Sent to all parents, faculty and staff
Dear St. Catherine’s Community,
I hope you all have been able to shift into summer break!
I know everyone is anxious to hear plans for the start of school. While things still remain uncertain in the world, we have spent a considerable amount of time planning and deliberating about next school year. We have taken into account current CDC and TEA guidelines as we seek to establish our plans for reopening. Updated guidelines are expected from TEA on June 16.
At St. Catherine’s we recognize the need for social interaction for children and at the same time place the highest importance in mitigating any health risks as we come together. We plan to begin school on Wednesday, August 12, 2020. Our strategy is to perform daily health monitoring and screening procedures, incorporate frequent hand-washing, and to have children interact only with the small group of their own class. By keeping to their own cohort, we can minimize exposure and facilitate effective contact tracing. If there is an exposure, only the cohort would have to isolate and not the whole school.
Health and Safety Protocols
All faculty and staff will sanitize their hands, answer a daily checklist of symptoms, and take their temperature before signing in and entering the building. Children will have their temperature checked at the car before they get out of their seat belts to verify that it is below 100°F, and parents will verify that the child does not have the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
Children will wash their hands upon arrival, before and after work choices, before and after eating, before and after going outside, after using the restroom.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
Staff will routinely clean, sanitize, and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched, especially materials. At the end of each day the environments will be disinfected using an electrostatic spraying device that coats even hard-to-reach places. St. Catherine’s uses a non-toxic disinfectant that is EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19.
There will be no food or snack preparation at school. Children and adults will bring their own lunches, utensils, napkins, place mats, snacks, and water bottles. The water fountains at school have been removed. Children can fill their water bottles in their classrooms with reverse-osmosis filtered water.
All children will arrive to the outside door that goes directly into their classroom. The Primary children will go through the Welcome Center to the courtyard and directly into their class. The Elementary students will go to their outside door and the AC and HS students will go to the double doors between the HS and the gym. Infant Community parents will park in the spaces by the gym and then walk outside to the IC outdoor area. Dismissal times will be staggered.
Regular outside time is encouraged without mixing classes. All classes have the possibility for children to work, garden, and eat outside with their own cohort.
There are currently no trips planned for the school year. We will continue to monitor the situation to assess the possibility for later in the year. If no trips are taken this year, the portion of the fees that would be used for that purpose will be refunded.
These after-school activities will be temporarily suspended until it appears to be safe to mix cohorts. We are exploring options to provide aftercare in each class, where necessary.
Mass will be virtual and live-streamed at a time that can be watched at home.
The guides are preparing a variety of materials that each child can take home to continue working, should there be a need for remote learning. The guides will be engaging with students in small group lessons or following up with lessons they have had. The guides will also be creating a depository of video-taped lessons that families can reference when needed.
Face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected but does not have symptoms. It is not developmentally appropriate for students younger than five years old to wear masks or face coverings. At St. Catherine’s, IC and Primary children will not be wearing masks.
St. Catherine’s does not expect that young children will distance themselves from other children or adults while at school. All ages learn by engaging with their environment, which includes other people. What we can do is prepare the environment in such a way that encourages spacing when doing independent work.
Orientation, conferences, and parent education will be done virtually. Tours will be done virtually and observations are suspended. To maintain health and safety, parents and visitors are restricted from coming on campus. This is an overview of beginning considerations to give you an idea of how we are attempting to keep a balanced approach so that we might stay in school together for the maximum amount of time next year. Information will be updated as necessary. We know that coming together in person is in the best interest of our children and we strive to do that in the healthiest possible way.
Head of School