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Oct. 22, 2020

Dear Notre Dame Academy Families:

We want to thank you for your responses to the questions we have posed to you over the past two weeks. We are trying to gather information from all of you so we may construct a response that takes into account the many perspectives present in our NDA community, and ensure the safety and continued educational success of all NDA students.

As the external COVID-19 numbers have risen consistently in Brown County, we are sure you would like to see a definitive answer as to how NDA will address the continuing problem. NDA serves more than 40 communities, so the complexity of fashioning a meaningful response to our situation is considerable. Hence our several efforts to gather data and present you with choices at each juncture.

On October 1, 2020 NDA moved to a Virtual/At-Home instructional model due to the rising rates, the number of quarantines and number of positive cases. While virtual instruction has served us well in its expanded form, we recognize the importance of in-person instruction for both students, staff and the community at large. 

As we continue our planning process it is important to share the lessons we have learned:

  1. Student participation in outside activities dramatically increases the likelihood of contracting the virus and spreading it to contacts involved with school.
  2. Every COVID-19 positive individual is connected to numerous individuals who have to be quarantined as a result of the positive case.
  3. The school's ability to deliver effective instruction is significantly decreased when the number of employees who are unable to attend school exceeds 6% or five employees.
  4. As the external community positivity rates increased, parents increasingly opted to have their children stay home. The rising number of absentees presented further problems in delivering instruction.

Having moved from hybrid to virtual instruction, Notre Dame will move from virtual to a new version of hybrid as soon as we are able to do so safely. This will be derived from reducing rates of infection in the community over a 14-day period. The shape of the hybrid schedule will depend on the number of students who select to return to in-person instruction. The charts below help to illustrate the number of factors being weighed and monitored on a daily basis.

Our plan moving forward is to offer the option of remaining in a virtual setting or returning to a new version of hybrid. 

This work will be the result of responses to the same series of questions that you answered last week, and the preferences you are expressing through the Magnus App this weekend.  Magnus is also asking about your desire to come to school for various activities on a limited basis.  

Please respond as soon as you can to the Magnus App so that we can get an exact count regarding who wants to be in school via a new hybrid, and who wants to remain in virtual learning. This will provide us with a crucial piece of the puzzle in determining the shape of the new hybrid.   

The details of the new hybrid can only be constructed once we have determined who will be at home, and who will be in the building.

There are several issues that you will need to consider in making a decision on how to proceed:

  1. Parents and students need to be in agreement regarding their preferred method of instruction. Last week's survey revealed that 75% of parents preferred hybrid instruction, whereas only 50% of students preferred hybrid instruction.
  2. The decision to learn virtually for the remainder of the semester cannot be reversed; however, students who choose the hybrid option may transition to virtual if the need arises. You will be given a similar choice at the outset of the second semester.
  3. Your student's resumption of school in the hybrid model comes with the responsibility to take seriously the practices for stopping the spread of the virus at all times, both at school and in the community.

We will not ask for a firm commitment from families until all the details of the new hybrid have been constructed.

By addressing the many different dimensions of this problem we hope that a safe, productive experience can be crafted for your students, and the NDA community as a whole.

Below are a number of graphs and charts detailing the information used to determine when NDA students will be returning to a new hybrid version of in-person education.

View COVID-19 Dashboard and Indicator Charts

Thank you for all your assistance and support.


Dr. Tom Kiely

Mr. Patrick Browne

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