Bishop Guertin CORONAVIRUS Information
This morning, the Nashua Telegraph indicated that Governor Sununu had extended the State of Emergency by 21 days. This caused question as to whether BG and other schools would now be closed until late May. The answer is NO, at this point.
Based on the Governor's website, the recent order extended the State of Emergency and other Executive Orders that had originally been set to expire on April 6. These particular orders were not directed at schools, but were focused on businesses and social gatherings.
Public schools are currently closed until May 4. Bishop Guertin is adhering to that guideline, at a minimum. Of course, this date is subject to further revisions as circumstances develop.
As we complete the third week of remote instruction, the Bishop Guertin community should feel a tremendous sense of pride in what we have achieved so far. Our faculty and staff, many of whom would have never sought to be online educators, have re-invented their instruction almost instantaneously and risen to this challenge. They've invested fully in being present to their students, even while they have had to care for their own families. Our students have been positive, cooperative, and proactive in their response. The student body is embracing its part in making this work. Cardinals understand that while many sacrifices are being made, they are necessary and beyond anyone's control. Parents have been trustful of our judgment regarding schedules, formats, and methods. It's been an inspiring time to be in the Nest.
Sometimes, the act of maintaining normalcy against adversity is heroism in itself. What's happening at Bishop Guertin can't compare to the physical and emotional risks being taken by our medical and responder heroes as COVID-19 comes closer to home. However, maintaining forward progress and delivering on commitments is essential for any institution and community in these trying times. That requires everyone's help and buy-in; that's how a Cardinal responds. Thank you for all that you have done to support efforts to make Bishop Guertin a sanctuary from the challenges posed by COVID-19. It's taken the trust of thousands in our community, but online instruction is working and will be sustainable for the time it takes to finally put COVID-19 in our rearview mirrors.
The coming week brings our next round of progress reports. Please note that Bishop Guertin will not be transitioning to alternate grading methods ("pass-fail") as this would diminish the integrity of our approach to online learning and the hard work of our students. At the same time, our faculty is well aware of the disruptions caused by the situation and intends to take the overall picture into account in calculating grades between now and the end of the year.
As noted previously, we have committed to April Vacation according to our schedule. Many schools that cancelled break commenced remote instruction later, after taking a week off, and are just getting momentum now. We have been teaching remotely for several weeks. Students and teachers will be ready for a pause at that point as we gear up for the end of the year. We hope to offer some challenges and activities during the week to break up the "down time" for students who will not be traveling or engaged in outside activities.
Please note that holding April Vacation does not restrict our ability to make other decisions about offering non-instructional days in April or May as needed. Additionally, it does not restrict our options regarding the end of the school year. We operate on an "hourly" school calendar model based on total hours of school and have substantial latitude to make changes to our schedule moving forward. These various decisions about our calendar do not depend on each other and will be made and communicated as the situation continues to unfold and we weigh the best interests of our school community.
As we maintain our online format, it is essential that students check their Bishop Guertin email account on a regular basis. We do not have the easy ability to contact students in person. Any questions regarding course selection and scheduling will be sent to students via email. Additionally, with SAT and AP testing on the horizon, the College Board will utilize email to communicate directly with students. The school will not receive all logistics sent to students, and students risk missing out on AP tests or other opportunities by failing to check email. Please make this a part of the daily routine.
A few announcements to share:
As we approach Easter weekend, it is a good time to share more resources for remote worship. Mrs. Pinsonneault shared this compiled list of New Hampshire churches that are live-streaming. Also, the monastic community Mass at St. Anselm is live-streamed daily, along with Holy Week services. We also intend to continue offering reflections from members of our school community.
We have new information from the Advanced Placement Program. AP exams will be given from May 11-22 on this schedule. Students can take the exams from home on any device. They will type answers or submit written answers via their phones. Exams will be exclusively "free-response" and each question will be timed separately. Bishop Guertin stands behind national efforts to maintain the integrity of the test, and the Code of Honorable Conduct apples to our students' participation. The length of the exam will be under an hour. Certain courses will require the submission of a portfolio or audio tasks, which will be explained by the teachers of those courses. The College Board asserts that most institutions will grant credit for these limited exams, given the circumstances. Additionally, online review courses have been posted online.
Please remember that there is an opportunity to support Bishop Guertin families who are affected by COVID-19. We want to be sure that no student is turned away due to the economic or health consequences of the virus. You are encouraged to bid on items or donate directly to support The Nest Best Thing for emergency financial assistance to our families.
Tim Elmore's next "home chat" includes a discussion of attitudes. His recent video is worthy of note as students ponder the "down-time" caused by COVID-19:
Thank you to all for your understanding and support as we've extended online instruction and formation for a longer period of time.
We do recognize that the new date of possible return approaches many of our key end-of-year events: senior activities, Prom, Student Appreciation Day, various award ceremonies, Baccalaureate, Graduation. At present, we intend to hold these events, hoping that we will be back in school and able to gather. We will stick to this intent until/unless circumstances dictate otherwise. Please know that plans are being developed for various approaches to these events, based on how events develop in the coming weeks.
Our senior class has been terrific, both in their response to the coronavirus situation and in their overall contributions to our school community over four years. We are committed to recognizing them, individually and as a group, in an appropriate manner when the time is right. While many senior families are hoping for a definitive answer about key events, it is too early to make final determinations or commit to a particular approach. Decisions now would be based on limited information and assumptions about the future. In a few weeks, we will know a lot more, and be able to confirm our approach to these events. Thank you for your patience - our deliberate process is intended to maintain for our seniors the best possible opportunities to celebrate their achievements.
Please note that April Vacation will be held as scheduled. Given our community's commitment to making forward progress during these months, the break will be well-deserved.
The NHIAA has developed revised dates for an abbreviated season if athletics can be held after May 4. The athletic implications will depend on if/when schools receive clearance to re-open in May. For now, the NHIAA has reminded all schools that student-athletes should not be gathering to practice or work out as a team. The league is committed to social distancing. Some teams are conducting individualized workouts under the direction of the coach; these may be permissible. Team/group workouts or practices of Bishop Guertin teams are not permitted.
Here are a couple of notes for today:
If you missed Ms. Sica's reflection on Sunday, you are encouraged to review it. If you have not had the opportunity to do so, it is also worth reading and reflecting on Pope Francis' Urbi et Orbi prayer and reflection. We will strive to continue offering reflections each weekend and hope these may prompt some good discussions at home.
We recently received an update from the College Board. The June SAT exam has not been cancelled yet. Plans are in the works to add administrations of the SAT for any students who have missed their intended administrations. This will take place once the situation is safe to do so. Plans for the online administration of Advanced Placement Exams are also proceeding.
The request form for junior college letters of recommendation is now up and running and on the school counseling page.
Please join the the school counselors for the scheduled Parent Coffee on Friday, April 3rd at 8:00 AM. Parents of students in all classes are welcome as we discuss this meeting's topic, College Admissions. Although we can't meet together for a danish and a hot cup of coffee, the counselors are still ready to meet virtually with a cup of tea or coffee from home. (The meeting will be held via Zoom.)
The counselors also forwarded this document, a collection of resources from a professor of pediatrics at the George Washington University School of Medicine. The comprehensiveness of this document is quite impressive.
Tim Elmore's next "Home Chat" involves the trade-offs involved in our current situation.
March 26, 2020 - 3:15 PM
This afternoon, Governor Sununu announced that New Hampshire schools may not open their facilities for in-person classes through at least May 4. Bishop Guertin will continue its remote learning through at least April 24, the start of Spring Break, with the first possible return to campus on May 4. (This is, of course, subject to future developments.)
Governor Sununu also announced a "stay-at-home" order and asked all non-essential Granite State businesses to close. We ask all Cardinals to do their part to flatten the curve!
March 26, 2020 - 8:30 AM
Today's update begins with a special announcement.
As we head towards the conclusion of our second week of online learning, our faculty and students have continued to set a remarkable standard of effort and support for our online learning program. We always emphasize that Bishop Guertin aims to set the standard for anything we do, and the Virtual Nest has definitively risen to that challenge. The whole process and result has been humbling. Congratulations, Cardinals, on making the most of the situation as we "flatten the curve" and change the world.
We recognize that this process has taken incredible effort and commitment - as well as screen-time - for teachers and students. In accordance with our whole-person commitment, we consider it important to allow students and staff to take a break from their devices, to catch up, and to spend time with families, volunteer, work around the house, exercise, or simply relax. Accordingly, classes are not scheduled for Wednesday of next week (April 1).
Aside from the regular assignments from Monday/Tuesday, no extra classwork will be assigned for Wednesday. All teachers and staff are being asked to shut down their email and electronic engagement for the day, and students and parents are urged to support this "screen free" day for all who opt to use it that way.
We recognize that developments in the pandemic crisis may make our remote learning arrangements more of a long-term "marathon" than a three-week "sprint," and it is important that we take the time to rest and recover at various points. Next Wednesday is our first such break, and it is a well-deserved one by all.
All are welcome to attend our Winter Athletic Awards Night tonight at 6:30 PM. We encourage families to watch together if possible. This will be our first large Zoom event, so thank you in advance for your patience. We encourage you to have your video ON and your microphone OFF. Here is the Zoom link to the program.
March 25, 2020 - 9:00 AM
We've had a relatively smooth week so far. Here are some updates.
We have scheduled our Winter Athletic Awards Night for Thursday (3/25) evening at 6:30 PM. We will use a remote Zoom conference for all attendees. We encourage families who are attending to sign in and watch together if possible. This will be our first experience of a large Zoom event, so thank you in advance for your patience. We encourage you to have your video ON and your audio OFF. Here is the Zoom link to the program.
Our biggest technical challenge thus far has been the login process to the MyBG platform. Some students had difficulty yesterday, and a couple of new steps today slowed down many. We will be in the process of adjusting the login process to go through a different pathway, and so you may see a few additional questions, or different screens, when logging in. It is a good idea to leave an extra minute for the first login of the day. Additionally, students are advised to keep separate track of their Google Meet and Zoom links, so that they can still join class if MyBG does not function for some reason.
Today, students will receive an email that allows them to verify their course selections. The counseling staff has done a nice job moving this process forward amidst the recent disruptions. Please be patient with any discrepancies, miscommunications, or issues that arise. Please reach out as described in the email if you have any questions.
As students and many adults settle into the remote work paradigm, we encourage you to read these recommendations on remote work from the American Psychological Association.
It is important not to neglect mental well-being as it pertains to the current situation. The pandemic is causing significant stress, anxiety, and even grief over the changes to our routine and the loss of many things we enjoy. I found that this Harvard Business Review article resonated with many conversations I've been having with students, parents, and colleagues. When it comes to our emotional responses, one variable we can control is our own response to the news, and the American Psychological Association has a discussion on this very issue.
March 23, 2020 - 12:30 PM
I hope the weekend brought some downtime, outdoor time, and family time. As we await some significant snowfall, there will be no "Good morning, Cardinals" call tomorrow. Our Virtual Nest will go on in rain, snow, sleet, or hail.
The Nest is back! Please be sure to visit the page that has been developed by our student leaders and their moderators over the past few days. Our students are hard at work putting together events that will maintain our sense of community and engagement over this time. Thank you to The Nest for your hard work on this project.
A misleading communication went out to some families explaining a mailing that implied a decision had been made to close Bishop Guertin indefinitely. This choice of words caused concern. This decision has not been made, nor is it being actively considered. We are rationally optimistic and recognize that there are many ways (positive or negative) that the situation can develop from here. We will take this situation a day/week at a time, and will do our best to return to school from remote instruction when possible and safe. This COVID-19 site is the only authoritative source to follow. If any decision is made, it will be shared promptly, clearly, and directly here. I apologize for the miscommunication and any stress this email caused. Thank you to those who brought it to my attention.
From a BG parent in the medical field, for those who have talents and experience as sewers, tailors, or quilters out there, Mrs. Pinsonneault has put up information about the upcoming collection of surgical masks, as well as tailoring patterns, on the Service and Outreach page. Stay tuned for more details!
Tim Elmore and Andrew McPeak (who spoke here in January) has developed a set of conversation starters for families establishing their "new normal" around online/remote work and learning. The first resource covers the importance of structures, schedules, and parameters. We'll share subsequent links over time.
For those who are concerned about student loan debt during this time, please see the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Coronavirus Web Center. This contains many links regarding loan relief. Additionally, please reference this update on forbearance from the U.S. Federal Student Aid Department.
To accommodate our working parents, I am holding parent office hours tonight between 7:00 - 8:00 PM via my Zoom link. Zoom is available for download on many devices, including PC/Mac, tablets, and smartphones. I encourage you to use your webcam/phone camera.
March 21, 2020 - 5:00 PM
I will reinforce my voicemail message: the prior week was an amazing community effort that combined the support of our parents, the investment of our faculty and staff, and the willing assistance of our students. The many sacrifices being made will make a difference and help to save many lives.
I came across this video of Dr. Emily Landon, an infectious disease expert from Chicago, whose comments at a recent press conference provide us with a clear rationale for what is taking place now.
Here are some updates:
Mrs. Mollie Pinsonneault, Director of Campus Ministry, has been developing a central online hub for service and outreach opportunities. The new website is now up and running. Many families have offered to help. We will be alert to opportunities, and will reach out directly or post them to this site.
Those seeking worship opportunities may be interested in the Daily Mass video on Bishop Barron's website. For those seeking a more local experience, or belong to a different faith tradition, WMUR is keeping an updated list of streamed services.
The Bishop Guertin Annual Gala and Dinner Auction has been transformed into an online auction event. All the money raised from The "Nest" Best Thing: Do Your Part With A Cardinal Heart will go directly to emergency financial assistance for our families that have been affected by COVID-19. In addition, Bishop Guertin is pledging a percentage of the funds to help those in the greater Nashua community. We will hope that you'll participate if you are in the position to do so.
Juniors, we are still asking you to ask/submit your college teacher recommendation requests by May 15. Your counselor with be in touch with an online form in place of the printed handout. Since an in-person request is likely not possible at this time, we encourage you to arrange a time to ask your teacher via Zoom.
A lot of families are grappling with working at home - both adults and students. I recommend this article on productivity tips for working from home. Mrs. Poznanski and our counselors recommend that parents review this article from the Child Study Center. It contains a plethora of suggestions and considerations for families facing this situation. Some suggestions are geared more towards younger students, but many tips are applicable.
In my Friday office hours session, an evening session was suggested to accommodate parents who work. I will hold my next round of office hours on Monday evening from 7:00 - 8:00 PM at my Zoom link. Don't be shy about using your webcam / phone camera - it makes for a better discussion.
Have a great weekend. Onward to Week 2!
March 19, 2020 - 10:00 AM
Yesterday was another strong day of online education. The continued positivity of the school community has made this a success so far. We must remember that this is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint.
Here are some updates:
With the continued progression of social distancing measures, the opportunity for student / parent access to the Bishop Guertin building will end on Friday, March 20. After that point, you will need to arrange an appointment by contacting the main phone line. We will still have a mechanism in place for drop-offs of items (paperwork, etc.) and also continuity with our phone communication.
The College Board has cancelled the May SAT. They are providing free online tools for test preparation at Khan Academy. You can monitor future notifications from the College Board from their website, or from the counseling page of your student. The College Board is investigating ways to offer "streamlined Advanced Placement options" online if school closures extend to that point.
Juniors and seniors may worry that these disruptions will affect the college process. This situation will cause a lot of adjustment in the higher education sector. The colleges that are worth your investment will find you, and you will be able to find them with the help of our dedicated counselors. The National Association of College Admission Counselors (NACAC) is maintaining a shared spreadsheet of changes, as published. Our counseling department is well-positioned through strong ties to NACAC to being on the front of the curve of this evolution. Don't hesitate to have conversations with your counselor to address any concerns.
Our school counselors recommend that, in this time of stress, anxiety, and screentime, it is important to remember the importance of mindfulness. They recommend apps such as Hallow, a Catholic prayer/meditation option, or Calm, which includes a wide variety of meditations. Our Campus Ministry department is also working to develop prayer options and resources. Online education carries an extremely high cognitive load for students and teachers. Students need to give your brain a break.
We have had conversations with our leaders of The Nest, and are looking forward to a launch of activities to pass the time and maintain our community's engagement. We are also building a shared resource for service/charitable outreach.
Parents and students may have questions or concerns. I am hosting a "virtual office hours" tomorrow (Friday) from 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm at this Zoom link. Any parent or students with questions, concerns, or feedback is welcome to attend. Please note that the focus here is on the coronavirus response. Questions on routine matters (course selection, etc.) should be referred to the normal channels.
March 17, 2020 - 8:00 PM
We congratulate all of our students and teachers for continued good work over the past two days! We have a couple of brief reminders as we move onward to our third day of online instruction.
Thank you for all who have submitted your course selection requests. The academic departments are in the process of verifying the levels selected. Next week, counselors will reach out with any questions, as well as information about the next steps in the process. If you have signed up for an AP course, the student and parent should sign both forms and send a scanned/photographed copy to the student's counselor. We will return your copy to you with Bishop Guertin's signatures.
We want to remind all of our students that good sleep habits and routine are essential in this process. While psychologically, it may seem like "vacation" and a drastic change from normal routine, this routine is going to be in place for a while, and establishing a healthy pattern is important.
Significant progress has been made on school events and activities to replace missed events over the coming weeks and to build community. More information is coming soon!
For those families or students who may be encountering difficulties or challenges with this process, please know that adults in the building (teachers, administrators, counselors) are available and glad to connect via videoconference. Do not hesitate to reach out at any time.
March 17, 2020 - 3:00 PM - from Mrs. Brodeur
I know you join me in celebrating the incredible way our Cardinals have handled this swift transition to online instruction. With your support and that of our amazing faculty, they are rising to the occasion and I could not be more proud.
However, with this “new normal” comes a new reality. This is an uncertain time for us all and the impact to you is not something I take lightly. I know that for some this is raising questions about the future. Rest assured, we here at Bishop Guertin are committed to working with you to overcome any issues that may arise as a result of this current crisis. We are also working on ways to support the greater Nashua area and that information will be shared soon.
I have always found solace in this story from Mr. Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” That is the Bishop Guertin family. So let us take this time to reflect on how lucky we all are to be a part of this community as we continue our prayers for those affected due to this illness and for the swift recovery of the sick:
God of Love, we turn to you with prayerful hearts and with confidence in your loving presence among us now and in every moment of our lives. We stand before you as a people of hope, trusting in your care and protection. May we be comforted by your love in these anxious times.
Generous and Merciful God, fill us with compassion and concern for others, young and old; that we may look after each other in these challenging times, especially those among us who are vulnerable. May your example give us the courage we need to go to the margins, wherever they may be.
O God of creation and God of life, we place ourselves and our world in your protection and love. May your peace be with us and enfold us today, tomorrow and during the time ahead. Amen.
March 17, 2020 - 9:00 AM
We are changing the published schedule starting on Wednesday (3/18).
We are balancing several objectives: (1) creating a screentime expectation that is sustainable for all, (2) accommodating students and staff who have childcare obligations with a shorter "scheduled" school day, and (3) addressing those courses with a specific curriculum "finish line," such as AP or sequential disciplines, which may require extra instructional time.
There will be four classes each day with a break in between. There will only be two types of days - Day A (1-4) and Day B (5-8). Classes will meet for up to 55 minutes. Homework and classwork will be assigned for outside time. Teachers will also have the option of scheduling additional class meetings if needed between 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM; students are expected to attend these courses if scheduled.
This schedule will be in place until further notice. MyBG has been updated to reflect the schedule.
March 16, 2020
I want to thank you all for a successful start to our online instruction.
The Bishop Guertin faculty and staff invested an unbelievable effort over the past few days as they adjusted/adapted their instruction to the virtual realm. Students rose to the challenge. Over and over, I have heard from teachers about our Cardinals' positivity, maturity, sense of humor, and flexibility as online education was started and as the bugs were worked out. Our parents have been enormously trusting in us as we have shifted our entire instructional model. The response of our school community has been a humbling and inspiring experience for all involved. After a day, we are truly confident that the coming weeks will be a strong academic and community-building experience. It will work.
We confirm that, based on the Governor of New Hampshire's declaration about school closures, our closure will last through April 3 at a minimum. From that point, we will reevaluate weekly and also support any state or national directives, based on the hopeful containment and mitigation of the coronavirus. The spring athletic season has definitely been pushed back to at least April 13, per the NHIAA. We will make the most of the situation, secure in knowing that our sacrifices will save lives and slow the progression of the disease. Any inconvenience or disappointment pales in comparison to that awareness.
As we are facing a longer-term closure, which will mean a sustained online experience, we want to be sure to build productive habits that will promote resilience and academic success. We would ask/remind students to set up an academic environment and a level of decorum that is consistent with a school - sitting at a table/desk in a distraction-free area, keeping the webcam turned on, and not coming and going during class or doing other things. Students did great today. Building strong habits now will make things easier in a few weeks, as the novelty of the experience wears off.
Given the potential length of the closure, we are also in the process of considering alternative schedules to follow our two "trial" days. We have already identified some adjustments that may prove beneficial to students, both from a "screentime" perspective and from the angle of accommodating students involved in child-care or other responsibilities. The schedule for Wednesday/Thursday/Friday is likely to be modified; a final decision will be announced tomorrow.
There is much outpouring of support from our families, many of which are looking to help those in greatest need. We are working to identify emergent needs within the Greater Nashua community.
Thank you for a great start to our online learning process. We filled the Virtual Nest today. Keep up the great work and THANK YOU.
March 15, 2020
As of Monday, March 16, Bishop Guertin will transition to online instruction, as outlined below. A call is going out to all families regarding details and logistics. Please feel free to listen to the message if you missed it.
Please understand that our shift to remote instruction is meant to avoid large/frequent social gatherings of students. A number of parents have shared this article by a doctor and professor of medicine in Boston regarding the importance of the steps being taken to promote social distancing. Additionally, you may find value in this Washington Post animated presentation regarding the significance of school closures and other steps to minimize the spread of the disease.
March 13, 2020
Dear Members of the Bishop Guertin Community,
Starting on Monday, March 16, Bishop Guertin will begin its transition to fully-online instruction.
Please pay close attention to the following details. We have established a Student FAQ page on our COVID-19 website, and you should read that document carefully as well.
Classes were not held today. This break in the schedule permitted our faculty and staff to plan for the days ahead and to ensure that the technical details are in order. We had a great day today, and are looking forward to beginning this endeavor.
The first two days of our online instruction will involve a limited schedule.
On Monday, March 16, classes will meet as follows:
Period 1 (8:00)
Period 2 (9:30)
Period 3 (11:00)
Period 4 (12:30)
On Tuesday, March 17, classes will meet as follows:
Period 5 (8:00)
Period 6 (9:30)
Period 7 (11:00)
Period 8 (12:30)
Homework may be assigned in any of these classes.
Starting on Wednesday, March 18, classes will meet according to our normal six-period rotation. [SUBSEQUENTLY CHANGED ON 3/17]
The rotation posted on MyBG will be followed from that point.
Attendance in Classes
Each teacher will have a unique videoconference link for his/her classes. This is the teacher’s virtual classroom. Each teacher will post this link on MyBG pages, and the link will be usable throughout the online learning timeframe. Each teacher will also communicate about extra help and availability.
Students are expected to attend all virtual classes; the usual expectations around absences will be in effect. Students who are not in class are expected to have a parent call in to Mrs. Caito at (603) 889-4107 at ext. 4314.
Study halls will not meet. Students who do not have an academic class may be “offline” during study halls. Be productive and don’t disturb students who are in class.
Each teacher will communicate a protocol for submitting assignments. Because it is understood that some flexibility will be required, we ask in advance for your patience with any unanticipated difficulties that may arise. Teachers will be flexible with students who are making a good-faith effort to meet expectations.
All outside and extracurricular activities will be postponed or cancelled until further notice. Exceptions will only occur at the express permission of the Bishop Guertin administration, and will be communicated by the moderator/coach of the activity.
The Dean of Student Formation will oversee any and all dimensions of this protocol that affect students and their success. If difficulties occur with this protocol, families should make outreach as follows:
Academic Difficulty: Teacher (one class) or School Counselor (multiple classes)
Personal, Emotional, or Family Support: School Counselor
Technical Issues: Teacher, then Ms. Gillis, Registrar
Further Assistance / Issues not Resolved Above: Mr. Cote, Dean of Student Formation
With this protocol in place, we expect to continue our educational programming at a comparable level to our ordinary academic program. We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and thank you in advance for your patience with this process as we strive to ensure the health and safety of our own students and staff as well as the broader community.
On that note, we want to close by reminding you that our civic responsibility is a shared one, and the days and weeks ahead may offer many opportunities for you to #bethatperson. Please be mindful of those in greater need than you, don’t be selfish, and look out for friends, neighbors, and family. As a school and a broader community, we will emerge stronger!
We pray for the best possible outcome to the coronavirus situation.
March 12, 2020
Dear Members of the Bishop Guertin Community,
Over recent days and weeks, we have been attentive to developments in the COVID-19 outbreak. Bishop Guertin High School has developed strong protocols to respond proactively to this dynamic and uncertain situation while still ensuring the continuity of our educational programs.
Many of our families have already experienced changes and disruptions in their lives as a result of the outbreak. Employers, including many Fortune 500 companies, have asked employees to avoid travel and to work from home. Similarly, many colleges and universities have transitioned to online instruction. Numerous conferences, sporting events, and public performances have been curtailed to avoid public gatherings.
While the number of diagnosed cases in New Hampshire has remained low to date, we have observed the spread of the infection in areas of Massachusetts where nearly a quarter of our students and teachers reside. A small number of families have reported second- and third-degree connections to the outbreak. We consider ourselves fortunate to have avoided any COVID-19 diagnoses within our school community, or among direct connections.
In the interests of the safety and peace-of-mind of our school community, we have decided to move to the next phase of our response to the COVID-19 situation.
Friday, March 13 will be a Professional Development Day for the faculty, in preparation for a likely shift to online instruction next week. There will be no school for students on Friday, nor will students have any academic obligations. School activities will be cancelled for the day, with any exceptions being communicated through coaches or moderators. Students were already advised today to bring home all books and materials. For any who did not do so, the building will be staffed throughout the day on Friday so that students may retrieve books or other items from their lockers.
A timeline regarding the school schedule for next week, and beyond, will be communicated by Sunday. This week, many teachers discussed protocols for online education with their classes. Students were made aware of a likely transition to online instruction. Details will be forthcoming over the weekend regarding the logistics of this process. We anticipate a significantly more engaging and interactive process than the typical MyBG days that students have experienced on “snow days” over the years.
We realize that this represents a significant change that involves a considerable impact on our families. We are taking this step with conviction that it is in the best interests of the health and safety of our students, families, and the broader community. We also feel a civic responsibility to support initiatives being undertaken by government, industry, and postsecondary education to combat the spread of COVID-19.
On the bright side of this situation, we see an opportunity to prepare our students for the online platforms that they will experience in the university and workplace, while providing us with the opportunity to explore new instructional strategies. We have great trust in our faculty, students, and families to help us navigate this initiative successfully and we believe it will only enhance and solidify our educational excellence and mission as a school.
March 10, 2020
With over 700 cases in the United States, as well as many cases abroad, there have been questions about the spread of the coronavirus and its potential impact on Bishop Guertin. Certainly, it is likely that at some point, BG or other local schools will experience some cases. Amidst inconsistent and ever-changing information, we continue to strive for a balanced response.
Here are some updates. We are gathering all of our COVID information on a new portal, which will also include prior Bishop Guertin updates and communications.
As of this writing, there is no known linkage between existing cases in New Hampshire and Massachusetts and Bishop Guertin High School.
The most important advice remains the same. Any student experiencing a fever or respiratory symptoms (cold or cough) must remain home until the fever has subsided or the cough is gone.
Students who are in "high-risk" groups (immunosuppressed individuals, those with chronic respiratory illnesses, for instance) should consult with medical providers about their unique risk factors and whether remote school attendance (via videoconference) is worth considering. Bishop Guertin will strive to support remote school attendance, and will ensure that students suffer no loss-of-credit for staying out of school over COVID-19 risk factors. Certainly, high-risk individuals should not be attending public events involving crowds. In the end, the decision to stay home from school is ultimately a family decision that Bishop Guertin will support in any way that we can.
There has been discussion among students about the closure of our Spain exchange host school due to coronavirus. We have been in contact with the school. This closure was part of a regional mandate to close schools for two weeks after an increase in cases in the Basque region. The school itself has not, as far as they are aware, experienced any cases.
All community members are encouraged to maintain the practices used to prevent the spread of any respiratory disease. These practices include: (1) avoid close contact with people who are sick, (2) avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth, (3) cover cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, (4) clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe, and (5) wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing nose, coughing, or sneezing.
The school has continued its enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols.
With last week's faculty training complete, we are prepared for a potential extended closure. In case of a school closure, we will commence online instruction utilizing the school's Google platform within 48 hours.
March 3, 2020
I want to thank our parent community for its support with regard to our coronavirus response. I have a number of updates to share.
We received several responses to last week's survey regarding international travel. After reviewing each individual case with medical professionals over the weekend, we opted for the most cautious path. As a result, any individual who traveled to a country designated by the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) as Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 was asked to remain out of school for a 14-day period. We will continue to monitor any changes to restrictions. While losing time in school is a sacrifice and inconvenience, every individual has been understanding of the importance of minimizing risk to our community, and we thank each of them for their willing cooperation. We are offering online live conferencing to allow these individuals the opportunity to participate interactively in their classes.
There have been numerous questions about our plans for our two international trips to Italy over April Vacation. It is likely that the status of these trips will need to be changed due to the outbreak. At present, we are working to minimize the impact on enrolled families. Timing of decisions will vary between the trips and will be communicated directly to the families involved in each trip. Again, we will choose a cautious path.
The school has increased its sanitization efforts. A full schoolwide sanitization was conducted over the break. Both during the day and in the evenings, our maintenance department will increase cleaning of regularly-touched surfaces. The athletic department recently acquired an electrostatic disinfectant system designed to prevent infections, and this will be utilized throughout the school on a rotating basis for the duration of the coronavirus outbreak.
Routine flu prevention steps are helpful. I reiterate from my prior email: PLEASE STAY HOME FROM SCHOOL IF YOU ARE SICK OR RUNNING A FEVER and remain home until the fever has subsided for 24 hours. This step is helpful in managing both influenza and coronavirus. Additionally, we advise students to wash their hands often and avoid touching their nose, eyes, and mouth with unwashed hands.
This week has brought about a number of school closures around the country due to the virus. While it is impossible to fully predict how a local outbreak might unfold, we are confident that our remote schooling plans are well-placed and appropriate. This week, the faculty will be conducting training with our videoconferencing tools.
We thank you for your patience and support as we have navigated this situation. While definitive information and guidance has been challenging to find, we have aimed to make the best decisions possible in light rapidly-changing information and guidance on this developing situation.
FEBRUARY 27, 2020
We hope that you have had a relaxing school vacation week thus far.
In recent days, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other public health agencies have indicated concerns about the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). A CDC official recently advised parents and students to familiarize themselves with their school’s plans for an outbreak or extended closure.
Anticipating questions, and to ensure a clear and consistent message, we are releasing key details prior to our return to school. This website will be used for any updates that are released later, based on circumstances.
Please read the following information carefully.
Plans in Case of Closures
We recognize that there is much "hype" about COVID-19 and we hope that the impacts of the virus will be minimal. However, in the event that public health agencies call for a school closure, Bishop Guertin will comply with any advisories. We have developed plans and protocols to continue our operations in case school needs to be closed for an extended period of time.
If a closure becomes necessary, families should expect that educational programming will continue using our online platforms – Google Suite and MyBG. We will offer virtual courses scheduled throughout the school day, with students attending via videoconferencing tools that are part of our school’s software offerings. The format will allow real-time communication and a level of interactivity far above the typical MyBG Day.
We anticipate that a home computer or phone with a camera/webcam/microphone, plus an internet connection, will be the only prerequisites for student participation in these activities. If you believe that access to these technologies will be a problem for your family, please reach out immediately to Mr. Aaron Fitzgibbons, Director of Technology, at email@example.com.
Travel over Winter Break
Some students may have traveled to high-risk locations during the break.
Students returning from the Spain international trip should expect to be cleared to return to school immediately. There are currently no advisories in place regarding travel to Spain, and there is no reason to view this travel as posing any greater risk than travel within the United States.
Students who traveled to China, Iran, Italy, Japan, or South Korea, or who participated in cruises in the Asia-Pacific Region, are required to complete an online form prior to 7:00 AM on Monday morning. Click here to complete the form. The confidential information that you submit will only be shared with the school administration and with Mrs. Turner, the school nurse. An assessment will be made by Mrs. Turner to determine whether the student should attend school on Monday.
If you have any medical questions specific to your situation, do not hesitate to contact Nurse Turner directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any absence resulting from this situation will not result in the academic penalization of the student.
Precautionary Steps to Prevent Disease Spread
The coronavirus has stolen headlines from an intense flu season that has cost many lives worldwide. We have been advised that the best initial defense against a coronavirus outbreak involves the same precautions that we apply to the common cold or to influenza. As always, students are asked to maintain regular precautions: avoiding contact with sick individuals and engaging in regular hand-washing/sanitization. The school will also increase its routine sanitation efforts.
We ask that any individuals experiencing flu-like symptoms remain home from school and activities for at least twenty-four (24) hours after being fever-free without medication. While the commitment and work ethic of our students and staff when faced with illness is often commendable, we cannot permit symptomatic individuals to remain at school and expose many dozens of others to illness.
We thank you for your patience as this situation develops. We are hopeful that the effects of this outbreak will ultimately involve a minimal impact. However, we are prepared to take necessary steps to protect our school and local community. We will make the most out of any outcome by ensuring that our educational program continues despite any disruptions.
We continue our prayers for those in the worldwide community who have suffered losses due to this illness, or who are in a critical medical condition at this time.
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions that you might have.