A Letter from the Principal – Welcome Back 2020

September 17, 2020

Welcome Back!

The past few days have been exciting and stressful at the same time for all, but it is wonderful to see the students and faculty in the building each day because of the spirit and life they bring to the school. I have adopted the theme “Hope to Bring” from the Congregation of Holy Cross as we celebrate the 200th anniversary of their founding in 1820. It is also such a powerful message for all of us to live by as we navigate our day to day bringing hope and inspiration to each other.

As I continue to modify our school calendar to meet the requirements of social and physical distancing, I have moved our traditional Back to School Night for Grades 9, 10, & 11 to a virtual platform. Each faculty member will be recording a brief video message to share with the parents/guardians of our scholars. These video links will be shared through the Holy Cross parent gmail accounts and will be sent on the afternoon of September 24th. The videos will discuss the individual course requirements, expectations, and address means of communication. If you need help accessing your school gmail account, please contact Ms. Pirovolikos at learning@myhchs.org

Our Senior Information Night, scheduled for Thursday, September 24th, will take place in person and virtually. We will hold a session for each Cohort, A & B, and will upload the recording of the event for all remote families. I can not stress the importance of this event! The Guidance Department will be reviewing important college process information along with important deadlines that need to be met over the next few weeks.

  • It is important to remember that because of social distancing guidelines, we can only have the student and one parent/guardian attend.
  • The session will be done by cohort to limit the number in attendance.
  • We will also provide a gap in time between sessions to allow the Maintenance Department to sanitize the auditorium.
  • Everyone in attendance will be required to wear a mask and will be temperature screened upon entering the building through the Courtyard entrance.

Cohort A / Presentation will start at 6:30 p.m.
Cohort B / Presentation will start at 7:45 p.m.

Cohorts C & D will receive an email on September 25th with a link to the video recording, Google Slide presentation, and a PDF handout from the event.

We will resend the SchoolPass information over the weekend which will provide another opportunity for your child to save the digital ID card to their phone. This ID card will be used each day to scan into school upon arrival. Don’t forget that wellness checks should be completed each morning before heading out to school.

Please visit our Road to Reopening page on the school website to read an announcement from our Athletic Director, Mr. Keith Goggin, about the Fall 2020 Sports Season. I have also posted a Cohort Infographic which I hope everyone will find helpful.

Thank you in advance for your continued cooperation in helping to keep the Holy Cross community safe.

Sincerely,
Edward Burns
Principal

Driver Education Update – September 14, 2020

Attention: To all students & their parents who were enrolled in the 2020 SPRING SESSION of the Holy Cross Driver Education Program that was halted because of COVID-19

Our plan to resume and complete the Spring 2020 Driver Education session has been designed to comply with the recent directives and protocols received on August 26th by the NY State Education Department (Traffic and Safety Education Division) is as follows:

REMOTE LEARNING: The remaining 11 classroom sessions of the course will be conducted by remote learning. Students will have the option of signing in and attending anyone (the same repeated class) of the four ZOOM sessions per week. Each week these ZOOM sessions will be available every Tuesday or Thursday at 3:30 to 5 PM OR Saturday or Sunday from 9 to 10:30. These sessions are to accommodate the student’s driving schedule.

IN-THE-CAR INSTRUCTION: ONLY 2 students plus instructor. The student driver and the instructor in the front seats and the lone student in the back seat. Students will retain their previous schedule. Each student will have 45 minutes of behind-the-wheel time and 45 minutes of observation time every other week. All Students will be contacted to verify your driving schedule by email and/or phone on an individual basis during the next two weeks of September 14th and September 21st.

Protocols: Cars will be sanitized and disinfected each day BEFORE and AFTER each session.
Everyone must wear a mask covering at all times

Cars equipped with hand sanitizer and disinfectant

  • Seats, safety belts, directional signal, dashboard panel, door hands and steering wheel sanitized with disinfectant after each student drives and then again after each driving session
  • Windows must be “cracked” to allow circulation
  • Students must sign-off attesting to their time behind the wheel and observation time. Records kept by instructors

Course begins the week of September 28 and ends the week of December 14th

Students must attend our first ZOOM session at any one of the 4 initial remote learning sessions on either: Tuesday, September 29 or October 1 at 3:30 OR Saturday, Oct. 3 or Sunday, Oct.4 at 9 AM.

During the week of September 29, you are scheduled to attend your first driver ed lecture class at anyone of the four dates and times posted above at https://zoom.us/j/7182786679
Password: 2020

Please acknowledge that you have received this RESUMPTION OF SPRING 2020 COURSE message by replying to drivered@holycrosshs.org

Press Release: Holy Cross Announces New Vice President, Finance

Holy Cross High School is pleased to announce that Mr. Denis Venturino has been promoted to the newly created position of Vice President, Finance. Mr. Venturino has been with Holy Cross since late 2017 when he began in a part-time position with the Business Office.

Following his move to the full-time department leadership role in January 2018, Mr. Venturino has guided Holy Cross in the movement of critical accounting and business management software from internal server-based programs to enterprise-wide Cloud-based solutions.

As Vice President, Finance, Mr. Venturino will serve as a member of the Senior Administrative team consisting of himself, the President, the Principal, and the Vice President, Institutional Advancement.

Please join me in congratulating Mr. Denis Venturino, Vice President, Finance.


Michael R. “Mike” Truesdell,
President

Click Here to download/print the press release.

Holy Cross Releases Plan to Re-open

Our school has planned for three possible scenarios: Face to Face instruction, a Hybrid Model, and Distance Learning. In the face to face model, all students would be back in the building every day. Under the hybrid model, students would rotate between in-person instruction and remote learning. In the distance learning scenario, students would receive all of their instruction remotely. At this time, we are not able to fully reopen in a face-to-face scenario because of the constraints we are under with respect to social distancing guidelines. As such, we will follow a hybrid model. The information that follows illustrates the components necessary to operate under each scenario. All three scenarios are presented, with variations identified under the individual consideration when necessary.

Please CLICK HERE for Holy Cross’ plan to re-open.

Updated Plans for Fall 2020

Dear Holy Cross Community,

Over the past several weeks, we have continued to define our school plans for a safe reopening this September. We formed 5 taskforce groups, made up of faculty and staff, to study the feasibility of our reopening. The groups studied within State preliminary guidelines, three pathways to opening the school: Face to Face, Hybrid, and Distance Learning. Each of these three scenarios was evaluated by each of the 5 task force groups; Logistics, Curriculum & Instruction, Community, Catholic Identity, and Technology. The taskforce groups carefully outlined and addressed the needs, concerns, and strengths of each plan. I am extremely thankful to the 30 faculty and staff members who gave of their time to help the institution create the Reopening Plan which will be sent to the State for review and approval.

Our priorities for reopening remain centered on two critical concepts:

  • Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our community
  • Upholding our mission to educate the hearts and minds of our students

On July 13th, New York State released its official guidance on the reopening of schools for September 2020 and we are waiting for confirmation on our compliance with the state’s expectations which should be announced August 1-7, 2020.

We are pleased to share with you the following plans for fall.

These plans build layers of safety for our students, faculty and staff, offering the most effective approach for reducing risk to our school community.

Our team has implemented a variety of modifications to assist in safeguarding our school community’s health and well-being, should the State recommend in-person classroom instruction, including the following:

  • Student capacity will be reduced by 50 percent to support social distancing utilizing the hybrid model which students would rotate between in-person instruction and remote learning.
  • Students will be required to complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan Agreement, including a commitment to follow all safety guidelines.
  • Students will be required to complete an at-home wellness check survey each morning prior to leaving for school. We will share more details about the testing process in the weeks ahead.
  • Visitors will be restricted to ensure that exposure risks are minimized.
  • Face masks will be required and students should maintain proper social distancing.

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With your health, safety and well-being in mind, we anticipate the following necessary precautions as daily requirements this fall:

  • Daily symptom monitoring: Through SchoolPass you will be required to complete a short series of questions daily to monitor your health and any possible symptoms of being unwell. Your responses will be kept confidential, and will only prompt a private follow-up from the school nurse if a risk is identified.

Preventive safety measures:

Social distancing: Six feet of distance must be maintained at all times. In instances where this distance may not be feasible, face masks or coverings will be required. Additionally, group gatherings, including events and meetings, are encouraged to be held virtually. Necessary in-person gatherings may not exceed size restrictions provided by state guidelines, which may evolve and will be monitored and updated as needed.

Face masks or coverings: Face masks or coverings must be worn by all individuals on campus, in the presence of others and in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., common workspaces, meeting rooms, classrooms, hallways, lobbies, etc.).

Hygiene guidelines: Handwashing, sanitizer stations and frequent disinfecting of campus spaces will remain critical components of our fall return.

Precautionary tracking: The Medical Office will work with our local Department of Health, which will provide trained contact tracers, minimizing the risk of any rapid spread of illness. In the event that a positive case of COVID-19 surfaces within our community, rapid contact tracing will allow for timely notification and immediate self-quarantine of those exposed to the virus. In accordance with health privacy laws, only potentially exposed individuals will be contacted by tracers as needed.

Modifications to the Cafeteria

To ensure social distancing, we will be adjusting our cafeteria services to accommodate enhanced grab-and-go options and socially distant seating. We do expect the following modifications:

  • Redesigned seating layouts and capacity restrictions
  • Increased grab-and-go options
  • Cleaning and sanitizing of tables after each use

Student Experience

We anticipate a hybrid of student life offerings this fall, including both in-person and virtual events, activities, clubs, and organizations for students.

In order to ensure proper health and safety protocols are met, you can expect the following:

  • Gatherings will be limited in size to abide by State regulations, and may be reduced further for added protection.
  • Virtual meetings and events will be encouraged this fall.
  • Proper social distancing of six feet will be required at all times.
  • Protective face masks and coverings will be required of all participants during events and meetings.

Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols

Maintenance routines will include enhanced daily cleaning and disinfecting protocols, based on CDC and New York State Department of Health guidelines. Cleanings will take place with increased frequency for classrooms, common areas, high-touch surfaces, offices and workspaces. In addition, the following can be expected:

  • Our Maintenance team will maintain hand sanitizer stations at building entrances, elevator stops and high-traffic areas.
  • All faculty, staff and students will be encouraged to wipe down commonly used surfaces before individual use with readily available products that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s criteria for use against COVID-19 and are appropriate for the surface.

Things You’ll Notice

This September, you’ll notice a number of changes designed to protect the health of our school. We’re planning for the following adjustments this fall:

  • Six-foot distance markers, to help everyone follow social distancing protocol
  • One-way directional signage in walkways and stairways, to minimize close contact in confined spaces, at select locations
  • Hand sanitizer will be readily available
  • Important safety signage, to remind our community of recommended hygiene practices and the importance of symptom checking

Personal Responsibility for the Community

These changes will require difficult but necessary adjustments in personal behavior and responsibility. The policies shared here and those still to come will help us maintain a safe learning and working environment for all students and employees.

We expect that all community members will:

  • Wear a face mask or covering at all times when in public spaces and unable to social distance from others.
  • Maintain physical social distancing of six feet or more, whenever possible.
  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Ensure regular use of hand sanitizer in between hand washings.
  • Cover one’s mouth and nose if coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid participation in gatherings larger than stated guidelines and where social distancing cannot be maintained.

In order to ensure the safeguarding of our health and that of all our Holy Cross members, it is up to each of us to engage in appropriate health and safety measures. We will monitor the latest research and best public health practices and adjust our plans when needed.

As we adapt to these new realities and prepare for possible unknowns that lie ahead, we will continue to take a thoughtful approach to problem-solving. Your input and questions are welcomed at Learning@myhchs.org. If for medical reasons you are in need of additional considerations, please reach out to me.

I look forward to safely being on campus in September and will continue to update you in the weeks ahead.

Ave Crux, Spes Unica

Edward Burns
Principal

Driver Education Update – June 17, 2020

Dear Student,

We realize that you have been anxious to hear from us but we have been waiting for the Governor to direct two agencies that DIRECTLY have jurisdiction over all NYS Driver Education Programs before we could answer your concerns.

Since our program is a SCHOOL-BASED program we must abide by their directives. I personally have contacted the NYS Department of Education seeking permission to at least have the in-classroom aspect of the course continue REMOTELY ON-LINE. Their response was that unless we have already completed 75% of the SPRING course when lessons were halted, we CANNOT. There is no way that any School-based Driver Education Program that starts each semester would qualify. Our SPRING course started the week of February 3 and we had to stop the program after March 14th.

Taking into consideration the winter recess (we had NO driver ed during that week)…..students enrolled in the course received 5 weeks of the 16 weeks of lectures and in-the-car.

At this point in time, we are forced to make some tentative plans, keeping in mind that we still await directives from those 2 agencies….First of all, any student who enrolled in the SPRING Driver Education Program has two options:

OPTION 1: REQUEST and Receive a pro-rated refund of $478 (11 weeks @ $43.4375); NON-CROSS student who enrolled in the Spring Driver Education Program. A CROSS student to request & receive a pro-rated refund of $465 (11 weeks @42.1875).

OPTION 2: Continue the course in the FALL or earlier relative to the directives, restrictions and time-table of the above-mentioned NY State agencies. TO BE DETERMINED

TO ALL those students who registered for the 2020 SUMMER DRIVER EDUCATION COURSE. Two options: Request & Receive a full refund OR enroll in the FALL or earlier relative to the directives, restrictions and time-table of the above-mentioned NY State agencies. TO BE DETERMINED

Please contact us via email at drivered@holycrosshs.org to request Spring 2020 pro-rated refunds or Summer 2020 Summer refunds.

We thank you for your patience and apologize for the time it took for the above-stated response.
Regards,
Mr. Michael S, Genovese
Driver Education Administrator