OMAHA, NE — Six area Catholic schools that belong to the Omaha Catholic School Consortium announced on Tuesday that they will be delaying the start of classes and also offering a remote learning option for students.
A spokesperson said the decision was made after consulting with parents.
The 6 schools in the consortium include Holy Cross, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette, Sts. Peter and Paul, St. Thomas More, and the Dual Language Academy. The schools teach pre-K and elementary school grades.
Classes were originally supposed to start on August 20th but will now start on August 31, and have a staggered schedule the first week of classes.
Below is a letter that was sent to parents from Board of Directors member Chris Nelson.
Dear Consortium Families
Thank you to all our families who completed the online survey regarding the possibility of adding a remote option for the start of the year. We had 825 families take the survey (72% of our school families) and 25% of those who responded had a definite interest, 25% wanted to consider it, and 50% wanted a full face-to-face return.
We are listening and want to accommodate and meet the needs of all of our families. Therefore, we plan to give families who choose it the option of remote learning. We are in the process of creating the expectations for that plan; there will be a specific daily timeline that will enable our teachers to meet the needs of both those who are learning face-to-face and those who are learning remotely.
As you can imagine, this addition will task our teachers with some additional responsibilities. We have planned some additional training to help them prepare for this change. Additionally, we plan to leverage our Consortium and have teachers work together to plan units of instruction that can be shared among schools (and then adapted to fit teacher’s individual preferences). This will take time and are critical to the success of this school year. We care about our teachers and want to ensure they feel confident and ready to begin the year. Therefore, we are going to delay the start of the school year.
We will start school the week of August 31. We will have a staggered start that week, with 1/3 of the students choosing face-to-face coming on Monday, 1/3 on Tuesday, and 1/3 on Wednesday. While they are there, they will focus on practicing the health measures, updated classroom and school expectations, and learn how to access online learning materials. It is quite possible we may have to move to a hybrid or remote learning option, and we want all students to be ready. Thursday will be a day set aside to meet with those who elect remote learning. Friday will be a day for teachers to assess what went well, determine what adjustments need to be made, and plan for the next week where all face-to-face students will attend each day.
We wanted to get this information to you so that you could plan for the change in date. We will communicate more this week about how to choose remote learning, the expectations we have for both, and the updated calendar. Please look for communication to come later this week with those details.
Thank you for your ongoing support of the Consortium.