As we approach the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, we cannot express how excited our faculty and staff are to engage in in-person learning beginning on August 19. We are so proud of our community for working hard to create an environment that enables our students to safely continue their education in our excellent school during this pandemic situation.
Our investment in technology in recent years enables us to begin the year training our students on the newly acquired platforms Microsoft Teams (5th to 8th grades) and SeeSaw (grades preschool 4s to 4th). We are planning training sessions via webinar for parents, as well. If children are absent, their work will be found on these sites, and students will be able to independently locate these assignments.
Please remember from my last letter that face shields were ordered for all students and staff. They have arrived, and are very pleased with them! They will allow facial expressions to be readily seen by the students and staff, which is so important for communication while continuing to protect individuals and also allowing for comfort. Look for additional information regarding face shields and masks in the body of this page.
We know that many of you have questions, and believe the FAQ format below addresses common inquiries.
- A positive case must be reported to Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County, and they will assess the situation and advise on the best course of action on a case by case basis. We will share this information with the affected families.
- If a positive case of COVID is identified in the school, we will notify you while protecting the person’s identity and following the Archdiocesan policy for notification.
- If there is a positive case, the entire school will be cleaned using the electrostatic machine that our cleaning company has purchased. The school will be cleaned with this machine on a regular basis, regardless.
- If a child is positive or has been exposed to COVID, we ask that school families alert Mrs. Ann Woeste, school nurse.
- All other absences should be reported to the school office per normal procedure.
- Please familiarize yourself with COVID symptoms and if you are concerned, please keep your child home for the day to better assess his/her health.
- We are requiring that parents monitor student temperatures at home prior to sending them to school. If your child is running a temperature of 100.0 or higher, please keep him/her home to protect his/her peers and teachers.
- Remember that as we move into the fall season, allergies may arise causing children to sneeze and cough. It is also typical for the common cold, stomach bugs, and even Strep throat to circulate in a school setting. Please reference the Parent/Student Handbook (p. 27-28) for health considerations.
- Please remember to contact the office to report absences.
- Teachers will be posting daily to Teams and SeeSaw, so work will be readily available.
- If a child is not at school for any reason, it is considered an absence for school record purposes. Consideration is always given for students who are ill and are absent for any length of time.
- Please reference the Parent/Student Handbook (p. 12) for current policies.
- Only in-person learning will be offered at the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year. While we are blessed in many ways, our resources are not sufficient to offer choices for learning modalities.
- From recent parent emails and the survey in May, parents overwhelmingly want their children in school, as well.
- While the goal for the year is to remain open, we saw in March that sometimes we do not have ultimate control as the state mandate forced the move to distance learning. If the state or county mandates another school closure, we will be well prepared for this possibility.
- Students will be comfortable with the new applications, Teams and SeeSaw, and will bring their devices home. This will create a better structure for the students, as they will not have to share devices with their siblings or parents. The teachers will set class times and create a more stable and structured learning environment for all of the students.
- At this time, the school calendar will begin and end per the published 2020-2021 school calendar.
- Incarnation School is committed to providing quality instruction to all students from pre-school through 8th grade, especially under challenging circumstances. Teachers will continue to work and teach from their own homes, if the school is forced to close.
- Tuition will continue to pay for the faculty’s delivery of instruction and associated costs, and will not be refunded. This policy was determined and recently reviewed by the Incarnation Parish Finance Committee and the pastor.
- Expenses actually increased due to the COVID pandemic situation through purchasing PPE, technology updates, rental space for furniture, cleaning needs, etc. School revenue was lost as a result of morning care and after-school care being canceled in the spring, as well as cuts to the state funding.
- Technology Fees pay for the School’s technology infrastructure, hardware, and software licenses. These expenses continue while school is closed, so a refund will not be available. This is especially important in the event of distance learning.
- Activity Fees cover classroom materials, holiday parties and treats, as well as field trips. In the case of field trips or other activities that will be cancelled this year, a credit towards next year’s Activity Fees, will be provided, where applicable. A credit was provided toward this year’s activity fees, as a result of last spring’s closure.
- Students withdrawn for any reason will have records transferred appropriately and will give up their space in class.
- Students interested in returning to Incarnation School, must apply for admission as a new student, per our admissions policy.
- All documents, fees, and records will be required, as for any new student.
- Students will be admitted at the beginning of each quarter/semester if space is available. Families moving into the area from out of state will be admitted in accordance with their moving date, rather than the quarter/semester timeline.
- Please note that there are currently waitlists in many grade levels.
- Friday, July 17 was moving day for our unessential classroom furniture, which was placed in storage. The classrooms will be thoroughly cleaned next week and then essential furniture will be moved back in to the rooms.
- By removing the excess furniture, we are able to stage the student desks and maintain distancing, while allowing all students to attend school for full-day instruction.
- I will begin posting short videos to Facebook and the school’s website once the classrooms have been set up.
- The school is currently cleaned each evening by a contracted company. Deep cleaning and sanitizing will occur each evening and specialized anti-microbial cleaning will occur weekly, unless a positive case arises, and then the school will be treated overnight.
- Bathrooms cleaned periodically throughout the school day, and common surfaces like: handles, rails, hard surfaces will be sanitized multiple times each day.
- Hand-washing and sanitizing will be reinforced and encouraged, and additional hand sanitizing units will be placed strategically around the school.
- Students will attend Mass either in person or virtually through a live-stream. Mass will still be on Friday at 9am and two grade levels will attend each week. Mass will be live-streamed to the students who remain in the school.
- Please continue to join us for Mass on Fridays at 9am.
- Teachers of students in preschool 4s through fourth grade will move from room to room, as much as possible, allowing the students to remain in one room.
- In grades 5-8, the students will have to change classes. We are developing protocols for the desks and chairs to be sanitized between classes and children will wear face shields and/or masks when changing classes. Transitions will be staggered to minimize students in the halls as much as possible.
- Specials classes will continue, but the teachers will go to the students’ classrooms. Carts and wagons have been purchased to allow the specials teachers to take their materials to the students. These teachers have protocols for hygiene and safety, as they move around the building. Junior High students will attend their electives classes as usual, and the teachers will sanitize the classroom settings as needed.
- Locker ‘drops’ have always been staggered to avoid crowding and congestion. Additional ‘drops’ have been built into student schedules to allow for increased distancing.
- Classrooms with ‘cubbies’ will reduce traffic by having students keep their backpacks at their desks.
- For lunch, students will sometimes eat lunch in the cafeteria and sometimes in their classrooms. For example, 1st and 2nd grade students have always eaten lunch together in the cafeteria. Beginning this year, 2nd grade will eat in the cafeteria on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, while 1st grade will eat in their rooms. They will switch on Tuesday and Thursday. This will be the routine for all grades. We have purchased paper placemats for the classrooms to increase sanitation and help contain the mess. Both the classrooms and cafeteria will be carefully sanitized before and after lunchtime; the cafeteria will be sanitized between lunches, as well.
- W.G. Grinders is committed to continuing to serve our students the same delicious food they have enjoyed for the last few years. Lunches will be delivered to the classrooms for students eating there and will be served to the students eating in the cafeteria. W.G. Grinders has implemented all of the foodservice requirements from the state and county.
- For recess, the teachers are working to create a schedule that allows the students time to run and play outside while minimizing the overall number of students on the playground. We will additionally be utilizing various green spaces and paved areas around the school for play and fresh air. The school safety coordinator and Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department are helping with safety protocols to continue the high standards we have in place for student safety.
- The drinking fountains will not be useable, but there are water bottle filling stations throughout the school. Students are encouraged to bring water bottles to school in all grades and will be able to keep them at their desks.
- Students are only permitted to have water in their water bottles, rather than juice, coffee, tea, soda, etc.
- We ask that spill-proof, reusable water bottles be sent with children. We do understand that in a morning rush, a disposable water bottle may be necessary, but appreciate the effort to send the other types most often.
- Students will be required to wear masks to school until they enter their classrooms. They can then trade the mask for their personal face shield. Shields or masks will be worn in the hallways, should students be traveling to another class or the cafeteria. Students will be assigned their own shield that will be only theirs. They will not travel home with students.
- Face shields will be disinfected each evening after students leave the building.
- Fanny packs are being purchased for students in grades preschool 4s through 4th and lanyards will be provided for 5th through 8th grade. Students can either store or clip their masks in the fanny packs or on the lanyards, so they are easily accessible if needed. For example, students will leave shields in their classrooms when they go to the cafeteria, but they will need face covering while traveling the hallway. They can then place their masks in the packs or on the lanyard when eating and when on the playground.
- If your child has not worn a mask or is resistant, please encourage them to wear the masks in short time frames over the next month. Start with one or two minutes and build time from there. Our goal is to not have students in masks for long periods of time during the school day, but there will be brief times when masks will be a necessity.
- Acceptable face masks could include traditional masks, neck gaiters, bandannas, etc.
- These two programs are still available, as we know they are important to many families. Both programs will be moved entirely into the Parish Center Gym, allowing much more space to spread out and distance. Students using morning care and/or after-school care will have face shields provided and will follow the same sanitization protocols for the regular school day.
- Look for an email with additional information for families who are registered for these programs. As many families are still registering, this plan is pending final numbers. The information will come as we come closer to the start of the school year.
- Clubs will still meet. Determinations will be made on a club by club basis as the clubs begin to meet and form.
- Please remember that CYO is an independent group and will set its own policies.
· Transportation is determined by the public school districts, and they are still working on details. We are sharing information with families as soon as we learn details.
I know there are likely more questions that haven’t been answered. Please remember that current plans are fluid and may change based upon breaking data or guidelines. I will work hard to keep you apprised of changes if they happen.
Please remember the best defense against the spread of the virus is the commitment we ask of every student, employee and family member to practice safe social distancing, good hygiene and self-care — and wear a face covering — until a vaccine and/or treatment for COVID-19 is available. We care deeply about our students, our employees and our families, and our actions will reflect that.
I was recently sent the following: Remember, you help determine your child’ attitude. Be angry or sad in private. Discuss your frustrations away from the kids. Set them up for success by teaching them to make the best of it. Be a sounding board for their worries and disappointments. Stay positive and model perseverance. May God bless you and keep you healthy and safe as we move into the fall season. We are a strong family and will persevere these unchartered waters.