I hope this email finds you well, and I hope that you are taking advantage of the summer break as much as possible. As we prepare for the beginning of another school year surrounded by unprecedented uncertainty, I’d like to provide an update regarding our plans for reopening school in August. During the week of July 27, you will receive the “Brother Martin Return to Learning Plan” outlining extensive guidelines and protocols that will inform our reopening efforts. This guide will explain our plans for safety & health protocols; planning and actions steps for COVID-19 cases in our school community; cleaning & disinfection efforts and protocols; and food services.
This plan will also outline five possible scenarios for operating our school, including (1) a return to normal as we once experienced it; (2) a ‘new’ normal that reflects Phase 2 maximum group sizes of 25; (3) a Hybrid Learning Plan of A/B cohorts; (4) Full Remote Learning; (5) Remote Learning for Vulnerable Students.
As of this email, we are strongly considering opening school in the Hybrid Learning Plan on Monday, August 17. This consideration is not being made lightly or without a lot of discernment and prayer from the leadership at Brother Martin. More than anything, we want our students, faculty, and staff on campus, and we will do so safely by following all requirements and guidance we’ve received from the state department of education and local public health officials. Because of the significant restrictions regarding maximum group sizes and physical distancing requirements within phases 2 and 3, we believe the Hybrid Learning Plan is the safest option as of our current status in Orleans Parish. A final decision will be made regarding our reopening plan on Monday, August 3. Please know that we will not restrict ourselves to any one learning plan or schedule for a set period of time. Our primary goal is to have our students and faculty return to campus at full capacity as soon as it is safe to do so.
The Hybrid Learning Plan entails a few steps, including stretching our Master Schedule so that no more than 24 students are on any roster and then splitting those revised rosters into two cohorts. Essentially, the Hybrid Learning Plan decreases the student body by 50% on campus on a given day in order to provide six feet of physical distance in each classroom, mitigating the spread of contagion in our community as much as possible.. Faculty will teach each cohort with face-to-face instruction on alternating days, and students will work independently from home on days in which their cohort is remote.
We are also giving strong consideration to implementing an extended, 55 minute daily schedule for Hybrid Instruction. With this schedule, 1st Period would begin at 7:45 a.m. and 8th period would conclude at 3:26 p.m. with a staggered dismissal from 3:26 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.
At this time, we do not anticipate any changes to the start of our school calendar.
If you are uncomfortable with sending your son back to campus, or your household is considered vulnerable or immunocompromised, please contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss the Remote Learning for Vulnerable Students plan.
I know that everyone in our school community - our students and their families, and our faculty and staff - are facing so much uncertainty during this unprecedented situation, and I know that this uncertainty has been the source of anxiety for many. I have learned throughout this incredible ordeal that we must be willing to be flexible in order to provide the very best environment for our school community while staying true to the educational tradition of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. Clearly, there is not one, single way forward as we navigate through and learn from our current circumstances. However, there is a way that reflects the charism of Fr. Andre’ Coindre, the traditions of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, and the circumstances we face in our current time, place, and context. I thank you for your trust and partnership as we work together to forge Brother Martin High School’s way forward.
Your Partner in Mission,
Ryan Gallagher '00