THE PATH BACK

The Health and Safety of the OLMA community, combined with providing exceptional academics and meaningful student experiences, are central to our plan to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged us all to re-think many aspects of everyday life. Face coverings have become the norm, and the firm handshake replaced with elbow bumps and virtual hugs.  We’re questioning the safety of things that many took for granted, like eating out, riding the school bus, and sitting in a classroom.

On the plus side, COVID-19 has brought many families closer, and more grateful for one another and those we hold most dear. At OLMA, that includes our teachers, staff members, students, and all of our families, both immediate and extended.

OLMA formed a Reopening Task Force to develop The Path Back as we approach a new school year. In addition to pooling our collective resources, the Task Force, comprised of many different workgroups, has worked with health and safety, operations and logistics, medical, and education experts from across the country as part of 90-Day ISM Roadmap to Campus Reopening Program.  This resource, along with input received from students and families and guidance from state and federal officials, the Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization, has been invaluable.  Together, we explored many different scenarios and created The Path Back reopening plan.

The one thing we can all be certain about is continued uncertainty. We need to be prepared to turn on a dime should things change — for the better or worse. Flexibility and cooperation are essential as we work as one OLMA community to protect and educate our students. We are all blazing new trails and are bound to be detoured along the way. Together, we will stay on course while continuing to act in the best interests of our students, faculty, and staff.

OLMA REOPENING TASK FORCE

CORE TEAM

Brooke A. Coyle, Head of School
Sister Margaret Curcio, D.M.
Mary Jane Kinkade, Director of Admissions & Marketing
Matt Lenguadoro, Athletic Director
Celia Ragonese, Development Director
Sue Scoma, School Nurse
Jennifer Valore, Dean of Academics & Leadership
Carina Zippel, Business Director

WORKGROUPS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Academics and Student Experience:
Jennifer Valore
Nicole Donovan
Annie Farnoly

Business Continuity:
Carina Zippel
LeeAnn Jaep

Campus Operations & Logistics:
Matt Lenguadoro
Sr. Margaret Curcio
Joan Helms
Mary Jane Stanzione

Communications:
Mary Jane Kinkade
Tina Bartleson
Natalie Cusick
Joan Helms
Celia Ragonese

Health & Wellness:
Susan Scoma
Donna Mulholland
Melissa Szawlewicz

THE SURVEY SAID...

96% of current OLMA families strongly agree or agree that the health and safety of students, faculty, and staff is a top priority at OLMA.

More than half of current OLMA families are comfortable beginning the school year with a hybrid learning model featuring a combination of on campus and online instruction.

83% of OLMA teachers strongly agree or agree that it is important for students to always wear a mask when indoors at school.

71% of current OLMA families strongly agree or agree that OLMA's Online Learning Program met the academic challenges of Semester II during the 2019-2020 school year.

91% of new OLMA families report wearing a mask and staying at least 6-feet apart when in an indoor public environment.

Introducing the Hybrid Flex Model

Academic success is a result of a number of different factors, including the cognitive, social & emotional well-being of a student.  Central to this positive development of all students is an intentional, structured, and supported model for learning that considers the critical facets of growth essential to realizing academic success.  

The strength of our OLMA sisterhood is evident in the desire of our students and teachers to be united as one.  During a time when coming back to campus this fall must be reimagined, so too must our learning model for academic success.  This is where our journey on The Path Back begins — with the OLMA Hybrid Flex blueprint for learning.   

The Hybrid Flex model’s foundation is multidimensional, supporting the academic, social, and emotional development of students with consideration for the need for both classroom and distance learning at an unprecedented time.  Its framework is constructed in accordance with research-based methods for hybrid learning, including best practices for distance learning, and is supported by maximizing face-to-face time with teachers while providing a robust online learning program designed to strengthen and advance, not replace classroom education.

OLMA’s Hybrid Flex model of learning brings students to campus at least two days a week with a focus on constructive educational opportunities and purposeful student engagement. Distance learning will be implemented on the remaining days of the week where a structured and supportive online learning program will be administered throughout the school day.

“Flex Days” have been incorporated into the scaffolding of the hybrid model of learning to deliver meaningful opportunities, whether it be on-campus or online, to support the OLMA Sisterhood and overall student, teacher, and staff experience.  These include, but are not limited to class meetings, Mass and Communion services, faculty planning, sisterhood activities, socio-emotional learning, and academic support. Together, on-campus and distance learning within the Hybrid Flex structure will focus on the inclusion of academic support mechanisms and the reinforcement of a culture of accountability critical to student success within a hybrid learning environment. Ultimately, this model also provides for the flexibility of successfully returning to full distance learning if compulsory, as well as increasing time on campus when achievable.

For a graphic on the science behind blended learning models like the Hybrid Flex, as well as additional details on both in-person and distance learning days, click on the images to the right or CLICK HERE.

Flex Fridays

Fridays will be “Flex Days” used for a variety of things including class meetings, Mass and Communion services, faculty planning, sisterhood activities, socio-emotional learning, academic support, and more.

TASK FORCE PRESENTS
PLAN OVERVIEW

On Thursday, September 27, members of the OLMA Reopening Task Force presented an overview of The Path Back plan as well as shared additional details on the Hybrid Flex and Online Flex learning models.  If you were unable to attend, you can view the recording HERE.

HEALTH & SAFETY

The health and safety of the OLMA community is our top priority as we approach the 2020-2021 school year. While we will be back on campus in a limited capacity, things will look different. Here is some of what you can expect:

  • All students, faculty, and staff will be expected to adhere to a new Sick Policy (coming soon).
  • Students will screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms via a questionnaire before leaving home in the morning.  It will be shown to a designee at the doorway before entering the building.
  • While on campus, students, faculty, and staff will be at least 6-feet apart at all times.
  • While indoors, students, faculty, and staff must wear face coverings at all times (except when eating).
  • Hand sanitizer stations will be available at all entrances and throughout the building.
  • Travel in the stairwells and hallways will be in one direction only and will be clearly marked.
  • Class changes will be kept to a minimum and surfaces will be thoroughly sanitized after every use.
  • Anyone who travels to a high-risk state as designated by the State of New Jersey will be required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days and be symptom-free before returning to school.

CLICK HERE to download a flyer on Student Protocol.

CLICK HERE to download a flyer on General Safety Guidelines.

ACADEMICS & STUDENT EXPERIENCE

The Hybrid Flex is a multidimensional model of learning focused on delivering constructive educational opportunities and purposeful student engagement while supporting the academic, social, and emotional development of students with consideration for the need for both classroom and distance learning at an unprecedented time.

  • Hybrid Flex model maximizes face-to-face time with teachers.

  • Robust online learning program designed to strengthen and advance, not replace classroom learning.

  • Multidimensional format that supports the academic, social, and emotional development of students with consideration for both classroom & distance learning.

  • Educational model constructed in accordance with research-based methods for hybrid learning, including best practices for distance learning.

  • Structured and supported distance learning throughout a school day.

  • Flexible weekly schedule that provides meaningful opportunities to support the OLMA Sisterhood and overall student experience.

  • Programming focused on the incorporation of academic support mechanisms and the reinforcement of a culture of accountability essential to student success within a hybrid learning environment.

  • Hybrid Flex model designed to ease the transition between modes of instruction should adjustments be necessary or required.

Frequently Asked Questions

Health & Safety

What measures have you taken to help ensure a healthy building and safe learning environment?

Our entire facility has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  Intense cleaning will continue daily during and after school.  We’ve also developed procedures for cleaning all classroom and cafe surfaces in between uses.  In addition, we’ve added numerous hand-sanitizing stations throughout the building, created one-way traffic flow, reconfigured all instructional spaces and added signage for use in maintaining social distancing, and allowed for adequate ventilation and airflow throughout our facility.

Will masks be required for students, faculty, and staff while on campus?

Yes, masks will be required for everyone inside our facility at all times except when eating.  CLICK HERE for tips on how to properly wear a non-medical fabric mask.

Please note:  Always wear a mask over your nose and mouth in public spaces. Even if you don’t feel sick, germs can spread to others through respiratory droplets produced by breathing, talking, sneezing, and coughing.

How will you be screening students for COVID-19 symptoms?

Students will screen themselves for COVID-19 symptoms using the AUXS Safety App.  Watch for information coming your way soon.

 

Will students need to self-quarantine at home after traveling to one of the high-risk areas identified by the State of New Jersey? If so, for how long?

Yes.  Anyone who travels to an area considered high risk must self-quarantine at home before returning to campus.  For a current list of high-risk areas and additional details, CLICK HERE.

Self-Quarantine Tips

Will students need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to returning to campus?

No. At this time NJ DOE/CDC does not advocate lab testing prior to beginning the school year.  Students will, however, need to conduct daily symptom screenings prior to arriving on campus each day.

In terms of health and safety, what should we be doing now to prepare for the return to school?

Steps To Protect Yourself And Others

  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Face coverings are required in indoor public spaces and in outdoor public spaces when social distancing is difficult to maintain.
  • Keep six feet between yourself and others whenever possible and avoid crowded areas.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. For more, see the CDC’s guidelines on how to properly clean and disinfect.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

We ask that every family have a working thermometer at home prior to the start of school.  In addition, please avoid traveling to any high-risk areas for at least 14 days prior to arriving on campus.  This will greatly reduce the risk of contracting Covid-19.

What happens if someone has symptoms while on campus?

Any student who displays any symptoms will be immediately directed to the OLMA nursing staff for further evaluation.

What happens if a student or faculty/staff member tests positive for COVID-19 after being on campus? Will we be notified?

Anyone tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to isolate at home for a minimum of 72 hours and be symptom-free without the use of fever reducing medications.  Once that milestone is reached, isolation will continue for an additional 10 days.  Anyone who has close contact with an infected person will be notified and asked to quarantine at home for 14 days. 

What is the difference between isolation and quarantine?

Quarantine is for people who have been exposed to COVID-19, but are unsure if they have it and showing no symptoms.  Isolation is for people who are suspected of having COVID-19 or have tested positive whether or not they are showing symptoms.

Self-Quarantine Tips

Will students be eating in the new OLMA Cafe and how will food be distributed?

The new OLMA Cafe has passed all inspections and will be ready to welcome students later this month.  We are in the process of configuring the cafe for use in safely seating students.

During the first few weeks of school, the OLMA Cafe will provide a limited selection of pre-packaged grab-and-go items.  A form for use in pre-ordering lunch will be available soon.

Please note:  Lunches brought from home must be ready-to-eat and packed in insulated bags with ice packs.  Students will not have access to the refrigerator, microwave, or toaster at the beginning of the school year.  Lunches will be stored in student lockers.

Academics & Student Experience

When will school start this year?

Please CLICK HERE for an update on the timing of our reopening.

CLICK HERE for a list of key opening dates.

How often will students attend school on campus?

The Hybrid Flex Model will bring students to campus for two full days of instruction.  In addition, Friday Flex Days may also provide additional time on campus for class meetings, Mass and Communion services, and more.

What are the arrival and dismissal times for on-campus days?

All students should be in the building by 8 AM and in homeroom by 8:10 AM.  Dismissal will be at approximately 2:35 PM each day.

How will on-campus days be structured?

We will be using a block schedule for on-campus days, similar to the one we used on Tuesdays and Thursdays last year.  Please see the tentative Hybrid Flex Bell Schedule linked here.  Please note:  This is subject to change.

What approach will you be taking for distance-learning days?

The Hybrid Flex model’s foundation is multi-dimensional, supporting the academic, social, and emotional development of students with consideration for the need for both classroom and distance learning at an unprecedented time.  Its framework is constructed in accordance with research-based methods for hybrid learning, including best practices for distance learning, and is supported by maximizing face-to-face time with teachers while providing a robust online learning program designed to strengthen and advance, not replace classroom education.

OLMA’s Hybrid Flex model of learning brings students to campus at least two days a week with a focus on constructive educational opportunities and purposeful student engagement. Distance learning will be implemented on the remaining days of the week where a structured and supportive online learning program will be administered throughout the school day.

What schedule will students follow when using the Online FLEX model?

Please CLICK HERE to view the Online FLEX schedule that will be used for the first two weeks of school.  The Mind, Body, and Soul program will begin on Wednesday, September 16th.  Students should check the Village Vault Google Classroom for all the details and connect with the course options.

Will fall athletic practices and competitions take place?

OLMA Athletics will follow NJSIAA guidelines for returning to fall sports. All physicals must be completed and required paperwork submitted to the Athletic Director by August 10.

At this time, summer workouts will continue until August 28. We will have a ‘virtual practice’ period from August 29 – September 13. All Athletes are expected to participate in Coach-led remote workouts. Starting on September 14, practices will take place after school. Students attending school will practice.  Students learning remotely are also invited and encouraged (but not required) to attend practices and games.  The regular-season schedule is slated to begin in October.

Other schools in the state and across the country where the virus is much worse are returning to campus full-time. Why can't we?

The Health and Safety of the OLMA community, coupled with providing exceptional academics and meaningful student experiences, are central to our plan to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.

To guide our efforts, OLMA formed a Reopening Task Force.  In addition to pooling our collective resources, the Task Force, comprised of many different workgroups, has worked with health and safety, operations and logistics, medical, and education experts from across the country as part of 90-Day ISM Roadmap to Campus Reopening Program.  This resource, coupled with input received from students and families and guidance from state and federal officials, the Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization, has been invaluable.  Together, we explored many different scenarios and created The Path Back reopening plan.

We believe our multidimensional plan supports the academic, social, and emotional development of students with consideration for the need for both classroom and distance learning during an unprecedented time. It also provides for the flexibility of successfully returning to full distance learning if compulsory, as well as increasing time on campus when achievable.

If I'm in Village 1 and my best friend is in Village 2, will we ever get to see each other?

Yes!  Making sure that entire classes can spend time together on campus was one of the reasons we created Friday Flex Days.  They will be used for all sorts of things including holding in-person class meetings, Mass and Communion services, sisterhood activities, academic support, and much more.

How will classrooms be configured?

Our Campus Operations & Logistics workgroup is working with teachers individually to configure their classrooms to ensure social distancing and effective instruction.  All desks will be at least six feet apart.

If I am uncomfortable sending my daughter to campus on in-person days, will you provide an online option?

Yes, OLMA recognizes that the pandemic has affected our community in a variety of ways and some of our students may not be comfortable returning to school at this time. We will provide a distance learning option for those students. If you are considering a fully remote experience, please contact Mrs.Coyle@olmanj.org as soon as possible.

Do you anticipate a full return to on-campus learning this school year?

We want nothing more than to be fully back on campus, but we must do it safely.  We are not there yet but will continue to monitor the situation and alter our plans accordingly.

Transportation

Will you be providing bus transportation this fall?

ST. AUGUSTINE BUS RIDERS:  Busing through St. Augustine Prep will continue as planned. Students must wear face coverings at all times and social distance whenever possible.  Hand sanitizer will be available upon boarding and departing the bus.  All buses will be thoroughly cleaned daily and transport OLMA and St. Augustine Prep students only. Weather permitting, windows will be open to allow for better ventilation.  In addition, seating charts will be developed and adhered to in the event contact tracing is needed.  

If you are interested in purchasing bus vouchers for occasional use,please email mrs.cusick@olmanj.org.

VINELAND BUS RIDERS:  The Vineland School District will not be able to offer transportation services this year.  Parents may be eligible for “Aide in Lieu” in the amount of $1,000 per child.  If circumstances related to the pandemic change, they will re-evaluate the ability to provide this service.

Many of the St. Augustine Prep buses are completely full. Will they be adding buses or routes to allow for social distancing?

St. Augustine Prep has added a bus (No. 11) in the Mullica Hill area to accommodate increased demand and allow for social distancing. It has two stops — ACME on Centre Square Road in Swedesboro with a 6:25 am pick-up time and CVS on Centre Square Road in Woolwich Township with a pick-up time of 6:32 a.m.  If you would like to change your daughter’s bus to No. 11, please contact Mrs. Cusick at 856-697-2008 x 120 or mrs.cusick@olmanj.org.  

Will OLMA families receive discounted pricing since students will only be on campus part-time?

No.  The price will remain the same even though OLMA students may be riding the bus fewer days.  Refunds will be issued only if the St. Augustine Prep buses stop running in the event of a return to full distance learning. Please note that per diem refunds will be issued for all St. Augustine Prep COVID closing days only.  Refunds will not be issued for emergency inclement weather closings. 

If I decide not to ride the bus this year, can I get my deposit back?

 Yes. If you decide not to ride the bus, St. Augustine Prep will refund your $200 deposit.  You must notify OLMA by August 21 to qualify for a refund.

If I decide to begin the year without busing, will my daughter's spot still be available if I want to resume bus transportation later in the year? If so, will the price be reduced?

You may elect to resume bus transportation in Semester II provided there is a spot available.  The cost to ride the bus for Semester II only is $850.  No partial-semester refunds or discounts will be issued.  

"Despite the instability in our world, Lily looks forward to the stability that OLMA has offered her. She continues to thrive with her classes and the amazing young ladies in her friend group. This is another reason why sending her to OLMA is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made! OLMA has been a gift to our daughter in so many ways and we are so grateful!"

Kendra LemauroOLMA Parent

"We are incredibly impressed with the level of continued education being provided, during this unprecedented time. The foresight and foreword thinking of the administration is the best -- bar none! Today's young ladies are tomorrow's leading women and we are so blessed that OLMA is a part of our daughter's path and journey!"

Renee and Rocco MililloOLMA Parents

"I like the change to online learning. It's forcing us to learn new things, which is exciting. We are using Zoom a lot, even on days when we don't normally have live lectures. The teachers are very understanding and always checking in about our work as well as how we're feeling."

Adrianna DodgeClass of 2021

"This is something I never expected, but as a teacher, I've learned to adapt to anything. It's what we do. Every class is different, so we never teach the same thing the same way. We learn to be flexible and to teach in whatever way best meets the needs of our students. Right now, that's online. While it is a challenge and a lot of work, it's also kind of fun."

Susan CavagnaroOLMA History and Sociology Teacher