In the face of great adversity, we remain united with hope as one family. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we must now extend our distance learning program through the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
UPDATED: April 2, 2020 – 3:29 p.m.
Dear Mariner Families,
In the face of great adversity, we remain united with hope as one family. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, we must now extend our distance learning program through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Although we would love to be together in person on our campus, we must continue to educate the minds and hearts of our young people through our distance learning program. This difficult decision has been made with the safety, wellness, happiness, and success of all our beloved students at heart.
Our Leadership Team consulted with our Diocese of Oakland Department of Catholic Schools Superintendent, colleagues in education throughout the Bay Area, and colleagues in Holy Cross education throughout the nation. We aligned our decision with guidance from Governor Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Alameda County health officials, and Alameda County Office of Education Superintendent L. Karen Monroe. In solidarity with schools in seven bay area counties, we will continue to serve our students through an extension of our distance learning program through the remainder of this school year.
Although we are still working on planning for multiple scenarios in the days ahead and we will continue to communicate with you frequently, please read the updates below that may answer some of your questions at this time.
Holy Week & Easter Break
Next week we will have classes as scheduled Monday through Wednesday with a 12:40 p.m. dismissal on Wednesday, April 8th. Our spring and Easter break begins on Holy Thursday and will extend through April 19th, with students returning to their regular schedule for distance learning on Monday, April 20th through the end of the school year. During Easter Break, classes will not meet and Mariners are encouraged to truly take a break during this stressful time. We encourage students to step away from screens, read for pleasure, spend time with family, engage in self care, and seek rest and peace. Homework over the break will intentionally be minimal; teachers will limit it, but students may still choose to use the break as time to catch up on missing assignments or prepare for AP exams. Please check in with your student’s teachers and counselor if you have any questions about this.
Distance Learning Updates
We are continuing to strengthen our distance learning program by using the results of our student survey. Our Leadership Team and Academic Council have reviewed the data to guide us in the weeks ahead. We will be working together with our Faculty and Student Curriculum Committee to implement the following directives:
focus on essentializing curriculum
clarify learning objectives on Canvas
use the most effective and student-favored online teaching strategies
utilize a balanced variety of alternative assessments
reduce screen time and ensure a manageable workload
increase flexibility with due dates for assignments
We will also continue to do everything we can to provide compassionate support for our students during this challenging time. We are so proud of our faculty and students for their courageous efforts and continued commitment to excellence.
Prom, Baccalaureate Mass, & Graduation
Senior students and families will receive special communication and a survey in the days ahead, but we want to update everyone that we are still planning to have Prom, Baccalaureate Mass, and Graduation. We are committed to upholding our traditions and honoring the achievements of our Mariners, most especially the Class of 2020. In order to maximize the possibility that we will be able to celebrate these events in person, we are moving to the latest possible dates.
Prom information will be confirmed soon, but we are hoping to still hold it in the Exploratorium on July 31, 2020.
Baccalaureate Mass will be August 1, 2020, with the location and time to be confirmed.
Graduation will be August 2, 2020, with the location and time to be confirmed. We are working to secure the Paramount Theater. It is our hope to have our traditional ceremony with all of the usual pomp and circumstance, but we will be ready with a Plan B that includes social distancing and a Plan C that is a virtual event if needed due to the recommendations of health officials. We are ready to relocate to our own Moreau Catholic High School campus if needed. Please know we are committed to making this event as beautiful and special as humanly possible. Again, more details will be sent to senior families about these plans in the near future.
We will not have a traditional final exam week with traditional final exams this year. Instead, teachers will use alternative assessments or existing culminating projects to ensure the continuity of learning in this unique time. All final projects and assessments will be completed online with support and advance preparation during class time to reduce stress and increase student success.
Grading & Assessment
You may have heard that some K-12 schools and universities are shifting to new grading systems during this unique time of distance learning. As we research and evaluate what these schools are doing and implications for our own school, we consider multiple factors and both proximal and long-term consequences. We always want to ensure that if we make any changes, we make decisions that are research-informed and in the best interest of our students. At this time, we are maintaining our grading system and policies because we believe that they support achievement and communication regarding student learning. We are keeping in mind student learning, the integrity of our students’ academic records, college admissions and placement, honoring student work, and alignment with similar educational institutions. We are balancing these interests with a recognition of the challenges of our current reality and a deep compassion for our families and students who are experiencing stress during this time. We know that our faculty are working tenaciously to provide multiple assessment opportunities and support the achievement of every student. Please do not hesitate to reach out to teachers or counselors with any questions about assessment anytime.
Our seniors continue to receive college acceptances and scholarships, and our counselors are revising the usual plans to work with juniors to support college planning. You may have heard the recent announcement that the UC system is making some changes to their admissions requirements to support students during this extraordinary time. Know that our counseling team is closely monitoring these changes and has emailed pertinent information to juniors and seniors. Counselors will update the community as they learn more about CSU and other college changes to ensure that our students and families have the latest information and guidance needed. Counselors will also continue to share updates with all faculty and students regarding AP exams. As always, please reach out to your student’s counselor with any questions.
We will continue to follow and monitor the shelter in place directives and guidance from local health officials as we plan for summer. We may postpone some programs or move things online. Information regarding athletics will be passed on once received from the CIF. Visit our Summer Programming page for athletic camp updates. Please keep an eye out for further details in the weeks ahead.
As always, please continue to refer to our website’s coronavirus response page for the latest information about changes at school. Please continue to pray with us in a special way for all of our Mariner alumni and current parents and family members who are on the front lines of caring for the sick. We continue to pray for all of those affected by coronavirus. While our lives are disrupted, we remember that we are in this together. Blessed Basil Moreau, our founder, told us long ago that the measure of our mission is how we form young men and young women “for better times than ours.” We know that better times are on the horizon. Resurrection is around the corner. We are sticking with our mission and sticking together, and with God’s grace and our love our young people will persevere. Thank you for being our partners on this journey.
Liz Guneratne, Ed.D.