are doing and instead will be made for our unique set of advantages and disadvantages and what we can control related to COVID-19.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for your support and patience with us as we work tirelessly to prepare for the upcoming school year. That planning has been side-by-side with our committees of faculty and staff preparing for all modes of learning and all areas of safety. I also am grateful for your patience with me in getting back to many of your emails, as this summer has been very busy with meetings to work hard for a safe and fun school year and I apologize for the delays or inconveniences this has caused in my reply time.

I also want to end this email by acknowledging that I know that we are all anxious and stressed for all things surrounding this pandemic and the health and safety of our children at SPSL. I feel these stresses and anxieties too and I am using those to push us forward to have a safe and successful school year. I too have the proverbial “skin in the game” with my daughter attending SPSL. We are taking this pandemic and the risks with COVID-19 very seriously in our planning and it has been a lot of work, but its work worth doing, and we will make informed decisions based on medical and health experts and will continue to heed that advice and be prepared to adjust all things accordingly as recommended.

Thank you so much for your support and thank you for keeping us all here at SPSL in your prayers.

Blessings,

Cory Sepich, Principal