Below you will find the re-entry plan document that was released to families via Constant Contact on July 15, 2020 (*updated July 29th) with a video presentation.  A Gesu Parent PTO Session was scheduled for July 15, 2020.  A Zoom Town Hall with the Gesu Administration took place on July 22, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. (the archived recording is below) in order to answer additional questions. A follow up ZoomTown Hall took place on August 6,2020 (the archived recording is below).  Please submit your questions via email: Communications@gesu.com

Video Overview

Click on the image above for the video of Lucy Iemmolo, Regan Kazel, Mary Carol Jones, and Michael Martinek walking families through a brief overview of the Re-Entry Plan. Videos of physically distanced classrooms and examples of signage will be forthcoming.

Re-Entry Plan

Click on the above image for the full Gesu Catholic School Re-Entry Plan. It is subject to change and will be updated as needed. The current version is as of 11:00 am 7/29/2020.

Town Hall Meeting #1

Gesu Catholic School’s first Virtual Town Hall about the Re-Entry Plan.

Town Hall Meeting #2

Gesu Catholic School’s second Virtual Town Hall on the Re-Entry Plan.

Past Communications about COVID-19 and Return to School 2020-2021
Dear Gesu Families,
As we began our journey of planning for a safe return to school, the Cuyahoga
County Board of Health has and continues to be most beneficial in helping us navigate our path. Many of you have already seen the recommendation made by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health. Essentially, all schools were advised to begin our school year in a remote manner. It is a recommendation, not a mandate. 
We operate schools of choice. No one appreciates this more than you, as parents, who sacrifice personally and financially to provide Catholic values. We appreciate the partnership that exists between us and are grateful for the trust you have placed in us to provide a safe, quality Catholic education for your children. 
Since the communication of this recommendation by the CCBH, we have had meetings as a Pastoral Staff, discussions with area Catholic schools and dialogue with our superintendents of Catholic education. We are extremely confident in the plan that was presented to you several weeks ago.
We have heard from many of you. Some offering recommendations, some stating disagreements and many offering support and encouragement for our back to school planning throughout the summer. Based on our continuous conversations and feedback shared, we have made a decision to join our area Catholic schools and move forward with the plan for blended learning that we have shared with all of you as we begin the 2020-2021 school year. In our blended model, we will provide both on-campus instruction as well as remote learning. 
We remind you that our plan is fluid and continues to evolve. We will provide updates and revisions as they are made. Additionally, if as a parent, you wish to change your learning option, please feel free to contact the school. About three weeks remain before the start of school. We will continue to monitor and adjust as necessary. We will monitor any and all data provided by local and state health authorities.

Sincerely,

Lucy Iemmolo
Principal 
Regan Kazel
Assistant Principal 
Mary Carol Jones
Assistant Principal
Significant updates from the past week include the following:
  • Yesterday morning our Re-Entry team met with two advisors from PSI and University Hospital. They toured our building and gave us commendations as well as further guidance on a number of topics. We will continue to make adjustments to maximize the safety of each child, parent, teacher, and staff member. It was a positive and productive meeting for all.
  • As you have seen in Mr. Culkar’s communications, at this time, CYO is going forward with both their volleyball and cross country programs. They are waiting for more guidance on how to handle football and soccer since both sports involve more direct contact between athletes. Mr. Culkar will be joining us for the Town Hall meeting to field any questions you may have about CYO and its programs as they relate to Gesu athletics.
  • Thank you to all who responded so promptly to our Re-Entry document. We now have been able to finalize the class lists for the coming school year. Within the next week your child will receive a letter from their new homeroom teacher because we know how important these relationships will be in the coming year.
  • At this time, it is no longer possible to request adjustments to our class
    lists. We need to move forward with scheduling, planning, etc. and we ask your cooperation with this policy. However, we will be able to make a change from campus learning to remote learning (or opposite way) if you need to do so.
  • A link to our second Town Hall Meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening at 7 PM will be sent to you on Thursday morning. Fr. Kiser, school administrators, PTO presidents and Mr. Matt Culkar will be present to answer your questions. Please email any questions regarding both our academic and athletic programs to communications@gesu.com prior to the Town Hall.
In closing, we would like to reiterate that we appreciate your choice. It is not an easy one. As the primary educators of your child(ren), we believe you will need to make a decision that best suits your family
Dear Gesu Families,
Several weeks ago, Governor DeWine charged schools with the responsibility of reopening buildings for student learning. Our additional responsibility has been to reopen within the guidance offered by the State of Ohio, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Cuyahoga County Board of Heath in ensuring the health and safety of students, staff and families.
From the onset, we have stated that we will operate in a manner to ensure the safety of all. We realize that this has been a personal and challenging decision for so many of you. We understand that there are a wide variety of opinions surrounding our return to school, but we can all agree on the complexity of the planning and programs, and in how important Gesu School is to you and your families in providing the academic and emotional development of our young students.
Throughout the summer we have been researching best practices and are confident that our school is prepared to open. Gesu has been in full compliance with the recommendations. Today, July 31st, we asked for your responses and commitment to the 20-21 school year. We THANK YOU for promptly responding, and for the confidence and support you have shared with us.  
This pandemic has upended our educational world, once again.  Yesterday, July 30, 2020, we received communication from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH), that based on the continuing rise in the number of daily cases of COVID-19 and the capacity of COVID-19 testing for children, the CCBH recommends the 2020-2021 school year begin remotely. This recommendation is due to the elevated risk presented to our students, staff and family members. Also recommended is the discontinuation of sports and extracurricular activities.
Please know that we are aware and will be weighing all of these recommendations and challenges as we continue to navigate our return to school. We are in discussion with our Diocesan Education Office, and we will gain input from our Gesu Task Force and various stakeholders.  As this new information was just received, we ask for your patience and understanding as we begin to work through the details and review the impact that this will have on our school community.
Please trust that we will continue to make decisions in the best interest of our Gesu School community. 
Sincerely,
Lucy Iemmolo  

Principal

Regan Kazel
Assistant Principal
Mary Carol Jones
Assistant Principal 

Updated Re-Entry Plan
The following changes have been made to the Gesu Re-Entry Plan:

  • If Cuyahoga County is declared a level 4 or purple designation in the state-wide COVID System Gesu Catholic School will transition to full remote learning.
  • Students who have selected remote-learning will have the same teacher
    if/when they return to the classroom.
  • There will be a remote learner agreement that all students must sign, even if they have elected in person learning. This agreement will then be in place if the whole school goes remote.
  • Any activities will be done with safety in mind and will often be in a virtual format. Students will remain in their cohort groups.
  • Any face covering worn must be school appropriate, there are no color/design restrictions.
  • A plain navy blue polo shirt has been added to all grade levels as a uniform option. Ties will be optional this year. There are also some changes to the physical education uniforms. Please look for all details to be released in the updated handbook in early August.
  • Staggered Entry of Students:
    August 31 Remote Learners on Campus (remote learning with your grade level for the remainder of
    the week)
    September 1 First day for Grades 7 & 8 (remote learning the remainder of the week)
    September 2 First day for Grades 5 & 6 (remote learning the remainder of the week)
    September 3 First day for Grades 3 & 4
    September 4 First day for Grades 1 & 2

The full plan is available at the following link: Updated Re-Entry Plan
Please submit any questions you may have via the following email:
communications@gesu.com.

 

Questions Related to the Gesu Re-Entry Plan.

This document is a compilation of all of the questions we have received from the PTO parent meeting from
July 15, 2020 and any emailed question submitted to communications@gesu.com prior to July 21, 2020.
Gesu’s responses are in red.

Link to Questions and Answers

Gesu Re-Entry Plan

 

Please click on the image below to watch the overview YouTube video for our Re-Entry Plan.
Please click on the image below to be directed to a PDF copy of the Gesu Re-Entry Plan.

 

All Families Must Complete This Form

 

Gesu School Re-Opening Form
 
Your answers to the questions in the form linked below will provide us with the critical information we need to implement our re-opening plans.  Families with multiple students at Gesu should submit this form for EACH student. This is only for students in Kindergarten through Grade 8. Please complete this form by 4:00 pm on Friday, July 24, 2020. Thank you!
Please click the image below for the Re-Opening Form:

 

Gesu PTO Virtual Parent Meeting Tonight
Wednesday July 15, 2020, at 7:00 pm

 

Gesu PTO is hosting a meeting for parents to come together and review the Gesu Re-Entry Plan on the release date. We will review the plan to help prepare for the school’s Virtual Town Hall. Link only in Constant Contact.

Topic: Gesu PTO Virtual Parent Meeting
Time: Jul 15, 2020 07:00 PM

 

Virtual Town Hall

 

A Virtual Town Hall will take place using Zoom on July 22, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. (archived recording will be released after) in order to answer additional questions. Please submit your questions via email: communications@gesu.com. A Constant Contact email with the link to the Zoom meeting will go out earlier in the day on July 22nd.

 

All Shaker Heights Families

 

Shaker Heights Transportation has notified us that any family, grades K-8, planning to utilize Shaker Schools transportation services, needs to contact them at 216-295-4390.
Students will not automatically be assigned to a bus if you do not call them.
The deadline for arranging transportation is Monday, August 3, 2020.
PLEASE CALL if you want to use the Shaker buses!!

 

Website Update

 

All of our return to school information and COVID-related communications can be found on our website, accessible from the homepage or via this link: http://gesu.com/school-re-entry/ .

 

Dear Gesu Families,
In our letter to families dated June 15, 2020, we offered an update on our school activities pertaining to Covid-19. We shared that a task force had been assembled which includes various stake holders to help determine our best course of action for the coming school year. Thank you to all of the faculty, staff, and parents who are working throughout the summer days in formulating this plan.
On June 24, 2020, we extended an opportunity to complete an online survey to share your thoughts on our safe school re-entry. Thank you for your overwhelming response! We have summarized the survey results, which closed on July 3, 2020, and have offered you a snapshot of the ideas and comments which are helping to frame our decisions and future policies.
On July 2, 2020, Governor DeWine offered schools the Reset and Restart Planning Guide. In an effort to protect our students and assist you in your planning, Gesu is implementing policies and protocols that comply with our state and federal guidelines for re-opening. With guidance from the Diocese of Cleveland, medical professionals and health organizations Gesu has taken the steps to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.
  • All faculty and staff will be required to wear masks/face coverings. Students in grades 3-8 will be required to wear masks and face coverings are recommended for grades K-2. All students and staff will be required to have masks for use in areas where social distancing may be challenging, including entering and exiting, traveling in halls, restroom use, etc.
  • PPE resources will be available for faculty and staff and a back up supply for students who forgot items or need items replaced while on site.
  • Visitors and volunteers will be limited in their access to the building. Temperature checks and health assessments will be preformed on all visitors and will be completed daily by all faculty and staff.
  • Classrooms have been reconfigured to allow for physical distancing.
  • A designated isolation area where anyone developing symptoms concerning for Covid-19 can be isolated while waiting for pick-up to leave the building. This room will be thoroughly disinfected and not used again for two hours.
  • Water filling stations have replaced several traditional water fountains throughout the building and traditional fountains have been disconnected.
  • A temperature check and health assessment are to be completed at home. Temperature checks will be preformed at the start of each day when students enter the classroom. Anyone with a fever will be immediately isolated.
  • Surfaces in the classroom will be sanitized at the end of each day, before and after a snack break, and whenever a new set of students enters a room.
  • Staff and students will take necessary steps for continued good hygiene practice including regular and routine hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, the use of hand sanitizer prior to eating.
  • Keep students who are ill with either suspect or confirmed Covid-19 home until fever and symptom free for 3 days.
  • Be of the understanding that Home Learning may occur at any point should state officials deem necessary or in the event of a local resurgence. Parents may elect virtual learning for their children for an entire quarter. Once selected, cannot waver between the two options.
Our draft plan will come to you electronically next Wednesday. We hope to allow for time to review our practices and procedures. On July 22, 2020 we will hold a virtual Town Hall meeting to further outline the details of our plan to resume
instruction in the 2020-2021 school year.
In light of the health and safety precautions that will soon be in place in our school, it will be necessary to adjust the dates and modify the delivery of several upcoming events on our school calendar. Look forward to a staggered re-entry to school starting the week of August 31, 2020. Details will be forthcoming. Please know that we will send out an adjusted school calendar as soon as possible.

 

We have missed our students and are anxious for their return. However, we wish to welcome them back to a safe and secure environment that protects the health of the children, our staff and our families. Every scenario or possible family situation could not possibly be addressed or anticipated. Please know that we are doing our best to provide you with the information and flexibility to address your family needs.Thank you for your patience, support and trust as we work together in this challenging endeavor.
Sincerely,
Lucy Iemmolo
Principal
Regan Kazel
Assistant Principal
Mary Carol Jones
Assistant Principal
Thank you to those families who have completed this survey! If you have not responded please take a few minutes to do so. This information is needed for our return to school planning.
 
Gesu School has been working to create a responsible return plan for the 2020-2021 school year. This plan includes a return to on campus schooling five days a week while following detailed safety guidelines. The second option of this plan gives families the opportunity to choose distance based learning if they do not feel comfortable allowing their child(ren) to return to campus. Distance based learning also known as synchronous learning will look and feel different from the format used this past spring. Students will complete a school day, similar to their on campus classmates, but from the setting of their home. 
Gesu School is also planning for an improved distance based learning model if there is a need to transition fully to this model during the coming school year. More details will be released in our return to school plan that will be published in the coming weeks.

The results of the following survey will help the Gesu Task Force better prepare for the coming school year. Please complete this survey by July 3, 2020. 

Access the survey by clicking here.

Thank You,

Lucy Iemmolo
Principal 
Regan Kazel
Assistant Principal 
Mary Carol Jones
Assistant Principal
Gesu School has been working to create a responsible return plan for the 2020-2021 school year. This plan includes a return to on campus schooling five days a week while following detailed safety guidelines. The second option of this plan gives families the opportunity to choose distance based learning if they do not feel comfortable allowing their child(ren) to return to campus. Distance based learning also known as synchronous learning will look and feel different from the format used this past spring. Students will complete a school day, similar to their on campus classmates, but from the setting of their home. 
Gesu School is also planning for an improved distance based learning model if there is a need to transition fully to this model during the coming school year. More details will be released in our return to school plan that will be published in the coming weeks.

The results of the following survey will help the Gesu Task Force better prepare for the coming school year. Please complete this survey by July 3, 2020. 

Access the survey by clicking here.

Thank You,

Lucy Iemmolo
Principal 
Regan Kazel
Assistant Principal 
Mary Carol Jones
Assistant Principal
Dear Gesu Parents and Guardians, 
As we finish another successful school year, I thought I would share an update on how our school adjusted to the COVID19 crisis and provide information on how we are preparing for the 20-21 school year. First and foremost, I would like to thank our parents and guardians for your assistance these past few months. Your patience, understanding and support have been instrumental in ensuring a successful end to the school year. Your dedication to your children and to our school has never been more apparent.
When our school closed its doors on March 13, our faculty immediately began remote, faith-based learning for all grades. Our school mission remained the focus – an educational community created in partnership with students and families of providing Catholic Faith Formation, Academic Rigor & Excellence, Personal Growth, Service to Others and Global Citizenship. In addition to daily faculty instruction, students had the opportunity to connect with others through the Gesu Announcements that were led by various faculty members and included Morning Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and other fun updates. Our faculty kept the school community engaged by offering a virtual Stations of the Cross, May Crowning, Spirit Week, Hike for Hunger, 8th Grade Missioning Mass and so much more. From a distance, we remained “Gesu Together” throughout our time apart! 
We recently put together a COVID-19 Task Force that is meeting throughout the summer to prepare for the upcoming school year. Given Governor DeWine’s recent statement of intent to re-open schools in the fall, Gesu is planning accordingly. Ideally, our first option is to welcome our students back into the building, but we realize the traditional school day may look different for our students and faculty. The Task Force is working on different scenarios that are safe and secure for everyone, while adhering to the State of Ohio guidelines. Currently, we have three academic learning models that we are working on for the fall: 
● On-Campus Learning would have all students in the building with social distancing and safety precautions in place. 
● Blended Learning would deliver in-person instruction to students who are able to attend school, while also delivering instruction to students who are compromised at home. 
● Distance Learning would deliver instruction to all students off campus. 
There are many factors we are discussing, including: the health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff; our facilities and learning environment; educational design and technology; and school communications. Each of these topics is extremely important and the Task Force is working to address and troubleshoot all options. It is already our intent to enhance the technology we offer our families with the purchase of additional chrome books and Swivl robot technology. This is a large expense, and requires us to be good stewards of our financial resources. As the summer unfolds, Gesu will continue to keep families updated on our re-opening plans, with the expectation that we must be flexible given the everevolving circumstances.
Please know we are dedicated to continuing the Gesu tradition of being a strong Catholic school committed to our students and families. We ask for your continued support both prayerfully and financially. As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. My sincere gratitude for your generous support and commitment to our Gesu Catholic School. 
Sincerely, 
Lucy Iemmolo 
Principal
Dear Gesu Families,
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the end of the year distance learning survey that has been available through constant contact these last few weeks.  The information we received through this survey will be helpful IF the need arises for Gesu to use the distance learning model in the coming school year. The feedback we have received only further solidified the understanding that our community consists of students with different learning styles, families with varying circumstances, and grade levels with distinct needs.  There is no one particular format that will be completely perfect for all, yet we continue to make changes that are in the best interest of the Gesu students and families.  Recommendations from the survey that seemed consistent across grade levels were the need for communication regarding proper distance learning expectations that would be provided at the onset of the transition to this model.  This would include a better understanding for parents and students of when synchronous zoom sessions would be held and when these sessions would be mandatory to attend.   Again, thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on how Gesu can further improve its distance learning model.
Dear Gesu Families,
As June begins, our thoughts turn to winding down the present school year and organizing for the future.  We reflect upon the many great things that we have accomplished together in this most unusual school year!  Last week we celebrated our 8th graders with a clap-out on Thursday and Friday’s Missioning Mass, Honors Assembly and student slide show were beautiful celebrations for a wonderful group of young people!
We have taken the time to reflect upon and give thanks for the many blessings, and challenges God has given us. As we approach summer, we are about to experience many changes…changes for our graduates and as well, changes that the summer will bring for a few of our staff members.  Several people will be leaving our school community. We pray that they may be blessed for all that they have done to make us prosper, grow and succeed. As a school community, we thank them for the dedication and commitment they have towards Catholic education. We thank God for their passion, witness, and for the hope and support they have given to each of us. 
I’d like us to first take a moment to recognize:
  • Miss Natalie Bourlas   Miss Bourlas taught Enriched Reading in the younger grades.  She will be moving to Columbus and preparing for her upcoming wedding!
  • Miss Caroline Corsones   Miss Corsones has moved home to New Hampshire and is beginning her doctoral studies.  She was a wonderful addition to the Junior High staff and dearly loved by her students.
  • Mrs. Alice Elliott   Mrs. Elliott is retiring after serving 26 years at Gesu School.  She has taught both second and fourth grade.  She has also been active in a variety of extracurricular activities.  
  • Mrs. Marjorie Gessner    Mrs. Gessner is retiring after serving 22 years at Gesu School.  She most recently served as our first STREAM Director and she also taught fifth grade for a number of years.  Mrs. Gessner also coached some very successful DI teams and she has also worked on many other enrichment projects at Gesu.  
  • Mr. Jake Halusker    Mr. Halusker built a tremendous Latin program for our students. He has accepted a full time position at Incarnate Word Academy.
  • Mrs. Claire McGann    Mrs. McGann has moved to Hudson with her family and accepted a position at Seton School for the upcoming school year.
  • Mr. Eric Vaiksnoras    We thank Mr. V. for sharing his kind and gentle spirit with us the past year.  Due to a change in our elective schedules, this full time position has been reduced.
Within our Intervention Assistance Team, we thank Mrs. Lee Liebenauer, Mrs. Karen Moss, and Miss Maria Pozzuto.  These three educators have worked in our Intervention Assistance Team and supported our students in the “Better Together” program.
To all of the staff members who are retiring or moving on, there wasn’t a day that went by that the students, faculty and staff weren’t greeted by your kindness, supported by your talents, and benefitted from your creativity. We are grateful for your organization, and hard work. Each of you attended to details and always did so with grace and class. Thank you for always being eager to help anyone in need of support. We will miss you for your fun spirits and loving sense of humor. Every one of you has made a difference to our school community. Thank you for believing in our school and believing in what we do. Your generous gifts to us will make a difference in the lives of so many children. Thank you for valuing our work of Catholic education and for holding the belief that our work together makes a difference to our future and brings us closer to our God.  
Our staffing is complete for the 2020-2021 school year.  We welcome Mr. Gideon Nocero as our new Junior High math teacher.  He replaces Mr. Stuber who will now work as a technology instructor.  Miss Caitlin Jayne joins our seventh grade team to teach language arts and Miss Nora Joyce will teach in Grade 4.  Mrs. Shelly Clary has moved to the position of STREAM Center director and Miss Val Weimer will replace her in Grade 3.  Coming to Grade 2 are Mrs. Mary Beth Soeder and Miss Jenna Norcia who will take over the classrooms of Mrs. McGann and Mrs. Webster.  Mrs Webster will be moving to enriched reading instruction for our younger students.
Report cards and test scores will be arriving in the near future.  Our traditional summer letter will be arriving a bit later.  It is our hope that we can offer you important information relevant to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.  This Friday, we will hold our first Steering Committee meeting on the safe return of our students to school.   The purpose of this group is to consider the health and safety of our students, staff, and families as we prepare for a return to the classroom in the coming school year.  Though we do not hold all of the answers now, we will be meeting regularly and communicating with you via Constant Contact throughout summer.
Although we do not anticipate using distance learning again in the fall, we would like to get some feedback on your experiences this year so that we can continue to refine and improve our approaches in the event that circumstances demand that we return to online learning at some point in the coming year.  Please take the time to complete the survey you will find in our Constant Contact messages today.  We are really trying to understand how things worked at each grade level so that we can be sure our instruction is age appropriate.  
We are proud of the educational experience provided to your child(ren).  It is a Christ-centered, loving and personal approach that sets us apart from other schools and provides the modeling and support you instill in your own homes. Your children have grown physically, intellectually, and spiritually as well.  We are most grateful for the commitment that you have made to our school.  We recognize the sacrifices you have made in the support of your child’s education at Gesu.  We wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and safe summer vacation.
Stay well and enjoy the summer!
Lucy Iemmolo                              
Principal        
Mary Carol Jones
Assistant Principal
            

Regan Kazel 

Assistant Principal