School Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
August 1, 2020
July 22, 2020
Dear Annunciation Catholic School Families,
As we continue to work towards our goal of welcoming students back to in person learning this fall, I would like to share with you an update from Bishop Cozzens, Vicar for Catholic Education and Dr. Jason Slattery, Director of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.
- Letter to Catholic School Parents 7 Families - ENGLISH
- Letter to Catholic School Parents 7 Families - SPANISH
This letter reviews the essential steps that all our Catholic schools have been taking to help support the health and safety of students, teachers, and our entire community as they return to Catholic school buildings. It affirms our commitment to families to provide children with a Catholic education in the best and safest way that we can.
We are finalizing our draft plan to submit to the Archdiocese and have a group of parents providing their input as we work to complete the plan the week of July 27th. Please know we are working as quickly as we can and should have a plan to share with families by the week of August 3rd.
July 7, 2020
Dear Annunciation Families,
I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July holiday and were able to spend time with family and friends. Now that July is here and we are nearing the halfway point of summer, I wanted to update everyone on our continued commitment to safely welcoming students back to school for in person instruction this fall. With guidance from the CDC, the Minnesota Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Archdiocesan Office for the Mission of Catholic Education has just released their protocols for safe reopening of Catholic schools. This document will be used as a framework for all Catholic schools in the archdiocese, including Annunciation. The four domains are:
- Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread
- Maintaining Healthy Facilities
- Maintaining Healthy Operations
- Communicating, Training and Education
Our committee will meet later this week to review the document and begin to adapt it to fit the needs of our school. Catholic schools are required to submit a formal plan to the Archdiocese by the end of July. This plan will also be shared with the Annunciation community when it is finalized. However, since new information is being shared with us every day, please be patient as we might send frequent updates as we receive new information.
Here's what we know as of now:
- There will be a need for more disinfecting wipes than was requested on the school supply list. If you are able to purchase a few extra containers for the school, we would appreciate it.
- There will also be a need for hand sanitizer. Please make sure your child has some in his/her backpack.
- We also ask that your child has at least one mask that they can bring and leave at school. At this time, we do not expect students to wear them all day but there may be times they are necessary. We hope that knowing this now gives your family time to find a mask that works best for your child.
I know there are many in our community that have been adversely affected by the pandemic as well as the civil unrest that transpired in Minneapolis because of the death of George Floyd on May 25th. George's death has brought to the forefront conversations about racism in our country. I have included a link to two articles. The first is written by Archbishop Hebda and published in the Catholic Spirit last month and the second is a pastoral letter written by Archbishop Flynn in 2003. Both are also linked on the archdiocese website.
Please keep all those who are hurting for various reasons in your prayers.
Thank you for choosing Annunciation Catholic School! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
June 19, 2020
Dear Annunciation Catholic School families,
Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Kari Zobel and I am the new principal at Annunciation Catholic School. I am very excited that I am part of the Annunciation School community and I look forward to welcoming you back to a new school year.
I know that many of you are wondering what the fall will look like for our school. At this time, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the effect that Covid-19 will have on schools in Minnesota and across the country. However, educators do agree that distance learning is not the most effective learning model for most children. The face to face interactions and discourse that occur every day in school are a critical part of the learning process as well as the social and emotional development and well-being of our children.
I have convened two task forces made up of Annunciation teachers and staff, though we will be including other community members as needed. One group is focusing primarily on best practices for effective distance learning and blended learning models if in-person learning is prohibited or limited. The other group is working on the safe re-opening of our school. The health and safety of our students, staff, and families are of utmost importance.
Annunciation is very fortunate that we are not alone in developing a comprehensive plan for this fall. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis as well as the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE) are both committed to having our Catholic schools welcome back students to in-person learning this fall guided by up to date research and CDC guidelines. They are providing guidance and assistance to all our Catholic schools as we work to develop a plan that will fit our school's needs. I will keep the community informed throughout the summer but for now, we are planning on having students back in the building in the fall.
I also wanted to let you know that our Catholic schools are very fortunate to have the support of the Schulze Family Foundation through CSCOE. Mr. Richard Schulze is dedicated to the success of all 79 Catholic schools in the Twin Cities. To that end, his foundation has announced a challenge match grant. Any money that we raise will go to enrollment and retention initiatives for our school. Based on the generosity of the entire Annunciation community, I am confident we will meet our goal of $45,000, which would mean $90,000 in total.
Please continue to get the word out about Annunciation Catholic School. We are able to offer in-person tours for any potential families and we would be happy to share with them all the things that make Annunciation such a great choice for their child. Anyone interested in finding out more about our school should contact our Enrollment Coordinator, Christy McFadden (firstname.lastname@example.org). As a little reward for your efforts, any new family you refer that contacts us about possible enrollment will earn you a $50 tuition credit for the 2020-21 school year. If a family you refer enrolls, you will receive an additional $200 tuition credit! Please email Jen Renstrom (email@example.com) to make the referral.
Also, if your family is in need of financial assistance due to Covid-19 or for any other reason, please contact our Office Manager, Jen Renstrom (firstname.lastname@example.org) to discuss options. Our goal is to make sure that financial situations do not prevent anyone from attending Annunciation.
I hope you are able to enjoy some relaxing family time together this summer.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns!
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March 18, 2020
Archdiocese COVID-19 Update:
PUBLIC MASSES SUSPENDED:
- Archbishop Hebda today publicly announced suspension of regularly scheduled public Masses in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, effective immediately. Letter from Archbishop to the faithful here.
JOINING ARCHDIOCESE IN PRAYER:
- Relevant Radio (relevantradio.com) is airing nationally Archbishop Hebda’s leading of the “Litany in Time of Need” to unite Catholics in prayer during this pandemic. The beautiful prayer, produced by the Office for the Mission of Catholic Education, will air locally at 11 a.m. daily on 1330am and the Relevant Radio app. All of us are encouraged to pause during that time and pray it with our families. We need the intercession of the saints more than ever!
Streaming Mass and prayer resources at archspm.org/covid19
LOCAL COVERAGE OF COVID19/CORONAVIRUS:
- Stay up-to-date with The Catholic Spirit, as the story is always developing.
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March 17, 2020:
Dear Annunciation Parents,
We are so grateful for your patience and understanding as we build our new program for continuous learning at home. I am so proud and in awe of the work our staff has already accomplished. Please know that it is a work in progress - we will be learning as we go and adding elements over the coming weeks.
To keep you informed and up to date, we will continue to communicate through the Weekender on Thursdays with current information and Annunciation stories from our off-site learning. Facebook and Instagram will post messages and stories from our “school”. The website will host additional learning activities that students can do and other general information. For important updates, we will continue to send our email with a robo call as needed to alert you to these important messages.
- Continuous Learning- As of March 17, we have been instructed to offer continuous learning off site through March 27. Teachers will have daily lessons for students this week and next week. These lessons are “must do” activities that students need to complete to count as instructional time.
- Morning Announcements- To help share our ‘regular’ routines of school, I will be posting our morning prayer and announcements on Sycamore. If you wish to start the “school day” with our routine, click and join us in our prayer and pledge. We will also share any birthdays or announcements. Log into Sycamore and look under the News items. Enjoy!
- Spring Break (March 30 - April 3)- There will not be daily lessons during this time. However, given the unusual circumstances, we will be providing activities and options for students who wish to have some academic opportunities this week. Teachers are offering “can do” activities that can be used. We will also be working on posting additional sites or ideas on our website. School would normally resume on Monday, April 6. We will keep in touch as this date gets closer to confirm a date to resume.
- Office Hours- As of today, we will offer two times that parents/students may stop in to pick up any additional items that are needed.
- Wednesday, March 18 - 9:00-1:00 - school packets and supplies that were not picked up are located outside the main office.
- Wednesday, March 25 - 9:00-12:00 (unless the current status changes)
- Conferences- With the closure of schools, our conferences are canceled. If there is a concern or issue, teachers will reach out and contact families. Also, if you have a specific concern or issue, please reach out to schedule a time to connect with your child’s teacher. If you don’t hear anything, all is well. While we value this contact with each family, with the additional work the teachers are doing to prepare and deliver the continuous learning plan, we will not be able to schedule time for each family and each teacher to connect at this time. Thanks for understanding.
- School events/activities- The CDC is currently recommending no gatherings of 50 or more for 8 weeks. Because of this and possible future restriction, school events during this 8 week period are postponed. Any rescheduling or changes are to be determined. I know this is disappointing to our students for the events canceled or postponed. If possible, we will do what we can to add or make up events near the year’s end. We will keep you posted as we learn more. A link to the CDC’s information page is here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
While we have endured many challenges this year, the community has stepped up when needed to support each other and adapt to the challenges and changes before us. This is a time to lean on our faith in God, allowing Him to guide and direct us. It reminds us what is most important - faith, family and friends - I pray that God guides and protects you and your family, watching over the Annunciation community in the coming days as we work together to move forward in these uncertain times. I thank God for the gift of our amazing school!
Blessings and prayers,
Jennifer M. Cassidy, Principal