Catholic Schools Onward

Best Practices and New Opportunities as We Move Forward


PLAN & PHILOSOPHY

(Please note that as current information becomes available this page will be updated – 08.11.2020.)

Introduction

This document will provide information regarding the plan to return to Brick-and-Mortar learning for the 2020-2021 school year. Before we discuss the specific aspects of the plan, let us start with an introduction to several of the key foundational premises that the plan is built upon. The principles listed below, will allow us to remain open and only use virtual learning for those who have been identified with COVID-19 or in a situation in which a parent feels working from home is beneficial.

Partnership

Catholic elementary schools are inherently a partnership between the parent and the school. This is never more important than at this time and an even greater partnership is now needed.  It is our goal to open this school year and to remain open. This cannot be possible unless the school and the parents agree to the importance of monitoring your child’s health daily. Most importantly, this means that children who are experiencing symptoms – such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, parents need to keep their child home until medically cleared to return to school.  With parental cooperation in this matter, we will be able to keep the schools open and safe.

Cohorting

A cohort is a group of students in the same grade, most cases, this is a single homeroom but, in some situations;  it could be a larger group.

Cohorting is recommended by many health organizations as an environmental measure to prevent the spread of disease. Some large school systems are using it as the only method of prevention to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Although, our schools will be using other precautionary measures, cohorting will be a major part of the plan. With this, we will keep groups of children together for the entire day. They will attend lunch, recess and classes as a cohort.  If a case of COVID-19 were to surface with a cohort, we would then move to virtual learning at home with just the identified cohort.  The rest of the school would continue to operate with in-class instruction.

Social distancing

Social distancing is also a fundamental practice in all our procedures of operations. Social distancing is deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. Keeping your distance from others lessens the chances of catching and spreading COVID-19. Travel in the hallway, lunch periods, and classroom instruction have all been planned to maximize social distancing.

Strategic use of Masks

Masks will be mandatory in most situation situations, such as travel in the hallway, on the bus, classroom situations with non-cohort members, or when travel about the classroom is necessary without effective social distancing. Students can have mask breaks when a child is at his desk with his cohort in a socially distance situation, the student may remove the mask (15 minutes) can happen if students are 6 ft apart with or without plexiglass barrier.

Enhanced Cleaning

The school will increase the cleaning of common areas and highly used features such as door knobs, handrails, and counters. Children are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to school, as common water fountains will not be in use. With this enhanced cleaning, a safer environment can be established.

Monitoring Health

Every day, parents are primarily responsible for monitoring the health of their children. Teachers will be reminded to check the health of their students during a common activity. Additionally, the school  will implement random temperature monitoring.

Virtual Learning

Use of both distance learning and virtual learning. We will make two types of non-traditional learning available.

  • If a child is sick, or a parent suspects the child may be sick, we will have an option where the child can join the class via a telecommuting practice. The major subjects will be available through this method. Materials will be exchanged through the Learning Management System (LMS).
  • In the case where a cohort has been dismissed from school and COVID-19 has been identified, the entire cohort will utilize distance learning for the isolation period. Lessons will be delivered through a telecommuting platform, with heavy reliance on the LMS.

Modified Attendance

Since we are encouraging parents to monitor health closely, and we also encourage keeping children home if they display symptoms, the grading of attendance has changed. Children will be marked as attending in person or  attending virtually. Only when children cannot or do not participate in any of the virtual lessons, will they be marked absent.

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