Updated as of March 22nd, 2020
Devon Prep will be closed until Monday, April 6th, 2020.
All school activities and athletics will be postponed during this time.
Devon Prep will re-evaluate our ability to go back to regularly scheduled in-school classes and activities on Monday, April 6th, 2020.
For Devon Prep Families:
– Distance Learning Links
For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), including symptoms, prevention, and treatment you can visit:
– COVID-19 Resources
March 22nd, 2020
As schools across the nation shutter for indeterminate periods of time, Devon Prep’s Director of Academic Affairs knew his school had to find a way to continue. “Not having class wasn’t an option,” said Mark Aquilante, a 1994 graduate of the school.
Each update on the Coronavirus brought increasing uncertainty, and the school didn’t want to leave its students, staff, and families wondering how the school would react. Led by Headmaster Fr. Francisco Aísa, the school took action.
“We could have either waited for the next announcement, or taken a proactive approach to moving forward,” said Fr. Aisa. Devon Prep went with the latter, and the move is paying off. In only three days Devon Prep was able to move itself online, continuing students’ course work and class time with minimal interruption. It’s something its administration felt was imperative.
“I think schools have a moral obligation to continue providing for their students,” said Aquilante. “It shouldn’t be the responsibility of mom and dad to come up with a curriculum for their child at a time like this. That is our job.”
On March 12th Devon’s Administration called for a teacher in-service day to prepare for the shift to online teaching and learning. The following day the school closed for a full industrial cleaning, which allowed Devon’s students to remain home, days ahead of the state-wide shutdown. Teachers and students used the time to pilot the online system, work through any issues, and prepare for the new reality of an entirely digital learning platform come Monday morning.
Students have a full day of classes, starting at 8:30am and ending at 2:35pm, including seven class periods and an hour-long lunch break. Attendance is taken at the beginning of each class and submitted to administration like normal. Each teacher has the autonomy to go live with their class or pre-record their lecture and upload.
“The online setup had to engage the boys and our teachers,” said Aquilante. “What we’ve learned over the years is you can’t force change or something that’s fake. If it’s authentic, they’ll buy in.”
Critical, too, is the school’s mandated use of technology within the classroom. “This is the product of four years of professional development, getting used to learning management platforms and being mandated to use it,” said Kate Frank, Devon Prep’s Director of Technology. “It’s just the addition of video conferencing.”
Small in-person class sizes allow the Devon Prep faculty to know each and every one of their students and those relationships continue, even through an online video conference. “I’m not sure there’s another school in the area that can pull off what we’re doing. Our boys still want to learn, and I’m proud of our faculty for their commitment to their students and the school,” said Pat Kane, Devon’s Director of External Operations.
Having the students work from home has some unintended benefits, too, as parents get insight into the learning process of each class – including jokes, friendships, and student-teacher relationships. Kane is getting a new look at his son’s 7th grade class.
“The best part is seeing how Ryan really interacts at school. To hear how he presents to his teachers and the banter amongst his classmates is refreshing. It’s something that you never get to witness,” said Kane
“These are definitely unusual times, but this is our opportunity to step forward and show how well-prepared we are for it,” Aquilante said. “Families trust us to protect and provide their sons with an educational experience that prepares them for life. That’s what we’re doing.”
While each day brings new challenges, and the Coronavirus situation remains fluid, one of the most-impressive aspects of Devon Prep’s online system is this: the Administration believes the school year will end on-time for its students.
March 13th, 2020
From our Headmaster, Fr. Francisco J Aisa, Sch.P.
I begin by saying thank you for your patience, concern, and support in dealing with the Coronavirus. We have an opportunity to take preventative measures for our students, teachers, and staff. We will transition to online learning beginning this Monday, March 16th, 2020. Click here for distance learning information.
Along with this learning platform change, our campus will continue to be closed until Monday, March 30th, 2020, in accordance with Governor Wolf’s announcement today. All school activities and athletics will also be postponed during this time. This is our chance to do our part, by taking a proactive approach to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Devon Prep will re-evaluate our ability to go back to regularly scheduled in-school classes and activities on Monday, March 30th, 2020.
Additional information will be forthcoming from our Director of Academic Affairs, Mr. Mark Aquilante in the next few days. Please make sure your sons are prepared by using the instructional information that was released yesterday from our Director of Technology, Mrs. Kate Frank.
We ask for your continued support as we go through this transition. There may be some bumps in the road, but we are pleased with our teachers’ training and ability to instruct your sons via our online platform.
During this time, you will be especially in my prayers. Thank you and God Bless You.
March 11th, 2020
The health and wellbeing of Devon Prep students, faculty, and staff is foremost for all of us this week as we hear daily updates about COVID-19. While reports in the media can add to our anxiety, it is important for us all to remember:
At this time, there are no reported cases of COVID-19 among the students or staff members at Devon Preparatory School, nor are we aware that any student or staff member has been in contact with an individual known to be infected.
The Chester County Health Department is not currently recommending that schools or organizations preemptively close as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The reasons are as follows:
- Children have not been shown to be a high-risk group for serious illness from this virus. As much as possible, children should be allowed to carry on with their education and normal activities.
- Closing schools may not be effective because some children may congregate anyway at other locations therefore not reducing risk.
- Closing schools may result in children staying home with alternate caregivers, such as elders, who are more vulnerable.
Open communication and a spirit of cooperation will be paramount for everyone in our community in the coming weeks. Our goal, as always, is to continue to provide the educational experience you have come to expect at Devon Prep. We will make every effort to remain open and conduct classes and activities on a normal schedule while being prepared to take more aggressive action to protect our population, should the situation warrant it.
The school’s Safety Committee recently met to discuss the facts related to COVID-19 and has put together preventative measures with guidance from the Chester County Health Department (CCHD), Centers for Disease Control, Prevention (CDC), the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PDH), and surrounding school districts.
We are taking the following preventative measures:
- a full industrial cleaning of all buildings on campus
- an industrial cleaning company on call until the threat of the virus is over
- each bus wiped-down after the final run of the day
- additional cleaning personnel in the buildings on a daily basis.
- Clorox wipes available in each classroom
- students will wipe down their desks prior to each class period
- sanitizer pumps in every room
What can parents do to help:
We count on your cooperation during this process, and it’s important that parents consider taking preventative measures at home to help us have a safe environment here at school.
These are the recommendations endorsed by the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Cover your cough/sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
- Keep your son at home if he is sick, except to receive medical care.
- Wash your hands OFTEN with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you cannot wash your hands, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Wash your hands after touching objects that other people may frequently touch, such as remotes, phones, door knobs or money.
- Clean all surfaces every day (high touch areas).
- Teach your children to be aware of sharing items including but not limited to personal devices, food, athletic equipment, water bottles, etc.
Self-monitoring is the most effective way to control the spread of COVID-19 or any flu.
If you or your son has any of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
Please inform the school. He should be kept at home and the symptoms need to be monitored on a constant basis. If your son is experiencing these symptoms he will not be allowed back to school unless he is fever free for a period of 24 hours WITHOUT the use of a fever reducer. If symptoms worsen and you feel that your son needs medical attention, please contact your healthcare provider or call 9-1-1 for an emergency.
(Sourced from Chester County Health Department)
If your son is immunosuppressed or at a high risk of infection, please consult your healthcare provider on preventative measures and whether he should stay at home or attend school. If you or anyone in your family has been traveling out of the country or to a state with known community outbreaks, or have come in contact with someone who has the virus, please contact our health office immediately.
Catherine Ciocca – email@example.com
Tracy Przybylowski – firstname.lastname@example.org
Information on COVID-19 is evolving rapidly and changes frequently. We will provide updates to the community as we receive them. To keep yourself up to date please read our weekly newsletter, the Devon Weekly, and use the “Resources” tab in Schoology for helpful links, and check our website.
Should immediate action regarding our status be required we will communicate via email, Schoology and Swiftreach. If you are not currently signed up for Swiftreach, please contact Kate Frank, Coordinator of Technology (email@example.com)