2020-2021 School Year FAQs

Thursday, May 21, 2020

2020-21 School Year FAQs
(as of May 21, 2020)

Dates/Timing Questions

When are we planning to start school?
We hope to start school on August 10 for Freshmen and August 11 for the entire student body. St. Pius X is part of an Archdiocesan school system and as such we take our direction from the Superintendent of Schools. We are closely monitoring all communication from Governor Kemp’s office, the CDC, and the Archdiocese to determine when and how we will re-open campus and start school.

Will we start later, possibly after Labor Day?
We are already looking at multiple scenarios and preparing various calendars to meet those possibilities, again with our hope being that we open on August 11 for the entire student body.

When will we make a final decision?
Our decision to re-open is based on information from the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, Governor Kemp’s orders, and CDC guidelines. The situation continues to change weekly, but we will continue with our plan to open on August 11 for the entire student body unless something changes and we are unable to safely do so.

Academic Questions

If I choose not to send my student back (medically fragile, elderly in home, etc), what are my options for virtual school?
One of the scenarios we are preparing for is a blended school schedule, where some students are on campus and some are learning at home. To that end, we are also reviewing how we will provide a learning environment to reach all students, whether they are home by choice, or due to illness or exposure, or otherwise. 

Will there be cameras in the classrooms to record class for those students who are not present due to COVID-19 related issues?
We are researching options for recording class instruction.

How will classrooms be set up if we return? Will there be partitions between desks?
We are considering a traditional classroom set-up with all desks facing forward and lined up in rows and spaced as far apart as the physical classroom size will allow. We do not presently have plans for desk partitions.

Will summer academic enrichment courses be offered?
Yes, course listings are provided on the website.  

Have we considered limiting students’ use of lockers to allow for better social distancing in the hallways?
Yes, this is a consideration. We are moving to e-books for the 2020-21 school year, which should greatly reduce the need to use lockers, thus providing a larger pathway in the hallways as students change classes.

Will there be special consideration for freshmen and upperclassmen new to St. Pius X, especially with the added academic rigor?
Yes, we are looking at in-person freshmen orientation this summer. Freshmen would come in small groups to allow for social distancing and to give them the opportunity to get to know a few of their classmates before school starts. Orientation would include campus tours and the opportunity to ask questions before school starts.

Will students stay in the same classroom all day?
No. Unlike elementary schools, high school schedules do not allow for the same students to remain in the same classroom all day. Classes such as math, science, and the fine arts programs all have specific equipment that must be used to deliver instruction and could not be moved to other locations during the day.  

Will we lengthen the day to allow for safer transition between classes to maintain spacing?
We do not have plans at this point in time to lengthen the school day. However, we are looking at several options for limiting the traffic in the halls, including limiting locker use. We are moving to e-books next school year, which should greatly minimize locker usage and open the hallways for easier passage.

Is Pius researching other virtual teaching tools?
Yes. We are continually researching additional learning tools for our faculty. We will be providing instruction on the use of various tools so teachers will be prepared for the possibility of returning to virtual learning.

Would we consider returning with virtual school after Thanksgiving Break to minimize potential infections after travel?
We are considering all options to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.

If we have to go back to Virtual School, will there be more “live teaching” sessions?
As we review the survey input from the parents, students and teachers, we will make the necessary changes in our effort to implement the best delivery system possible for our academic program.   

Have we considered adjusting grades at all during Virtual School, like public schools have done, or considered pass/fail like colleges have done?
No, we are not going to make adjustments such as the public schools have done.  After many public schools allowed students to “freeze” their grades at that point, many of the students accepted those grades and just quit, with large numbers not even checking in for instruction.  Our academic standards here at St. Pius X are second to none and our faculty wanted to ensure that our students receive the highest level of instruction for the entire school year.

How are final grades working this semester?
The online gradebook includes a percentage for final exams, but since we do not have those, how will this be adjusted? When teachers enter final grades for the semester, they will be adjusting it based on a recalculated overall percentage that equals 100.

If we return to Virtual School, how will we handle cheating and what can we do to prevent it?
This is difficult to respond to in that we want all our students to be honorable and have the highest integrity. When given an assignment, they must adhere to the  Honor System, and should that assignment be questioned, the school will investigate and assign penalties if warranted.   

Would we consider block scheduling to reduce hallway traffic?
We are in the process of reviewing all our academic options at this time in an effort to fully protect the student body.   

Health/Safety Questions

What if a family is not comfortable with students being in large groups  - will we still hold Mass, assemblies, etc?
We will only hold large group gatherings if it is deemed safe to do so. If it is deemed safe to do so and a student is not comfortable participating in large group functions, the student must have a note from the parent that releases them from participating. We could potentially have students stay in classrooms for assemblies and Masses and livestream into the classroom.

Will you take student temperatures daily?
At this point our plan is to take the temperature of each student, faculty and staff member each day. We will adjust this protocol if things have changed by August 10. It is our hope that parents will assist us in this effort and keep students home that exhibit any sickness.  

How will you treat students who present COVID-19 symptoms while at school?
We will have an area to treat students with these symptoms and will ask parents to pick their student up within an hour. 

Will we require masks for students, and if so, what type of masks?
Under current guidelines, yes. Students may use disposable or cloth masks, but must wear a mask daily until new guidelines are issued.

Are we accepting donations of masks/shields, etc?
Yes, as long as they are created within the CDC guidelines. You may contact Director of Operations John Favier at jfavier@spx.org if you would like to donate items.

Will there be a safe space for students who have underlying conditions to go to take off their masks for a period of time?
Yes, we will provide an area should a student need a break. The student must have a note from the parent requesting this accommodation. 

Are we deep cleaning, including cleaning the air ducts?
The school deep cleans the building several times a year.  Obviously, this type of cleaning is best when there is no one present in the building making the Christmas break, spring break and summer months the ideal time to complete this task.  Preventative maintenance on all of our HVAC systems takes place at these times, which includes replacing or cleaning filters.

How will we clean the gym floor?
The renovation of the gym floors is currently underway with the result being a completely new refurbished flooring in both gyms.  During athletic competitions, we will follow all GHSA and CDC guidelines for properly protecting our students.

How will we clean classrooms during the day? 
Our plan at the present time is to bring in additional personnel to help sanitize the various areas of the school multiple times during the school day and then again, at night with the night cleaning service.  Every classroom will also have hand sanitizer and wipes available.

What are the current guidelines regarding operation if a person has been at school and tests positive for COVID-19?
We will follow the guidelines that the CDC distributes on how to handle such situations.  

What is the protocol if someone in a student’s family has COVID-19?
We are following CDC protocol in regards to exposure to COVID-19. If a student has been in direct contact with a family member who tests positive, they will need to self quarantine for two weeks to ensure that they are not infected.  They may attend virtual online classes.

How many students will be in a class at one time?
At this point we plan to continue with similar class sizes, which average 18 students per class. 

What will lunchtime look like?
We are looking at continuing the senior privilege of eating outside and in the Young Center Lobby, as well as using the two gymnasiums to  provide socially distanced spaces for students to safely remove their masks and eat their lunches. 

Extracurricular Questions

Will summer arts and sports camps be taking place?
Some camps are taking place and some camps have been canceled. All but one camp has been moved to July. You may find information on arts and sports camps by clicking the aforementioned links. Governor Kemp has given great guidance on camp expectations and we are working through those details as well as following guidance from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).  We are also paying attention to the many sport travel organizations as they ramp up summer participation and competitions to gain practical knowledge of their protocols.

Will fall sports be taking place?
At this point we believe sports will return but we are awaiting official guidance from the GHSA.

What does summer training look like?
Please read the St. Pius X Athletics Infectious Disease Plan for COVID-19 for information regarding summer training.

Will there be an audience/fans for performances/athletic events?
We should be prepared to follow all social distancing guidelines including the possibility of no audience/fans. We await guidance from the Governor and GHSA.

Will any of the Fine Arts performances be rescheduled?
Currently we are not rescheduling any Fine Arts performances.

Will Clubs continue to meet and hold activities?
We will wait until closer to the start of school to determine if Clubs can meet and hold activities.

If a sport or camp is canceled, will there be refunds?

Miscellaneous Questions

Will there be a reduction in tuition should we have to go back to virtual school?
No. St. Pius X is not in a position to do that with faculty, staff, and their related benefits comprising our largest expense, 86% of our budget costs.  Our commitment to having adequate staffing results in our class size ranges from 18-24 students in a class and not the normal 30-35 in a public school setting. This allows us to give more individualized instruction to our students and continue quality instruction. Families pay tuition to receive a college-preparatory education for their child and we will continue to deliver it virtually or in person. The actual cost to educate a child at SPX for the 2020-21 school year is $15,626, yet the average tuition charged is $14,396. Our mission calls us to offer the most affordable education we can, and we commit ourselves to make up that gap next year of $1,230 per student.   We are thankful for those individuals that contribute to the Annual Fund to make up that difference, and we're proud of being a Catholic, Archdiocesan school and not a private school charging $10,000-15,000 more a year.  Every principal within our Archdiocese is following the same policy where tuition is concerned.

Are Senior Portraits still being scheduled for June?
Yes. Information will be sent to Senior families soon.

Will we be surveying parents regarding Virtual School?
Yes, Archdiocesan surveys have already been sent, and we are developing our own surveys that will be sent to parents soon.