On Friday, August 7, Regis High School shared its plan to safely and effectively operate for the 2020-21 academic year in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to students and parents, Rev. Daniel K. Lahart, SJ, announced that Regis would begin the year in remote instruction and hopefully transition to a hybrid in-person model after the midpoint of the first trimester.
The decision on whether to return to our historic building on Monday, October 19 using this hybrid model will be announced by October 1. In the meantime, the Regis administration will closely monitor the public health situation in New York as well as the experiences of other schools.
To read Regis' full Reopening Plan, please click the button below. Fr. Lahart's full letter to the Regis community can be read beneath the button.
|Read the Reopening Plan|
August 7, 2020
Dear Students and Parents:
The start of a new school year is always filled with great excitement. As much as we hate to see the end of summer, there is comfort in returning to routine, along with seeing old friends and making new ones. As a teacher, during the first class I would often ask students to open to the last chapter of the math textbook and have the students look at problems that were incomprehensible to them then, and assure them that they will be able to master those by the end of the year. The enterprise of learning is a core element of that new year excitement.
This is my twentieth year as a high school president, my fifth here at Regis. Clearly this has been the most unusual lead up to a new school year, and this year promises to be among the most challenging.
My administrative team and I have spent countless hours talking about, planning for, and going through various scenarios for the start of this new school year. We have listened to what other schools are doing, polled our faculty, and followed the latest information from state and local agencies. Just yesterday I ran our plan by Dr. Anthony Fauci ’58, and he agreed that it was the most prudent course of action given our specific circumstances.
We will begin our school year in remote instruction, at least through the end of the mid-trimester, October 16. We plan to make a decision on what happens after that by October 1. While we have taken steps to make in-person instruction at 84th Street as safe as possible for our students and faculty, we recognize that the greatest likelihood of infection remains the travel to 84th Street itself. Our average commute time for students is about 65 minutes each way, and is significantly higher for many. Our faculty and staff commute times are similar.
We feel strongly that given the success of our remote instruction in the spring, and the uncertainty about the safety of the public transportation system as schools and offices start up around Labor Day, we will best serve our community with a cautious approach which minimizes this currently unknown travel risk. We will watch the results at other schools carefully and continue to closely monitor the public health situation in the New York City area. Should we feel more comfortable after the first month, we will move to hybrid in-person instruction for the start of the second half of the trimester.
I am well aware that for many this is heart-breaking news. I am also aware that for many this news is a relief given your own concerns about travel. Personally, I am disappointed that this is our current situation, but I also feel that it is the prudent decision at this time.
I am most disappointed for the members of the Class of 2024 whom I was looking forward to welcoming to Regis in-person. That welcome will have to wait for the time being, at least the in-person element. Detailed information on orientation will be forthcoming from the Principal’s Office shortly. Other information for all years regarding textbooks, classes, and schedules will also be sent to you shortly. Our recently submitted reopening plan, mandated by NY State, which includes details on our plans for our hybrid model, can be found here.
The situation that we live in today is radically different from any of my previous 19 years as a president. I could never have imagined writing a letter like this. It is different for all of us, and we must make personal sacrifices for the good of all. While COVID-19 infections and deaths have thankfully decreased significantly in recent months here in New York, many other parts of the country are experiencing uncontrolled outbreaks. Just last month was the worst month on record for the United States for diagnosed cases. We are clearly not out of the woods yet.
I know Dr. Fauci holds hope for a vaccine in the coming months, and we can all hope that life might get back to some semblance of normal when that happens. Until then, please continue to take precautions to remain safe and healthy.
Be assured of my prayers for you at mass. Enjoy these final weeks of summer.
Daniel K. Lahart, SJ