July 1 email from Principal Sepich – “SPSL Start of School Planning Update”

Hello St. Pius X / St. Leo families,

I hope you are all having a great week so far and have found times of peace and joy with your loved ones this summer. Undoubtedly, I am sure that you have all heard of the plans shared from our partners in the metro public schools. Soon, the Catholic Schools Office of Omaha will also be sending out communication that each school community should expect to hear from their school’s initial plans for the 2020/21 school year next week. This email is to let you know that we plan to communicate with our school families on our initial plans for starting the 2020/21 school year sometime the week of July 6th – 10th. I know that many of you are curious about what our plans will be for next year so that you are able to plan accordingly for your family. In the meantime, please know that as it stands now, the Omaha metro Catholic elementary schools will have consistent plans for restarting the school year but also with certain details and nuances that are individually school specific as not all of these schools are 100% similar when it comes to all things logistics and planning. All of this being said, our planning has focused on the tenets and will continue to be guided by the scripture and school theme sent to families via email on June 5th. You can find that link here: Family Communication – June 5th, 2020

I also wanted to share that we have reviewed, discussed and planned on many different scenarios and options at this point. This includes committees of faculty and staff planning around the key areas of: Logistics and Planning; Creating and Maintaining Community; Curriculum and Instruction; Promoting Catholic Identity and Technology support. As I am sure you can all imagine, there are so many details involved in these areas and with information seemingly changing daily, we are planning through the flux and trying to make everything we plan for flexible and adaptable. This planning has also involved countless meetings and briefings with health department leaders, private and public school districts, statewide leaders and members within our school community. This is definitely a fluid process and I have used the term “Continual Rough Draft” for when we share our plans with our families and thank you for patience and understanding as we adapt to all things related to COVID-19 and as we abide by the directed health measures as well as the recommendations from the local medical experts.

We understand that when we communicate our plans next week, some of our students/families will not feel comfortable coming back to school with the plans as they stand. We have to make decisions as an organization that serves the needs of over 700 students and approximately 100 school/parish employees. We know that we won’t be able to make everyone 100% happy or comfortable with the numerous decisions that have to be made and the fact that our plans need to be fluid and require adaptability. We will also aim to be as accommodating and flexible as possible to best serve each individual student and family. There is unfortunately no school plan outside of complete remote learning that does not involve some risk of exposure. Our goal through all of this is to do our absolute best to minimize as much risk as possible while delivering the best academic and socio-emotional response to our students learning as possible.

Lastly, I want to thank you for all of your patience with me in my response time to your email communications and questions you have asked. It has been a very busy time working on our plans for next year and this has involved lots of research, time and many, many meetings. I appreciate all of your emails and I pray you continue to feel comfortable reaching out to me while also knowing that my normal response time may be longer than normal. I also apologize for any uncommon brevity in my email responses over the next few weeks, especially if they appear an odd juxtaposition to my more normal, loquacious (long-winded??) responses. Thank you for your grace and patience. Thank you also for our many, many families who responded to the family survey that was sent out to you all. I have included those survey results at the end of this email so that you are all aware of where we stand as a community in going back to school and please know that this information was incredibly helpful in our planning to meet the needs of our amazing school community.

Thank you for your continued compassion and patience with your school in preparing for next year and I pray that you all join me in having great hope for a blessed and successful 2020/21 school year.

Cory Sepich

FAMILY SURVEY RESULTS AS OF June 30th

  1. 301 families responded

    1. 45.8% said they’re coming back as long as social-distancing is in place

    2. 32.6% said they’re coming back no matter what

    3. 5% said they will send their child/ren to school on campus, on a reduced or limited basis, as directed by my child’s health care provider.

    4. 3.7% indicated they plan to stay home

    5. 12.9% indicated the option with more specific details pertaining to their families choice

      1. A selection of these choices included (but not all):

        1. A combination of distance learning and classroom if possible or a hybrid approach

        2. Depends on job and would need to explore options for another school depending on work availability due to child care needs

        3. Will choose another school if required to wear masks and social distance

        4. Unsure at this time due to fluidity of the situation and will determine closer to the school year start