Updated Fall 2020 Academic Plan

The following letter was sent to Mount Saint Joseph families on Wednesday, August 19. If you are interested in enrolling your son for the 2020-2021 school year, please contact Marc Hoffman '97 at mhoffman@msjnet.edu or 410-646-6218.

Dear Mount Saint Joseph Family:

We hope this letter finds you well. Please know the Mount community thanks you for your unwavering support, commitment, and trust for our faculty, staff, and administration through these difficult and unprecedented times. As you know, the current climate is ever-changing, but we have worked tirelessly to reimagine how to open our school for face-to-face instruction while mitigating risks for everyone in our school community. While our daily review of all local and state infection rates provides some level of understanding for our situation, we are also learning more from other academic institutions that have already opened their doors this school year. Despite our due diligence and efforts to create a school environment with fewer risks of exposure, we are increasingly concerned about developing conditions that are out of our control.

In the last few days, we have been informed of increasing numbers of positive COVID-19 test results within our own school community. Additionally, the state has reported higher numbers of COVID-19 cases in zip codes where many of our families reside. As a result of this new information, there are growing concerns and heightened levels of anxiety among our parents and staff regarding a greater potential risk of exposure to this virus.  Based on the information we have today, and because we have a moral obligation to guard the well-being of all members of our larger community, we don’t believe we can open for in-person instruction at this time without the virus unintentionally being brought onto campus.

Therefore, after much discernment, prayer, and consultation, the decision has been made to begin all instruction through the distance learning model on August 31st. There will be ongoing assessment and evaluation of our situation with the hopes of moving to the hybrid model as soon as possible. For more information on our new distance learning model, please read our Updated Fall 2020 Academic Plan. We are currently working on scheduling for students to come to campus and pick up books and other supplies.

This decision was not an easy one. It was made because the health and safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff are paramount. Undeniably, there are no ideal options for our return to school during a pandemic, but we continue to reimagine our methodology in order to offer a rigorous Xaverian education. Given the rate of infection in our community, we believe starting the school year with distance learning (virtual instruction) is the safest of our imperfect options. We are very mindful of the impact of this decision and challenges parents face as they strive to balance family life and work with the needs of children participating in non-traditional instruction. Again, this is an imperfect decision, but the only one the administration feels is morally responsible.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good” (2288). As a Catholic community who understands and shares a commitment to the common good, we are all called to do our part in diminishing the transmission of this virus. In starting school in the distance learning model, we have a chance to continue our academic program while immediately reducing the potential spread of the virus to members of our community.

Although we will not be starting the school year with in-person classes, there will be opportunities for students to be on campus, in a limited capacity, for special programs such as orientation. We have invested much time, effort, and financial resources to diminish the risk to our community. Our on-campus plan for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 goes beyond what both the CDC and State Department of Health have requested. The safety protocols and physical modifications to campus are in place now and will remain when our students do return to in-person classes.

Please continue to pray for those in our Mount family, especially those who are caretakers for COVID-19 patients. Thank all of you for your support; it has made this profoundly difficult and stressful time easier for us as we continue to examine what is best for our students, faculty, staff, and all of our families.

Sincerely,

Francisco M. Espinosa, Jr.
Principal

George E. Andrews, Jr.
President
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Mount Saint Joseph High School

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