School Announcement Regarding COVID-19 Closure


Good morning, knights community,

First, I want to thank you for your continued support, prayer, and partnership in the education of our beloved students.

The Department of Catholic Schools has determined that all Catholic school campuses will remain closed for the rest of this school year. Learning will continue according to the school calendar as planned but will do so through our remote learning model.

Please read the attached letter (in English and Spanish)from Mr. Paul Escala, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, for more information about this decision. All previously scheduled on-campus activities are cancelled with the exception of the Senior's Baccalaureate Service (where diplomas will be conferred), which has been re-scheduled to 6/13/2020. The next priority for scheduling will be the Spring Musical; we remain hopeful that, as we move into Phase 2, we will be able to hold this event during the summer.

St. Joseph High School is still scheduled to have senior finals on 5/20/2020 and 9th-11th final exams on 6/1/2020.

We will communicate locker pick up by 5/26/2020 via email and through "Monday Night Principal Coffee Talk."

We will return to campus for the 2020-2021 school year in August. We will communicate our return to campus for summer sports as more information becomes available. Summer school will be on Canvas this summer with zooms for one-on-one support as needed.

Thank you, and God Bless you,

4/3/2020 Update:

Hello, parents, students, faculty, and staff,

Please see the attached letter in English or Spanish from our superintendent of schools, Mr. Paul Escala. I am also adding a quotation, from his email to principals, at the bottom of this message.

What his announcement means for us: we remain hopeful that we CAN return at some point in May this year. Our scheduled last day of school is June 3rd on our calendar. We are in talks with our Academic Council and Executive Leadership team to operationalize what our return, God-willing, will look like on campus either in May or 6/1-6/3. We are also discussing what finals will look like this year if we aren’t on campus. I will address these issues and the Advanced Placement changes in Monday night’s Facebook live at 7pm on our school’s Facebook page.

I know that much is uncertain at this time, but I am proud that Mr. Escala has chosen to wait-and-see what the public health situation will be in late May rather than committing to closure for the rest of year at this juncture. We will all come back to campus when it is safe; right now we aren’t sure if that will be in May. We are praying hard that it will be this academic year, because we miss our students so much.

Regarding senior week and other scheduled events like the spring musical— these events will be rescheduled if it is not safe to hold them during their scheduled time. We are committed to holding senior week for all our students who have worked so hard these past 4 years, and we are committed to our student cast of the play. We aren’t ready to give concrete dates about when these events will happen, but they WILL happen.

During this time, we ask for your prayers for all our students, who we know are still working incredibly hard on their academics. I ask for your prayers for our faculty, who with 1 day’s notice shifted their teaching modality in a seamless transition and have been consistently refining their pedagogical practice and instructional delivery in this online environment. And I ask you to pray for our parents and families who are raising, loving, and nurturing our students in a crisis that would have been unimaginable just a month ago. Mrs. Gregory sent me a funny meme a few weeks ago that I’m sure rings true for all of us: “I didn’t expect to give up quite this month for Lent.” So, while it’s a funny meme, it’s also a reminder that we ARE a resurrection people. We WILL rise from this as a stronger and more resilient knights family.

I look forward to unpacking all of this with you on Monday night.

May God Bless you and keep you close to Him during this Lenten season,

“As you know, there has been much said lately about the status of the school year for our peers in public schools across the state. Naturally, questions about our status are being asked. From the start of this crisis, our practice has been to follow the guidance of public health officials in our respective communities. While statements from our civic leaders are important, orders from public health officers are enforceable. To that end, I have been engaged with our partners in public health to seek further guidance on what we should expect. As the letter states, we do not have a date to return to in-person instruction; we will return when it is safe to do so. Though we remain hopeful, we may not be able to return to campus this school year.” -Paul Escala, 4/3/2020

Link to a short video from Archbishop Gomez in thanks for Catholic schools during the pandemic:

Yours in Education,
Erinn Dougherty, M.A.Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.(ABD), CPSA
Principal, St. Joseph High School, Archdiocese of Los Angeles

3/18/2020 Update:
Find information about Canvas and learn how to "pair as an observer" with your student clicking here.

Message 3/17/2020:

Please click English or Spanish to read a letter from our ADLA Superintendent of Schools, Mr. Paul Escala regarding the closing of schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles effective 3/17/2020.

How this affects St. Joseph High School:

As Mr. Escala noted, California has now entered a critical new phase in the fight to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Though there are no known confirmed cases of COVID-19 among staff or students in our schools, we believe closing our schools will make an important contribution to the effort to slow the spread of the virus. For that reason, in solidarity with our partners in public and private education, and in consultation with government and public health officials, St. Joseph High School will close and move to remote learning effective Tuesday, March 17th.

We are blessed during this time that we are a CANVAS school. We are able to leverage the CANVAS classroom into a fully-online learning modality for your student. Our teachers will all be working full time, and your student should anticipate attending school full time from home. There will be work IN EVERY CLASS ON EVERY DAY in CANVAS modules for your student to work on. By 9am every morning, your student's daily work will be loaded in his/her classes. You will still be able to monitor CANVAS daily from home as you always have.

Families should anticipate the closure period to last at least through Tuesday, March 31st. All planned school-sponsored activities during this period will be suspended. It’s possible that the closure period may be extended – please be prepared. This decision will be made in coordination with local and state public health officials. We will keep you informed.

Please monitor your email and check for Kenect text messages for updates.

What happens Monday, 3/16/2020:
On Monday we will have a school day from 7:45-2:30; it is a regular school day. Each teacher will address his/her students regarding what they will be covering over the next two weeks and answering any questions respective to that particular class. When students leave campus on Monday afternoon, they will not return until April 1st at the earliest.

Canceling of Activities/Events/Athletics:
As of Tuesday, March 17th, all student activities, events, and athletics will be canceled. The St. Joseph Community Theater Production of Disney's Beauty and the Beast is tentatively rescheduled to the first weekend in April, if school is back in session beginning April 1, 2020. If school does not resume on April 1st, then the play will be performed the weekend of April 24th.

The Father's Mass, scheduled for the Feast of St. Joseph on 4/19/2020 will be rescheduled in coordination with Youth Ministry and Fr. Ed, but is tentatively rescheduled for the week of April 27th. The Archdiocesan Christian Service Mass originally scheduled for 3/17/2020 is also rescheduled for a date to be determined by the ADLA.

All athletics are suspended until the re-opening of school, tentatively scheduled for 4/1/2020.

As BASH is scheduled before the date of school closure and is an optional event with under 250 people in attendance, it is not cancelled; however, there will be social distancing measures implemented. Anyone not feeling well should not attend. Any parent who volunteered for service hours at the event can choose to do their service hours at a different event if they let Laurie Gonzalez know so that she can adjust volunteer hours ( Please contact her before the event if you are a parent volunteer who prefers to work another event this spring in lieu of BASH volunteering. This is a voluntary and optional event, and no person is mandated to attend or volunteer at the event.

Academic Awards, which was rescheduled from 2/2/2020 to 4/6/2020, is tentatively scheduled to remain on 4/6/2020. Obviously this situation is fluid and ever changing. Currently there is no one in our county who has tested positive for COVID-19, and we anticipate that school will be open on 4/6; however, we will keep you updated as the situation unfolds. If we return to school on 4/1/2020. then we will hold Academic Awards on 4/6/2020 as planned.

The SAT testing administration on 3/14/2020 will go on as scheduled, as the school closure does not begin until 3/17/2020. Students who were already scheduled to take the SAT on St. Joe's campus on Saturday should contact the College Board (where they signed up for the exam) if they choose not to attend testing on Saturday.

What should I do if I or someone in my family contracts COVID-19?
Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The student’s family must notify the school immediately. The school will work with the local health department and other relevant leadership to communicate possible COVID-19 exposure to the school community. If a child or staff member has been identified with COVID-19, school and program administrators will seek guidance from local health officials to determine when students and staff should return to school and what additional steps are needed. Students and staff who are well but are taking care of /share a home with someone with a case of COVID-19 should follow instructions from local health officials to determine when to return to school (and not return when closure ends without consultation).

Final Thoughts
This situation is ever-changing. We understand that a school closure is not something to take lightly. We will be closely monitoring the events, and we will be communicating with parents at least weekly as the event unfolds. We also began planning for this possibility last week, with a large faculty meeting to discuss how to keep high rigor and academic expectations if a closure were to happen. We are blessed that all our students are comfortable working online through CANVAS. We believe that this integration in our classrooms for the past two years will be what keeps the school running smoothly even when our students are working from home.

Closing schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for at least two weeks mid-year is unprecedented. We recognize the significant impact this extended closure will have on our entire community, students, families, and staff. We also acknowledge the burden this will place on our staff and working families. As a community of faith, we must come together and help one another – communicate, share resources, offer support.

Thank you for your continued patience, grace and support through this challenging period for our world. May the Providence of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit watch over our communities, heal the sick and protect our health care providers, to bring this crisis to an end.

Yours in Education,

Erinn Dougherty, M.A.Ed., M.Ed., Ed.D.(ABD), CPSA
Principal, St. Joseph High School, Archdiocese of Los Angeles