The return to learn plan is currently being reviewed by the planning committee this week. This group consists of faculty and staff members, school committee members, Father Russell, and healthcare professionals that deal with Covid-19 on a daily basis in the medical field.
The Diocese plans on making a final decision on masks within the next few days. They are waiting on more thorough information on this matter. Thus, I will be sharing our school plan once I hear back officially on the use of masks in school and also the feedback from our school planning team.
Faculty and Staff have been busy coming into the building to work in their rooms to get set up for students to return in person. They are also planning on creative ways to allow students to feel comfortable in their new learning environment.
I do thank all of you for your questions that you submitted to me over the last week. I have incorporated all of your questions into the plan. It is set up as a Q & A document. Our return to learn plan does encompasses all aspects of our school day and learning environment.
We ask that you set up a routine throughout the summer so you can talk to your children a elings during these unusual days. This way, you can help your children visualize what is different and hopefully reduce anxiety about all the anticipated changes. This can include the use of cloth face coverings or reminding your child not to touch their face covering as much as possible and wash their hands frequently for 20 seconds with soap and water.
We also recommend that over the summer families try out different kinds of masks on their children to see what styles/fits make the most sense. We just ask that the designs are appropriate for the mission of SMS and that the children will be able to adjust to them.
Please understand that conditions are changing daily and guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education has been fluid with changes. We will do our best to keep you informed as we work hard to keep our students and staff safe. We will continue with our weekly communication and include any additional information as we receive it. This plan will continue to be reviewed and updated as guidance is shared from the ISBE, Rockford Diocese, IDPH, and CDC.
Thank you for your support and patience during this time.
Continue to pray for one another and an end to the pandemic.
God love you,
Dear St. Mary School,
Please read the following update in regards to our return to learn plan.
I do know as a parent of my own St. Mary students, that I have questions about how next year will look. At this time, I would like to encourage our school families to send me your questions so that I may create a Q&A document to share with all of you to continue the communication on how our school will be returning to school on August 19th. Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am pleased to announce that our ultimate goal for returning to learn in the Fall is becoming real. According to the Governor and ISBE, it is very important to make sure that all students that are in PreK-8th (ages 3-13) do return in person. I am working with all the current documents that the state has provided for guidance. Our plan is to be in person all 5 days each week unless there is a need to return to remote learning during the year.
This will look different for all of us with temperature checks upon entering the buildings, wearing a face covering when social distancing can not take place, and how our classrooms will be implementing different strategies to encourage social distancing as much as possible.
A face covering is expected to be worn. This is a directive from the health department and from the state. This is why the school has purchased face shields for each child and staff member to wear if they choose to not wear a mask or another type of face covering. I do know that as a parent, I see my own kids struggle to wear a mask for more than an hour at a time. Shields can be worn in lieu of masks. Shields also allow for students and teachers to be able to see each other's facial expressions.
If a child or staff member has any symptoms of COVID-19, then, that individual will be sent home. That person will be asked to monitor symptoms at home and will not be able to return until they have been symptom free without fever reducer for 72 hours. If a case of COVID-19 is confirmed at our school, then, the people that were around that person for more than 15 minutes and not at least 6 feet apart, will have to also stay at home to watch for symptoms. This is why we will be doing temperature and symptom checks every day. During this time, this is when the children will do remote learning from home to keep up with their classwork.
We will still have lunch and recess; but, it will be scheduled differently to follow the rules of no more than 50 people gathering and for proper cleaning after each group.
Students will not have to wear a face covering outside if they maintain more than 6 feet. Passing periods for junior high will be scheduled differently to allow for students to access lockers and move to their next room in a safe and orderly manner.
All School Mass and Adoration will be different this year. We will have separate weeks for scheduled groups to attend All School Mass and Adoration to follow social distancing. However, Father Russell and I would like to have All School Masses scheduled through out the school year at the parish on a Saturday or Sunday to allow our families to attend Masses in a different way this year.
Also, many of our back to school events will be scheduled differently. Supply drop off will be scheduled over the course of two evenings in August. Back to School Night will be a virtual event. Grandparents Day, Trunk or Treat, Christmas Program, Christmas Bingo, Catholic Schools Week, Spring Musical, etc.. will all still go on; but, in new and creative ways to still celebrate our wonderful traditions.
My goal is to have the plan outlined with even more procedures that will go into place to help in our return to learn plan in the Fall. I pray that will be available to you all by early next week on July 7th.
I will not be available beginning Friday, July 3rd-Monday, July 6th. I will check email and messages periodically during that time.
Please continue to pray for one another and an end to the pandemic.
God love you,
On Tuesday, Governor Pritzker announced guidelines for Illinois schools to follow in planning for in-person learning this Fall. We wanted to share the general nature of these guidelines with you so that you can also plan with confidence for the reopening of our school building on August 19, 2020.
In general, the guidelines state that appropriate social distancing, face coverings, enhanced sanitation measures, and other accommodations will be necessary to ensure the safety of students, staff, and their families in schools this Fall.
According to the Governor’s communication, IDPH guidelines for schools will:
It is important to note that all public and nonpublic schools in Illinois serving Prekindergarten through 12th-grade students must follow these guidelines.
The St. Mary school staff have been hard at work making plans to resume in-person learning in our building in August. We are grateful to receive these guidelines so that we can continue making plans with certainty.
We will be providing more details on specific steps that St. Mary School will be taking to ensure that we adhere to the requirements outlined above, while also maintaining a commitment to the mission and spirit of St. Mary School. We will be sending those on to you in the coming days.
Since the start of this pandemic, our approach has been to accept every challenge laid before us with grace and trust in God and to persevere with optimism and joy. We ask for your continued prayers and support as we work to bring our St. Mary School family back together under one roof in August.
May God bless you and your families with a happy and healthy summer!
St. Mary School is busy preparing for in-person classes, starting August 19th! We are committed to keeping our students and staff safe throughout the pandemic and are excited to share with you what we are planning!
St. Mary School educates approximately 200 students each year, from preschool through 8th grade. We have small class sizes, averaging about 18 kids per classroom. We will be able to comply with any state and local regulations limiting the number of people that can gather at one time.
Principal Ashley Davis is preparing several initiatives to keep all students and staff safe during the upcoming school year:
In addition to physical plant updates, we are also planning technology changes! Each student from third grade to eighth grade will now have access to their own chromebook for learning. This will give students more opportunities to stay safe and not share devices. Families without internet access at home will be able to borrow a mobile hotpot to support elearning at home, as needed.
Throughout the summer, our teachers have been participating in training and professional development related to the new virtual processes and technologies allowing them to remain flexible and prepared for future decisions.
The DeKalb School District received $1.6 million from the CARES Act-ESSR Fund and St. Mary School DeKalb will receive $20K from this funding helping us cover the cost of these new initiatives. If there are no changes to the CARES Act in congress, St. Mary School DeKalb will receive an additional installment later in the school year to continue to provide the necessary safety equipment for our students and staff.
A final decision on our school’s operating plan for the fall will be made in late June / early July. Stay tuned for additional updates and information via email. If you are looking to tour the school or meet with the principal, please contact Mrs. Ashley Davis at email@example.com.
Office hours will resume July 6, Tuesday - Thursday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Learn more about St. Mary School at www.stmaryschooldekalb.org