School Re-Opening Information

Dear St. Cecilia Community,

 

My apologies in advance for the long email. I hope and praythis finds you safe with your loved ones. This has been a truly catastrophic event for so many of us in and around Houston. We have many community members – faculty, staff, parents and students who have been impacted.  Many of our school family have experienced significant water damage to their homes and we have many more who are volunteering their time, support, and resources to help our community recover and rebuild.  My prayers go out to each and every one of you.

 

As the sun comes out and, in most places, the water begins to recede, we are already busy planning how to move forward as a community. While my heart aches for our community members who are displaced and/or whose homes have flooded, I also know one of the best things we can do to support all of our families is to reestablish a sense of normalcy as quickly and to the greatest extent possible. To that end, we will reopen campus and all campus activities on Wednesday, September 6.

 

For this to happen, a number of things need to take place and considerations need to be made:

 

1. Our facilities need to be in working order.

I am happy to report our school sustained very minimal damage during the hurricane and subsequent flooding. Aside from a handful of ceiling tiles needing to be replaced and a bit of water damage in the library, I have seen virtually no sign that any water at all entered our classrooms.

 

2. Our teachers need to be able to be here for our students.

As I mentioned above, unfortunately, many of our teachers have been displaced from their homes. We have communicated with almost all of our teachers regarding their living situation. In the event that teachers are unable to report to work on September 6, we will look at the possibility of securing a substitute for those teachers. In the unlikely event that we cannot hire a substitute, we will consider how best to cover those teachers’ classes with our existing staff.

 

3. Family considerations

As stated above, and as you likely know, many of our St. Cecilia families are also displaced and have experienced significant loss. As such, there are a number of considerations we have agreed upon once classes resume:

  • No uniforms are required until further notice. Students will be allowed to have “free dress.” This will apply to all students. I simply ask families and students to use discretion when choosing what to wear for school and to consider our appropriate dress expectations to the extent possible.
  • Used and discounted uniforms. Over the next few weeks, we will work to ensure used and discounted uniforms are available for students who do not have access to their uniforms, or have lost their uniforms due to flood.
  • All absences will be excused. We hope and expect students will be in school because learning is compromised when students are absent and it will establish normalcy in our students lives as quickly as possible.  That said, if students are absent due to hurricane/flooding related displacement from home, they will be allowed to make up any work missed.
  • Modified Schedule. We will run a modified schedule, Mass schedule, for the first three days. We will have an extended homeroom period to give students an opportunity to overcome the challenges we have all been experiencing as well as reestablish our classroom procedures and routines. Furthermore, this allows for our families on the south side of Buffalo Bayou to deal with the possible extended commute.
  • Meal support. We are currently working with ECI and other organizations to support our families most affected by the storm with free or reduced cost meals. Details of this will follow.
  • Emotional support. Our Counselors, Rachel Nuñez and Tori Hicks have already been working to establish resources and talking points for teachers, as well as for our families. These talking points have been created to help our students understand and cope with their emotions and this terrible tragedy we are living through. They will also likely cancel the scheduled guidance sessions and replace them with topic support sessions for all who need them. For more information regarding how to talk to your children during these difficult times click here.
  • School supplies. For many of our families, it is quite possible that backpacks, binders, textbooks, and school supplies were all left at home, or ruined, in the flood. Our teachers will be extra sympathetic, understanding and flexible with school supplies as we return to normalcy. We will also have a school supply drive for those students affected during next couple of weeks.

 

In closing, I pray the outpouring of generosity and teamwork we have experienced here in Houston over the last week will carry over into the walls of St. Cecilia Catholic School. As we work to move on from the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, let us come together as a community like never before. Let us come together in support of each other. Let us come together in support of our families and students. Let us come together to let our light shine, and to make St. Cecilia the school our children deserve.

 

I look forward to seeing you all on Wednesday. Until then, please let me know if there is anything I or the school community can do to support you or your family.

 

Warm regards and blessings,

 

+Jeff
832-349-6529
#LetYourLightShine
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