An archive of past communications regarding COVID-19 and distance learning are available below.
You may also browse an archive of past weekly enewsletters.
Published in weekly enewsletter on Sunday, August 9
As we start the new school year, we are excited to welcome 232 incoming freshmen, 12 transfer students, and their families into our Carondelet community!
In addition to our growing community, I’m happy to share more good news. On Friday, Contra Costa Health Services granted Carondelet approval to allow small stable cohorts to meet on campus for sports and other purposes (e.g., clubs, councils, and societies; campus ministry; peer support groups; etc.) following the updated guidelines that were used for summer camp and the summer math program.
We will begin to create protocols and guidelines for student interest/socialization opportunities and will share that information with families as we develop them. We are in the beginning stages of planning and will, of course, focus on student and faculty/staff safety. This is an exciting opportunity that allows us to begin to phase in a return to campus using guidance from Contra Costa Health Services and the California Department of Public Health protocols.
We have more good news related to Athletics. The California Department of Public Health and CIF, the governing body for athletics in the State of California, have released updated guidelines for youth and school sports. These guidelines will allow Carondelet to create stable cohorts of student-athletes to participate in modified trainings and workouts. We are beginning the process of creating cohorts for our sports teams that will include all levels. Please understand that we have over 500 students who participate in athletics at Carondelet and all coaches may not be able to participate.
Right now the Athletics Department is working through the logistics with coaches, so please stay tuned for information and start dates. The Athletics Department and coaches will reach out to student-athletes and will send out an informational questionnaire to all students to hear about their interest in participating in a sport-specific cohort. Our strength and conditioning coach, Dani Bernat, will also be implementing workout cohorts at the CAC. We are still not able to offer indoor training until the County allows for gyms to be eligible for use.
Here are some of the guidelines that we received and are following:
- Outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating are not permitted at this time. For example, tournaments, events, or competitions, regardless of whether teams are from the same school or from different schools, counties, or states are not permitted at this time.
- Youth sports and physical education are permitted only when the following can be maintained: (1) physical distancing of at least six feet; and (2) a stable cohort, such as a class, that limits the risks of transmission. Activities should take place outside to the maximum extent practicable.
- For sports that cannot be conducted with sufficient distancing or cohorting, only physical conditioning and training is permitted and ONLY where physical distancing can be maintained.
- Strength and conditioning cohorts will focus on building and regaining general strength while introducing athletes back to training in a safe manner.
- Activities that require heavy exertion should be conducted outside in a physically distanced manner without face coverings.
We appreciate your patience as we navigate and implement these new guidelines and protocols. We will provide you new information as we receive it.
Blessings to you and our entire community at the start of this new school year,
The new school year starts one week from today! We’re looking forward to seeing each other virtually and taking the first steps of the year together.
The 2020-21 Student Handbook and the accompanying e-signature Agreement Form are now available for students and families. Please read and review the handbook, which includes COIVID-19 updates, and submit the agreement by Friday, August 14 at 4 pm.
First Day of School
On Wednesday, August 12 all classes will meet online for 45 minutes. This first day is meant to be a welcome check-in where teachers introduce the course and review class-specific expectations. Links to Zooms will be posted on each course’s Schoology page. View 0-7 Bell Schedule for Aug. 12.
We’ll be sharing more information in the next week for students and families.
Orientation Video - Orientation will be held virtually this year. A prerecorded video will be posted on Schoology on Monday, August 10.
Student Expectations - This pdf document will cover what is expected of students during distance learning. It will be published and reviewed with teachers on the first day of classes on August 12.
Earlier this week we shared the update we hoped we wouldn’t have to—the 2020-21 school year will begin in distance learning. While this is not our ideal scenario, we will meet this and any other forthcoming challenges with poise and optimism.
President Annette Richardson Eros ’85 and Principal Kevin Cushing share their perspective on how our school community is uniquely prepared to meet these circumstances.
Virtual Town Hall: Distance Learning
To provide more understanding of our distance learning model, successes and modifications from the spring semester, and clear answers for students and families, we invite everyone to attend a virtual Town Hall meeting early next week. You will need to register in advance in order to receive the link to join the town hall.
Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors
Monday, July 27 at 7 PM - Register
Tuesday, July 28 at 7 PM - Register
- Before attending, please read through the Flexible Learning Plan (detailed below) so that we can make the most of our time together.
- You may submit questions early by email.
- The full webinar video will be posted online later next week to revisit or for those who cannot attend.
Flexible Learning Plan
Carondelet has produced the “Flexible Learning Plan,” a comprehensive guidebook covering our approach to our academic and extracurricular education given the pandemic, the ever-fluctuating restrictions, and best practices for schools. It covers the distance learning model, which we will use at the start of the school year, and the hybrid learning model, which we hope we can move to as soon as possible. This guidebook will be updated through the school year as we adapt to new mandates and recommendations from health officials and modify our programming for the best possible results for students.
We recommend you read the Flexible Learning Plan guidebook before attending the Town Hall.
Beginning of the Year Webpage
There are many updates, reminders, and to do’s for families and students to address before the start of the school year. We’ve highlighted key information from many offices on the Beginning of the Year webpage. From virtual Orientation to monthly sales in the School Store, and from Senior Portraits to seeking parent volunteers at events, stay in the know by reading through the Beginning of the Year page so that you’re ready to roll before the first day of classes.
COVID-19 Response Webpage
Please refer to important resources and updates about our response to the COVID-19 pandemic on a family of webpages. These pages include information on distance learning, safety measures at campus, resources for families, and more. We will continue to update this information regularly.
Our next weekly enewsletter is scheduled for Sunday, August 2. However, we will send an email announcement if there are important school-wide messages before then.
Dear Carondelet Students, Parents, & Guardians,
We hope you and your family have been safe this summer and have had a chance to have a bit of fun and relaxation in the midst of our current local and global situation. We are pleased to provide you with an update on our plans for the beginning of the school year and fall semester.
The last few months of the COVID-19 pandemic have challenged our community and world, and they have also provided us with an opportunity to reimagine our learning environment. We used our experience in the spring to maximize our online learning platforms and continue adapting to our students’ and teachers’ needs. A COVID-19 Task Force of administrators and faculty members has met continuously over the past three months to develop policies and procedures in accordance with the guidelines of Contra Costa Health Services and the State of California that would allow us to return to campus safely.
Returning to Campus
We know the best way to facilitate our students’ educational experience is in-person. Our efforts over the past months have focused on adopting a school schedule for fall that allows flexibility and provides as many opportunities as possible for students on campus. All courses and instruction are designed to be fully-online and incorporate blended strategies for students on campus.
While we understand that public health directives continually change, we are currently planning to welcome half of our students back to campus in the fall. To do this, students will be divided into two groups, by last name, and will be on campus either Mondays & Tuesdays or Thursdays & Fridays. On days where students are not on campus, remote learning will take place. One Wednesday per month students will be offered a Flex Day on campus so each class is allowed to come together and participate in our many student life programs and activities. All on campus activities will allow for safe interaction with faculty and staff. We will make accommodations for families who are uncomfortable with on-campus, in-person learning at the start of the school year.
2020-21 Bell Schedule
Created in coordination with DLS, the following Bell Schedule is intended for use under any learning scenario: completely remote, blended (as described above), or a complete return to campus.
View Bell Schedule
*Wednesday Flex Day will move to a 0-7 class schedule when students are fully back on campus.
The schedule has been designed by our COVID-19 Task Force and DLS to adapt to the unpredictability of our current situation with the following considerations:
- Teaching/Learning: Maintaining a schedule that is consistent for the entire school—whether at home, online, or in-person at Winton Drive.
- Social/Emotional: Creating opportunities for peer-to-peer connections between on-campus faculty, staff, and all students.
- Campus Safety Protocols: Ensuring safety for all with modifications to campus and classrooms for a safe and hygienic environment upon return. Such modifications have been introduced with Camp Carondelet and the summer math program currently underway.
Campus Readiness & Safety Protocols
Some safety protocols that are planned and underway include:
- Desks arranged for adequate social distancing in each classroom and with plastic protective screens for teacher desks.
- Additional hand sanitizer stations throughout campus and cleaning products in every classroom.
- Students and faculty requirements to wear masks. (A summer student intern team at the Jean Hofmann Center for Innovation is creating plastic face shields for faculty use.)
- Specific entry and exit points on campus to enforce social distancing.
- Ability to take temperatures of faculty, staff, and students as necessary.
- Marked pathways in hallways and waiting points for hydration stations and restrooms, along with additional supervision, to ensure social distancing during breaks and passing periods.
- Creating more outdoor space seating on balconies, in the amphitheater area, and outside the Jean Hofmann Center for Innovation.
- Exploring additional seating opportunities under the parking garage, under tents behind the Chapel, and use of the Convent Courtyard as faculty workspace.
- Additional internet access points behind the Back 40 classrooms for increased outdoor connectivity.
- Exploring the creation of additional classroom space in the library, music room, and Garaventa for more distanced seating.
- Convert the school store to an isolated sick room for anyone showing symptoms of illness.
- Preparation for specific contact tracing protocols, in conjunction with Contra Costa Health Services, with specified faculty and staff already training in this area.
We need to continue to be prepared for the given realities of the COVID-19 crisis and the fact that there are numerous variables outside of our control. We are committed to doing everything in our power to enable a safe return to campus in full capacity when possible.
Our fall plans will continue to comply with Governor Newsom’s strategy to reopen California and will be informed by guidance from the Contra Costa Health Services and Contra Costa County Office of Education. Our planning will also continue to put student, faculty, and staff health, well-being, and safety at the forefront. At the same time, we are collaborating with and training faculty and staff to ensure that Carondelet continues to deliver the high-quality educational experience our students expect in a safe environment.
We appreciate your continued patience and confidence as we always put the needs of our students first. We are committed to their ongoing growth and development. Even though fall will look a bit different than we expected, a Carondelet education lasts a lifetime. We are in this with your family for the long haul with heart, faith, courage, and excellence.
We will continue to update you as our fall plans evolve. Our resiliency, flexibility, and unity as a community will help us persevere during this time.