Health and Safety
Our Executive Cabinet is monitoring and taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread and impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy.
This website provides reliable information and resources regarding the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as timely information specific to Notre Dame’s response and planning efforts.
August 6, 2020
Dear Notre Dame Students and Parents:
In this document you will find a summary of our reopening plan as we prepare for the return to face-to-face instruction. The plan is predicated on which phase our region is in as outlined in the Michigan Safe Start Plan. We are currently in phase 4, which allows for school to reopen, but with strict requirements and recommendations. Be assured that we are prepared to meet all requirements and many of the recommended suggestions for a safe return to school, thus exceeding state guidelines. The goal is to make the school as safe as possible but doing so practically and transparently with our parental community.
We understand that there are many concerns regarding the reopening of Notre Dame and all schools in Michigan. For this reason, we have decided to offer a synchronous learning option, where students with severe health risks or students whose immediate families have severe health risks, can attend classes virtually from home. For parents of lower school students in similar positions, we will offer an asynchronous learning option, where students can view lesson plans for the week, work on them at home with their parents, and check in with their teachers at scheduled times throughout the week.
The plan will continue to be fluid and we will do our best to make necessary adjustments throughout the school year. Our return-to-school task force has been in constant contact with other schools, our lead associations, the Archdiocese of Detroit, and local, state, and federal health agencies since mid-March. Our goal has been to share best practices and learn together, so that we can all return students to where they need to be: in school, with teachers that care and have the expertise to teach, role model and prepare them for both the academic and life challenges they will face in the future.
Working together, with God’s will and Mary’s oversight, we will prevail against any challenge that comes our way.
Blessings and Peace,
Andrew J. Guest
Head of School
The purpose of this communication is to keep you apprised of the latest developments regarding the reopening of school on August 19.
Governor’s Task Force
On June 30, Governor Whitmer’s COVID-19 Return to School Advisory Council and Task Force on Education published the MI Safe Schools Roadmap. The roadmap outlines specific requirements and recommendations for schools to follow to return to face-to-face learning. The roadmap includes guidelines based on each phase of the Governor’s MI Safe Start Plan, which has been the basis for the reopening of the economy in Michigan. Oakland County is currently in Phase 4 of the MI Safe Start Plan, which means that in-person learning is permitted with required safety protocols.
Click here to read the MI Safe Start Plan.
Click here to read the MI Return to Safe Schools Roadmap.
An Independent School
Notre Dame is a private, independent Catholic School. That means that we have a great deal of autonomy in the areas of our mission, governance, admissions, discipline, religion and the delivery of our academic experience. This freedom allows us to set expectations for students high and allows us to help students achieve these expectations, both academically and morally.
This freedom does not preclude us from adhering to the state’s mandatory requirements for reopening schools, which currently includes face coverings (i.e., cloth masks or clear face shields) for most faculty, staff and students. This requirement could go away if we move to Phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan prior to the start of school.
Notre Dame Task Force
The Notre Dame reopening task force, consisting of several key administrators from all three divisions, is continuing to review all aspects of school operations, including sanitation, disinfection and health-screening procedures, social-distancing practices, hygiene education, sick protocols, and the overall emotional well-being of our student body.
We know that the return to school will be different from years past, but we are confident that we can make it work for the health, safety and emotional well-being of our students.
Notre Dame has always been a place where students feel safe and welcome. It is our intent to keep it that way when we return to school in August.
Blessings and peace,
Andrew J. Guest
Head of School
Dear Notre Dame Families:
The purpose of this letter is to keep you posted on school reopening plans.
A Notre Dame education is best delivered in person. Our teachers are both educators and role models of Christian values. Students learn better in school with teachers. They also benefit socially and emotionally from the interactions with their friends and fellow students. We are looking forward to seeing all the students when we return to school on August 19.
Reopening Task Force
A cross-functional task force of school administrators has been meeting for several months to manage school operations and to plan. This past week, we have seen the return of lower school students to summer camp and a limited return to athletics. We were also able to successfully host an ACT exam. In July, we expect more academic and athletic camps to open, following state guidelines for social distancing.
The task force has been considering multiple educational scenarios with a sharp eye toward what will work in our environment. We have some advantages in the fact that we are a mid-sized school, on a spacious campus with small class sizes.
Currently, we are planning for a full return, virtual learning (enhanced with best practices and parent feedback) as a back-up plan, and hybrid options for students who become ill during the school year.
Health and Wellness
The health and wellness of our students, faculty and staff at Notre Dame is the most important consideration. To that extent, we will follow state, county, and local guidelines to ensure we have a safe environment for all. Increased sanitation, disinfection, social distancing, limited access to school grounds, and education of students on proper hygiene will all be part of our plans. We are examining all issues with a sense of practicality and balance. Social distancing is difficult for students and expectations will vary by age. Our goal is to make sure that students, faculty, and staff are both safe and comfortable during the school day.
You can expect to receive regular updates from the school throughout the summer as more information becomes available. As of today, the news regarding the pandemic looks positive for Michigan. Patience, flexibility, rationality, and empathy will be key in the months ahead.
May God bless your family, our students, and the whole Notre Dame community.
Andrew J. Guest
Head of School
Many schools and districts have struggled to transition to a virtual learning platform. We are proud that our teachers were able to transition quickly and have been delivering meaningful educational content to students for over a month. Philosophically, we believe that virtual learning will never fully replace face-to-face learning. The Notre Dame experience reaches beyond delivery of content. The daily social interaction, role modeling, discipline and faith formation are integral to the Notre Dame experience. It remains our strong desire to return to that environment as soon as we are able. We will continue virtual learning through the end of the semester and look forward to a full return to campus in the fall.
Due to the statewide order to close school buildings, the expected timeline and process for removing “stay-at-home” orders, the amount of planning required, and the uncertainty of outside facility availabilities, we have made the decision to cancel or reschedule the following events:
- Junior prom
- Senior all-night party (SANP)
- Big Band Dinner Dance
- High school band trip to Mackinac
- 5th grade trip to Mackinac
- Concert on the Hill
- Middle school field trip to Cedar Point
- High school Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation
- 8th grade Mass and Graduation
- 5th grade farewell
- Senior prom
- Booster Club Golf Outing
- Fashion Show Online Auction
Parents will have the option to receive a full refund, to allocate funds to next year or to donate any pre-paid fees back to the school.
Summer sports and academic camps are a big part of children’s development and we believe that children will need activities to grow and learn during the summer.
We remain hopeful that social distancing and restrictions on group gatherings will be eased to a point that we can safely hold these camps for children. If this is not possible, parents will receive a full refund.
We have been discussing several alternatives to our year-end calendar, including the possibility of shortening the school year. Our primary objective is to continue to prepare our students for future academic success. If we can do that with a slightly shorter schedule, we will. We expect to make a final decision on the year-end calendar no later than April 30.
Fundraising remains an important function for Notre Dame. We are receiving many requests for additional aid due to the coronavirus and uncertain economic times makes the decision for prospective families that much more difficult. Notre Dame will be participating in the global Giving Tuesday Now on May 5 to bolster our Notre Dame Fund so that we can maintain our exceptional academic programming, retain current families, and make a Notre Dame education accessible for new families. Please consider what you can do to participate in this important fundraising initiative.
Sunday liturgies will continue to be offered via livestream on the school’s Facebook page and via recording on the school website and YouTube until stay-at-home orders are lifted such that families can return to their parishes for worship. It is good to see that we have had between 1,200 and 1,800 views of these liturgies.
We understand that there are still many questions for parents. The two biggest questions are “when will we return to normal” and “what will ‘normal’ look like for us”. While none of us can predict the future, most experts believe that we will have a graduated approach in re-establishing activities that will take place over several weeks or months. To that end, we are already planning now for next school year and will be prepared to address all issues that may affect the health and well-being of our students and our teachers. It is our intent that Notre Dame emerges from this pandemic stronger than ever.
We pray for Mary’s continued blessings on our Catholic community as we welcome the students back from break and push forward to the end of the school year.
Andrew J. Guest
Head of School
We know that there are many questions and concerns from parents, students, faculty and staff. We are also working to be predictive in anticipating likely scenarios, including preparing for the possibility that school may be shut down longer than anticipated.
Today, we made the following decisions:
- Online learning will officially begin tomorrow, March 17. Lessons and assignments will be posted on PowerSchool by 9 a.m. each day.
- The school building will be closed to students and visitors from today, March 16, at 2 p.m. through April 19.
- Remote learning will continue through April 8.
- School will be closed from Holy Thursday – Easter Sunday (April 9-12) in observance of the Easter holiday.
- Spring break will take place as previously scheduled (April 13-17).
- Normal in-school classes (or offline learning) will resume on April 20.
Good practical advice for your students is to encourage them to get into a regular routine of checking for assignments, keeping up with coursework, practicing good hygiene and getting proper rest. We will need your help to make sure that your students regularly check their email for updates from their teachers. It is also good to manage expectations. Remote learning is not a perfect educational scenario and will take some time for faculty and students to adjust. IT support will be available to students during all normal school hours at email@example.com.
Patience, flexibility and empathy by all will be critical during this period. A FAQ document is being prepared and should be available to parents within the coming days.
This also is an ideal time to discuss with your children the importance of the greater humanitarian good that is taking place while we all work together to address the coronavirus. It is part of our mission to work with God to form good Christian people, upright citizens and academic scholars.
Below is an excellent prayer from St. Francis de Sales to share with your children:
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow.
The same loving Father who cares for you today, will care for you tomorrow and every day.
Either He will shield you from suffering, or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace then and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginings.
Andrew J. Guest
Head of School
A Note about Online Academics
As we finish up our fourth week of online learning and head into the Easter Break, the NDPMA administration and teachers would like you to know that we have received, listened to and evaluated your feedback regarding online learning. A few important pointers to help students be successful heading into the end of the school year:
- Based on Governor Whitmer’s decision to close all school buildings through the end of the school year, teachers will plan for online learning through the end of the semester.
- To maintain consistency, the rotating schedule will continue as planned. Middle school and upper school teachers will continue to post daily assignments on PowerSchool Learning based on the five class per day A-H schedule.
- Lower school teachers will continue to post assignments T/Th from core classroom teachers and weekly posts from specialists.
- Progress reports for middle and upper school students will be available later today, April 8, to allow students and families to evaluate their progress since the school moved to online learning.
- No new schoolwork will be assigned over the Easter break. The Easter break will be a time for students to complete any missing assignments or make up work.
- Please remember that teachers continue to grade assignments and that grades will be published on student report cards and transcripts at the end of the semester.
- Especially with online classes it is important for students to keep up with assignments, turn in work/quizzes, participate in discussions and video conferences. If you are having difficulties please communicate with your teacher as soon as possible.
- The NDPMA Virtual Learning Handbook also is available on the teachers’ PowerSchool Learning pages. Parents, please take a moment to review with your child both the student expectations and etiquette. The expectations stated in the NDPMA student handbook are still applicable in the virtual classroom setting. Be mindful that the conference is a “classroom” and one should act accordingly and inline with our mission.
March 13, 2020
Dear Middle and Upper School Families,
Following up on the most recent NDPMA school communication, we would like to share with you our plan for continued online learning through the PowerSchool platform. As an NDPMA middle and upper school team, we confirmed our plan to move forward with the virtual learning environment during the mandated school closure:
- Beginning Tuesday, March 17, students will need to check PowerSchool Learning each day after 9 a.m. for an updated assignment list. We have created teacher/student expectations for our virtual learning environment (see below). The learning expectations are also posted on PowerSchool and on our NDPMA Health and Safety webpage.
- Teachers will be establishing online office hours for students that may need academic support.
- Comcast is offering free internet for families that qualify. Click here for information.
- Please send all IT-related issues and questions to ITSupport@ndpma.org – this email reaches all IT personnel and they will respond as quickly as possible.
NDPMA Teacher and Student Virtual Learning Expectations
(Upper and Middle Schools)
- Teachers will be expected to post assignments on PowerSchool for each school day before 9 a.m.
- Please set due dates, however, try to be flexible and understanding. Expect that some students may have technical issues, illnesses or other logistical issues beyond their control.
- All assignments for the week must be posted on PowerSchool and must include a clear task list. External links may be included.
- The number of lessons or assignments posted should correspond to the cycle and number of meetings that the class meets that week.
- Teachers who ask their classes to meet online, may only do so during scheduled class time (high school only; middle school will not be asked to meet at a designated time).
- Teachers will establish and post online office hours.
- Students will be expected to log in to PowerSchool each school day after 9 a.m. to check assignments.
- Students will visit each class page where they will find a simple task list for their classes.
- Assignments with general instructions will be provided by all teachers.
- Students who may have limited internet or no computer access at home are asked to let us know. Please respond to Mrs. Anderson (upper school) firstname.lastname@example.org or Mrs. Patterson (middle school) email@example.com if this situation applies so we can take steps to assist you.
- In some cases, students will be asked to take part in an online discussion board or audio/video conference.
- Assignments and assessments will be delivered online with expected due dates.
- For specific academic questions, students should contact teachers via school email or PowerSchool online office hours.
Keep in mind the importance of keeping a daily schedule for all students. Set a time to wake up, eat lunch, work on school work, and set regular breaks. Staying on a healthy routine will help students to maintain some feeling of normalcy.
If you would like to speak with your child’s school, parents may call the main NDPMA office at 248-373-5300 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
During these next few weeks, we hope you will pray together as a family. As we approach Easter, as a school community, we ask Mary’s help to maintain and to help us practice our faith by living with patience, humor, and humility. Let us remember our Marist theme for this year: Union with God.
With prayers for your family,
Fr. Joe Hindelang, s.m.
Principal, Notre Dame Prep
Vice Principal, Notre Dame Prep
Principal, Notre Dame Middle School
Vice Principal, Notre Dame Middle School
At Notre Dame, safety and security are our top priorities. We want you not only to feel safe while you are here, but to be safe at our school.
Our administrators work closely with facilities personnel to secure our buildings and grounds in countless ways. Below are some important safety measures in place.
- Oakland County sheriff’s deputies on site during school day
- Security staff on site beginning at 7 a.m., and finishing after the day’s last event
- Security cameras
- Emergency notification system
- Active shooter training for faculty and staff
- Intruder locks on classroom doors
- SafetyShield shatterproof glass on all lower school windows
- Fire suppression system
- Seven AED defibrillators
- Adherence to state and federal inspection mandates
- Adherence to state fire, tornado and lockdown drill mandates
The following fire and emergency drills have been conducted at Notre Dame since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year:
Notre Dame Preparatory and Middle schools:
September 14, 2020 (fire drill)
September 24, 2020 (fire drill)
September 17, 2020 (fire drill)
September 23, 2020 (fire drill)
The following fire and emergency drills have been conducted at Notre Dame since the beginning of the 2019-20 school year:
Notre Dame Preparatory and Middle schools:
August 27, 2019 (fire drill)
August 29, 2019 (fire drill)
September 5, 2019 (fire drill)
October 2, 2019 (shelter in place drill)
March 5, 2020 (shelter in place drill)
August 28, 2019 (fire drill)
September 4, 2019 (fire drill)
October 9, 2019 (fire drill)
October 15, 2019 (shelter in place drill)
January 8, 2020 (shelter in place drill)
The senior administration met this morning in response to Gov. Whitmer’s executive order to close K-12 public, private and boarding schools in the state of Michigan. They reviewed best practices and recommendations from multiple sources and have made decisions to protect the health and well-being of our entire community.
In accordance with Gov. Whitmer’s executive order to close all Michigan school buildings, public and private as the state continues to mitigate the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy will be closed on Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 5.