We have had many questions and concerns from parents regarding returning to the classroom. Please know that school administration is working daily with the Lincoln Trail District Health Department and the Archdiocese of Louisville to monitor our current situation and make the best decisions possible for the health and wellbeing of our students, faculty and staff. We will communicate any changes as they are identified and provide you with appropriate protocols as necessary.
January 2020 Updates
REMINDERS FOR THE NEW QUARTER
As we return to in-person school, please remind your children of Healthy at SJS protocols as they are still very important so we can remain in school:
- Wear an appropriate mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times. Make sure it is not too loose, so it does not fall below your nose.
- Keep social distancing. There should be at least six feet between you and another person at all times. There is blue tape marked along the floor to help students remember to keep six feet apart.
- Wash your hands frequently: any time you touch your face or mask, after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose, before and after eating and after using the bathroom.
- Check your children daily before school for any signs or symptoms: new cough, headache, sore throat, upset stomach or vomiting, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell, muscle aches, or temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Please keep them home for observation if they display any signs or symptoms.
- If your child is exposed to someone who tests positive for COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19 themselves, please keep them home and let us know. We follow state-mandated self-reporting which requires parents to notify the school within 24 hours if their child tests positive for COVID-19.
The CDC recommends contact tracing as a key strategy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our school nurse received a contact tracing certification in November through an online course with Johns Hopkins University. SJS also works closely with the health department to assist in the contact tracing process.
If you wish to learn more about the two current COVID-19 vaccines, here is a link to more information.
December 2020 Updates
COVID-19 VACCINE INFORMATION & STAYING HEALTHY DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Learn more about the coming vaccines and how to keep our community safe
Vaccine information as of 11/20/2020
COVID-19 Virus and Process for Developing Vaccines
This 6-minute video explains how SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, attacks the body, and how the vaccines will protect against the virus. It also discusses the process of developing these vaccines and who is responsible. If you want to read more, visit:
Kentucky Vaccination Plan
Kentucky and the United States government have plans to first distribute these vaccines to frontline workers and vulnerable populations, then to the rest of the public in phases. K-12 teachers, school staff and child care workers are at the top of Phase 2. The table below outlines the different phases of distribution in Kentucky. You can read through Kentucky’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan in its entirety at https://govstatus.egov.com/ky-healthcare-guidance.
Information About Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines
This 2-minute video includes information on the mRNA platform, which is the base of both COVID-19 vaccines, and how the vaccines work with the body. Both vaccines will require two doses.
Learn more about Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, awaiting FDA approval, at https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-and-biontech-announce-vaccine-candidate-against.
Learn more about Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, awaiting FDA approval, at https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/promising-interim-results-clinical-trial-nih-moderna-covid-19-vaccine.
Healthy at Home – Preparing for the Holiday Season
As we have been reminded on numerous occasions recently, our daily actions in and out of our home impact the ability for us to stay healthy at SJS. During this season of Advent, as we prepare for Christmas, let us also prepare for safe practices during the Christmas season. Everything we do in December will have an impact on in-person instruction in January. Here are a few reminders of ways your family can reduce the impact on our larger community - please continue to follow the mask mandate, social distancing and frequent hand washing. Here are recommendations from the CDC on how to plan to have a safe holiday season and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Let us continue to work together to make things better for our children.
November 2020 Updates
Saint James is in a unique position to determine when in-person instruction creates a risk for our students, faculty and staff, just as we do with inclement weather closings. Saint James decides based on the common good of our school community independent of Hardin County and Elizabethtown. We keep in mind that many of our school families are impacted by the decisions of neighboring school districts. In consultation with Lincoln Trail District Health Department, the Archdiocese of Louisville and our leadership teams, Saint James will continue in-person instruction as often as possible.
As Thanksgiving and the holiday season approaches, please remember the CDC’s guidance on safe practices when celebrating. Travel increases your chances of contracting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.
Flu viruses and COVID-19 will likely both spread this fall and winter. Healthcare systems could become overwhelmed, treating both patients with flu and patients with COVID-19. Getting a flu vaccine during 2020-2021 is more important than ever.
While getting a flu vaccine will not protect against COVID-19, there are many important benefits such as:
- Flu vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of flu illness, hospitalization, and death.
- Getting a flu vaccine may help save healthcare resources for the care of patients with COVID-19.
The CDC recommends that people wear masks in public settings when around other people, like at events and gatherings and on public and mass transportation.
- Wear the mask over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin. It should fit snugly against the sides of your face.
- The CDC does not recommend the use of gaiters or face shields. Evaluation of these face covers is on-going, but effectiveness is unknown at this time.
- Wear a mask correctly and consistently for the best protection.
- Be sure to wash your hands before putting on a mask.
- Do NOT touch the mask when wearing it.
- Include washing your mask with your regular laundry.
- Use regular laundry detergent and the warmest appropriate water setting for the cloth used to make the mask.
- Use the highest heat setting and leave in the dryer until completely dry.
October 2020 Updates
New Mandatory Reporting Requirements
Recently the Governor announced, and the Archdiocese supported, two new mandates regarding reporting cases of COVID-19. As of Sept. 28, schools, including Saint James Catholic School, are required to report through the KOG all positive COVID-19 cases of students and staff and related quarantines. The data collected will appear on the public dashboard. We are listed as St. James Catholic Regional School. In addition, parents are required to report positive COVID-19 cases to the school as soon as results are given. Thus far, SJS has remained healthy.
Local Decision Making for Virtual and In-Person Learning
The Governor’s new plan allows for individual communities to make decisions on virtual or in-person learning. In the case where community spread increases in Hardin County, SJS, in consultation with the Archdiocese and Lincoln Trail District Health Department, will make a decision based on what is best for our staff and students. SJS will be directly in contact with parents regarding the decision (similar to a snow day announcement).
Don't forget your influenza (flu) vaccine for you and your family this year! If you have not already received your flu vaccine, please schedule an appointment as soon as possible. This year it is more important than ever for as many people as possible to get an influenza vaccine to decrease the number and severity of those with the flu. Not only does the flu have similar symptoms to COVID-19, but it will also put increased demands on your immune system and increased demands on our limited healthcare resources during this pandemic. For information from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) regarding the flu vaccine this year, click here.
September 2020 Updates
Our students and staff have worked so hard to make these first days of school a healthy success. We want to thank all SJS parents for remaining vigilant and working to keep our students learning in person. This has been and will continue to be a team effort and we are so grateful for your assistance to help us remain Healthy at SJS.
- Check your child each morning for signs of illness. Please refrain from sending your child to school and monitor for signs of infectious illness every day.
- If you are unsure, play it safe! They can have symptoms without a fever.
- Because of new recommendations by the Kentucky Department of Education, the use of face masks will be required by all students and staff at all times while in the school building or on the bus, unless medically waivered. Masks should not be lowered during the school day, even if all students and staff are seated 6 feet apart. Students and staff should only lower their masks while actively eating or drinking.
- Have multiple face coverings for your child so that they can be washed daily.
- Face masks should cover the nose, mouth and chin. The best mask types are the cloth mask, paper mask or N-95 style. Please make sure that the mask fits your child as secure and comfortable as possible.
- Our SJS masks are still on backorder, so we hope to have them ready to distribute soon.
- Please practice with your child how far 6 feet is when around others and make sure they know the importance of social distancing to reduce the spread and to keep from being considered a close contact.
MAINTAINING HEALTHY OPERATIONS
We are here for your children and are committed to doing everything we can to provide the education they deserve, in a safe way.
Student drop off and pick up will be altered to allow for social distancing.
K-8 parents and students will remain in their cars. Students in grades 1-8 must wear masks and will receive a health check from a faculty or staff member while still in their car. After the health check, if no fever is present, students will exit the car, enter the building and go directly to their homeroom. If students have a fever (temperature higher than 100.4), they will not be permitted to stay and must return home.
Preschool parents will use the media center drop off point. They will park and, wearing a mask, will escort their preschooler to a faculty or staff member at the media center entrance. They will receive a health check and if no fever is present the faculty or staff member will escort the preschool student to his or her classroom. If the student has a fever (temperature higher than 100.4) they will not be permitted to stay. Preschool students will not wear masks, as per state regulations.
For pick up, students will be dismissed from their homeroom to eliminate congregating in the hallways. Students not picked up by 3 p.m. will be escorted to After School Care for parent pick up.
We will perform daily health checks on everyone who enters the school building. Anyone with a fever (temperature higher than 100.4 degrees) or other known COVID symptoms will not be permitted to stay.
We will be limiting non-essential visitors, volunteers and activities involving external groups. Only students and staff will be allowed beyond the lobby area/office, and all who enter the building must wear a mask and have a health check.
We rely upon information from Hardin County Schools and Bethlehem High School for bus service.
With a different upcoming start date than Hardin County Schools (HCS), we cannot ensure consistent bus transportation. There will be no HCS bus transportation on Wednesdays for any student riding a HCS high school bus as the high schools will not be in session. HCS and Bethlehem High School share their buses with our students, so protocols for COVID-19 safety, including mask usage, social distancing and sanitization will be provided by Hardin County Schools and Bethlehem High School. Bus usage is optional.
Students, faculty and staff who have any COVID-19 symptoms will be asked to stay home. These symptoms, which come directly from the Lincoln Trail District Health Department, include a fever, cough, gastrointestinal symptoms (diarrhea or vomiting), a new rash or new loss of sense of taste/smell.
If a student or teacher has symptoms, which are new and cannot be attributed to an existing medical condition, they should test for COVID-19 if possible and remain at home for 10-14 days, depending on test results and guidance provided by LTDHD.
SJS now has a nurse on site, Kimberly Schreacke, R.N., who will be our point of contact for all health and wellness issues at the school.
After School Care
Children in school-age programs who are ages 6 or older will need to wear a mask.
MAINTAINING HEALTHY ENVIRONMENTS
In addition to our normal routine, we will increase scheduled cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing to maintain a healthy and safe place for your children and our faculty and staff.
The school will be sanitized twice per week with a hospital-grade disinfectant.
We will sustain our daily cleaning and sanitizing schedule, to include disinfecting door handles, light switches, desks, chairs and all high-touch areas of the classroom. In addition, twice per week we will be fogging the school with Virex II, a hospital-grade disinfectant.
Teachers and staff members will have a spray bottle with the Virex II solution to use when necessary.
School gatherings and extracurriculars will have new regulations in place to help keep our kids safe.
We will be limiting activities and events at the school to ensure we have enough time to sanitize between events.
Regarding athletics, we will wait until the corresponding athletic association or sports league provides guidelines before we move forward, to ensure the safety of our students. Once we receive that information, we will use it to create our internal guidelines and best practices.
We will be adapting the seating at school Mass to support social distancing. We are still working out the logistics and will provide that information at a later date.
PREPARING FOR WHEN SOMEONE GETS SICK
In the event that someone at SJS is exposed to COVID-19, we have protocols in place to prevent anyone else from coming in contact.
If a faculty or staff member or student shows COVID-19 symptoms, they will be immediately separated from others in a designated space.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, chills, cough, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, fever (temp higher than 100.4), muscle or body aches, nausea or vomiting, congestion or runny nose, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, loss of appetite, and loss of taste or smell.
Parents are required to pick up their child within an hour. Students will be supervised in a separate area, and all potential contacts will be notified.
Areas used by someone diagnosed with COVID-19 will not be used until cleaned and disinfected.
SJS cleaning crew will be notified for additional sanitizing.
Class in contact with the sick person will be moved to a temporary location to allow for deep cleaning.
Health officials and those in contact with the COVID-19 patient will be notified, while maintaining confidentiality.
We will work closely with the Lincoln Trail District Health Department (LTDHD) and they will guide us through the process of contacting those who may have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient.
Those in close contact with the COVID-19 patient will cooperate with health department guidelines and may be required to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms.
Our multi-leveled layers of protection and guidelines will be taken into consideration when determining if a class quarantine is necessary. We are working closely with LTDHD to determine best practices for specific situations when dealing with a COVID-19 patient and will act accordingly to ensure the safety of our staff and students. If an extended quarantine is required, online learning may be available.
If a prolonged quarantine is required, online learning plans will be made.
We will have no perfect attendance awards this year.
Current homework policy will apply during illness. Online learning will only be utilized in the event of school closure or extended quarantine.
Proactive measures in case of school closure:
We have taken feedback from parent surveys and adjusted our remote learning.
- Each student will be provided use of a school-owned device.
- All online learning will be consolidated on Google Classrooms for consistency across grade levels.
- Class times will be scheduled to include live sessions and to provide more structure to remote learning.
PROMOTING BEHAVIORS THAT REDUCE SPREAD
We have several strategies in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep our students, faculty and staff healthy. Before the start of the school year, faculty and staff will be educated on policies and procedures to lessen the risk of COVID-19 exposure.
When arriving at school, K-8 students will remain in their car, wearing a mask, and wait to be welcomed by staff. Temperatures will be taken and any student with a fever (temperature of 100.4 or higher) will not be permitted to stay. Once in the school, students will go directly to homeroom classes.
Classrooms will be rearranged to allow more spacing between students, including social distanced seating.
To ensure social distancing and create a healthy environment in the classroom, students will have assigned seating and desks will be placed all facing the same direction, 6 feet apart.
Children will remain with their homeroom throughout the day while still enjoying the full educational experience.
We are actively working to create schedules that keep contact minimal while providing an engaging, fun and educational school day.
Students will eat in classrooms at personal desks.
Specialty teachers will bring their lessons to homerooms as curriculum allows. Students will remain in their classrooms as much as possible to minimize contact with other classes.
Faculty and staff are required to wear masks, and students in grades 1-8 will be required to wear cloth face masks when social distancing isn’t possible.
Students must wear uniform-approved masks unless medically waivered. Each student will be provided one uniform mask and others will be available for purchase online through Duke’s and the SJS Spirit Store.
Masks can be lowered during classroom time if all students are 6 feet apart and no persons are walking around inside the classroom.
Masks must be worn in common areas, when moving from place to place in classrooms, around school building, and/or when 6 feet social distancing is not possible.
Students can participate in “Fun Mask Friday” and wear their mask of choice each Friday.
Students will have “hand hygiene breaks” throughout the day to promote health. They are required to either wash hands or use hand sanitizer as they arrive in the classroom, after restroom use, before and after eating and recess, and before leaving for the day.
Healthy hygiene training will be provided by local healthcare professionals to staff and students during the first days of school to ensure we are all aware of the best practices to promote and maintain a healthy environment.
Preschool classroom sizes will be reduced to no more than 10 students per section.
Students in preschool will not wear masks, as per state regulations.
When arriving at school, preschool parents will walk their students to a faculty or staff member at the Media Center drop off. Parents must wear masks. Temperatures will be taken and any student with a fever (temperature of 100.4 or higher) will not be permitted to stay. Once in the school, students will be escorted to their classroom.