ST. MONICA CATHOLIC SCHOOL RE-OPENING PLAN FOR FALL 2020
As many of you know, the Reopening Washington School 2020 District Planning Guide recently released guidelines for safely returning to school. This document, along with Superintendent Reykdal, emphasized returning all students to face-to-face instruction in the Fall. While the pandemic is unpredictable and the future may be uncertain for some time, we are happy to announce that we are moving forward with our plans to safely welcome our students back to campus for in-person learning this Fall.
The enclosed guide is not a one-size-fits-all approach but leaves room for our school to create safe conditions for students, staff, and parents, while also emphasizing the importance of socialization and academics. Over this summer, we have been taking many steps to prepare for a fall trimester, carefully considering what is allowed and medically advisable, and the valuable feedback many of you provided in our health survey. While we have not finalized every detail, we do want to share information on the Fall as of right now. This plan, and thus this document, is fluid. As recommendations change, we will continue to make updates and will send weekly updates through the Crusader Communique. It will remain in place until the guidelines from the State of Washington, the King County Health Department, or the Archdiocese of Seattle change. If that occurs, the plan will be modified to reflect those changes.
It is important to note that if St. Monica Catholic School is required to close again, for any duration, we will enact a remote learning plan building on lessons learned from the spring of 2020, to meet the needs of our students and families.
Unquestionably, the Fall of 2020 will look different than Fall of 2019. Our students’ health and safety are of utmost importance, and the measures we take will highlight the importance of creating a safe learning environment for our students. It will take all of us together as a community to make this happen, and we remain firmly committed to our mission and vision, which dictates who we are.
St. Monica Catholic School collaborates with parents to educate and develop the whole child, so they may maximize their human potential, fulfill their God-given purpose, and flourish in a Christ-centered and rigorous academic environment.
To promote a Catholic learning environment for the growth of the whole child through a rigorous integrated curriculum. We will emphasize the rich tradition of a Liberal Arts education by using time-tested methodologies inspired by the Church’s history, culture, and thought. Through compassion, prayer, and service to God and neighbor, our students will model Christian virtue, communicate, and think logically, contribute to the common good, and pursue truth.
As we enter the Fall, our focus continues to be on:
- Faithful Catholics who model the virtues of Reverence and Justice.
- Life-Long Learners who model the virtues of Studiousness and Fortitude.
- Responsible citizens who model the virtues of Prudence and Temperance.
This plan has been developed using the guidelines from the State of Washington, the King County Health Department, Department of Children, Youth and Family, CDC, and the Archdiocese of Seattle. If changes are to occur, our plan will be modified to reflect those changes.
SCHOOL START DAY
The school start date will be the following:
- On Monday and Tuesday, August 31 and September 1, St. Monica school will run two half-day (AM) programs to familiarize students with the new procedures related to this document. The student body will be split in half once we have more accurate enrollment numbers. Group Alpha would attend August 31st and stay home on September 1st, and group Omega will attend September 1st and stay home on August 31st.
- We will send out the roster and schedules when all the details are finalized. Families will not be split.
- These days will act as a “trial run,” where students will experience a day of school under the new protocols to identify and correct any problems.
Wednesday, September 2, will be our first full day of school for all students.
Desks and chairs will be reconfigured in each classroom to meet the needs of the current class enrollments and social distancing protocol.
- Desks will be placed in front-facing rows.
- Desks will not be placed in clusters or workgroups.
- Non-essential furniture and equipment will be removed from classrooms to create the maximum space possible for students and teachers.
- When feasible, students, especially those in K-5, will meet in their classes for most of their day (including lunch).
- Decisions regarding the location of classrooms for grade levels are still in the process of being made.
- CLASS COHORTS – there will be minimal, if any, mixing of classes/grades. Instead, each class/grade represents its cohort, and individuals within that cohort will interact with and have physical proximity limited to other individuals in that cohort to the extent possible. By keeping the children in smaller groups by class/grade, we can control the number of individuals that come into contact with our children daily and keep exposure consistent within each class/grade.
- Specialists may come to primary classrooms instead of the students traveling to their classes.
MASKS AND HYGIENE
St. Monica Catholic School will continue our increased and frequent handwashing procedures and other hygiene practices. Additionally, children and staff will wash their hands when leaving the facility.
- All staff will be required to wear cloth masks except when working independently
- All students in grades K-8 will be required to wear cloth masks (preferred)or plastic face shields at school
- Students must always have two masks on hand at school each day
- St. Monica will provide one face shield for each student to remain on campus at all times – it will be sanitized each night
- Parents should provide their child’s masks to promote regular cleaning of masks, ensure that the masks are a good fit, and help identify the owner of each mask
- Parents are strongly encouraged to find masks for their students and practice wearing them for extended time throughout the summer to maximize comfort and prepare for learning
- Student exemptions are attainable for medical reasons
- All visitors must wear a mask, and non-essential visits are limited to phone or virtual meetings if available.
- Pre-K students are encouraged to wear their school-issued face shield while in the classroom, working and playing. During meal times and recess, they can be removed.
- Students and staff will be required to wash their hands before/upon entering the classroom and before eating
- When possible, students will use soap and water to wash their hands; alternatively, they will use hand sanitizer – St. Monica has replaced all drinking fountains with handwashing stations throughout the campus – Students are strongly encouraged to bring a refillable water bottle
- Teachers and instructional assistants will wipe down desks with approved cleaning supplies between each new group of students entering the room for shared spaces, before and after eating, and at the end of the day
- Our increased maintenance staff will continue to clean during and after each school day paying extra attention to high use areas
- Shared equipment and instructional materials will be cleaned regularly
BEFORE SCHOOL SCREENING
- Students will undergo a required health screening each school day – this includes a brief electronic health survey (completed by parent/guardian on our New FACTS APP).
- Parents will be asked if their child or anyone in the child’s household is exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19
- Parents who report symptoms will be required to keep their children home
- During the daily electronic screening, parents/guardians will be asked the following questions per Washington’s Department of Health each morning no later than 7:30 AM.
1. Has your child had any of the following symptoms in the last 72 hours?
- Dry cough, shortness of breath, or breathing difficulty
- Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more, or a sense of having a fever
- Nausea or Diarrhea or Vomiting
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
- Congestion / runny nose – NOT related to seasonal allergies
- Muscle or body aches
- Unusual fatigue
2. Does anyone in your household have any of the above symptoms right now?
3. Has your child been near anyone suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
4. Has your child taken any medication to reduce fever before coming to school?
If any of the above answers are “yes” or if the student has a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, he/she may not attend school and must immediately go home.
If the above answers are “no” and the temperature is below 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, the student may attend school.
AT SCHOOL SCREENING
Students will also submit to temperature check using a non-contact thermometer to ensure that temperature is not above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit by school staff.
- Students who exhibit symptoms while at school will be sent to the health isolation room on campus and the student’s temperature will be checked
- If the student’s temperature is 100.4 degrees or higher, the parent will be contacted to pick them up immediately
- The child will be required to have COVID-19 testing in a medical facility (WA State Department of Health)
- Any student or staff member who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 will be required to stay at home for three days after their symptoms have disappeared (defined as no fever without the use of medications and improvement in respiratory signs like cough and shortness of breath), even after a negative test result and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared (WA State Department of Health)
Entry into the school will be limited to one door except during the morning drop-off period.
- School entry is limited to students, faculty, and staff, and previously approved volunteers or parent visitors
- All individuals who enter the school, including volunteers and parent visitors, must first complete and clear the same health screening and temperature check required of students, as noted in the above Screening section.
- Notifying the office of an intended visit is required.
- Some volunteer jobs will be eliminated or modified to restrict non-essential visitors and limit the number of individuals entering the buildings.
- Volunteers will be required to follow the same health and safety protocols as faculty and staff.
- Children, staff, parents, and guardians are not allowed on-site if they:
- Are showing symptoms of COVID-19
- Have been in close contact with someone who has a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 in the past 14 days
- Are considered high risk due to health conditions.
- Confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be reported to the King County Health Department and the Office of Catholic Schools.
- Students and staff will be quarantined as directed.
- Parents should inform the school immediately if someone in their household has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or is quarantined for a suspected case.
- Areas that the sick person uses will be closed off, and doors and windows will be opened to increase circulation.
- Areas used by the sick person will be cleaned and disinfected.
- Increased air circulation throughout the building.
- We are installing an improved HVAC system through our ventilation system.
- Opening windows in some classrooms and offices will occur often.
- Classroom doors will be opened when possible and appropriate
- Students will eat lunch at their desks in their classrooms.
- Students will wash their hands before and after eating lunch.
- The school’s hot lunch program will be in place during the 2020-2021 school year.
- Lunches will be delivered to the classrooms to reduce the interactions of students retrieving the lunch baskets from the hallway.
- Lunch baskets will be sanitized and return to the lunch sorting table in the upper hall by staff.
- Recess and outdoor activities are encouraged.
- Students will be strongly discouraged from playing games that involved regular close contact.
- Playground equipment can be used, but usage will have to be limited to an acceptable student number.
END OF SCHOOL PICK-UP
Afternoon pick-up and carpool will likely have some changes as well, including staggered times and altered locations for pick-up.
- Masks must be worn during pick-up and parents are always asked to stay in their cars or next to their vehicles
- Parents will not be allowed to congregate after school in the parking lots or play areas
BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL CARE
St. Monica Catholic School is prioritizing the regular in-person back-to-school reopening. We want to ensure that we have a successful implementation of safety and health protocols and processes as part of the regular school day, give staff and students time to grow accustomed to following these new protocols and processes, and give ourselves time to make adjustments as needed – before adding the complexity of Morning Care and After School Care (ASC).
We are committed to providing extended care for students, before and after school, once we have experience implementing safety and health precautions during the normal school day and feel that it is safe to resume some mixing of grade levels/classes in the before and after school care setting. This fall, we will evaluate our school re-opening experience, the needs of our staff and students, and the COVID-19 landscape to develop a plan and timeline for re-opening before and after school care. Our sincere hope is that we can re-open before and after school care by the start of the second trimester (January 2021) at the very latest. Families will not be charged fees or tuition for ASC or Morning Care until we reopen these services, and those fees will be pro-rated.
We are still planning on having Mass, following safe social distancing and safety protocols. The fall might be limited to remote class participation via the online recorded or live stream Mass until we can all gather safely together again.
PLAN AND COMMUNICATE
We are committed to regular communication with all our parents, children, and staff about:
- COVID-19 and the steps one can take to protect themselves and prevent further spread
- Possibility of a closure during the school year
- A means to contact our Administration for updates and concerns
- Defined drop-off and pick-up procedures
- Classroom locations and teachers
- Volunteer needs to reconfigure
- Defined drop-off and pick-up procedures TBA
- Frequently asked questions can be found at the following:
- The school is stocking up on soap, sanitizer, disinfectants, masks, gloves, and other PPE equipment
- The plan is to open for all students; however, St. Monica will continue to plan for the possibility of distance learning and of a hybrid (combination of remote and in-person instruction) schedule (if necessary or state-mandated)
- The exploration and planning of a “remote only” option for families who do not yet feel ready to send students back to school, but still want high-quality instruction, is ongoing. If you have questions about this option, please reach out to email@example.com
- To be prepared for a potential return to distance learning, either via a hybrid learning or a “remote only” option, St. Monica Catholic School is:
- Planning to gather and review family feedback on the student distance learning experience based on spring 2020 so that we can identify and build upon lessons learned.
- Preparing classrooms and teachers with technology that will allow live streaming so that students can attend classes and receive real-time instruction from home.
- Planning for Microsoft Teams Training for parents/guardians and students.
- Creating guidelines that will be followed by all grade-levels.
- For example, a weekly overview of distance learning will be sent out the Friday afternoon before learning begins weekly.
- Upgrading our technology infrastructure with increased devices for primary grades to make multi-child family learning easier.
- Implementing a streamlined approach to the delivery of instructional content and submission of homework that is consistent across teachers and specialists.
- Developing a less taxing method of gathering and returning assignments for young learners and their families.