Academics

Fall 2020 Academic Plan

Mission

Mount Saint Joseph is a Catholic, college preparatory school for young men sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers. Faithful to the tradition of Xaverian education, Mount Saint Joseph strives to be a community of growth and learning characterized by enduring personal relationships, an emphasis on spiritual formation, a challenging academic program, and a commitment to justice and peace.

Overview

A task force of nearly 30 Mount Saint Joseph faculty and staff members collaborated through the spring and summer to ensure that our school community stayed true to our mission while facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Committees were formed for health and safety concerns, logistics, and academics, and each committee was tasked with exceeding the CDC and local health guidelines. Plans were made for in-person, hybrid, and distance learning models.

It was decided to begin the school year in a distance learning model, and work towards the hybrid model in October. The hybrid model will begin on October 5, 2020. 

Class Schedule Model

In the hybrid model of classes, students will be split into two cohorts and will alternate days of in-person instruction and distance learning. Students who must stay at home will be video-conferenced in with their cohort. It is estimated that about 380 students will be on campus each day.

Both cohorts will begin each class together, with those who are distance learning joining the in-person students via Zoom. All students participate in class prayer together and teachers have the opportunity to address the entire class. Teachers can then choose to keep both cohorts together for the class period or split the class by cohort and assign differentiated tasks and instruction. This will help maintain a regular daily schedule for all students and give teachers and students a daily opportunity to connect. The daily schedule will revert back to our full daily schedule with 8 periods a day from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

This plan will be reevaluated as the school year progresses and adjustments will be made as necessary to maintain a rigorous and fair academic program. It is also subject to change as Mount Saint Joseph will follow any state or federal stay-at-home orders if they are enacted.

Hybrid Schedule Model

Students have been strategically separated into two cohorts to help balance class sizes and access to school resources. Cohorts have also been adjusted for siblings who would benefit from driving to school on the same day. A communication regarding a student’s cohort assignment was emailed in August.

Rationale

The hybrid model provides our students with valuable in-person instruction and bonding time with their Mount brothers while maintaining working and learning conditions that align with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The hybrid model gives us the best opportunity to live out our mission and facilitates an easy transition to either fully distance learning if necessary or fully in person if we are able to.

List of 5 items.

  • Distance Learning Days

    Students must attend each class during the day via Zoom.
  • In-School Learning Days

    • Class schedules will rotate weekly. View the schedule for the month of October.
    • Students who must remain home will be video-conferenced in with their cohort.
    • Safety procedures will be strictly enforced for the good of everyone in our community.
  • Flex Days

    Flex Days are typically distance learning days, but may be used for in-person learning if there is a special schedule or holiday during the week.
  • Community Days

    Some Fridays are reserved for community, social, and spiritual events that are essential to the life of a Mount Saint Joseph student. This could include in-person faith formation and extracurricular opportunities as well as specific grade-level programming. The school calendar will detail all of these events.
  • DePaul Program

    The DePaul Program staff is working on the plan for DePaul students and will send out more information at a later date.

Philosophy

During this unprecedented time, the Xaverian values of humility, trust, and compassion are our guiding principles. Every action we take can affect others and ourselves in either a positive or negative way. We will choose the positive and will think of others before we think of ourselves. As a school community, we will act as one to provide a learning and working environment where our students, faculty, and staff can thrive.

On-Campus Safety Policies

List of 14 items.

  • Notifying the School of Symptoms or Exposure

    Weekdays
    If your son is displaying any COVID-like symptoms, or if you become aware of someone in your family who tests positive on a weekday, please keep your son at home and notify Mrs. Baker in the Attendance Office at ebaker@msjnet.edu. She will then notify the school nurse who will follow up with you if needed.

    Weekend
    If your son is displaying any COVID-like symptoms, or if you become aware of someone in your family who tests positive on a weekend, please call 443-310-5857. The message will be relayed to the appropriate people and the school nurse will follow up with you if needed.
  • Procedure for Someone With Symptoms

    When we receive word that a student, faculty, or staff member has tested positive or has symptoms of COVID-19, Mount Saint Joseph will notify the Baltimore City Health Department.
     
    If the student is on campus, he will be immediately sent to the nurse, who will bring him to an isolated area in the Health Room for evaluation. The School Nurse will call the student’s parent or guardian.  Students must be picked up from school within 30 minutes of receipt of the call.  If a parent or guardian is not reachable within the first two tries, the student’s emergency contact will be called.  The CDC Decision Aid will be followed for what this student should do and who should be contacted.

    Any faculty or staff member who is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 should immediately leave campus and notify the school. If the faculty or staff member does not feel safe driving with the symptoms, he or she should report to the nurse for evaluation and isolation. The CDC Decision Aid guide will be followed for what this person should do and who should be contacted.
     
    As determined by the Health Department, exposed individuals will remain in their classroom while parents or guardians are notified to pick them up (again, within 30 minutes of receiving the phone call).  If unreachable, emergency contacts will be called.
     
    The school will be in touch with the individual and families whose students have had close or prolonged contact, as determined by the Baltimore City Health Department’s contact tracing, with further instructions and information. 
  • Procedure for Someone Who Tests Positive for COVID-19

    If Mount Saint Joseph is notified of a community member who tests positive for COVID-19, all parents, students, faculty, and staff will be notified via email as soon as possible. Close contacts of the community member and their parents will also receive a second email notification. Due to HIPPA regulations, the identity of the positive individual will be kept confidential. The school nurse will inform the local health department of the positive test and will follow the health department’s recommendations for establishing quarantines or sending other communications. The COVID-19 Decision Aid will also be used to decide who should quarantine.
  • Masks

    All faculty, staff, visitors, and students must wear an approved mask from the moment they enter our campus until they leave for the day. Masks should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. It is preferred that you have one mask for each day of the week you are on campus and that they be washed after each time it is used.
    • Plastic face shields may be worn in conjunction with, but not in lieu of, a mask.
    • Students should wear an MSJ mask or a solid color mask.
    • Writing, letters, symbols, and/or markings of any kind on masks are prohibited.
    • Gaiters are not permitted because they do not align with the CDC guidelines.
    • If a student is wearing a mask or face covering that is not permitted, he will be given an appropriate mask by a faculty or staff member. He will receive a warning and be asked to get an appropriate mask prior to returning to school.
    • If a student refuses to wear a mask, he will be asked to leave campus and will be suspended from school that day. He may incur further days based on recommendations of the Director of Students. If suspended for the day, the student will receive a zero on all assignments and not be allowed to make them up.
    • If a student pulls down his mask or unhooks the mask from his ear, he will be reminded about the health and safety of himself, his classmates, his family and his teacher. If the student is seen doing this multiple times, it is at the discretion of the faculty or staff member to bring the student to the attention of the Director of Students, which may result in a verbal warning, JUG, or suspension, depending on the severity and consistency of the issue(s).
  • Screening Process

    Students with any COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and engage in distance learning. Parents are expected to screen their sons for COVID-19 symptoms every day before they come to school. 

    To aid in this screening and to track and communicate symptoms, Mount Saint Joseph has purchased the AUXS Safety App. This app is free for parents and students to download, and the symptom screening is required to be completed before students enter campus. A secondary screening, including temperature checks, will occur on campus each day prior to the student's first class of the day.

    Faculty will also be required to have their temperature taken each day.
  • Classroom Cleaning Procedure

    After each class, teachers will spray each desk with disinfectant. When students enter the room, students will wipe down their desks with paper towels and then use hand sanitizer to clean their hands. Cleaning materials and hand sanitizer will be provided by Mount Saint Joseph.

    The cleaning solution is alcohol-based and is similar to hand sanitizer, but in a liquid form instead of a gel. Gloves are not required to use it, however, gloves will be provided if students choose to use them. Students may also bring their own gloves to school.

    Daily sanitizing efforts will also be made by a contracted cleaning company.
  • Physical Distancing

    Desks will be physically distanced in classrooms, with a goal of at least six feet apart where possible.
  • Handwashing

    Every person on Mount Saint Joseph’s campus is encouraged to wash his or her hands or use hand sanitizer upon entering any room. Hand sanitizer will be available in every classroom. Students are encouraged to bring hand sanitizer as well.
  • Cafeteria

    Clear plastic dividers have been purchased for the cafeteria, allowing for 2 people to sit at a table. Food options will be a grab-and-go style to limit the amount of contact with food. Payment will be cashless by loading money onto a student's First Financial account. Weather permitting, students will also be able to eat lunch outside.
  • Lockers

    Since lockers are high-touch areas, no lockers will be used while we are implementing the hybrid model.
  • Increased Air Flow and Filters

    Each building has specific plans to increase outside airflow, including drawing air from the outside into cooling units and opening windows when possible. MERV 13 filters will be installed in air conditioning units that cool rooms without the ability for increased outside airflow.
  • Buses

    Bus services will run with safety procedures at a modified capacity. Students will need to show successful completion of the AUXS app and must have their temperatures taken upon entering the bus. Windows will be open when possible to increase airflow. Because students will not be riding all 5 days, discounts on the bus fee will be given.
  • One-Way Hallways

    One-way hallways will be implemented where necessary. Administrators will be monitoring hallways to enforce direction and physical distancing.
  • Water Stations

    Water fountains will be turned off. However, bottle fillers are available, and students are encouraged to bring water bottles.

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 8 frequently asked questions.

  • Q.
    Why are students of each cohort required to begin each class all together?

    • To foster fellowship and build community through shared prayer and reflection and to provide the opportunity to see teachers and classmates frequently, which can help counteract social isolation.
    • To maintain a regular daily schedule and provide structure for each school day.
    • To provide teachers a daily opportunity for facetime to provide, clarify, or reinforce instructions with students in each cohort.
    • To provide flexibility from day to day in the flow of instruction, allowing for adjustments when connecting daily lesson plans across the course of a week and a curricular unit. 
  • Q.
    Why are students of each Cohort not necessarily required to stay in class for its full duration?

    • To maximize effective differentiation of instruction in a model that seeks to appropriately balance student engagement and promote deep learning, which occurs best when students have the opportunity to engage with teachers, engage with the content, and engage with each other.
    • To enhance the effectiveness of teacher-guided practice & application of concepts to a smaller class size. Working with one Cohort at a time makes it easier for a teacher to provide individualized or small group attention when needing only to include a significantly smaller number of students attending class via Zoom (i.e., those students in the same Cohort opting for distance learning). 
    • To provide structure and opportunity for students’ meaningful engagement in the student-to-content and student-to-student spheres of learning & skills development synchronously during the school day, when they can be required to work individually and/or with other students in virtual break-out rooms after being dismissed following an initial check-in with the teacher.
    • To reduce the total amount of screen time spent in video-conference mode every other day and over the course a week.
    • Within the flexibility that this model provides, teachers can exercise the option to keep a whole class together for its full duration when the instructional design of a lesson(s) within a curricular unit warrant.
  • Q. What is the dress code for students who are attending Zoom sessions?

    Students should be dressed following the MSJ dress code, which is an MSJ polo or shirt and tie for the first quarter.
  • Q. Can I change my academic model after I commit to one?

    Yes, you can change your academic model. You must notify Mr. McDivitt in the Studies Office at gmcdivitt@msjnet.edu to change your academic model. 
  • Q. What time can a student arrive on campus, and how long can he stay?

    Campus will be open every weekday from 6:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Cafeteria will be open during these times. The Library will be open from 7-5 Monday through Thursday and from 7-4 on Fridays.
  • Q. What happens if someone tests positive?

    If Mount Saint Joseph is notified of a community member who tests positive for COVID-19, all parents, students, faculty, and staff will be notified via email as soon as possible. Close contacts of the community member and their parents will also receive a second email notification. Due to HIPPA regulations, the identity of the positive individual will be kept confidential. The school nurse will inform the local health department of the positive test and will follow the health department’s recommendations for establishing quarantines or sending other communications. The COVID Symptoms Decision Aid will also be used to decide who should quarantine.
  • Q. How will classes like PE and music work in person?

    Music and PE teachers understand the safety policies and procedures we have in place and are working on plans to teach these classes in a responsible manner.
  • Q. Will interscholastic sports happen?

    The MIAA has indefinitely postponed fall sports, and they will meet again in October to assess the situation.

Mount Saint Joseph High School

Mount Saint Joseph is a Catholic, college preparatory school for young men sponsored by the Xaverian Brothers.