Our BC families have made so many sacrifices and accommodations to send their sons to Benedictine, especially so during these past two months. It is in times like these that our students and their families need our support the most and we will continue to provide it to ensure that your son remains here at Benedictine.
To best provide for our students’ education and health, we are considering a number of options as we look not only to the close of this year but especially to the 2020-21 school year. As the summer moves on and further guidance is available through the CDC and governmental offices, we will refine our positions on these issues. Our top priorities are keeping our students safe and continuing their academic progress; regardless of the challenges that are presented.
Our small school size of just 400 students, combined with our mission’s focus on grades 9-12 in an all-male environment provides BC the unique ability to pivot and adjust in a swift manner. As we complete the current school year, we are grateful beyond words for the work of so many faculty and staff, and the understanding that you have shown as we launched our CARE for THE 400 (Cadets Accessing Remotely for Education) online learning program. Among the unsung heroes must be included Chef Vince Freyne and his SAGE Dining Services team; they have tirelessly been making lunches available to our students. This will continue through May 22.
We have established plans for Ring Day on May 8 and Graduation on May 17; two important Benedictine rites of passage that required much creativity and planning to preserve. The plans for these events are based on the advice from the CDC. Our Principal and Assistant Principal deserve much of the credit for their imagination and we hope their effort satisfies to a large extent both yours and our students’ wishes while still allowing us the possibility of gathering the Class of 2020 together over the summer.
Of critical importance at this time is the potential reoccurrence of COVID-19 in the fall. This letter is our response to that contingency. Please consider this a first installment regarding future plans as we come to better understand the nature of this situation. That said, we feel that some areas allow for a response to you, our stakeholders:
Sanitizing our academic and athletic facilities over the summer months.
Providing hand sanitizer in all classrooms and meeting spaces.
Wiping down desks between classes as well as sanitize each classroom at the end of the day. During this virus alert period, this will become a part of our classroom “sanitation protocol.” Should a student or faculty member report virus symptoms, we plan to establish a quarantine area at the far end of Alumni Hall. This area will serve as a convenient waiting space for the student as he awaits a ride home; his parents will be monitored by either our Athletic Trainer or a member of their staff.
Similarly, we will evaluate how best to adjust our practices to comply/assist with ongoing testing/screening of individuals.
Our small average class size of 16 and our large 90 acre campus allows us room for social distancing. We are considering possible alternative classroom environments to include a unique schedule to assist with social distancing and/or additional online instruction pending recommendation from the CDC, the Department of Education or the government.
We will await guidance from the CDC or the Governor’s office to determine at what point BC will need to move from traditional education to our CARE for THE 400 (Cadets Accessing Remotely for Education) online learning program. We will be prepared to continue our student’s academic progress.
In an interview from the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) this week, Executive Director Robin Hines said he is hopeful for a normal fall and to open summer activities at some level during the month of June. We will continue to follow their guidelines.
As with the case in the classrooms, every effort will be made to maintain the appropriate level of hygiene for the equipment, the locker rooms, weight room and athletic equipment as we resume athletic activities.
Due to the uncertainty of the situation, plans for summer camps are on hold. It is our desire to offer our summer camps if possible.
The Benedictine family is truly a community and we look forward to continuing to serve our students and families. As we work to prepare plans for the next school year, we welcome your input. The contingencies that we face are many and with your help, we will provide the best possible education, care and facilities for your son. These plans seek to minimize the impact of this virus on our school community.
Benedictine distinguishes itself as a school with a soul and it is times such as these that reveal that. These wise words from our Benedictine founder, Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, define our resolve and our faith, "Forward, always forward, everywhere forward! We must not be held back by debts, bad years or by difficulties of the times. Man's adversity is God's opportunity."