“The academic success of BG’s Covid-19 education model is founded in strong pedagogy, technological planning, flexibility and intentional, concise communication. The administration’s goal to provide in-person content when safe, and yet maintain the technological ability to seamlessly shift to a remote interactive model at any point, is integral to their success. Well thought-out safety measures such as required masks, one-way traffic in hallways, improved ventilation, contact tracing protocols and outdoor spaces prolong face-to-face learning. Video-conferencing tools, dedicated educators and a commitment to meet all learning objectives ensure the integrity of the learning experience, no matter the content delivery system. Recent research in instructional presence and its effects on the learning experience support BG’s model.
In addition to academics, BG was mindful of their mission goal to develop the ‘whole person’ and ensure every student felt ‘known, valued and treasured’. To that end, BG offered daily advisory to oversee student wellness, developed creative online formation days, and reimagined virtual school spirit events, including a drive-in-movie style graduation complete with fireworks that allowed students and teachers to stay connected and foster community spirit.
By living their mission, Bishop Guertin modeled for their students how to overcome adversity by promoting ‘lifelong learning that is not only about success for today, but also about formation for tomorrow’.”
-Kim Peicker parent of Mark ’15, Matthew ’21, and Andrew ’23
"Bishop Guertin stands as a model nationally for schools seeking to survive the pandemic - educationally and emotionally."
“When we started this journey as a BG Family, I could never have imagined how truly exceptional our experience as parent and student would be. Bishop Guertin stands as a model nationally for schools seeking to survive the pandemic – educationally and emotionally. The past months have highlighted the level of excellence, in all aspects of the Bishop Guertin experience. Bishop Guertin has met the pandemic head on, the results of which will be felt in the lives of its students for years to come.”
–Jenn Robichaud, parent of Jordan ’21
"We had our daughter transfer to Bishop Guertin specifically because of the administration’s response to COVID-19...."
“We had our daughter transfer to Bishop Guertin specifically because of the administration’s response to COVID-19 and their commitment to offer in-person learning. The staff, faculty and most importantly the students welcomed her into their community without any hesitation. She feels valued and very much a part of Bishop Guertin. I can honestly say that having our daughter transfer to Bishop Guertin as a senior is one of my top two parenting decisions and we are hoping that our other daughter will enter as a freshman in the Fall of 2021!”
-Karen Perry, parent of Ashley ’21
"We have full confidence that when we send our kids to school they are safe, nurtured, and supported."
“As parents of two current and one prospective BG student, we feel the response to COVID-19 has been outstanding. We have full confidence that when we send our kids to school they are safe, nurtured, and supported. When forced to go online it feels like a real school day beginning with homeroom and real classes throughout the day. The faculty support has been a tremendous asset to the students. …It is our belief that when you give your child to the BG community they will come out a better person. It has been a wonderful investment for us.”
-Chris and Kerry Hughes, parents of Ryan ’21 and Connor ’23
After what was described as a “model for schools across the country” in the spring of 2020, Bishop Guertin’s strategy for this school year has been based on flexibility and our emphasis on live classroom instruction, in-person when possible, remotely as necessary. Our top priorities are (1) safety and (2) continuity of our programs and school community.
Our program continuity has been strong, especially against the context of the worldwide disruption that has occurred in education:
- As of the end of December, if they chose to attend in-person, BG students have experienced 64% of their instructional time in-person. We have held 24 days at 100% occupancy, 2 days at 80%, 26 days at 60%, 8 days at 40%, 5 days at other hybrid levels due to special events, and 7 days of fully-remote instruction.
- After a brief ramp-up in August, our students were in-person 98% of the time in September, 74% in October, 48% in November, and 27% in December. The mostly-in-person start of the year was integral to establishing a successful routine in anticipation of these tough months.
- Academic progress has continued in all subjects as teachers implement new methods and approaches for teaching a mix of remote and in-person students. We recently received the results of our fall testing. We wondered if the disrupted spring/fall would have an impact, but we did not identify any negative patterns in our students’ PSAT results as compared to prior years. Our early college application season has progressed smoothly, with high numbers of students submitting early college applications.
- We maintain opportunities for our students to continue their whole-person formation. All of our fall athletic teams completed their seasons, with mostly-minimal disruptions. Our winter teams have started practices, and we’re hopeful to maximize their seasons as well. Our music program recently performed a full-school virtual concert in place of the traditional Christmas concert. From a virtual schoolwide Mass to Christmas Drives, our students have been challenged to continue growing in faith and service through our campus ministry offerings. Other extracurricular activities continued in a mix of virtual and in-person formats, adjusting to the fall’s circumstances while still offering social and whole-person development opportunities.
- In recent weeks, recognizing the continued impact of COVID on all of us, we have increased programming around mental-health and well-being, which has included the unveiling of the BG Wellness Page.
- We have noted that social adjustments have been a challenge for many students due to masks, distancing, and different patterns of attendance. Still, new traditions such as outdoor lunch have taken shape, and are expected to continue long after the pandemic.
Our priorities for the first half of 2021 include:
- Our first priority will always be safety. We are encouraged by research that supports in-person instruction if appropriate precautions are taken. However, we also recognize that an outbreak can escalate quickly if precautions are relaxed.
- We continue our commitment to maximizing in-person instruction throughout the remainder of the school year. We believe that January and February will be on the low side of occupancy due to high case rates, but we hope that March through June will allow much higher occupancy, especially as the vaccine begins to make an impact. No matter the scenario, we are ready to transition rapidly and will do so based on circumstances.
- We are actively monitoring developments in infection control, screening, testing, treatment, and vaccination that, if implemented, may serve to accelerate our return to full attendance and to greater normalcy.
- We recognize that many students and adults are struggling with the social and emotional burdens of the pandemic and all the uncertainty it brings. This important concern will remain a focal area for us, both in opportunities offered to students and in our parent programming.
- We will offer the best-possible opportunities for the Class of 2021 to celebrate its senior traditions. This class has taken complete ownership for the challenges of the school year, and we are excited to celebrate them as individuals and as a group.
While many challenges await us in 2021, the Bishop Guertin community is up to the task.
The Charism of Fr. Andre Coindre, the guiding document of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, calls for Brothers’ schools to serve as sanctuaries from the outside world in which students can develop not only intellectually, but also as compassionate and faithful people. In a year with no script, Bishop Guertin has continued to live out our mission, while adjusting to changing circumstances. We could not be prouder of our school community for its response. We thank all of our teachers, parents, and, most importantly, Cardinals for their trust and support shown throughout 2020. We look forward to emerging from this pandemic even stronger in our commitment and ability to form, as our mission states, “tolerant, just, and involved men and women of faith who accept the task of building the Kingdom of God and of transforming, for the better, the world in which they live.”