Principal’s Newsletter 8/28/20

Email blast

Dear St. Francis Families,

The past two weeks have flown by. Our students and teachers have done a phenomenal job of navigating our distance learning environment. The transition had some initial hiccups, but most were resolved early on and now most, if not all, students are actively engaged with their instructors in their classes. I cannot thank you enough for the outpouring of support and positive validation you’ve shared about the St. Francis faculty/staff. We genuinely care about providing our Troubies with a world-class education and preparing them for life after high school. This will continue to be our focus as we remain in distance learning. We are continuously looking at re-envisioning important community events that we all miss.

The Sacramento County Health Officer published a health order on Thursday, August 20th, essentially closing all public and private schools in Sacramento County. As such, no students may be permitted on school campuses with the exception of the following:

Emergency Mental Health Counseling: Counseling services should be conducted virtually, as much as possible. If emergency in-person mental health counseling is deemed necessary, it may be conducted on an individual (1:1) basis.

Initial English Language Learner Assessments: Initial English Language Learner assessments may occur in-person on campus. They must be conducted on an individual (1:1) basis unless legally required to be conducted in a group setting, in which case they should be conducted with the smallest possible group size.

Special Education Assessments: Special education assessments may occur in-person on campus on an individual (1:1) basis as required by state and federal regulations.

Given this order and with Sacramento County remaining on the California Department of Public Health monitoring list, we will not be able to return to our beautiful campus until we are off the watch list for a period of at least 14 consecutive days. At this point, it is impossible to predict when that may occur. 

In an effort to provide our students and teachers with the opportunity to acclimate to the school year and provide consistency of instruction and daily interaction, we will remain in distance learning mode through the end of the 1st Quarter on Friday, October 2, 2020. This was not an easy decision to make. In consultation with our Executive Director of Catholic Schools and the Sacramento County Department of Public Health, it was decided that the extension of distance learning through October 2nd would be best for our school community to remain in a protective posture for a little longer. It will also minimize any student adjustment impacts so early in the quarter.

The transition from the current Distance Learning Model to our Synchronous Hybrid Learning Model (beginning October 5, 2020), is multi-faceted and will require time and diligence to ensure a successful transition for all. As such, we will look at making this a phased transition to ensure our faculty/staff and students can adjust plans with their families and acclimate themselves to the COVID-safety protocols on campus. It will be imperative that all faculty/staff and students adhere to county guidelines to safeguard and protect all from inadvertent exposure.

Some families have inquired about the release of Red/Gold Cohorts. With the additional time in Distance Learning, we will be able to better refine the 700+ individual requests we received in July/August to balance the numbers. We will share those with you later in September.

I will continue to communicate with the Diocese and the Sacramento County Department of Public Health to ensure we are taking the needed steps to safeguard our faculty/staff and students. I will keep you updated as more information becomes available. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Again, I am grateful for your continued support and making the best out of this unimaginable circumstance.

St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
St. Clare of Assisi, pray for us!

In the spirit of Pax et Bonum (peace and goodness),

Elias Mendoza