St. Mary's Newsletter

St. Mary's Preschool and Elementary School

A Special Thank You

I want to send a special thank you to the St. Mary's school community. The care and attention you are not only giving to monitoring your own health, but also the health of your family is helping to keep our school community healthy. As of this morning, we have 2 students and 0 faculty and staff member who have Covid at St. Mary's. In our school community of just over two hundred members, this is roughly 1% (.0099 to be precise). We decided to cancel school for our originally scheduled half-day to allow time away from campus and to ensure our school is deep cleaned by the time students and staff return on Tuesday. The trusting and loving partnership our school has with our parents and grandparents makes all the difference, thank you!

As a reminder, if you or anyone in your family is under the weather, please keep your child home from school. If you or anyone in your household has been exposed to or tested positive for Covid, you should be following the new JACS Covid Guidance that was emailed to all parents on Tuesday, January 11 by Sister Julie. Your commitment to following the guidelines and notifying the school if someone in your household has tested positive helps to keep not only your family healthier, but our entire school community healthier as well.

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No School on Monday, January 17

Don't forget that St. Mary's does not have school on Monday, January 17 in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Our students have been busy learning about this great American and his peaceful dream for equality in our country. His dream and work emphasizing great love, patience, and non-violence is as relevant today as when he spoke his words in the 1960's. St. Mary’s faculty and staff will be excited to welcome our students back to campus on Tuesday, January 18.
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Updated St. Mary's Protocols

As explained in the email sent to all JACS parents on Thursday, January 13 by Sister Julie, all JACS schools are requiring a return to masking through Friday, January 28. Please ensure that you read and follow the information contained in Sister Julie's email carefully. Updated protocols for St. Mary's:

  • Students in Miss Teresa's Early Learners do not have to mask unless a parent requests for his or her child to wear a mask during the school day.
  • Students in Advanced Learners - 5th Grade and all faculty and staff will return to masking if and when 3 feet of distance cannot be maintained during the school day. My recommendation is that all students, faculty, and staff remain masked continuously throughout the school day, but students and staff are required to mask at the minimum when the distance between others is less than 3 feet.
  • On Tuesday, January 18 we will return to the car line system for dismissal. This means that all students, whether they are half-day preschool students dismissed at 11:00 a.m. or full-day preschool and all elementary students, will be dismissed by car line. We will return to the car line procedures used for the last 3 semesters at least through Friday, January 28.

I cannot stress enough how important it is for parents to contact the school office if you or someone in your family has tested positive for Covid or been in close contact with someone who has. Unfortunately we have had several families keep students home in quarantine for the above reasons without contacting the school, which is disappointing. Please remember that before any student who has been quarantined or has tested positive for Covid returns to school, the school office must receive a negative Covid test result to keep on file.

Updated JACS Covid Guidance

On Tuesday, January 11 Sister Julie sent all JACS families a letter and updated graphic explaining our school systems' updated Covid guidance. This guidance reflects the most recent updates from the CDC, with a few tweaks to reflect JACS community needs. Please make sure that you read the information carefully and review the graphic, your family's and our school community's health is depending on each family following the guidelines honestly and correctly.

If you or anyone in your family is exposed to or tests positive to Covid, please contact the school office immediately. It is important that the office is contacted so we can remain aware of quarantines and any positive cases, our school community depends on this honest information. Depending on your child's vaccination status, we will help guide you with what JACS expectations are and what the timetable looks like for your child to return to school. If your child is not fully vaccinated, any child exposed to Covid must quarantine for a minimum of 5-days, receive a negative medical Covid test on day 5, and fully mask for an additional 5 days. We require that parents bring proof of the negative Covid test to school so we may have it for our records. Please remember that JACS only accepts medical tests, at-home tests are not accepted forms of Covid testing.

It goes without saying that if you or anyone in your family is not feeling well, do not send your child to school. If you or anyone in your family is experiencing symptoms of Covid, your child should not attend school until AFTER negative tests results are confirmed.

As we receive information from parents, I will contact parents of any affected class to notify them of the positive case. When this happens, we require all students in the class and any staff who come into contact with the class to stay masked for the 10-day quarantine period regardless of the Parental Request for Masking form. In addition to

masking in any affected classroom, we ask parents to monitor their child’s health carefully to ensure he or she does not show any signs or symptoms of Covid. If in doubt, please contact the school to notify us of your child’s symptoms and consult a health care provider for possible testing.

Please know that we are staying updated with local and state Covid cases, as well as what is happening in other school districts. Please know that if the number of cases in our area continues to grow and has a greater impact upon our school community, we will review our Covid procedures and adjust our protocols if deemed prudent.

St. Mary's Welcomes Mrs. Junkins!

We are excited to welcome Mrs. Sally Junkins to St. Mary's as our new Title teacher! Mrs. Junkins has been a teacher for 33 years, teaching both 4th Grade and Literacy and Math. She has always enjoyed being with children and teaching, which she did at Emerson and Cecil Floyd elementary schools in Joplin. Mrs. Junkins is married and has four grandchildren, two of whom are students in St. Mary's Preschool program. We are excited to have Mrs. Junkins join our staff and the experience, talent, and joy she brings to our students and school.
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Auditions for Newsies, Jr.

Attention! Attention! Mrs. Kristen Stremel is holding auditions for "Newsies, Jr." on Wednesday, January 19 from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. at St. Peter's Middle School. The auditions will take place in Mrs. Stremel's second floor classroom located at 931 South Byers Avenue. This musical is open to any JACS student in 2nd - 12th grades. Performances of the musical are scheduled for Friday, April 1 - Sunday, April 3.

If Wednesday, January 19 does not work out well for your family's schedule, Mrs. Stremel has said students may audition any day next week (January 18-21). If you have any questions about the musical and/or need to schedule an alternate audition date, you may reach out to Mrs. Stremel at (417) 627-2351. We are all looking forward to another wonderful theatre production from Mrs. Stremel!

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St. Mary's Spelling Bees

After some delay, the Joplin Globe Spelling Bee is planned and schools have received details about the event. All 4th and 5th graders received the complete 2022 list of the official Joplin Globe Spelling Bee words on Monday, January 10. Classroom spelling bees will be held on Wednesdays in January and February starting on January 19 and proceeding until February 2. Winners from the three classroom bees will compete in the St. Mary’s Spelling Bee on Friday, February 4 starting at 10:00 a.m. The winner of the St. Mary’s Spelling Bee will represent our school on Friday, March 17th at the Joplin Globe Spelling Bee.

The three classroom spelling bees will be conducted separately in the 4th and 5th grade classrooms and the format will follow the same guidelines as the final spelling bee. Parents may not attend the classroom spelling bees, but parents of the spelling bee finalists are invited to attend the final spelling bee on February 4th. There will be three winners from Mrs. Lone’s and Mrs. Staton’s classrooms, so there will be a total of 6 students in the final spelling bee.

I hope this information helps explain the procedures for the spelling bee this year. If you would like an additional list of the 2022 Joplin Globe Spelling Bee words, the following link will provide each of the 6 lists used in the 4th and 5th grade spelling bee:

Revised January Lunch Menu

Please be aware that St. Mary's January lunch menu has been revised for the upcoming week. The bold print on the menu represents the revised menu items. Thank you to Miss Amanda and Miss Sheri for making and serving such great meals to our students and staff each day!
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Knights of Columbus Free Throw Championship

It's time to polish up your free throwing skills! The Knights of Columbus are holding their annual Free Throw Championship to help kick off Catholic Schools Week on Saturday, January 29. This contest is open to boys and girls aged 9 to 14. This is a great event and your child won't want to miss the fun! If you have any questions, please contact Scott Lone or Greg Emory at the numbers found below.
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Important Dates to Remember

Monday, January 17: No School, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Wednesdays January 19, 26, February 2: 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Spelling Bees

Thursday, January 20: Free Dress Day

Tuesday, January 25: 3rd Grade Field Trip to Spiva Art Center

Saturday, January 29: K of C Free Throw Championship, 9:15 a.m. at McAuley

January 30 - February 5: Catholic Schools Week

Tuesday, February 1: Catholic Schools Week Mass with Bishop Rice, 1:00 p.m.

Friday, February 4: St. Mary's Spelling Bee, 10:00 a.m.

Wednesday, February 9: Charity Dress Day

Monday, February 14: Valentine's Day Parties

Tuesday, February 15: Dr. Wilson's Dental Office visits Preschool classes and Kindergarten

Thursday, February 17: Free Dress Day

Friday, February 18: Noon Dismissal, Faculty PD Day

Monday, February 21: No School, Presidents' Day

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