Letter from Principal Burns – March 12, 2020

March 12, 2020

Dear Holy Cross Community,

As of this time there has not been a single confirmed case of COVID-19 at Holy Cross High school. My primary focus for everyone is to remain “prepared and calm.” As we continue to monitor and follow the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], the New York State Department of Health [NYSDOH], and the New York State Education Department [NYSED]. I share with you all the following. It is important to stay with the facts and not get caught up in rumors. Guidelines provided by NYSDOH would require the school to close for a 24 hour period to clean and sanitize and to determine if a longer closure is warranted. Closure will be a rapid response to mitigate an actual health threat and thus would likely occur without advanced notice.

We are taking preventative measures to combat the spread of COVID-19. We are advising all students and faculty to stay home if sick. We have posted signage provided by the CDC and NYS Department of Health to promote hygiene and proper handwashing. We have incorporated daily video reminders into our morning news announcements regarding protocols to keep oneself healthy. We have held refresher workshops on Google Classroom and distance learning should we need to move to that model of instruction. Our school custodial staff continues the daily and rigorous cleaning routines in order to promote a clean and sanitary environment for all members of our school population. We are canceling or postponing events such as Pi Day, service trips, Shamrock Bingo, and the Doo Wop event. All spring sports have been postponed through March 30th.

At last evening’s meeting of the Board of Directors, Mr. Michael Donohue, Chair of the English Department, conducted one of his regular classes via Distance Learning across the Google Classroom platform. The board members were very impressed with the class and the use of technology that is now core to all our students’ course work. Mr. Donohue shared examples of class discussion, review activities, assessments and homework assignments.

In the event of a closure, Holy Cross will move to a distance learning model in order to ensure continuity of instruction. The Google Classroom platform provides a digital learning space which students are already comfortable navigating. We are making you aware in advance of your child’s ability to move seamlessly from in-person classroom environment to an at-home interaction with teachers and classmates through Google Classroom.

There are responsibilities on the part of parents and students that need to be met.

  • Chromebooks should be brought home every night. Families need to be sure they have a way to access the Internet.
  • Students will be expected to keep up with work posted to Google Classroom. Lessons will have both instructional and assessment components.
  • Students must be sure to check for work each morning and again throughout the day. Students will not be required to log in at a particular time to engage in learning activities.  However, teachers will be setting deadlines for assignments to be submitted.
  • Teachers will be expected to have clear lines of communication with students.  These include Gmail and Google classroom. Teachers will be monitoring these platforms during regular school hours. Students should reach out to the teacher if they have any questions.
  • Please note that the student can log onto any computer with their school gmail account and access Google Classroom.

Please continue to monitor our Website for updates. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Be well. God bless!

Sincerely,

Edward Burns
Principal