Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates

Please bookmark this page to quickly access updates from Hudson Catholic Regional High School regarding the novel Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Please go to this site for daily updated information: https://www.nj.gov/health/

For NJDOH COVID -19 resourses:

The most updated documents are on the web: https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/topics/ncov.shtml

Letter Sent Home to Parents Regarding Distance Learning:

 March 13, 2020

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We are writing to keep you updated on our ongoing response to the global outbreak of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.  New Jersey has declared a state of emergency in order to mobilize resources. There is a high level of uncertainty as COVID-19 spreads and it is prudent to be prepared for a variety of possibilities. With increased awareness of social distancing to minimize the spread of infection, and public gatherings and events being canceled, our goal is to get in front of this rapidly evolving situation as best we can, so that if the crisis deepens, we will be as prepared as possible. Preparation is greater than Panic!

For the past 2 weeks, Hudson Catholic has taken the following steps to prepare for COVID-19:

● Monitoring developments and statements from federal and state agencies

● Gathering best practices from other schools, universities, and organizations

● Establishing a Coronavirus Information Tab on our school web page

● Posting “common sense” health reminders for students

● Evaluating and canceling overnight student travel

● Increasing our cleaning and sanitizing routines on desks and surfaces

● Collaborating with local schools and school districts

● Creating a Hudson Catholic Extended Closure Plan

IMPORTANT INFORMATION AND CANCELATIONS

At this time, we are prioritizing essential educational programming. Please be patient as we consider our duty to public health, as well as the needs of students, faculty, and staff in consideration of all other events and gatherings that take place on campus.

Extracurricular Activities, Athletic Practices, and Games:

Effective Friday, March 13, all extracurricular activities, including athletic practices and games, will be canceled until further notice.   We will re-evaluate as information becomes available. This will provide an opportunity for continued cleaning and sanitization of school facilities and streamline communication in this rapidly evolving situation.

School Events:  All school events, both on and off-campus, are canceled until further notice. This includes alumni events, facilities rentals and outside group events held at school, and large group student-based events outside the school day. These events bring members of the public to campus who may not be familiar with our health precautions and protocols.

Student Trips:  All overnight student trips have been canceled. This is the most prudent response considering public and private travel precautions, the possibility of students being away from home and out of the area during regional outbreaks, and the fact that policies are changing from city to state to country rapidly.

Rumor Control:  In a crisis of this nature, there are constant rumors that administrators must stop and address. This is part of our responsibility and we are happy to set the record straight as needed. But be assured that important information related to the health and well-being of your child will be shared with the community as soon as we are aware of it.

HUDSON CATHOLIC EXTENDED CLOSURE PLAN

On Tuesday, teachers and staff met to discuss how to proceed if Hudson Catholic were closed for an extended period (one week or more). With colleges and universities closing for extended periods and with requests from health officials to limit large gatherings, we have been working to prepare for the likelihood of some use of remote and virtual instruction in the coming weeks. In the process of creating this plan, we consulted with a number of schools and school districts – public, private, charter, and Catholic – all of whom are working hard to serve the needs of their students at this time, and who are pulling together to share materials.

Distance Learning:   During the extended closure, Hudson Catholic will provide distance learning instruction to students on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. These will be considered official school days, not vacation. Teachers will provide instruction and assessments, and students will be accountable for learning, assignments and testing as if the school were in session. Our model is both effective and flexible for all.  Hudson Catholic faculty and staff have already trained for Distance Learning. Our goal on such days is to engage students with the curriculum, not just post homework or busy-work. This is a major adjustment, and flexibility and adaptability will be necessary for all involved. Unlike a single snow day, an extended closure requires additional teacher creativity and individual student responsibility.

Over the weekend, the following will be posted by teachers on their Google Classroom page:

● An outline of the teacher’s expectations during the closure period

● A schedule of the teacher’s online Office Hours (see below)

● A description of how the teacher intends to use email, Google Classroom, and other platforms to facilitate distance learning during the closure period.

Resources: E-mail, Google Classroom, and Office Hours

During extended school closure, students MUST check their school email on a daily basis in order for distance learning efforts to be successful. Many students check their email only sporadically, but this communication tool becomes far more important without the possibility of daily face-to-face contact. During this extended closure situation, please support these efforts by making sure your child is checking email regularly, at least twice a day. All teachers will post assignments on Google Classroom. Students are expected to check this daily, but can work through the material at their own pace leading up to any submission deadlines set by the teacher. While this gives them the freedom to tend to other responsibilities at home, understand that students will be accountable for this instruction. Students who fail to engage the material without explanation will receive grades reflecting this. To provide support for student learning, teachers will be posting Office Hours: two hours every morning and two hours every afternoon. Teacher schedules will vary depending on childcare and family needs and giving them flexibility is important. For example, a teacher could make themselves available 9:00-11:00 AM and 2:00-4:00 PM. We recognize that students may also have expanded family responsibilities if at home, and they would only need to check in with teachers if needed. Google Hangouts and Google Meet are the platforms we will be using to facilitate Office Hours through video conferencing. This technology allows students to participate in online meetings to answer questions about concepts from lessons and to review feedback, and for teachers to either address groups or individuals for tutoring. While we encourage the occasional check-in to maintain contact, students need only attend online Office Hours if necessary or if they are struggling to understand assignments or concepts.

Student Preparation:  Students have been informed that they should take all school materials home. This includes technology, textbooks, and other learning materials they use for class. Returning to campus to retrieve items may not be possible. The most important element of student preparation is the awareness that distance learning is not optional. Time needs to be allotted for school each day, including instruction and assignments.

School Services/Guidance:  Virtual Office Hours –

Mr. Gardner 8:00AM-Noon

Mrs. Johnston 11:00AM-3:00PM

We will be providing 9th and 10th grade students with their Naviance login information and sending out guidance activities for them to complete. 11th grade students have their logins, and will also be given an activity to complete.  12th grade students should communicate during office hours if they have questions, but should be gathering their acceptance/scholarship information so they can access it when needed in the Spring.

All students are encouraged to use the Google Hangouts messaging or calling tool to communicate with the school Counseling Office.  All students MUST check their HC emails regularly for information from Student Services.

Sports and Extracurricular Activities During Extended Closure:   During an extended closure scenario, all extracurricular meetings, rehearsals, practices, and athletic events are automatically canceled.

THE SCIENCE OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

The theory behind school closures is important: by limiting large social gatherings, travel, and extended time in close proximity, the spread of the virus will be slowed and our health care system will not be overwhelmed by a sudden spike in infections. The strategy of limiting contact is called social distancing and is the primary rationale behind closing university campuses and schools, and canceling large public events. As I have explained to students, it is necessary to see beyond our individual priorities and be sensitive to the manner in which viruses can rapidly spread. In addition to the health and wellness of our own school community, our responsibility to the world beyond will be among the factors we consider in the decisions we make.

Health Updates:  If you or your child is exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or you or your child exhibits any signs, please follow all health protocols. 

CONCLUSION

The health and well-being of every member of our school community is our priority. We greatly appreciate your support in the important and urgent effort to safeguard our community, exercise our Christian and civic duty to public health, and prepare your children for a time of unprecedented challenge. Please continue to monitor school communications and frequently check our Coronavirus COVID-19 Updates Page for updates as the situation continues to unfold. We want to recognize the outstanding performance of our teachers, facilities staff, and leadership during this stressful time. They have done incredible work with your children in the last few weeks, even as they dealt with their own concerns about the crisis. And your children, as always, have been tremendous through all this. In the last 24 hours, they have become aware of just how much this might impact their daily lives. On Monday, it was “no big deal” for most. Yesterday, it had their full attention. We have been proud to watch them work through the initial disappointment about personal inconveniences, changes in travel plans, and cancellation of team events to gradually appreciate the seriousness of this moment for so many. They’ve also stopped teachers and administrators to ask how we are doing, which as always, reveals much about their character. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Hudson Catholic remains committed to our core educational and religious mission to educate and develop the whole person based on the teachings of Saint John Baptiste de la Salle. 

Not only will our students learn to be more human from this experience, but so will the faculty and staff, parents, and alumni who together are the foundation of Hudson Catholic. In times of uncertainty, we are grateful for the love of God and the commitment of every member of the Hudson Catholic community.  It is both comforting and empowering to know that we face these challenges not as individuals, but together, as one.

Mr. Richard Garibell                        Mr. Terence Matthews

President-Principal                          Associate Principal