2020-21 Back to School Q&A

Date: 
Tuesday, July 21, 2020

We know there will be many questions and we have developed this section to help answer those. If you have additional questions, please submit them to questions@spx.org and we will add them to these FAQs. As we know, this is a rapidly changing situation. We are answering to the best of our ability at this time. As things progress, answers may change. We will continue to post questions and answers here, with the newest information at the top. 

---UPDATED 9/24/2020, 3:45 P.M.---

In August the school stated that it would give no less than one week notice when a change in schedules regarding in-person learning would take place. At the parent coffee on Wednesday the school informed us that it would be at least a two week notice. Can you clarify that please?

Yes, we have extended our notice to at least two weeks before any change takes place. Both parents and teachers asked that we give them more notice. Some parents are scheduling appointments based on their student’s schedule and have asked that we give them more notice should there be a change. In addition, teachers have prepared their curricula based on the current schedule and need time to re-adjust their lesson plans. We also want to give parents at least a week to discern if they will choose IPP or FTV for their student. After parents submit IPP/FTV changes, the school needs time to adjust the student database accordingly, and then notify teachers of those changes. And if necessary, teachers need time to reconfigure classroom desks to accommodate any changes to the number of students in class.

 

Has the need for substitute teachers been shared with parents?

We posted the need for substitute teachers on the SPX website, on the Archdiocese of Atlanta website, and in the Georgia Bulletin during the summer months.  If you have an interest in being a substitute teacher at SPX, please feel free to send an email to Rachel Braham at rbraham@spx.org for more information.

---UPDATED 9/23/2020, 8:30 A.M.---

Do you have a date for the posting of an October schedule?

We have not posted an October schedule yet but you can assume at this time that it will follow the same pattern as that which we are following currently (A, B, virtual, A, B). As we have mentioned before, we are continually working towards more in-person days and we will stick to the schedule of giving two weeks notice before any changes go into effect. 

 

Where can my student do a zoom meeting after school if he is there in person and his teacher is at home teaching virtually?

While we prefer that parents pick up as quickly as possible in order to avoid exposure or other issues, students have access to the library until 4:30 p.m. each day. In addition, the cafeteria is also open. Students are welcome to use those spaces for school work or a virtual meeting with a teacher after school.

 

---UPDATED 9/15/2020, 8:30 A.M.---

Is a version of a block type schedule, similar to what was done in the spring, an option?

We moved to a modified block schedule in the spring when 100% of our students were learning virtually. Roughly fifty percent of our student body is now learning in-person four days a week so we will not be utilizing a block schedule. We continue to work on our plan for a return to five day in-person learning.

 

In a question posed on September 2 by another parent, Pius indicated it was doing a space audit in order to evaluate how we can go back fully in person.  What has been the result of that and when will parents be informed about any space issues (with specifics)?

At the request of the Superintendent, St. Pius X is presently conducting a space audit including a full review of each classroom, gathering spaces for students before school, and cafeteria/lunch options for 100% in-person learning. When our research is complete, we will confer with the Superintendent regarding next steps.

---UPDATED 9/2/2020, 5:00 P.M.---

What is the current percent of IPP & FTV? 

The current number of IPP students is 994 with 118 FTV students. 

 

What efforts are being made to address the space issue at Pius in order to meet social distancing guidelines?

We are in the process of doing an audit of all classrooms and other areas of concerns to help us with our next phase of entry. 

 

---UPDATED 9/1/2020, 11:30 P.M.---

In regards to COVID-19 notifications, when cases recover is the list updated to only reflect active cases?

No. We will not be adjusting the chart every time a case recovers. We will continue notifying families of newly reported cases and total cases since school began. We will not be deleting anything from the COVID-19 chart on PSL and we will continue to report total cases for the school year. We are listing the cases by date, as opposed to a single figure of total cases, so families will know when infections were reported. After cases are reported, isolation rules go into effect for those cases. No one is allowed back into school until their isolation period has expired and they are fever free for 48 hours without the assistance of fever reducing medication and symptom free. Reported cases must be in communication with the school nurse prior to returning to school.

---UPDATE 8/31/2020, 9:30 A.M.

Why are teachers consistently assigning homework on Fridays and having it due Friday night by 11:59 pm when in “normal times” this same homework would not be due until class time on Monday? Additionally, why is homework on any day due that same day by 11:59 pm when again in “normal times” homework would not be due until the next class day? 

Teachers have guidelines for assigning homework for the week and for weekends. Most likely, there may be special circumstances that classroom work that particular day was not finished by the class and the teacher gave students “extra time” in finishing it at home and submitting it that night before midnight. An email or call from the parent to the teacher would most likely confirm this practice.  

 

---UPDATED 8/28/2020, 1:30 P.M.---

Beginning September 8, students have a late start on Wednesdays. What time will they be required to submit their attendance?​

Students are required to check in before the first bell, which on late start days will be 8:30 a.m.

 

If SPX students are not able to go back full-time 5 days/week for the foreseeable future, has there been any thought to using a more proven model for Hybrid Learning - as is used by St John Bosco where the students are in-person for 3 days/week for instruction and do self directed learning for the other 2 days/ week?

The St. John Bosco model is not the academic model offered at St. Pius X and varies considerably from our proven methodology. In addition, the model does not take into consideration a pandemic, as it assumes every student is in-person three days a week, which currently is not the case at St. Pius X.

 

If SPX students are not able to go back full-time 5 days/week for the foreseeable future, where does the school stand on getting Swivl type cameras to improve the overall experience for remote learning?

We are working with teachers to provide any additional tools they might need, which involves a number of options for teachers, including Swivl cameras if they so choose. Currently all classes have streaming capabilities.

 

Has there been any consideration given on how to help the Freshman acclimate and get to know a few of their classmates so that they can help each other?

Yes. Our Advisory program is surveying freshmen to get a sense of their concerns and needs. When Advisories meet, we will review those topics and enlist the help of our upperclassmen and Lion Leaders in an effort to further acclimate freshmen to life at St. Pius X. Advisories include a mix of students from all four grades, so freshmen have at least a couple of fellow classmates in their Advisory groups, and some additional resources with advisory cohorts in 10th through 12th grades.  With the addition of more students to the building after Labor Day, freshmen will be able to meet some additional classmates. The cafeteria also seats students by grades, so this is yet another avenue to meet classmates.

 

Is there an expectation to re-evaluate the plan that was shared on 8/26/2020 and when will that be re-evaluated?

As stated in the August 26 letter, “We will constantly assess the situation and will give families a minimum of a one week notice should we move to another model of learning.”

 

What specific criteria and questions were evaluated in determining to go back two days a week instead of 5? What criteria are being used to evaluate a full return to campus?

Continuing to keep our student body population and faculty safe is our highest priority.  Bringing half of our students on to campus any given day will allow our classroom desks to be safely spaced; lunches will remain manageable; and hallways will be unclogged during passing periods. There are many variables to consider, from facility space limitations to individual health concerns. Keeping Wednesdays as a Virtual Day actually provides a community experience that our in-school days cannot--an entire class can interact as one. We continue to do our best to meet the needs of every single one of our students, both IPP and FTV, as that is critical to our mission and will not fall by the wayside. Additionally, Georgia remains #3 in the nation for numbers of new cases per 100k people--we must continue to take proactive steps to mitigate spread within our own community. As we communicate with representatives from the health community, we share our specifics with them to make informed decisions that are in alignment with best practices of the moment.

---UPDATED 8/24/2020, 4:45 P.M.---

What are the protocols for our athletes and teams this year? 

You may find the SPX Athletic Team and Community COVID-19 Protocols and Expectations on this page (https://www.spx.org/athletic-teams-community-covid-19-protocols-expectations).

 

What are the athletic bus policies?

Bus travel will require social distancing when possible. If resources do not allow preferred spacing, athletes and staff should utilize the same seat for both the “to” and “from” positions on the trip. Using the same seat is required even if seating allows appropriate social distancing. Masks are required on all bus trips. Teams should consider limiting travel party sizes to assist with social distancing.Parents transporting athletes to and from events must be approved by the specific head coach and the athletic director, and gain initial clearance through the SPX Business Office to drive students.

 

What are the meal expectations for sports teams this year?

Team meals while away should not include dining in. Restaurants should be used for carry out only and should consist of pre-packaged items only. Having team meals outside is encouraged at all times. Avoid consuming food on buses. Food delivered to buses must be distributed by those wearing masks. Pre-game meal locations must have the ability to social distance. Meals on campus must have locations and methods approved by the Director of Operations. 

 

Will there be consideration to limiting zoom/screen time to half the class period or alternating periods? If not will you consider lengthening the break time between classes?.

Instruction will vary daily by teacher and subject. Student expectations for virtual learning include being present and available for every class period’s requirements as listed on the teacher’s PSL page, which might include a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. With the current hybrid model of thirds, teachers are doing their best to provide a mix of instruction for both the in-person population students and the full-time virtual students. The break time between classes corresponds to the bell schedule at school for moving from class to class and will not be altered at this time.


 

---UPDATED 8/24/2020, 8 A.M.---

Could all the teachers be asked to post every day on their calendars whether there is a Zoom class or not? 

Student assignments for the week are posted by their teachers on Mondays on their PSL class pages. Any daily changes by teachers can be made in class for those IPP students and for the FTV students, changes to PSL class pages are done by 4:00 pm each day. If there is no Zoom planned for the day, then it will not be posted on the teacher’s PSL page and the student does not need to connect to Zoom.

 

---UPDATED 8/21/2020, 11 A.M.---

Is there a specific protocol a student should follow if they are experiencing a technology issue so that the teacher is aware ASAP? 

Students should email the teacher ASAP if they are having a problem accessing any of the online resources.

 

---UPDATED 8/20/2020, 9:00 A.M.---

What does "indirect and direct contact" mean for individuals exposed to a person who tests positive for COVID-19? How does St. Pius X determine who may have come into contact with those individuals?

It is important to define COVID-19 related terminology so you can best understand how we manage these cases and notify anyone who has come into contact with cases.

“Case” is defined as a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

“Contact” refers to a person who had exposure to a case while the case was infected.

“Infected” is defined as the period during the illness or within two days before the illness began.

“Direct contact” is defined as the following: When a person comes closer than 6 feet to a case for at least 15 minutes, provided care at home to the case, had direct physical contact with the case (touched, hugged, or kissed them), shared eating or drinking utensils with the case, and/or on whom the case sneezed, coughed, or other action which is concerning for spreading respiratory droplets. Individuals who have come into direct contact with the case must quarantine for 14 days. 

“Proximate Exposed Contact” is defined as someone exposed to a case who was more than 6 feet away but in the same room for an extended period of time with the case. “Secondary Contact or Secondarily Exposed Contact* is defined as exposure to a primarily exposed contact. Safety measures in place include hybrid schedule of attendance for students (1/3 student body at a time); mandated masks for all faculty, staff and students; social distancing at all times when possible; daily temperature taking; disinfecting of all desks between each class period during the day and during the evening hours, and all classrooms are thoroughly sanitized with a hydrostatic disinfecting sprayer. Because of these extensive safety measures, we are leaving the decision of quarantining up to the families who receive (emailed) letters of proximate exposed contact and secondary contact or secondarily exposed contact.

 

What is the process at school when a positive case is reported? Will those in contact with the diagnosed person be asked to self quarantine? 

When a positive case of COVID is reported to the school, we talk to the appropriate parties to learn of the case’s test date and to research the last time the case was on campus. After this information has been gathered, we determine how the positive case came into contact with students, faculty and staff.  Letters are emailed to families where the case shared a class period with their student. The same (emailed) letter is sent to the teachers of each of those class periods, and any other individuals that may have come into contact with the case while on the campus. 

 

What is the current threshold under which St. Pius X will shut down and conduct fully virtual classes? In other words, specifically how many individuals will have a positive COVID-19 result such that the Administration would pivot to fully virtual?

We have inquired with the Health Department and the Archdiocesan task force regarding what would constitute the need for the school to end in-school instruction and switch to virtual learning for all involved parties. To date, we have not been given a threshold. 

 

My student has had some technology issues with Zoom, etc. Are teachers taking into consideration technology issues when they grade students? 

Teachers will continue to take into consideration technology issues that may arise and interfere with virtual lessons. This has been the understanding and practice since the inception of our virtual initiatives in establishing a virtual teaching program for inclement weather issues. These initiatives have now carried over with our IPP and FTV instruction. Teachers are aware of the nature of technology issues and have been advised to be accommodating. Any make-up opportunities and grace periods are at the discretion of the teachers. If you are concerned about a grade related to a technology issue, please contact the teacher directly to discuss the issue.

 

I heard that students are in fact seated less than six feet apart (across the tables from each other) at lunch. If possible, can the across-the-table space be increased in some way?

We have reduced the number of students allowed in the cafeteria from over 300 to under 90. A typical table which used to seat 12 now only seats 4.  Students are never directly across from each other in that space, and our lunchroom monitors are very diligent in requiring that students put their masks back on once they have finished actively eating. More students are also now permitted to eat outside.  

 

Is there a cutoff time for changes and/or assignments on PowerSchool for the next school day? 

Student assignments for the week are posted by their teachers on Mondays on their PSL class pages. Any daily changes by teachers can be made in class for those IPP students and for the FTV students, changes to PSL class pages are done by 4:00 pm each day.  

 

---UPDATED 8/19/2020, 12:00 P.M.---

If a student is tardy they are marked UA (unexcused absence) for the full day.  How can SPX mark a kid as absent all day if they really weren't absent all day and participated in class and turned in assignments on time? How can a teacher refer back to performance and engagement if they aren't documenting attendance?

Students learning virtually are required to submit their attendance by 8:00 am every day. They are also required to be present for every class period and based on the day's lesson, be it a zoom meeting, a collaborative group activity, or an assignment to be turned in, their work is a further testament of their attendance.

For example, a student learning virtually may be tardy one day and not submit their attendance in time. That student would be marked UA (unexcused absence) for the day. That same tardy student may attend every class, participate in class and turn in his/her daily assignments. So while that student would be marked UA for the day because he/she was tardy, the teacher would grade his/her participation in class and his/her assignments for the day and the student would receive grades commensurate with his/her daily contribution.

If a virtual student registers his/her daily attendance in time to be counted as present, and then skips class(es) or Advisory, the teacher will follow the disciplinary penalties laid out in the next question: What are the disciplinary penalties for students who skip class or advisory?

 

What are the disciplinary penalties for students who skip class or advisory? 

Students who skip class – either in person or virtually – will receive a write up via email noting the skipped class from the teacher, and include the parent email and cc: Ms. Rachel Braham and Mr. Mike Lancaster. Ms. Braham or Mr. Lancaster will assign two detentions to the student’s disciplinary account, and Mrs. Jen Polzin will note an Unexcused Absence (UA) for the skipped class period. Students who receive a UA for a class period are able to make up assigned work or assessments provided they follow the teacher’s syllabus requirements for make-up work. The UA notation requires that a teacher assign a grade of 69% of the earned grade for the assignment or assessment. What this means is if a student earns a 100% on the assignment or assessment during a class noted as UA, he/she will see a posted grade for the assignment or assessment of 69 in the gradebook. It is imperative that students and parents follow all processes for reporting absences in a thorough and timely manner in order to avoid the detentions for skipping class, and/or the reduced grades for assignments or assessments due or taken during a missed class period.

Advisory is also mandatory and is counted for attendance on the days that students meet. Students will receive the 2 detentions for skipping an Advisory session just as they will for skipping the class session as noted above.

---UPDATED 8/19/2020, 10:15 A.M.---

What is being done about cafeteria seating during lunch time? My sophomore is telling me there isn’t enough seating for everyone.

The largest number of students in any one lunch period is 113 students. There is designated, distanced seating for 90 students in the cafeteria. Freshmen and sophomores are instructed to find seats in the cafeteria. There is a maximum of 66 freshmen and sophomores during any one lunch period, so there are plenty of seats inside the cafeteria for them. If a junior or senior decides to eat inside the cafeteria and the seats are filled, then freshmen and sophomores may need to eat at the additional tables provided just outside the cafeteria. Juniors and Seniors can eat outside at tables and throughout the plaza. Seniors have the additional privilege of eating in the Young Center Lobby and the Senior Courtyard. Students are monitored throughout their lunch periods.

 

Will Pius be reporting the numbers of kids/staff that test positive or are quarantining due to COVID-19? 

Yes. Once we receive notification of a positive case, we immediately begin contract tracing so we can notify every student and/or faculty/staff member that has come in direct or indirect contact with the person that has tested positive for COVID-19. We are building a COVID-19 webpage that will list the daily occurrences of cases, if any, each day. We will notify the school community when this page is complete. In the meantime, we will email current parents and notify them of any positive cases.

---UPDATED 8/18/2020, 12:00 P.M.---

Why are virtual students marked UA for a full day if they are simply tardy? 

We will only be marking in-person students who are tardy. An in-person population student who is tardy reports directly to the attendance office, explains the situation and obtains a note before they report to class. Students who are learning virtually are required to sign in before 8 a.m. They will be marked unexcused absence (UA) for the day if they sign in after 8 a.m. No tardies will be granted to virtual students. With over 900 students learning virtually each day, the Attendance Office will not be accepting emails or calls from students explaining why they did not log in and mark their attendance before 8 a.m. Students who are virtual and sign in to first period late should still participate in class and complete all of their assignments for the day. If students are sick or need to miss class for any reason - doctor's appointments, family obligations, etc. - then parents must email Mrs. Polzin at attendance@spx.org by 9:00 a.m. 

 

If our kids are involved in any type of club, are they allowed to come to school on days the club is held?

Yes, students may come to campus after school for club meetings that are being held on campus. 

 

Why are football players allowed to be on campus M/W/F for class in the gymnasium?

The safety and wellbeing of our students is a priority we take very seriously. There are numerous factors that played into our decision to allow varsity football players to learn virtually from the game gym on the two days a week when they are not part of the in-person population. Educators are being asked to face a myriad of challenges and St. Pius X took this opportunity to think outside of the box to protect our student athletes from harm and just as important to be an assistance to our parents who have to transport their athletes to school.  

For many years a movement has developed in Georgia where the public schools would like to see private schools removed from the GHSA, the governing body of athletics in Georgia.  This stems from the perception that many of the private schools recruit and skim off many of the best athletes to come to their schools.  Each year we continue to successfully articulate our position and in fact, as president, I was one of the people that appeared last year before the committee to defend our reputation for being a strict adherent to not just the rules of the GHSA, but the spirit of those laws and we were successful.  That said, the movement last year sought to have all private schools held to a formula that provides a multiplier for students who attend school within our public high school district. Schools are classified first by their enrollment, which is roughly 1,100 here at Pius. Next, each school must identify students not zoned for their school district. Our current school data indicates that we have students commuting to St. Pius X from 13 different counties.  We reside in the Cross Keys High School district and we have just 11 students that reside in this district. The GHSA bylaws state that every out of district student must be multiplied by two. This calculation doubles the size of our student body according to GHSA, effectively treating Pius as a school with over 2,000 students. The GHSA has a rule that says you can be pushed up two classifications based on your recalculated enrollment. For Pius, that number actually pushed us up 3 classifications from 3A to 6A, the reason we appealed the decision last year and were successful and brought the classification back down to 5A.

While we cannot change the current classification of 5A, we remain very concerned for the safety of our student athletes. The 5A classification now forces us to compete with schools that have much larger enrollments, many more players and in most cases, much larger players. This is most challenging in contact sports like football. In an effort to protect our athletes, we have stepped up our strength and conditioning programs.

Due to the demands of having to accumulate 24 credits to graduate, it is difficult to take a yearly weight training class during a normal school schedule. Many of our athletes come to school during “zero period” at 6:00 am to strengthen their bodies through weight training. With the modified schedule we are currently on, and the GHSA moving forward with fall sports, we made an effort to continue the morning weight training sessions for our football players. 

We did not want students arriving on campus at 6 a.m. for zero period, returning home for virtual classes, and then returning to campus once again for practice in the afternoon. For our young drivers, this puts them in a position to make multiple trips each day to campus, or their parents who drive these students, at times when the traffic is the heaviest and difficult to navigate.  We sought to assist our families with the logistics of daily zero period and after school practice. We did not want to have parents coming to school before 6 am to drop off their students for zero period, then wait an hour to pick them up and take them home for virtual learning. Parents would then have to turn around to return them back to campus in the afternoon for afternoon practice with many traveling long distances from campus. Practice could not start until 4:00 or 4:30 to allow students travel time to get to campus and suit up. This would put athlete’s back home around 7:30 or 8:00, not providing the necessary time to study and do homework.

Before we made a decision regarding this request and in an effort to be fair and consistent with all fall sport teams, I  personally spoke with every fall sport coach and asked them if they would like to have their teams participate as I wanted to get an idea of the numbers we were talking about. Cross County (a team of over 120 boys and girls) indicated that they were going to run in the early morning, and did not want to participate.  Volleyball (about 25 girls), shared that they only had two girls that had a longer commute, but that they could be at school by 3:30, so they could start practice at 3:45.  Softball (18 girls), did not have a problem either and they would be able to start practice right after school.  I did not ask the cheerleaders as they are not a GHSA sport, and the competitive component of cheerleaders that does fall under the guidelines of the GHSA, does not start until later this fall. It should also be noted that most of these teams are not lifting during zero period like the football team.  

To be clear, students do not attend classes in person, but attend class virtually just like they were at home. Students are supervised each period by teachers who are also coaches, and who are giving up one of their planning periods to make this scenario successful. I, and other administrators were in the gym yesterday every period seeing if there were any problems we needed to address, and we were all pleased it worked so well.  Students remain in the gym all day, socially distanced at desks, with small breaks between classes. They eat their lunch in the gym, never mixing with the rest of the in-person population attending school. It’s important to note that this offering to our varsity football players was optional with those players’ parents deciding what is most convenient for them and what is best for their student.

Again, this initiative was introduced solely to make it easier on our parents in transporting their students, and on our athletes in an effort to keep them injury free. It added an additional burden for our teachers/coaches who are giving up their daytime planning periods to assist in making this program a success. Those teachers/coaches who have given up planning periods are adding the hours they would have planned during the day to their personal time after-school, ensuring all students continue to receive their full attention.

 

 

 

 

---UPDATED 8/17/2020, 8:30 A.M.---

How should I notify SPX if my student has to quarantine because of exposure or a positive test for Covid?

You should send an email to COVID@spx.org which will automatically notify key individuals in the administration about your family situation and will start the Archdiocesan mandated follow-up procedures.

 

Have you all considered having students take antibody tests?

The Archdiocesan Task Force provides each of the 18 Archdiocesan schools with guidelines for managing COVID-19 related issues. Antibody testing is currently not an element in the guidelines.

 

Have you considered letting just the senior class come back in person?

No. We believe that every student should be afforded the same opportunity for in-person instruction.

 

What amendments will you make to tuition if the decision is made to switch to all virtual?  

St. Pius X will not be making amendments to tuition if we need to switch to 100% virtual school. If we do switch to 100% virtual school, our plan will always be to re-open as soon as it is deemed feasible. Currently the largest expense in our budget (86%) is salaries and the related benefits for faculty and staff.  This expense is increasing as we need substitutes for classes where faculty cannot return to campus for in-person instruction due to medical and family reasons, and exposure to COVID-19. We have also significantly increased our expenses related to technology, cleaning supplies and other COVID-19 related needs. 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.

 

Will there be any kind of way for freshmen to get to know other freshman students at St. Pius X other than in the virtual classroom?  To clarify, is there any kind of zoom session or otherwise in which virtual students (along with possibly in person students) may get to do introductions?

Yes. Advisory is our new homeroom system. Students will remain in the same Advisory with the same teacher throughout their time at SPX, and each Advisory has students from all four grades. The goal is to provide another opportunity to develop community among students and teachers who otherwise might not encounter one another. 

 

Will there be another opportunity for students to take their yearbook photos?

Yes, we are scheduling a make-up date for September and will communicate that date once it is scheduled.

 

Will there be a "Back to School" zoom sessions for parents to be able to meet teachers?

We host a Mini-Class Night for parents each fall, although this year will be different because of COVID-19. The purpose of Mini-Class Night has always been to acquaint parents with students’ teachers and classes. Teachers have all prepared virtual presentations introducing themselves and talking about their courses. Teacher presentations can be found on the parent’s PowerSchool Learning (PSL) page. An August 17 email is being sent to parents with more details regarding the August 24 virtual event.


 

---UPDATED 8/14/2020, 2:45 P.M.---

Does SPX currently have advanced AV equipment for the classrooms?

Every classroom is equipped with cameras for streaming, though the type and use of cameras varies from class to class, depending on the teacher’s curriculum and methodology for relaying each lesson. Our IT department, in collaboration with our Instructional Curriculum Coordinator and Technology Committee, are constantly updating new technology and programs to support and improve our virtual instruction. We will continue to use web conferencing, as well as PowerSchool Learning, as the main tools to provide a virtual learning experience.


 

How will In-Person Population (IPP) students be marked present on the days they are physically present on campus? 

Students will go to each class and teachers will mark attendance for each class period.

 

How is attendance taken on days the In-Person Population (IPP) students are mandated to be home for a virtual learning day?

By 8:00 a.m. daily you must submit the Advisory attendance form which is found on your Advisory class page in PS Learning (PSL). The 8:00 am deadline is a firm deadline. If you sign in after 8:00am on virtual learning days, you will be marked Unexcused Absent (UA) for the entire day. If students are sick or need to miss class for any reason - doctor's appointments, family obligations, etc. - then parents must email Mrs. Polzin at attendance@spx.org by 9:00 a.m.

 

How is attendance taken for Full-Time Virtual (FTV) students?

Every day students must log on by 8:00 a.m. and submit the "Attendance Check-In for Full-Time Virtual Students Form" which is found on the Home-Based Learning class page in PS Learning (PSL). The 8:00 a.m. deadline is a firm deadline. If you sign in after 8:00 a.m. on virtual learning days, you will be marked Unexcused Absent (UA) for the entire day. If students are sick or need to miss class for any reason - doctor's appointments, family obligations, etc. - then parents must email Mrs. Polzin at attendance@spx.org by 9:00 a.m.

 

Please explain Advisory. What is the purpose and expectation? How was the mix of students determined?

Advisory is our new homeroom system. Students will remain in the same Advisory with the same teacher throughout their time at SPX, and each Advisory has students from all four grades. The goal is to provide another opportunity to develop community among students and teachers who otherwise might not encounter one another. Additionally, Advisory will provide a space for students to have conversations about a variety of topics ranging from time management to conflict resolution. These conversations are developed with our in-house experts from Campus Ministry and Counseling. Each advisory group is designed to reflect our school’s identity. The rosters proportionally reflect our school’s various subgroups by gender, ethnicity, religious affiliation, middle school affiliation, etc. 

---UPDATED 8/12/2020, 1:30 P.M.---

If my student is an in-person population student and has to miss school due to quarantine or having symptoms that do not permit him to attend school in person, can he switch to virtual school for the days he is not attending in person?

No, students who are in-person population students may not switch to full-time virtual status for a quarantine or illness. They will be marked as “absent - excused” for the duration of their absence because we will need to track the timing of the illness/quarantine. However, if they feel well enough to do so, they may communicate with teachers regarding school work for the days they were to be in-person on campus. In addition, they may participate in classes on the other days of the week when they are virtual. For example, if an IPP student is on campus on Monday, they would communicate with their teacher regarding any assignments they might be able to complete from home. Tuesday-Friday they are learning virtually from home and can participate and turn in assignments for those classes.


Are Friday schedules "late start" for IPP students during this first month?

No, they are not. Every Friday through September 4 will be a full school day for students.

 

---UPDATED 8/12/2020, 10:00 A.M.---

The AP Chemistry syllabus states that the labs are an integral part of the course.  Has any consideration been given to bringing back the AP science students on Monday, Wednesday, AND Friday (rather than just one day) so that they have access to the lab equipment and materials? 

We cannot accommodate this scenario due to the nature of the Hybrid learning model we are currently using. Students who are not learning on-site cannot travel to school during the school day for one lab, and then return home to finish their virtual schooling for the day - they would miss other mandatory classes in the process. AP teachers are aware how important labs are in the AP Sciences and will be assigning alternative lab activities. The College Board has many teaching aids and support for AP teachers as well as AP students in these courses.   

 

Why can we not expect a more consistent action plan for daily synchronous, face-to-face learning? 

If this were an elementary school situation, a consistent plan for each grade might be possible. Unfortunately this is not possible at the high school level. Each teacher has a unique lesson plan based on the learning level of his/her students (CP, CPA, Honors, AP). In addition, teachers are faced with both in-person and fulltime virtual students streaming in all classes. This calls for teachers preparing daily and weekly synchronous and asynchronous lesson plans and activities for both student audiences. An example would be a teacher giving a quiz. The In-person population is given a quiz, and the virtual students need an asynchronous activity while this is being done. The teacher would address the virtual students to get them started, and then monitor the in-person students taking the quiz.  The same is true in reverse - while virtual students are taking a quiz, the in-person population may be given an asynchronous activity so the teacher can monitor those students taking the quiz.

 

---UPDATED 8/11/2020---

IPP (in-person population) students are in class one day per week. What do students do the other four days of the week?

If you select in-person learning, your student will be on campus one day per week and will learn virtually the other four days. On Mondays, IPP students with last names starting with A to G will report to campus for in-person learning. These students will be engaged in in-person learning on August 17, August 24 and August 31. All other IPP students (H-Z) will engage in virtual learning from home. On Tuesdays, all students will engage in virtual learning from home while the school is thoroughly sanitized. On Wednesdays, all IPP students with last names starting with H to N will report to campus for in-person learning. These students will be engaged in in-person learning on August 19, August 26 and September 2. All other IPP students (A-G and O-Z) will engage in virtual learning from home. On Thursdays, all students will engage in virtual learning from home while the school is thoroughly sanitized. On Fridays, all IPP students with last names starting with O to Z will report to campus for in-person learning. These students will be engaged in in-person learning on August 21, August 28 and September 4. All other IPP students (A-N) will engage in virtual learning from home. 

 

Are all teachers expected to have all assignments posted by a specific time? Are all teachers expected to not make assignments due on weekends? Are all teachers expected to not post on Sunday material that will be assessed by quiz on Monday?

Faculty teaching expectations state that all class assignments should be posted on their PSL page for the week by Monday morning at 8 a.m. The post will  include weekly objectives with day-to-day requirements, including turn in times and dates. Any adjustments to the weekly assignments on PSL during the week will be addressed verbally in classes and/or virtually, with re-posting to PSL before 4:30 p.m. daily. In addition, faculty expectations include no posting after 4:30 pm on Fridays for any work not previously communicated during the week that may be due on Monday.

 

Do all classrooms have the ability to stream a class?  Does SPX have the technological infrastructure in place for that many rooms to stream?  

Yes, we have streaming capabilities for every class. 

 

Will students be expected to sit through a day of Zooms when learning from home?

Instruction will vary daily. Student expectations for virtual learning include being present and available for every class period’s requirements as listed on the teacher’s PSL page, which might include a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning. Students need to be in attendance for and participate in all scheduled advisory meetings. And, students need to be accessible via technology during lunch periods for communications/participation with counseling, campus ministry, administration, and other teachers should the need arise. 

 

Can students access their lockers throughout the day?

Students have been issued a locker and are welcome to use their lockers, but access will be restricted during the school day.  We are restricting access so that we can keep the hallways moving freely during class change time, as well as eliminate students being in the halls during class time. Students may visit their lockers quickly at the beginning of the school day if they need to store materials for the day. Students may visit lockers quickly at the end of the school day as well. We are asking that students take home all contents, leaving an empty locker, at the end of the school day in case we have to resort to full-time virtual learning at home. If we have to return to full-time virtual learning at home, students will not be allowed access to their locker for any items (including books or notebooks) until school opens again for in-person learning.

 

What do we do with textbooks from last year?

There is no textbook return for last year's books.  We told the students that information at the locker cleanout in May. We told them that if they would like to donate them back to the school for the teachers to use as class sets of books to be used on occasion, they were welcome to do that.

 

---UPDATED 8/10/2020, 8:30 A.M.---

Why can we switch from in-person population (IPP) to FTV after August 17 (by sending an email to schoolchoice@spx.org), but we can’t switch from FTV to IPP after August 17?  In other words: why allow us to switch but only in one direction?

We want to allow families who may choose the in-person population to have the ability to switch to full-time virtual. If a family has concerns for rising cases or discomfort in being on campus, we want them to have the option to switch to full-time virtual. By switching to FTV, it will also allow for greater spacing in classrooms, hallways and the cafeteria. We are not allowing full-time virtual students to switch to the in-person population until we release the next phase of the reopening plan, which would go into effect on September 8. Classrooms will be set-up to accommodate those students who will be returning as in-population students, and we will establish safe distancing, alpha seating, etc. at that time. We will not be making changes to that structured environment by adding students until the next phase of re-opening. As such, we will not be allowing FTV students to switch to IPP.

 

What criteria are you expecting to meet to ensure that our children will be back in school five days per week after Labor Day?

The first three and a half weeks of school will allow us to fine tune our health and safety protocols. Teachers will have time to iron out the curriculum for both IPP and FTV learners. Faculty will become proficient with the new technology and upgrades. If we are able to minimize exposure for all students, faculty and staff by consistent and proper wearing of masks, maintenance of a controlled environment in situations where social distancing is difficult (hallways, cafeteria), and we do not experience large breakouts of positive COVID-19 cases, then we will feel confident in our ability to increase the number of students on campus. In the meantime, we will also closely monitor the return of schools our size that have gone back in full, and who are maintaining similar protocols.

 

If public schools are still virtual in three weeks those teachers with children in those schools still won’t have childcare. The virus will still be here, so those that are vulnerable will still have the same situation as well.  Are you trying to hire new teachers in order for the kids to come back? 

We have to follow FFCRA federal law which gives these individuals a set amount of time before we have to replace them and/or they can make arrangements and/or we have to hire subs. 

 

 

---UPDATED 8/7/2020, 9:30 A.M.---

Why did you change your original plan one week before school started? What is your reasoning for doing so?

 

There are a number of factors that played into our decision making. 

  1. Our main school building was built in 1958 with smaller than average size classrooms and we are (and have been for about the last 10 years) the largest high school student body of any private school in the state of Georgia. This fact alone makes it hard to adequately social distance.
  2. While space is our primary concern, it was compounded by the fact that St. Pius X employs many faculty members who are parents of school-aged children, many of whom have their children enrolled in public schools. When these same public schools began announcing full-time virtual learning plans in mid-July, and the Office of Catholic Schools announced on July 20 that Archdiocesan schools would be going back in-person, we were faced with employees who were unable to find alternate child care for their children. In addition, a large number of teachers informed us that they would need to teach virtually for medical considerations. The FFCRA - Families First Corona Response Act - which was enacted on April 1 and continues through December 31 - provides exemptions for many of our teachers who have either personal medical issues, child care issues, or have been thrust into a position of caring for older parents or other medically fragile people in their homes. What was once nearly a third of our population considering teaching remotely, we were able to reduce this number to a much more manageable figure thanks to our current hybrid return plan. These first three and ½ weeks of a hybrid schedule gives teachers and students an opportunity to become comfortable with the new protocols, and perhaps reduce both the long-term number of teachers teaching virtually and students who were considering the FTV option. In addition, it greatly reduces the number of substitute teachers needed to manage the in-person population (IPP) students in these same classrooms. By implementing a hybrid schedule, and reducing the number of people in the building each day, we have significantly reduced the number of teachers that are teaching virtually and have increased the number of students who would otherwise have to attend virtually. 
  3. The Office of Catholic Schools announced on July 20 that all schools would be returning to in-person instruction, and we immediately began discussions with faculty concerning their ability to teach in person. By July 29 it was clear that we would have a significant number of faculty teaching virtually due to accommodations allowed from FFCRA. We met with Superintendent Hal Plummer on July 30 to discuss our situation, and he immediately suggested that St. Pius X consider a hybrid approach. We are grateful to Superintendent Plummer for recognizing our unique situation and allowing us the flexibility to create a plan that works for our school. On August 4, just four business days later, we announced our Back to School Plan to parents.
  4. And finally, the escalating number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia, and specifically from counties that large segments of our student population call home, is also of grave concern. By reducing our on-campus student population to an average of 360 students, we hope to have ample opportunity to instill and perfect good health and safety protocols in our students, faculty and staff before we bring back the entire student body.

 

Why divide students by alphabetical order and not by grades?

We needed to keep families together to assist with carpooling, planning for home care during virtual days for students, etc.

 

Are we able to allow each student who attends in person a parking space on campus during their assigned day?

Yes, due to the reduced number of students on campus, we are allowing students who have purchased parking decals for the 20-21 school year to park on campus. Students will receive their parking decals during the first three days of school (August 12-14). Students with parking decals for the 20-21 school year may park in any spaces, including Senior Lot, that are NOT marked for faculty (T-spaces) or visitors. While we believe we will have enough spaces for every student with a 20-21 parking decal, we will not know the full in-person population vs. full-time virtual until Monday, August 10. If a student with a parking decal comes to school anytime from August 12-September 4, regardless of which parking lot they have been assigned, and finds the parking lot full, they will need to park in Shallowford Lot. Students must display the parking permit on their car window to take advantage of the on-campus parking option for Aug 12 - Sept 4.  Again, this parking plan is valid through September 4. Any changes in our schedule will alter our parking arrangements as well.

 

Will the expectations for in-person students on virtual days be identical to the expectations for full-time virtual students? Can we expect most classes to be synchronous on all virtual days?

Full-time virtual (FTV) is a combination of synchronous (occurring in real-time as the teacher is relaying the materials) and asynchronous instruction (not occurring at the same time as the teacher is relaying, i.e. recorded teaching/assigned lessons). The learning for FTV students, and IPP students during their virtual learning days, is dependent upon the teachers, the particular course and content material, and the teachers’ lesson plans.

 

Have teachers been instructed to use a standard PSL page structure and format for communicating daily plans, homework, and projects?

There are many instructional learning structures and formats for communicating daily plans. Each teacher can personalize their particular PSL page that best accommodates their particular course, daily lessons, and communications.

 

Will my student have assignments to complete on the days they are not in school the first week (August 12, 13, 14)?

On the days when the student is not in attendance on campus, they may be given assignments by their teachers in order to be prepared for Monday, August 17 when school begins in full. Your student should check his/her class pages for any assignments that may be given. Please note that some teachers may not have any assignments to complete for August 12,13 or 14.

 

How are teachers going to keep track/discipline/engage the students in front of them in person while also monitoring the online environment of the students attending their class virtually? What system will there be to verify that the at-home learners are actually paying attention during class? Will teachers have them scan and send in notes after class?  Will they have to respond in an online chat box to questions for a participation grade? Will they be called on to answer questions over their microphones? Will teachers have an accountability tool set up in their classes so kids at home aren't playing video games or otherwise distracted during their synchronous classes?

The faculty who will be teaching dual environments (both in-person learners and full-time virtual learners) know that they have two student audiences that they need to incorporate into their daily lessons. Teachers are preparing, through good lesson planning and classroom management, to split time between in-person population (IPP) and full-time virtual (FTV) students by engaging them in questions, answers, and discussions. Teachers will set expectations for learning during the first days of school and students will be expected to follow these protocols. The protocols for IPP students can be found on page 13 and for FTV students on page 14.

 

What platform is being used for the St. Pius X virtual classes?

We will be using PowerSchool Learning (our learning management system) as the hub for online learning. Teachers will videoconference with their students using Zoom and Google Meet. We integrate a variety of other technology tools such as Pear Deck, WeVideo, Turnitin, EdPuzzle, and FlipGrid to engage students in learning.

 

Will there be a way for virtual students to break into small groups during class and have discussions or work together as deemed necessary by the teacher?

Teachers will use a variety of methods for engaging students in instruction, including the possibility of using small group discussions.

 

Will in-person population (IPP) students be expected to engage in reading assignments and self-paced learning with no teacher involvement for the four days a week that they are virtual?

No. There will be teacher/student engagement during virtual learning days with a combination of synchronous (occurring in real-time as the teacher is relaying the materials) and asynchronous instruction (not occurring at the same time as the teacher is relaying, i.e. recorded teaching/assigned lessons). The particular learning plan for virtual learning days is dependent upon the teachers, the particular course and content material, and the teachers’ lesson plans.

 

Please advise how weight lifting will work this semester.  Does my student still come in for just that every day?  If not how will she progress and get credit?

When in-person population (IPP) students are on campus they will report for their normal 8 period day. When IPP students are not on campus, and when all full-time virtual (FTV) students have a weight lifting class, they will have different assignments or activities to complete. Weightlifting classes will work as close to normal as possible. The day IPP students are on campus they will lift if they have gone through the proper lifting progressions to learn, or they will do other lifting-based activities (Kettle Bell, Medicine Ball, Plyometrics, Body Weight). The days IPP students are not on campus they will be given various assignments. Grades will be based on participation during both on & off campus days’ activities, and assignments completed. All questions regarding progress and lifting should be directed to Coach Liccardo, Coach Schmitt, or Coach Garrison.

 

If students have sports practice but are not assigned to come to campus that day would they still report for the practice?

Yes. Students who are learning virtually on a day when they have practice must complete their full day of classes before coming to campus. Students may not enter campus until school is out of session, arriving after 3 p.m. each day.  By this, we mean that students arriving for after school sports may not be on campus waiting in cars, be dropped off by parents/caregivers, hanging out anywhere on campus in person, or otherwise be present on campus until the school day has ended with closing prayer at approximately 3 p.m. Students are to make all travel arrangements for entrance to campus after 3 p.m.

 

Some schools/colleges are condensing their calendar to have finals occurring either just before or just after Thanksgiving. Is Pius considering any changes to the schedule?

At this time we do not have plans to condense our calendar. We are required to provide 180 days of instruction each academic year. The current school calendar meets that requirement.

 

What cleaning is happening on Tuesday and Thursday that is not a part of the daily after-school cleaning?

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the cleaning and maintenance staff will perform added duties, particularly focused on additional floor scrubbing, air purification, deeper restroom sanitizing, and hallway/locker cleaning.  Also, because a new student population will be cycling through, we will increase the high-touch cleaning to aid in prevention of any potential cross-contamination between the populations.

 

With regard to the last paragraph on page 9 of the Return to School Plan, can you please advise what your source will be for the current Level 3 Nonessential Travel Zones? Has the Superintendent yet required that if a student or parent travels to one of those zones that they will have to quarantine for 14 days?

The St. Pius X Catholic School Community is required to follow the Archdiocese of Atlanta Infectious Disease Policy, which is outlined on page nine of the Back to School Plan. The CDC website page for Level 3 Non-Essential Travel Zones can be found here. We have not been notified by the Superintendent of Schools regarding restrictions currently being imposed for travel to Level 3 Non-Essential Travel Zones.

---UPDATED 8/4/2020, 8:45 A.M.---

Do you have an idea of how many students are attending in person vs virtual?

This week parents will be sent a form to fill out regarding their choices.

 

Do the kids need a negative Covid-19 test before returning to in-person learning at St. Pius X?

St. Pius X and the Archdiocese are not requiring COVID-19 tests prior to in-person learning.

 

Will there be a virtual option for parent events, such as the fine arts parent meeting, mini-class night, senior parent night, etc.?

We are working on virtual options for some of these events, and will share information as we get closer to the event dates.

 

Will they still have pictures taken the first week of school? 

Yes.  All students will take school pictures/ID pictures during their lunch period on either August 12, 13, or 14 as assigned. As a reminder, families will receive an email prior to the dates containing information for purchase of school pictures.

 

How will you promote the use of masks and social distancing in the student parking lots before and after school?

Students will be instructed to wear their masks at all times when on campus during the school day. This will be relayed to students during the first days of school, and will be reinforced by faculty and staff every day.  We ask parents to reinforce the necessity of masks at all times while on campus, in addition to maintaining proper social distancing.

 

What metrics are being used to determine when the school switches to all virtual learning?

We are following the direction of the governor, health agencies, local jurisdictions and the Archdiocese of Atlanta Office of Catholic Schools to determine the best course of action.

 

Question: What are the plans on mitigating the risk when students will be changing classes? What will the procedures be when students exit at the end of day? 

Answer: At this time, the current class schedule and passing times will be maintained, and we are going to provide instructions to the students in the first days of school regarding safe passage from class to class and exiting the school at the end of the day.

 

Will valved masks be allowed?  

Please see the Student Handbook for mask requirements.

 

Will you allow students to wear goggles?

Every student must wear a mask at all times.  If you’d like your student to wear a face shield AND a mask, they will be welcome to add the face shield.  The face shield will not replace a mask; they can certainly be worn together. Every student is issued a set of science experiment goggles. Students may choose to wear these specific goggles, but other goggles will not be permitted.

 

 Is there a group of parents with multiple expertise involved in the guidelines that are helping to review the schools Covid-19 policies?

The Archdiocese of Atlanta Office of Catholic Schools has a task force that includes multiple stakeholders, including medical personnel, reviewing policy and procedures for the schools.

 

 If a student shows symptoms at the school even before testing positive as results can take 48+ hours to come back, what is the school's policy for informing the families?

We will follow the guidelines set in place by the Archdiocesan Task Force, the CDC, and the Department of Health. Health Department guidance requires that all close contacts be notified of a positive case. Current Department of Health guidelines can be found here.

 

If a student's household member tests positive, do you have a policy on if the student is allowed to attend classes?

We will follow the guidelines set in place by the Archdiocesan Task Force, the CDC, and the Department of Health. Current Department of Health guidelines can be found here.

 

---UPDATED 8/3/2020, 8:45 A.M.---

When will we receive more information regarding the start of school?

Parents will receive a detailed communication regarding the 2020-21 school year by Tuesday, August 4 at the latest.

 

Will SPX still plan to be open as a SAT test site in August?

At this time we are moving forward with the SAT testing on August 29.

 

What is the latest information from the GHSA regarding fall sports?

Currently, the GHSA has voted to move forward on schedule with fall sports other than football.  The start date for official acclimatization for football remains the same but all football contests (including scrimmages) have been pushed back two weeks for the entire state.  As of yesterday, there have been no discussions regarding additional alterations to fall sports.

The GHSA has put decisions regarding continued play in the hands of each school district/school. The Archdiocese of Atlanta and its three high schools plan to compete but certainly understand if an individual family chooses to forgo the fall season. Currently we do not see the GHSA halting fall sports unless the Governor were to take similar actions to the ones taken last spring. 

---UPDATED 7/31/2020, 9:30 A.M.---

We are out of town during Freshman Orientation on Tuesday, August 11. Is this something that can be attended remotely, via Zoom or any other way?​

There will only be the one option, in-person, and attendance will be entirely voluntary.

 

Updated answer

Will the Lion Leaders and the freshmen be able to meet in person on campus?

 

The Lion Leader program will not have Camp Golden Lion (it is sort of like a block party) due to the social distancing restrictions. We are hoping to reschedule this event.  Originally it was to be the culmination of the Lion Leader orientation on August 10. Due to the restrictions in the spring and summer, we asked Lion Leaders to make “virtual” contact with cubs. The Lion Leader Board will be emailing new students and families a PDF with helpful information and links to SPX sites. This PDF includes a detailed school map with descriptions of each hall, technology info, library info, and general tips from Lion Leaders. This year our homerooms are becoming advisory groups with students from all grades. During the first three days of school, August 12-14, these advisory groups will meet first and all students will be given details on procedures changing this year due to COVID. We also have time planned for the older students to help the new students look at their schedules and plan their routes, and help them with logging into the various school resources.

---UPDATED 7/29/2020, 9:30 A.M.---

Will there be a Freshman/New Student Orientation this year?

Yes. An optional Orientation Session for both freshmen and new upperclassmen will take place on Tuesday, August 11. The schedule for this day will be forthcoming.

 

Where should we purchase a lanyard? 

Page 128 of the Student Handbook notes that lanyards can be purchased at any store. ID’s will come with a hole punched in it.  If further protection of the ID is desired, any clear ID badge holder will suffice.

 

To assist with Contact Tracing can/or will the use of assigned seats in classrooms help identify those that are at risk once positive cases have been reported as well as isolate specific areas and equipment that would require extra precautionary/targeted disinfecting?

Health Department guidance requires that all close contacts be notified of a positive case. This means that those within a class will be automatically notified. In notifying, the school will protect the identity of the individual who tested positive, following all FERPA and HIPAA regulations. The response for each case will be dictated by the nature of that case. Current Department of Health guidelines can be found here.

 

In addition to desk and table surfaces, how often throughout the day will touch points such as entrance handles, stairwell handrails, tables, desk tops, restroom stall handles/doors, and faucet handles, etc. be cleaned and disinfected?

Surfaces will be cleaned numerous times throughout the day.  Our cleaning crew and maintenance crew are anticipating thoroughly cleaning each bathroom at least twice a day.  Other surfaces will be cleaned on a regular basis, and we will be doing all we can to minimize the need to open doors.  Many of our faucets and toilets are already touchless.  

 

 

Will mass be online? Will it be available for parents to view too?

Our monthly All School Masses will be celebrated in the Young Center with approximately 10% of the entire student body physically present and in compliance with the latest social distance and liturgical safety regulations. 

 

Each month a new and different set of students will have the opportunity to be present for Mass in the Young Center. The remaining student body will participate via livestream in the classroom and the Eucharist will be brought to them at communion time. Each classroom will be equipped with the appropriate materials to help students remain engaged throughout the celebration of Mass and distribution of communion will adhere to proper safety guidelines according to the latest Archdiocesan directives. These livestreams will be made available to the greater St. Pius X family as well. 

 

We are working to implement a new daily mass schedule which will allow more people the opportunity to participate at different times of the day. These will eventually be live streamed through a shareable online platform. 

 

Could you please explain and perhaps include a map for drop off and pick up for school? When are students considered late? Also, where do they wait for pick up in the afternoon?

St. Pius X does not have a carpool pick up system like you might have experienced at your grade school.  Parents and students are on their own to meet up for pick up in the afternoon once school has dismissed. Please be clear with your student what time you'll come for him/her and where you plan to meet; students like to socialize instead of move to their cars which means gridlock for everyone.  We ask that students get picked up toward the back of campus.  If you must pick up your student immediately after school in the front circle, your student must come immediately to you in order to keep traffic moving. Students are considered late if they are not in the classroom by the 8:00 a.m. bell.

 

---UPDATED 7/27/2020, 9:30 A.M.---

I wanted to see if the students will go outside throughout the day to take off the masks and have a break. I have not seen a reference to this. 

Masks will only be off while actively eating lunch, and must be replaced as soon as students are finished eating lunch. During PE classes faculty may instruct students to remove their masks for the duration of a socially distanced physical activity. 

 

Are you considering placing the kids in cohorts (as much as possible) to limit/contain exposure? 

St. Pius X does not work in cohorts, but we are asking the teachers to arrange their rooms so as to be consistent with seating, directional facing, etc. to maximize social distancing.

 

Are you considering use of block scheduling to limit class changes and therefore limit/contain exposure?

St. Pius X will be using the regular eight class period school day. We are currently not equipped to implement block scheduling.

 

What brand of hand sanitizer will the school be using?

The school is using Botanif Hand sanitizer, which contains 80% alcohol.

 

There have been many references to GHSA guidelines and standards.  Can you provide the best link to access their latest policies and decisions on sports? 

Please visit GHSA.net.

 

Is there a link that you can provide to access the latest on Archdiocesan decisions?

There is currently not a Q&A page for the Archdiocese regarding decisions for return to school.  The letter from the Superintendent dated July 20 reflects the current decision and  position of the Office of Catholic regarding school attendance.  Any further updates from the Archdiocese will be sent directly to the schools to then share with all of the parents.

 

Will students need lanyards to carry their new student IDs around their necks?

Yes. In an attempt to eliminate as many touch points as possible, students will begin using ID cards this year.  We will have barcodes on them for the library, Roar Store, and cafeteria.  It's possible we'd have other uses in the future.  Students will need to provide and use their own lanyards so these ID cards are easily accessible. 

 

---UPDATED 7/24/2020, 1:45 P.M.---

Will you encourage/advise families to limit their travel during school breaks? 

The safety and health of this community is our number one priority.  As stated in the July 20 email from Mr. Spellman and Dr. Simpson, “We expect that your family will also take this responsibility seriously and work within your own family to lessen your potential exposure to COVID-19 which will in turn lessen the SPX community's exposure to the virus.” 

 

Will the daily self-reporting be submitted through a website or health system portal?  

No. Please reference the July 20 email from Mr. Spellman and Dr. Simpson, which can be found here. You will find information regarding your question under “What You Can Do to Help.”

 

For students who are sick at home WITH COVID or isolating but are well enough to participate in class remotely, will they be marked absent?  

We are finalizing our protocol for all COVID-related illnesses and will share that information once it has been approved by the Archdiocese.

 

At this time will campus access be limited for parents or visitors? 

In an effort to keep all safe, we are going to try to limit the number of visitors on campus, by keeping those numbers to a minimum. Obviously we benefit from the many volunteers that help us with the various events, but hopefully, we will be able to keep those numbers as low as possible and trust that if people feel sick, they will stay away from the campus.   We are going to ask only those that have been requested to come to campus, or have been asked to volunteer for a specific task to physically come on the campus.  

 

Will there be modifications to the WOM requirements for this coming year?  

Because of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand that certain opportunities for service may be limited or non-existent during the summer months, making it difficult for our students to meet particular criteria for the 2020-2021 school year. As our year progresses, we will re-evaluate appropriate and fair expectations for our students to meet their service requirement. Many factors will continue to be considered including, but not limited to: deadlines for turn-ins and the type and number of service projects required. Our first priority as a school community when it comes to the Works of Mercy requirement is making sure that we are serving those around us with respect, love, safety, and the utmost dignity. We want to continue to keep our community, and the community we serve, safe, respected, healthy, and loved. Please stay vigilant about any updates which will be thoroughly and promptly communicated as the year progresses via student e-mails, e-Spiritus, and other forms of communication. It is likely that the number and type of projects will be modified to fit the current climate.

 

Will any consideration be given to modify schedules to stagger or decrease the congestion in the hallways during class-passing times?  Will additional time be built into the schedule between switching to allow for a cross campus walk?  

At this time, the current class schedule and passing times will be maintained, but we are going to provide instructions to the students as to how they will change classes and eat lunch, but we are waiting until we get closer to the start of school for any new guidelines that may emerge.  

 

How will students access their locker if the lockers adjacent to theirs are in use?  

We are moving to more electronic books this year, and as such, student use of lockers should be greatly reduced. If a student finds they have arrived at their locker when another student is adjacent, the student is encouraged to wait until that student is finished to allow for spacing.

 

Can there be a “grace period” for students and staff to acclimate to these changes you have already outlined?

We are working on the schedule for the first three days of school to allow students and faculty to acclimate to the new guidelines. We will communicate this schedule closer to our start date.

 

Will sporting events attendance capacity be limited due to gathering restrictions and social distancing guidelines? 

We are awaiting GHSA recommendations.  We will follow the guidance of the GHSA along with the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Health Department expectations regarding social distancing with events.  It should be noted that guidelines may be different based on school systems or different county expectations.  

 

If the athletics program does take place, will bus transportation for athletes be available?  How can this comply with social distance requirements?

We are awaiting GHSA recommendations. We will follow the guidance of the GHSA along with the Archdiocese of Atlanta and Health Department expectations regarding travel and social distance.  

 

Regarding our Region, will we have any clarity on the way that the schools in our Region are managing their communities, students and staff (in relation to COVID-19)?  

Likely, yes, but we expect to be notified that each school district will be required to set its own policy and recommendations.  Schools, Athletic Directors, and Head Coaches will be aware of opponent expectations prior to arrival.  The GHSA has stated that school systems may increase expectations but may not do less that the GHSA standards provided.  

 

Regarding our Region, will athletes be temperature screened prior to participating in games? 

As it stands now, each school system will be responsible for it’s protocol for screening.  That protocol will need to adhere to the minimum standards set by the GHSA, local health department and school system.  Based on current guidance, screening is in person thus school systems that are strictly remote learning would test their athletes when they arrive on site.

 

(In regards to athletic competition), as we visit other schools, we risk exposure on a campus that is “closed for in school learning.” Will accessing their facilities be a risk?

As it stands now, each school system will be responsible for it’s protocol for screening.  That protocol will need to adhere to the minimum standards set by the GHSA, local health department and school system.  This would certainly include methods of cleaning, etc.

 

Regarding the performing arts, are there any live audience and distancing restrictions for our school at this time? 

As we are still a few weeks away from the start of school, and in an effort to not prematurely set guidelines that would change over that time, we are going to wait to see what the latest guidelines are from health officials and the Archdiocese and publish them as we start  the new year.  

 

Will adjustments be made to drop off times and where to congregate each day prior to the start of school? 

No, the drop off times will remain the same, and we feel our present plan will provide us with the answers to how the students congregate each day.  This will all be covered in detail during the orientation days we have set for students August 12-14.  As always, should changes be necessary, we will make the adjustments.  

 

If a player on a team tests positive, will the entire team go into quarantine and isolate? Does the same isolation protocol apply to our opponents?

We are all to follow, at least, minimum standards presented from the GHSA, Boards of Health, and school systems.

 

My student was placed in the Chorus elective. Given what is known about the ability of the virus to spread through singing, would we be able to switch if my student attends in person?  

As of today, with the numbers registered for this class, we feel we can successfully  social distance with masks on in the classroom. 

 

If there is a positive case in a specific class, will students who were in contact with that person be required to quarantine for 14 days and/or get a COVID test to ensure there is not future spread? If a student is sent home with a fever will they be required to test before returning to school?

These questions were addressed with the Archdiocese Task Force for re-opening schools and the decision is that a student who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to be quarantined for 14 days and have at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without fever-reducing medications.  Also, an improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or since the positive result test date (if asymptomatic). And lastly, a doctor’s note is required indicating the student is able to return to school.  

Health Department guidance requires that all close contacts be notified of a positive case. This means that those within a class will be automatically notified. In notifying, the school will protect the identity of the individual who tested positive, following all FERPA and HIPAA regulations. The response for each case will be dictated by the nature of that case. Current Department of Health guidelines can be found here.

 

---UPDATED 7/23/2020, 8:45 A.M.---

Will the Lion Leaders and the freshmen be able to meet in person on campus?

The Lion Leader program will not have Camp Golden Lion (it is sort of like a block party) due to the social distancing restrictions. We are hoping to reschedule this event.  Originally it was to be the culmination of the Lion Leader orientation on August 10. Due to the restrictions in the spring and summer, we asked Lion Leaders to make “virtual” contact with cubs. The Lion Leader Board will be emailing new students and families a PDF with helpful information and links to SPX sites. This PDF includes a detailed school map with descriptions of each hall, technology info, library info, and general tips from Lion Leaders. This year our homerooms are becoming advisory groups with students from all grades. During the first three days of school, August 12-14, these advisory groups will meet first and all students will be given details on procedures changing this year due to COVID. We also have time planned for the older students to help the new students look at their schedules and plan their routes, and help them with logging into the various school resources. 

 

What are the school hours? 

School hours will remain the same. School begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends generally around 3 p.m., depending on the schedule for the day.

 

Will St. Pius X make students who utilize the virtual learning wear uniforms?

We will send more information regarding virtual learning expectations in the coming weeks. 

 

Will the students be using their lockers?

Students will have an assigned locker for their use during the school year.  Locker assignments and combinations will be available for each student in the next week in their PowerSchool account under the “About Me” tab.

 

Do freshmen need to bring any school supplies? Are there any guidelines?

Generally, school supplies needed for a productive academic semester are up to the high school student.  If anything is required for a class, the teacher will share that information with the students on the first day of school.  There is no school supplies list specific to SPX.

 

If we select virtual learning initially, can we later change to in-person, and vice versa? 

We are currently in discussions with the Archdiocese regarding how we will manage parental requests regarding virtual learning. We will have a formal process in place prior to the start of school and will communicate those processes at that time.

 

If students have masks off when they are eating lunch, will the kids be at least 6ft apart?  

There is a plan for social distancing during lunch periods with students being staggered at tables in the cafeteria, gym, breezeway, courtyard, and Young Center lobby.  

 

If there is a positive case in a specific class, will students who were in contact with that person be required to quarantine for 14 days and/or get a COVID test to ensure there is not future spread? If a student is sent home with a fever will they be required to test before returning to school?

These questions were addressed with the Archdiocese Task Force for re-opening schools and the decision is that a student who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to be quarantined for 14 days and have at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without fever-reducing medications.  Also, an improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or since the positive result test date (if asymptomatic). And lastly, a doctor’s note is required indicating the student is able to return to school.  

Health Department guidance requires that all close contacts be notified of a positive case. This means that those within a class will be automatically notified. In notifying, the school will protect the identity of the individual who tested positive, following all FERPA and HIPAA regulations. The response for each case will be dictated by the nature of that case. Current Department of Health guidelines can be found here.

 

If Governor Kemp extends the Public Health Emergency order past Aug 11th, will we start virtually?

If conditions continue to rise and the governor, health agencies, and local jurisdictions call for school closures, we would more than likely return to an all virtual environment.  

 

When/how often will Covid testing happen for students and staff? 

St. Pius X will not be conducting testing of students or staff. Individuals will be responsible for their own testing.

 

Exactly how will the kids be socially distanced in class? How far apart will they actually be?  

Student desks in classrooms will be spaced in such a way as to maximize the distance between students. All desks will face in the same direction. 

 

Is your heating/air system optimized to filter the air properly during the day?

UV lights were installed in the HVAC systems of higher risk areas, like the Donnellan Center locker rooms and weight room, to help combat bacteria and viruses in the air.  We always do routine preventative maintenance on all of our HVAC systems, and new filters are now being installed across campus prior to our return to school. 

 

How will the classes/desks be cleaned between classes? Will there be disinfectant wipes available for kids to wipe down desks at the start and end of each class?

Disinfectant wipes have been purchased and will be used after each class period on the desks and equipment used in each classroom.

 

Given that we currently have thousands more cases of Covid-19 each day in Georgia than when school closed in the spring, what is the threshold for when the virus cases are too high to justify being together?

If conditions continue to rise and the governor, health agencies, and local jurisdictions call for school closures, we would more than likely return to an all virtual environment.

 

---UPDATED 7/22/2020, 8:45 A.M.---

In the communication we received on July 20 from the superintendent it stated the school would open on August 12, in person.  Or at least that's how I and many parents perceived it. The communication from Pius the same day says there are still 3 options on the table. Has Pius not landed on a plan for opening yet?

Paragraph three of Mr. Spellman and Dr. Simpson's letter from July 20 reads “We will begin on August 12 with a regular, in-person school schedule.” 

We also chose to include contingency information, should we be told we have to change our plans. We want parents to know what to expect should that become a reality. That information is outlined under "The Plan for Academics" under Plan B and C. Currently we are moving forward with Plan A - starting regular school operations on August 12.  

 

Will students be allowed to wear masks other than the one provided by SPX? If so, are there any stipulations, in terms of if they must be solid colors, maybe even certain colors? Will they be allowed to wear masks with patterns or college names on them, for example?

Yes, students can wear masks other than the one provided by SPX.  Please see page 125 of the Student Handbook for more information on what is appropriate.

Students will be issued 1 washable, reusable mask (white) on the first day of school.  If a student loses or forgets his/her face mask, they are able to purchase for $2 a disposable mask (charges post to FACTS).  Details about the available points of purchase will be shared on the first day of class.  

 

Students are issued one reusable mask, but if they forget it, do they have to buy a disposable mask? For safety and sanity's sake, can they also wear plain white or navy cotton masks?

Please see above.

 

What is the schedule for Freshman Orientation? What are the hours? 

An optional Orientation Session for both freshmen and new upperclassmen will take place on Tuesday, August 11. The schedule for this day will be forthcoming. 

 

If a student is outside for any period of time and/or they have been exercising, their skin surface temperature may be elevated. Will you provide a “cooling down “period for a child if his/her temperature reading is 100 or greater when they enter the building? 

Students will be checked when they enter campus and before any physical activity takes place on campus. We have been taking temperature checks of student athletes throughout the hot summer months and have not encountered any problems with elevated temperatures during routine checks. 


 

Will those students and teachers that come in close contact with a COVID positive person be required to quarantine?  

These questions were addressed with the Archdiocese Task Force for re-opening schools and the decision is that a student who tests positive for COVID-19 will have to be quarantined for 14 days and have at least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without fever-reducing medications.  Also, an improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared or since the positive result test date (if asymptomatic). And lastly, a doctor’s note is required indicating the student is able to return to school.  

Health Department guidance requires that all close contacts be notified of a positive case. This means that those within a class will be automatically notified. In notifying, the school will protect the identity of the individual who tested positive, following all FERPA and HIPAA regulations. The response for each case will be dictated by the nature of that case. Current Department of Health guidelines can be found here.

 

When will SPX need the decision as to whether we choose to have our student return in-person or virtually? Will all students be able to take advantage of remote learning at any time?

We are working on policies and procedures for families related to their choices for in-school vs. virtual school learning for their Pius students. We hope to have more information by the week of July 27 and will post that information on this page.

 

What is the school going to do if we have medically fragile students, or I do not want my child to attend school in person? 

If a family has a medically fragile child, or if a parent does not want their child to attend school in person, that family may choose virtual learning at this time.  As stated earlier, we have planned for such a situation and are currently waiting for new equipment to arrive in order to more fully implement virtual learning for those students who must take advantage of it.

  

If we choose to keep our student(s) at home, will they have to follow the same schedule in terms of class times?

As long as we have in-person classes for some or all of our students, all at-home students will have to follow their regularly scheduled classes by class period.  At-home students will be expected to be signed in and present virtually at the start of each class no different than students in-person are expected to be present by the tardy bell each class period.

 

Will there be consistent expectations of what digital teaching looks like and how much time students will be engaged on a daily basis? 

Given the unprecedented task thrust on educators in the spring to totally reinvent the delivery system of American education, I was proud of our teachers and their ability to continue to maintain our high standards.  Was it perfect?  No, but we have learned much and worked over the summer to design staff development opportunities focused on augmenting their teaching toolbox, both digitally and in-person. We believe we are in a far better position today to provide our students a quality education in either format. 

 

Can you provide a clear example of what the digital platform will look like should it have to be utilized? Will it be the same as spring?

Our learning management system, PowerSchool Learning, will continue to be the hub for digital learning. Applying the lessons we learned from the spring and the staff development opportunities offered this summer along with some targeted pre-planning sessions for the faculty, teachers will be asked to provide more live (synchronous) instruction in addition to written and recorded (asynchronous) lessons.  This means the students will be required to participate regularly in digital instruction on a specific schedule with their teachers (synchronous learning) and also complete activities and assignments on their own time to meet deadlines (asynchronous learning).  We have asked teachers to deliver more live learning opportunities using video conferencing platforms such as ZOOM and Google Meet.

 

Are there any courses that will not be offered (chorus, PE etc) due to current mandates? 

At this time, we do not know of any courses that we will not offer.  

 

What about athletics? 

Athletic decisions will be made in conjunction with the Archdiocese and the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).  We are in constant contact with and monitor their decisions with keen interest.  At this time, all activities will proceed as normal.

  

What will become of after school activities such as sports and clubs?

As mentioned above, Athletic decisions will be made in conjunction with the Archdiocese and the Georgia High School Association (GHSA).  All other activities, including clubs, will proceed as normal at the present time. 

 

Will the recent survey sent from Principal Simpson, dated July 15, change any of the current plans?

No, that survey was distributed to gather basic information about the thoughts of parents at that point in time about returning to school, to gauge those with concerns about medical fragility, or those simply considering keeping their students at home out of an abundance of caution with the Coronavirus.  As we worked on developing multiple contingencies, especially hybrid schedules, we needed to determine the best way to divide the school into groups. This data helped us determine the numerical division of the school into two groups: A and B.

 

Is Pius still considering the B and C plans presented in the one-page fact sheet sent on June 26, 2020?

Yes, hopefully, this was answered previously in this correspondence.

 

If a teacher shows signs of COVID-19 and has to be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, will there be a qualified substitute available?

This is a question that every school in the state is dealing with.  We have contacted our most consistent and capable substitutes and most have expressed a desire to return.  We hope we will not need to call in substitutes. This is a great example of why we are trying our best to maintain a safe and healthy environment with the wearing of masks and the frequent sanitization of the building and the many other precautions we are taking. 

 

If a student shows signs of COVID-19 and has to be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days, will they be able to access their classes online so as to not fall behind?

Yes, the new virtual technology equipment will allow us to continue to serve students who become ill and must learn from home. This is a perfect example as to why we spent an inordinate amount of money on new technology equipment so that both students and teachers could stay current with academic instruction.  

 

How would social distancing be handled in the hallways during class changes?

Most high schools are struggling with this, as students have to change classes multiple times throughout the day.  Our current position is that we will have social distancing floor decals throughout the hallways to remind students to keep spread out and to always walk on the "right" side of the hallways in order to stay separated from those walking in the other direction.  Of course, throughout the entire day, everyone will be required to wear a mask. 

 

Will taking the temperature of 1100+ students daily mean starting school earlier or later to accommodate this procedure?

No, we have ordered enough fast reading temperature devices and with numerous teachers assigned to designated doors around the campus, we should be able to move the students into the building fairly quickly. We will continually review these procedures to ensure this system is working properly.

 

Will I be informed if my student comes in contact with another individual at school that subsequently tests positive?

Health Department guidance requires that all close contacts be notified of a positive case. This means that those within a class will be automatically notified. In notifying, the school will protect the identity of the individual who tested positive, following all FERPA and HIPAA regulations.

 

Will buildings be closed down for deep cleaning whenever there's a positive case?

The school will follow Health Department guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing the appropriate areas of the school in the event of a COVID-19 positive test.

 

How will you handle students who become sick during school?

The school clinic will continue to serve students who feel ill at school. We will utilize a separate area for students who exhibit possible COVID-19 symptoms. Students will be socially distanced and monitored in that area while parents are contacted to pick them up. Parents must pick their child up within one hour of receiving a call from the school regardless of symptoms in order to maintain the safest environment possible. 

This question emphasizes the need to correctly answer the screening questions in your homes prior to leaving for school.  If a child is sick, or exhibiting any of the symptoms listed,  please keep them at home.  

 

If the number of COVID cases continues to rise, would St. Pius X revert back to an  all virtual format?

Yes, if conditions continue to rise and the governor, health agencies, and local jurisdictions call for school closures, we would more than likely have to return to an all virtual environment.