July 24, 2020

July 24, 2020
 
I hope you and your family are doing well during these unparalleled times. I am writing to give you an update on our school during these hot summer weeks.
 
School News: The Big news remains that we are planning in school learning in the fall! Yea!! But school in fall 2020 will look much different than school 2019. Safety will be our highest priority and we have a School COVID Safety Committee meeting weekly and a school School Scheduling Committee meeting also meeting weekly to address safety start-up issues. 
 
 
 
Here are some of the updated highlights of our planning so far from these committees:
 
All students and staff in K-8 will wear face masks and practice social distancing. 
 
Every morning every student and staff will have their temperature taken as they enter the building. Father Reggie has generously offered the school the use of the non-contact thermo detector stations that he has purchased for the church.
 
All students will enter the building through the front door to have their temperature checked.
 
Sanitizing stations will be established by all interior and exterior entrances.
 
If a student has a fever entering the building, we will take them to a designated "fever room" to wait for their parents.
 
We will make use of infrared thermometers, pulse oximeters, disinfectant wipes, gloves, hydrostatic cleaning machines and other medical monitoring and sanitation tools. 
 
In the morning, students will arrive at staggered times and go right to their classroom. 
 
Middle school students will arrive first, coming into school from 8:00 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. They will be followed by K-5 elementary students arriving from 8:10 a.m. to 8: 20 a.m.
 
To meet state guidelines, parents will be encouraged to drop off the students at the door and not enter the school.
 
 
 
Social Distancing Requirements: 
K-8 classrooms will be arranged with desks six-feet apart and  each student in each classroom will have the required 35 square feet of space.
 
We will "cap" the number of students in each classroom to reach this goal. Most classes will be capped at around 14 students.
 
Per state guidelines, we will work to limit student movement
through the building and to have students moving in one direction.
 
 
 
Lunch will be in the classroom.
 
Recess periods will be staggered and our large field will be used to mark off class areas.
 
Playground equipment will be wiped down before another class can use it.  State guidelines suggest that cohorts will remain together with limited exposure to other student cohorts. 
 
 
 
To the greatest degree possible, special area teachers will come to the classroom.  To follow this guideline, middle school students will stay in their homeroom, and their teachers will rotate from room to room.
 
Middle school students will use their homeroom desks  to keep all school supplies and books to eliminate congestion at lockers. Lockers will be taped off.
 
Pre-K Program: Pre-K students will go directly each morning to the Pre-K classroom and have their temperatures taken there to begin the day. Most recent state guidelines do not require Pre-K students to wear a mask. To meet state guidelines, that every Pre-K child has 35 square feet of space, we will cap the Pre-K class at 18 students. We currently have 13 Pre-K students enrolled.
 
Every effort will be made to keep the Pre-K students separated from the rest of the school population.
 
 
 
After-School Program: The after-school program will continue to run until 6:00 p.m. with some modifications to keep primary and middle school students separated from each other. 
 
 
Classroom Air Ventilation:  The goal is to work to increase the amount of outdoor air coming into all classrooms. This can be done as simply as opening classroom windows and using fans. Sweatshirts and coats will be allowed in the classroom when temperatures begin to get colder.
Our mechanical ventilation systems in the gym will be checked for  use of higher efficiency filters.
 
 
Remote Learning: While we are committed to in-person learning, we will be  ready to quickly transition to remote learning. Our planned remote learning program will offer live classes daily, small group personalized learning, and extra help weekly - the same superior academics, only virtually.  
 
 
Parent Considerations:  All adults who enter the school building will wear a cloth or face covering that covers their nose and mouth.  Community meetings and committee meetings will be done virtually.
 
We are developing a list of possible symptoms,  similar to what is now being used at doctor and dentist offices for parents to evaluate their children each evening.
 
Evening disinfecting equipment and procedures are under review now. 
 
 
The CCD program is not expected to resume in-school classes in September.
 
 
School Lunch Programs: Many schools are doing away with their lunch programs due to COVID considerations. We are wondering how many families would utilize an outside COVID certified lunch catering program? Please email Clara Taveras at clarataveras@aol.com if you would use a lunch program and how much are you willing to pay per lunch - $5, $8, or $10. This will be important for us to know if we have enough interest to contract with a catering service.
 
 
New Diocese COVID Emergency Tuition Assistance Fund - This week the Diocese announced this new funding source for families impacted economically from the pandemic. Here is the link for more information. 
 
 
 
Wow - I know that is a lot of information.
I will keep you posted as we fine tune our new procedures. It is going to be a historic year. 
 
 
School Summer Hours:  I am at school every day from 8:00 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. If you have any questions or thoughts about the start of school, or our planning process, or if you want to just touch base, please call me at school. 
 
2020/2021 School Calendar: The first day of school for K-8 students will be on August 31st; the first day for Pre-K is scheduled for September 8.
 
"Shout-Out I"  Evaristo Martinez. Our custodian, Evaristo, announced his retirement this week. For 15 years, Evaristo was the only custodian in our school. During this time he attended to his duties with a quiet dignity and a deep religious faith. I can't even imagine the number of times he set-up chairs and tables in the gym and then restacked and put everything away. Enjoy your retirement, Evaristo, you earned it!
 
Coming Events:
 
August 8th -       Annual community school playground work day to spread new mulch. 
August 31st -     First day of school for K-8
September 8th - First day of school for Pre-K
 
And Finally:
Thank you to everyone for their kindness expressed during my recent recovery from surgery. This experience reinforced my understanding of a hospital: a hospital is a place you go to when you don't feel too poorly, when you leave you feel terrible, and they tell you now you are getting better!
Enjoy these summer weeks!