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,