Back to School Q & A.
Q: Will there be classes every day, all day?
A: YES – Our goal is to have students attend school in-person and full time. We understand, however, that we will need to constantly evaluate our ability to maintain a safe and healthy environment as well as the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community and we must be ready to transition to eLearning if necessary.
Q: When is the first day of school?
A: AUGUST 27th – Because there will be so many changes this school year, we will start the year with mandatory small-group orientations for every grade level, giving students a chance to get used to new procedures. One half of our students will have orientation on Thursday, August 27th and the other half will have orientation on Friday, August 28th. All students will then officially begin together on Monday, August 31st. You will receive specific information for your family at a later date.
Q: How will you practice social distancing with all students in the building every day?
A: CREATIVELY – Holy Cross is currently blessed to have extra space (empty classrooms) that will allow us to divide each class into smaller groups and creatively spread out classes throughout our entire building. More information coming soon!
Q: Will my child need a mask?
A: YES – Masks are mandatory for teachers, faculty, staff, and visitors. Think of masks as part of your child’s uniform this year. He/she should enter the building with a clean mask on each day. Masks are one of the most important tools we have to diminish transmission of COVID and we want to keep each other healthy. We encourage mask usage inside the building, most especially when 6 feet of physical distance can not be maintained.
Q: Will children be sharing school supplies this year?
A: NO – Sharing of technology devices, school supplies and belongings among students will be very limited and only if it is absolutely necessary. If supplies must be shared by students, staff will clean the item after each use. We are also asking each family to purchase your child’s school supplies through Holy Cross this year. Holy Cross is working with a company that provides individualized school supply kits. Your child’s kit will include everything his/her teacher has requested and will be available for him/her on the first day of school. This should make your lives easier (no need to go out to stores for supply shopping!) and also help all of us stay safer. We will be sharing more information about how to pay for these supply kits in future newsletters.
Q: Will Before School Care & After School Care still be available?
A: YES – However, it will only be available for a limited number of registered families due to the need to adhere to CDC guidelines. If you know that your family will need Before School Care or After Care, please fill out this form as soon as possible.
Q: Will children be allowed to use drinking fountains?
A: NO. Students are encouraged to bring a clearly labeled water bottle to school each day. We are anticipating funds that will allow us to switch out some of our current drinking fountains for water bottle filling stations.
Q: Will you perform daily health screens?
A: YES – We plan to take student temperatures at drop-off each morning. Drop-off procedures will change because of this. Families will be assigned staggered drop-off times between 7:40-8:00 a.m. We take the health of our school community seriously and want to do everything possible to maintain a healthy learning environment. Any child with a fever of 100.4℉ or higher will be asked to stay home. More details about drop-off procedures coming soon.
Q: What if my child is sick with a fever, cough, sore throat, etc. but I know it is not COVID-related? (i.e. an ear infection, strep-throat, allergies, etc.)
A: STAY HOME & CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR – If your child has a fever, he/she cannot come to school! You will have to take your child to the doctor. Your child’s doctor must write a note for the school explaining that the symptoms are not COVID-related. Once your child has been fever-free for 24 hours and you have a doctor’s note for the school, your child will be allowed to return to school. If you cannot provide a doctor’s note explaining the symptoms or your child was tested for COVID and tested negative but is still symptomatic, your child must stay home for at least 10 days from when symptoms began and must spend at least 72 hours (3 days) without a fever (and without the help of fever-reducing medication like Tylenol/ Ibuprofen)
Q: What happens if my child tests positive for COVID?
A: CALL THE SCHOOL TO REPORT IT and then follow protocol:
- If your child tests POSITIVE but has NO SYMPTOMS, he/she must isolate for at least 10 days and stay symptom free. Everyone in your house should also stay home for 10 days and monitor for symptoms.
- If your child tests POSITIVE and HAS SYMPTOMS, he/she must isolate for at least 10 days after symptoms start and must spend 72 hours (3 days) fever-free without the help of fever-reducing medication.
Q: What happens if a student in my child’s classroom tests positive for COVID?
A: IT DEPENDS...
Remember, child-to-child transmission is relatively low and mask usage, frequent hand-washing, and social distancing will be standard procedures in Holy Cross classrooms.
- If your child WAS NOT in close contact with the other student, even if they were in the same group, your child can continue coming to school, assuming he/she is symptom free.
- If your child WAS in close contact with the other student (had prolonged contact of more than 15 minutes and was not socially distanced 6 ft. or more), you will be notified and encouraged to get tested and then follow protocol. If your child tests negative and has no symptoms, he/she will be free to return to school. However, we do recommend re-testing around 48 hours later simply to reassure that it is a true negative.
Teachers will keep detailed seating charts to enable quick and easy contact tracing if this becomes necessary. Also, if your child must remain at home for an extended period of time, administration will work with your child’s teacher to provide options for remote instruction.
Q: You mentioned that classes will be divided into smaller groups of 10-13 students. Can you tell me more about this?
A: Each class will be separated into two smaller groups (Group A & Group B). Each group will have between 10-13 students. The students from each group will stay together all day, every day. (For example, fifth grade will be divided into 5A & 5B. In grades with both a Traditional and an Immersion track, we will have 2A Traditional & 2B Traditional as well as 2A Immersion & 2B Immersion.) These small groups will eat lunch together, have recess together, and receive instruction together. This allows us to practice proper social distancing both within the classroom and on the playgrounds and it also helps limit the number of contacts for each child.
Q: How will there be enough teachers if all classes are divided into small groups?
A: Teamwork – We have an amazing group of teachers, ready to work in collaboration to teach your children while keeping them safe! Each class will share two teachers: the lead teacher and a co-teacher, but they will not be together at the same time. One group (for example, 5A) will be with the lead teacher while the other group (for example, 5B) is with the co-teacher. They will rotate between teachers on a daily basis. When your child’s group is with the lead teacher, they will receive classes as normal. When your child’s group is with the co-teacher, they will engage in the daily lessons in age-appropriate ways. For example, the co-teacher will guide young students together through daily activities provided by the lead teacher. However, older students will learn how to work through lessons in a more independent way, much like eLearning, but with the added benefit of community, teacher help, and access to needed resources. During days with the co-teachers, students will also have time for adaptive online activities (challenging them at their own individualized level), project-based learning, and online Specials activities. Though this is a completely new way of thinking about scheduling the school day, we believe there are many exciting learning opportunities that can come from this!
Q: Does this change affect school hours?
A: YES – For a wide variety of reasons, the school day will be slightly shortened in comparison with previous years. Drop-off and pick-up times will be staggered to accommodate for social distancing. The first drop-off time will be 7:40 a.m. and classes will begin at 8:00. Students assigned to the earliest drop-off time will have activities to do in the classroom at the beginning of the day. The first dismissal will be at 2:00 p.m. and the last dismissal will be at 2:20. Your family will receive further details about drop-off and pick-up assignments in the future.
Q: Will the school have enough devices for students to work independently when needed?
A: That’s the plan! We have received enough funding to allow for our school to have a device for nearly every child in the building. Wiring updates are happening next week and we are simply awaiting the arrival of many new laptops and tablets. We will also need families to return the laptops they borrowed for eLearning in the Spring so that we can make updates. If you still have a laptop at home, we will gladly accept them in the school office starting August 3rd.