The Partnership Schools of St. Francis Xavier and Sacred Heart
Reopening Plan for the 2020 – 2021 School Year
July 31, 2020
Dear Parents and Families,
The reopening of school will present unique challenges. We are in a very good position, as a school, to meet the state guidelines in a manner that maintains our mission and minimizes disruption to student learning. This will not be easy, but it is a challenge we can meet.
The health and safety of our schools depends on all of us doing our part to adhere to directives, protocols and guidance which have been set forth by health officials.
This includes making sacrifices and difficult decisions to quarantine anytime that we or our children present or feel any symptoms or if there is even the slightest possibility that we have been exposed to COVID 19. Symptoms vary and typically demonstrate 2-14 days after exposure.
We know these past few months have been difficult as many continue to adapt to working from home while caring for children at home while using some means of distance learning.
The best opportunity we have for our school year to move forward successfully is for us to create and maintain a safe environment, to follow protocols and directives and to be willing to make sacrifices even if that means to quarantine for short periods of time if we are at risk of spreading the virus or becoming infected.
This document focuses on our operational and instructional planning.
We are looking forward to welcoming our faculty on September 1 and our students on September 8. We continued to wish good health to all and hope you enjoy the remaining summer days.
Robert Murphy, Headmaster
Shannon Mazza, Assistant Principal
Our plan is to reopen the Partnership Schools of St. Francis Xavier and Sacred Heart in September with in-person learning for as many students as possible based on current data. We understand students need to return to a structured and familiar environment. It is also our understanding that, in addition to academics, we need to focus on the mental health and social-emotional wellbeing of all members of our school community. We are committed to working with our students and families to support the reopening of our school.
To bring our students back to school in the most effective way, September 8 – 11 will be an orientation period. During this time, teachers will address school protocols and routines and assess their students academically after a long absence from direct teacher instruction.
Our school nurses will use this time to address health protocols and concerns regarding COVID-19.
The best way for us to do this is to have only half of our students attend school each day that week. This will be only for orientation week.
We will divide our student groups in half alphabetically. Half of the students will report on Tuesday and Thursday, September 8 and 10 and half will report on Wednesday and Friday, September 9 – 11. Monday, September 14 will be a full day of school for all students.
The grouping of students and notification of which students report on which days will be sent to families as quickly as possible.
Our top priority is the health and safety of our school community. As a result, we must limit events and visitors to our school buildings as much as we can. As health guidelines are updated, we will revisit and revise our safety measures.
We ask that families partner with us to have conversations with your children about the importance of social distancing, hygiene and wearing of masks. Our goal is to keep everyone healthy.
Defining Options for Instruction
Components of district/school fall reopening plans
From Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE)
Each district and school will need to plan for three possibilities on the continuum of reopening: 1) in-person learning with new safety requirements; 2) a hybrid of in-person and remote learning; and 3) remote learning. In addition, all districts/schools will also need a focused plan for serving special student populations across each of these models.
- In-person learning with new safety requirements: For the fall, the box in light blue represents our goal to get as many students as possible back into schools for in-person learning—safely. In this model, all students return in person to school settings that are appropriately modified to accommodate the health and safety requirements outlined above. Examples of modifications could include altered classroom configurations, setting up additional learning spaces, and schedule changes.
At the St. Francis Xavier – Sacred Heart Partnership Schools in-person means as many students and faculty as are able, are at school. Instruction occurs in the traditional form. For students who are not able to attend in person classes due to health concerns, family concerns or during a period of quarantine, Google Classroom will be available, and students will be able to interact in the class.
2. Hybrid learning: In addition, all districts/schools must create a plan for a hybrid model in the event they are unable to bring all students back to school under the health and safety requirements despite their best efforts, or in case of COVID-19 related circumstances. A hybrid model means that students would alternate between in-person and remote learning. For instance, students could switch between in-person and remote learning on alternating weeks or days of the week.
Hybrid means instruction is both in person and online. This mixed method allows for a smaller number of students in the buildings. Schedules will vary to allow for students to attend on different days following guidelines for social distancing.
3. Remote learning: All districts and schools are required to have a plan for operating a remote learning program. This model must be available for individual students who cannot yet return in-person, and for all students in the event of future classroom or school closures due to COVID-19. Additional guidance on statewide support and resources for remote learning will be provided in the coming weeks.
Remote learning means all classes are held virtually through Google Classroom. A specific schedule will be followed to adhere to best practices for virtual learning that will include synchronous (live) classes and asynchronous work (either recorded or independent assignments).
At any time during the school year, due to recommendations by the state or the health of our faculty and staff, St. Francis Xavier – Sacred Heart Partnership School may move among these three models.
Renovations have been made to classrooms at both campuses to create more space and allow for the recommended social distancing requirements. In grades 1 – 8 classrooms, seating will face the same direction.
When allowed, students will use the cafeteria, maintaining all social distance guidelines.
For physical education activities:
- If outdoors, without masks, these activities can occur with 10 feet of distance between individuals.
- If outdoors, with masks required, these activities can occur with 6 feet of distance between individuals.
- If indoors, with masks required, these activities can occur with 6 feet of distance between individuals.
- Note: These activities cannot occur indoors without a mask.
Student bathrooms will be monitored to allow for social distancing. Bathroom visits will be scheduled for designated times where appropriate.
Main office space has been re-designed to maintain social distancing.
The Wellness Centers at both campuses will designate an isolation room for any students who are sick and need to be dismissed from school. A separate door will be used to access this space. The school nurse will monitor the isolation room.
School COVID-19 Policy
Protocol: Student or staff tests positive for COVID-19
- The student or staff member must remain at home (except to get medical care), monitor their symptoms, notify the school, notify personal close contacts, assist the school in contact tracing efforts, and answer the call from local board of health or Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. For most people who have relatively mild illness, they will need to stay in self-isolation for at least 10 days and until at least 3 days have passed with no fever and improvement in other symptoms.
- The student’s parent/caregiver or the staff member informs the proper school nurse that the individual has tested positive for COVID-19. The school nurse in turn notifies the school principal.
- The school will determine whether the student or staff member was on the premises during the time frame that started two days prior to symptom onset (or testing positive if not symptomatic) until the time of isolation.
- If so, the school will promptly close off areas visited by the COVID-19 positive individual until such areas can be cleaned and disinfected, if they have not been cleaned and disinfected already.
- Cleaning and disinfection of the student’s or staff member’s classroom and any other facilities (e.g., extracurricular facilities) visited by the individual, if that has not been done already.
- Communication will be sent to possible close contacts.
- The school principal will send communication to the other families in the student’s class (e.g., cohort) that there has been a positive test without naming the individual student or staff member who tested positive.
- Communications sent to families/staff should:
i. Inform them there was a positive test (not the specific individual) in the self-contained classroom.
- Explain that since they were within this cohort and may have been within 6 feet of the person with a positive test, they are considered a “close contact” and therefore should be tested. (In cases where the student may have been in close contact with others outside their cohort, having assigned seating and keeping up-to-date seating charts will help identify who should be instructed to be tested: specifically, those who were sitting next to the student, plus any others who also had close contact with the student.)
iii. Instruct those designated as close contacts to isolate prior to their test and while waiting for the results. In general, as the highest yield test will be a few days after the exposure, ideally, the test should occur no sooner than day 4 or 5 after the last exposure. (In other words, if an exposure lasted several days, the best time to test is 4 or 5 days after the end of the exposure period.)
- Explain that if close contacts choose not to be tested, the student or staff member should remain home in self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Remind families and/or staff of the importance of not having contact with higher-risk individuals (e.g., grandparents and those with underlying medical conditions).
- Remind families and/or staff of the list of COVID-19 symptoms for which to monitor.
- If the school finds out about the original COVID-19 positive test in the middle of a school day when the rest of the cohort is in class:
- Make sure these students are wearing masks, including in kindergarten and first grade. Extra masks as may be provided by the school. Strict physical distancing will be enforced and students will be required to wash their hands.
- The school should quickly identify the individuals who may be “close contacts” of the student and notify students and their families.
iii. Caregivers of students in the class or other close contacts may pick students up prior to the end of the day. Caregivers must wear a mask/face covering when picking up their student. Students who are close contacts and students with any symptoms should not ride the school bus to get home. Caregivers and students, as well as staff, should wash their hands upon arriving at home and change their clothes as a precaution.
- Close contacts should not come back to school until they have received the results of testing (or elected to instead quarantine for 14 days) and are asked to communicate their test results to the school.
- As feasible, to assist with contact tracing, the school will compile a list including phone number and email of any other close contacts the student or staff member had, beginning two days before the onset of symptoms (or positive test if asymptomatic) until the individual was isolated. Those students and/or staff members will be instructed to get tested according to the same protocol as the student’s cohort above.
Concerns about Returning to School
Our goal is to reopen this fall. We understand there may be students who themselves or their families, may have health related issues that put them at greater risk. The Partnership School of St. Francis Xavier and Sacred Heart will work with students and families to make necessary accommodations. Please notify the School Nurse immediately with any concerns about returning to school so that plans may be made.
Students in grade 2 and above will be required to bring to school and wear all day their own mask/face covering (We recommend each child bring 2masks.)for the entirety of their time on campus (including but not limited to before school, after school and any school sanctioned clubs or activities). If a student does not have a mask/face covering, disposable masks will be available in the Wellness Center.
All faculty will be required to bring to school, and wear all day, a mask/face covering. If a faculty/staff member does not have a mask/face covering, disposable masks will be available in the Wellness Center. Every member of the faculty and staff will also receive a face shield.
Masks/face coverings are required to be worn by everyone on the bus during school bus transportation. Any students taking the bus must wear their masks for the duration of their travel to and from the school.
Exceptions to Mask Policy
Exceptions to mask/face covering requirements must be made for those for whom it is not possible due to medical conditions, disability impact, or other health or safety factors.
Any student, faculty or staff member with medical conditions, disability, or other health or safety factors should contact the School Nurse prior to their first day of the school.
Mask breaks should occur throughout the day. Breaks should occur when students can be six feet apart and ideally outside or at least with the windows open.
Utilizing our existing schedule with Break and Lunch times set for all students, the administration and faculty will continue to explore and be flexible with class transitions and mask breaks.
All classrooms have been measured and configured to socially distance students.
To minimize the number of students who would potentially be exposed in the event of a COVID-19 event, to the extent feasible, elementary school students will remain in the same group throughout the day and the mixing of middle school student groups will be kept to a minimum.
We ask that you not send your son or daughter to school if he or she is sick; especially with any symptoms noted below.
Please assess your child each morning as to how he or she is feeling and consider checking his or her temperature if you have any concerns.
- Fever above 100 degrees 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
Any student who develops a fever while in school will be dismissed from school for further medical evaluation. Parents/guardians will be immediately contacted by the school nurse and we ask that you promptly arrange for their dismissal from school.
Any student dismissed from school with a fever is required to provide the school nurse with a medical note for their safe return to school.
- Students will stay home if they have tested positive for Covid-19.
- Students will stay home for a 14 – day period of time if they have had any close contact with a person with Covid-19. Close contact is defined as being with this person for 15 minutes or more and being closer than a distance of 6 feet from them.
- Any student who has been diagnosed with Covid-19 or has had an exposure to Covid-19 is required to provide the school nurse with a medical note for their safe return to school.
Hand hygiene: Handwashing and Hand Sanitizing
Keeping hands clean is one of the simplest and effective ways to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. We will do everything possible to promote and enable correct and consistent hand hygiene among students and faculty. Frequent opportunities will be provided for handwashing and hand-sanitizer will available at student entrances/exits and in classrooms.
What In-Person Learning Will Look Like
Following health and safety guidelines, masks must be worn at all times except for eating. Social distancing must be maintained whenever possible. For this reason, there will be some changes to our daily schedule when students are in the building.
Lockers – We will not be using lockers for the foreseeable future. As a result, each student will have a space assigned in his/her classroom/homeroom.
These spaces will have individual desks spaced four feet apart and facing the same direction. Students will remain in their space for their school day. Any materials that are not needed in their backpacks, can be placed on their desks (lunch for example). Jackets may be placed on the back of the chair.
This is obviously a smaller personal space than a locker. For this reason, we suggest personal belongings remain at home. Any additional books not needed in class should also remain at home. Students will travel to classes with their backpacks. Backpacks will be allowed in each classroom space. Students are expected to keep their personal space tidy.
When students arrive in the morning, they are expected to enter the school building with their masks on, covering both nose and mouth. A portable hand sanitizer dispenser will be located at the entry doors for students to use before moving to their classroom. Students should not arrive at St. Francis Xavier School before 8:15 A.M. and at Sacred Heart School before 8:30 P.M. Students should not move their desks so that they remain socially distant.
All students will have a morning break in their classrooms. Students may choose to have a snack at this time. Students may also use the bathrooms during the break period.
Lunch will be in the classroom for all students. Students have the option of bringing a lunch from home or ordering online through Boonli.com.
Before After Care
Before and After Care will be provided through Champion at the Sacred Heart campus. Before and After Care at the St. Francis Xavier campus will be determined based on need.