This summer has been moving fast so far. We have been busy learning about the trends associated with COVID-19 and how it will impact several school issues. Due to State social distancing guidelines and recommendations from local health authorities, we decided to postpone seated summer school until later in the summer. Virtual summer school for high school students started last week and will continue through the month of June. We recently scheduled seated summer school to begin July 6 and end July 29. As we prepare for this seated summer school, we will continue to closely monitor all social distancing guidelines provided by the CDC and our local health officials. About a week prior to the July 6 start, we will update and communicate our safety plans for seated summer school.
Graduation will be held at 7pm on Friday, June 26 at the football field. We have created a plan in order to maintain social distancing and to comply with existing health recommendations for all seniors and guests in attendance. Seats for the graduates will be on the field and spaced to abide with social distancing guidelines. Rows in the bleachers will be blocked off for the guests. Guests not wanting to sit in the bleachers may bring their own chairs to sit on the grassy areas located on both sides of the bleachers. Unfortunately, due to the restrictions of social distancing, we had to limit the number of people who may attend the graduation ceremony. Seniors will be able to invite four guests to the ceremony. The guests of the graduates will enter the main gate near the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The pass gate will be in alphabetical order by the graduate’s last name. The main gate will open at 5pm on the day of graduation. Guests will not be allowed to enter early to set up chairs or reserve bleacher seats before the gate opens. At the conclusion of the ceremony, all guests will be asked to exit the premises in an orderly and timely manner. For those unable or unwilling to attend, the graduation ceremony will be live-streamed. A link to view the live-stream graduation will be on the district website. This link will be shared on all district social media accounts prior to June 26. If there is inclement weather on June 26, the graduation ceremony will be postponed to Saturday, June 27 at 7pm.
We are currently developing plans and action steps for the upcoming school year which include levels of responses based on the spread of COVID-19 present in and around St. James. These plans would allow us to alter our response based on health guidelines in place at any given time. We will continue to follow the guidelines of our county health departments and the CDC as we determine the appropriate level of response. As you can imagine, one of the most challenging scenarios to develop is how we would safely and effectively hold in-person classes if there is a moderate spread of the virus in St. James and with social distancing guidelines still in place. We plan on disseminating a survey to parents early next week to gain a better understanding of your concerns and expectations for what school should look like when we return in the Fall. Participation in this survey will help us make more informed decisions to meet the needs of all of our students upon our return to school.