Reopening Plan: In-Person 4 Days per Week
Beginning November 2, 2020, students currently engaging in the hybrid model will begin attending in-person classes 4 days per week. The four days will typically be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Wednesday will be an asynchronous distance learning day. It will also provide students with the opportunity to engage teachers individually in the virtual setting. During 4-day weeks, in-person classes will meet on each of the 4 days.
Students may also choose a full distance learning model. These students will attend classes with their in-person classmates each day using Google Meet. On Wednesdays, they will meet with each of their teachers synchronously, following an 8-period schedule of 30 minute classes. Distance learning students will be expected to attend all classes. Attendance will be taken and disciplinary consequences applied after 5 unexcused absences or tardies.Families may choose either of these learning models beginning on November 2 regardless of the choice made at the start of the semester. To change from one model to another, please contact your counselor before Thursday, October 29. Students can move from the in-person model to the distance learning model at any time; however, students choosing distance learning are committing to using that model through the end of the first semester.
View the complete plan here:
Email to Parents in Regards to Re-Opening
Communicated on 10/09/2020
Dear Ursuline Parents,
Since last March when we scrambled to create a distance learning plan, through this summer when we more thoughtfully created a hybrid learning plan, we have been faced with uncertainty and rapid change. Based on the opinions of healthcare experts and our own, regular assessment of the situation, our goal has always been to provide your daughters with a safe, high-quality learning experience paired with strong co-curricular and spiritual formation.
With the same goals in mind, the situation in our community now seems to make possible additional in-person class time for our students, so I am writing to let you know that we have begun to create a plan that will allow all of our students to engage in in-person learning 4 days per week with a fifth virtual day each week. When this plan is put into place, we will drop our current hybrid model while still allowing families to choose full distance learning if they prefer it. Our goal is to begin using this new model on Monday, November 2.
A number of factors have led to this decision including input from our faculty, students, parents, and the doctors we have been working with as well as the experience of other area schools who have safely had all of their students in their classrooms.
It was no surprise that the results of the parent and student surveys I sent out last week indicated both a strong preference for in-person learning and a recognition of the difficulty of distance learning for many students. This corresponds with conversations I have had with teachers, members of our care team, parents and students and affirms the importance of in-person learning.
We have also received recent data indicating that the schools which have been engaging in in-person learning with their full student populations have had few issues with virus transmission or quarantine based on student or co-worker exposure. As a result, many other schools are also moving to more in-person learning.
Moreover, the doctors we have been working with through the Independent Schools of St. Louis and those on our own safety committee have just recently told us that with the proper protocols in place there is no greater risk of virus transmission among students when desks are placed anywhere between 3-6 feet apart from one another than at the 6-foot distance which we have been using, and that with proper mitigation protocols in place, schools are not a major source of virus transmission. They tend to agree with the American Academy of Pediatrics which places a high value on getting students back to in-person learning for the academic and social/emotional benefits schools offer students.
None of this is a concession to a lower standard of safety for students or teachers; rather, we are now more certain that we can maintain a safe environment while providing our students the benefits that come with in-person learning. In fact, the safety protocols we have in place will remain in place, including social distancing, masking, controlled movement in hallways and stairwells and regular cleaning and sanitizing.
It is also important to understand that if it becomes necessary, based on our own situation or the situation in our community, we may still have to move back to a more restrictive environment or make adjustments as we move forward.
That being said, our ability to keep students on campus depends heavily on our partnership with you. It is important that you continue to regularly screen your daughters in order to keep symptomatic students at home; practice mitigation strategies such as social distancing, masking, and good hygiene habits while away from UA; and forgo social gatherings of students outside of school. Engaging in these strategies significantly reduces the risk that we will have to return to some form of distance learning.
We also recognize that the unprecedented changes that you and your daughters have had to live through during this pandemic have been stressful and that even a return to school might cause additional stress or anxiety. In response, we will put supports in place to help with this transition.
Finally, we are still creating a detailed plan for our November 2 return of students to more in-person learning and will continue to communicate the details of this planning as it progresses. We may also call on some of you for help getting the building ready for this change. For example, I may call on the Father’s Club to help move desks and other furniture on the weekend prior to your daughters’ return.
When we began this school year, we talked a lot about flexibility and the almost certain chance that things would change as the year progressed. Well, here we go. Thank you for your patience and your continued communication during these trying times.
Mark Michalski, Ph.D.
Return to School Plan 20-21
Previously in effect from Aug. 1, 2020 - Nov. 1, 2020
In planning for Ursuline Academy’s 2020-2021 school year, our reopening committee focused on three central concerns: the safety of students and co-workers, the delivery of a high quality education and the opportunity for students to participate in programs and activities outside of the classroom that enrich their educational experience. Though the situation in St. Louis remains fluid, which will require the need for flexibility or change during the school year, we are moving forward with the following plan to reopen Ursuline Academy in August.
Previously in effect from Aug. 1, 2020 - Nov. 1, 2020
Bear Day Synchronous for Full Time Distance Model
Protocols and Guidelines Followed in Regards to Possible Cases
F.A.Q.s and Answers
Updated on 8/6/2020 3:15 p.m.
The hybrid model will allow for two full days on-campus and three full days at home.
If you are selecting the hybrid model, no additional registration is needed. Only those selecting the full distance model will need to fill out the form by August 5th. At any time during the semester, you can choose to switch from the hybrid model to the distance learning model. If you make this choice, you will be choosing it for the remainder of the first semester. Because of classroom assignments and other facility concerns, students may not move from the distance learning model to the hybrid model.
Distance learning done well can be an effective method of teaching and learning. The combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning allows the introduction of new material and the practice and support necessary for effective learning. For students engaged in our hybrid model, the same applies. Though we prefer in-person instruction, under the circumstances, both the distance and hybrid models we are proposing can serve as effective means of teaching and learning.
All of our students, distance learning and hybrid, will have access to our learning consultants and counselors either virtually or in person. Students who have a diagnosed learning difference will receive a learning plan prepared by one of our learning consultants. This learning plan will help guide teachers in both distance and in-person learning.
Distance learning will look a little different this semester than it did during the 4th quarter of the last school year. Since asynchronous learning time is already established on Wednesdays for hybrid students and on the two non-synchronous days for distance learning students, all synchronous classes will meet as scheduled. In some situations for non-traditional courses (PE, Arts, etc.) more time may be given to asynchronous learning.
Distance learning begins for those who have chosen the full distance learning model on August 26. The first distance learning for hybrid model students is on August 27.
The Freshmen/Sophomore cohort will typically meet in person on Mondays and Tuesdays and the Juniors and Seniors on Thursdays and Fridays. This allows us to teach new content twice a week for each cohort rather than having to repeat classes. For families with a student in each cohort, particularly if the older student drives the younger, the older student may attend school on her synchronous learning days and complete her synchronous learning in a supervised classroom at Ursuline.
Teachers will provide students engaged in the hybrid model with work to be done outside of the classroom on Wednesdays. Teachers will meet synchronously with their full distance learning students on Wednesdays.
The Ursuline Athletic Department remains in communication with MSHSAA as they make a determination for fall sports in St. Louis County. As soon as more information is available, we will make it known to parents and students. As of 7/31/20 fall sports tryouts are scheduled to begin on August 10.
The plan is that Viaggio Days will take place in-person on campus on August 13th & 14th from 8:30AM-3PM each day. Students will be asked to bring a sack lunch. Students will be in smaller groups and socially distant. Topics that will be covered include: Student Planners, Schedules, Clubs & Organizations, House System, Advisements, COVID-19 Safety Guidelines, Uniforms, Tour of Campus & Class Search. Full details will be sent to Freshmen families when they become available.
Ursuline is extremely committed to continuing to build community spirit among all of our students. Students will be participating in the Big Sis/Lil Sis program, Advisement and House activities as well as Campus Ministry programming. The Ursuline experience outside of the classroom remains a priority and teams are working to re-imagine how engagement will look in the hybrid and full distance learning models.
Class meetings will be live-streamed. Our hope is that those involved in the hybrid model will attend in person and that distance learning students will either attend in person or view the meeting on live-stream.
Yes, students will be encouraged to get involved in clubs and organizations that are new to them. We will provide them specific information on this process at the start of the school year.
Yes community day will not take place this year. We will be introducing the house system and engaging students during the co-curricular period each day. This structure was designed to be able to continue to provide a strong sense of community.
Our photo vendor, Lifetouch, will schedule a retake day in early fall. On that day students that chose the full distance learning model will have the opportunity to come to school for their photo to be taken. Lifetouch will be disinfecting the photo area during the day.
Although the 20/21 school year may look a little different, all of the educational offerings and resources that Ursuline has traditionally prided ourselves in providing will continue to be available to students. We are committed to delivering learning consultant services, club activities, faith formation, etc. to our students in a new way. Reimagining these services along with enhancing technology to maintain high level service and additional cleaning to assure a safe environment will provide budgeting increases. As the learning continues so too will the need for the full price of tuition. Whether enrolled in the hybrid or full distance learning model, we are committing the full resources of our full faculty and staff to plan, create and deliver the quality education you have come to expect from Ursuline Academy.
For those families paying monthly, billing will be adjusted in the September billing period. All others will have a credit applied to their Smart Tuition account. If the adjustment results in a credit balance that balance can be used to offset incidental charges that occur throughout the year or we can process a refund if requested.
Families who choose the full distance learning model will not be charged for the all-inclusive lunch program.
Those families with balances remaining on myschoolbucks accounts from last year will have three options. 1) Donate the balance to UA. 2) Transfer the balance to your Smart Tuition account. 3) Request a refund check. More information on selecting one of these options will be sent out in the near future.
We have allocated our financial aid for the 2020-2021 school year. We suggest that anyone that is now in a position of needing aid should go ahead and apply on the UA website. Instructions can be found at https://www.ursulinestl.org/finance/. There is a possibility that additional aid may become available as the year progresses. Please reach out to Chris Jones, Director of Finance with any questions.
Yes, the parking fee will be waived for the 20/21 school year. All smart tuition accounts will be adjusted in September.
Our safety committee includes two physicians from WashU/BJC who are working with other organizations such as BJC, the Independent Schools of St. Louis and the Archdiocese of St. Louis to provide specific answers to these questions. We will continue to use their advice along with the recommendations of the CDC and St. Louis County Health Department to make these decisions.
We are using larger campus spaces such as the auditorium and Board Room to house larger classes. All classrooms will have occupancy limits based on the CDCs recommendation of 6-foot social distancing.
The lunch line will be socially distanced and supervised. Students will eat in classroom spaces with socially distanced seating and supervision or in outside areas where social distancing will be required and supervision provided.
Face shields may be worn by students but only with a mask. If your daughter has a medical reason for not being able to wear a face covering, please contact her counselor.
Students will be allowed to bring backpacks into classrooms, and only 4 classes meet each day. Our hope is that they will be able to carry their resources with them.
We will have normal parking on the lot but will encourage students to social distance when arriving and leaving including providing parking lot supervision.
Due to the lack of social distancing among families in a carpool, we discourage carpools. However, we leave that decision to parents as we understand carpools may be a necessity for some.
Yes, students' names or initials will be allowed on face masks.
On days when students are scheduled for in-person learning, students will have access to designated areas of campus beginning at 6:30AM
No, masks with valves on the sides are not allowed.
Your daughter was sent an email with a link unique to each student. Please refer to your student email for the link to the form that must be filled in each day prior to arriving on campus.
As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, Ursuline Academy will stay connected to our community. Please let us know what questions you have about reopening and we will do our best to share answers on our website, in future communications, or direct responses as needed.
Service Hour Requirement Change for the Classes of 2021, 2022 and 2023
The service hour graduation requirement has been adjusted to 100 hours for the class of 2021 and 110 hours for the classes of 2022 and 2023 due to the circumstances surrounding Covid-19. The 100 hour total for the class of 2021 reflects a change in the number of junior service hours from 60 to 50 hours and a change in the individual commitment from 60 to 50 hours. The 110 hours for the classes of 2022 and 2023 reflects a change in the individual commitment from 60 to 50 hours. Our motto of “serviam” has not changed and our gospel call to serve is needed now more than ever. We need to be “creative and bold” as St. Angela would say as we respond to the current needs of our world. We are researching additional virtual service opportunities and will continue to post on the Google document provided as well as in Google classroom. If you are aware of additional opportunities we would be grateful if you shared them with Mrs. Weston. In-person opportunities are available based on the comfort level of parents and students and you are welcome to volunteer in these settings. Local food pantries are in desperate need of assistance.
Live-Tutoring Available Through St. Louis County Library
Tutor.com connects students in grades K-12 with live tutors in a safe and secure online classroom. Students can access academic tutoring, homework help and test prep assistance. Resources are also available for early college students, adult learners and job seekers. Anyone with a valid St. Louis County Library card can use tutor.com. Visit www.slcl.org/tutor to learn more.
Teacher and Staff Resources
We invite you to support businesses owned by our Ursuline alumnae, parents and other members of our UA community.
Please click below to view some of our local connections and places you can support!