Dear St. Mark’s Community,
I hope you and your family are settling into a new “normal” in our second week of remote learning. This is an unprecedented time in so many ways, and we cannot say thank you enough for the patience and support you have given us over these past few weeks. It has been a humbling experience to watch how our teachers, students, and families have come together to navigate this new path with open minds, open hearts, and resilience.
As you are aware, President Trump announced an extension of social distancing through the end of April. Following his announcement, the Florida Department of Education has recommended extending school campus closures through Friday, May 1. Therefore, we will follow that guidance and continue with the remote learning program (Pre-K 3 - 6th grade) and closure of the Early Learning Program. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to return to campus as soon as it is safe to do so. At this point, we are planning to go ahead with as many of our traditional year-end events as possible and will do all we can to celebrate our 50th Anniversary and the Class of 2020.
We realize this transition has not been easy, and we will continue to ask for grace and patience as our teachers strive to provide the best learning experience for their students and families. Please know that we are closely following the guidelines and standards of the Florida Council of Independent Schools when it comes to maintaining lesson plans, teaching hours, and student attendance. In addition, our teachers have been incredibly responsive as many of them are also experiencing the balance of working from home while teaching their own children. With that said, we have asked them to be mindful of working a normal school day so they can take care of themselves and their families.
Thank you for your support during this transition. Please take care of yourselves and stay well!
Please find below a letter from Adam Greene, Head of School at Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
Interim Head of School
Dear Members of the Episcopal Community,
As we come to the end of March, I pray that you and your loved ones continue to be safe and healthy. I also pray that in these times of change, uncertainty, financial upheaval, and isolation from our friends and family, you are able to find joy in all of the many ways that our community has come together to support one another. The strength of the commitment, the faith, and the love of our Episcopal family has never been more apparent than in these last few weeks. I could not be prouder of how our remote learning program has been implemented and embraced, and we have all of you to thank for that. The success of our remote learning program has allowed us to continue to be together as a community, to learn and to teach, even as we are separated physically from each other.
Yesterday, following our Governor’s guidance, the Florida Department of Education has extended school campus closures through Friday, May 1. For the health and safety of our community, Episcopal will follow that guidance and continue with our remote learning program through that date. It is our hope and our prayer that we will be able to return safely to campus on Monday, May 4, to finish out the rest of the regularly scheduled school year together, in person.
We will continue to communicate with FHSAA and update you as we learn more about athletic possibilities for the month of May. We will also share what events Fine Arts may hold. At this point, we are planning to go ahead with as many of our traditional year-end events as we possibly can. This includes Baccalaureate and Commencement. We also hope to be able to reschedule or replace Prom if we are able to finish out the school year on campus. Finally, as of right now, summer programs will begin May 22.
Members of the Class of 2020, I will be sending you a separate letter in the coming days. For now, know that we will do everything in our power to make the end of your senior year as joyful as we possibly can. As hard as this time is for all of our community, we know that it is especially hard for all of you to potentially finish out your high school career under these circumstances. Keep the faith, and know that we will do all that we can to celebrate all that you have accomplished.
As we look ahead at the next thirty days, we can imagine a difficult time for our country. But as we look ahead, we also see a month filled with possibilities for continued learning in new ways, for time with family, for time for reflection, for time for worship and gratitude. Episcopal community, know that we will get through this season of uncertainty together, and be an even stronger body for what we have endured.
With my heartfelt blessings,
The Rev. Adam Greene
Head of School