Special Edition: Saber Strong 2021-2022 Protocols
As we prepare to return to school for the 2021-2022 school year, we are, unfortunately, still dealing with the COVID-19 situation that has changed all of our lives for over a year and a half now. While we continue planning for the academic and spiritual formation of your children during this school year, we are also planning for the safety of everyone inside our building on a daily basis. We know you have all been experiencing COVID-19 fatigue - we have too! However, we would like to update you on what we know regarding how COVID-19 will impact our school year at this point. No matter what, we still plan on having a positive and successful year!
At this time, based on the guidance we have received, our mask policy will be as follows:
Masks will be required in the following situations:
- When riding buses to and from school or for field trips;
- Entering and exiting the school building;
- In hallways and during transitions between classes; and
- In settings, situations and spaces when a distance of 3 feet or more cannot be maintained.
Masks will be optional, however, strongly encouraged especially for unvaccinated students in the following situations:
- When seated at least 3 feet from another student
- While eating or drinking
- While at recess
- While in Physical Education class
Please make sure your child has enough masks to wear a clean mask each day. During warm, humid weather, you may want to send several masks in case your child needs to change during the day. A spare mask should be kept in the student’s backpack at all times. Please make sure your child’s name is on each mask either with a Sharpie or with labeling tape that won’t wash or wear off. The medical professionals on our St. Hilary School Task Force have advised us that cloth masks are 40% effective, surgical masks (disposable) are 60% effective, and N95 masks are 95% effective. Please consider this information when choosing a mask for your child. Parents are responsible for helping their child(ren) understand their family's position on wearing a mask and for upholding expectations at home. School staff cannot be responsible for knowing and enforcing each family's choice during the school day.
As a Catholic, Christian community, we need to remain united as one in the face of issues that threaten divisiveness. There are more gray areas this school year than last in relation to COVID-19, and with mask wearing being optional, we respect the right of each family to make the choice that is best for them. Our expectation is that you and your children will also respect these choices. We have children in our school who are vulnerable to illness, who have a vulnerable family member, or whose family has suffered a loss due to COVID-19. These families feel as strongly about wearing a mask as others feel about not wearing one. Respect for each individual choice will be shown in our school at all times.
The school will provide a face shield for each student in grades K-2 and by individual request for other grade levels. Lanyards will also be available for students to assist in keeping their masks clean and safe.
Layers of Protection
We will implement social distancing of 3 - 6 feet wherever possible in our school building. In situations where 3 foot distance cannot be maintained, masks will be required.
- Cafeteria - we will be able to distance students safely to eat as a grade level in the cafeteria.
- School Mass - students will attend school Mass on a rotation with other select grade levels (not the whole school) and only parents of the participating class may attend Mass in person. Please watch for more information about how you can view Mass via livestream.
- Recess - at this time, students will be able to play with all students within their grade level while at recess
SANITIZING HIGHLY FREQUENTED / HIGH TOUCH AREAS OFTEN
Our cleaning and sanitizing procedures will continue to be thorough and we will disinfect surfaces frequently, paying close attention to high touch areas.
We will insist on hand-washing breaks for students and we will have hand sanitizer and soap abundantly available for all, in classrooms and in high traffic areas.
Every household must have a thermometer to check students’ temperatures before leaving home in the morning. Any student with a temperature above 100◦F must not come to school and will be sent home if this temperature level occurs at school. Students will be checked upon arrival and during the school day. Assessment of temperature and symptoms at home is extremely important to avoid last minute changes of plans for parents if students are found to have a fever or symptoms upon arrival at school.
It has become increasingly common to hear stories of individuals with symptoms they thought were "just a little cold" or "just something they ate" that turned out to be COVID-19. Therefore, we are asking you to be even more vigilant about awareness of symptoms in your home and assume that, unless attributable to a diagnosed pre-existing condition, even slight symptoms could be COVID-19. It is very important that we exclude sickness from our school if we are to continue to provide an in-person learning option. As Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda has said, it is important to begin isolation at the first sign of the slightest symptom in order to truly curb spread.
Attendance Policy & Clinic
In prior years, our sick policy stated students could return to school after 24 hours without a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea. As you know, there are strict protocols for returning to school for COVID-19 positive cases, presumed COVID-19 positive cases, and exposure to COVID-19, and we will be working with Summit County Public Health on a case by case basis if/when these situations occur. In general, students may not return to school until they are symptom free for a full 48 hours (2 days) without fever reducing medication OR they have a negative COVID-19 test (must provide test results) OR they have a note from the attending physician stating that symptoms are not the result of COVID-19. The 48 hours symptom-free policy is a reduction from last year's 72 hour symptom-free policy and supersedes the COVID-19 Appendix in the School Handbook.
An area we would like to clear up is when students have other diagnoses (i.e. norovirus, strep throat, etc.) to explain their symptoms, or when a health care provider has determined the symptoms are related to a pre-existing condition. In these cases, students can return to school 48 hours after symptoms have ended (including being fever-free without fever reducing medicine), and we will need written notification/clarification from your child's pediatrician explaining the diagnosis and/or pre-existing condition. If your child has a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, migraines, or another condition that manifests in symptoms that could be mistaken for COVID-19 symptoms, we strongly suggest that you obtain a note from your child’s pediatrician now and send it to our clinic so that we have it on file. It may be difficult for you to obtain this documentation later in the year with the speed that you would like to obtain it. The 48 hours symptom-free policy is a reduction from last year's 72 hour symptom-free policy and supersedes the COVID-19 Appendix in the School Handbook.
To summarize, out of an abundance of caution, our policy will be that students exhibiting any symptoms known to be associated with COVID-19 must not return to school until 48 hours after the symptoms have ended. We understand these extra precautions may seem extreme, but we are asking everyone to respect these policies so students and staff can remain illness-free.
Last year, Governor DeWine issued a state mandate that reporting protocols are to be in place for schools. All positive COVID-19 test results that impact our school community (i.e. students, staff, family members, and other close contacts) must be reported to our St. Hilary School school clinic or administration. Their contacts are listed below:
Julie Bauman, School Nurse - firstname.lastname@example.org
Abby Laughlin, School Nurse - email@example.com
Jennifer Woodman, Principal - firstname.lastname@example.org
Darcy Alexander, Assistant Principal - email@example.com
Please notify school administration ASAP if you or your child(ren) are COVID-19 positive or have been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual. You should also notify your health department of residence of your positive results or call them for clarification if needed.
We will continue to update our COVID-19 Dashboard on our school website and will report to parents as needed on a case by case basis in accordance with Summit County Public Health. Thank you for your help with this very important matter.
* COVID-19 IN YOUR HOME: If your child or a member of your household has tested positive for COVID-19, has been tested and is awaiting results, has been exposed to a COVID-19 positive individual (in your home or elsewhere), or has even slight COVID-19 symptoms, you must contact Mrs. Woodman at firstname.lastname@example.org immediately to discuss arrangements for your child. If any person in your household is getting tested for COVID-19, our policy is that you do not send your child(ren) to school.
We will, of course, continue to be extremely vigilant at school and ask that you do the same at home. With health officials warning of the dangers of the COVID-19 Delta variant, we are at a critical time to keep our students and staff safe and healthy. Please continue to make good decisions to ensure that we can continue offering in-person learning. Our decisions now will impact our success later. It could take only one trip, one gathering, one sleepover, or one play date to force us to have to make some tough decisions. Your support of our efforts during this time is more important than ever.
Quarantine & Isolation
This summer, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and Summit County Public Health (SCPH) issued quarantine guidelines for K-12 schools.
The CDC, ODH, SCPH, Diocese of Cleveland, and the St. Hilary School Task Force, strongly recommend individuals who are not vaccinated wear masks. In the school setting, we have been asked to assist once again with contact tracing. In this process, there are differences in protocols for vaccinated / unvaccinated / masked / unmasked students. Please see the charts below to further understand the guidelines and protocols St. Hilary School will be following. These charts can be used to help guide your decision-making.
Quarantine - Individuals deemed a "close contact" of a COVID-19 positive individual should stay home. Although not required, if an individual in your household is required to quarantine, mask wearing and social distance within your home can help prevent spread.
Isolation - COVID-19 positive individuals required to self-isolate should have their own separate bedroom and bathroom (if possible). If separate spaces cannot be designated, it is recommended that sanitizing is done continuously. It has been recommended that individuals self-isolate at the onset of the slightest potential COVID-19 symptoms to prevent spread.
An individual who tests positive should immediately begin to isolate for 10 days from his/her positive test result and be 24 hours symptom-free before returning to school. Isolation includes having a separate bedroom, bathroom, floor of a house, if possible, and staying completely a part from those in your household. Family members are encouraged to mask in the house when social distancing is not possible.
An individual with COVID-19 symptoms should stay at home and not go to gatherings or school / work to limit potential spread. Students with COVID-19 symptoms are asked to stay home and not return to school until they are 48 hours symptom-free. If symptoms persist the student should be tested.
Please see the ODH Guidelines for Quarantine After Exposure in K-12 Classroom Settings. Also, please click on the buttons to see other guidelines from ODH and SCPH.
What to Bring & Wear
Each student, including Kindergarten students, should bring his/her own individual snack to school each day. Birthday treats, holiday treats, and other treats for this school year must be factory sealed or come from a commercial bakery - homemade treats will not be permitted. This is to eliminate items being brought from homes where we cannot control potential exposure to COVID-19.
Each student MUST bring a water bottle to school each day. Water fountains are turned off due to COVID-19. Bottle filler fountains are available for students to refill water bottles, but we suggest sending enough water to get through the day. Parents, please be sure your child has a water bottle before coming to school in the morning. With the warm weather, we want to make sure students have water throughout the day.
Students having gym class on a particular day will come to school in gym clothes and remain in gym clothes for the school day. Black “gym pants” may be worn during colder weather and will soon be available to order through our school uniform supplier. This will eliminate the need for students to gather in locker rooms to change clothes.
A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT SHOES FOR KINDERGARTENERS AND FIRST GRADERS: If your child does not yet know how to tie his or her own shoes, he or she MUST wear Velcro strap shoes to school. Due to COVID-19, school staff will be limited to assist with tying shoes.
First grade parents, please send children to school with gym shoes on. These will be worn the entire day.
Parent Visitors, Dropping off Items & Picking Up Students Early
Parents and other visitors will have very limited access to the school building and every effort will be made to conduct business in a contact-free / virtual manner when possible. In the extenuating circumstance that a parent would need to enter the building the individual will be screened for temperature and COVID-19 symptoms. All visitors will be required to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status.
To drop off items, please come to the main entrance adjacent to the parking lot, ring the bell, let the secretaries know what you are dropping off and for whom, and leave the item in the drop-off bin. A staff member will retrieve the item and deliver it to the student. PLEASE MAKE SURE THE STUDENT'S NAME AND TEACHER / ROOM NUMBER ARE CLEARLY MARKED ON THE ITEM.
To pick up a student who is ill or needs to leave for an appointment, please pull up on the Moorfield Road side of the building. Call the school office at 330-867-8720 to let the secretaries know you are here. They will sign your child out based on your phone authorization. If it is unsafe for your child to walk to the car without assistance, we ask that you park momentarily, walk up and wait outside the Moorfield Road door to meet your child. Otherwise, your child will be released to your car under staff supervision.
Arrival & Dismissal
CAR RIDER ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL
In the mornings, students report directly to classrooms beginning at 8:00 a.m. after being temperature as they arrive. We appreciate your cooperation in not dropping students off prior to 8:00 a.m. in order to avoid students congregating.
Beginning Monday, August 30, our kindergarteners will be dropped off in the car lines at the same time as all other students. Your patience and kindness are appreciated as our little ones and their parents adjust to this new routine. Let's reserve horn honking for avoiding accidents, not impatience.
In the afternoons, please remember that picking up students at the Jesus statue is not an option. Please do not ask students to meet you there, and please make sure your child knows whether you will pick up in the car line or the "red box" in the back parking lot. The "red box" painted on the back parking lot is a safe zone for parents and students to reunite. All kindergarteners and siblings or others riding home with them are picked up in the "red box" area, and it is also available for anyone else wishing to pick students up there. Please be extremely careful when driving in this area and remember that this is not a parking area at dismissal time.
Also, any students who will go home with another family should be dismissed with the alphabetical group for the last name of the family they are riding home with, not their own. As a reminder, our dismissal times are as follows. To be fair, we flipped the alphabet from last year.
2:50 pm - Kindergarteners and their siblings
2:55 pm - Last Names S-Z
3:00 pm - Last Names N-R
3:05 pm - Last Names G-M
3:10 pm - Last Names A-F
Thank you for your patience as we use this staggered dismissal system.
St. Hilary School will not be providing its own distance learning option this school year. Families needing a distance learning option may contact Mrs. Woodman at email@example.com if interested in the EdOptions Academy.
St. Hilary School will provide distance learning ONLY for students who are in quarantine or isolation for more than 5 school days due to COVID-19 circumstances. Proof of a positive COVID-19 test result for the student or close contact will be required. Regular make up work will be provided for students who will miss fewer than 5 school days for any reason.
Also, please keep in mind that distance learning will be provided if / when we must quarantine and /or isolate a classroom, grade level, or school building at any time. This includes preventative time following breaks if needed. Decisions about distance learning after breaks have not been made yet.
Protecting Our Staff
We would like to thank our St. Hilary Task Force for all of their work to keep our students in person in school.
We will be consulting with the medical professionals and members of our St. Hilary Task Force on a weekly basis to help guide us in decision-making.
We ask for your patience as we know will be needing to pivot and change our protocols if conditions warrant.
Prayers and positivity will be greatly needed once again this school year.
We appreciate your ongoing support of our school, are grateful for the trust you have placed in us, and look forward to making this another successful, safe and healthy school year for our entire school community!