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Teaching Our Students

During the 2020-2021 school year, parents will have two options for their child’s educational experience: a “Return to Campus Plan” and a “St. Mary's At Home Plan”. It is our desire to give parents the flexibility of choosing either plan throughout the school year, so they can make the best possible decisions for their families.

Return to Campus Plan

Our Return to Campus Plan is laid out with the intent of opening our doors to students on August 19th. St. Mary's School Preparedness Team has come up with a three-layered health and safety approach.  These layers are based on governmental directives, CDC recommendations, and advice from local experts and the Southwest Association of Episcopal Schools. 

Before and after school care (BTC) and clubs will continue next year under these protocols. 

Return to campus protocols:

  • Julie Scott Krywicki, RN, BSN, NE-BC has been hired to be the contact tracer for St. Mary's School. 
  • Individuals entering the school will be screened using a rapid temperature scanner. If needed, a temperature will be confirmed using a forehead thermometer
  • We ask that parents partner with us and keep their children home if showing signs of illness.
  • All faculty and staff will check their temperatures at home each morning. 
  • Prior to August 10th, St. Mary's will undergo an industrial deep cleaning of the school, including manipulatives, instruments, equipment, playground structures, and technology hardware. 
  • Hand sanitizing stations will be placed throughout the school. 
  • Age-Appropriate signage with information on proper hygiene and how to avoid germ transmission will be posted. 
  • Our facilities team will continue to clean classrooms, bathrooms, shared spaces and playground equipment with a specific focus on doorknobs, light switches, faucet handles, work surfaces, student desks, tables, and technology. 
  • Our evening cleaning crew will disinfect hard surfaces each evening and use the disinfecting mister purchased through fund-a-need at Beau Geste.
  • Shared supplies will be limited in the classroom. 
  • Classrooms will be equipped with additional cleaning supplies so manipulatives and other learning materials can be sanitized throughout the day. 
  • St. Mary's will hire a Health & Safety Coordinator to increase our janitorial practices and conduct additional cleanings throughout the school day. 
  • Students first through fifth grades, visitors, faculty and staff to wear masks.  Mask for students in preschool, prekindergarten and kindergarten will be optional, except at in-person Chapel.  Mask breaks will occur while outside, during PE, lunchtime and when 6 feet distancing is feasible.  If a mask becomes lost and is not identifiable, it will be thrown away.  Please write your child’s name inside their mask.
  • Desk and table protection guards will be used in classrooms.
  • Students will be taught safe behavioral practices, including social distancing, frequent hand washing, keeping hands to themselves, and avoiding touching their faces. 
  • Desks will be spread out and facing one direction in the classrooms. 
  • Additional cafeteria tables will be available in Taylor Hall for social distancing during lunch. 
  • To reduce the number of students in Taylor Hall at lunch time, preschool and pre-k students will pack their lunches and eat in their classrooms. 
  • We will not have large group assemblies or gatherings. 

St. Mary's at Home

St. Mary's School recognizes the needs of our families to transition to an at-home school model throughout the 2020-2021 school year. With flexibility in mind, we are pleased to offer "St. Mary's At Home" as a way for children to continue their St. Mary's School studies when they need, or desire, to continue to learn outside the school building.

Curriculum

Students will receive their assignments in core subjects on a daily, or weekly, basis - at the discretion of their teacher(s). At a minimum, assignments can be picked up on a weekly basis - at the end of each day or week.

Students will be provided with access to classroom technology - AR, Lexia, IXL, etc. as appropriate.

Google Classroom will also contain any supplemental videos or materials to aid in at-home instruction, at the teacher's discretion. 

Relationships

Students learning at home will have, at minimum, individual weekly check-ins with their teacher. Teachers will also be available to answer questions via e-mail throughout the course of the school week. 

Attendance

St. Mary's flexible attendance policy will continue, as we have always supported families desiring to keep children home for a variety of reasons. For the 2020-2021 school year, attendance will not be recorded on your child's report cards. 

Reducing the Spread of COVID-19: Helpful Resources

Hand Washing and Hygiene

We ask that parents please partner with us in teaching and practicing proper hand washing techniques.  Make hand washing fun - while explaining why it is important. Below are helpful links and videos that demonstrate the proper hand washing techniques children will be taught this year. 

If using hand sanitizer at home - please check to be sure it contains at least 60% alcohol and no methanol. 

Hand Washing Information

Proper Hand Washing Videos

Hand Sanitizer Safety

Social Distancing

We will be reinforcing the importance of social distancing with our students as we begin the school year. Below is more information on the importance of social distancing, and a video parents might find helpful as you talk about social distancing with your children. 

Importance of Social Distancing

Video: Social Distancing Explained to Kids

Mask Wearing

Mask wearing is 70-80% effective in reducing viral transmission to others. Your mask protects others - the St. Mary's Way! Please model proper mask wearing for your children. Below are some helpful links regarding mask usage. 

Mask Mythbusters: 5 Common Misconceptions about Kids & Cloth Face Coverings

Cloth Face Coverings For Children During COVID-19

CDC Considerations for Wearing Masks

"Words can’t express how grateful our family is to the faculty and staff of St. Mary’s for the education my kids have continued to receive through the pandemic. Our kids haven’t had just one or two classes a day, but have received their full curriculum each and every day taught by the teachers they love, including music, art, Spanish and PE.

There is not another school in the state that has continued to provide the level of quality education that our kids have received. I keep reading articles about how kids are going to be behind academically because of all the restrictions, but I am so grateful that my kids won’t be because of the hard work of everyone at St. Mary’s."

- Lauren Guhl, St. Mary's School Parent