June 29, 2020
School News

Dear Parents,

We hope this email finds you well. Planning for school has been a challenge based on the ever-changing guidelines provided by government and health care professionals. Governor Lamont has just recently confirmed the reopening of K-12 schools in Connecticut this fall and has issued guidelines to help keep our schools safe. While remote learning still remains a possibility, at least for short periods of time, we are prepared to begin the 2020-2021 academic year at the Academy of the Holy Family with the recommended precautions in place. Please read the following carefully as there is information that will be new to you.

It is necessary that we know who is planning to return to the Academy. If you have not already done so, you can easily re-register and update the necessary forms on the Academy website: ahfbaltic.org. Click on: Apply, scroll down to Register/Re-register and fill out the form. Also, please note that there are several forms that need to be completed and returned. Please return the re-registration form by July 6th: all other forms by August 1st. If your daughter is not returning, please share your reasons with us.

Although a sudden upsurge in cases of COVID-19 could change our plans, as of June, 2020 the protocols for opening for the 2020-2021 academic year at the Academy of the Holy Family are as follows:

1. Each student must be tested for the corona virus within no more than14 days prior to arriving at AHF, and must receive a negative test report. The Academy must receive a verified copy of the negative test result before the student arrives.

2. The official medical results are to be sent to Mrs. Johnson (School nurse) no later than August 17th at: schoolnurse@ahfbaltic.org or by fax # 860-822-1318.

3. Weekly boarders, five-day or less, are expected to self-quarantine at home with family before the start of school.

4. All students, domestic (living in the continental United States) or international, traveling by any type of public transportation are expected to arrive on August 19th. We will be unable to accommodate earlier arrivals.

5. On arrival, masks must be worn. One healthy adult may accompany the student into the school building on move-in day. Both are to check in at the nurse’s office where temperatures of both will be taken and the health care team will verify necessary information for each student.

6. The accompanying family member/responsible adult is asked to leave the school building as soon as possible.

7. To ensure the health and safety of everyone, the traditional Meet and Greet Dinner will not be served this year. Students will eat in their respective clusters.

8. All seven-day resident students will be sheltered in place at the Academy from August 19 through September 3. If a student develops symptoms during this period of quarantine, further protocols will be in place for her and for those who have been exposed to that student.

9. Please note: A student traveling by any type of public transportation who arrives later than August 19th must be quarantined off campus, but locally, with a responsible adult for two weeks prior to coming to the Academy. The exception would be any student who is late because of recent or current COVID-19 illness. In such case, the school is to be notified prior to August 17. When the student is well enough, arrangements may be made for distance learning on a case by case basis. When the student has recovered, an official negative test result is to be sent to the school as noted in # 3 when it is obtained.

10. Resident and day students will be taught remotely (distance learning) beginning on August 27. Boarding students will sign-in from their rooms or the family rooms of their respective clusters. This will provide for the required quarantine period without delaying the start of the semester longer than necessary.

11. Day students will join the resident students for the first day of on-campus classes on September 3. Every student, unless ill, must be present for this day of formal in-person classes. Day students should arrive at school every day by 7:30 a.m. that day to ensure time to check-in with the school nurse.

12. In the event that a student becomes ill while at school, and COVID-19 is suspected, she will be tested. Depending on the situation, she may remain on campus during the illness. We will, however, discuss these arrangements with the parent/ responsible adult. For this reason it is absolutely imperative that we have current and accurate contact information for at least two adults in the event of an emergency.

Safety for all involved is our first priority. Our community includes our AHF staff, residents and day students, as well as the Sisters of Charity, a number of whom are elderly and/or have compromised health. By the grace of God, the town of Sprague, where the village of Baltic is located, registered only four cases of COVID-19 during the pandemic, with no fatalities. Among the forty adults in residence on campus during the pandemic, one individual contracted the virus and has fully recovered. There were no cases among the essential workers who continued to work on campus during the same period. We are committed to continuing our diligent efforts to protect all on campus by observing recommended protocols during the pandemic.

School Calendar (subject to change)

Changes to the calendar have been made to provide both safety and convenience for our school families. This calendar is in place for the first semester, barring unforeseen events. We have a proposed second semester calendar in place, but please note that it will be finalized by December 1st when the situation regarding the virus at that time is clearer.

• Please note: There will be no dorm closings from the opening of school until the Christmas vacation. All seven-day boarding students will be expected to remain on campus during this time. Students will not be permitted to visit the homes of other students this year. Boarding students are expected to stay with family or sponsors during scheduled vacation time, not with local families.

• There will be two long weekends between the beginning of school and the Christmas break, but students will remain at school during that time (though there will be opportunities for safe outings).

• Midterm exams will be administered from December 14-17, 2020. It is expected that all students remain in school for exams and all school activities on December 17.

• Day students and boarders will be dismissed beginning at 1:30 pm on December 17th.

• Dorms will be closed at 12:00 pm on Saturday, December 19th.

• Transportation by the Academy for students requiring train or air transportation will be available after 1:30 pm on Thursday, December 17, and on Friday and Saturday, December 18 and 19, after 8:30 a.m. Please do not purchase flights or mass transit arrangements that would necessitate students leaving campus before 8:30 a.m. on either day unless you also arrange private transportation.

Plans for the second half of the school year are in place, but may change based on the pandemic.

• We do not recommend that you make transportation arrangements too far in advance, given the fluidity of the COVID situation. We encourage you to purchase trip insurance if possible, when you do purchase tickets.

• Residents will return on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. Transportation by the Academy from airports or bus/train stations will only be available on that day. The dormitories will not be open before January 5.

• If there are no COVID related restriction or complications we will resume regular classes on January 6th (remotely if quarantines are still necessary). It may be necessary to implement distance learning for a time after return from the break. This will be announced before or during the Christmas vacation, depending on circumstances.

• There will be no vacation in February.

At any time it may be necessary to implement distance (on-line) learning. We will endeavor to keep this at a minimum, since the social aspect of education is considered vital to the Academy experience. However, we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to adapt in order to keep our Academy family safe and healthy.

• Spring break will remain the same. It will begin on Tuesday, March 31 at 3:00 pm. Transportation from the Academy will only be available after 3:00 pm on March 31 and after 8:30 am on April 1 and until 12:00 noon on April 2nd.

• The residents will return on April 13 and will need to follow the protocols in place at that time for reentry into the Academy.

• Transportation by the Academy will only be available on April 13th. Dorms will reopen on April 13th.

• We will not be able to accommodate anyone arriving earlier or later.

• Students returning later would have to follow the protocols in place at that time for late reentry. School will resume on April 14th. If necessary, there may be remote learning for one week. You will be advised this as soon as the information becomes available

Other matters that might be impacted this school year would be the following:

• Sports and drama will be decided as the year progresses.

• Envirothon workshops usually held on Saturdays will be held online if the live workshops are cancelled.

• Activities on the weekends will be duly arranged to avoid unnecessary exposure to large groups of people until danger is down. Therefore, there will be no trips to Boston or New York this school year.

• There will be fewer mandatory outings and fewer shopping opportunities. Shopping online is recommended.

• A committee of students and faculty members will develop a schedule of on- and off-campus activities.

We recognize that all of this will entail some inconvenience for many families. However, the health of your daughter and everyone around her, and the value of the Academy experience are all worth the inconvenience. Thank you for your cooperation as we endeavor to plan for the upcoming school year at a time when the pandemic is still so unpredictable. Please feel free to contact Sister M. Rafael of Mother Mary Mark if you have questions or concerns. God bless you.