July 3, 2020

I hope you and your families are doing well during these unparalleled times. I am writing to give you an update on our school as we enter the weekend of July 4th and start the summer months.

 

School Fundraising News: I am speechless and cannot find the words to describe the generosity of the Fatima Community. In five days, the greater Fatima Community met and surpassed our needed 141K goal and the money is still coming in two weeks after reaching our goal! To date, 298 different individuals or organizations have contributed. When we have an exact financial amount raised, we will announce it to you. This has been a spiritual journey for me and for many of you, we have witnessed the power of prayer and we have felt the hand of God over these past weeks. “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks to God in all” Thessalonians 5:18

 

Fatima Faith Fund: All the money being raised is being put in our own Special Activity Account. This account is designated for the tax-deductible contributions to be used exclusively for the Fatima Faith Fund. It is important that everyone is aware that all the money raised during our fundraising drive will be used only to support and grow our school. I will quote Dr. Steve Cheeseman, Superintendent, “All the money raised in Fatima, stays in Fatima.”

 

School News: The Big news is that we are planning in school learning in the fall! Yea!! That said, due to the pandemic, school in fall 2020 will look much different than school 2019. Safety will be our highest priority and we have a School Safety Committee meeting and a School Scheduling Committee meeting to address safety start-up issues. Here are some of the highlights of the best thinking so far from these committees:

All students in K-8 will wear face masks and practice social distancing. 

Every morning every student and staff will have their temperature taken as they enter the building. Father Reggie has generously offered the school the use of the non-contact thermal detector stations that he has purchased for the church.

All students will enter the building through one door to have their temperature checked.

If a student has a fever entering the building, we will take them to a designated “fever room” to wait as we contact parents.

In the morning, students will arrive at staggered times and go right to their classrooms. Middle school students will arrive first, followed by elementary students. Exact times will be announced.

To meet state guidelines, parents will be encouraged to drop off the students at the door and not enter the school.

Weather permitting, classes will be held outside on a regular basis.

Evening disinfecting equipment and procedures are under review now. The CCD program is not expected to resume in-school classes in September.

Most community meetings and committee meetings will be done virtually.

 

Social Distancing Requirements: K-8 classrooms will be arranged with desks six-feet apart and we each student in each classroom will have the required 35 square feet of space.

We will “cap” the number of students in each classroom to reach this goal. Most classes will be capped at around 14 students.

Per state guidelines, we will work to limit student movement through the building and to have students moving in one direction.

Lunch will be in the classroom. Recess periods will be staggered and our large field will be used to mark off class areas.

Playground equipment will be wiped down before another class can use it.

State guidelines suggest that cohorts will remain together with limited exposure to other student cohorts. 

To the greatest degree possible, special area teachers will come to the classroom.

To follow this guideline, middle school students will stay in their homeroom, and their teachers will rotate from room to room.

Middle school students will use their homeroom desks to keep all school supplies and books to eliminate congestion at lockers.

 

Block Scheduling: Students in the middle school will have their schedule changed to a block schedule which will be based on an “A” day and a “B” day. This will allow longer class periods for each subject and greater opportunity for teachers to personalize and differentiate their instruction.

 

Pre-K Program: Pre-K students will go directly each morning to the Pre-K classroom and have their temperatures taken there to begin the day.

Most recent state guidelines do not require Pre-K students to wear a mask.

To meet state guidelines, that every Pre-K child has 35 square feet of space, we will cap the Pre-K class at 18 students. We currently have 13 Pre-K students enrolled.

Every effort will be made to keep the Pre-K students separated from the rest of the school population.

 

After-School Program: The after-school program will continue to run until 6:00 p.m. with some modifications to keep primary and middle school students separated from each other. 

Wow - I know that is a lot of information. I will keep you posted as we fine-tune our new procedures. It is going to be a historic year. We will also plan, if needed, to switch to Distance Learning during the school year. 

 

School Summer Hours: I am at school every day from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. If you have any questions or thoughts about the start of school or our planning process, or if you want to just touch base, please call me at school. 

 

School Summer Work: Please contact Mrs. O’Shea, Mrs. Kirby, Mrs. Galasso, and Mrs. Mancuso directly for summer review work and resources. In addition for middle school students, Mrs. Galasso and Mrs. Mancuso are planning to offer math and writing enrichment six-week mini-courses this summer at a very reasonable rate. Information will be posted on their Google Classroom pages and is attached to this newsletter. When in doubt, have your child “Read, Read, Read.”

 

School Calendar: The first day of school for K-8 students will be on August 31st; the first day for Pre-K is scheduled for September 8. The complete 20/21 school calendar will be sent home shortly.

 

Yearbooks: Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the 2019-2020 school yearbooks have still not arrived. As soon as they do arrive, we will notify you.

 

Movie Night: New this summer, we want to change our traditional Movie Night into a Drive-In Movie Night in the Church Parking lot. Stay tuned for more information.

 

“Shout-Out I” Diane Favier. Diane announced her retirement at the end of June. Diane and I started together four years ago. She brought a calm presence, great personal integrity, and a tremendous work ethic every day to her job as an Administrative Assistant. In addition, she meticulously kept track of the flow of money every day in the school and kept flawless records. As Diane left, she told me that she felt that “God is up to something new in my life and I can’t wait to find out what it will be.” Amen, thank you for a job well done, and God Bless.