I hope you and your family are well, and I am writing this letter with the intent of keeping it that way. As you know, All Saints has worked diligently throughout the pandemic to keep the Patriot community safe. We have been very fortunate and kept the transmission of COVID-19 off campus. To date, we have created an environment where students and teachers feel safe.
As proud as I am of the results of our collective work and sacrifice, I also confess I am more worried today than I have been throughout the pandemic. Lubbock’s numbers are alarming, the stress on our healthcare system is immense, and it is highly probable that the Thanksgiving holiday will make things worse by creating a spike in cases. In particular, I am concerned about the number of undetected and infectious COVID-19 cases that will be on campus on the days after Thanksgiving. It will put our community at risk, and my conscience compels me to take action to keep the students and teachers of All Saints safe.
After the Thanksgiving holiday, All Saints will hold classes fully online for five (5) school days from Monday, November 30 through Friday, December 4.
I am sure you have questions, so the remainder of this letter will focus on three items:
Provisions for supervision of children of families who need help.
Concerns about athletics.
Reasons for making the decision.
As always, you may contact the Division Heads or me directly. To reach me, just reply to this email.
Finding supervision for children can be a challenge, especially for healthcare workers and two-income families. Each family’s needs are different, and we want to help.
The school will provide supervision for children of families who need the extra support. Our intent is to offer a safe, supervised environment for students. There will be access to online resources needed for remote learning. Spaces are limited, and we will do our best to accommodate everyone’s needs.
We need to hear from you by the end of business on Wed., Nov. 25.
We will continue to have athletics. Given our experience in the fall, student-athletes and their families have done a good job of following safety protocols and made sacrifices for the opportunity to compete. Furthermore, our teams essentially form “pods” when school is conducted online. If there is a positive case of COVID-19, we can be more targeted with quarantine measures. As always, we will be mindful of guidance issued by city and state officials, and any additional safety measures that are needed will be put in place. Coach Brashear will keep families informed about schedule, plans, and any changes to our safety protocols.
Why a Temporary Move Online?
My main concern is having a surge of coronavirus cases on campus. While it is true that most children tend to have mild symptoms for COVID-19, it also is true that they can infect others, including teachers, parents, and grandparents. My bottom line is that teachers, like students, need to be protected.
Until now, we have been able to avoid extensive transmission of COVID-19 on campus. Still, 45% of our Middle School students were online last week because of quarantine and health concerns. Given the steady increase of case counts in Lubbock and surrounding areas, the exponential nature of a propagated epidemic like COVID-19, and the lack of change in our population’s general behavior, we can safely anticipate that the number of cases in our community will continue to increase.
The fact that Lubbock hospitals do not have any beds available is alarming. I have written before on the toll the pandemic has taken on healthcare workers, and our area continues to need state assistance to deal with the pandemic. The situation has been getting progressively worse, and I have not even discussed the challenge posed by Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving and Risk
My concern is heightened by Thanksgiving. The upcoming holidays pose many challenges, and the fact that many people within the All Saints community will be visiting with friends and family for Thanksgiving amplifies the risk. The goal of going online for five days is to reduce this risk.
How does this move reduce the risk? If someone catches COVID-19, it takes an average of 5-6 days for symptoms to show up, and people are infectious two days before symptoms appear. Hence, it is possible to contract COVID-19 on Thanksgiving and infect people at school on the following Monday and Tuesday before feeling ill on Wednesday. This is a dangerous situation for teachers and other students. It also can force a large portion of the school into a two-week quarantine. I want to avoid both.
By going online for five school days, we provide time for most infected people to exhibit symptoms and get to the doctor. Research shows that 95% of symptomatic COVID-19 cases will exhibit symptoms within 10-11 days, so most COVID-19 illnesses should be detectable before face-to-face school begins again on Monday, December 7.
What about testing?
The challenge of testing is that the optimal window for testing is 5-7 days after the probable exposure. (See MIT Medical, bottom paragraph.) If someone tests on the Sunday or Monday after Thanksgiving, there is no guarantee that the test results will be accurate. In this timeframe, a person could produce a false negative test for COVID-19 and be infectious on campus.
We will ask students to bring books and materials home for the Thanksgiving break. We also are working to make the transition for our short time online as smooth as possible.
I understand that going online for five days is inconvenient, and I appreciate your support. Teaching online is not ideal – I think we all can agree that face-to-face schooling is best for students – but it buys us the time needed to identify COVID cases that may come from a Thanksgiving “spike”, and it reduces the chance that the disease is transmitted on campus. Taken together, it allows us to continue with face-to-face instruction in an environment that is safe for teachers and students alike.
Head of School
Dear Parents and Friends,
What is the cost of COVID-19?
I am not sure whether anyone fully comprehends the human cost of the pandemic, from lives lost to livelihoods disrupted to everything in between. I cannot fathom it. In March, my mother succumbed to a non-COVID respiratory illness, and I was able to visit her at the hospital before she passed. At the time I did not fully appreciate the blessing of being able to be with her. It saddens me to think of the families who are facing a similar situation today and do not have the option to say goodbye in person.
The economic cost is easier to understand. Friday marked the fifth day of Lubbock being over the 15% threshold for hospitalizations due to COVID-19. This means we are on the verge of having to undo some of the gains made in opening the economy. This action will affect many businesses and employees. No business owner wants to lay off employees or shut doors, but layoffs and shutdowns seem inevitable. I know how much time and money All Saints has invested in making it possible to operate safely. I can imagine how frustrating it is for businesses to have to reduce occupancy levels or close completely, especially after making such large investments to stay open. Worse still, more people will be out of work and out of prospects until we can get below the 15% threshold. It is a sad state of affairs.
What about All Saints?
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have done our best to be as transparent as possible about what is happening at All Saints. It is with transparency in mind that I share some information about the financial cost of COVID for All Saints. We have gone through great lengths to make school as safe and normal as possible. I think of it as a vital investment into the lives of students, teachers, and families, and I am happy to pay the price. I also believe it is important to outline the cost without overwhelming you with numbers. Finally, because All Saints is a not-for-profit school, it is considered a charity and operates differently from “normal” for-profit businesses. Some of the differences may surprise you.
Expenses Up, Revenue Down
What is the cost of COVID to All Saints? The two main issues are increased expenses and decreased revenue. The expenses come from purchasing technology, equipment, cleaning supplies, and safety items needed to keep students and teachers safe while conducting school. The shortfall in revenue is due to enrollment. Our enrollment is down by 40 students from what we had anticipated last November when we prepared the original budget. If you look at our tuition schedule and do the math, you will see that this represents a significant reduction in funds.
What Does My Tuition Pay For Anyway?
Tuition does NOT cover all of the school’s expenses.
I know it seems odd, but it is the way that most not-for-profit schools and colleges run their finances. Tuition does not pay all of the bills. What does tuition pay for? At All Saints, it essentially covers salaries, benefits, utilities/maintenance, and business administration costs.
Tuition does not pay for the “stuff” of school – buildings, books, desks, athletic and art equipment, technology, curricular materials and the like. All of that comes from fundraising. The short story is that tuition does not pay for everything at All Saints, and tuition revenue is down this year due to COVID.
Tuition is not Used for Financial Aid
There seems to be a misunderstanding about tuition and financial aid. Tuition does NOT pay for financial aid for other students. As seen above, tuition does not even cover the full cost of attendance for a student.
All Saints has a modest endowment fund. The earnings from endowment pay for most financial aid, and the rest comes from grants and special fundraising.
What Does Fundraising Pay For?
In general, fundraising pays for the “stuff” of school. There are different types of fundraisers. The ones you may be most familiar with are Annual Fund and the Legacy Event. These fundraisers happen annually, and they pay for books, desks, athletic and art equipment, technology, curricular materials, etc. School stuff.
The Parent Group and Athletic Boosters also raise funds to purchase items for the school. COVID is taking a toll on both. For example, we cannot hold the Fall Festival this year, which is the main fundraiser for the Parent Group. Since the Fall Festival had to be cancelled, the Parent Group is hosting the “Patriot Pucker Up” as a fun way to raise funds. There still is time before Friday to vote with your wallet on who gets to kiss Lucy the Goat!
Athletic Boosters raise money for athletics, mainly from the golf tournament, ticket sales, and concessions. We have limited both ticket sales and concessions due to COVID, so the boosters will raise less money this year. I am hopeful that we will be able to have the golf tournament in the spring as scheduled. It is a fun way to raise money for a good cause.
We also held special fundraisers to pay for the Suzan Collins Headrick Center and the new facility at the track, the latter of which will be completed soon. The funding for building projects comes from gifts, not tuition. Just about everything you see on the All Saints campus – including the land – was a gift.
All Saints’ Response to COVID
All Saints has responded to COVID like all businesses do. We revised the budget to cut expenses where possible, without undermining student and teacher safety or program quality. There is precious little fat to trim in our budget: All Saints is a not-for-profit charity.
All Saints also received a loan from the government’s emergency PPP loan program. The loan helped defray some costs, and we are grateful for the help from Lubbock National Bank in securing the loan.
Still, we will run a deficit this year.
There are three ways to address the deficit: cut staff, increase enrollment, and fundraise. I do not want to cut staff – and I would love to increase enrollment – and COVID prevents either from happening in the near term anyway.
That leaves fundraising. If you ever wondered, “How can I help?”, we have an answer. I sincerely hope that everyone will come together to participate in the school’s fundraising efforts, especially if you appreciate the work done by All Saints during the pandemic. Just like the rest of the region, the need at All Saints is real. More information will be forthcoming.
Baby, it’s Cold Outside
On a different note, it looks like we will have a blast of cold weather at the start of the coming week. We are adjusting our drop off procedures so temperature checks will be taken indoors. It will reduce the amount of time that students and staff are in the cold, and it will reduce the number of “false positives” for fever that we get on cold days. If a student’s temperature indicates a fever, we will follow our normal procedure and call the parent to pick up the student. Everything else will be the same.
Stay warm and healthy!
With Patriot Pride,
Head of School
Dear Parents and Friends,
I hope everyone is enjoying the Fall Break. Given the number of activities in October – Homecoming, (Virtual) Grandparents and Special Friends Day, Fall Festival/Halloween, and others – a long weekend offers a welcome respite for students, teachers, and families. I hope everyone is able to take advantage of it.
This week we had several cases of students or teachers who have had “close contacts” with people who tested positive for COVID-19. As you know, a close contact means quarantine. These close contacts seem to come from the greater Lubbock community rather than through the school. I appreciate everyone’s cooperation, from conforming to the school’s safety protocols to sharing information about illness. By working together to control what we can control and by sharing information, we are able to move quickly and reduce the chance of transmitting the coronavirus throughout the school. I think we all agree that no one wants to have a repeat of the Spring when schools were closed.
I am glad that All Saints made the decision to offer classes in both face-to-face and online formats. This approach allows students to move to online classes if they need to quarantine. The downside is that this approach is the most difficult one for teachers to navigate. It’s hard to teach online and face-to-face simultaneously. The extra work exacts a toll, and the Fall Break is coming just in time for our teachers. They do terrific work and deserve a rejuvenating long weekend. Don’t we all?
With Patriot Pride,
Head of School
Dear Parents and Friends,
We have enjoyed a week of Homecoming festivities, and I appreciate everyone’s willingness to work together to make it happen. It was worth the extra effort – the students had a terrific time, and it was the first time that some of them were able to be on campus.
As the traditional cold and flu season approaches, there will be plenty of students with runny noses, coughs, and sore throats. As you know, these symptoms are also potential signs of COVID-19. Current guidance directs us to assume that the symptoms are due to COVID-19, which means quarantine until COVID can be ruled out. The way to avoid quarantine is to have a negative COVID test result or an alternate diagnosis from a physician.
One question that has been asked is what to do when one child is feeling ill and a sibling is feeling fine. The sibling who is feeling fine may attend school. The ill child should go to the doctor. If it turns out to be COVID-19, the family will have to follow the direction provided by the Lubbock Health Department. Let’s hope it’s just the sniffles.
The CDC recommends that people get flu vaccines. Thanks to United Pharmacy Clinical Services, members of All Saints staff were able to get the flu vaccine on campus this week, and many took advantage of it.
With Patriot Pride,
Head of School
Dear Parents and Friends,
The Third Grade students seemed very happy to be back in school after having to quarantine for two weeks. It is great to have them on campus, especially with all of the Homecoming events scheduled for the coming week. I’d hate for them to miss the fun.
This is a big weekend for Lubbock. Between the Tech game with UT, the Hometown Heroes concert, the South Plains Fair, and all of the other events going on, there are many opportunities to congregate in large groups. Please be safe! The transmission rate for the coronavirus is reduced when outdoors, but it’s not zero. Stay home if you are ill, wear a mask, wash your hands, and stay physically distanced.
I hope that we can avoid illness, but as odd as it may sound, I am particularly concerned about avoiding the situation where students need to be quarantined. Kids fare better when at school, and being in quarantine takes a toll on students (and families). If a family member contracts COVID-19, it is possible for a student to be in quarantine for over 24 days! I imagine you’re asking “Hey, isn’t quarantine 14 days?” Yes it is. But the question to ask is, “When does the 14-day clock start ticking?” I will use the rest of this letter to briefly describe this situation and what can be done about it.
The guidance for isolation and quarantine can be confusing, and in some cases, it seems unfair. If a family member tests positive for COVID-19, the isolation period for the person with COVID-19 is 10 days (with reduction in symptoms), and the other members of the family usually are considered to be in close contact. According to the guidance, the clock for the 14 day quarantine period for close contact starts after the last day of contact. If a family member has COVID (and steps are not taken to isolate the person within the house), the 14 days of quarantine start after the 10 day isolation ends. It makes sense: the person with COVID-19 is considered contagious throughout the 10 day isolation period, so a person in close contact could catch the virus on Day 10 of isolation. Hence, it is possible for a person deemed to be in close contact to be quarantined for 24 days or more. It’s tough on everyone, and we’ve had a handful of these cases in the All Saints community.
Fortunately, the Lubbock Health Department has been able to assess these situations on a case-by-case basis and reduce the length of quarantine. The goal of quarantine is to ensure that a “close contact” person does not have the virus. If you can test negative for the virus, then the quarantine period can be reduced. The decision seems to hinge on the lag time between exposure and evidence of infection and on the steps taken to prevent spread of the virus at home. Bottom line: if you are deemed to be in close contact because a family member tested positive for COVID-19, there are steps you can take to reduce the time in quarantine. The key is to communicate with the Lubbock Health Department. We can help with this.
If we continue to work together, we can reduce the chance of illness and quarantine. I encourage everyone to continue to wear face coverings, wash your hands, and avoid close contact. It promises to be a glorious weekend, and I hope everyone is able to enjoy it safely.
With Patriot Pride,
Head of School
Dear Parents and Friends,
The start of athletics brought a sense of normalcy to school life in the Middle and High Schools, and it has been good to see students enjoying the return to competition. As discussed last week, two goals drive our decisions about athletics. The primary goal is to give students a chance to compete in a safe environment. The secondary goal is for parents to watch games, also in a safe environment. We had to adjust how we do things to achieve these goals, and the school continues to work to improve the experience for everyone.
All Saints is taking a similar approach with events and traditions. We want students to participate safely, and just as we have done throughout the pandemic, we must reimagine how we do things. Fortunately, our experience with athletics is proving invaluable, and we have help in the form of board leadership. I asked that we form a board committee on traditions to help All Saints navigate the challenges we face, and I look forward to the work ahead.
An important tradition is Homecoming, which is right around the corner on October 2. We have football and volleyball games, pep rally, mums – don’t forget to order your mum! – a parade, and most of the trappings that come with Homecoming. Kudos to the planning team! Working within the constraints of the coronavirus, they are putting together a terrific event for the community that will be fun for all.
We have posted an update to the school’s reopening plan. It includes a section on athletics and updated information about what happens when someone is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has close contact with a confirmed case. Schools must report confirmed COVID-19 cases to the community, and as we have shared in email announcements, there have been three confirmed cases at All Saints since the start of the school year. We also are sharing “close contacts” that involve faculty and staff. People who are in “close contact” have not tested positive for COVID-19, but they must quarantine, just in case. This information is shared with parents of the teacher’s students, primarily to provide reassurance and explain why the teacher is absent.
All Saints is going to great lengths to keep school open for students. I think we all agree that face-to-face education works best for children, and I am proud of the extra effort our teachers and staff are making to keep everyone safe. I also appreciate the cooperation and support of families as we work together to provide the best we can for All Saints students.
Head of School
Dear Parents and Friends,
I trust everyone had a terrific Labor Day Holiday. We returned to a busy week at school that included the official start of athletics. I want to use this letter to update you on how All Saints is meeting the challenge of hosting athletic events in the time of COVID-19.
We have two priorities. At the top of the list is that our student-athletes are able to compete in a safe environment. The second priority is for parents to be able to safely watch their children play. We felt that if we could achieve these two goals, it would be a great season for everyone. Thanks to the tireless work of the Athletic Director Robert Brashear and the All Saints coaching staff, it is happening.
For the most part, competitions that take place outside – cross country, football, tennis, golf and track – are easier to manage. There is plenty of room to be safely distanced and there is little worry about ventilation. On the other hand, indoor sports like volleyball and basketball present significant challenges. Less ventilation, high production of aerosols and droplets, less room in which to distance – all are hallmarks of “superspreader” events. In order to make indoor competitions possible, we had to be very clear on our priorities and make tradeoffs that include limiting attendance.
We are fortunate to have Coach Brashear at All Saints. He has done an exceptional job of providing a compelling vision for the program and for setting the right tone for athletics. We also are blessed to have the coaching staff we have at All Saints. Coaching takes a tremendous amount of time and effort in the best of times, and it takes a lot of volunteer manpower to run competitions. To do so amid COVID requires extra effort, and that extra effort is being shouldered by the coaching staff. They are doing it because they want to give our student-athletes the opportunity to compete and have as close to a normal athletic experience as possible. It can never be said enough: we have terrific coaches at All Saints.
I will note that the guidelines we are using at All Saints for athletics are more restrictive than the minimum standards set by athletic leagues and what is happening at other schools. I am fine with being different, especially if it means keeping students safe. Our priority is the student-athletes, and they seem to appreciate the opportunity ahead of them.
Head of School
We’ve had a busy start of school, and I think Labor Day holiday is arriving at just the right time for everyone to catch a breath and enjoy a long weekend.
The school had its first brushes with COVID-19 for the academic year. We have not had a test-confirmed case yet, but there have been instances where a student or teacher had “close contact” with a person who tested positive for COVID-19. In this letter I will touch on three topics:
Communicating about COVID
Schools are required by law to inform the entire school community when someone on campus tests positive for COVID. Fortunately, we have not yet faced this situation this academic year, but when we have a test-confirmed case on campus, we will let everyone know.
We also have chosen to share information about potential exposures when we learn that someone at school had a “close contact” with a person who has tested positive for COVID. This is not required by law, but we are doing so in an effort to be transparent about what is happening at All Saints. I believe it is important to provide parents the best data available so they can make informed decisions about their children. In the case of a potential exposure, the Division Head will email parents of students who share classes with the student or teacher who may have been exposed.
More Information on Close Contact
The Lubbock Health Department has been very helpful as we developed policies and navigated the pandemic. One of our conversations this week regarding “close contact” highlighted the need for us to adjust procedures regarding quarantine and re-entry. Someone who has had “close contact” with a person who tests positive for COVID is assumed to have COVID. The “close contact” person is supposed to quarantine for 14 days. In earlier guidance, it was possible to leave quarantine early by testing negative for COVID. This is no longer the case – if you start quarantine, you’re in quarantine for the full two weeks regardless of whether you test negative.
As you may recall, when there is a test-confirmed case of COVID-19, the Lubbock Health Department will take the lead on determining next steps regarding people who have had contact with the known case. Close contact is defined in two ways. The first is being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on). The second is being within 6 feet for a largely uninterrupted or sustained extended contact period of approximately 15 minutes throughout the course of a day. The definition cites additional factors – use of masks, ventilation, and the presence of dividers – that may affect the determination of close contact.
Our discussions with the Lubbock Health Department reinforced the importance of physical distancing and the consistent use of face coverings when determining whether someone was in close contact. For example, if a child is sitting near another at lunch, it will be considered “close contact” because it’s almost impossible to eat lunch while wearing a face covering. The more we wear our face coverings and keep our distance, the safer we are.
We will post an update to the All Saints Reopening Plan 2020-21 on the school’s website when we return to school after the Labor Day holiday.
All Saints Online
One of the few predictable elements of the pandemic was the need to provide an uninterrupted education to students who would have to be online due to health issues, quarantine, or other concerns. This possibility – along with our interest in offering parents the greatest amount of flexibility – led us to develop All Saints Online. All Saints Online addresses the problem by simultaneously teaching students who are in class on campus and online. Truth be told: this is the most difficult type of class to manage for teachers – it is much more difficult than having classes that are solely online, which we did last spring. Our teachers are doing a fine job, and they are working to improve the students’ learning experience. Feedback is helpful – thank you! We had technology wrinkles to iron out, which has been frustrating, but we have made terrific progress. I certainly appreciate the fact that teachers are going the extra mile to make this work for students. As I mentioned earlier, the long weekend is arriving at just the right time.
I wish you and your family a happy and safe Labor Day holiday.
With Patriot Pride,
Head of School
Head of School
I said it last week, but it bears repeating. It’s great to have students back in school. Everyone seems happy to be back, and there is a positive vibe on campus.
2020 is a year of many challenges, and our most important challenge is keeping students and teachers safe. As we have already seen in schools across Lubbock, there are cases where students or teachers tested positive for COVID-19. If there is a confirmed case, the protocol is the same for all schools. The schools must notify all families, staff, visitors, and the Lubbock Health Department. The Health Department will direct contact tracing and make decisions about next steps. These next steps depend on the particular situation, but they typically include requiring COVID tests for close contacts and deep cleaning (or closing a section of the building).
All Saints has daily cleaning procedures in place, and we follow additional protocols if a student is ill. For example, the school purchased cleaning equipment so we can start the deep cleaning process before we know whether an illness is due to COVID or allergies or something else. Why wait? We had a couple of students who went home ill this week. Thankfully, it was not due to COVID, but we started a deep clean process immediately. The student’s area was cleaned, and we used our UVC lights to disinfect exposed surfaces and any airborne particles in the area. Our cleaners followed up with electrostatic sprayers and specialized chemicals.
A Clarification in the TEA Definition of “Close Contact”
On Thursday August 27, The Texas Education Agency (TEA) issued updates to its SY 20-21 Public Health Planning Guidance document. An important clarification is the definition of “close contact.” The change is in (b), below. Close contact now is defined as
“a. being directly exposed to infectious secretions (e.g., being coughed on); or
b. being within 6 feet for a largely uninterrupted or sustained extended contact period throughout the course of a day of approximately 15 minutes; however, additional factors like case/contact masking (i.e., both the infectious individual and the potential close contact have been consistently and properly masked), ventilation, presence of dividers, and case symptology may affect this determination.”
As you may recall, if you are in close contact with a person who has a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is assumed that you have been infected until there is confirmation otherwise via a test result, an alternate diagnosis from a physician, or remaining quarantined for approximately two weeks.
We have updated the school’s Reopening plan on the school’s website to reflect this clarification and to make other adjustments.
With Patriot Pride,
Head of School
The start of school is an exciting time. The faculty was on campus this week for meetings and to prepare for the arrival of students. Everyone is excited to see their students and to get started.
We are starting the year with one-on-one meetings with parents and students. The structure of the meetings varies from division to division. In the PLC it is more of a meet-the-teacher event to help with the transition to school. In the Lower and Middle Schools, the focus is on understanding student and family needs and setting goals. If you have not been contacted by your Division Head or a teacher (PS-8), please let us know. The High School meetings focus on college counseling, and are part of a multi-year process. The Ninth Graders had their meetings over the summer; other meetings and events will happen throughout the year for high school students and families.
One goal for the parent meetings is to make sure we have an open and effective line of communication between school and family. It is the only way that a school can understand and meet a family’s needs.
If you have questions, please ask. The best place to start is with teachers, advisors, and coaches. If they cannot address the problem, they will enlist the help of school leaders:
INFRASTRUCTURE & SUPPLIES
One of the challenges of the pandemic is the supply chain. We understand that Clorox wipes are hard to come by. Please do not fret about it – the school has plenty for now, and there are other ways to solve the problem. Just like March and the lack of toilet paper: buy some when you can find it, but don’t overpay.
Another supply chain issue involves the delivery of the school’s iPads. It is taking longer than expected, but we are able to run school fine. The iPads will make things easier for teachers when students have a standardized device.
Our improved technology infrastructure is performing well, and it should be even better when the dedicated internet line is completed early next week. The upgrade means All Saints will have its own internet connection and guaranteed bandwidth (because we will not be sharing the pipeline with other businesses and homes in the area). I won’t say that everything has been flawless. For example, a tech issue arose during faculty training. It involved a dodgy switch in the audio system in the Commons. Fortunately, it is not part of the internet technology system used by teachers and students.
We are updating the Reopening Plan, and it will clarify some questions about online classes. There were two concerns I’ll address here. The first is the dress code for online students. Students need to dress for class as if they were going to school on campus.
The second concern was the restriction on Zooming from one’s bedroom. We are changing this. I know from my family’s experience that there are not enough quiet spaces in a house when the entire family is working and studying remotely. A bedroom may be the best place. We just want to make sure that the background is not distracting and that students are not lying down.
My personal resolution is to keep my emails to a manageable size. With this in mind, I am going to close my letter here. If you have questions, please contact the folks listed above or drop me an email at email@example.com. We all are looking forward to getting back to work with students and providing them with both a well-rounded education and a supportive school community.
Head of School
I hope you are well and excited about the upcoming school year. We certainly are!
We need you to confirm whether your child(ren) will start the school year taking classes online. This will help us complete class lists and other preparations for the start of school.
If you want your child to start the school year with online classes, please complete the online choice form before Tuesday, August 11 at 12:00 noon. It is a short form that will take about a minute to complete. Each child requires a separate form. (If your child is starting the year with classes on campus, you do not have to do anything.)
Questions and Answers
What Information is Collected on the Form?
The form collects your name, your child’s name, your child’s grade level, and your choice for online learning. It should take a minute per student to complete. One form per student.
What Happens If I Do Not Complete the Online Choice Form?
If you do not complete the online choice form, we will assume that your child(ren) will attend school on campus.
Does Choosing “Online” Commit us to Online Learning for 9 Weeks?
No, it does not commit students for a full 9 weeks. Students will be able to switch.
Please Note: We anticipate that it will take some time for teachers to adjust to this system, so we do not intend to make any changes during the first 10 days of school. (If a child must change to online for health reasons, we will make the change immediately.)
Will Students Be Able to Switch Between On Campus and Online?
Yes. Our intent is to be as flexible as possible, so it is possible to switch. To do so, you will need to contact the Division Head to organize any switches.
How do Students Switch Between On Campus and Online?
You must contact the Division Head.
When Can Students Start Switching Between On Campus and Online?
After the first 10 days of school. We anticipate that it will take a little time for teachers to adjust to this system, so we do not intend to make any changes in the first 10 days of school. (If a child must change to online for health reasons, we will make the change immediately.)
Why Do I Have to Make a Request to Switch Between On Campus and Online?
To help teachers prepare. Preparing instruction and learning materials takes a lot of time, and including students who are learning online adds an extra level of difficulty.
How Soon Can a Student Switch Between On Campus and Online?
Any changes can happen after the first 10 days of school. (If a child must change to online for health reasons, we will make the change immediately.)
What if My Child is Ill and Needs to Change for Health Reasons?
Please contact the school’s Health and Safety Coordinator, Lisa Rozean. We will make the change immediately.
Didn’t I Already Fill Out a Survey?
Yes. Several weeks ago parents were asked to complete a non-binding survey about preferences for the upcoming school year to help us with planning. Thank you! According to that survey, about 23% of students planned to start the year online. Much has happened over the last weeks, and parents may have changed their minds. We want an accurate count so we can create class lists.
Thank you for your assistance. We are looking forward to a terrific year. It will be challenging, but we are committed to providing the best well-rounded education and supportive community possible for All Saints students.
Head of School
I hope you are well as we move from July to August. I am writing to provide a brief update on happenings at All Saints.
We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of a large shipment of iPads that will allow students to have ready access to devices, whether they are on campus or off. In the near term, this technology helps us navigate the coronavirus pandemic. The longer term vision of All Saints Online and the investment in technology is to seamlessly meet students’ learning needs whenever and wherever they are.
Thanks to the generosity of the Parent Group, All Saints reached an important milestone in making this vision a reality. The school installed dedicated fiber optic lines to serve the Lower School and the Patriot Learning Center. Each division of the school now has its own fiber optic line to support student learning.
We continue to update the All Saints Reopening Plan. One issue on many people’s minds is the use of face coverings. The official guidance from the TEA states that schools must comply with the governor’s executive order regarding the wearing of masks. The executive order requires the use of masks “whenever it is not possible to maintain six feet of social distancing.” It will be possible to remove masks when students are physically distanced, but we also will err on the side of safety. There also were questions about face shields. According to the TEA, full-face shields may be used in place of a mask when using a mask “is not feasible or whenever the education context may benefit from the ability to see an individual’s full face.” Face shields are not a replacement for cloth face coverings, but they do provide an extra layer of protection.
Thanks to the tireless work of Chaplain Paige, online chapel has provided the extended All Saints family a much needed oasis of community and worship. When school starts up, students will attend chapel in person, but in small groups and on a rotating basis. We will continue to stream the service so students in classrooms and people off campus can participate in this integral All Saints tradition.
Bruce Latta, Head of School
“Being heard and understood is one of the greatest desires of the human heart.” Richard Carlson
We hear you! From your survey answers, your emails, and your phone calls, you have provided valuable input to the All Saints Reopening Plan. It is clear that for many families it is simply too soon to make a choice of school online or school on-campus.
Fortunately, at All Saints you do not have to make those decisions today. This is why All Saints is not asking you to make a lengthy commitment to either online school or on-campus school. We are not asking for your preference today. For many, it is simply too early.
This is one of the reasons why we are excited about the flexibility of All Saints Online. Our vision is for students to be able to move seamlessly to and from distance learning as needed. Today the focus is on COVID, but we also are thinking ahead for All Saints students of all ages who will not be on campus because they are ill or traveling for academic, artistic, and athletic competitions. This is an ambitious vision, and it will not be easy to do, but it’s the right thing to do for students. Given our success with online learning and our commitment to meeting the needs of the whole child, we are confident that we ultimately will make this vision a reality for all students.
Thank you for your feedback on the All Saints Reopening Plan, from questions about face coverings to the challenges of physical distancing to questions about chapel. Your feedback, along with updated guidance from the CDC and other agencies, will be incorporated into the plan. We will provide regular updates at the end of the week – like this note – to keep you apprised of what is happening.
Know that you are heard, and please continue to share your thoughts and ideas by leaving a message here. The near-term focus is on reopening the school, but we also are building a better future for the students of All Saints.
Head of School
Dear Patriot Family,
I am writing to share three items. First is exciting news about distance education at All Saints.
Second, this letter includes information and links to All Saints’ Reopening Plan. The plan contains safety and logistics information about on-campus education.
Finally, we also are announcing the availability of childcare for essential workers if schools must temporarily close.
All Saints Online
Last spring, All Saints proved that the most important elements to success in school – talented teachers who care, personal connection for students, and investing in the school community – can be done online. Our exceptional staff showed why All Saints is All Saints.
During a situation where many schools across the country only posted homework assignments, All Saints focused on the core of our mission: a superior education coupled with a deep concern for the whole child.
All Saints teachers did a tremendous job of caring for their students. It wasn’t perfect, but we listened to families, learned quickly, and always strove to improve how we serve students.
Building on this foundation, All Saints is proud to offer online classes as an option for students this fall. The program, called All Saints Online, is a way to serve students and families who cannot attend school on campus. All Saints Online improves upon what we began last spring.
If you plan for your child to start school online, be sure to complete the 1- minute survey.
A vital element of All Saints Online is that it extends beyond academics to focus on the whole child. Last spring was hard on students emotionally, especially for those children at schools where the focus is solely on academics. Integral to the vision of All Saints Online is that we are going to do even more work to help students feel connected and engaged as we continue to build on our academic success. All Saints is much more than a school: it’s a community. And we are investing into the community.
Click here for more information on All Saints Online.
(It is at the end of the school’s Reopening Plan for 2020-21.)
Details About On-Campus Instruction
I am proud of the exceptional work done by the All Saints team to prepare a safe learning environment for all children. Some parents have requested detailed information about All Saints’ plans for the coming school year. In an effort to be as transparent as possible about what is happening at All Saints, we are posting the school’s Reopening Plan for 2020-21.
The Reopening Plan for 2020-21 should be considered a living document. It is based on government regulations, health and safety guidelines, and successful practices. It is continually updated to reflect evolving regulations, changing local health conditions, and feedback from medical professionals and the All Saints community.
Even though the plan is over 20 pages long, it is not a set-in-stone policy document, nor has it stopped growing. It is an evolving tool that we are using to help keep students safe in these unprecedented times.
Childcare During School Closure
In the event of a government mandate that requires schools to shift to remote learning, All Saints is preparing to support essential workers by offering on-campus childcare for our youngest students.
If you will need childcare during a stay-in-place or similar executive order, please complete the 1-minute survey to let us know.
The Emotional Health of Students
When schools across the country closed last spring, everyone was reminded that schools provide much more than academics. Students need to connect with teachers, socialize with peers, and see their friends. It’s tough for a student of any age to focus on math when he or she feels lonely and isolated. What’s worse is that many schools do not consider ministering to children’s spiritual and social needs as part of their work.
At All Saints, ministering to children’s spiritual, social, and emotional needs is core to our mission. While no one knows what the next two, four, or eight weeks hold in store for the citizens of Lubbock, there is one thing of which you can be certain. If it’s online or in person, the people of All Saints will strive every day to ensure that students are safe, happy, and exceptionally well-educated.
Head of School
Dear All Saints Community,
We hope that you had a good Fourth of July weekend and that everyone in your family is happy, healthy, and safe. The school’s Administration and Planning Teams have been hard at work preparing for the next school year. At the heart of our effort is ensuring that we provide a safe, nurturing, and effective learning environment for all.
All Saints will reopen the doors to the school and welcome everyone back on campus for the first day of classes: August 19 for high school and August 20 for all other divisions. (High school athletics start on Aug 3; middle school athletics start on Aug 10.) We are preparing the school to have face-to-face instruction here on campus.
Due to the nature of the current situation our country is facing, we know that as information changes, so will our plans. We promise to keep you informed when and if things change. On Tuesday, July 7, the Texas Education Agency released guidance for school districts to follow as they prepare for re-opening. The TEA guidance aligns well with the work All Saints has been doing all summer to prepare for the coming school year. There are many variables to consider, so please know that decisions at All Saints are driven by three core principles: the health and safety of students and staff; the adherence to guidelines established by local, state, and federal authorities; and the delivery of the high quality education and support you expect from All Saints, regardless of the context.
We are opening the school year on campus, and our plans call for social distancing and all of the other measures necessary to keep people safe. More details will be shared with you about the logistics of dropping off and picking up your children each day, safety procedures, and other necessary back to school information. Elements of school will look different this fall, but the core strength of All Saints continues to hold true. We have a loving, motivated, and talented staff who will go to the ends of the earth for your children. Our faculty is fully staffed, and we look forward to sharing information about teachers, parent conferences, and student support.
Our prayer is that you are enjoying your summer and please rest assured that we are so very excited to welcome our students and families back. The school is so quiet without our community here, the children are truly the life of these buildings.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please reach out directly to your child’s Division Head for guidance.
We look forward to seeing you in August.
Bruce Latta, Robert Brashear, Emily Cannon, Tammy Edmonson, Greg Hutchinson, Rachel Scranton
Please be advised that All Saints Episcopal School was notified today that three employees at 4ORE! Golf tested positive for COVID-19. In follow up conversations with the City of Lubbock Health Department and the general manager of 4ORE! Golf, we learned that the three employees were NOT at work any day last week and were not at work on Saturday during our graduation services. The Health Department recommended that people continue to follow current guidelines of hand washing, self-monitoring, and maintaining social distance.
As an immediate response to protect the health and safety of our community, we are notifying all of our graduate families, guests, and staff who attended the event. The health and safety of our School community are our priorities. These are trying times for us all, and we are here for you.
The fifth senior class of All Saints, the Class of 2020, graduated this morning. They are a talented group of students who are matriculating to an impressive list of universities. We are very proud of their accomplishments!
As with everything else touched by the coronavirus, this year’s graduation ceremony was different. It was held at 4ORE! Golf, which provided a comfortable way for families to celebrate an important milestone while meeting social distancing requirements. It also was aired on TV and livestreamed online, thanks to the generosity of RAMAR Communications.
Opening of School
I am writing today to provide an update on preparations for the coming year. The short story is that we intend to start school on campus in August. We will post more comprehensive information on the school’s website in the coming days and as summer progresses, but I wanted to reach out to outline what we have been doing behind the scenes.
Overview of Preparations
The faculty did an admirable job last spring to move to distance education quickly, but our collective goal is to do better. “More of the same” will not cut it. We have been using this time to aim higher so All Saints students thrive, regardless of what the pandemic throws at us. Here are the main points.
Task Force and Consulting
The school formed a Task Force of administrators to guide the planning of the school year. The Task Force is working with Leadership + Design, a consulting group whose practice specializes in independent schools like All Saints. As part of this consulting work, we are collaborating with a cohort of four other PS-12 independent schools across the country to share ideas, best practices, and solutions. The Task Force will use this information, along with the work of Planning Teams (see below), to design solutions to meet All Saints’ particular needs.
In addition to the Task Force, we have eight Planning Teams preparing for the school year. Each team has a specific charge and questions to address about the challenges, needs, regulations, and constraints in key areas of the school. The eight teams are: Teaching and Learning, Health and Safety, Pastoral and Community Care, Athletics and Co-curricular, Technology, Finance, Communications, and Facilities/Events.
While no one can predict what the pandemic will look like in August, we do know the four scenarios we need to be prepared to navigate throughout the coming school year. They are:
The Task Force and Planning Teams are preparing for each of these possibilities and for making seamless transitions from one to the other as conditions change.
School will start on campus in August. To ensure we can maintain a safe environment for all, the Task Force and Planning Teams are reviewing and updating a range of measures and processes that include:
Sources of Guidance and Information
The work being performed at All Saints is not done in isolation. School decisions are driven by federal, state, and local guidelines that continue to change in response to the pandemic. All Saints is following rules set by the Centers for Disease Control at the national level, the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Education Agency at the state level, and the City of Lubbock Health Department at the local level. We are incorporating in our planning the lessons learned from independent schools across the country (and the world), the advice of local health experts, and best practices, like the athletics protocols at Texas Tech University which informed the safety procedures used for our voluntary summer workouts.
On Tuesday afternoon the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency is scheduled to discuss the guidelines for the opening of schools in the fall. While the focus of the conference call will be on public schools, the guidance will inform the planning work done at All Saint to create a safe and engaging learning environment for students.
I hope you are well. The month of May is the point in the school year where the focus turns to closing on a high note. May also is the time where a lot of planning happens for the following year. We started work on academic schedules, summer maintenance, and program development. It’s been busy.
Last week I described this letter as more nuts-and-bolts than cheerleading, but I cannot resist sharing some good news. All Saints is poised to have the largest Freshman class in the high school’s history. The incoming Freshman class is a talented group, and I’m eager to see how they get involved in all of the terrific opportunities the high school offers.
Okay, back to nuts-and bolts: there are four discussion points in this letter.
The Last Week of School and the First Week of School
For most students, the last day of academic classes is Friday, May 15, and the following week is for end-of-year logistics like returning books and picking up personal items. The schedule is a little different in the high school because of changes in Advanced Placement exams. The details for each division of the school are being sent to you by the Division Heads.
First Week of the 2020-21 School Year
We do not know when Lubbock will be back to normal, but I wanted to offer guidance regarding the start of school. We will start during the week of August 16, 2020. The tentative plan for the week is
Please note: the start of school schedule depends on social distancing and other factors. We know we will start on the week of August 16, but the details for each day may change. More information will come.
Survey Part Two
Last week I reported the findings from our first survey on distance education and promised that we’d have a follow-up survey to see whether there is any improvement. If you have a few minutes to spare, please take this anonymous survey to help the school serve students better. Thank you!
Why administer a survey at the end of the school year? We are doing it for three reasons:
My goal is for All Saints to understand the needs of parents and students and to respond to those needs both effectively and efficiently. Success hinges on everyone working together, which requires communication. The survey is one piece of the puzzle. We also called all families, and both teachers and administrators have been in touch with students and parents.
Meeting Individual Students’ Needs – Please Call or Email
As I mentioned last week, surveys do not capture an individual’s particular needs. Our goal is to meet each student’s needs. To that end, if something is missing or needs to be done to support your child, please call or email the teacher, advisor, coach, or Division Head.
Chaplain Paige is Available
If you are not sure who to call, you can always contact Chaplain Paige at firstname.lastname@example.org. She also monitors the Need Help/Can Offer Help form. If you need help, if you can offer assistance, or if you have a prayer request, please click here. Chaplain Paige will make sure it gets to the right place.
I mentioned that high school re-enrollment has exceeded our expectations. We will have the largest Freshman class in All Saints’ history. We also are offering spots to applicants in younger grades who are eager to be Patriots. They are terrific additions to the school.
You should have received your signed enrollment contract in the mail. They were sent this week, and I am sorry for the delay. Typically, our process is that I sign the contracts, and the executed copies are returned to families in March. As with everything else, COVID-19 threw a wrench in the works. If you have not received your contract, please contact Lisa Britton (email@example.com) or Paige McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) in our Admissions Department. They will help you out.
Some families prefer to hand-deliver re-enrollment forms and payments. Hand delivery is a challenge, but we still are receiving mail. If you can find a stamp, the school’s address is:
All Saints Episcopal School
3222 103rd Street
Lubbock, TX 79423
If you have a question about re-enrollment, the people to contact are Paige McKay (email@example.com) and Lisa Britton (firstname.lastname@example.org) in our Admissions Department. If you need help with the logistics of payment, Dana McNeice in our Business Office is a good resource (email@example.com)
Financial Assistance Update
The first notifications for Financial Aid will be sent to applicants by the end of the coming week. This is the first round of financial assistance. As I shared earlier, the All Saints Episcopal School’s Board of Trustees is increasing the amount of financial assistance available to families who need extra help. The extra financial assistance will be available in a subsequent round of funding. If you think you will need aid, please contact either Paige McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Valerie Tucker (email@example.com).
Mythbusters: Tuition and Financial Aid
Please know that financial aid does not come from tuition. It comes from fundraising. In fact, tuition at All Saints covers staff salaries, benefits, business costs, cleaning and maintenance. Everything else – curriculum, technology, supplies, buildings, etc. – comes from fundraising.
Want to Help / Need Help
The additional funding for financial aid also will have to be generated by fundraising. We are working on grants and speaking with people who want to help. If you would like to help, please let Celeste Thompson know. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your help can make a world of difference for a family. If you are in need of temporary help, Paige McKay (email@example.com) is the person to contact. Also, if you want to contribute to the work being done on the Middle School, it’s not too late. Contact Celeste, and she will help you out.
I appreciate the cooperation and communication between students, teachers, and parents, and I want to thank you for the feedback. It helps us improve how we serve your children today and prepare them for college and beyond.
I am writing this email on the heels of Governor Abbott’s April 17th announcement. Like every other school in Texas, the All Saints campus will be closed for the remainder of the academic year, and we will continue with distance education.
I had anticipated this outcome and prepared for it, but I’m still disappointed. I am saddened that we will not be able to complete the 2019-20 academic year together on campus, and I feel bad for our Seniors. The Class of 2020 is a talented and impressive group. Their hard work and many accomplishments deserve to be celebrated. We will – we just have to be creative.
If the last weeks have taught us anything, it is that the All Saints community is creative….and responsive… and resilient. It also has reaffirmed my belief that the key to our school’s success is the willingness of students, teachers, and parents to communicate and work together.
It is with the goal of communicating, working together, and responding to people’s needs that I write this update.
The All Saints Episcopal School’s Board of Trustees has met often throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to guide the school through this crisis. This week’s board meeting focused mainly on supporting families as we all start to feel the financial effects of coronavirus.
Two important decisions were made at the board meeting. The first is to increase the amount of financial assistance provided to families for the coming year. The second is to form a committee to develop the process that the school’s administration will use to distribute aid during the crisis. All Saints already has a rigorous financial aid process in place, but the Board’s decision is an acknowledgment that the world has changed dramatically since re-enrollment contracts were sent home in January. We know that the economy will eventually bounce back, but we do not know how long it will take. In the interim, people need help, including families who may not have qualified for financial aid in the past. We are facing an extraordinary situation, and our goal is to find a way to help all who need it.
An Engineering Design Approach to Distance Education
As you probably know, All Saints recently launched a robotics/computer science/engineering design program, and we have almost completed a beautiful building to support this work. A key element to the program is for students to learn engineering design as an approach to solving problems.
I mention this because the All Saints administration is using a design approach to address the challenge of distance education. Granted, we had to rush a few steps, but the core elements of empathy and feedback/continuous improvement are firmly in place.
This is why teachers, advisors, and administrators have called each family to see how things are going and to gather feedback. We have made adjustments, and we will continue to do so. Success hinges on communication.
Improve the Academic Experience – Quick Survey
We are conducting a short survey (11 questions) to help us continue our improvement effort. The survey is anonymous, and it will take approximately three minutes to complete. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W8LWTXL Our aim is to act swiftly on the feedback you provide.
Meeting Individual Students’ Needs – Please Call or Email
The problem with anonymous surveys is that they do not capture the specific needs of an individual. Our goal is to meet the individual needs of each student. To that end, if something is missing or needs to be done to support your child, please call or email the teacher, advisor, coach, or Division Head.
Not Sure Where to Go for Help – Contact Chaplain Paige
Also, we are fortunate to have Paige McKay as a resource for students and families. If you are not sure where to go for help, or if you need to talk in confidence, Chaplain Paige is here to help. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She also monitors the Need Help/Can Offer Help form. If you need help, if you can offer assistance, or if you have a prayer request, please click here. Chaplain Paige will make sure it gets to the right place.
I appreciate the support provided by the All Saints community as we navigate the coronavirus pandemic. I believe our focus on communication and support will not only get us through this crisis, it ultimately will improve how we serve All Saints students.
As we arrive at the most important weekend of the Christian calendar, I am writing to wish you a joyous holiday and to provide a brief update on what is happening at All Saints.
It’s tough to wrap my head around the fact that we’ll be in “social distancing mode” for Passover, Easter, and probably all of Ramadan. Our holidays will look very different this year, and there is a growing feeling that life will change after the COVID pandemic. That’s unsettling.
As we come to grips with all of the changes ahead of us, two thoughts come to mind. The first is a favorite saying, “Change is good, but transitions are difficult.” The second is a belief that Easter is arriving at just the right moment. For Christians, Easter is the foremost story of transition and change. Easter is not about going back to how things were; it’s about making all things new. Yes, there is suffering, but Easter ultimately represents the triumph of hope over despair and of life over death.
I find comfort in this, and I am hopeful for all of us.
Official Timeline is Still May 4
There have not been any changes in the timeline for Lubbock’s “stay at home” order and statewide school closures through May 4, 2020.
Some good news is that projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) regarding the peak demand for hospital resources in Texas have changed. It’s a bit earlier: April 26. As mentioned last week, we will still have cases after the peak, and I anticipate that the May 4 date will be moved again. As of this week, all 50 states have closed schools, and 19 states have done so for the remainder of the school year. We will continue to keep a close watch on developments and adjust as needed.
The Work Ahead and a Request
Last week I shared a quote from Dr. Robin DeRosa of Plymouth State University that elegantly describes what we need to accomplish:
“…we are trying to extend a sense of care to our students and trying to build a community that’s going to be able to work together to get through the learning challenges that we have.”
To this end, I have one request: please communicate your needs.
The only way All Saints can “extend a sense of care” is for us to know how things are going and what students and families need. This is why we have the School Assistance Form. This also is the reason why teachers and administrators reached out to every All Saints family to ask how things were going. The answers ranged from “we’re good” to “we’re overwhelmed” with all things in between. No one said that it was easy.
Your feedback helps us adjust what we do so we can support you. Distance Ed at All Saints is dramatically different from what was launched at Spring Break. It will continue to evolve as we learn more about what is effective and as students’ and families’ needs change. As I mentioned earlier, transitions are difficult, and our goal is to work together so we can help each other out. The only way we can accomplish this is by communicating. Teachers, coaches, and administrators alike – we’re all here for your families.
In the meantime, please enjoy the break. I wish you all a joyous holiday.
What a week! I think everyone is feeling the effects of a full week of distance education. As I shared with the faculty and staff, this is hard work, and working from home makes things more difficult. I worked from home for several years when my oldest daughter was a toddler. It’s easier with older children, but this is still a big change for all of us.
It is heartening to see how students, teachers, and parents are rising to the challenge before us. We’re solving problems and doing what it takes to get the job done – the West Texas work ethic is alive and well. Coronavirus is not our fault, but it is our problem, and we are going to address it. Together.
Working & Schooling from Home
When it comes to working “as a member of a full-time virtual/remote team, and a sometimes working-remotely-with-kids-underfoot employee,” Parent Group president, Kathy Oaks, knows what she’s talking about. She kindly offered a top ten list of advice to the All Saints community on how to navigate this crisis (Learning Together From Home). At the bottom of the page is a link to a more detailed post from Kathy about working from home. Both are helpful. Thanks Kathy!
We’re Online until May 4
If you did not read Kathy’s post, make sure you know where to find it because we have at least another month of this. (Click the All Saints Online: Updates and Messages button at the top of the school website.) Lubbock’s “stay at home” order was extended to the end of April, and Governor Abbott’s most recent declaration closes school until May 4, 2020. The All Saints Board of Trustees, which has been meeting frequently during this crisis, voted to continue with distance education until May 4.
I’d sincerely love to be back on campus for Cinco de Mayo, but truth be told, I’m not holding my breath. Projections from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) estimate that the peak hospital resource use for Texas will occur on May 6. It will then take some time for the cases to recede. Coronavirus will not last forever, but we’re in distance education mode for the time being. We will continue to keep a close watch on developments and adjust the timeline as needed.
Guidance on Distance Education
I would like to share with you some advice offered to teachers regarding the work ahead of us. According to Dr, Robin DeRosa, who serves as Director of the Open Learning and Teaching Collaborative at Plymouth State University, it takes about a year to develop a high quality online course. We do not have the luxury of a year. The guidance DeRosa provides teachers – which is good advice for all of us – is:
“We are not building online courses or converting …face to face courses to online learning. Really, what we’re doing is we are trying to extend a sense of care to our students and trying to build a community that’s going to be able to work together to get through the learning challenges that we have.”
Amen to that!
Care & Building Community
Last week I mentioned some of the things All Saints is doing to foster a sense of care and build community. We have daily chapel on Facebook Live on weekdays at 8:00am (The videos are uploaded to the online chapel page of the school’s website).
Chaplain Paige also is leading the charge on assistance to families. If you need help, if you can offer assistance, or if you have a prayer request, please click here to complete a short form. Chaplain Paige will make sure it gets to the right place.
This week you should have received a call or email from your child’s teacher, advisor, or counselor to see how things are going. Our goal is to make sure we are communicating and to provide your family any help we can.
Finally, we are adding information to the website and sharing items that we hope are of help, like Kathy Oaks’ advice mentioned above and the video on how to wash your hands. At 40 seconds, the handwashing video may be the best instructional video I’ve ever seen. If you have ideas to share, please send them to Cindy Taylor at email@example.com.
Getting Through Learning Challenges
From a teaching and learning perspective, our approach to distance education has been to get it started, get feedback, fix problems as fast as possible, and continue the feedback loop. We knew that the first set of challenges would be technology and logistics. We are making progress on those, mainly because you have been so helpful in providing feedback (see When Things Go Awry, below). The next set of challenges will be finding the right pace, improving the online experience for students, and continuing support for families.
When Things Go Awry
When we started distance education, we anticipated there would be difficulties. If you are having difficulties or are frustrated, please contact the teacher first. Most problems can be solved by the teacher. The next step is the Division Head or Dr. Carpenter, who is our Director of Instructional Technology. The faculty and staff directory can be found on the school’s website here.
When to Call?
Please keep track of the time when contacting teachers, especially if done by phone or text at night. Teachers, like everyone else, need family time and downtime. If it is nighttime and you have a burning question you need to get off your chest, please use email or wait until the morning.
Toilet Paper Art
I was searching for an art project we could do as a community, and I stumbled across an art installation made with toilet paper. It’s actually quite lovely, and I doubt it caused much of a stir eight years ago when the article was published. Just imagine trying to get the materials today…
I hope this letter finds your family healthy and well. I am writing to express my appreciation, share my perspective on the move to distance education, and update you on the school’s response to coronavirus.
First, I want to thank all of you who serve in the medical community. We know how important you are to society in normal times, but this pandemic has highlighted in sharp relief how dangerous your work can be. At a time when the rest of society is trying to avoid the coronavirus, you are doing the medical equivalent of running into a burning building to save lives. Thank you and bless you. Please know the All Saints community is here to support you as best we can.
I also want to acknowledge and thank our academic staff. We moved instruction online to keep the community safe, to continue our students’ education, and to offer children something familiar and consistent during these trying times. By taking this action, we asked teachers to turn on a dime. Distance education is very different from leading a classroom, and we are asking educators to “unlearn and relearn” their profession quickly. Teachers have to unlearn the skills, routines, and interactions that make them great in the classroom because these tactics will not work online. Teachers then have to relearn their craft by adjusting curriculum, instruction, and assessment so students can learn from afar. It’s difficult, and even more so at All Saints because our goal is not simply to keep kids busy. Our goal is to engage students intellectually. Fortunately, we are blessed to have a terrific staff who want to provide the best for our students. I am proud of our progress, and I also understand that we have plenty of learning and growth ahead of us. Please know that our teachers are putting in extra-long days and working diligently to learn and improve as fast as we can.
When Things Go Awry
We started slowly with distance education because we anticipated there would be difficulties. If you are having difficulties or are frustrated, please contact the teacher first. Most problems can be solved by the teacher. The next step is the Division Head or Dr. Carpenter, who is our Director of Instructional Technology.
The school’s Board of Trustees and Administration continue to meet regularly to monitor the situation, and we will continue to provide updates. As of now, our plans have not changed. All Saints launched distance education on March 26, and it will run until the beginning of Easter Break on April 10. We are prepared to continue with distance education after Easter if there still is a need for social distancing.
We also made the decision to cancel our May trips. It was not an easy decision to make – the trips are an important part of the All Saints experience and we delayed as long as possible – but it is the right decision. As you may know, we had explored a variety of options, including postponing the trips. Although experts have learned much about coronavirus in a short time, we still are at a stage where we cannot accurately predict how long it will last. Ultimately, we ran up against deadlines and needed to make a decision to be able to return money to families. We are working with companies to recoup funds. The coronavirus will eventually pass, and when it does, we would like to find a way to create unique experiences for those students who were unable to have their class trip.
Community in a Time of Social Distancing
I am not a fan of the term, social distancing. We need physical distance to stay safe, but we need social closeness to stay sane. Right now everyone is correctly focused on safety, which is the first step of the school’s plan for responding to coronavirus. The other parts of our plan include distance education and supporting the community.
The move to online instruction creates challenges for everyone – teachers, parents, and students – and we all are doing a terrific job of adapting. It’s a new adventure, but the shine of newness will wear off quickly. When it does, it will be the strength of the All Saints community – and how we help each other out during this crisis – that carries us through. To that end, we have started to roll out supports intended to help the community weather this storm.
Our teachers are working to create online opportunities for students to connect, like “online recess,” and our teachers were eager to see their students at the packet pick-up. Although everyone maintained a safe distance, it was clear from the faces of the students in the cars that they were excited to see their teachers. A teacher parade for the Lower School is scheduled, and we want to continue these opportunities. If you have ideas – for students or adults – please share with your child’s teacher, the Division Head, Chaplain Paige, or me. We want to support the entire All Saints community.
Please check out our online chapel. Chaplain Paige is conducting morning chapel via Facebook at 8:00 AM on Monday through Friday. It is a comfort for many to see a familiar face every morning and to continue a vital part of the All Saints day. You can borrow a Book of Common Prayer from the school or access it on the school’s website by clicking here (pdf). Thank you, Chaplain Paige, for your service to the community!
We also distributed an online form that is a catch-all for those who either need help or can offer help. The requests go to Chaplain Paige, who will then make sure the information gets to the right people. Click here to access the form.
We have had a busy couple of weeks preparing for the transition to distance education, and in a weird way, it’s a relief that we finally started. We have a good plan in place that keeps people safe, and we can now focus on the important work of education and community. This is not how I anticipated we’d be ending this school year, but I’m confident that it is an opportunity for the entire All Saints community to shine.
On March 19, 2020 Governor Abbott announced four Executive Orders intended to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (click here for press release and click here for the Executive Order). The wording of the order has raised questions from parents about what it means for All Saints. As you may recall, All Saints announced that we will continue educating children during the coronavirus pandemic by moving instruction online.
Our plans have not changed. All Saints is moving to distance education starting on Thursday, March 26.
What about the “schools shall temporarily close” part of Governor Abbott’s order? We confirmed with Laura Colangelo, Executive Director of Texas Private Schools Association, that online learning may occur during this time.
The part of Governor Abbott’s Executive Order that has to do with closing schools is Order No. 4. It reads, “In accordance with the Guidelines from the President and the CDC, schools shall temporarily close.”
The guidelines issued by the President can be found here. As can be found on page two of the President’s guidance, citizens are to “work or engage in schooling FROM HOME whenever possible.” The intent of the President’s guidance is to prevent the spread of coronavirus, not to stop education.
It certainly would be easier to extend Spring Break for several weeks, but the All Saints mission is to educate children. As long as we can ensure the safety of students and faculty, we are going to do all that we can to continue our important work with All Saints students. It may not be easy, but it’s the right thing to do.
As you probably know, the first cases of coronavirus have reached Lubbock. It’s not unexpected, but it is new terrain, which can be unsettling. Fortunately, West Texas is blessed to have a strong community, the support of our faith, and a roll-up-the-sleeves-and-get-to-work attitude. We will persevere and we will overcome this challenge.
We have two tasks ahead of us at All Saints. First and foremost, we need to keep our students and staff safe. Second, we need to continue our students’ education as best we can. To accomplish these tasks, the All Saints administration and Board of Trustees decided to implement our plan for moving classes to a distance education format. This plan calls for us to
Here’s the schedule for the upcoming week:
We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as needed. If the coronavirus pandemic passes and we can get back to traditional school before Easter, we will. If we need to extend beyond Easter, we will.
After-school activities and athletics also will be suspended until Easter. TAPPS, the organization under which All Saints competes for athletic, academic, and arts competitions, has canceled events through April 12. TAPPS is striving to move as many competitions online as possible, and we will keep families informed of the status of these events. We will conform with all TAPPS rules and guidance regarding distance education. Coach Brashear will reach out directly with more information.
Due to the rapidly changing conditions regarding COVID-19, the Board, administration, and trip sponsors continue to explore all options regarding the school trips in late April and May, including cancellation and postponement.
The intent of this email is to provide information that will help your planning. We will continue to provide more information via email in the coming days on what your child’s distance education will look like, and we will continue to post information on the school’s website as well.
Subject: Update on Coronavirus
As the All Saints community prepares for a well-deserved Spring Break, I am writing to provide an update on the school’s preparations and policies regarding coronavirus. Comprehensive information about coronavirus and COVID-19 can be found at the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.
Preparation & Contingency Planning
The school’s faculty, administration, and Board have been preparing the school for coronavirus. We have been diligently working to provide students the safest environment with the least amount of fear. To that end, and to ensure the continuity of our students’ education, All Saints has been following guidance published by the CDC and WHO, and we are in close contact with local authorities. A good resource from the CDC that captures what we have been doing at the school – and that provides guidance on how families, workplaces, and community and faith-based organizations can prepare – can be found here.
While the community spread of coronavirus in Lubbock has been “none to minimal” in CDC terms, we all know that coronavirus will come to Lubbock. In preparation, we have been honing the school’s contingency plans. We have been using guidance from Unicef/WHO (Key Messages and Actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools) and CDC (Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs) tailored to schools to inform our plans. All Saints’ contingency plans range from postponing and canceling events to closing school for a short time to an extended closure that requires moving instruction online.
Monitoring, Decisions, and Communication
All Saints’ administrative and Board leadership has been monitoring the situation closely and are meeting regularly. We will continue to do so over Spring Break.
We have no evidence that the virus is on campus, but the situation is fluid and can change rapidly. The school will make decisions on a week-by-week basis regarding suspending events and moving instruction online. We will provide regular weekly updates. (Please know that the administrative team is meeting daily, and we are prepared to make changes on a daily basis to ensure the safety of our students, staff, and families.)
The school is adding an information page to the All Saints website where you can find these updates and other information on the school’s response to coronavirus. A button on the school’s home page will direct you to the information page.
We will keep families apprised of postponements and cancellations by other groups that affect All Saints students.
WTCAA is the athletic conference for middle school. We have not received information yet, but we anticipate WTCAA will follow TAPPS. We will provide updates when we receive the information.
Field Trips, Travel, and Other Events
Our primary goal is to keep students safe. If we believe an event is not safe for students to attend, All Saints will not participate in the event. This includes field trips and student travel. We are preparing for the possibility that field trips and travel will be canceled. We are in close contact with our tour companies regarding local situations, canceling or rescheduling trips, and obtaining refunds. We will provide more information to families as soon as it becomes available.
Preparing for Distance Education
Like other schools and colleges across the country, we are working to ensure our students’ educations can continue even if students are at home for an extended period of time.
Dr. Carpenter and our Division Heads have been working with faculty to prepare for online instruction using technology that is age-appropriate. If your family does not have access to the internet or to a device (computer or tablet), please contact your Division Head. We have set aside specialized equipment needed by several high school classes.
Teachers and administrators have met with middle and high school students to ensure they are able to access the software tools that will be used for online classes. While we currently anticipate that classes will resume at the school on March 23, we want to make all the preparations that we can before everyone departs for Spring Break.
The schedules for distance education are not yet complete. If we do need to move instruction online, please know that the schedule of instruction will not be the same as the class schedule students follow at school.
Older students have been instructed to bring books, electronics, and personal items home with them in case the situation changes over Spring Break and we need to move to online learning.
If Your Child Feels Ill
Please keep him or her home, both for your child’s health and for that of other students. This is a long-standing school policy.
We have several members of the All Saints community and families who are at higher risk. These include people whose immune systems are compromised and cannot fight disease as well as others can, people older than 60 years of age, and people with underlying medical conditions. The threat to them is much higher.
You must keep your child home if he or she has a fever, which is a temperature of over 100 degrees. This is a long-standing school policy, and it is particularly important when it comes to coronavirus. If a child has a fever, parents will be notified to pick up the child immediately. To return to school, a child must be free of fever for at least 24 hours.
All Saints has systems in place for temporarily isolating ill children who may be contagious to prevent contact with others and maintain privacy as they wait for a parent to pick them up. (It’s not the front office.)
If your child has to miss school, please know that All Saints teachers will do all they can to keep your child up to speed, and they will offer grace in getting assignments turned in.
Reporting Suspected Coronavirus
School policy is that we inform a student’s parents of any suspected illness with their child. As mentioned above, we have parents pick up ill children and we have measures in place to temporarily isolate children who may be contagious with any viral illness.
Notification Procedure Regarding Coronavirus
Nurse Rozean has been working with the City of Lubbock Department of Health to ensure we are doing all that is expected regarding reporting cases in which the symptoms are consistent with coronavirus. We are to:
If there is a confirmed case of coronavirus at the school, we will follow all directives from state and local governments.
Spring Break Travel – Overseas
All Saints is following the example of Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and other universities regarding international travel. Members of these universities who visit countries with travel notifications are required to follow a 14-day self-quarantine.
If an immediate family member of an All Saints student travels to one of the individual countries listed on the travel notifications list for levels 2 and 3, the student and family members must remain off campus and away from school events for 14 days.
The CDC guidance for global travel can be found here. The list can change rapidly, and it is possible for the status to change in the middle of your travels.
Spring Break Travel – Domestic
There are several areas in the United States where coronavirus is being spread within the community. Events have been canceled, schools closed, and states of emergency declared. Many universities, including Texas Tech, are discouraging “non-essential, domestic university-sponsored” travel through March 31.
Many All Saints families have decided not to travel this break, especially if it meant spending time at airports or in airplanes. CDC guidance on domestic travel can be found here.
Cleaning & Prevention
The best way to prevent catching and spreading the coronavirus (and other respiratory diseases like influenza) is to avoid exposure. This is done by avoiding close contact with people who are ill, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, washing hands thoroughly, and keeping surfaces clean. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a webpage with other guidance that will help prevent the spread of coronavirus (click here).
As mentioned in a prior email, our cleaning protocol includes disinfecting surfaces, fogging the school, the distribution of disinfecting wipes and sprays to staff, and having plenty of soap and hand sanitizer available for use. The school will use Spring Break to do a deep cleaning of the school. The core product used to clean the school is Diversey Alpha-HP, which is a multi-surface disinfectant cleaner that is effective on human coronavirus (data sheet)
I know this is a long letter, but we want to provide as much information as possible. As mentioned above, we will post these updates and other information on the school’s website so you can access them easily.
I hope your family has a healthy, safe, and happy Spring Break.
February 27, 2020
Subject: Preparing for Coronavirus
As you are likely aware, on Tuesday, February 25, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) gave a press conference updating the country on the current status of the coronavirus (COVID-19), and what steps should be taken moving forward. We wanted to share with you some of the steps All Saints is taking to prevent the spread of illness across our campus and to plan for the possible spread of the coronavirus to West Texas.
Our approach includes three elements: prevention, vigilance, and intervention. Prevention starts with following the basics – those best practices in daily health that minimize the spread of infectious disease:
Although the coronavirus is spread mainly through the air via respiratory droplets (from sneezes or coughing), it also may be possible for the virus to be transmitted on surfaces contaminated by respiratory droplets. The school’s daily cleaning regimen includes the use of antimicrobial cleaners, and we are providing teachers with hospital-grade cleaning wipes, which are an upgrade from the household-grade wipes that most people recognize. Furthermore, All Saints is “fogged” periodically from the fall to the spring, a process that is done after hours with specialized chemicals to disinfect surfaces. The electrostatic sprayers used to fog the school ensure that all surfaces are treated, even under tables and other areas that are hard to access.
We are vigilantly tracking the situation. The CDC expects the coronavirus to spread in the United States. It is a matter of when, not if. Given how quickly things can change, we are closely monitoring new developments and will continue to reevaluate our steps and actions daily. All Saints will comply with directives from state and local governments, and we actively seek guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and local epidemiologists.
All Saints is prepared to intervene. The school has several class trips planned for the spring. As of now, all trips are moving forward as planned. We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis. If we need to cancel any school trips or events, we will. The All Saints administration team is taking steps to prepare for an extended closure of school should it come to pass. While we all hope and pray that such steps are not necessary, we plan for them.
I am particularly grateful for the strength and fortitude of the All Saints community, especially in times like these when working together is of paramount importance. Please continue to look for further communications from us on this matter.
Please respond using this form if you need help or if you are in a position to offer help to someone else. Forms will be submitted to Chaplain Paige who will then share with those who can best provide assistance.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” ~ Proverbs 3:27