St. Ambrose Catholic School Reopening Plan
Our St. Ambrose Catholic School Reopening Team is committed to developing policies and protocols that are designed to keep all students, employees, and volunteers (very limited number) as safe as possible. This plan was developed with that focus. By sending your students to us, you are entrusting their safety and security to us at St. Ambrose. We take that relationship very seriously. We will educate your students and provide them opportunities for growth in many areas. We will care for your children and provide them with an education rooted in our Catholic faith.
We are following the recommended best practices. This will allow us to minimize and mitigate risk, but we all must understand and acknowledge that there is some risk that we cannot fully eliminate. We will follow the guidance, recommendations, and directives of the diocese, federal, state, and/or county authorities.
This plan was developed and will be implemented, but at any time may require immediate adjustments due to changes in the pandemic situation. We may be given new directives or new best practices that may require an immediate alteration of the plan. If any changes are necessary, our Reopening Team will determine our direction and immediate communication will be provided. We have attempted to develop policies and protocols to cover all contingencies. If we determine that we failed to adopt a necessary policy or protocol, our Reopening Team will assess and determine the appropriate outcome.
The entities responsible for molding our policy and protocols include;
Reopening Team Contributing Members
Father Steve Janoski, Pastor
Robert Baird (Principal)
Deacon Bill Kessler
Deacon Jay Wackerly
Kim Wackerly (Administrator)
Patrick King (parent and attorney)
Marcy Fessler (4th Grade Teacher)
Dr. Jennifer Hoefert (M.D. Pediatrician)
Emily Kribs (parent, staff, nursing background)
David Crane (Maintenance)
Steven Schienschang (IT/Technology Support)
Faculty & Staff of St. Ambrose Catholic School
Response To Confirmed Case of COVID-19
If St. Ambrose Catholic School has a confirmed case of COVID-19 (student or staff member) or any connected case (direct contact of student or staff to an individual confirmed with COVID-19), St. Ambrose will immediately contact the Madison County Health Department and follow all directives. All medical related communication is and will be confidential. If a student or staff member has COVID-19 or anyone connected to any student or staff member has COVID-19, we ask that you immediately email the Principal or Office Manager and the Madison County Health Department to communicate the situation. The nature of the exposure will be investigated, and the Health Department will help determine the appropriate response. If there is a positive case, some pertinent information will have to be shared with the St. Ambrose community. Please remember that names would never be used and everyone involved will remain anonymous.
The following comes in part from the State of Illinois School Reopening Plan;
“All individuals in school buildings, including all public and nonpublic schools that serve students in PreK through grade 12, must wear face coverings at all times, unless they are younger than 2 years of age; have trouble breathing; or are unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. Face coverings must be worn at all times in school buildings even when social distancing is maintained.”
At St. Ambrose Catholic School, all students, staff, and anyone in our buildings, will be required to wear a face covering at all times. Face coverings must cover the mouth and the nose. This requirement applies to all schools within the state of Illinois. Acceptable face coverings include face masks and gaiter coverings.
Face coverings must be worn in accordance to the school health and safety policy. Coverings must be clean and fit properly over the nose and mouth. Face coverings shall not contain any kind of statement (political or non- political), slogans, inappropriate images/profanity, references to drugs/alcohol or anything that is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. The administration has the right to decide if a face covering is deemed inappropriate. If a student’s face covering is deemed inappropriate, it will be confiscated and the student will be issue a disposable mask. The inappropriate face covering will be sent home at the end of the day. If the student chose to again contest the policy by wearing an inappropriate face covering, disciplinary consequences will be administered based on the severity/nature of the situation. Examples of appropriate images include; St. Ambrose/Marquette logos, sports team logos, artistic designs, seasonal images (ex. Halloween, Christmas) and cartoon characters.
We realize that for many students, especially our youngest students, this will be a difficult adjustment. To assist in this adjustment, we will take the following steps;
Temperature Screening / Symptom Checks
Symptom screening is another of the recommendations for schools. All students and staff will be screened for symptoms before/as they enter the building. An individual’s temperature will be measured before entering the building. Anyone with a fever of 100.4 or higher will be sent to the waiting room near the front entrance of the building. The student will be checked again after an appropriate amount of time passes to account for warm weather. If the student is still running a fever (100.4 or higher), their parents will be contacted and they will be sent home. Per the CDC recommendations, students must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school (fever free without the assistance of medication). Anyone with an “elevated temperature,” (99.0-100.3) will be monitored and checked throughout the day.
In addition to temperature screening we will also require that parents submit a symptom checklist daily for their student(s). This checklist will ask the following;
If a parent checks yes to any of the questions, the student must be kept at home for a minimum period of 24 hours. If the illness is COVID-19 related, we will follow the directives of the Madison County Health Department. Parents must submit (digitally) a symptom check certification. This must be completed for each student on a daily basis. These certifications must be submitted by the time the student arrives at school. The certifications may be submitted as early as 2 1/2 hours (5:30 am) before the start of the school day. Additional temperature/symptom checks may be administered throughout the rest of the day on an as needed basis.
Any student may “opt out” of in-person learning, in favor of distance/virtual learning. Once a student has opted out of in-person learning, they will be required to spend a minimum of two weeks in the distance/virtual learning setting. After that period, they would be eligible to return to in-person learning.
Students choosing distance/virtual learning will connect to class by using Google Meet. They will submit assignments and access class content on Google Classroom. As much as possible, they will be included in all things with their class and school. We at St. Ambrose will make the educational experience as similar as possible for those in distance/virtual learning. Occasionally there will be things missed that those in person can only benefit from or experience. We will attempt to avoid this as much as possible.
As the circumstances of the pandemic morph, it is possible that the entire school could be forced into distance/virtual learning. In that case, for students in grades K-8, we have a structured school day scheduled to run from 8-2:30. There will be time built in for lunch/recess and short breaks. The students will “attend” class digitally using Google Meet. They will access digital content on Google Classroom.
Pre-school will be able to participate in voluntary virtual learning for the duration of a shutdown and at the discretion of the pre-school teachers.
Some students (especially younger students) in distance/virtual learning will require support and assistance from their parents/guardians or adults they are with each day. This support will include ensuring that their device is charged and ready to operate and that they can access/open the necessary materials or content. It will also be important to ensure that the students have any other necessary class materials (workbooks, textbooks, worksheets, etc.). They will also require support to follow the structured schedule of the virtual learning day. Possibly most important, it will be necessary for the parents or supervising adult to create an environment that is conducive to learning. The students need a quiet setting that minimizes distractions or disruptions. Students must never connect to Google Meet while in a public location. Students in distance/virtual learning are required to attend classes and complete assignments daily
Social distancing will be practiced and emphasized at all times. Classrooms have been setup to ensure there is the recommended 6 feet of spacing between students. Furniture has been rearranged to create additional space. We have restructured rooms to allow for more space. Our movement in the building will maintain social distancing. Our pick up and drop off procedures will maintain social distancing.
Once students arrive at school, we will minimize interaction with students outside of their class or core group. We will enter/exit using outside classroom doors or in the gymnasium if there is bad weather (see drop off /pick up procedures for more detail). Teachers will move to the students, the students will not move to the teachers. At recess, classes/core groups will remain together in separated sections of the playground. Grade levels that have two classes will play in adjacent sections so that friends may talk or socialize while maintaining social distancing. We will control movement in the hallways to coordinate and ensure social distancing is maintained.
Drop Off / Pick Up Procedures
Students in Pre-School and Kindergarten are to be dropped off at the entrance of the rear upper parking lot near the dumpster. Cones and visuals will show the path as we have created a drop off lane. School staff will direct the process. Students will exit the vehicle and will enter through the pre-school / Kindergarten entrance. Students in grades 1-8 are to be dropped off in the lower parking lot at the base of the stairs. Students will then proceed up the stairs and enter through the outer door to their classroom. Teachers will be present at doors and will verify symptom checks have been submitted and will also check temperatures. If a parent has a PreK / K aged student as well as an older student(s), the older student(s) may be dropped off at the upper entrance. If there is bad weather, students in grades 1-8 will enter through the gym. They will be symptom checked in the gym (maintaining social distancing at all times) and will then proceed to their classroom.
The pickup process will be completed entirely in the lower large parking lot. PreK and Kindergarten will be dismissed at 2:30. We will allow all PreK / K vehicles to dismiss at 2:37. At 2:40 all vehicle movement will be stopped and grades 1-3 will dismiss. At 2:45 grades 4-8 will dismiss. Students are to proceed immediately to vehicles. Any student that does not have a ride will be kept on the sidewalk. If they do not have a ride after pick up is completed, they will be taken to after care in the gymnasium. After we have halted movement, we will direct dismissal of the vehicles. Staff will supervise the process with 8th grade patrols assisting. This may seem like a difficult process and may take a few days to make efficient. Please understand that if it seems things are moving slow, our goal is to keep everyone safe and ensure that we never have a close call or accident in our parking lot. Please remember that maintaining social distancing will slightly delay the process.
Lunch will be eaten outside when possible. When it is not possible to eat outside, lunch will be eaten in the classroom at the student’s desk. Hot lunch will be provided three days a week. On Mondays we will have food from Julia’s, Wednesdays we will have Subway, and Fridays we will bring in Little Ceasars.
For the duration of the pandemic, unnecessary visitors will be prohibited from entering St. Ambrose Catholic School. Anyone needing to drop something off, may do so using our main entrance foyer. They will be required to leave the item in a “drop box” in the foyer. Office staff will obtain the item and deliver it to the appropriate destination. If a parent/guardian or designated person comes to pick a student up, they need to come to the main entrance and request the student. Office staff will bring the child to the door. The person picking up the child will be asked to digitally sign out the student. If this is not feasible, they will be able to use a paper sign out sheet.
Before Care / After Care
We will continue to conduct Before Care and After Care. Before Care will be held in the gym starting at 6:30 am. Students will be symptom checked before entering the gym. After Care will be held in the gym starting at 2:50 after the school day. After Care will be available until 6:00 pm. Please use the gym entrance for pick up. Social distancing will be maintained at all times during Before and After Care.
Hand Washing / Hand Sanitizing
Students will be frequently reminded to wash their hands properly and to also utilize hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer will be provided, but students are welcome to bring their own small supply. Visual aids and reminders will assist with instructing the students in the importance of proper hand hygiene. Visual aids will also be present throughout the building reminding the students of the importance of social distancing.
Increased disinfecting and sanitizing will take place before school, during school, and after school. The custodial staff will continue to focus on providing extra cleaning for restrooms and frequently touched surfaces. New this year, we will have custodial staff available during the day. They will ensure disinfection and sanitization continue throughout the day. We will utilize only approved/safe chemicals/disinfectants.