St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School Reopening Plan
The information below is intended to be used as a tool for answering questions that families may have about returning to school. As the pandemic situation changes, so may our guidelines. This may include changes requested/required by law, governor, and/or health department. This plan will be updated as changes come about on daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Return to School
St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic School will have students and staff, as of now, in session five (5) days per week beginning on August 24, 2020. At this time, students will have this as an option or a remote learning option. Remote learning will be discussed below. It is understood that some level of risk will always be present when children and school employees occupy school facilities. There is not a hybrid option currently for several reasons, however, should the Ohio Department of Health require this type of learning environment we would further investigate our options under the advice from the health department.
Many of the guidelines put in place have been done in concert with advice, suggestions, and guidelines from the Ohio Department of Health. There are things within the plan that we do not want to have to do (such as requiring students and staff to wear masks at times), but in order to have students physically in the school buildings this year, things must be done in compliance with health department guidelines.
Social Distancing We recognize that the most effective precaution in prevention of the spread of the coronavirus is social distancing, and this practice will be implemented whenever and wherever possible during the school day.
Face Coverings Policy *St. Mary’s Face Covering Policy stated below is ONLY in place, should we have control in implementing our policy, and it is based on current recommendations that could change. *Should the Governor, the Ohio Dept. of Health, or the Van Wert County Health Board change or create any type of mandates regarding wearing face coverings we will HAVE to follow those requirements in place of our plan listed below.
It is currently a requirement from the State of Ohio that all employees wear a face covering (mask or shield) unless the employee has a health condition or disability documented by a licensed healthcare professional that would be exacerbated by wearing a face covering. In situations where employees can maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more during instruction or work, face coverings may be removed for the time that social distancing can be maintained. Additionally, an employee may remove a face covering when communicating with someone with a disability or while actively eating or drinking.
As for students, if they can maintain social distancing in class, then we feel there is not a need for them to wear a mask unless they want to, and by all means they will be able to. However, as students change classes or they find themselves in any situation that may involve congregating, they will be required to wear a mask. They will need to wear a mask coming to school, in the hallway by their lockers, going to the restroom, and leaving school. In doing this, we feel it is in the best interest of our staff and students and their well-being. For students with medical or developmental issues documented by a licensed healthcare professional that would be exacerbated by wearing a face covering, we will work with them individually to ensure their protection, as well as the protection of those they work closely with, while also reducing any social stigma. All face coverings will need to cover the chin, mouth, and nose always, when being worn. We are NOT requiring masks to be a certain color or pattern; however, masks should not have symbols or wording on it, other than our school name and/or symbol. Students may choose to wear a face shield instead of a mask; however, shields will need to cover the chin, mouth, and nose at all time when being worn, per the health department. Shields must be clear with no symbols or wording on them. If a shield is connected to a hat, the hat must not have any symbols or words on it. Students will be provided with a lanyard to clip to their face mask while at school in an effort to help keep them from being dropped or lost while at school. The school will also have additional face masks available for any student who might forget their mask, or their mask gets wet or dirty during the school day. Again, we want to emphasis that this policy will probably change throughout the school year. Our goal is for when it is safe for students to not wear a mask because of being able to socially distance, they can do so, and when it is necessary for the safety of everyone because we cannot socially distance, they have their masks on. Daily Health Assessments We are strongly encouraging all families to complete symptoms checks on their students prior to reporting to school each day. This includes taking students’ temperatures. If a student has a temperature of 100F or higher OR the student is experiencing other symptoms, the student should not report to school. This will help to ensure we keep a safe and healthy environment for everyone. We will require all employees to complete symptoms checks prior to reporting to school each day. This includes taking temperatures. If an employee has a temperature of 100F or higher OR is experiencing other symptoms, the employee should not report to work; he/she should contact the Principal and the School Secretary.
Students and staff should not attend school/work if they are experiencing any of these symptoms: * Loss of taste or smell *Headache *Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing *Nausea or vomiting *Sore Throat *Diarrhea *Muscle or body aches *Cough
In addition to home assessments, we will take temperatures of each student as they enter the classroom. If a student has a temperature over 100 or is exhibiting other symptoms, he or she will be taken to COVID-19 designated area where a staff member will conduct our protocol for a potentially at-risk student, in conjunction with the Van Wert County Health Department. We want to ensure we protect other students and staff whenever we can. We will continue to work with the Van Wert County Health Department on this protocol and share it with you. Transportation
Students using the bus route transportation option will be required to follow the guidelines set forth by each school district for transportation to school. Per the most recent release by the Van Wert County Public School Districts: Each school district will maintain bus transportation for students under the Ohio Department of Pupil Transportation guidelines. In the event local or state-level directives require school districts to use alternative schedules for instruction, each school district may adopt minimum requirements for transportation, thus reducing the number of students eligible for school district transportation services. Additionally, each school district will require all bus drivers to wear a face covering unless the driver has a health reason documented by a licensed healthcare professional that would be exacerbated by wearing a face covering. will require all students, except preschool students, to wear a face covering while riding school buses unless the student has a health reason documented by a licensed healthcare professional that would be exacerbated by wearing a face covering.
will allow two students per seat, or in some rare instances three students per seat, if the students are younger and therefore, smaller. will place siblings or residents of the same household in seats together whenever possible. will make every effort to maintain seating charts to assist with potential contact tracing.
We strongly recommend that if you intended to use bus routes, that you contact that school district for specific instructions. Food Service
St. Mary’s School participates in the School Nutrition Program and will continue to offer food service to both students and staff. Students will wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating lunch and brain break snacks. One class at a time will pick up lunch from cafeteria and return to their classroom to eat. One class at a time will return their trays and trash to the cafeteria at the end of lunch. Students’ desks will be sanitized when they go to recess. Students should also be reminded that they are not to share food with others at any time.
Students who choose to pack their lunch must have a lunchbox that fits inside their locker, as they will not be permitted to store them in a common area. Students will not be permitted to heat up items brought from home. Please do not send items in glass containers. Students will not be permitted to store any food or snack items in a refrigerator. Please try to pack food in containers that students can open by themselves.
This is a necessary part of the school day for students and it will not be eliminated this year. It is important that students have some time to play and exercise while they are at school. Students may be limited to the areas they are able to play in. We will require students to wash hands or use hand sanitizer before and/or after recess. We will make every effort to maintain consistency in cleaning play equipment and play spaces. We will work toward “structured” recess activities that limit students’ physical contact with each other yet encourage exercise and play.
Classes may look for other opportunities for breaks by taking short walks or doing other activities.
Water Students will be issued their own water cup to keep with them at their desk. Cups will be cleaned at the end of every day in the cafeteria’s dishwasher. Water fountains will not be accessible to students; however, each classroom has its own sink to fill the cups up.
Class Celebrations / Parties
Classrooms may still have celebrations for students; however, homemade treats will not be permitted to be brought in from the outside. Treats should be prepackaged and preferably individually wrapped; this helps to reduce exposure. Also, contact the teacher about possible allergies in the classroom.
Morning Latchkey We will start the school year by offering Free Morning Latchkey from 7:30am to 8:00am to those families who truly need to drop students off before 8:00am due to work requirements and are unable to make any other type of accommodations to get students to school. However, due to the large number of students who have used this program in the past, we must make some changes to how this program will operate: Students who NEED to use Morning Latchkey must register beforehand. A registration form will be sent home before school starts and should be returned by Tuesday, August 18, 2020. Registration forms will also be available at Parent Orientation Night. Students will enter through the bell tower entrance and go directly to the gym. Students will have temperatures checked as they enter the gym. If a student has a temperature over 100 or is exhibiting other symptoms, he or she will be taken to COVID-19 designated area where a staff member will conduct our protocol for a potentially at-risk student, in conjunction with the Van Wert County Health Department and the students parent/guardian will be notified. Students will have the same designated seat every day. Students will have to stay in their designated seat until they are dismissed to go to their classroom at 8:00am. Students will not be permitted to move about the gym during Morning Latchkey as they did in the past. Students will be required to follow whatever face covering requirements are in place at that time. There will be no communal books, games, toys, activities, or supplies available for students during Morning Latchkey. Students may bring books, small games, toys, activities, or supplies for INDIVIDUAL use while in Morning Latchkey. These items must go back into the student’s backpack when dismissed and remain in their backpack until the end of the day. We are asking our families, if you DO NOT NEED to drop off your child(ren) early to please wait until 8:00am. This option is being offered to our families that just have no other choice. Our capacity to socially distance our students in the gym is around 50 students. Should conditions improve in the future and we feel it would be safe to resume this program like in the past, we will let you know. After School Latchkey We also still be able to offer our After School Latchkey program. This program will operate much like it has in the past with a few exceptions: Students will still go outside to play when weather permits. Students will stay in the gymnasium instead of the classrooms. Based on the average number of students over the past few years, the gymnasium should allow us to socially distance the students. After School Latchkey hours will remain 3:05pm – 5:30pm. Students will be required to follow whatever face covering requirements are in place at that time. We ask that whoever enters the building to pick up students to enter and exit the school building using the door labeled #1, which is located by the flagpole, off Jennings Rd. parking lot. We ask that whoever picks up students wear a mask and use hand sanitizer before signing students out. There will be no communal books, games, toys, activities, or supplies available for students during After School Latchkey. Students may bring books, small games, toys, activities, or supplies for INDIVIDUAL use while in After School Latchkey. These items MUST remain in the students’ backpack until the appropriate time during After School Latchkey. Students will still go outside, weather permitting. Prepackaged, individually wrapped snacks will continue to be provided. Visitors/Volunteers
Parents/Guardians are asked to refrain from visiting the buildings unless it is necessary or an emergency. Those who do come to the building should complete a health screen prior to arrival, use hand sanitizer as they enter the building, and wear a mask.
Those people who are considered part of the educational process may still be permitted to volunteer and will have to follow all the same protocols as all other staff members, including temperature checks and face coverings.
Field Trips will not take place this year. There are simply too many unknowns and uncontrollable parts to a field trip under these environmental conditions. Classes may participate in virtual field trips. Should conditions change, and we are able to go on field trips safely in the spring, we will.
Classrooms will be set up for as much social distancing to take place as possible, we can socially distance 20 students per classroom 5 to 6 feet apart. Each classroom will vary and be dependent upon the number of students in each room. Every classroom will have assigned seating for students. Classroom doors will remain open to reduce the number of touches to door handles. Teachers will not have students pass around materials that are handled by the entire class, rather teachers will hand deliver materials to students individually. Staff and students may be asked to spray or wipe down desks/chairs during different times in the day. In addition, we are examining spacing out lockers, and organizing restroom usage and capacity.
Our 4th, 5th, and 6thGrade students will not change classrooms for Math, Science, and Language Arts this year. Instead, those teachers will move to their rooms to teach specific subjects. The exception to this would be when it is necessary for them to be in the other classroom. For example: if they are doing a dissection in science.
Music, Art, Technology, Library, and Fitness classes will still take place. Students will be instructed to use hand sanitizer before and immediately after. Students’ common seats, areas, and equipment will be sanitized before the next class arrives. During any of these classes, masks will not be necessary if students are able to social distance. Students may remove face coverings to participate in fitness, per the State’s order that mask are not necessary when exercising.
We have been in discussion with our maintenance department and will be developing a cleaning regiment and schedule for the school each and every day, even during the day, working to ensure we disinfect to the best of our ability, not only classrooms but high traffic areas, such as restrooms.
Building Drop off / Pick up
Student Entrance and Exit Locations: Students in Kindergarten Plus through 2nd Grade will enter and exit the school building using the door labeled #1, which is located by the flagpole, off the Jennings Rd. parking lot.
Students in 3rdGrade through 6thGrade will enter and exit the school building using the door labeled #2, which is located on the east end of the Jennings Rd. parking lot, closest to the Library.
Families with students in both groups, Kindergarten Plus through 2ndGrade and 3rdthrough 6thGrade, will enter and exit the school building using the Bell Tower door labeled #8, which is located at the west end of the School Building beside the Bell Tower.
Building Drop off / Pick up Continued
Morning Drop Off: Starting this year, students should not be dropped off until 8:00am, unless they are registered for Morning Latchkey. Students who enter the building anytime between 8:00am and the tardy bell at 8:25am should go directly to their locker and then classroom. After the first week, we ask that students enter the building without being accompanied by an adult. Adults entering the building will always be required to wear a mask.
After School Pickup: We will still dismiss school at 3:05pm. Students will exit the building through their designated exit door listed above. We ask that no adults enter the building at dismissal, please stay in your designated pick up line and we will bring students to you. Adults picking up students from Door #1 or Door #2 will enter the Jennings Rd. parking lot through the drive closest to the church and use the far east exit of the Jennings Rd. parking lot after picking up.
St. Mary’s will provide a remote learning option that will allow those students who may not feel comfortable returning to school, or may have health conditions that limit their return to school, to work from home along with the students working in the classrooms at school. We will be using Google Classroom/Meet to live stream our classes. Parents/guardians interested in starting the year on-line should contact the School Office by Monday, August 10th, so we can examine the number of students and grade levels this will affect. We realize this is a somewhat short time frame, but we also know that many people have made up their mind already.
Remote Learning Continued Parents/guardians who select this option for their child(ren) need to know that this is not a hybrid option – students are either completely online or entirely physically at school. By registering for this, parents/guardians are affirming that their child(ren) have the technology necessary to be successful in this endeavor (including computer and internet access). Remote learning will have the same demands to that of a regular classroom – which includes assignments, quizzes, tests, grading scale, etc. Students will be expected to be online from 8:25am to 3:05pm every day. During the day, there will be time when the student does not necessarily need to be online. For example: when the class is at recess, lunch, Mass, etc. Remote learners will be expected to complete music, art, technology, and fitness lessons and assignments. However, these classes might not be able to be live streamed. This option would also require parent/guardian to pick up and return any necessary lessons, assignments, and materials from school each week that cannot be delivered digitally. Yes, the intent will be for this to be more intensive and rigorous than last spring and will reflect what is being taught in the classroom. Staff participating in this will regularly provide instruction and have scheduled “office hours” for students to ask questions and get assistance. By enrolling in the online option, students are committing to participate regularly. Failure to actively participate may result in revocation of their online option. Students and families should also know that changes to participation in online learning will only take place at the end of each quarter. Any deviation from this will be approved by building principals on a case by case basis but should not be an expectation. By having the ability to live stream our classes, a student who may have to miss school due to being quarantined will also be able to keep up with classwork. We will permit students to move in and out of remote learning if there are specific reasons related to quarantine or COVID-19 related health issues.
St. Mary’s may also elect to utilize remote learning during periods of time if buildings are closed for cleaning or sanitizing or in circumstances where the virus has escalated, and we are required to move everyone to remote learning.
COVID-19 Protocols Whenever there is a positive case of COVID-19 in Van Wert County, the health department is notified. The health department will contact the school to set in motion their protocols. If a parent is notified by their health care provider that their child tested positive, they should call Van Wert County Public Health Department to report the positive case. The health department should already have the information, but it will be helpful to check. Once St. Mary’s is notified that a child or staff member has a positive test by Van Wert County Public Health Department, St. Mary’s will assist in contact tracing the staff or student. St. Mary’s will be required to compile a list of anyone who was exposed to the person at school in the past 48 hours. COVID-19 Protocols Continued Exposure is defined as being around the affected person for 15 minutes or more and being within 6 feet or less of the person. The list will be given to the health department and they will contact each person or parent of the child on the list. The Van Wert County Public Health Department will make the decision to quarantine the exposed person. St. Mary’s will provide learning opportunities through Google Classroom/Meet for students that are placed in a mandatory quarantine by the health department. St. Mary’s will not release the names of any staff or student testing positive or any staff or student being quarantined to protect their privacy rights. Any diagnosis or dissemination of information related to COVID-19 will come from the health department. The school cannot and will not release any information without it first coming from the health department. While we want to be as transparent as possible, we must also be cognizant of student confidentiality. Information that is permissible to be shared will be upon approval of the release of that information from the health department. The communications from the health department will help to explain and define what is considered a close contact that requires quarantine. Any person who is within six (6) feet for 15 minutes or more is considered a close contact to someone confirmed to have COVID-19 that will require quarantine. Just because someone is in the same classroom or passes a student in a hallway does not make them a close contact. Again, this information and determination will be made the health department, not St. Mary’s. Any student or employee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 may not return to school/work until they have been released by Van Wert County Public Health Department. The length of isolation will be based on CDC guidelines and shared by the health department. As of July 2020, any student/employee must be fever free (under 100 degrees Fahrenheit) without the use of medication for 24 hours (one full day), AND shown improvement of all other symptoms for 24 hours, AND at least 10 days have passed since symptoms started. If a student/employee has tested positive for COVID-19 but does not have any other symptoms, they will be required to stay home in isolation until 10 days have passed since their positive test. The health department will also require a 14-day quarantine for anyone determined to have “close contact” to someone who has COVID-19. Again, “close contact” is to be determined by Van Wert County Public Health Department. If a staff member or student has someone else living in their household test positive for COVID-19, the staff member or student will be quarantined by Van Wert County Public Health Department but it does not affect the school since it is considered a secondary exposure. Therefore, no contact tracing will be required to be completed.
COVID-19 Protocols Continued It will be best for the parent/guardian to take their child(ren) to school for the first day following a quarantine in the event any information needs to be shared with staff, and to demonstrate release by Van Wert County Public Health Department.
Closing Remarks All planning and execution of plans is subject to change at a moment’s notice. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the School either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org by phone 419-238-5186. Some questions may not have answers at this time, but every attempt will be made to provide direction. Thank you again for your understanding and support. There is no question that by helping to support one another, we will find success in providing our students with a strong Catholic Education through this reality. Thank you and God bless, Mr. Daniel Metzger Principal-Minister