Reopening Plan 2020
ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA SCHOOL
RETURN TO SCHOOL 2020-2021
Our goal in establishing protocols for the upcoming school year is to maintain a healthy environment for our staff and families, and keep the school building open and functioning throughout the academic year. A task force comprised of school staff, board members and parents has outlined safe and reasonable procedures in the day to day operation of our school. We have attempted to minimize inconvenience while ensuring appropriate precautions. As you know, recommended guidelines are constantly evolving, and the school is committed to regular communication with families throughout the school year.
PREVENTING ILLNESS FROM ENTERING THE BUILDING
Cooperation between home and school is essential to ensuring a safe environment, and we are grateful for the support of our families. We must each take personal responsibility for keeping illness out of the school building. All students and employees must stay at home if they are sick or not feeling well. If a student or employee has any of the following symptoms, which could be possible COVID-19 symptoms, they must stay at home:
a. Have a fever or feel feverish in the last 72 hours, including chills, or shaking
b. Experiencing any new muscle aches or pains, headache, nausea, severe fatigue without apparent cause, or diarrhea
c. Changes in sense of taste or smell
d. Temperature over 100 degrees
e. Sudden onset of respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath (unless known medical condition such as COPD or CHF). If they suffer annually from allergies (e.g. sneezing, red eyes, runny nose and cough), have them discuss these symptoms with the designated contact person. If they do not normally suffer allergies, they will be asked to get a doctor’s note.
Students or employees who are ill must go home. Students who become ill during the school day will be isolated in a separate room adjacent to the nurse’s office and retrieved immediately by a parent or designated pick-up person.
Should a parent/guardian determine the need for their student to remain home due to symptoms outlined above, we ask that the school be informed of this decision. Missed work will be available through Google Classroom and the classroom teacher will use his or her discretion in determining what assignments must be made up. The school is in full support of the family decision to keep a child home when ill and will work with the family to bridge the academic gap.
SCREENING PRIOR TO THE START OF SCHOOL
A screening health survey must be completed prior to the first day of school for each employee and student. We ask that staff and parents review the following questions daily in advance of entering the building and confirm there are no changes daily. It is strongly recommended that temperatures are taken daily at home prior to arrival at school.
1. Have they been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 2 weeks? Close contact would include having a household member or co-worker with a confirmed case.
2. Have they been in close contact with anyone who has exhibited any of the following symptoms in the last 2 weeks? This would include a fever, runny nose (outside of allergies), sore throat, new onset of cough, shortness of breath (unless known medical condition such as COPD, CHF, or other pre-existing condition), flu-like symptoms, new muscle aches or pains, chills, nausea, diarrhea, headache, or severe fatigue without apparent cause. Close contact would include having a household member with any of these symptoms.
3. Have they had a fever or felt feverish in the last 72 hours, including chills, or shaking?
4. Outside of seasonal allergies or chronic illness, are they experiencing any new respiratory symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, new onset of cough, or shortness of breath (unless known medical condition such as COPD or CHF)?
5. Are they experiencing any new muscle aches or pains, headache, nausea, severe fatigue without apparent cause, or diarrhea?
6. Have they experienced any change in your sense of taste or smell?
If a student or employee has a temperature higher than 100 degrees or notes a change in one of the screening questions, they are not allowed to enter the building for 72 hours.
If an employee or student is not allowed in the building, the principal or nurse will contact the employee or the parents for further discussion. If, based on the screening and discussion, the employee or student is not allowed to return to the building, options will be discussed with the employee or the parents of the student and any recommended actions will be documented. These actions may include but not be limited to the following:
1. Quarantining at home for 14 days
a. If teaching faculty or students are quarantined, accommodations will be made for remote instruction and learning if they are well enough to work/learn at home.
2. Seeing a doctor
3. Going to the hospital
4. Obtaining a COVID-19 test
5. Checking back in every two to three days
The principal and school nurse are designated COVID contact personnel and are responsible for documentation. In the event of confirmed COVID-19, the school will follow CDC guidance on disinfecting the facility. A positive test will be documented and reported to designated persons at the Catholic Schools Office, the Diocese of Manchester and the state. Decisions regarding shut down of cohorts will be made in conjunction with those agencies. Families will be notified in the event of a positive case. Any person testing positive for COVID-19 must be cleared by their physician prior to returning to the school building; the school must be in receipt of that documentation prior to the re-entry of the individual.
The approach taken in this plan is that of keeping students contained, as much as possible, in their cohort. You will notice that while whole school interaction is minimized, the daily schedule and normalcy of the classroom learning experience is maintained. All students will be required to wear a mask into the building in the morning and keep it on unless eating or participating in gym class. This includes outdoor recess. Teachers will wear masks throughout the day but may remove them when distanced a minimum of six feet from students.
Pre-K and Kindergarten students will be dropped off as usual each morning at their classroom entrance. Students in grades 1-3 will enter through the side entrance on Russell Street immediately upon drop-off and go directly to their classroom. Students in grades 4-6 will enter through the main entrance immediately upon drop-off and go directly to their classroom. A staff member will be at each of these entrances to let students in.
Student temperatures will be taken in the classroom with a touchless thermometer before 8 a.m. Any student with a temperature of 100 or higher must go home. Temperatures are not being taken before the children enter the building in order to avoid false readings (and consequently to avoid sending children home under a false reading). While it is ideal to determine if a child has a temperature prior to their entry in the building, we have been advised that outdoor conditions may incorrectly impact the reading. It is highly recommended that parents/guardians take each child’s temperature at home as part of routine daily symptom check and to avoid the need to return to pick up a sick child. Employees will also have their temperature taken once in the building each morning and will be required to go home if their temperature is over 100.
Afternoon pick-up will follow the same procedure as in previous years, with Pre-K and K leaving from their classroom doors, Gr. 1-3 from the Russell Street side entrance and Gr. 4-6 (with their siblings) from the main entrance. All students will continue to wear masks from the classroom to their pick-up location, as they stand closely in a large group outside. Masks will be kept on until students are in their vehicle.
Distancing and masks protocols will remain place in afterschool. A more detailed plan for afterschool will be shared with participating families.
Desks will be spaced as much as possible in classrooms and unnecessary items removed from rooms. Specials teachers who are able to travel to homerooms (Spanish, art, music, computers) will do so. Gym class will take place outside when the weather is cooperative and in the gym when the weather turns cold. Please note that only one classroom (cohort) at a time participates in gym.
Students in grades 5 and 6 will remain in their homeroom throughout the day, and teachers will move from room to room for math, language arts, social studies, science and specials. While far less movement than normal will occur through the hallways, classes will remain separate from other classrooms when doing so (i.e. going to recess).
Students will use the bathroom located on the same floor as their classroom. Again, students will wear their mask throughout the day.
Custodians will be cleaning and disinfecting bathrooms and common areas throughout the day. Classrooms will be supplied with cleaning and disinfecting supplies for use during the day as well. At the end of the school day, all surfaces, bathrooms and common areas will be disinfected.
Hand sanitizing stations will be located at all entrances, on all floors, and in the cafeteria and gym. Students will be encouraged to use these whenever they pass by, particularly before and after lunch and recess. Weather permitting, windows will be kept open during the day for increased air flow. Traditional water fountains will be replaced with water bottle filling stations.
Should families need to pick children up during the day for any reason, we ask that the office be informed ahead of time. We will bring your child to the front entrance upon your arrival. We ask that parents minimize the need to come to the building during the day; we are happy to help with anything you need, for example, meeting you at the door with a forgotten lunch. If it becomes absolutely necessary for parents to enter the building, we ask that a mask is worn.
All students will eat lunch in their respective classroom. Hot lunch will be individually packages and served. Outdoor recess will continue to take place for all students.
WHOLE SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
For at least the start of the year, we will restructure or eliminate whole school gatherings. We will not hold the summer ice cream social. Back to School Night will be held virtually through Google Meet. Grandparents Day, normally held in September, will at minimum be postponed until spring, or cancelled. Decisions on other events, athletics and clubs will be made as the year progresses and the situation evolves.
Weekly Mass will still take place but outside of the regular parish Mass in order to reduce exposure to those outside of the school community. Two grades will attend Mass at a time and sit appropriately spaced. During the month of September, only grade 3-6 will attend Mass. Weekly rosary will be said over the PA, with students in homerooms.
St. Catherine of Siena School follows NH state guidelines on quarantine. The safest, most protective quarantine is 14 days from the time of exposure. SCS follows the state minimum of 10 days at-home quarantine from the time of exposure or start of symptoms. Should the student live in a household where a family member/roommate is in quarantine, the student’s 10 day quarantine begins when the family member/roommate’s quarantine ends.
Current state guidance for individuals who have received their second dose of the vaccine is: If 14 days have passed since reception of the second shot, that individual is not required to quarantine if they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, or after traveling outside of New England. Even if a parent has been vaccinated, St. Catherine of Siena School students must still quarantine following travel outside of New England or been exposed to a person with COVID-19, as they have not been vaccinated and could still contract/carry the virus.
The same guidance applies if a person is within 90 days of a COVID-19 infection that was diagnosed by PCR or antigen testing. St. Catherine of Siena School requires documentation of such testing in order to exempt a student or staff member from quarantine post COVID-19 infection. If that documentation is not provided to the school, quarantine will be required. If you suspect your child had COVID-19 but opted not to test for it, quarantine will be required. Once the 90 day timeframe has been met, original guidelines will be applied, and the individual will again be required to quarantine if exposed to someone with COVID-19 or has traveled outside of New England.
Upon the release of this plan to the school community, the principal will host a virtual meeting to provide clarification for parents/guardians. A separate training will be held for faculty and staff. The principal will remain in frequent contact with families as the school year progresses and offer a bi-weekly virtual meeting through Google Meet in order to address parent questions or concerns. This will replace the monthly coffee hour.
While we will make every effort to keep the building open through the school year, the faculty is prepared to transition to remote learning should the need arise. Students will be further trained in Classroom upon their return in September in order to increase their comfort level and understanding of expectations.
Again, we expect the situation and recommended guidelines to evolve as the year progresses. St. Catherine of Siena School is committed to maintaining open communication with parents and an understanding of individual family situations. We look forward to a healthy and successful school year.
Thank you to members of the taskforce which assisted in formulating this plan. The taskforce will continue to meet as needed to review and update the plan.
Fr. Chris Martel, pastor
Katie Meehan, principal
Don Moreau, chairman of the advisory board
Steve Soule, assistant chairman of the advisory board
Judy Lessard, school nurse
Cinzia Broketa, office manager
Nancy Anctil, teacher, summer camp and afterschool coordinator
Maura Aiken, teacher
Cailey Jerome, teacher
Eric Schessler, parent
Corina Hermann, parent