MARCH 23, 2020 UPDATE FROM PAUL ESCALA SUPERINTENDENT SCHOOLS
"As a result of the revised statewide “Safer at Home” order, remote learning will be extended through Sunday, April 19. Our intent is to resume in-person instruction on Monday, April 20, but much will depend on orders from public health officials at that time. We are committed to returning to on-campus instruction as soon as we can, but we must prepare for further extensions. Until then, we will maintain our remote learning programs and keep our families engaged, connected and learning together. We understand that some public school districts and private schools have identified alternative dates to reopen. Guidance and orders from public health officials have informed our decisions from the beginning of the crisis. As such, our return date is based on the most recent order from officials stated above."
Please read Superintendent Escala's letter to the Catholic School Community linked below.
March 23, 2020 Letter from Superintendent of Catholic Education Paul Escala
Campus & office closed to public traffic effective March 23, 2020
Effective Monday, March 23, 2020, Damien High School's campus and offices will be closed to public traffic. In compliance with mandates issued by the state of California and the Los Angeles Archdiocese, schools are considered "essential services". We will continue serving our students and families by doing it more safely by practicing social distancing and limiting community access to our campus buildings.
Our administrative and front office personnel remain available to support Damien students and families in every aspect, however we ask that families contact us via email and telephone for assistance. Our main school phone number is 909-596-1946. Damien faculty and staff can be reached via email via our website faculty/staff directory.
As we close out this first week since our transition to remote learning, we wish to thank our entire school community for your resilience, compassion, and commitment to our Spartans.
March 15, 2020 Email to Damien Families from Dr. Hemenway
With the just announced CDC Guidelines to discontinue gatherings of 50 or more, we are immediately changing tomorrow’s schedule.
We have asked faculty, who can, to be on campus from 8 – 10 am for consultation with students. We invite students to come to campus to pick up textbooks and, if necessary, to speak with their teachers. We will close campus mid-morning and move to our Remote Learning Schedule starting Tuesday.
Students, please have your Chromebooks charged and ready for some new and exciting learning possibilities starting Tuesday. If you did not check in on Monday, look for a communication through your Damien email address for your teacher’s instructions to sign in to third period class Tuesday morning by 8:30 am.
Teachers will once again be available remotely Tuesday afternoon from 12 to 3 pm to ask additional questions about continuing your class in a remote learning environment. Thank you all for your understanding in these most volatile times.
Merritt Hemenway, Ph.D. Principalnter your text here...
March 13, 2020 Email to Damien Families from Dr. Hemenway
Last night we called with an urgent message that we needed today, March 13 to prepare each of our teachers to fully enter in the world of remote online learning. We qualified any such move to cancelling face-to-face classes would be determined by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Today, in a conference call, Superintendent of Catholic Education, Paul Escala announced, just that. As of Tuesday March 17th all Archdiocesan schools, Elementary and Secondary, would be closing for two weeks, until April 1st to help do our part to curtail the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19.) His formal letter announcing this is attached to the email.
A few important notes. On Monday, which is a full day of classes, each teacher has been requested to explain to their students just how the online teaching will work. In short, each class period will have a three hour block of time in which to present material for their students that week. Any assignments are to be collected during that time period or given a future deadline later that week. By the end of each five day week all class periods will have had the opportunity to meet once. There are times for office hours and questions. Students will be expected to be available from 8:30 am until 3:00 pm.
Students will be graded by their teachers. Attendance in the online environment will be taken. Present means a student was involved in the class assignments for that class that week. Absent is if they did not log in or complete any expected assignment by the assigned deadline. Attendance will be taken twice a week for accountability.
We must stress, this is expected to be a high level learning experience. We have carefully prepared our teachers and we will continue to share ideas and suggestions so that we can all grow as online professionals in the two weeks of this time when we have been told to avoid gatherings.
To assist everyone you may have noticed a special link titled “Remote Learning” has been set up on the front page of our web page. This will be active by Monday, but it will contain the link to each teacher’s online learning platform and communication method. The online class meeting schedule and all the information you need will be posted there as well.
In a similar manner, all activities scheduled over these two weeks have been postponed or cancelled. All league athletic events are cancelled until April 13. There will be an abbreviated league schedule in the last three weeks of Baseline League play.
Once again, in preparation for the next two weeks of online instruction, it is important that students attend classes on Monday to learn the expectations directly from their teachers.
One further note, there was a meeting scheduled tomorrow morning for students interested in West Point. The face-to-face meeting has been cancelled, but if you send an email to Mr. Zimmermann, he will assist you in joining a zoom presentation Saturday morning.
This announcement included a file attachment. Click the PDF ICON to view.
March 12, 2020 Email to Damien Families from Dr. Hemenway
Dear Damien Families;
The Damien High School Administration, in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Loa Angeles, continue to actively monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and update our response based on the guidance we receive from the Archdiocese and the Los Angeles Office of Public Health. This situation is very fluid and evolving each day and we want to assure you that the priority of our staff is student health and safety.
Please note, any decision to close a school is made under the direction of the Los Angeles Archdiocese in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. There is NO RECOMMENDATION to close the school at this time.
However, out of an abundance of caution we are cutting back on some school activities in cancelling the Sophomore Ring Mass, scheduled for next week. The SPRING SPORTS Rally scheduled for Tuesday has been cancelled. We will be on Regular Schedule Tuesday. The Mass on March 19th is being replaced with a prayer service in each Theology class, we will be on Block A schedule Thursday with a 12:21 student dismissal. We will share other cancellations, as they are deemed necessary under the guidelines.
With that in mind, we spent time at Wednesday’s Faculty Meeting discussing a plan of action should we be advised to close school. After that discussion we determined that some faculty need additional training to be prepared for a long-term closure which involves things such as taking attendance and collecting assessments on line. We have subsequently received permission to have a “Remote Learning Day” on Friday March 13, as we did earlier in the year, to give time for faculty to prepare for a different way of teaching.
Recall that on a “Remote Learning Day” each teacher will submit a learning assignment for each student in their classes. The student will be expected to use the time during the day to complete that assignment and respond as requested.
With this additional training, we feel we will be better prepared for this immediate concern and have greater options for the future
Thank you for your understanding. Merritt Hemenway, Ph.D Interim President/Principal