Salpointe Catholic Fall 2020 Reopening Update

July 28, 2020
 
Dear Salpointe Community,
 
As you know, Salpointe Catholic had planned to open the 2020-2021 school year on August 17 for both on-campus and at-home learning, following Governor Ducey’s recent executive order. Today, however, the Pima County Health Department, under the direction of Dr. Francisco Garcia and Dr. Theresa Cullen, has advised Pima County schools to not open on August 17 for in-person instruction. Salpointe will follow this guidance and start school remotely on August 17 for freshmen and August 18 for all students. 
 
Here is an excerpt from the Pima County public health directive:
 
Where We Stand Today Regarding Infection, Hospitalization and Death Statistics for Resumptions, Including Opening Schools
 
Could local public health data support the reopening of schools on August 17, 2020 for in-person learning? The short answer is, no. The explanation lies in the facts. They are:
 
  • We are now near the end of July and local County COVID-19 infections are at the highest daily amounts since the pandemic began.
  • Pima County's total monthly infections in March were 153, in April 1024, in May 1101, in June 5622 and so far for July through the 27th, they are 6772.
  • Countywide transmission rates remain above 11 percent, with a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation that rates be below 5 percent prior to opening.
  • Masks were only recently mandated at the County level on June 19, 2020 and it will take six weeks to see if this mitigation strategy is working.
  • Hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at record levels and it was only last week the ICU bed capacity was nearly exceeded and critical patients were transferred to other hospitals in the State.
  • Widespread testing is only now becoming available throughout the community.
  • Despite the availability of widespread testing, obtaining test results in a timely manner to allow effective contact tracing does not exist at this time in our communities.
  • For all of the above reasons, schools should not open on August 17, 2020 for traditional face-to-face, in-person instruction.
The present data certainly does not yet provide a positive, sustainable trend. Hence, it is the professional opinion of Dr. Garcia and Dr. Cullen that the earliest that traditional face-to-face in-person instruction can be anticipated to resume is after Labor Day (September 7, 2020) or later (e.g. October 5, 2020). -- Sent from Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry’s office
 
We live in challenging, uncertain times and we recognize that this decision will not be well received by all families. However, given the heightened status of the pandemic in our Tucson community, given the inability of our community to meet the metrics and benchmarks recommended for reopening schools as set by the CDC and the White House, and given Salpointe’s mission-driven commitment to protect the health and safety of our Lancers, faculty, staff and families, we have determined that delaying on-campus learning is the only reasonable option at this time.
 
On August 17, freshmen and transfer students will be invited to campus in small groups of 10-12 to pick up Chromebooks, attend short Chromebook “boot camps” and participate in some semblance of freshman orientation. For those freshmen who cannot come to campus due to health vulnerabilities, we will arrange for live stream instruction. We will soon send an additional communication regarding distance learning expectations, protocols for the future reopening of school for on-campus learning, and other information. 
 
We share your disappointment and sadness that our Lancers will start the year remotely, but Salpointe is a strong community and our faith, caring and love will see us through this difficult time. Salpointe’s strong infrastructure and advanced technology will provide our students with the very best distance learning program available. We will continue to create opportunities for our students and families to stay connected to each other and to enjoy the generational spirit of this sacred place. We will survive this together and we look forward to a Salpointe campus once again filled with the sound of joyful students. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your family and we invite you to contact us with comments or questions. 
 
May God bless you and your family.
 
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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