Jesuit adapts plans for rest of 2019-2020 school year, an overview of what’s to come

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Graphic by Jesuit Communications

With advice from state and local health officials, President Rev. John P. McGarry, S.J. and Principal Mr. Michael Wood ’99 announced Jesuit High School Sacramento would extend online learning through the end of the 2019-2020 academic year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Students and parents received the news in an email on April 9. 

The school first began implementing the “Digital Learning Days” protocol on March 16, but introduced a second phase to “add more direct instruction and weekly planning,” according to Mr. Wood. Under Phase 2 of Digital Learning Days, students learn under both synchronous and asynchronous schedules. 

A synchronous schedule is real-time engagement where teachers host sessions, 25 minutes on an all classes day and 45 minutes on odd and even class schedules, to teach virtually on Zoom or Google Meet. Students make their own schedules under the asynchronous procedure where teachers post parameters for assignment due dates, usually to be submitted by 9 a.m. on the day of the next class. 

Teachers will still follow Jesuit’s grading policy which is based on a letter grade scale. New class material will not be introduced after May 13 and testing on material already covered in class will occur through May 15. The last day to turn in assignments is May 20 and students will not receive a spring semester final. Grades for freshmen through juniors should be finalized by May 29. 

Over the next couple weeks, students will be notified by email when they can clear out their school lockers. The process has begun and will continue one wing at a time. 

Mr. Wood shared that end-of-year events are continuing to be developed: “The Awards Convocation will be filmed on campus and shared with the school community [on May 18].” Grad Night has been postponed and will be rescheduled on a future date. 

As for graduation, Jesuit released what it calls a “tentative plan,” which would be a virtual ceremony. The school will have a drive-in movie theater style event, which will be on the evening of June 3. The ceremony would have a feature-length video with recorded remarks from Principal Wood and President McGarry, a prayer from Salutatorian Jonathan Fong ’20, a Valedictory address from Donghwan Park ’20, an announcement of the graduation awards, and the conferring of diplomas.

In the meantime, the school is doing what it can to honor its seniors. On April 30, faculty and staff members distributed personalized lawn signs to the homes of seniors. Jesuit also held a Cap & Gown Pick-Up Parade on May 4. A Ceremonial Walk Across the Stage in the Chapel will take place from May 21 – 23. The rest of Jesuit’s plans to honor its seniors can be found here

With the closure of school, Jesuit suspended all extracurriculars and school-related events. All departments have adapted their plans for the remainder of the school year. 

Zoom meetings are available for athletes, courtesy of the athletic department, to help students continue their training. Sports Performance Coordinator Coach Jay Nacionales, who is a leader in the establishing these virtual resources, explains the different aspects of conditioning these meetings cover. 

“Areas we try to cover range from: physical workouts, recovery methods, nutritional advice, and mobility routines,” Coach Nacionales said. “Other topics shared during Zoom deal with leadership, inspirational content, and more importantly, trying to maintain connection with our JHS community.” 

Coach Nacionales elaborated that the purpose of these meetings is to help athletes “Stay Ready” for the return of sports. As of now, a decision for summer preseason training for fall sports outside of Zoom meetings has not been announced. 

The Christian Service department announced that the fourth quarter service hours would be accepted through the end of the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year. Specifications for each class have been made. Director of Christian Service and Theology Teacher Ms. Sara Brabec offers insights on what students can do to continue their service during this time.

“Christian Service has continued to coordinate with Theology classes to offer reflection sessions on service that students have engaged in this year,” Ms. Brabec said. “While no in-person service can take place while Shelter-in-Place directives are in effect, we have designed and shared a number of service opportunities for students to do from home. Agencies have been especially grateful to receive letters that our students have written to their clients experiencing isolation — like people living in assisted living facilities, people experiencing homelessness, and those in detention.” 

 Immersions for the Class of 2021 were cancelled out of precaution for all those who would be involved. Rising seniors have been notified of the changes and have the ability to select another way to fulfill their senior Christian Service requirements — all information will be sent by email. 

“Students will have the ability to enroll in the Period 3 or 4 one-semester service course, to engage in an Independent Study Project between now and the end of the Fall 2020 Semester, to propose their own project that helps them achieve graduation and program outcomes, to express interest and potentially participate in a rescheduled immersion, or to participate in a virtual immersion with a Jesuit school in Haiti that we’re hoping to arrange,” Ms. Brabec reports. 

 For juniors who planned on a summer immersion, a revised senior Christian Service selection should have been made by May 11 — more information on changes can be found here. The Christian Service department is continuing to work out ideas for freshman, sophomore, and junior service requirements. 

Junior Kairos, which was scheduled to take place this spring, was postponed as the campus shutdown was enacted. Director of Campus Ministry Mr. Paul LeBoeuf, provides an update on what students can expect for Junior Kairos and the implications regarding Senior Kairos. 

“We are still hopeful that we can hold Junior Kairos this summer,” Mr. LeBoeuf said. “We are waiting for more guidelines as to when we can gather. If, for some reason, we cannot hold Kairos 150 before school begins, we will have alumni act as student leaders … Right now, there are no changes planned. If we have to adapt Kairos, we will. Right now, I am talking with many other Campus Ministry teams to see what they are doing. We will have Kairos, we just do not know what it will fully look like next year.” 

Fr. McGarry and Mr. Wood offered their message to students during these uncertain times: 

 “We miss you. We are proud of you. We are praying for you and your families. Stay healthy. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Find ways to be more generous, more patient, and more humble. Be the Men for Others that we know you are. We are so blessed by the students of Jesuit High School, and we are eager for your return, when it is safe and advisable, so that our campus comes alive again with your energy, enthusiasm, goodness, and talent. God bless you all, and be assured of our prayers.” 

Jesuit High School plans a return to campus in August for the 2020-2021 school year, with schedule-based changes as necessary. More information regarding specific departments can be found online at Jesuithighschool.org and weekly emails regarding school-wide updates are released on Thursdays.