July 10, 2020
Dear St. Charles Parents and Guardians,
We acutely recognize the uncertainty that we, as a community, as well as individuals across the globe, have lived with since the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders were given earlier this year. Now that Ohio is slowly opening and federal, state and local experts have provided reopening guidance for schools, we would like to share some of our own plans that will be submitted, once final details are in place, to the Health Department for approval for reopening in August 2020. We seek to provide an education during this time, and always, that places the well-being of our students at the forefront while maintaining the unique factors that make a St. Charles Catholic School education excellent. As always, the safety and security of your child is our top priority. To that end:
At this time we intend to open on August 19, 2020, and plan to follow our regularly scheduled calendar year.
All students PK-8 will attend school 5 days a week with preschool being 3 days a week. It is our hope that this learning will take place on campus unless we are ordered otherwise.
We know that each family will have unique needs, so we are working on developing education models that build optionality and flexibility through technology, curriculum and culture.
We are completing detailed plans - designed around the St. Charles student experience - with safety, well-being and engaged learning as our primary focus.
OUR KEY REOPENING ASSETS
In class offerings 5 days a week (as permitted) - We plan to facilitate, whenever possible, learning on campus 5 days per week to maintain our academic program elements, foster social-emotional growth and connections for students while alleviating extra stress for parents.
Investments in people - In order to facilitate a safe and thoughtful return to campus for all of our students in August, we are creating a schedule, that is staffed appropriately, to allow for minimum contact between classes and other groups.
Investments in technology - We have plans underway to be well equipped to provide a robust educational experience given any circumstance with investments to our academic platform and teaching software interface to elevate our teaching and learning agility.
WHAT STEPS IS THE SCHOOL TAKING TO ENSURE SAFETY?
We are developing community standards and behaviors that will help to keep our community safe and healthy. Staff and faculty will be trained on these standards and behaviors while this learning will be part of the classroom experience for students.
3-6 ft distancing will be the best practice baseline in all of our learning, space and program designs.
Consistent hand-washing and hygiene instructions and protocols for all community members will be in place throughout the school.
We will maintain “traffic flow” through our spaces to limit congestion.
Facilities and maintenance staff will maintain a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
All adults (18 years and older) will be required to wear masks. All staff members will be wearing face coverings including masks, masks with clear fronts, or shields based upon the type of instruction being carried out.
We will not require students to wear face masks, but they are strongly encouraged. In situations where physical distancing may not be possible to maintain, students will be encouraged to wear their face mask for the protection and safety of our school family.
HOW WILL THE DAY BE STRUCTURED?
The day itself will be designed with safety, student experience and learning at the forefront.
The length of school days will stay as it has in prior years, unless otherwise mandated by state and local authorities.
St. Charles will have specific and staggered class change times, hallway procedures, and procedures for communal spaces, such as bathrooms.
WHAT WILL DINING & LUNCH LOOK LIKE?
Lunch will be available for students, and students will eat in the cafeteria and in other assigned spaces with a safe rotating schedule and safe distancing at tables.
The cafeteria and food service program will be adjusted to allow for distancing and the limitation of shared contact areas.
Like other areas of a school building, common kitchen and dining surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized between uses.
Masks and gloves will be worn by dining staff, and proper training for COVID-19 transmission and disinfection of facilities will be provided.
WHAT ARE THE ENTRY & EXIT PROCEDURES?
Drop off and door access will be managed to minimize students mixing. Students will proceed directly to their classroom once they enter the building.
Dismissal times will be slightly staggered to allow for physical distancing of students while they exit the building.
HOW WILL WE UTILIZE THE SCHOOL NURSE?
Any member of the community who exhibits or reports symptoms consistent with possible COVID-19, will be screened by our nurse. If symptoms are confirmed, we will utilize a designated quarantine space, where the student will wait to be picked up by a family member.
Faculty and staff who exhibit any symptoms or who have been in direct contact with anyone who was positive for COVID-19, will be asked to stay home.
WHAT ABOUT CAREGIVER & VISITOR BUILDING ACCESS?
The Ohio Department of Health recommends that schools should, as much as possible, prohibit visitors from entering school buildings.
We will limit the access of outside visitors, including parents, to the building.
Symptom checks, including a temperature check, may be required for all permitted visitors.
WHAT ARE THE CLEANING PROCEDURES AT SCHOOL?
We know that custodial and maintenance staff are integral to ensuring a safe, clean environment for all.
We intend to follow the most stringent cleaning procedures including those recommended by the Ohio Department of Health guidelines.
Facilities and maintenance staff will wear masks and/or face shields.
All cleaning staff will receive proper training for COVID-19 transmission and disinfection of facilities has been provided.
Each classroom will be disinfected after use by students. Depending on the model that we leverage, this may result in each classroom being cleaned multiple times a day.
Like classrooms, all bathrooms and other common spaces will be properly disinfected on a frequent and regular basis.
Internal doors should be propped open wherever and whenever possible to minimize touching of surfaces.
We will adhere to a clearly defined sanitizing schedule and protocols for cleaning surfaces in all areas of the building before and after school in addition to as-needed protocol during the day.
Appropriate facilities and maintenance staffing plans will be in place to complete the custodial and maintenance tasks.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A COMMUNITY MEMBER TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID19?
Communication will be developed by Allen County Public Health to outline actions to be taken by the school. We will then create policies and procedures to support the Allen County Public Health steps that will need to be taken. We will share this detail by the beginning of August 2020.
Our scheduling model, with varying levels of cohort management, will allow us to define the at-risk groups and utilize learning from home for those individuals, while keeping the overall campus open.
WHAT ARE THE CLASSROOM SAFETY MEASURES?
We are thoughtfully reformatting spaces to accommodate for physical distancing through desk and table spacing.
Desks and table formatting will allow students to engage but while facing the same direction without face-to-face placement.
All teachers, learning guides and support staff will wear masks and/or face shields.
Student supply items are not shared.
Any common-use items and all surfaces will receive proper cleaning each night.
Tables and desks that rotate different students through the day, will be thoroughly cleaned following protocol between each class period.
We will encourage teachers to utilize our outdoor learning areas as much as possible.
We have installed air purifying devices in all classrooms. The devices installed actively purify the supply air, killing mold, bacteria and viruses in the coil and living space. The ionization process also reduces allergens, static electricity, and other particles in the air without creating ozone or any harmful byproducts.
WHAT ABOUT EXTRACURRICULARS AND FIELD TRIPS?
We will not host field trips until at least 2021 (but we will encourage remote class visits from experts and far-off places).
Extracurricular activities will be evaluated on an individual basis.
HOW WILL ATHLETICS, RECESS, AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION BE AFFECTED?
Athletic program details and schedules will be identified once further guidance from OHSAA is received.
We plan to allow for outdoor recess by using alternative times to limit the number of students on the playground.
Our intention is to run a complete Physical Education program, with program modifications to emphasize physical activities that do not involve direct contact for students, and with cleaning and sanitizing protocols for any equipment used.
I realize that there are probably many more questions you may have. We hope to have our plans submitted to the Health Department for approval early next week. We will continue to respond and share more, especially as it relates to our programs and policies. We will also continue to refine and revise these plans, based on up-to-date and relevant medical information and guidance as it becomes available. We appreciate your patience and partnership as we finalize these details.
Our school is fully invested in adapting our current program and approach to guidelines as they may change in the future. We are confident we will be able to deliver a faith-filled program for students that elevates their learning, builds social skills and connections, and maintains safety and health.
Finally, I understand the significant resources you commit to be a part of the St. Charles community. During these uncertain times, I am so appreciative of the many, many families who have shown trust and faith in our school. We are fully dedicated to delivering on that trust. I look forward to welcoming students back to campus for our 2020-21 academic year.
Megan Scheid, Principal