School 2020 ReOpen Plan from Jeff Schiefelbein, Board of Trustees President and Dr. Pennell, Headmaster
Today, Texas governor Greg Abbott announced three new executive orders. In one, he announced that all schools - public, private, and higher learning institutions - will remain closed for the rest of this semester of the 2019/2020 school year.
This means the Highlands School will not reopen its doors to students, and e-learning will continue through the semester to the last day of school which is Friday, May 29th. This announcement also cancels our scheduled May 22nd and May 23rd Baccalaureate Mass and graduation for our class of 2020 seniors.
Our administrative team will continue to explore alternative graduation dates in June or later if necessary for an in-person Class of 2020 high school graduation.
Once the shelter-in-place order is lifted by Dallas County (after May 1st), I will explore the feasibility of reopening the building for staff administrative work along the lines permitted by the governor's order so long as security for staff and property can be assured.
Here are the words of the governor's order: "Under this Executive Order, schools — including public, private, and higher education institutions — will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers may go into the classroom for video instruction, to perform administrative duties, and to clean out their classrooms."
Our Administrative Team will continue to work on the Year End Plan for students to drop off their laptops, books and clear out personal items from lockers.
Let's continue to pray for one another, and with our efforts and sacrifices, offer to our children and to the Lord our best for His Kingdom!
Judge Clay Jenkins continued emergency orders that extend Dallas County residents to stay home until April 30, 2020 as the fight against the coronavirus intensifies. The Highlands School will continue E-Learning through April30, 2020.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott spoke from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas announcing school closures statewide through Friday, May 1. Simultaneously, Bishop Edward Burns of the diocese of Dallas announced closures for Catholic schools through Friday, May 1.
The Highlands School campus buildings will remain closed through Friday, May 1, and (for now) are permitted to reopen on Monday, May 4. E-Learning will continue through Friday, May 1.
[Dr. Pennell’s note about May 1: I believe this date is cautious, permitting flexible longer-term planning. It assumes, I believe, a peak in confirmed COVID cases in the US about the time of Easter (April 12) followed by a time for the virus to run its course during the “flattening of the curve” as the number of new cases declines landing us at about May 1. Nonetheless, even if this prediction is accurate, I foresee authorities asking residents not to congregate in groups of ten or more after May 1 as employees return to the workplace while practicing social distancing. Such a guideline – if it comes – is likely to keep schools closed another two weeks and perhaps for the remainder of May as is the case in now seven US states.]
This news is helpful for us to plan thoughtfully and for our THS faculty to continue to find ways to improve instruction with your children while expecting a longer learning time frame than we originally envisioned two weeks ago.
~ Liturgies for Holy Week. Watch for information from THS soon about masses including Easter Mass, prayer times, and spiritual talks scheduled for streaming during Holy Week.
Register for Holy Week Missions from Home HERE.
~ Easter Holiday: THS E-Learning will be in session three days only during Holy Week Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and “closed” three school days for Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Monday (04/09, 04/10, and 04/13). E-Learning classes resume Tuesday, April 14.
~ Google Classroom: Lower School teachers are structuring their classes using emails primarily, and we remain hopeful that Google will approve our request to start Google Classrooms (an approval that is now a week overdue); our teachers are ready to hit “play.”
~ Survey Monkey Evaluation: We'll be sending a Survey Monkey to families before the end of this week to give you a chance to share thoughts on how you think e-Learning is going with your child.
Parents, thank you for your patience and support during this time. Rest assured our staff is working tirelessly behind the scenes to be sure we deliver the best instruction and learning experiences in a way that is completely new to us. We know that schooling at home is far from what you expected, and want to support you in this heroic effort.
God bless you and your families. Lord protect us from harm and from anxiety. Grant us hearts open to the blessings you wish for us at Easter!
The Highlands School is closely monitoring the status of COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus.
Judge Jenkins has issued an order this afternoon for Shelter-in-Place for Dallas County to begin 11:59 pm, Monday, March 23 to last through Friday, April 3. Read about travel restrictions and strategies for limiting the spread of COVID-19.
E-Learning for all grades at The Highlands includes live lessons. Lower School at 9:00 am; MS and HS classes begin with first period at 9:30 am. Please review the comprehensive THS E-Learning Guide with instructions for parents and students along with a daily schedule for live lessons.
Dr. Deb Bauer, Director of Formation, Corona 2020 Resources, provides valuable information and links for our community.
Looking for fun, educational resources? Click HERE for a ton of resources.
PLEASE NOTE: Our faculty and staff will continue E-Learning instruction due to any school closings. Teachers are being trained in ways to creatively continue instruction by use of the Blazer Portal. Information will be communicated to parents by email as updates and changes occur. Thank you for your cooperation and support in keeping our students and school community healthy and safe.
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