Consolidated COVID-19 Information
Last Update: 3/20/2020, 3:15 pm
Good afternoon OLS School Community:
Here you'll find an updated list of all the information OLSS has released through social media, emails, the weekly newsletter and physical notes sent home. This post will be updated as more information is available; newest information will be here at the top of the post.
3.20.2020 | OLS Update - Friday, March 20, 2020
Good afternoon OLS Community:
Continued prayers for the safety and well-being of our students, families, faculty and staff!
Even though our school building is closed, learning will begin again on Monday, March 23 and continue until Bishop Flores gives the go ahead to physically open the building again. Please stress to your children that, while they’re at home, they are still expected to work on their schoolwork just as if we were in a classroom at school; this is not a three week spring break! Our Catholic Church has continually reminded parents that they are the first and foremost teachers of their children, so this becomes a challenge for us as parents to step up into that role as well.
The expectation is that students must engage in a combined total of four (4) hours of learning a day in their core subjects (English / language arts / reading / spelling / vocabulary, religion, math, science, social studies, and Spanish [Spanish for our 6-8 grade students]). Please note that this time frame is by TCCBED mandate; it’s not optional.
Teachers in PK-3 have packets to pick up today (Friday, March 20) until 6 pm at school, 4th graders took home a packet of work before spring break, and 5 – 8 grade have moved fully online with work on Google Classroom and other online sites. This may be adjusted as we continue to refine our approach to online learning, but in any case, our students are expected to work every day on their school work.
Remember that many of our books and resources are already online at our website: http://www.olsschool.org/academics/student-resources.cfm
Please continue to monitor email for further instructions, and please make your children aware of tracking / turn in methods teachers will ask for so that we have documentation of the learning taking place at home.
Finally, please be patient with us and with each other as we work on this shift in our educational model. Please make time as well to pray individually and together as a family.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” - The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
Our Lady of Sorrows School
3.19.2020 | Update: OLSS School Closure
Dear OLSS Families,
The Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Brownsville issued the following guidelines.
Due to the new executive order by Governor Abbot all Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Brownsville must close by midnight tomorrow, March 20th, 2020 and may not reopen until midnight April 3rd, 2020. Online learning may continue during this time.
You will be receiving a follow up email with pick-up instructions for packets/work for Grades PK3 - 3rd Grade for Friday, March 20th (tomorrow).
We ask for your continued prayers.
3.18.2020 | OLSS Update: Diocesan Guidance on Schools [Email]
Dear OLSS Families,
There has been much conversation in our diocese regarding our Catholic Schools and what will happen after Spring Break. We pray the Lord will protect our families from the devastating effect of the Coronavirus.
After consulting with our Bishops, other superintendents, guidance given by TCCBED, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and the County Health Departments, the following guidelines will be in affect after Spring Break.
1. Schools will remain closed the week of March 23 – 27, 2020.
- All students should stay home.
- All students will have an excused absence.
- Instruction will be given by each campus by means of:
1. Take home packets (that will need to be picked up at the schools)
2. Google Education, online instructions, etc.
1. Packets will be ready for parents to be picked-up on Friday March 20, 2020 (this information will follow)
2. You will be receiving an email from your students teacher with online instruction guidance
- All school events will be canceled until further notice.
- Schools will do a thorough cleaning and disinfecting before opening.
2. All staff will report back to the schools during the week of March 23 – 27.
- Teachers will be on duty to prepare lesson plans, provide instruction and communicate to parents as needed.
3. For parents who have no one to care for their child, our schools will assist them in this need. Students will be supervised at all times. However, we do ask that parents do not send their child to school if they are sick or have fever – they should stay at home.
- Each campus will give specific guidelines for students/parents entering our schools (these guidelines will follow)
4. Schools will re-open the week of March 30 – April 3, 2020.
- Since the virus can change our status day by day, we will keep all parents updated from time to time.
***IOWA testing will be postponed at this time.
We continue to follow the directives from our Bishop, and follow his recommendations as he stated in his letter – “Let us pray for one another, for the sick and vulnerable, and for those who care for them; let us be generous and kind in our responses to one another; let us take to heart the advisories of health officials, and let us use our common sense.”
For more information from the various agencies, please visit the following links:
- CDC | Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- CDC | Frequently Asked Questions
- Texas DSHS | Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
- Cameron County Public Health
- Hidalgo Health & Human Services
3.16.2020 | School Update: Beginning of Week OLSS Update [Email]
Dear OLSS Families,
Peace be with all of you. I hope each of you are enjoying the start of our Spring Break week. This message is to provide each of you with a start to the week report in light of the media attention surrounding COVID-19. As I stated last week, I am asking every and all parents to engage in communication with the school by means of our email system when asking questions, seeking answers and/or updates about this matter and potential next steps. A few have chosen the platform of social media via public or personal pages and this is not the best ways to express your concerns as this continues to produce panic rather than seeking healthy dialogue straight to your source (Our Lady of Sorrows School).
We are committed to keeping updated on the latest news and also the latest updates from CDC, TDHS, TEA, Texas Private School Association, Our Catholic Schools Office (Our Superintendent and Bishop Flores) on this matter. I have been receiving updates three times a day from these respective offices and partners and will provide another update mid-week and also at the end of the week on any changes to our operational and academic day a week from today. I have also been in partnership with our surrounding ISD's and we are also aware of their next steps. As of now, everything is being monitored accordingly and no change has been implemented for us. Remember, this may change after tomorrow's call with Bishop Flores and our Catholic School's Office. In the event of a change, we held an ad hoc meeting with teachers on Thursday and we are prepared as a school to provide online instruction and resources if need be. Trust that the safety, the health and the well-being is our top priority when it comes to our students and staff and we will not hesitate to take action once the proper guidance and decision is made.
In the meantime, I ask that everyone continue to pray, be patient, continue following our safeguards as we have been advised. Also, with any and all questions, I respectfully ask that you use our school email platform to reach out and be careful with what is posted to social media. Mr. De La Rosa and I are ready and willing to address any and all concerns you may have.
3.13.2020 | A Message from Bishop Flores [Social Media Post]
Bishop Flores encourages everyone to take the precautions necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). He reminds us, “It is not a moment to panic. It is a moment to help one another.”
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/271294873000109/posts/2643690325760540
3.13.2020 | Diocesan Holy Mass Guidelines [Social Media Post]
Directives from Bishop Flores for the celebration of Holy Mass as we continue to monitor the situation here in the RGV.
3.13.2020 | COVID-19 Update [Email / Physical Note Home]
Good morning OLS Community:
One quick correction from the newsletter - even though we've run Yearbook purchasing information in the newsletter and online since December, I still made a mistake on this last newsletter: the final day to order a yearbook is today (Friday, March 13). You may call the front office before 3:00 pm today to have the $60 cost added to your account. Thank you to those who already ordered, and please excuse the oversight in this last newsletter.
Secondly, please note that, as per the State PSIA Office, both our district PSIA Meet (March 28) and the State PSIA Meet (May 2) are cancelled. There will be no PSIA competition held this year.
Finally, please read this notice with the latest updates on OLS' response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation. We will update as needed during Spring Break.
3.12.2020 | Newsletter Update [Email]
Good afternoon OLS Community:
We are aware of rumors that say a member of our school community has fallen ill due to COVID-19. Please be aware that they are rumors, and we would appreciate OLS community members not making light of the situation or spreading misinformation. Our faculty and staff are following all necessary precautions as sent out by our Bishop, the Catholic Schools Office, and the Texas Department of Health & Human Services in order to ensure the safety of all staff and students.
Please note that tomorrow (Friday, March 13) is a full day of school, as well as the closing of the 3rd quarter. Students not on campus will be marked as unexcused (unless accompanied by a doctor's excuse), and there will no opportunity to make up any missed work.
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
3.12.2020 | Weekly Newsletter, Vol.5 , Issue 30 [Email]
4. Health Information
As we begin our Spring Break, please take note of the following information and directives:
1) Please be careful with travel plans over Spring Break, especially to areas where verified cases of illness are being reported
2) Students who appear sick after spring break (with travel or not) should be checked by a doctor before coming back on campus
3) Students who have fever may not come back on campus without a doctor's note, and must be fever free for 24 hours without the use of medication to help control the fever
4) OLS is deep cleaning and sanitizing the campus before students come back on March 23
5) Two PDF handouts are attached to this newsletter with information on speaking to students about the COVID-19 pandemic and on staying healthy during this time
6) More information was sent in previous newsletters - please continue to help your children follow those guidelines as well
Links to the two PDF documents included with the newsletter:
Talking to Children about COVID-19
What To Do If You Are Sick with Coronavirus
2.14.2020 | Weekly Newsletter [Email]
7. Novel Coronavirus Information
Please read the attached notice from the Texas Department of State Health Services on the Novel Coronavirus, especially the section on tips to help prevent contracting any respiratory illnesses.
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
Principal's Report April 2018
Principal’s Report to OLS School Community
SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT STUDY
Earlier in the school year Monsignor Barrera and the school council gave us permission to bring in outside educational consultants to conduct a school improvement study. The purpose of the study is to examine all areas relevant to student achievement, including instructional delivery, testing and curriculum, and strengthen them as needed. The consultants have begun their observations and collection of data in the middle school grades and will continue until the school year ends. We look forward to the final report and implementing their suggestions on how to continue to better our school.
Alliance with Notre Dame University
OLS School is in partnership with the University of Notre Dame and its Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) program. ACE program promotes Catholic education among graduate students seeking their Master in Education degree and places those highly qualified graduates in Catholic schools across the country. OLS is fortunate to have two such teachers on campus – Mr. DeSapio and Ms. Sternberg. Although Mr. DeSapio will be leaving at the end of the school year, a teacher has already been assigned to the position beginning in August.
OLS is applying for participation in the Notre Dame Center for STEM Education program (SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY / ENGINEERING / MATH) through the University of Notre Dame. This competitive program selects, funds, and trains cohorts of teachers who commit to a 3 summers, 2 school years intensive program that focuses on implementing STEM into all areas of the school curriculum. The program collaborates with researchers and practitioners at Notre Dame and across the nation to help all students innovate, engage, and excel in the STEM disciplines. We will update you as the process gets closer to the acceptance date.
Mrs. Luisa DeLeon
OLS: The Assistant Principal Awakens
Good Sunday afternoon! Here's a glimpse of a typical day for me now that I've had a chance to practice the Assistant Principal role at OLSS for nine weeks.
My mornings are very similar to my pre-AP days: supervising students in the gym, unlocking doors for Camera Crew / Worship Committee members, and supervising Worship Committee members as they set up our morning altar. An addition to my normal routine is that I'm also observing that staff members arrive on time to the gym to supervise their students (something I didn't have to focus on before). I'm also approached more by parents, staff and students with questions or issues before and after Morning Assembly. Additionally, when Mrs. DeLeon is not on campus in the morning, I'll do a quick walkthrough of the school to make sure there aren't any pressing issues that need to be taken care of before the school day begins, as well as checking in with staff members at all three morning drop-off areas. Finally, once or twice a month I'll have to attend 7:00 am meetings with parents, parish (Church) staff, or local community leaders who are all helping to make OLSS the best it can be.
After Morning Assembly I head up to Mr. Gomez's room to teach 6th grade religion Monday through Thursday. Once class is done, I'll typically head to the front office to check on messages or to see if any front office staff or Ms. DeLeon need to talk to me about anything. Once those conversations are done, I'll head to my office (located in the original building, next to Ms. Flores' office) to work on everything needed for Mass (Monday mornings) and to check that faculty members are posting homework / classwork / class announcements and grades in a timely manner (Monday afternoons).
One of my most important responsibilities throughout the week is helping teachers and other staff members maintain the discipline of the school. As such, I work with Ms. DeLeon, our team leaders (Ms. Cindy / Ms. Bay for Jr. High, Ms. Saenz for Elementary, and all five Montessori teachers) and homeroom teachers to make sure that all students are practicing behavior appropriate to their age and to our setting (a Catholic school). When students don't act as the saints they are becoming, I help ensure that our discipline plan is followed as justly as possible for all students and families. That means setting up parent, student, and/or teacher conferences, entering Discipline Slips into RenWeb, sending out notices of detention, and running detention on Thursday afternoons. It also means that one of my primary duties is responding to situations as they come up during the day - as much as I try to plan my day out, emergencies come before anything else.
The rest of my week is spent doing a combination of:
- grading / planning for Religion Class
- connecting to parents on the phone, through email, or in person
- talking to faculty and staff members
- observing staff and students throughout the day in all areas of the school
- working on our school social media sites
- working on the weekly Newsletter
- ensuring that Worship Committee members are ready for Mass practice
- making schedules for Altar Servers
- looking and planning ahead for special activities
- reading up on Catholic school leadership, Catholic teaching, technology, and educational resources to share and to help me become a better Assistant Principal
Finally, being Assistant Principal means that I'm at school late sometimes (until 9 pm some days!), at school on some weekends, and working at home most evenings and weekends as well. (Though that's something that our teachers do as well!)
All of this is done in the hope that our school continues to grow as a place where Jesus can be seen in every child, family, and faculty & staff member so that we can help each other eventually get to heaven. I look forward to continuing to serve our parish and school community, and I humbly continue to ask for your prayers for myself and everyone who is serving and ministering at our parochial Catholic school.
Blessings & Peace,
Hugo De La Rosa III
(And by the way, in case someone doesn't make the connection, the title of the article is a play on the titles of the last two Star Wars films - I'm eagerly awaiting December 13th!).
May God Bless you!