We hope you have continued to be safe and well during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re writing to share with you our latest updates and decisions regarding this summer’s program.
After considerable thought, discussion and prayer, we will not hold DECATS this summer. This was not an easy decision to reach, and we stand confident that our sadness for not conducting the program this year is temporary and will result in a stronger program in 2021. Our theme – “The Strength Within” – will take on a whole new meaning and still coincide with the Summer Olympics. We trust you understand the difficulty we faced to arrive at the decision to cancel for this summer, as there were so many factors to consider. All of the DECATS programs in Texas will not operate this summer.
We are prepared to honor requests for full refund of any amount you already paid for tuition, merchandise and extended day, including your deposit, as promised in our March update. You may submit this request via your myStatus portal. The deadline to request refund of any payments you made for this year’s program is August 1, 2020. We are not able to hold any payments as credit for potential attendance in 2021. We thank you in advance for your patience as we work to process submitted requests.
Each year, we receive an increasing number of applications for need-based tuition assistance. 2020 has been no exception, and much like the summer after Hurricane Harvey, we anticipate 2021 will present us with some of the greatest need in our 26-year history. We know that COVID-19 has not only meant loss of a fulfilling and meaningful summer opportunity for children and teachers but has also brought loss of employment and income for parents and families.
If you find yourself in a position to do so, we would be grateful for your consideration to re-designate any portion of submitted payment as a tax-deductible donation to our scholarship fund – 100% toward need-based tuition assistance. An option on the refund request form will assist you with making that designation to participate and show your support.
The Road Ahead
COVID-19 continues to present new circumstances, as well as ones that remain to be seen. Some schools are already grappling with how to restart this fall. Any major changes in our regular academic settings may also impact DECATS, and we will monitor those changes in order to make decisions about the 2021 program.
We’d like to provide some immediate reassurance regarding program eligibility and admission:
- You have a guaranteed space in the 2021 program.We will essentially pick up exactly where we’re leaving off, and we’ll ask you to confirm your intention to come to the program in early 2021. If you decide that you’re not able to attend, only then would we make that space available to someone else. Please apprise us of any contact information that changes. You will have the ability to update your personal information in your portal later this summer and throughout the year.
- As a one-time occurrence, we will allow currently enrolled participants completing sixth grade this year to attend in 2021 as a seventh grade Scholar.The mission of DeBusk Foundation, which provides the leading grant for DECATS, allows us the flexibility to determine how we implement a potential expansion of DECATS beyond sixth grade. While we and our families have dreamed about this possibility before, a pandemic is not quite what we expected. We will allow enrolled sixth-grade participants from this year to attend the program as seventh graders in 2021.
Most of all, the decision to cancel affects our young Scholars. We’ll miss witnessing those moments where they make new friends, develop their confidence, unlock new academic potential and contribute to our community. You and they may have wondered about the possibility of conducting the program in some kind of virtual manner. While, for a variety of reasons, we will not pursue a live virtual experience, there are a few opportunities where we still may be able to make a difference this summer. We’ll let you know if we move forward with any kind of online content.
Though heartbreaking to suspend our beloved program this year, especially coming off of a thrilling 25th anniversary celebration, we remain faithful, hopeful and confident that we will enter 2021 with a stronger community ready to return to a pursuit of academic excellence with renewed vigor and health. May God continue to bring us strength, guidance and fortitude in the days ahead. Until we meet again, be safe and be well.
Our very best,