"Trust the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence."
- St Augustine
Last Updated: October 14th, 2020
Following the closure of schools here in Massachusetts, in our nation and worldwide in response to the global pandemic, educators were required to reimagine and adapt the delivery of education to the students they serve. Using mission as the compass to chart our Journey, the Austin Prep community rose to the challenge and demonstrated extraordinary resolve in exemplifying veritas, unitas, and caritas. The Journey ahead will continue to be uncharted, but if past is prologue, the Austin Prep community will continue to move forward with care, competence, and confidence.
Although we are being vigilant and public health data in Massachusetts remains relatively positive as of early August, the risk of exposure to COVID-19 at Austin Prep and all other schools will not be zero. While no one single strategy or mitigation effort will ever be perfect, all strategies operating together will help to reduce the risk.
As a leader in education, the success of our remote teaching and learning program created a standard of best practices and demonstrated an educational model that other schools replicated. Our close attention to the diverse needs of our students with regard to technology access, accessibility, social-emotional support, remote learning styles and academic guidance is part of our ongoing commitment to equity and inclusion for all students. As we stand on the threshold of the 2020-2021 academic year in just a few weeks, Austin Prep is poised to remain in the vanguard of secondary education.
To learn more about our reopening plan for the 2020-2021 academic year, please view the document below.
Guiding Questions in the Reopening of Austin Prep
Our approach to reopening within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic was guided by our mission as we responded to the following Guiding Questions:
- How do we keep the community safe?
- How do we ensure the continuity of operations?
- How do we enhance the capacity to deploy technology for those students who may require access to remote learning?
- How can we build a sense of community that honors the three pillars of an Austin Prep education: veritas, unitas, and caritas?
- How can we continue to offer students social-emotional opportunities with access to counselors and access to mental health providers in the community?
- How can we continue to offer students, parents, and faculty members spiritual opportunities to enact their faith?
- How can we reinvent major events?
- How can we assist our faculty so that they can manage the transition to reopening?
All students on campus following risk mitigation protocols.
Remote Teaching and Learning
All students participating from home in a full schedule (similar to what Austin Prep implemented in spring 2020).
Two cohorts alternating between on-campus and remote learning.
We Begin 2020-2021 With a Hybrid Approach Until October 2nd
We begin the 2020-2021 academic year with a hybrid approach. No one in recent times has extensive experience operating a school in a global pandemic. While educators and experts alike are exercising their best judgment, they do so without the benefit of having lived through anything like this before. In being faithful to our commitment to keep health and safety paramount, the prudent course of action is to begin the school year with a degree of caution utilizing a hybrid model in which students will be assigned to one of two cohorts, which will reduce students on campus by about 50%. In our judgement, judiciously and carefully introducing students and staff to all the new procedures, guidelines, requirements, and expectations is the safest and wisest course of action. Beginning the academic year in a reduced face-to-face (F2F) environment allows us to assess our procedures and adapt them to responsibly prepare for the return of students and staff in a reduced face-to-face environment, a process needs to occur gradually, not swiftly. Because the faculty and staff will be key partners in implementing Austin Prep’s risk mitigation practices and procedures, and strategies, they need an opportunity to become familiar with those strategies.
With ever changing public guidelines, we understand that some of your questions may remain unanswered. Additionally, some elements of this document may change. We will continue to update information as it becomes available to us, while also communicating any changes to current school procedures and protocols. We thank you in advance for your continued patience and consideration.
- You said in the reopening guide that there was an Austin Prep covenant. What are the expectations under the covenant?
- What should I do if I am sick or have been exposed to someone infected with COVID-19?
- What happens if someone in the school community tests positive for COVID-19?
- What daily practices will be implemented to ensure the health and well-being of those in the school community?
- When is the first day of classes?
- When is student orientation?
- What kind of masks are required on campus?
- Are flu shots required for students?
- Will athletics programs occur in the fall?
- Will arts programs be offered in the fall?
- What will spaces on campus, such as classrooms, the dining hall, and library look like?
- What if a student needs a medical accommodation or is not comfortable participating in person?
- Will visitors be allowed on campus?
- Will there be bus transportation to School?
- What will the dining and food service plan be?
- How will the daily schedule be impacted?
- What will Cougar Block look like?
- What special investments have been made to support this new learning environment?
- Will there be off-campus field trips during the fall term?
- What are student expectations while participating in remote teaching and learning? Are students required to be in dress code?
- What if students don't adhere to social distancing guidelines?
- Do the thermal temperature scanners record any medical information?
- What happens if a student is home sick, can they participate in remote teaching and learning that day?
- Why can't a student participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics, once choosing remote teaching and learning?
- How are cohorts determined?
- What is the mobile contact tracing app, Trace Innovations?
- What will the arrival and dismissal process look like?
- Why can't a student return to on-campus learning after opting out?