COVID-19 and the School of Saint Mary

In 2020, the School of Saint Mary formed a COVID-19 committee composed of medical professionals and school leaders who have expertise in various fields:

  • pediatric medical information (Drs. Uyen Le and Cynthia Lundt),
  • psychological and developmental considerations (Beth Svetlic),
  • other school system best practices (Stephanie Gentry),
  • faculty and administration considerations (Lindsay Maricle, Sarah Edwards, Suzanne Nelson, Pat Kimmel, Fr. Vince, and Fr. Jack), and
  • communication needs (Mike Malcom).

The task force meets as needed and is committed to continuous review and improvement of existing COVID protocols in light of our learned experience, most recent data, and expert guidance. The purpose of the committee is to provide guidance to the school regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Please submit questions to covidtaskforce@schoolofsaintmary.com.

 

Click on the dates to see communication from those days:

 

October 5, 2021

A student in the Kindergarten grade class at School of Saint Mary showed symptoms of COVID on Friday and tested positive for COVID-19 today. The student was last in the school on October 1, 2021 and had interaction with their classmates. All students and staff needing to quarantine are being contacted now. Out of caution and following CDC guidelines, the school will undergo extra EPA regulated sanitization this evening.

As with this virus, there is always the possibility that it may have been transferred to others at any point. To be on the safe side, we ask that you please monitor your child/ren for any and all symptoms. If you begin to develop symptoms, please self-quarantine at home and notify the school immediately.

 

 

September 17, 2021 COVID-19 Update

A student in the 2nd grade class at School of Saint Mary tested positive for COVID-19 last night. The student is asymptomatic and has been in quarantine since 9/9/2021. No additional students and staff need to quarantine.

As always, we ask that you please continue to monitor your child/ren for any and all symptoms. If you begin to develop symptoms, please self-quarantine at home and notify the school immediately.

 

September 14, 2021 Diocesan COVID-19 Policy update

https://secureservercdn.net/198.71.233.38/454.d05.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/COVID-19-Policy-for-Catholic-Schools-Revised-9.13.2021-ENGLISH.pdf

 

September 12, 2021 COVID-19 Update

Mr. Hutchings, the music teacher at School of Saint Mary, notified us late last night that he tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Hutchings was last in school on Friday but was not in close contact for a prolonged time with anyone, however he did have music class Wednesday and Thursday with all the grades. All students needing to quarantine are being contacted by Mrs Kimmel, Mrs Mitchell or Ms. Wagner this afternoon. Following CDC guidelines, the school has already undergone EPA regulated sanitization today in anticipation of school being in session tomorrow and we will not hold music classes until Tuesday to give the room extra time to air out.

Due to the nature of music class, we have been very cautious with our list of quarantined students as we strive to make the most safe decisions for our school community. We ask that you please monitor your child/ren for any and all symptoms. If you begin to develop symptoms, please self-quarantine at home and notify the school immediately. These are trying times for all of us so we appreciate your patience and understanding.

 

September 9, 2021 COVID-19 Update

A student in the 2nd grade class at School of Saint Mary showed symptoms of COVID last night and tested positive for COVID-19 today. The student was last in the school on September 8, 2021 and had moderate interaction with their classmates. All students and staff needing to quarantine have been contacted by Mrs Kimmel. Out of caution and following CDC guidelines, the school has already undergone EPA regulated sanitization.

As with this virus, there could be a small possibility that it may have been transferred to others. To be on the safe side, we ask that you please monitor your child/ren for any and all symptoms. If you begin to develop symptoms, please self-quarantine at home and notify the school immediately.

 

September 3, 2021 COVID-19 Update

While in quarantine, a student in the 7th grade class at School of Saint Mary showed symptoms of COVID Tuesday and tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last in the school on August 27, 2021, therefore there are not any additional persons needing to quarantine. Out of caution and following CDC guidelines, the school has already undergone EPA regulated sanitization.

Please continue to monitor your child/ren for any and all symptoms. If you begin to develop symptoms, please self-quarantine at home and notify the school immediately.

 

August 30, 2021 COVID-19 Update

Dear School of Saint Mary Families,
A student in the 7th grade class at School of Saint Mary showed symptoms of COVID Saturday and tested positive for COVID-19. The student was last in the school on August 27, 2021 and had moderate interaction with the 7th grade class and some special middle school classes. All students and staff needing to quarantine have been contacted by Mrs Kimmel. Out of caution and following CDC guidelines, the school has already undergone EPA regulated sanitization.

As with this virus, there could be a small possibility that it may have been transferred to others. To be on the safe side, we ask that you please monitor your child/ren for any and all symptoms. If you begin to develop symptoms, please self-quarantine at home and notify the school immediately.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Lindsay Maricle
Principal, School of Saint Mary

August 24, 2021 – Diocesan COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

Download a PDF: COVID-19 Policy for Catholic Schools Revised 8.13.2021 ENGLISH

COVID-19 POLICIES & PROCEDURES
DIOCESAN CATHOLIC SCHOOLS
2021-2022 Academic Year
Catholic education, just like our Catholic faith, is meant to be face-to-face in communion and community with one another. COVID-19 (and variants) has made this simple, humane and yes, divine approach more difficult. Since the best education takes place not by distance learning but in a room or building where students and teachers can interact as human beings, we have adopted these guidelines, while we engage in this great ministry to our young people. The safety of the children and all those engaged in the ministry of Catholic education is of paramount importance.
These policies and procedures have been reviewed, explained and implemented by our schools’ faculty and staff. The necessity of these policies is self-evident, but they will be enforced with charity, professionalism, and with the common good of the larger school community in mind. They will be updated as conditions change in consultation with local, state and national health authorities. Parents, we recommend that you speak to your children about how their school may look and operate differently based on the current epidemic and the guidelines provided herein.
We pray for the health and safety of all our families and those who work in our schools. May Our Lord bless our work and keep us safe from harm.
David W. Dean
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

All quotes in the text that are not cited are from the Centers for Disease Control.

POLICIES & PROCEDURES
Promoting Behaviors that Reduce Spread
1. Quarantine—Each principal should make reasonable efforts to educate employees, families, and students about the importance of “staying home when appropriate” according to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) or the local health department materials and guidelines. These include:
1.1 Employees and the parents of students should immediately report to the principal or his or her delegate if they are sick, have tested positive for COVID-19 (which as used herein includes all variants), or have been recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19. “Close contact” or “exposure” means the individual was within six (6) feet of someone for a cumulative total of fifteen (15) minutes or more within a twenty-four (24) hour period.
1.2 Employees and students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have recently had close contact, as defined above, with a person with COVID-19 must stay home and quarantine for a minimum period of ten (10) days before returning to school unless otherwise determined by the principal pursuant to these policies and procedures. Principals, in their sole discretion, may ask persons to stay home from school pursuant to the provisions contained herein and in consultation with the Superintendent.
(a) If the quarantined person receives a negative test result on at least day five (5) of quarantine and reports no symptoms, the person may return after seven (7) days.
(b) For Employees (not students) previously diagnosed with symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who remain asymptomatic after recovery, retesting or quarantine is not recommended if another exposure occurs or might have occurred within ninety (90) days after the date of symptom onset from the initial COVID-19 infection unless that employee develops symptoms within the ninety (90) day period. If symptoms occur, then the Employee should be quarantined pursuant to Section 1.2.
(c) Principals should apply the definition of “close contact” (Section 1.1) in determining who must undergo the mandatory quarantine—this standard of exposure may be used to exempt persons from mandatory quarantines (Section 1.4). Moreover, the close contact definition excludes students who were within six (6) feet of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 if both the student who tested positive and the exposed student(s) correctly and consistently wore well-fitting masks the entire time—this exclusion does not apply to adults.
(d) If person is determined to have been exposed (Section 1.1) and that person is fully vaccinated then: (i) if he or she has symptoms, then he or she should quarantine pursuant to these policies; (ii) if he or she does not have symptoms the individual may either quarantine pursuant to these policies or he or she must undergo a COVID-19 tested three (3) to five (5) days after his or her exposure, even if the person is asymptomatic, and the person must wear a mask indoors at all times for fourteen (14) days following the exposure or until their test result is negative. Questions regarding vaccinations are addressed in Section 7.
1.3 Employees and students who are sick but have no knowledge of being in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and are not presenting symptoms of COVID-19 should (i) stay home and monitor their health for COVID-19 symptoms (ii) may not return to school for at least twenty-four (24) hours after no longer having a fever without the use of any fever-reducing medications.
1.4 Students in the same classroom as a student who tests positive for COVID-19 must undergo the mandatory quarantine (Section 1.2) unless otherwise determined by the principal (Section 1.2(c)). If the student who tests positive has siblings in the same household who also attend a diocesan elementary school, then all such siblings will also undergo a mandatory quarantine unless mitigating circumstances exist as determined by the principal—the quarantine for siblings in the same household extends up to the positive student’s first day of no longer having a fever without the use of medication (and with improved respiratory function) and continues for ten (10) days afterward.
1.5 Students in the same classroom as a student who is possibly exposed to COVID-19 but has not tested positive may be asked to quarantine (Section 1.2) as determined by the principal. If the student who was possibly exposed but has not tested positive has siblings in the same household who also attend a diocesan elementary school, then all such siblings may also undergo a quarantine as determined by the principal—the quarantine for siblings in the same household extends up to the exposed student’s first day of no longer having a fever without the use of medication (and with improved respiratory function) and continues for ten (10) days or seven (7) days (Section 1.2) afterward.
1.6 Principals should notify local health officials, pursuant to their instructions, and the Superintendent of any possible exposures or self-reports of COVID-19 and defer to the guidance of local health officials on addressing any health-related issues in consultation with the Superintendent.
1.7 Principals should notify employees, families, and students of any exposures and of the measures being taken to address them pursuant to these policies and procedures and with due deference to confidentiality of those involved. A person’s name cannot be shared without their prior approval.
1.8 In addition, each principal should adopt procedures that address: (i) isolating potentially ill students while still on campus; (ii) providing PPE and other precautions for employees who must work with potentially ill students; and (iii) protocols for sanitizing said isolation area and related high-touch surfaces.
1.9 Employees and parents, on behalf of the students, should, in good faith, notify the principal if they travel internationally.
2. PTO & Absences—It is important that both employees and parents err on the side of caution when determining whether or not to quarantine. As such, for the 21-22 school year, the Superintendent requests principals adopt (i) a flexible approach to PTO that encourages personnel to err on the side of caution and (ii) a flexible absence policy
for students that does the same. Regarding employees, absences—other than those mandated by quarantine—should be covered first by the employee’s accumulated PTO. Any employee who believes they cannot remain home due to sickness without fear of reprisal should immediately contact the Superintendent. Parents may have the same recourse regarding the absences provided students. Absenteeism shall be monitored to ensure appropriate staffing and to identify health trends.
3. Hand Hygiene and Respiratory Etiquette—Each principal is encouraged to make reasonable efforts to educate
employees, families, and students about the importance of good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette by either using materials in accordance with or produced by the CDC or local health officials.
3.1 Teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least twenty (20) seconds and increase
monitoring to increase adherence amongst employees and students.
3.2 Make reasonable efforts to provide soap at all handwashing locations for employees and students and to
provide hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol for employees and older students who may safely
use said product.
3.3 Encourage employees and students to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, if possible, or to cough into
the inner elbow; used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately with soap and
water or, if not readily available, hand sanitizer may be used for older students.
4. Face Coverings—The use of face coverings, i.e., masks, is strongly recommended, but not mandatory, for
employees, students, visitors, or any other persons on campus. Mask are not prohibited and all persons on school
grounds may wear a mask if they desire to do so. Principals may make reasonable efforts to have masks available
for those who come onto school grounds. Parents may request their student(s) wear masks and the principals will
make reasonable efforts to accommodate that request. The appropriateness of a mask is determined by the principal in consultation with CDC and local health department guidelines. Principals are permitted to post signage to the effect that masks are highly recommended.
4.1 Masks should not be worn by (i) students younger than two (2) years old (ii) any student who has trouble
breathing (iii) any employee who has a written medical exemption and (iv) anyone who is incapacitated or
otherwise unable to remove mask without assistance.
4.2 This Section 4 may be modified by the Superintendent, in consultation with the principal and the pastor, to meet the particular needs or challenges at a location, which includes, but is not limited to, mandating masks for all
persons at a location (save for those in Section 4.1). These needs could include multiple exposures of COVID-
19 or the issuance of a municipal mask mandate or similar legal promulgations.
5. Adequate Supplies—In general, principals should make reasonable efforts to support healthy hygiene behaviors
by providing adequate supplies, including soap, hand sanitizer with at least sixty (60) percent alcohol (for employees and older students who can safely use hand sanitizer), paper towels, tissues, disinfectant wipes, cloth face coverings (as feasible) and no-touch/foot-pedal trash cans.
6. Signs & Messaging—Principals may make reasonable efforts to communicate the guidelines and policies contained herein to employees, families, and students. Free signage, templates, etc., are available on the CDC website.
6.1 “To post signs in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday
protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs (such as by properly washing hands and
properly wearing a cloth face covering).”
6.2 “Broadcast regular announcements on reducing the spread of COVID-19 on PA systems.”
6.3 “Include messages (for example, videos) about behaviors that prevent the spread of COVID -19 when
communicating with staff and families (such as on school websites, in emails, and on school social media
accounts).
Maintaining Healthy Environments
7. Vaccinations—Any inquiry into an employee’s vaccination status should be limited to concerns under Section 1.2(d) or as otherwise determined by the principal and the Superintendent. As a general rule, the principal (or any other agent of the school) is not permitted to inquire about a person’s vaccination status nor is a principal (or any other agent of the school) permitted to mandate vaccinations or make any policy or procedure predicated upon a person’s vaccination status for any employee, student, or visitor unless explicitly permitted to do so under these policies and procedures.
8. General Cleaning & Disinfection—Each principal should adopt a set routine and schedule of sanitization that is
feasible and pertinent to their facilities and local resources. The following general guidelines should assist the
principal in adopting more specific guidelines.
8.1 “Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (e.g., playground equipment, door handles, sink handles,
drinking fountains) within the school and on school buses at least daily or between use as much as possible.
Use of shared objects (e.g., gym or physical education equipment, art supplies, toys, games) should be
limited when possible, or cleaned between use.”
8.2 “If transport vehicles (e.g., buses) are used by the school, drivers should practice all safety actions and
protocols as indicated for other staff (e.g., hand hygiene, cloth face coverings). To clean and disinfect school
buses or other transport vehicles, see guidance for bus transit operators.”
8.3 Principals should make reasonable efforts to oversee the safe and correct use and storage of cleaning and
disinfection products, including storing products securely away from students. Use products that meet EPA
disinfection criteria.
8.4 Cleaning products should not be used near students, and employees should make reasonable efforts that
there is adequate ventilation when using these products to prevent student or themselves from inhaling toxic
fumes.
9. Ventilation—Principals should use reasonable efforts to provide that ventilation systems operate properly and
increase circulation of outdoor air as much as possible, for example by opening windows and doors. Do not open
windows and doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling, triggering asthma symptoms) to
students using the facility.
10. Water Systems— “To minimize the risk of Legionnaire’s disease and other diseases associated with water, take
steps to ensure that all water systems and features (e.g., sink faucets, drinking fountains, decorative fountains) are
safe to use after a prolonged facility shutdown. Drinking fountains should be cleaned and sanitized but encourage
staff and students to bring their own water to minimize use and touching of water fountains.”
11. Modified Classroom Layouts—While modified classrooms are not mandated, Principals are encouraged to make
reasonable efforts to (i) space seating/desks at least six (6) feet apart when feasible, (ii) turn desks to face in the same direction (rather than facing each other), or have students sit on only one side of tables, spaced apart, (iii) create distance between students on school buses (e.g., seat students one child per row, skip rows) when possible, and (iv) make any other effort, as reasonable, to promote social distancing in the classrooms and other communal spaces.
12. Physical Barriers & Guides—Principals may, as reasonable and as resources permit, (i) install physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, particularly in areas where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least six (6) feet apart (e.g., reception desks), and (ii) provide physical guides, such as tape on floors or sidewalks and signs on walls, to ensure that staff and students remain at least six (6) feet apart in lines and at other times (e.g. guides for creating “one way routes” in hallways).
13. Communal Spaces—Principals may, regarding communal spaces, e.g., dining halls, playground equipment, etc.,
(i) close such communal spaces, (ii) stagger the use of such spaces, implement social distancing, and adopt routines
of sanitization, (iii) add physical barriers, as discussed above, to such communal spaces, or (iv) any reasonable
approach that adopts the various guidelines provided herein.
14. Food Services—Principals may adopt any of the following guidelines pursuant to how their food services are
provided at their locations:
14.1 Have student bring their own meals as feasible or serve individually plated meals in classrooms instead of
in a communal dining hall or cafeteria, while ensuring the safety of student with food allergies.
14.2 “Use disposable food service items (e.g., utensils, dishes). If disposable items are not feasible or desirable,
ensure that all non-disposable food service items are handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and
hot water or in a dishwasher. Individuals should wash their hands after removing their gloves or after
directly handling used food service items.”
14.3 If food is offered at any event, have pre-packaged boxes or bags for each attendee instead of a buffet or
family-style meal. Avoid sharing food and utensils and ensure the safety of students with food allergies.
14.4 Mitigate or suspend shared snacks and other communal meals for celebrations and other activities.
Maintaining Healthy Operations
15. Vulnerable Employees & Students—Each principal should communicate an openness to work with and listen to
employees or students who may present a higher risk to COVID-19 due to some health vulnerability, e.g., over the
age of sixty-five (65) and/or underlying medical conditions. Regarding employees, Principals should consult the
Superintendent and diocesan legal counsel when making human resource (“HR”) decisions. Regarding students,
principals should discern options that may limit the student’s exposure risk.
16. Field Trips & Activities—Field trips and other in-person activities are permitted. Principals should discern whether any pertinent measures (e.g., social distancing) that may reduce risk are prudent and should remain cognizant of the rules of any third-parties involved.
17. Sports—Each principal reserves the right, pursuant to the guidelines herein, to “pursue options to convene sporting events and participation in sports activities in ways that minimizes the risk of transmission of COVID-19 to players, families, coaches, and communities.” Such options could include: limiting the capacity of indoor facilities, suspending handshakes or “high-fives” between teams; no sharing of sporting equipment, clothing, towels, and beverages, designated ingress and egress doors for each facility, and no access to communal drinking fountains.1
18. Identifying Small Groups and Keeping Them Together (Cohorting)—Each principal may determine if
reasonable efforts are to be made in order that employee and student groupings are as static as possible by having the same group of students stay with the same staff (all day for young students, and as much as possible for older student).
Overall, limit mixing between groups if possible.
19. Staggered Scheduling for both Employees and Students—Principals may adopt procedures to “stagger arrival
and drop-off times or locations by cohort or put in place other protocols to limit contact between cohorts and direct
contact with parents as much as possible” and provide flexible worksites and hours for employees pursuant to
diocesan HR guidelines. Parking lot triage may also be adopted to assist with timely drop off of students each day,
which would include children remaining in vehicles while school staff take temperatures before students exit
vehicles. Principals may also adopt an employee triage station for employees to check in each day upon arrival
where their temperatures will be taken.
20. Designated COVID-19 Point of Contact—Principal should “designate a staff person to be responsible for
responding to COVID-19 concerns (e.g., school nurse)” and communicate with all employees, families, and students in order that all stakeholders at the school know who this person is and how to contact them. Should an ambulance need to be called for a sick student or employee, the designated staff shall not alert 9-1-1 that the party in question has COVID-19, but that he/she is exhibiting symptoms of respiratory distress, etc. School staff do not have the authority to diagnose any disease but should prepare emergency responders appropriately.
1 See DMSAA Policies and Guidelines on COVID procedures at sporting events

21. Staffing & Training—Principal should make reasonable efforts to train employees on the safety protocols
contained herein and create a roster of “trained back-up staff” that could assist when an employee is quarantined.
22. Temperature & Symptoms—The principal may establish routine temperature screenings or symptom checks for
employees, students, and visitors pursuant to the most updated CDC guidelines regarding symptoms. Pursuant to
the CDC, a fever constitutes “the temperature of 100.4°F [38 °C] or greater, or feels warm to the touch, or gives a
history of feeling feverish) accompanied by one or more of the following: skin rash, difficulty breathing, persistent
cough, decreased consciousness or confusion of recent onset, new unexplained bruising or bleeding (without
previous injury), persistent diarrhea, persistent vomiting (other than air sickness), headache with stiff neck, or
appears obviously unwell.”
23. Well-being of the Employees and Students—The principal should take reasonable efforts to attempt to provide
various means of support to both employees and students to provide them both natural and supernatural means of
support, which includes, but is not limited to: (i) additional opportunities for prayer, devotions, and liturgies, (ii)
additional opportunities for recess or recreational time, (iii) extended periods spent outdoors, whether for recreation or for class, and (iv) anything that would assist the whole of the human person, both body and soul, in coping and processing this extraordinary time. In addition, the CDC recommends:
23.1 “Encourage employees and students to take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories
about COVID-19, including social media if they are feeling overwhelmed or distressed.”
23.2 “Promote employees and students eating healthy, exercising, getting sleep, and finding time to unwind.”
23.3 “Encourage employees and students to talk with people they trust about their concerns and how they are
feeling.”
24. Waiver—The Office of Superintendent, in consultation with the diocesan principals, diocesan legal counsel, and
other dioceses, has provided the COVID-19 Liability Release & Waiver: Diocesan Catholic Schools as a prudent
and mandatory precaution in providing Catholic education during a pandemic. Waivers signed for the last
academic year (2020-21) ARE STILL IN EFFECT and APPLY TO THE 2021-22 ACADEMIC YEAR. Only
those families who have not signed the waiver are mandated to do so this year.
25. School Year and Academic Calendar—Each principal may, in consultation with the Superintendent, make certain adaptations to the school year and academic calendar, e.g., extended breaks, etc., that he or she feels are necessary for the health and well-being of the students.
26. Testing—Each principal may make reasonable efforts to have employees tested for COVID-19 pursuant to their
circumstances and resources.
27. Changes to these Policies—These policies and procedures are subject to change without notice pursuant to changes in guidance from the CDC or local health officials or as necessary by pursuant to the discretion of the Superintendent.
End of Policies & Procedures

 

December 10, 2020 – Distance Learning Expectations

December 10, 2020

Dear Saint Mary Families, Faculty and Staff,

As I begin this email, I must again first express our gratitude for the continued support and cooperation shown by this community, I am speaking for both the administration and for the members of the COVID committee.  We are so very appreciative of all that each of you continues to do to make in-person learning an option for our children.

Our quarantine numbers continue to fluctuate, but when compared to the daily number of new cases of COVID-19 reported for the city and surrounding areas, we are doing remarkably well.  To hopefully continue this trend within our school, we have decided to follow a modified version of the new CDC guidelines.

The 14 day quarantine is ideal, but as the CDC states on their website, it can be a significant hardship for families.  Because of this and because the chance of a child being positive after 10 days is relatively low, we will now allow students to return to school after a 10 day quarantine.  What we are doing is working and because we do not want to jeopardize this, we will not allow for any quarantine shorter than 10 days.  Furthermore, in keeping with the guidelines, anyone who returns to school after the 10 days but before 14 days will be required to wear his/her mask at all times, other than when eating or drinking.  This means that students returning after a 10 day quarantine will wear a mask during recess and PE through what would have been day 14 of quarantine.

It is the opinion of our COVID task force members that holding to a 10 day quarantine time is the best plan for our community.

Secondly, our school distance learning plan, should we have to go to school wide distance learning, is available on the school website.  It outlines how assignments will be delivered and returned, policies regarding attendance and grading, expectations of students and parents, and how required Zoom or FaceTime sessions will be scheduled. Please take a few minutes to read over the plan, and should you have any questions, please contact your child’s teachers as soon as possible. I am including a link to the plan for your convenience.   https://schoolofsaintmary.com/distance-learning-expectations-at-the-school-of-saint-mary/

We hope we do not have to use this plan but definitely want to be prepared should school wide distance learning become necessary.  It is our goal to only implement school wide distance learning as a last resort.  We would go to school wide distance if mandated by local authorities.  The Tulsa Health Department is recommending that schools go to distance learning for all students but this is just a recommendation at this time.The other situation that would require us to shift to school wide distance is community spread within our school or high absenteeism due to illness and/or quarantine.  So far, we have avoided both.

Because we have done well controlling spread within our school, we have the support of the health department to continue in-person learning.  It is the hope of this committee that the modified quarantine guidelines will be a help to families and still keep community spread out of our school.  If you have any questions or concerns, following this email or at any point moving forward, please remember the task force email.  covidtaskforce@schoolofsaintmary.com   Any  questions or concerns sent there will be answered with input from the committee as needed.

Again, thank you for all that each of you has done and continues to do in support of the school and our children.  I pray for all to have a blessed and healthy Advent.

Suzanne Nelson

December 9, 2020 – COVID-19 Policies & Procedures Diocesan Catholic Schools

December 3, 2020 – What is Close Contact and When to Quarantine

December 3,2020 – CDC Quarantine Guidelines

The gold standard for quarantine after an exposure to the COVID-19 virus  is 14 days, but in light of the hardship caused by an extended quarantine, the CDC has approved two shorter options.

Based on this new guidance and local availability of viral testing, for people without symptoms quarantine can end:

  • On day 10 without testing
  • On day 7 after receiving a negative test result from a specimen that was collected on or after the 5th day after exposure.

After stopping quarantine, people should

  • Watch for symptoms until 14 days after exposure.
  • If they have symptoms, immediately self-isolate and contact their local public health authority or healthcare provider.
  • Wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet from others, wash their hands, avoid crowds, and take other steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

CDC continues to endorse quarantine for 14 days and recognizes that any quarantine shorter than 14 days balances reduced burden against a small possibility of spreading the virus. 

November 18, 2020 – School of Saint Mary COVID-19 Resource List

Parents,

Mrs. Beth Svetlic, a member of the COVID-19 Committee, has supplied a document containing links to resources that will be useful in navigating concerns that children may have during the pandemic.  Please click on the link – School of Saint Mary COVID-19 Resource List – to access the resources.

October 12, 2020 – Preparing for cooler weather

Dear Saint Mary Families, Faculty and Staff,

As with my first email, when I say how grateful we are for the support and cooperation shown by our community, I am speaking for both the administration and for the members of the COVID committee. We are so very appreciative of all that each of you has done to make this a successful school year in spite of its challenges. Our COVID Task Force met again last week, and the purpose of this email is to update all regarding our review of a few things as well as a couple of new agenda items.

The first thing I would like to mention is the closing of the cafeteria. Because we were notified late in the evening that a staff member had tested positive and there was no opportunity to review the situation with the health department until the next morning, we had no choice other than to close the cafeteria for the next day. I know the messages arrived at various times, some at 10:00 PM and others not until 5:00-5:30 the next morning. We have made sure that there are multiple staff members who can send school-wide messages so, should something like this occur again, we can send the message in a more unified manner. Again, thank you to all for the haste and cooperation in spreading the word and getting the children to school with lunches.

The school contacted the Tulsa Health Department first thing the next morning to discuss the situation. The health department did not ask us to quarantine our cafeteria staff nor to shut down the cafeteria. The response from the Tulsa Health Department was not one of concern because of the way our cafeteria is running. With the packaging of food and delivery rather than a serving line, the contact with the infected staff member was minimal. They felt the risk of person-to-person transfer was very low. The members of the COVID Task Force were also involved in the review, and this committee concurred with the health department regarding reopening the cafeteria.

Another area of ongoing focus for this committee is the emotional well-being of our students. As the days of this pandemic continue, there are increased levels of anxiety for some of our students. I have included a link to a video with suggestions for how to talk to our children about the pandemic.

We will be gathering some additional resources, which will be available for parents, teachers or anyone who works with our young people, on the school website over the next few weeks. I will continue to include links in my emails as well.

Looking forward, winter and colder weather will likely present some new challenges. One area of concern is the increased number of indoor recesses. The challenge of maintaining social distancing in the classrooms during indoor recesses and still giving our students time for the interaction that recess provides is a difficult one. Because of this, we are recommending a change to the current policy of no outdoor recess when ambient temperature and/or windchill is below 32 degrees. Sunny winter days with minimal wind and ambient temperatures in the mid to upper 20’s will be days for outdoor recess. The decision will be made each day based on the conditions at the time of recess. The difficulty in this is that many of our children, especially the older ones, do not come to school with coats. We want to get this information out early so families can plan for hats and gloves that can remain at school during the winter months. Some other things to possibly plan for might be a hoodie that stays at school or a pair of leggings or joggers that can be pulled on before recess. It is so very important for our children to be able to get out of the classrooms and to be able to move about and interact during the recess time. The homeroom teachers will be sending more information as it is specific to each age group.

Again, thank you for all that each of you has done and continues to do in support of the school and our children. Our COVID committee meets monthly, or more frequently should the need arise, and I plan to send an email as a follow up to each meeting. If you have any questions or concerns, following this email or at any point moving forward, please remember the task force email: covidtaskforce@schoolofsaintmary.com. Any questions or concerns sent there will be answered with input from the committee as needed.

Suzanne Nelson

October 2, 2020 – Cafeteria staff person tests positive

Dear Parents,

Thank you for your cooperation today, with the students bringing their lunch.

Late last night I was notified that a cafeteria staff person had tested positive for COVID. We decided to close the cafeteria and kitchen for today. Even though it had been cleaned yesterday, the maintenance staff went in and used the sanitizer spray this morning.

I talked with the Tulsa Health Department and they said, “Our food preparation methods are appropriate (mask and gloves are worn, surfaces are frequently cleaned and sanitized and to use physical distance) and that there is no evidence that suggests food is associated with the spread of COVID. The volunteers for the week were all notified. At this time we plan to have the cafeteria open again on Monday.

Let us continue to pray for those who are sick.

Maureen Clements

 

September 22, 2020 – COVID-19 Policy

School of St. Mary COVID-19 Procedures

Regular school schedule with the following measures implemented:

The following procedures are subject to change based upon new scientific evidence concerning COVID-19, changing enrollment, experience, the incidence of COVID-19 in our school community, mandates by the governor of Oklahoma, the Catholic Schools Office or the mayor of Tulsa and the recommendations of the Health Department.

Please refer to Diocesan Catholic Schools COVID-19 Policies and Procedures for information on topics not covered in this document.

COVID-19 is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening virus and the symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills or repeated shaking with chills
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Temperature at or above 100.4⁰ F
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Sudden loss of taste and smell

 

In order to keep St. Mary open and in order to protect the health of our families, students and staff, it is important that all families exercise caution when considering sending a potentially ill student to school.  Although a student’s temperature will be taken upon entry to the school, parents play an important role in keeping the community well.

  • If a student/adult becomes ill with possible COVID-19 symptoms, the student/adult will be quarantined in the mail room until he/she can go home.
  • If COVID-19 is diagnosed, the mail room will be closed and then disinfected prior to use. Parents/guardians and the Catholic School Office will be notified that there has been a case of COVID-19.
  • When to quarantine:  1) When a person has spent 15 total minutes within 48 hours of that person testing positive for COVID-19 or having symptoms or 2) While waiting for test results of a COVID-19 test
  • When to isolate:  When a person has tested positive for COVID-19
  • The school community will be notified and any person that has spent more than 15 close contact minutes with the diagnosed person must contact the Tulsa Health Department for quarantine and testing procedures. These options include:
    • COVID-19 testing
    • Quarantine for 14 days, 10 days or 7 days based on CDC guidelines – a representative of from the school will call to discuss the quarantine options.
  • Students/employees who remain symptom free may return to school after 14 or 10 days or 7 days with testing.
  • Students/adults who test positive must follow the recommendations of the Tulsa Health Department and their personal physician before returning to work/school. A physician’s note will be required.
  • Students who are quarantined, will avail themselves of instructional videos posted by the teachers and worksheets in order to keep up with the class

 

Masks –.  Masks are required for students in grades K-8 and all adults -No bandanas, no masks with valves and all masks must be at least 2 layers thick.

  • Masks must be non-political in nature and appropriate to the Catholic School setting. The principal will have final say in the appropriateness of the mask.
  • Students should come to school each day with 2 clean masks.
  • Anyone who does not come to school with a mask may purchase one from the school office for $1.00 per mask.

 

Visitors – Entry of parents/visitors to the school will be limited.

  • Parent may not escort their child into the building.
  • Parents/adults must wear a mask while in the building.
  • If a parent/guardian needs to pick a child up during the school day, they should pull close to the school door and call the school office. Students will be called from class and escorted to the parent car.

 

Temperature Checks:  All parents/students/staff and visitors will have their temperature taken upon entry into the school.  Adults/students with a temperature at or above 100.4⁰F will be rechecked after 15 minutes.  Any adult with an elevated temperature will be denied admittance to the school.  The parents/guardian of students with an elevated temperature will be contacted to pick up their student.  Students with an elevated temperature will be required to wear a mask and remain in the health room until they can be picked up.

 

  • Students:
    • Before School Care – Temperature checks will occur at the white corridor doors. Students with an elevated temperature will be sequestered at the end of the hall by the Church Office Doors until their temperature can be rechecked.  If the temperature remains elevated, parents will be contacted to take their student home.  Students waiting to go home will wait in the health room and wear a mask until they are picked up.
    • Drop-off – students will enter the school at the following entrances: White Corridor entry (grades 1,2,5 and Before School Care), West Front Entrance (grades 3,4,6), East Front Entrance (grades 7,8 – students will walk down ramped hall and up preschool steps), Kindergarten students will enter through the far east doors into the Kindergarten room after temperature screening.  Students with an elevated temperature will be sequestered in the white corridor or in the health room’ whichever is closest.
    • Tardies will be processed at the East Front Entrance.
  • Teachers/Staff: Teachers and staff will go to the school office upon entering the building and be temperature checked.
  • Parents/Visitors/Volunteers – All parents/visitors/volunteers must first stop at the school office to have their temperature checked prior to going to their school destination. All adults in the school must wear a mask the entire time they are in the school.  Masks will be available for purchase in the school office.

 

Classroom:

  • Social Distancing:
    • Classroom desks have been arranged to afford 4 feet or more between desks and all desks are facing the same direction
    • Grades 3,4,5,6 will have desk shields
    • Students will be shown methods to ensure social distancing while walking in hallways and standing in line
  • Classroom traveling – When possible the teacher will change classrooms and the students will remain at their desks. If the students must move, the desks and chairs will be disinfected.
  • Classroom doors will remain open to increase ventilation.

 

Volunteers:  Classroom volunteers will be limited during this time.  Cafeteria volunteers are essential during this time and will be required to wear a mask and gloves while working in the cafeteria.  All visitors and volunteers must wear a mask and have their temperature taken when in the school building.  Masks are available for purchase in the school office.

 

Hand Washing/Hand Sanitizer:  Extra breaks will be given for students to wash their hands.  Frequent use of hand sanitizer will be encouraged.

 

Hot Lunch/Lunch Room:

  • During the pandemic, the cafeteria space will be closed for student lunches. Students will eat in their classrooms and will be allowed to drink only water.  Water fountains will be closed.
  • Microwaves will be unavailable for use by students.
  • Box lunches will be available for order from the St. Mary cafeteria using the same system used to order hot lunch in previous years and will be delivered to classrooms.

 

Mass:  The requirements for school masses are being discussed with the priests.  More information will be available at a later date.

 

Class Parties for Christmas, Halloween and Valentine’s Day:

  • The students may have parties in their classrooms, but parents/guardians may not attend.
  • Treats should be store bought.

 

Birthday Treats:  Treats should be store bought.

 

Cleaning/Sanitizing/Disinfecting:

  • To minimize the chemicals that students are exposed to, student desks, door knobs and any other items touched by students/teachers will be disinfected at the end of each day.
  • During the school day, teachers/staff will clean with a solution of soap and water as often as possible. Students may aid in the cleaning during the day.
  • Items that are shared by students will be disinfected by the teacher between each student use with disinfectant wipes, a rubbing alcohol based hand sanitizer or a bleach solution.
  • Janitorial staff will clean and disinfect after school hours and staff will sanitize bathrooms, handrails and door handles during the day.

 

Recess:

  • In order to minimize the mixing of students, the school playground will be divided into 5 areas and a schedule will be devised to rotate each class through the 5 areas on a weekly basis.
  • Teachers will plan for additional opportunities for students to go outside.
  • Students will wash / hand sanitize hands after recess and upon entering the building.

 

Drinking Fountains:

  • Students must bring a water bottle to school.
  • Drinking fountains will be unavailable for use while there remains a threat of COVID-19.
  • Bottle fillers will be functional and available for use.

 

Health Room/Medical Procedures:

  • The Health Room will be closed for all minor medical situations. All minor student ailments will be tended to by the classroom teacher.
  • All ill students will be required to wear a mask while waiting for parent/guardian to pick them up from school.
  • Faculty/Staff/Student must be fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reduction medications before returning to school.

 

Drop off

  • 7:20am – 7:45am (Before School Care) – in gym
    • Students in grades 6,7,8 line up single file, followed by 4,5,3,2,1. Kent will lead K students to classroom after all students have left the gym.
  • 7:45am – 8:00am – cars will be routed to the outside lane in front of the school
    • Students will be dropped off as usual, proceeding to the door their class has been assigned. They will have their temperature taken at the door where their class enters the building:
      • Kindergarten – far east kindergarten entrance
      • Grades 1,2,5 – white corridor door
      • Grades 3,4,6 – west door. 6th will immediately go up the north stairs to class
      • Grades 7,8 – east door and proceed down ramp, left to west hall and up south stairs

 

Dismissal:  Dismissal times will be slightly staggered and students will exit through multiple doors to minimize hall congestion.

  • Kindergarten will be dismissed at 2:40 (12:40 on Fridays) and exit the east door of their classroom
  • Grades 1-8 will dismiss at or slightly before 2:45 (12:45 on Fridays).
    • Grades 1,2 will dismiss a few minutes before 2:45/12:45 and proceed through the gym and exit the outside gym doors remaining in 2 lines that are distanced.
    • Grades 4,5, following 1st and 2nd, will exit the white corridor doors remaining in 2 distanced lines. The front of the lines stopping at the Spanish windows.
    • 3rd grade will dismiss a few minutes before 2:45/12:45, exit the Spanish room doors and proceed to the church steps
    • 6th grade will go down the north stairs and proceed out the west school doors, (following 3rd grade) forming a double line from the west doors to the Spanish room windows
    • 7th grade will dismiss a few minutes early and go down the south stairs, up the ramped hallway and exit the building using the east doors. They will line up under the awning at the east side of the school
    • 8th grade will follow either 6th or 7th, proceed up the ramped hallway, exit the east doors and line up in front of the ramp.

 

September 21, 2020 – COVID tasks force to update guidelines / two classes return from quarantine

Dear Saint Mary Families, Faculty, and Staff,

On behalf of the school administration and the members of the COVID Task Force, I would like to thank you for all that each of you has done to help keep us open and safe thus far this school year. The prayers, support and cooperation are what is keeping us, the school community, moving forward in this challenging and exhausting time. The purpose of this email is to provide an update regarding Covid-19 as it is affecting our school.

We have had two classes, 2nd and 7th grade, and our 2nd grade aide, Mrs. Cole, return from quarantine. They completed their quarantine and returned to in-school learning on Monday, September 14th. There has been no identified spread in either of those groups.

There has been one additional student in quarantine following contact, outside of school, with someone who tested positive. This student is now back in school as of today, as well as two other of our students who started the year out as distance learners. This makes our number now 17 students enrolled as distance learners.

The members of the COVID Task Force met last week to review our quarantine guidelines, and to put in place additional procedures to help with contact tracing. Ashley Thompson, from the Tulsa County Health Department, joined the group to answer questions regarding our specific situation in which we had to quarantine the two classes, as well as questions regarding possible future quarantine situations. The reality is that no two situations will be identical, and because of this, it will be necessary to make decisions that address the specifics of any future class exposures should they arise.

We quarantined the two classes, 2nd and 7th, because both classes had a student who tested COVID positive. Now a full week beyond the 14 day quarantine of our two classes, we have had no other students in either of those groups test positive. The school administration reviewed the specific situations with Ashley Thompson prior to making the decision to quarantine and again, as I said, with the task force committee members post quarantine. All of this supports that our current protocols are good.

Two additional areas reviewed by the committee involve better contact tracing during recess, and how, should the need arise again, to make the transition from in person learning to distance learning as smooth as possible in the case of larger groups needing to quarantine.

We have purchased a number of laundry baskets so that students will be able to gather all their belongings on the day a quarantine begins thus saving lost instructional time; teachers having to gather students’ belongings and supplies; and parents having to make an extra trip back to collect these things.

Recess poses some unique challenges. What we do hope to do is to continue to put in place practices which will help monitor the amount of time students are together. We do not want to take away the freedom and the interaction that recess provides and which is so very important to the development of our young people, nor do we want to implement something that takes away from teaching time. We have segmented the playground by grade level, but contact tracing during recess is still most difficult to track. To lessen the need for contact tracing during recess, we have asked all those who monitor the playground to keep track of recess time in 10 minute increments. At the end of each 10 minute segment, they simply ask the children playing together to separate for a minute or so and then they can return to their games. Oftentimes, this can actually be incorporated into the games the children are playing. Putting the short intervals into the playing time will lessen the need to contact trace during this time.

In closing, again thank you to all for respecting our policies. We understand the challenges a quarantine poses for our families and our teachers. Quarantining a whole class is never a desired situation, but one that might again be necessary to stop the spread of exposure to COVID-19 and to allow us to continue to keep our doors open. We want you, the school community, to know that we are doing everything we can to keep the students healthy and safe. Please feel free to email any questions or concerns to the committee at covidtaskforce@schoolofsaintmary.com, and we ask for your continued understanding and patience as we work through this unprecedented time.

Suzanne Nelson

 

September 9, 2020 – one student is quarantined

Dear Saint Mary Families,

We were just notified by parents that over the weekend, one of our students was in the presence of an adult who has since tested positive for COVID-19.  That student will now complete a 14 day quarantine.  At this time, according to CDC Guidelines, there is a recommendation that just this student be tested, and we have sent this information to the student’s parents.  Since, as of now, there is no known classwide exposure to a person who has tested positive, there is no required quarantine of the rest of the class.  This information is being emailed to you as parents of the other students in the class.  We will keep you informed should there be any changes to the current situation.  We want you to know that we have been in constant contact with our local health department officials, and we continue to review our procedures regularly in light of the most recent data.  Please continue to pray for our families and our community during this trying time and do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or email them to  covidtaskforce@schoolofsaintmary.com.

Maureen Clements

 

September 8, 2020 – COVID task force formed

Dear Saint Mary Families,

First of all, thank you for your support and patience during these first weeks of school as we have been navigating the challenges of reopening the school while minimizing the risks of exposure to COVID-19.

Our goal is to keep our students in the classroom. We believe this is the most effective way to learn for most of our students and it provides them the benefits of a larger community in which to grow humanly and spiritually.

We have formed a COVID Task Force comprised of parents and others who have expertise in various fields: pediatric medical information (Drs. Uyen Le and Cynthia Lundt), psychological and developmental considerations (Beth Svetlic), other school system best practices (Stephanie Gentry), faculty and administration considerations (Sarah Edwards, Suzanne Nelson, Pat Kimmel, Maureen Clements, Fr. Vince, and Fr. Jack), and communication needs (Mike Malcom). The task force will meet monthly. We are committed to continuous review and improvement of existing COVID protocols in light of our learned experience, most recent data, and expert guidance.

After our first meeting, we decided on weekly emails communicating the status of any COVID cases and required quarantines to allow for transparency and to alleviate anxiety that may accompany these stressful times. To that end, here is an update for this week.

Last week, we had two students test positive for COVID, one in 2nd grade and one in 7th grade. Under the guidance of the Tulsa Health Department, these classes have begun a required quarantine period before returning to school on September 14. Mrs. Cole will be quarantined, Mrs.Bloomfield and Mrs. Lang will not be quarantined because Mrs. Lang was not within 6 feet of students indoors for 15 minutes or more and Mrs. Bloomfield contracted COVID-19 this summer.

All the families in both grades were contacted individually and an email was sent to every family in the school notifying them of students testing positive. We also did some internal contact tracing to alert particular families of potential prolonged contact with the infected students.

Beginning this week, we will be posting a series of Frequently Asked Questions to assist families in understanding our COVID protocols.

Suzanne Nelson will be the contact person for the COVID Task Force. If there are questions about our procedures, please send the question or concerns to covidtaskforce@schoolofsaintmary.com.

Again, our goal is to keep students at school for in-person learning as much as we possibly can. The steps we are taking at school are intended to reduce the spread of infection at school, but the steps we all take outside of school will also help our school community remain as safe and healthy as possible, and will reduce the likelihood that groups of students will need to quarantine.

Please be mindful of best practices to avoid exposure for your children: good social distancing, wearing masks when appropriate and frequent handwashing.

Thank you so much for your cooperation and support during this time. It is great to have the students back on campus and we look forward to a great school year.

Fr. Jack               Maureen Clements

 

September 4, 2020 – CDC recommendations summary

according to the CDC:

  • The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
  • The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.
  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
  • Some recent studies have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.

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