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  • Dianne Flaherty

Our response to the corona virus outbreak

Dear Friends,


I’m writing to you with prayers and thanksgiving. The scope and scale of recent events is astounding We are responding to the Coronavirus outbreak with an abundance of caution, a preponderance of thoughtful innovation and a grounded faith in the power of prayer and community resilience.


Our first priority is the health and well-being of the SPCS community, their families, and the public. To that end, we closed the school on March 13th, with a heartfelt send-off to all the students and faculty. Children are to stay home and adhere to the guidance of health authorities, especially in terms of social distancing. We continue to monitor the situation and will keep the school closed until we are provided clearance from government and health authorities that we can do so safely.


When we closed the school, we were fortunate to have had a one-day opportunity to pivot (my favorite basketball term) and prepare all our students for remote learning. Packets of materials were prepared, printed and sent home and students were introduced to some of online educational tools provided by Google and other technology services for remote learning. We are committed to continue to provide and deliver high-quality learning experiences and supports to our students. We are developing a repository of curated resources and tools for families and students to use. Our teachers are daily experimenting with innovative approaches to engage students at home with thoughtful, engaging and effective instruction.


Thanks to the tremendous response from students, teachers, and families to the learning from home program that we instituted; remote learning is on as of Monday, March 16! Teachers are holding daily office hours and students are plugged in. Staff reported in our meeting today that all students had checked in, assignments are being submitted, online chats are flourishing, and engagement is high.


Even as we transition to teaching and working remotely at SPCS, we are also attentive to the needs of our parish and patrons who miss the beautiful daily liturgies and concerts performed by our unique Choir of Boys and Men. We were so fortunate to be able to perform a beautiful Duruflé Requiem on the eve of our closing. We made a recording of that service, which we hope to share soon. We are diligently exploring ways that we will be able to continue to serve the community with beautiful liturgies using live streaming or other broadcast technologies in collaboration with our wonderful pastoral staff.


Our music staff keeps the boys’ voices finely tuned with daily warm-up activities, music theory lessons and virtual piano and voice lessons. Piano practice has been increased to double the time during these extraordinary circumstances since the boys suddenly have extra time on their hands. As we move forward, additional updates will be sent out with opportunities to engage safely and enjoy the beauty of the choir in your homes.


A group of parents piloted a daily rosary group using ZOOM. The group plans to meet weekday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and welcomes you to join. Yesterday, in response to encouragement from Pope Francis, we joined with faithful from around the world in praying the rosary. While we are experiencing an absence of the daily celebrations of the Mass, praying the rosary together is a wonderful way to strengthen our spirits and seek help for our school community in tough times.


I have heard from many SPCS community members asking how they can help us during this difficult time. If you would like to support the School, we have established an Emergency Fund to which alumni, patrons and other community members may contribute. If you would like to do so, please click here.


I have never seen such a magnificent display of focus, intensity and persistence, accomplished with great humility and decency, as I have seen at SPCS over the past week, and I have never been prouder to partner with you as we take on the challenges ahead. I appreciate your support and am grateful to have friends, like you, cheering SPCS on.


All the best,

Tom Haferd

Head of School


Saint Paul's Choir School | Harvard Square

admin@saintpaulschoirschool.us

Office: (617) 868-8658

29 Mount Auburn Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

©2020 by Saint Paul's Choir School

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