March 26, 2020
Dear Gibbons Families,
In this unprecedented time, the health and safety of our students, educators, and families remain, as always, our top priority. Mindful of that and following the guidance of state, federal, and diocesan officials, we will extend our distance learning through Friday, May 15, 2020, with a return to in-person classes on Monday, May 18, 2020, when we welcome home all students, including our seniors.
While we are disappointed to delay the reopening of our campus, our decision comes after N.C. Governor Roy Cooper earlier this week ordered the closing of all public K-12 schools until May 15 to slow the spread of the coronavirus. That date was based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Bishop Luis R. Zarama followed suit yesterday, advising all Catholic K-12 schools in the diocese of Raleigh to adhere to the state’s guidelines and not return to in-person classes until May 18.
Given the news this past week, we anticipated that this extension was a real possibility and had been working diligently to prepare for it. We will continue to do our best to support our community during this time. Our plan remains that we will have Easter break from Holy Thursday, April 9, through Sunday, April 19, and will resume distance learning on Monday, April 20.
Recent events have shown us the importance of community and the resilience of each and every Crusader. We have been through challenges before, and we will get through this one – together.
We know that adjusting to a new online learning schedule has been stressful enough – but doing so now amid the anxiety of an extended closing is even more taxing. While we will do all we can to answer as many questions as possible, please know there will be some we will be unable to address at this time.
We also recognize that there is no real replacement for in-person learning. Rest assured, however, that our educators continue to develop innovative and challenging assignments that will, as best they can, help students reach their full potential in our academic mission.
For those students enrolled in AP courses, I am sure many of you have read that the College Board is shifting the AP Exams to an online, 45-minute test format. We will not know the exam schedule until next month. However, the College Board’s update page is an excellent resource. Our AP educators have been working collaboratively over the past week to adjust their distance learning plans to accommodate this shift.
We also continue to maintain our caring Catholic learning environment, albeit remotely. While we strive to be flexible with students, we ask that they reach out proactively to their teachers if circumstances are preventing them from completing an assignment or task. If your student is ill, please let teachers know so they can adjust expectations accordingly.
We are aware that with this extended campus closure comes sadness for both our missed daily activities but also for events that our students have worked for and looked forward to all year. Our continued hope is to find creative ways to recreate these opportunities once we return to campus.
For members of the class of 2020, we know you are disappointed that your senior year has been disrupted. It is not what we want for you. There are many questions regarding Baccalaureate Mass and graduation that you may have. Right now there are no concrete answers to when these celebrations will take place. We will inform you of future plans as they unfold, and a separate email will go out to the class of 2020 parents and students today.
We thank you for your patience as we continue to monitor health agency recommendations. Meanwhile, as a resilient community of faith, we will work to stay engaged, connected, and learning.
As always, pray for those who, in this incredibly trying time are impacted the most, as well as their family members, friends, and the healthcare professionals who care for them. Let the words of Pope Francis be our guide and fill us with optimism as we move forward together: “We can live this life to the fullest - with our feet firmly planted on the ground - and respond courageously to whatever new challenges come our way.”
Nancy A. Barkan