Letter to Families from Salpointe's President and Principal

July 1, 2020
 
Dear Lancer Families,
 
We hope that you are enjoying some well deserved rest and relaxation, staying healthy, and making the most of family time. Salpointe’s leadership team is doing our best to prepare for a safe start to school in the fall.
 
We want to follow up on a few items that we shared in our June 11 and June 19 communications.
 
With the Governor’s decision to tentatively start Arizona schools on August 17, Salpointe will also delay the start of school. Our very tentative plan is to hold Employee Inservice from August 10 - August 14 and then begin the 2020-2021 school year with freshmen and transfer students on August 17 and all students on August 18. This plan is subject to change! If necessary, we may delay the start for up to an additional few weeks, pending the status of local COVID spread, on guidance by healthcare professionals, and/or by further instructions to delay by civil authorities. Starting the semester in a distance learning situation would be exceedingly challenging for all of our Lancers, but especially difficult for our freshmen who are unfamiliar with the technology and expectations required to successfully participate in Salpointe’s rigorous academic program. If we should have to start school with a distance program, we will find a way to bring freshmen to campus for small group orientations and Chromebook “bootcamp,” all the while following health and safety guidelines. You will be the first to know as we confirm or update these plans.
 
Salpointe is committed to meet its mission to serve the needs of our diverse student population as we offer both On-Campus and At-Home learning options. Due to the changing nature of COVID spread in our community, many parents are having a difficult time making a decision as to the best option for their Lancers; therefore, we are again extending the deadline to select On-Campus or At-Home learning until August 3. To date, approximately 80 Lancers have signed up for At-Home Learning. While we are encouraging students to remain in one track or the other for blocks of six weeks, we recognize that we will need to be flexible and may need to allow students to “switch” after blocks of two weeks for health or other reasons. The academic expectations for At-Home learning will parallel On-Campus learning as much as reasonably possible. We are working on a tracking methodology in MyPointe so that teachers and staff will easily know if students are pursuing At-Home or On-Campus learning in real time. Additionally, we have placed the order for Swivl/tablet/microphone technology setups for our 70 learning spaces to allow for synchronous delivery of educational content to both On-Campus and At-Home students.
 
Salpointe is cancelling or postponing many events scheduled for this fall. Unfortunately, graduation festivities will not take place as planned at St. Augustine Cathedral or Tucson Convention Center. Neither facility is holding events in early August. Salpointe is now looking at hosting a virtual or hybrid Baccalaureate Mass and Commencement celebration in Kalil Family Gymnasium on August 5 at 3:00 p.m. We will send details soon. We have cancelled or postponed Legacy Lancer Breakfast, Senior Banquet and Slide Show, Freshman Ice Cream party, Senior Last First Day breakfast, Lancer Men’s Mass and Breakfast, Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, and class reunions at Homecoming. TBD: Homecoming Sal’s Diner, Aspire Dedication, etc. 
 
In terms of athletics, the AIA issued a statement yesterday (click here to read) delaying the start of competition, following the Governor’s decree to postpone the start of school. Salpointe initiated a Phase One plan in mid June, allowing strength and conditioning exercises as long as required health and safety protocols are fully implemented. We will continue to monitor this program, enforce stated guidelines, and evaluate the continuation of the program on a daily basis.
 
Regarding Mass, lunch, the use of lockers and passing periods: Salpointe’s chaplain, Fr. Manu Franco-Gomez, O.Carm., Campus Ministry and the Theology department are working out a schedule to provide regular, smaller group Masses for our Lancers in a safe and socially responsible manner. Administration is working on a viable lunch schedule: we will offer three lunch periods and use two indoor facilities, Foundation Hall and Alumni Hall, as well as Commons Plaza, for lunch service. With a full block schedule in place, fewer passing periods will be needed and these will be staggered to accommodate the movement of restricted numbers of students at any one time. Locker use will also be limited, probably to before and after school and during lunch periods.
 
Salpointe is installing enhanced air filtration systems and bringing additional outside air into every classroom and office (shown to be efficacious to reduce any infectious viral load); installing plexiglass shields in high traffic areas such as the Student Services counter, Foundation Hall point of sale stations, and Spirit Store counter; purchasing additional lunch tables for Alumni Hall and Commons Plaza; and installing additional hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the campus. Again, masks and/or shields will be required on campus at all times; we will take student temperatures with infrared, no touch thermometers; we will monitor faculty and staff temperatures; we will ask questions regarding COVID symptoms of all persons entering our campus; and we will sanitize or disinfect public areas as frequently as possible.
 
On the advice of members of the Board of Directors as well as school attorneys, Salpointe is requiring that a parent sign a release before his/her student can return to campus. Please review the document in MyPointe.
 
We know that you have many more questions and we want to be available to you. Feel free to contact either of us at ksullivan@salpointe.org or kgibalski@salpointe.org. We intend to send regular communications as decisions are made during the next several weeks. Hang in there; this, too, will pass!
 
In closing, we’d like to once again share a prayer from Theresa of Avila, the beloved Carmelite saint.
 
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.
 
Stay safe, be well, pray …  and have a happy 4th of July!
 
 
Kay Sullivan          Keith Gibalski
President               Principal
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Salpointe Catholic High School

1545 E. Copper St.,
Tucson, AZ 85719
(520) 327-6581
Attendance: (520) 327-1990
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