Update on coronavirus (COVID-19)
Mount Saint Joseph Academy will be closed until further notice, as ordered by Governor Wolf to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Report Cards were emailed to all parents today. If you did not receive your daughter's report card please contact Mrs. Boyle in the Studies Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April 2, 2020
To: Mounties, Parents, and Guardians
From: Judith A. Caviston, Ed.D., Principal
Included in this Memo is a variety of points of interest. Please read carefully.
The Mount will be closed until directed to open, according to the March 30th announcement by Governor Tom Wolfe. We are grateful to our teachers and students who have been working diligently to keep our educational program on track. A very special thanks to our teachers and their families who are making sacrifices to ensure that our Mounties receive quality instruction during these uncertain times, as they strive to take care of their own families.
The Holy Week schedule/Spring Break at the Mount is as follows.
April 6: A Day schedule
April 7: B Day schedule
April 8: Spiritual Reflection Day/9am: Stations of the Cross
April 9-19: Easter break. We will return to virtual schooling on April 20 (A Day).
All SAT testing for April is canceled. More information will be released once we receive it from the College Board.
The Senior Prom for May 1 has been rescheduled to May 21, 2020. Our vision is to honor the seniors, schedule the Senior Prom, and celebrate our Graduation ceremony. Hopefully, we will return to school in May. If we don’t, then we will review the calendar and reschedule dates as necessary. We will celebrate!!!
The Disney Trip remains on the calendar for June 8-12, 2020. A decision will be made by the administration at the beginning of May.
Our musical for the academic Year 2020-2021 will be 9 to 5: The Musical. The musical is based on the 1980 movie of the same name, and features music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. It centers on the downtrodden working lives of three women, Violet, Judy, and Doralee. They all work at Consolidated Industries, which is presided over by the sexist, lecherous, and pompous, Franklin Hart. Violet has worked at Consolidated for many years, but has never been given the chance to rise above senior supervisor status, although she is capable of much more. Judy is newly separated and joins the company having never worked before. Doralee is a happily married country girl, but she is ostracized from the other female workers. After Judy has an awful first day, Hart passes Violet over for another promotion, and Doralee finds out that Hart has been telling everyone lies about her, the three women unite in their hatred of Hart. They put their heads together and fantasize about how they would kill him. When Violet almost unwittingly poisons Hart the next day, he blackmails the three women, threatening them with the police. Doralee ties Hart up with the phone wires and, feeling empowered, they decide to imprison him in his own house while his wife is away. In Hart’s absence, Violet, Judy, and Doralee run the office to great effect. They introduce childcare, hour-long lunch breaks, rehab programs, and much more to benefit the staff at Consolidated. While Hart is tied up, the women also use the time to gather evidence that Hart has been embezzling from the company, but Hart breaks free and surprises the women at the office. However, his attempts to reveal the truth about his kidnapping are foiled when the Chairman of the Board arrives to praise the company’s increased productivity. The Chairman sends Hart to head up the Bolivia office and promotes Violet to the first female CEO. With Hart gone, the company reprise 9 to 5, in the happy knowledge that times have changed for the better.
Returning to the Mount as members of our production team are:
Virtual learning brings with it many challenges. The administration and teaching colleagues are here to support you. Due to the issue of test integrity, the Academic Board, which consists of the administration and Department Chairs are implementing the following MSJA Code of Honor. You will be asked to affix your initials at the bottom of each assignment prior to handing it in to your teachers. Your teachers will review the code with you in your classes.
MSJA Honor Code
Mount Saint Joseph Academy is committed to providing an environment in which young women are enabled and empowered to realize their fullest potential. Mount students are encouraged to be young women of courage, conviction and compassion, for whom honesty and integrity are respected values practiced in all situations. Therefore, each student has the responsibility to submit work that is solely her own. To that end, please sign the statement below.
“I pledge, on my honor, as a student of Mount St. Joseph Academy, that I have neither given nor received any unauthorized assistance on this assessment (test, quiz, assignment) and that this assessment (test, quiz, assignment) is my own original work.”
Dear Parents and Families,
In an announcement yesterday, Governor Wolf announced that Pennsylvania schools will remain closed indefinitely. We will continue our current virtual learning throughout the closure and make announcements regarding schedules as needed.
We will post updates and announcements at mjsacad.org/coronavirus as more information becomes available, and previous communications will remain archived at the bottom of the page.
Our administrative team continues to meet daily via Zoom. Our faculty are teaching virtually each day, with office hours available on Fridays. Our staff are working from home to ensure that things continue to run smoothly. We are making every effort to keep the academic programming and schoolwide operations functioning normally, even though we are not physically in the same building.
I know this is difficult to hear, and that many of you are disappointed. Your safety and wellbeing remain our top priority, and so we must comply fully with the statewide order.
If you need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out to a member of our administrative team, faculty, or staff.
I pray that you, your family and the whole Mount community are safe and healthy. These are truly times of the Paschal mystery of dying and rising. The only way through it is together. Stay well.
S. Mary Dacey
March 27, 2020
Dear Parents, Guardians, Students,
It is hard to believe we are about to begin week three of quarantine. On behalf of the entire Mount community, I extend our gratitude to all of you working in the medical community, first responders, those working to provide the goods and services we need, and especially, our own team, our teachers, who are working endless hours to keep our educational program moving forward. Your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of your family, do not go unnoticed. I ask everyone to pray for the safety and good health of the members of our school community.
As we move forward into week three, our new class schedule has been posted on our website (see above). We thank our Mounties who have been working cooperatively with our teachers. It is important that students participate in their classes on a consistent basis. This method of learning and teaching is new for all of us. The teachers are approaching their responsibilities with integrity and a sense of professionalism, rooted in long hours of preparation. We need our Mounties to get out of bed, dress appropriately for class, (remember everyone in the Zoom class can see you!), and be prepared for instruction. Assignments are expected to be completed on the schedule established by the teachers and verbal participation in the classes is imperative. Attendance at classes is not optional. The Mount’s attendance policy as outlined in the student handbook is still in place for virtual classes.
I call your attention to the Friday schedule. This day is not a day off for students nor teachers. The intention of this day is to provide students with the time they need to collaborate with their teachers on a personal level, to gain an understanding of any new work presented, to work in small groups on projects, or to use the time to complete assignments that are due the following week. A reminder that Friday begins with the Advisory class and all students are expected to attend.
The Mount’s policy on plagiarizing remains in effect as we continue in this virtual learning model. All students are expected to honor the policy.
The quarantine has brought many challenges to family and school schedules. At this time, the Senior Prom remains on the schedule for May 1, 2020, and we are hoping that and the Disney trip will run as planned. However, we regret that we must cancel our Spring Concert. We assure every student who is disappointed by the many cancellations that we understand and support you.
We are especially mindful of our Seniors and the disappointment they feel with the cancellation of end-of-senior-year events. We continue to review the calendar and will make needed decisions as we progress through the remainder of the school year.
The College Board has posted their options for the AP Exams. After checking with our Department Chairs, who met with their teams, the Administration, in conjunction with our Academic Board, has decided that the Mount will continue to require students to take their AP exams. The date of the exams and the form of the testing is still being established. We do know that the majority of the exams will be written; our teachers have completed the curriculum for the exams and have entered the review period. It is the policy of the Mount that if you take an AP course, you must take the exam.
We will continue to wait for more information on the AP English Language exam before we make a final decision on this test. If any student has anxiety about taking the exam, I ask that they contact their counselor. An interview with their counselor is required before we will extend AP test exemption to any student. (Additional information will be posted next week by our Guidance Department on the website.)
We’ve had some parents ask if our teachers will post their assignments. All assignments are posted on the students’ Canvas accounts. We ask parents to check your daughter’s Canvas account as our teachers are required to post their assignments on that site. You may use your daughter’s password or create a parent account. Directions for creating parent accounts are posted on our website.
Students who receive academic testing accommodations will continue to do so with the assistance of the Guidance Department. Instructions for this assistance will be given to the students by the teachers. (Additional information will be posted next week by our Guidance Department on the website.)
As we continue to deal with this health, social, and financial crisis, the Mount will follow the directives of our local and state government leaders. We ask that you continue to remember everyone in your prayers, especially those who are experiencing
periods of unemployment.
The Admin Team is discussing our Spring Break. An announcement will be made next week. Have a peaceful weekend. May God bless us all!
Judith A. Caviston, Ed.D
March 23: GOVERNOR ISSUES STAY-AT-HOME ORDER
In an announcement this afternoon, Governor Wolf issued a stay-at-home order for five counties in Pennsylvania, including Montgomery County. The Mount will be closed at least until Monday, April 6 to comply with the order. We will continue our current virtual learning during this time, and make an announcement regarding schedules for the upcoming weeks shortly.
We will continue to post updates here as more information becomes available.
Well, as I am sure you have heard, the Governor of Pennsylvania announced today that schools must remain closed until at least April 6th . We will continue using the Virtual School Schedule that is posted on the website and Mr. Holdren will continue to issue schedule day reminders each morning. Additionally, I will post the schedule on the website calendar.
Knowing that you must miss me as much as I miss you, I wanted to share the following reminders with you:
I know that these days are long without your friends, your teachers, and me! Just take one day at a time, and we will get through this together! Stay tuned for some Mount Spirit Days to be announced shortly. If you have any themes you would like to suggest, please let me know.
If you need my assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to ask. Like your teachers, the administration is available to you every day to answer your questions or listen to your concerns.
Wishing you good health and many blessings,
In these times like no other time, on this St. Joseph’s Day like no other St. Joseph’s Day, I want to wish you a Happy Feast Day as we celebrate our special patron.
It strikes me that, in many ways, St. Joseph is a saint for this time.He lived a hidden life, caring for the family he cherished.He was forced to go into hiding for the safety of that family, a self-quarantine of sorts.He made decisions, about situations and circumstances not of his own making, that once could have seemed unimaginable, if not impossible.
In response to the current pandemic, someone offered this advice:“Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.” These words speak to me of Joseph as well.When God spoke to him in dreams, as God so often did, Joseph awoke to a whole new reality and a whole new set of choices.A life that had seemed so typical, so routine was turned upside down.And yet, Joseph allowed himself time after time, dream after dream, to respond to God’s grace and say “yes” to an ever-changing reality.
As I celebrate and pray for you–students, parents, colleagues, alumnae, board members and friends--I am grateful for all the ways you partner with us to live the mission of Joseph.That even in times of self-emptying we know the graces and blessings of a loving God who calls us to be one. And, perhaps, it is in these very times, as we try to figure out how to live now, that we know more clearly the gift of persons and community.
Lines from the poem Pandemic by Lynn Unger say it well.
Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life.
Reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
Know that our lives are in one another’s hands.
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart. Reach out your words.
Promise this world your love—
For better or for worse,
In sickness and in health,
As long as we all shall live.
Let us continue to reach out our hearts to one another this day and in the days to come!
Dear Parents and Guardians:
Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This is certainly a very unusual year like none we have experienced in our careers.
We are writing to update you on the status of various Mount events that are on the calendar for the next couple of weeks. We understand the importance of each event in your daughters’ lives and do not take the decision to cancel or postpone lightly. As stated earlier, we are following the recommendations of the CDC and Federal and State governments very carefully to protect our community.
The closing of school next week has necessitated cancelling all alumnae class reunions and postponing the Junior Retreat, Junior Interview Day preparation meeting and mandatory Junior/Senior Parents Pre-Prom Meeting. Beginning March 30, 2020, given the most recent information provided to us, we feel it necessary to also POSTPONE the Grandmother Luncheon, Junior Interview Day, Junior Ring Mass and Junior Prom. If time permits, we are hoping to reschedule all of the above events; however, with the uncertainty ahead, we are not prepared to commit to any specific dates.
We understand the disappointment and frustration these cancellations and postponements may cause for our community. We will be continuing to communicate with you and our students often to keep you abreast of all changes and will update the website regularly.
The administration thanks you for your support and understanding. If you have any questions or concerns that we have not addressed, please feel free to contact us.
Wishing you health and comfort during this difficult time!
Mrs. Kathleen Guyger
Dean of Students
Mount Saint Joseph Academy
March 17, 2020
Can you believe school is closed for at least two weeks? It is amazing to me how quickly things are changing for all of us. I pray that you are feeling healthy and all is well with your families!
As we continue distance learning, I understand that this is new territory for all of us. Your teachers are working diligently to provide you with a quality education that helps you stay on track and moving forward in the curriculum. IF YOU NEED ANY HELP, PLEASE LET US KNOW. I encourage you to forward any concerns or questions to your teachers, counselors, or any member of the administration. You are not alone; our job is to support you in any way necessary.
As each day passes, we get different directions from our civic and medical leaders. Please know that we follow their directions carefully. I ask that you continue to check the school’s website for any schedule changes or new information. As the year progresses, we may need to reschedule or cancel some events. I am aware that this may cause disappointment to many. This experience will certainly help us develop grit, which is strength of character, courage, and resolve that will help us to make and accept difficult decisions in the future.
With that said, the administration, after much consideration and prayer has made the decision to postpone the Junior Prom until a future date that has yet to be determined. We will also suspend the down payments for the Senior Prom. If you haven't paid yet, you can hold your payment until further notice. Mrs. Guyger will put out additional information via a letter to the parents.
Sister Mary Dacey, Mr. Holdren, Mrs.Guyger and I communicate daily. Mr. Holdren and I are meeting twice weekly with the Department Chairs via Zoom in order to keep us moving forward. Each of us is committed to responding to your needs and helping make this experience as positive and successful as possible.
Many thanks for all you did to prepare the school for the successful deep cleaning that took place this past weekend. The building looks very lonely without you! Hope to see you soon!
Blessings! Happy St. Patrick's Day!
March 16, 2020
Over the past few days, your inboxes have been flooded with news and logistics surrounding COVID-19 and its impact on your life and the lives of your daughters. In a short time, you are probably feeling like your world has been turned upside down.
As late as today, the CDC has asked us to avoid gatherings of 50 or more persons for the next eight weeks! Governor Wolf continues to issue directives to contain the spread of the virus.
At Mount Saint Joseph Academy, we continue to be focused on ensuring the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff colleagues, as well as providing consistent, quality, online learning.
Each day, Dr. Caviston, Mr. Holdren, Mrs. Guyger and I meet via conference call to share updates and to respond to evolving needs and questions. Dr. Caviston and Mr. Holdren are in constant contact with teaching colleagues to ensure the smooth operation of virtual and cyber learning.
Today, I did a walk-through of our building following the deep cleaning that occurred on Sunday. According to our Maintenance Supervisor Mr. Webb, the operation ran smoothly and the building has been electrostatically sanitized.
As you know, all activities and events for students and alumnae have been cancelled for the two weeks beginning March 15 and March 22. We promise that we will give significant deliberation to any other closures or cancellations. Be aware, however, that any decision that we make going forward can be superseded by health or government agencies.
We will continue to be in touch and share any updates that we have.
In all of this, Dr. Caviston and I have full faith in the resiliency of our students and parents, and the commitment of our colleagues and loyal alumnae community.
Let us hold in prayer our global, national, and school communities, and one another in this time of crisis.
Update: March 12, 3:00 pm
In a press conference this afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf ordered the closure of public venues in Montgomery County, including schools, community centers, gyms, and entertainment venues. The closures start Friday and will last 14 days.
We will continue to post updates here as more information becomes available.
Update: 11:30 am, March 12
If anyone in your household tests presumptive positive for coronavirus, or if you are exposed to someone who tests presumptive positive, please email S. Mary Dacey at email@example.com.
Changes to Next Week’s Schedule
Monday, 3/16: Cyber A Day
Tuesday, 3/17: Cyber B Day
Wednesday, 3/18: Virtual School A Day
Thursday, 3/19: Virtual School B Day
Friday: NO SCHOOL
The 3rd quarter will be extended by one week. Quarter 4 will begin on March 30. Further directives will be given.
If a student is unable to attend her virtual class meetings, she must email her teachers and carbon copy Mrs. Guyger. This will be a documented absence. Please send an email even if you have already notified the Student Affairs office of an anticipated absence.
Activities and Events
The following events have been cancelled:
Cleaners will begin the "deep cleaning" and disinfecting that we have previously described. During and subsequent to these days, the campus is closed to faculty, coaches, staff, and students. All athletic practices and competitions (softball, lacrosse, track, crew) have been cancelled through March 22. All events scheduled to occur after March 22 will be under further consideration. We will inform you when practices and related activities may resume.
Update: 10 am, March 12
Due to recent circumstances, we have new plans in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19). We wish to reiterate that there is no confirmed case of the virus at the Mount, nor do we have anyone who has been in contact with a confirmed case of the virus.
With an abundance of caution, the Mount will be closed until at least Sunday, March 22nd. All school activities and events during this time are cancelled.
On Thursday, March 12, we have moved to an Extended Advisory 1:30 schedule with a dismissal time for students at 2:15. Buses will arrive at their regularly scheduled time.
Friday, March 13 is a free day for everyone.
On Monday, March 16 we will begin our Cyber and Virtual Learning Program. Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17 will be traditional Cyber Days. Wednesday, March 18 and Thursday, March 19 will be Virtual School Days. Friday, March 20 will be a day off.
We will continue to monitor the developments of the virus. As circumstances evolve, this plan may change. Should that happen, we will contact students and families as soon as possible. As always, the health and safety of our students is our highest priority.
We appreciate that you are being inundated with information regarding the Coronavirus, COVID-19. We wish to be respectful, but at the same time, keep you informed of our current situation.
As you probably know, yesterday Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School received official notification that one of their students had been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus. As a result, the school will close for three days, and the student will self-quarantine for 14 days.
This morning I spoke directly with the Montgomery County Office of Public Health. I explained that we have no known person in Mount Saint Joseph Academy who has tested presumed positive for the virus, nor do we have anyone who has been exposed to someone who has. Our decision to stay open at this time was corroborated by them as appropriate.
Unfortunately, in this time of uncertainty and concern, misinformation and rumors can lead to increased anxiety. That is precisely why we have been and will continue to be in contact with the Office of Public Health.
Obviously, our situation could change. If it does, we will act accordingly. In the meantime, we reiterate what we have said earlier:
Above all, we will continue to update you with any changes. In the event of a school closure, we will utilize both a cyber and virtual school to continue with classes. This has been presented to the academic colleagues today and will be explained to the students on Friday. Details about this approach will be posted on the school website under academics.
Know that the safety and wellbeing of our students and colleagues is our first priority. We will continue our vigilance here and our communication with you.
Sister Mary, Dr. Caviston, Don Holdren, Kathleen Guyger
Mount Saint Joseph Academy will be closed until further notice, as ordered by Governor Wolf to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).