Schools to Re-Open August 26th

From the President’s Desk

Owensboro Catholic School administrators continue to meet each week as a leadership team to go through the details of how we will provide the safest possible, outstanding education this fall. We had nearly 90 teachers and employees in a Zoom meeting last week to discuss some broad details of the rules being handed down to us. We have every intention of opening our schools on August 26th, unless the state mandates something different. We have reviewed “back to school plans” throughout the country, but there’s nothing much more specific than the document we emailed out last week with some basic information.  There are only so many ways that we can talk about “masks” when “distancing” is not possible. We are preparing a video of the process we are stepping through, but our work in this area is site and age specific.  And we are discussing a Zoom meeting for parents with each principal when we get a few more weeks out. The rules seem to change every single day!

We have an outstanding organization. Teachers and administrators are thinking through a LOT of scenarios. I am hearing a LOT of creative suggestions. This will NOT be a typical academic school year and we want to maximize your child’s potential during these extraordinary circumstances. We also do NOT want a sterile, clinical environment. We’re going to have to be very creative to work with students differently. Yes, we want this to be a positive experience of prayer, sacrifice and fellowship differently for every one of our students. Fr. Jason McClure, the religion department chair at the high school, is also contributing good ideas about using these challenges as Theology opportunities for faith formation and teaching moments.

Parents will have to make a decision in the coming weeks about accepting their FACTS assistance, or relinquishing it to help others. Once school has started, we won’t be able to admit new students until the beginning of the second quarter. There will not be any mid quarter admissions. And the FACTS tuition can not be guaranteed if it is not utilized. We have to make decisions that serve the families who choose to use school services.

Crowds bring an inherent risk to every student. Even with the BEST of disciplines, we fully expect to have coronavirus exposure in our buildings, but we have a plan for daily sanitation, reporting and we will control every variable possible in our classrooms. We will operate under the assumption that there is an infection in the building, and we don’t want it to spread. So yes, masks coming and going and distancing inside. But I only wish it were this simple. Why? Because we love your children and we are going to do everything we can to provide a balance of safety and education in this environment.

And in your Christian charity, please forgive us. As humans, we will make some mistakes during these first few weeks, despite our best efforts. I joked with the teachers last week that after about a month in this new scenario, we will be experts!

I can’t overstate how blessed I am to work with such a dedicated and committed group of professionals. I have also, in a very special and spiritual way, felt the love and support of the families and parishes we serve. The Owensboro Catholic School System is preparing to carry out its ministry, and we ask for your prayers and support now more than ever. During this time, we will clearly distinguish ourselves as a Catholic community! We pray for a spirit of discernment as we put together the best possible opportunities and experience for the students entrusted to our care.