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Dear Madeleine Families,

Our fall schedule incorporates input from Diocesan leadership, peer principals, Madeleine faculty, and copious research. We are guided as always by our Dominican Pillars of Prayer, Study, Community, and Service. Our aim is to meet the spiritual, academic, social, emotional, and developmental needs of our students with a program that is flexible, consistent, and sustainable for our families.

The schedule establishes a rhythm and routine of alternating directed instruction, breaks, and personalized instruction throughout the day. Our focused student-to-teacher ratio (10 to 1) will allow valuable small-group and individual attention. Teachers and administration will be available able to respond and attend to student and parent needs.

Our next step will be to articulate individual grade-level schedules, prioritizing, in order:

“Tier I” skills in math, reading, and writing; “Tier II” content in religion, science, and social studies; and “Tier III” enrichment in art, music, Spanish, STEAM, and physical education. We are fortunate at the Madeleine to have the stability and resources to meet the challenges of a year full of uncertainties. Although some teachers will have adjusted hours, we are able to maintain our full faculty and program. We will be ready to host our students safely back on campus when permitted by health department guidelines.

A big “Thank You” to our Distance Learning Committee and Health, Safety, and Operations Committee for all of their continued hard work this summer!

When does school start?
The first day of school will be Monday, Aug 24. Monday the 24th and Tuesday the 25th will be “drive-through” supply pick-up days, similar to our end-of year drop-offs:

Monday, August 24: Grades 1-4 pick-up; Grades 5-8 online orientation

  • 9:00 AM: Grade 1 drive-through pick-up
    • 9:30 AM: Grade 2 drive-through pick-up
    • 10:00 AM: Grade 3 drive-through pick-up
    • 10:30 AM: Grade 4 drive-through pick-up

Tuesday, August 25: Grades 5-8 pick-up; Grades 1-4 online orientation

  • 9:00 AM: Grade 5 drive-through pick-up
  • 9:30 AM: Grade 6 drive-through pick-up
  • 10:00 AM: Grade 7 drive-through pick-up
  • 10:30 AM: Grade 8 drive-through pick-up

*Kindergarten families will have opportunities to schedule individual, socially-distanced meetings and tours with the Kindergarten teachers. Wednesday, August 26-Friday August 28

These first days of classes will focus on procedures, routines, and community building

When will students be allowed back on campus?
At this time, Alameda County has not provided a timeline for when or how students will be allowed to return to school campuses. We are in regular communication with local health authorities, and will abide by all guidelines and regulations. A realistic eventual first step might be for optional, short, outside, small-group, socially-distanced “visits” to campus for social-emotional activities. As new policies and opportunities develop, we will communicate them with families.

What will Distance Learning look like?
The attached “bell schedule” provides the outline of the day for students, with alternating balance of synchronous “directed learning”, and asynchronous
“personalize learning. Students will have a variety of whole-class, half-class, and small-group Zoom sessions throughout the week. Daily instruction in math and language arts skills will take first priority, with instruction multiple times per week in religion, science, and social studies, and weekly enrichment in art, music, Spanish, and PE.

What supplies will students receive?
All students will receive an updated iPad, with all needed applications, and remote management system administered by the school to allow updates and tech support. Students will also receive textbooks, and a school supply kit, complete with paper, pens, pencils, white board, clip board, and art supplies. We are planning weekly “pick-up/drop-off” of student materials and work, as permitted.

What digital platforms will students use?
Students in grades K-3 will use SeeSaw as a primary platform for instruction, and students in grades 4-8 will utilize Google Classroom. All students will use Zoom for video conferencing. Students will also have access to a wide variety of subscription online apps for skills practice and extension.

What is the balance of “live” and independent learning?
Our distance-learning schedule seeks a successful mix of “live” time with teachers, and independent practice and exploration. In a normal classroom setting, students have opportunities to interact, to share, and to work independently. The schedule provides flexibility for teachers to plan whole-class and small-group sessions to fit the needs of the students and curriculum. We will work as a faculty to review and adjust the learning program in response to student need and performance.

When will teachers be available?
Teachers will be available to students and parents through scheduled times during “personalized learning” sessions, during “office hours”, and via email (although not all hours of the day J) Parent-teacher conferences will be in October via Zoom.

When is back-to-school night?
We will hold “Zoom” back-to-school nights the second week of school:

  • K-2: Tuesday, September 1
  • 3-5: Wednesday, September 2
  • 6-8: Thursday, September 3

How will the school communicate with families?
We will send home a weekly newsletter from school administration. Teachers will send home weekly newsletters as well. SeeSaw and Google Classroom will be the main points of communication between teachers and students. SchoolSpeak will be the primary portal for parent information.

School Reopening Guidance Updates
In mid-July, the California Department of Public Health released a framework for re-opening schools for in-person instruction.  In-person reopening criteria included the following:

  • Schools and school districts may reopen for in-person instruction at any time if they are located in a local health jurisdiction (LHJ) that has not been on the county monitoring list within the prior 14 days. If the LHJ has been on the monitoring list within the last 14 days, the school must conduct distance learning only, until their LHJ has been off the monitoring list for at least 14 days.
  • Presence on the County Monitoring List is predicated on the following metrics:
    • Elevated disease transmission
    • Increasing hospitalization
    • Limited hospital capacity
  • A waiver of this criteria may be granted by the local health officer for elementary schools (TK-6) to open for in-person instruction. A waiver may only be granted if one is requested by the superintendent (or equivalent for charter or private schools), in consultation with labor, parent and community organizations. Local health officers must review local community epidemiological data, consider other public health interventions, and consult with CDPH when considering a waiver request.
  • Once reopened, CDPH recommends surveillance testing of staff to be implemented based on local disease trends.

Our local health jurisdiction (Alameda County) was placed on the state’s monitoring list on July 12,  and remains so, which means schools must not physically open for in-person instruction until the County has come off the Monitoring List for 14 consecutive days. Additionally, our County’s reopening was paused on June 29 due to our increase in hospitalizations and positive COVID-19 cases. While we are in this pause, the County is beginning to develop a waiver process and considerations for surveillance testing, which they will consider implementing when local indicators improve and in alignment with state guidance.

However, at this time, the County is not accepting any waivers to open elementary schools. While the State has provided broad criteria, ultimately, the decision to re-open schools is at the discretion of the County Health Officer. It has become clear from our weekly calls with the Alameda County Health Department and Alameda Office of Education that the level of community transmission is a key driver for reopening.

Recently released guidance is linked below:

MAD Health and Safety Updates

  • Our Health, Safety, and Operations Committee continues to meet to discuss recent state and local guidance and determine on-campus needs within the context of updated protocols from the Diocese.
  • We are refining plans for the use of outdoor spaces once students can return safely to campus.
  • We’ve assessed our cleaning and disinfecting procedures to ensure they comply with CDC current guidelines, and purchased appropriate PPE for staff and students. Staff disease prevention education and protocols have been shared for return to campus during distance learning.
  • We are preparing to install multi-handwashing stations to replace the existing water fountains outside the two entrances of the school building.
  • We have purchased and assembled movable plexiglass screens for each classroom to be used as additional protection when physical distancing cannot be maintained (i.e. conversations necessitating closer proximity between staff and/or students)
  • No-touch faucets have been ordered for bathrooms.
  • Hand sanitizer dispensers have been ordered for each classroom and for key areas throughout campus.
  • We are awaiting delivery of our electrostatic sprayer (Clorox Total360), which will enhance our cleaning and disinfecting efforts.

Thank you,
Rowena Tarantino, Health Chair