Sunday Evening News 11.22.2020
November 22, 2020
SUNDAY EVENING NEWS
“Joy springs from a grateful heart …
Are we good at counting our blessings, or have we forgotten them?
Let us pray in thanksgiving to God:
Father in Heaven, Creator of all and source of all goodness and love, please look kindly upon us and receive our heartfelt gratitude in this time of giving thanks.
Thank you for the graces and blessings you have bestowed upon us, spiritual and temporal: our faith and religious heritage, our food and shelter, our health, the love we have for one another, our family and friends.
Dear Father, in your infinite generosity, please grant us continued graces and blessings throughout the coming year.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Fr. Glen, Chaplain
Peace and Greetings:
Trust this finds your family well but be assured to those families in our St. Paul community who are suffering from the ill effects of COVID-19 that you are in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy and full recovery.
As you know, this past week we had an internal member of our school community test positive for COVID- 19 resulting in many students and faculty members being required to quarantine by the Bristol-Burlington Health District (BBHD). We have been extremely fortunate the first two+ months of this school year but understand that this virus does not discriminate, celebrate holidays, or even care if you feel you’ve gone long enough making sacrifices. Indeed, over time, we may experience other positive cases. If and when that happens, we will be ready to respond appropriately as we did this past week.
Let me briefly clarify St. Paul’s COVID-19 protocol as required by the BBHD when addressing each quarantine situation on a case by case basis. When an internal member of our school community tests positive for COVID-19, each “in-person” class at St. Paul is considered a cohort by the BBHD and therefore requires the cohort (i.e. students and teacher) in the affected person’s classes to quarantine. Each student/family and teacher are notified of the situation directly by St. Paul and/or BBHD.
If the affected individual is involved in co-curricular activities at St. Paul, those members may be considered “close contacts” and may also be required to quarantine depending on the last date of exposure. Community activities not affiliated with St. Paul may likewise result in a student/teacher being identified as a “close contact,” thus also requiring them to quarantine from school. We have had those situations this fall including this past week.
The BBHD will investigate every case and determine the quarantine period based upon the last date of exposure. The BBHD will notify the family of the effective precautionary measures and indicate the date a student/teacher may return to St. Paul assuming they are not experiencing any symptoms.
When quarantined the BBHD requires individuals to stay home and separate from others, especially from those who are at high risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, nor participate in any events or activities until their quarantine period is over.
Per our Daily Morning Health Self-Assessment, which is required to be completed by every student, faculty and staff member before arriving at school, if you, a family member or a “close contact” test positive for COVID-19 you MUST stay home from school and notify the St. Paul health room/BBHD immediately.
For your convenience, I’ve attached with this edition of the Sunday Evening News the BBHD Protocols revised on November 6, 2020 as an informative guide for your family when wondering what to do depending on specific circumstances.
From the beginning of the 2020 – 2021 academic year, our top priority or guiding principle has been the health and safety of our entire school community with any instructional decisions made during COVID-19 based upon the available public health data, while safeguarding the importance of access to in-person schooling for our students’ education, social-emotional and physical well-being.
As I reported last Sunday, Governor Lamont, the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Department of Public Health (DPH) and Archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization & Catechesis (OEEC) stated that the mitigation strategies (i.e. daily health assessment, masks, social distancing, sanitizing, hygiene, ventilation, etc.) being implemented in our schools are working, despite the increase of COVID-19 cases in our state and region.
We are aware that some of the school districts in the state have decided to transition to fully remote learning either for a few weeks or into January. However, every school district is different with respect to size, staffing, resources, etc. Many of the reported school closures are a result of staffing issues not public health concerns. Our situation as a sole Archdiocesan high school is much different than a larger K-12 public school district although if we had simultaneous positive cases, the quarantine requirements would similarly put a significant strain on our staffing resources too.
I remain in constant communication/consultation with members of the BBHD regarding COVID-19 matters. I speak daily with Liz McGuire, BSN, RN, CPN, our public health nurse and Ann Marie Pahl, school health aide and frequently with Catherine Plourde, BSN, RN, school health service coordinator and member of the St. Paul Return to In-Person Instruction Team (RIIT) and Marco Palmeri, MPH, RS, director of health.
While it’s a fluid situation in the community, we recognize the dynamics of our school (i.e. size, age group, resources and mitigating strategies and practices, etc.) and will continue to make health data driven decisions that are in the best interest of St. Paul at any given time. To that end, I spoke with Mr. Palmeri late Friday afternoon and he emphatically confirmed, “we should stay in school.”
This is consistent with Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, who last Thursday stated that “The infections that we’ve identified in schools when they have been evaluated were not acquired in schools, they were actually acquired in the community and household … The truth is for kids K-12, one of the safest places can be, from our perspective, is to remain in school.” That sentiment is echoed by the BBHD.
That said, with this virus there are no guarantees thus making the decision for parents/guardians whether to send your child(ren) to school or not strictly a personal choice. We absolutely understand individual family’s health concerns, living arrangements for elderly family members, or personal beliefs. We also respect students feeling uncomfortable or anxious learning in-person at times during this pandemic.
This is exactly why we modified our school policy recently allowing students to request permission to transition between in-person and remote learning and revert back at any time during this academic quarter by simply having their parent/guardian email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help us maintain a smooth logistical process throughout the marking period.
If and when any decision necessitates fully transitioning to remote learning it would be made in consultation with the BBHD and the Archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization & Catechist (OEEC). I can assure you St. Paul’s administration and faculty will be ready to make that transition without missing an educational beat should that be necessary. However, we believe that time is not now.
As previously indicated, St. Paul will be temporarily remote learning tomorrow, Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24 as a result of accommodating our Dining Hall HVAC expansion project. This week, Air Temp Services will be increasing the existing ductwork in the Dining Hall to allow for greater conditioned fresh air to be supplied to the lower level of the school and will install in mid-December a new outside condenser to provide air-conditioning to this assembly area for later this spring. Students and faculty will return to campus for in-person learning (or opting for remote learning) on Monday, November 30.
As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and the risk of spreading COVID-19 becomes more prevalent, I strongly encourage our St. Paul community to practice safe measures as recommended by the State of Connecticut (i.e. no nonessential travel, no indoor gatherings of 10 or more people, etc.) and comply with the applicable travel advisory requirements.
If you are traveling to a state on Connecticut’s advisory list for Thanksgiving, students, faculty and staff must quarantine for 14 days or get a COVID-19 test within 72 hours of returning home.
IT TAKES ALL OF US! Let’s be diligent, trustworthy, compassionate, responsible and remain optimistic in the face of this uncertainty. This will be a very different Thanksgiving … but we still have many blessings to be grateful for or have we forgotten them? #bethelight #spstrong
Week of November 23 – 27
We will be following this week our published Reopening Plan – Fall 2020 document for remote learning. Tomorrow, Monday, November 23 and Tuesday, November 24 all classes will meet virtually for 30 minutes with 15 minutes scheduled between classes. Lunch will be 12:15 – 12:45 pm for everyone. There will be no classes November 25 – 27 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Students will return to campus for in-person learning (or alternative remote option) on Monday, November 30 (Day 1).
Maintain positive daily habits for a healthy mind. Consistent with our dress code policy this year, a reminder that students are expected to be in uniform when remote learning. Wake up, make your bed and get dressed to go to school. Find yourself a quiet and appropriate location in your home (i.e. not on your bed), get to class on time and be sure your teacher can see your face on the Zoom screen. Thanks!
Thanks to our student and faculty private tour guides involved in our Open House yesterday. We had another 38 prospective families visit St. Paul. The next Placement Exam is Saturday, December 12 at 8:00 am. We appreciate your partnership in promoting St. Paul Catholic High School to your family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.
Don’t forget while we are remote this week you can still schedule an appointment to see your School Counselor via Zoom!
Mrs. Mancini’s appointment link for students: http://MRSMANCINI.ClickBook.net
Mrs. Glynn’s appointment link for students: https://mrsglynn.clickbook.net/sub/mrsglynn#.X0_amnlKjIV
Congratulations go out to Delaney Jordan who was accepted to Keene State University and Cassandra Palumbo who was accepted to University of St. Joseph. Seniors share your college acceptances with the School Counseling Department.
ATHLETIC NEWS COLLEGE SIGNINGS
Connor Matthews – Lacrosse Greta Panke – Lacrosse Salve Regina University Connecticut College
Newport, RI New London, CT
CONGRATULATIONS! Mr. Dennehy will be scheduling additional Class of 2021 student-athlete college photo-ops after Thanksgiving break.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our fall season student athletes. Thank you for your dedication and commitment and for how well you represented St. Paul Catholic High School on the field, track, court and in the pool. Go Falcons!
NVL FALL SEASON AWARDS
Boys Cross Country – NVL Iron Division Champions
Boys Cross Country – NVL Iron All Division Team: James Melvin, Colin Reilly and Alek Rencurrel Girls Cross Country – NVL Iron Division Champions
Girls Cross Country – NVL Iron All Division Team: Erin Downes, Charlotte Jennings and Liz Speaker Boys Soccer – NVL Iron All Division Team: Danny Bond
Girls Soccer – NVL Iron All Division Team: Reagan Davis, Sophia Gerst and Nina Zwolinski Volleyball – NVL Iron All Division Team: Greta Panke
Girls Swimming – NVL North All Division Team: Amelia Badzioch, Bryndle Kroll, Abigail MacAllister, Adrianna Raymond and Ainsley Tolland.
Girls Swimming – Meegan Martin Sportsmanship Award: Amelia Badzioch
WINTER SPORTS UPDATE – Mr. Dennehy
If you have not already done so, please fill out all on-line forms for the winter sport you plan to participate in and make sure your physical is up to date and turned into the school health office.
As most of you know the CIAC has set a new start date of January 19, 2021 for winter sports. Access here the link with the CIAC official press release – http://ciacsports.com/site/?p=14942.
Hopefully this delay to the season allows schools time to work through some of the challenges we are currently facing and puts us all of us in a better position to safely get our winter athletic season underway. I ask that our student athletes do their part to ensure that a winter season is a reality by following all COVID- 19 social distancing guidelines and recommendations. Also, for your own health and mental well-being keep yourselves active by creating programs and schedules for working out and staying in shape. Winter coaches will be reaching out to their student-athletes and Coach Joe will be creating winter workout programs to assist you in this process until we can get back in action.
ST. PAUL SWORD
Read this week’s update of the student newspaper at: https://stpaulsword.weebly.com/. Reference is made to an informative editorial written by Sammi Bray, “Living with Anxiety: An Interview with a Local Therapist.” Other recent articles include: Football and Cheerleading Senior Night by Liz Speaker, Joe Biden Elected 46th President of the United States by Nicholas Couillard, SPCHS Club Spotlights: Mission Club by Brianna Wood and Fall NVL Divisional Playoff Cancelled by Lana Marie David.
EAGLE SCOUT PROJECT
THANK YOU to Joseph Conroy ‘22 who recently completed his Eagle Scout project by constructing an impressive sand/salt box for the St. Paul campus. Mr. Sheedy will put that to good use this winter in keeping our parking lot and sidewalks safe.
THE SPIRIT OF THE FRANCISCAN CHRISTMAS FAIR (November 21 – December 20, 2020)
This year, because of the pandemic, the Franciscan Christmas Fair, benefitting the Franciscan Life Center and Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care will be online. We invite you to join us for The Spirit of the Franciscan Christmas Fair November 21 – December 20, 2020. We will share the spirit of Christmas with you through our Living Crèche, selling fair items online including Christmas trees, wreaths, centerpieces, pottery, handmade miniature reindeer, handmade candles, Merry Miscellaneous items, Holy Land pieces and more. There is a Basket Raffle and Santa and Mrs. Claus will be live from the North Pole. Please join us in supporting The Spirit of the Franciscan Christmas Fair by visiting franciscanchristmasfair.org.
LIGHT UP ST. PAUL
Friday, December 4 at 6:30 pm – Virtual Light Up St. Paul
Visit www.spchs.com/lightupstpaul for details.
This year our special Light Up St. Paul Advent Prayer Service and candle lighting ceremony will be live streamed to keep everyone safe! St. Paul students and faculty will begin the celebration of Advent with readings and music bringing the wonder and joy of Christmas into your home!
You have the opportunity to support St. Paul and honor your loved ones present or past by purchasing a votive candle which will be lit and adorn our beautiful chapel in hundreds of lights! For each votive candle purchased, you will be able to write a special message to be placed in our Digital Program Book which will be available on our website on December 4.
Purchase a fresh balsam wreath from Gozzi Family Fresh Greens! Wreaths are 22″ in diameter and include a red bow. Wreaths are available for curbside pick-up near the St. Paul Annex on Thursday, December 3 and Friday, December 4th from 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm. Proceeds from the wreath sale will go to the St. Paul Scholarship fund.
Order Your Votive Candles and Wreaths here by December 2, 2020
IN THE LIGHT OF RESURRECTION – Sr. Marie Benedict FSE
Class of 2020 Memorial Quilt Marian Garden
The Class of 2021 began the month of November with the privilege of representing our SP student body at the annual Remembrance Mass on All Souls’ Day, November 2, praying for the members of our St. Paul community who have passed from earthly life into eternal life. During that first week of November, seniors also experienced planting marigold (“Mary’s gold”) seeds in our Marian Garden (Eagle Scout project of Liam Norton, SP 2018), where our statue of Mary is in memory of former St. Paul administrator Sharon Mielcarz, whose husband joined us for the Remembrance Mass. Remote learners received seeds in the mail to participate from home. In burying the seeds and awaiting their emergence in the spring, we see a sign of Christ’s invitation to share in His Resurrection.
In this context of prayer for those who have died, seniors have also begun drafting designs for their quilt squares, to become part of the Class of 2021 memorial quilt, a visible celebration of and way of prayer for our deceased loved ones. Persevering through the challenges of last year’s distance learning experience, the Class of 2020 quilt now hangs outside our Rev.Edmund O’Brien Chapel. Class of 2021 parents have offered assistance to complete this year’s quilt. We trust God’s providence as we continue to work together through new circumstances!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY (November 23 – 29)
Happy Birthday wishes go to: Carina Fiscella and Mr. Longmore.
FINAL WORD THANKSGIVING DAY GRACE
This is a day for thanks.
A day in which we see or hear or feel
the wonders of the other moments of the year.
This is the day for time.
A day in which we think of pasts and make our present rich
and future bountiful.
This is a day for joy.
A day in which we share the gift of laughter warm and gentle
as a smile.
Above all, this is a day of peace.
So let us
care for each other
and know that we are one.
For these and other blessings, we thank thee, God.
IT TAKES ALL OF US!
Stay well … take care of yourself and take care of each. Happy Thanksgiving!
St. Paul, pray for us!
Cary M. Dupont ‘72 President/Chief Administrator