Queen of Apostles Catholic School
Reopening Plan: Phase III
UPDATED: July 29, 2020
Queen of Apostles Catholic School is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff and to providing an excellent formation in our Catholic faith and in all academic subjects.
After much consideration and feedback from our school community, and guidance from the Office of Catholic Schools, following CDC, state and local health guidelines, Queen of Apostles Catholic School plans to open our physical building to all students who are willing and able, Monday through Friday. We believe our small school is in a good position to implement the guidance of local, state, and national health agencies. Be assured that our faculty and staff will be continually reflecting on policies and practices developed and will adapt and improve our approach as circumstances change.
Queen of Apostles will live-stream instruction to students who are not returning to the school building due to COVID-19 concerns. Students will wear their uniforms at home and at school while the school day is in progress.
HYGIENE, FACE COVERINGS, AND CLEANING PROTOCOLS
- Daily Health Checks: Temperature screenings with non-touch thermometers and health checks will be done on all prior to entering the building. Students will have their temperatures taken as they exit their cars, one at a time.
- Students who have fevers of 100 degrees or more or exhibit other COVID-19 symptoms will go directly home. Parents must not give their children fever-reducing medications in the morning, before sending students to school.
- Students, staff, and teachers will use hand sanitizer upon entering the school building.
- Students will report directly to class.
- Every student, teacher, and staff member will need to have a face covering with him or her at school. Staff positioned at car-line or greeting any visitors outside will wear face coverings.
- Students must come to school wearing masks (cloth or disposable) to be admitted into the building. All students must keep their masks on when they are in the school building, except when they are eating lunch, seated six feet apart.
- Students will be responsible for bringing their own masks to school. Masks must be cleaned nightly if reusable. We understand that some students will find it especially difficult to wear a mask due to allergies or other needs. Please contact our office if you have concerns. Students will be given breaks outside of the building as much as possible.
- All faculty and staff will be promoting good hygiene, hand washing, and use of face coverings.
- Hand-sanitizing stations will be installed/placed at every entrance, office, and in hallways for use whenever students and teachers enter or exit. Hand-sanitizer will be used when hand washing is not easily achieved.
- Drinking fountains will remain closed to prevent cross-contamination. Students should bring individual water bottles filled at home each day.
- The number of students permitted simultaneously in the bathroom will be limited. Students will use designated bathrooms. Every other sink in each bathroom will be blocked off to ensure social distancing is followed. Staff will clean the bathrooms at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Face coverings should align with Queen of Apostles uniform policy (no offensive or inappropriate language or images).
- Cloth face coverings should be cleaned, or new disposable face coverings should be used each day.
- Recess will be held outside, weather permitting. Students will engage in non-contact play maintaining social distancing. Staggered recess and outdoor times will be scheduled as much as possible. Students will not be required to wear face coverings during P.E. or in the play area as long as they maintain physical distancing.
- Visitors to the school will be limited. Anyone who enters the building must wear a face covering while inside (and complete the health screening and temperature check).
- Throughout the day staff will clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs, light switches, etc.
- In addition to performing routine cleaning services of our school, deeper cleaning will take place after school when student desks and chairs, and other surfaces are cleaned.
HOW ILLNESS WILL BE HANDLED
During the school day, we know we will face the normal scrapes (e.g., during recess) and minor illnesses of childhood. As usual, our Health Clinic will be ready to assist any student who is injured or ill during the day. We will also be on the lookout for any student experiencing fear and anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 situation. The COVID-19 situation will require heightened watchfulness, and the health of our whole community will depend on our strong partnership with parents. Families who are concerned about their students’ susceptibility to severe illness related to COVID-19, or who are concerned about vulnerable family members at home should contact Mrs. Arias.
The current approach to illness is outlined as follows:
- Parents must keep sick children home, and teachers and staff must stay home when ill. This is the first and most important line of defense against a contagious disease.
- If a student becomes ill while at school, parents will be expected to pick up their student within 60 minutes of being notified by the school. An earlier pickup time will be greatly appreciated in order to maintain school operations.
- As mentioned above, no one registering a temperature of 100 or over will be admitted to the building.
- For ordinary illnesses (colds, stomach bugs, ear infections, etc.), students, staff, and teachers must remain home for the duration of their illness and be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications. No diarrhea or vomiting for 24 hours.
- The symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely, with reports of mild symptoms ranging to severe illness. Symptoms can appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- Symptoms experienced should be new and with no prior past medical history that explains the symptom. For example: A student, faculty or staff member regularly gets headaches due to a history of migraines – attending school is permitted knowing good hygiene practices, mask wearing and social distancing must be maintained. With the present pandemic, when in doubt contact please your pediatrician or other health professional before bringing your student to school.
- Anyone in the school displaying unexplained symptoms of COVID-19 (or testing positive) will be required to self-isolate at home in accordance with CDC guidelines until a diagnosis is ascertained. Current guidelines dictate at least 10 days of self-isolation at home from onset of symptoms; symptoms must be improving and the individual must have been fever-free for 3 days (without the use of fever-reducing medications) before returning to school.
- Anyone in the school community who has had direct contact with someone displaying symptoms of COVID-19 (or who has tested positive) will be required to self-quarantine at home in accordance with CDC recommendations (currently 14 days). This would include an individual’s siblings and anyone with whom he/she had direct contact including his/her classmates.
- If someone in our community is diagnosed with COVID-19, the local Fairfax County Health Department will be contacted to help with contact tracing and determine if someone, a class, or the whole school needs to close and the length of time this is needed.
- All teachers, staff, or students returning to school following a COVID-19 related absence will be required to meet the guidelines set by the CDC or local health agency regarding re-entry into the school environment. This may include a doctor’s note or negative test as medical norms and practices permit.
- In the case of multiple possible cases of COVID-19, if advised by local public health authorities, the Diocese, or at the discretion of Mrs. Arias or Fr. Diaz, the school may close temporarily to permit an enhanced cleaning/disinfection protocol.
FURTHER HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES
- Temperature screenings will take place before recess for all students. Students who exhibit COVID symptoms or a fever will be sent home, and parents would be required to pick up their child(ren) within an hour. Accurate and updated emergency contact information will be vital. Identified ill students, faculty, or staff members will be isolated immediately and sent home as soon as possible. The former Spanish classroom will be used solely as an isolation room.
- There will be a six-feet distance between students in the classroom. Desks will face the same direction.
- Larger spaces such as All Saints Hall and the school gym will be considered for use as classrooms for larger classes. Furniture and decorations will be removed from classrooms to offer as much space as possible. Educational posters and signs reminding students to wash their hands, keep a distance, etc. will be posted throughout the classrooms, bathrooms, and halls.
- Class sizes (depending on the size of each classroom) will be capped for in-person instruction to allow for the proper social distancing required at this time.
- Teachers and staff will wear masks and/or face shields. If needed, teachers will be able to remove their masks when providing direct instruction while maintaining a distance from students, but they must have their face shields on during this time. Teachers will wear both a mask and a face shield as they circulate the classroom.
- Students will use their own supplies located at or near their desks instead of sharing supplies and resources. When this is not possible, materials will be disinfected after each use.
- Recess will be held outside, weather permitting. Students will engage in non-contact play maintaining social distance. The playground equipment will be off limits to students. Staggered recess and outdoor times will be scheduled as much as possible.
- Lunch: Lunch will be eaten in the classroom (students sitting six feet apart) and students will be asked to bring lunch from home. Meals cannot include peanut products.
- Students will remain in their homeroom classrooms and middle school teachers will rotate to classrooms for instruction, except for advanced math classes. Students will be given breaks to stretch at their desks or outside as much as possible.
- Air Quality: MERV 13 filters have been ordered and will be installed throughout the school building.
- Specials Teachers (eg., art, music, library, computer) will rotate to classrooms for instruction (K-8) rather than having students rotate through common space. Physical education classes will be conducted outside (weather permitting), and students will practice social distancing.
- Computer: Chromebooks will be used for classes. Each Chromebook will be cleaned with a disinfectant wipe before it is assigned to a student.
- Although our school library will be closed to students, library books will remain available starting in October. Based on student interests and requests, books will be brought into the classrooms on a cart. After books are returned, they will be quarantined before they are placed back into circulation.
- Students will not take part in school wide-assemblies or gatherings, at least during the first trimester. We will follow CDC and local health guidelines.
- During the first trimester, students will not attend Mass at the parish on Fridays. We will re-evaluate after Christmas break and inform parents in advance.
- The school physician assistant/nurse, Mrs. Maureen Earner, and office staff will monitor the rate of student illness and absenteeism as well as any related health information on a daily basis.
- Parents will be required to notify the school immediately if their child or family member exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19 is diagnosed with COVID-19.
- If a confirmed case of COVID-19 has been identified within the school community, the school will notify the Fairfax County Health Department and the Office of Catholic Schools immediately to determine a course of action. We will keep all families informed while maintaining the confidentiality of the student or staff member as required by law. Following CDC guidelines, we will seek guidance from local health officials to determine when students and staff should return to schools and what additional steps are needed for the school community. (See How Illness Will Be Handled #’s 6-11)
- In order to ensure we are able to meet all physical distancing and health guidelines, families must be on an Extended Day Care contract (e.g. Mondays and Wednesdays, afternoons only) which must be sent before the start of the school year. No “drop-in” use will be offered and we may need to place a cap on how many students will be accepted. Students will sit six feet apart and follow social distancing. Students will be checked in and checked out with parents remaining outside the building. If needed, Hannan Hall may be used for EDC.
- Teachers will utilize Google Classroom or online resources to assign homework as much as possible (in order to limit transfer of physical materials back and forth as much as possible).
- All enrolled students must have current paperwork and updated immunizations per Virginia state requirements whether learning from home or in the school building. (This from VDH and VDOE- no waivers allowed).
LEARNING FROM HOME WHEN THE SCHOOL BUILDING IS OPEN
- Queen of Apostles will live-stream instruction to students who are not returning to the school building due to COVID-19 concerns.
- Lessons will be live-streamed via Zoom for synchronous instruction.
- Students will have their cameras on to allow teachers to monitor their progress and participation. Students will participate and engage in the classroom lesson in real time. Teachers will provide time for students at home to “interact” with students in the classroom by involving them in discussions, games, and other activities to the greatest extent possible.
- Teachers will be available during a scheduled time period to answer questions for students who are learning from home.
- School uniforms will be worn by all students, at home and at school.
- Materials for students learning from home (textbooks, workbooks, manipulatives, etc.) will be provided to families via car-line at the beginning of the school year and as needed.
eLEARNING FOR ALL STUDENTS
If our school building is required to close at any point in the school year, we will be ready to shift fully to eLearning. Professional Development opportunities before school begins will further support teachers in being even better prepared for eLearning this fall.
- Our small class sizes will allow our teachers to focus on each and every one of our students, knowing their strengths, talents, challenges, and weaknesses. Transitioning to eLearning will have its challenges, but our teachers will be equally committed to helping students learn and grow.
- Google Classroom will continue to be the platform used by our teachers
- Zoom (online video conferencing platform) will be used for live group meetings, hosted by teachers, following all safety procedures. Cameras must be turned on during instructional periods to allow teachers to monitor their progress and students are expected to show respect and attentiveness.
- IXL: Teachers will provide student account information and assign work to students
- If your family does not have access to a laptop, computer, or tablet, please notify the school and a Chromebook may be loaned to you. A Chromebook Loan Agreement must be signed and the device must be returned in similar condition. Please note that we have a limited number of devices, especially when in-person instruction is offered, as devices will be used by students for classes. Please only borrow a device if it is necessary. If you do not have wireless internet access, the following resource may be helpful https://www.internetessentials.com/. In an emergency, you may use a hotspot and data from your phone https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-turn-your-phone-into-a-wi-fi-hotspot.
- Students will need to check in (via Zoom) at 8 am each morning for morning prayers, announcements, and attendance, dressed in school uniform.
- Unlike the third trimester of last school year, students will be expected to complete all work and assessments.
- Specials Classes will be taught following the regular schedule and grades will be given.
○ Kindergarten-2nd Grade (in the event the school building must close to all students or to an entire class):
- Teachers will provide synchronous (live) lessons, but make recordings of direct instruction available to families facing unique challenges
- Teachers will check student work during synchronous/live lessons and provide immediate feedback and guidance to students as much as possible (this should place less responsibility on parents to support their students)
- Example description of a math class:
- 8:15 am: Teacher provides a math lesson followed by examples and offers time for questions
- Teacher asks students to complete one or two practice problems and show their the work by placing the paper in front of the camera
- Teacher checks their work and determines which students are ready to complete further practice problems independently and which students need additional support
- Teacher pulls students who need extra support in a virtual room to offer further assistance for 5 minutes while other students practice independently
- Teacher and students all meet back in the general virtual classroom to review and check their work
- A review game is played together and a quick assessment is given
- Students and teacher take a break for a few minutes to stretch and prepare for the next lesson
○ 3-8th Grade students (in the event the school building must close to all students or to an entire class):
- Classes will be taught live following class schedules, 40 minutes per scheduled class time (providing students with a five minute break to join the next class).
- Each teacher will post a Zoom link in Google Classroom along with assignments, announcements, and reminders.
- Students will be expected to turn in assigned work, attend class/Zoom meetings, and participate. Teachers will be understanding of extraordinary circumstances.
- Students will be provided with immediate feedback and guidance.
- Students cannot ask parents or other adults to complete the work for them. They must be mindful of academic integrity when it comes to sharing ideas and working with others.
- Students will be expected to turn in assigned work, attend class/Zoom meetings, and participate.
- We recognize the importance of helping our students foster friendships and grow in virtue. Each class will be given the opportunity to socialize with classmates online on a weekly scheduled basis, under the supervision of a teacher or staff member.
■ Example description of a math class:
- Students log onto Zoom at a set time for instruction on strategies and steps
- Teacher models the strategy on white board and checks for understanding and addresses questions in a dynamic manner
- Students complete a practice problem. When completed, they place their written work in front of their cameras for the teacher to view and provide feedback. Students work on practice problems and the teacher remains on camera for the entire 40-minute class period to answer questions and provide additional guidance. Students write out their problems on paper, but type their answers in a Google Document and submit it to the teacher via Google Classroom to be graded. All students return to the classroom to review their work and clarify any confusion. Teacher asks students an essential question of the day.
■ Example description of a reading class:
- Students log onto Zoom at a set time for instruction on strategies for making inferences
- Teacher models the strategy on white board with a graphic organizer and checks for understanding and addresses questions
- Students finish reading the rest of the passage in their book/textbook and complete the graphic organizer, uploaded into Google Classroom. The teacher checks their progress as students work and provides feedback and further guidance (using the comment section).
- In this situation teachers will be mindful of the amount of time students spend in front of the computer each day and make adjustments to the type of work assigned, if any, after school hours, especially for our lower-grade students. Although not required, we highly recommend students to have access to a document camera or a phone holder (to direct a camera facing down over their desks/work). Also, headphones are highly recommended for each student.
Due to the nature of the situation, our guidelines and plans may change during the year.