Hello parents and families of our PREP students!
I know that you must all be very eager to receive an update regarding the development of our PREP protocols for the coming year. In light of the new health and safety protocols for re-opening of schools and youth related programs, it has become necessary to make some revisions to our typical schedules and policies as we look forward to the upcoming catechetical year.
In the end, any decision regarding the revision of our Parish’s PREP and the way in which multiple groups of children make use of our parish buildings rests with the pastor of the parish. After considering the various options at our disposal, and receiving counsel from a small group of our catechists and parents, Fr. Brabazon and I, together with the administrative staff of the parish, have come to a decision for St. Isidore Parish PREP. In making this decision, we considered many factors and held firmly to the belief that the option to receive in-person instruction is vital to the successful catechesis of many of our PREP students. We also took into great consideration the safety and well being of our students and staff, as well as the needs and expectations regarding social distancing, limiting size of student cohorts, and appropriate sanitation practices to be carried out before, during, and after PREP sessions.
There are a number of factors that require revision to our typical PREP practices. First among these is the need for appropriate and consistent sanitization of the parish’s school building. This is for the benefit of all groups that make use of the facilities, and must take into consideration the complete schedule of expected uses of spaces by all parish groups, including PREP. The need to thoroughly sanitize each classroom between uses by different groups requires some adjustments to our PREP schedule.
That said, we will be providing two options for St. Isidore Parish PREP. First is the option for in-person instruction, which will be described further below. The second option is for parish supported home-based catechesis or homeschooling, which involves the parent as the primary catechist of the student(s) with materials and support provided by the PREP office. We will not be providing virtual instruction or hybrid format instruction for PREP, as we lack the sufficient infrastructure and resources to make this possible.
Regarding in-person PREP instruction, holding our typical back-to-back PREP sessions on Wednesday afternoons and evenings will not be feasible, in the coming year, since there would not be sufficient time for the appropriate sanitizing process to take place in each classroom between the 4:45 and 6:30 class times. With similar reasoning, it will not be possible to have a Sunday session as it will not be possible to provide cleaning staff to adequately sanitize classroom spaces over the weekends.
Bearing all this in mind, the in-person session times for PREP have had to be adjusted. For those who desire in-person instruction for their children, under the current circumstances, it will only be possible for PREP in-person sessions to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 6:30PM to 7:45PM.
Additionally, because of the need to maintain social distancing within the classrooms, we are required to limit the number of students enrolled for in-person instruction. For in-person instruction, registration will be closed once maximum class sizes have been met. First priority will be given to those families who have already registered and paid for catechesis in the coming year.
To give the PREP office, volunteers, and families time to prepare for this new plan, PREP sessions will begin the last week of September, with the first sessions starting on Tuesday, September 29th and Wednesday, September 30th.
In addition, we will be extending our deadline for pre-registration until August 28th. After that date, a late fee of $75 will be applied to all tuition payments until Friday, September 18th when registration for the 20-21 year closes. We ask that you sign up your children for both in-person and home-based PREP sessions using Parish Giving. The link to that is: https://forms.parishgiving.org/form-2601050/ .
For those who have already sent in their registration form and payment for either the former Sunday morning session or the Wednesday early session, the PREP office will be in contact to sign your child(ren) up for either of our two new PREP session times.
Please stay tuned for more information regarding wearing of masks/face shields, social distancing guidelines, etc. Ultimately, we will be following the same guidelines as those that will be put in place at St. Isidore School.
I know this is a lot of new information and some of you may have questions. I ask that you take some time to think and pray over it.
If you do have any questions, I ask that you send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-536-4389.
Thank you all so much. I look forward to all that this year will hold!
Miss Alaine DeSantis
Director of Religious Education