Cardinal Mooney Bulletin for June 28, 2020
We are working toward opening in August
Dear Cardinal Mooney Family:
What we’re doing
The Mooney leadership and planning committee continue to have vigorous dialogue as we continue to plan for reopening this coming August.
We’re basing our plans on the many lessons we learned in the past months and on a daily tracking of government research and guidelines. While my intention is to open school on our regular schedule this coming fall, the school is committed to following the directives of state, local, and national authorities.
I’ve reached out to several health professionals in our community to advise me. On Tuesday, Erin Bishop, Health Commissioner and Local Registrar of the Youngstown City Health District, will join our planning.
Through all of this, our primary objective continues to be to deliver an exceptional Catholic and Cardinal Mooney education while ensuring the safety and health of our community.
What will school look like in the fall? Will distance learning continue?
We plan to provide students with robust opportunities for in-person instruction and learning, but until an effective vaccine is widely available, we also anticipate the need to be flexible, so we are also preparing for some form of distance learning.
Upgrading our technology and infrastructure is important in this endeavor. We’re adding more access points in the building and will issue a Chromebook to every student, along with additional training to all faculty and staff.
Last semester, the dramatic shift to distance learning taught us a lot. I want to share this observation with you. Moving to on-line, distance learning required more engagement, more planning, and more collaboration. While many may question the investment in this type of learning platform, I continue to see return on that investment in the areas I mentioned. Our faculty embraced the need to be more collaborative, more engaged with integrating their content with delivery systems, and more focused on their students. They will continue to participate in significant professional development in distance learning strategies and methods from outstanding resources provided by the Diocese, institutions of higher education, and beyond.
Are we expecting any changes to the school calendar or the daily schedule?
At this time the only changes to the calendar will be to include additional orientation days. We want each class to spend some time together back in the building so we can hear how they are doing in the face of all they have been through since March. We also want to spend more time with each class, orienting them to how we may have to operate based on final guidelines in these areas: technology and its roles in our school day, masks, social distancing, washing of hands, responses to COVID, hall traffic, athletics — and equally important — their role in assisting us in ensuring a safe and healthy school environment.
Assuming in-person classes continue, will there be a fall sports season? Retreats? Masses? Co-curricular activities? Service program?
Since Cardinal Mooney is a member of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), our athletic programs are governed by its regulations and policies. We expect that the OHSAA will make a decision about the fall season congruent with the State of Ohio guidelines and directives. To date, we continue to work through its phased in athletic activity program.
As we wait for final guidelines, we continue to study how to include important spiritual and co-curricular activities in the life of our community. We know how essential these are for the vitality of Mooney.
How will Cardinal Mooney help students build a sense of community, especially in the absence of in-person classes?
Dr. Beiting has been advocating for strengthening student engagement since her arrival. In response, we want to form a special committee of teachers and students to meet throughout the coming weeks to plan ways to build community and strengthen student leadership.
When will Mooney announce the final plan for the fall?
We will make an announcement as soon as the State of Ohio and local health officials finalize their directives.
If Mooney holds in-person classes this fall, how will it keep the student body safe?
We will follow all directives from the State of Ohio and the CDC regarding the safe and healthy assembly of students.
Assuming that in-person classes occur this fall, what is Mooney’s plan for social distancing, keeping the facilities clean, and providing resources for student hygiene?
The CDC has released guidance regarding reopening of schools, workplaces, and public spaces. While this guidance may be updated throughout the summer, we expect topics addressed will include the wearing of masks by faculty, staff, students, and visitors. We will implement social distancing measures throughout the school, including halls, classrooms, cafeteria, and all places groups will gather.
I am implementing a comprehensive process to regularly disinfect and clean our facilities. We will install additional hand-washing stations, and have signage to remind all who enter our campus.
What role can parents play in ensuring Cardinal Mooney staff and students are safe and healthy?
Parents most certainly play an important role. Please ensure that your student is healthy to return to school in the fall and each day. If they become ill please notify school. Practice CDC guidelines within the home as possible. Let school know of anything you may need to protect your student and family. If there are specific health concerns you have about your son or daughter returning to school, please notify Dr. Beiting so we can make appropriate plans with you.
How will you ensure that lunch service is safe?
We have contracted with AVI to provide lunch next school year. We can accommodate social distancing at lunch in the cafeteria. AVI has industry standards it follows, including CDC requirements, to maximize the safety, health, and nutrition of our students. This includes preparing box lunches for students to eat at a safe distance. We will update you on their program, including making boxed breakfast available to all students.
What if I am unable to make a tuition payment(s) due to circumstances brought on by the pandemic?
We are aware that families will face new financial challenges as a result of this pandemic. Job loss and other economic effects will limit the ability of some families to meet their tuition obligations. We never want to lose any student for reasons of financial hardship, and we are committed to retain every enrolled student. If the current crisis has created new challenges for you, please be assured that we will consider carefully any request for additional tuition assistance. We will create a confidential Google form for those finding it necessary to make such requests.
The most important and necessary step in this process is your timely and transparent communication, which will allow us to best serve you. As always, we will treat matters confidentially. Please also let us know if you have concerns about providing adequate internet access in your home for your student.
We anticipate that Cardinal Mooney will be required to stretch limited resources, and I am confident that there is more than enough generosity and compassion with the Mooney community to sustain our mission and assist those in need in this time of uncertainty.
An important final note related to the spiritual and mental health needs of our student
We are planning to support the spiritual and mental health needs of the Mooney community.
We are confident that celebrating Mass with social distancing is possible. Mrs. Trewella will provide resources for continuing spiritual development and service opportunities.
Mrs. Ruth Mastriana, Cardinal Mooney’s clinical social worker, will provide resources for both parents and current students.
Our counselor, Mrs. Dena O’Neill will have resources for students.
We are in the process of adding an additional counselor.
I continue to pray for those in our community serving on the front lines and all those affected by this illness.
The Mooney family is our greatest asset as we work together to build the future for each student in 2020-2021, and together we will succeed.
Thomas Maj, President