COVID Protocols

We are so ecstatic to report that St. Cassian School has been successful at safely remaining open for in-person instruction since September 2020!  After a full Spring and Summer of preparation, we eagerly welcomed our students back to school for the 2020-2021 school year.  We are so happy to see all of our students back in class for in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year!

Guiding Principles in Creating the School’s
2021-22 Re-opening Plan

  • Ensure a safe learning and working environment for students and staff
  •  Ensure all students receive instruction that is comprehensive and meets the highest standards
  •  Provide a faith-based curriculum with opportunities for students and staff to participate in prayer and attend Mass in-person.  
  •  Create opportunities for students to participate in virtual field trips and partnerships with outside organizations, as well as participate in extracurricular sports
  •  Provide training, support, and time for staff to prepare for successful reopening
  •  Create learning environments that foster healthy social and emotional development
  •  Provide proactive, clear communication to all families and staff

 

Summer Building Enhancements:

Over the summer months, we have been busy beautifying our school building and making upgrades to increase ventilation and promote a healthy environment:

  •  New fittings  were installed in classroom windows for increased air flow
  •  Speed bumps have been placed in our  parking lot and the church driveway for the safety of our students
  •  HEPA filters have been replaced in all of the classroom’s climate control systems
  •  The classroom air filtration devices,  which remove bacteria, viruses and allergens from the air, have been cleaned and the filters have been replaced.  Regular maintenance of the devices will be done monthly 
  •  Two high efficiency jumbo air purifiers that remove bacteria, viruses and allergens have been placed in the gymnasium to enhance the air quality  
  •  All classrooms have been freshly painted
  •  The floors of  hallways, classrooms and offices have been stripped and sealed,  and all carpets have been steamed.
  •  The playground equipment has been painted 
  •  A new roof is being installed. 

Our Commitment to Promoting a Healthy Environment:

The utmost priority will be placed on promoting the health and well-being of our students and staff.  As in the previous year, we will continue to implement protocols that promote the safety of our school community by  following the most up-to-date guidance from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control)  and by collaborating with the Montclair Board of Health and the Archdiocese of Newark Superintendent’s Office.  

During the past year,  we were successful in keeping our community safe by implementing  and array of preventative health measures. I want to take a moment to thank you for your support in this accomplishment.  As a result of our comprehensive multi-layered approach to promoting a healthy environment,  there have been no instances of spread of the COVID -19 virus within our students and staff.   Even during the height of the pandemic, we were able to mitigate the risks through sound preventative practices.

During the 2021-22 school year, we will continue to be vigilant and proactive in implementing  health promoting protocols.  Although some of the protocols may change during the 2021-22  school year in response to current health risks and the recommendations of health professionals, we are committed to implementing a multi-layered approach to promoting a healthy working and learning environment.  

Cleaning & Sanitizing: 

The safety of our students and staff  is of outmost importance, and we realize that keeping a clean environment promotes the health of our community. The following cleaning and sanitizing protocols will be followed:

 

  •  Prior to the beginning of the school year,   the school building will be thoroughly and professionally sanitized.  
  • Each evening, a contracted professional company will sanitize all classrooms. This will include sanitizing all flat surfaces, desks, ledges and floor space.   Additionally, deep cleaning using Clorox Deep 360 professional sanitizing machines will be completed each Friday afternoon.  

  • During the course of the day, ongoing sanitization of high touch surfaces (e.g., light switches, phones, tables, countertops, door knobs, handles, handrails, desks, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, copy machine, coffee machine, refrigerator, microwave, etc.) will occur throughout the day using CDC recommended cleaners identified as effective against SARS-CoV-2

 

Ventilation: All classrooms, the gymnasium, the nurse’s office, the isolation room and other offices are equipped with air-filtering devices to purify the air from allergens, bacteria and viruses.  Additionally, filters in the classroom climate control units have been changed to HEPA filters and will be replaced frequently. Outdoor classroom space will be used intermittently by all grades and outdoor play will be scheduled daily weather permitting.  

 

 

Other General Health Related Measures

Frequent and Proper Hand Washing/Sanitizing: All students and staff will be trained on proper hand washing (how to properly wash your hands, when to wash your hands, how/when to use sanitizer to sanitize your hands, etc.).  Hand sanitizing stations (containing at least 60% alcohol based hand sanitizer) will be prepared and maintained in each classroom and bathroom, and in several locations in each hallway.  All students  and staff will be required to sanitize their hands upon each entry and exit of the classroom, including beginning of the school day and before and after a trip to the bathroom or other area of the building.  Children under the age of 5 will be supervised when using hand sanitizer.  Where hand washing with soap and water is possible, such as in the bathroom,  all persons will be expected to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.  When hand washing with soap and water is not feasible for the entire student body, such as before lunch, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol will be used by each student.

 

Disinfecting of Shared Items: Sharing of items will be greatly limited.  As communicated in the Student and Parent Handbook, all students will be expected to arrive at school well equipped with the needed tools and materials for learning each day, including a well-stocked pencil case; no communal supplies will be made available for use and sharing of supplies between students will be prohibited.  As such, parents are encouraged to check each child’s pencil case regularly and restock supplies as needed.  

 

When sharing of materials is required, such as with learning center materials  or manipulatives, individual students will be provided with a bag of sanitized supplies that they will use for a set learning period.  These materials will then be appropriately sanitized and disinfected prior to being used by new students.  Disinfecting of shared items will take place as frequently as needed.

 

 

Social Distancing Protocols:

Social distancing is an important layer in COVID-19 prevention strategies. The following social distancing protocols will be in place:

 

  • Activities inside and outside the classroom will be carefully planned to promote  healthy physical and social interactions among students.   
  •  Physical  dividers will be used in certain classrooms.
  •  Same direction seating will be employed in the classroom seating design. 
  •  Established Traffic Patterns within the School Building:  Traffic patterns within each classroom and throughout the school building are being established and will be communicated to all staff and students.  The established traffic patterns will allow for unidirectional flow and social distancing.
  •  Staggered Lunch Periods:  Within the design of the schedule that has been created to adapt to current health conditions,  a staggered lunch period has been introduced.  Rather than the usual two twenty minute period lunch wherein half the school would eat, while half the school had recess, four twenty minute lunch periods have been introduced into the schedule.  This four lunch period model will ensure that social distancing can be maintained both on the playground and while eating lunch in the event the cafeteria is used. Six feet of social distancing  will be maintained when students remove masks to eat.
  • Rotating Staff and Stationary Students:  When social distancing is required, students will remain in their classrooms and teachers will travel to the students.  This will decrease hallway traffic and allow for social distancing.  

COVID Cases- Upon notification that a student, staff member or parent has tested positive for COVID-19, the school will coordinate with the Essex County Health Department to determine close contacts to whom they may have spread the virus. Quarantine persons will be based on NJDOE and CDC guidelines at the time.  The school will assist the Essex County Health Department in conducting contact tracing activities, including ongoing communication with the identified individual.

 

  •  Isolation Room- Students and staff exhibiting signs/symptoms of COVID-19 will be assessed and respectfully isolated in a separate room from the Nurse’s Office.  Students will remain in isolation with continued supervision and care by one of our nurses until picked up by an authorized adult.  


In-Person Instruction Provided for All Students:

We are delighted to be able to bring ALL students together for in-person instruction this fall.  Although we offered an outstanding virtual learning program when conditions dictated it, we realize that there is no substitute for the hands-on learning, collaboration and the one-on-one instruction that takes place in a classroom setting.  

In following the Archdiocese of Newark and the NJ Department of Education guidelines, all students will be required to attend school in person for the 2021-22 school year.   As per Archdiocese of Newark guidelines, remote instruction is not an option for students who are absent from school.  It is only an option in cases of required quarantine, an emergency school closure or in the event of an extraordinary case-specific situation.  These special circumstances may include students who cannot physically attend school due to an extended illness of 5 days or greater.  Any request for virtual learning must be submitted to the principal in writing and must include medical documentation.  For further information, please refer to the attendance policy found in our Student and Parent Manual. 

Completing a Health and Wellness Form Each Morning: We request that  parents check temperature and conduct a routine health screening  of their child/dren each morning. After screening your child/ren for symptoms,  please complete the form found through the following link for each child attending St. Cassian School by 7:30 AM every school day.

 

 

When Should Students Stay Home From School

According to the NJ Department of Health, “individuals, who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, should be sent home or denied entry.” COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms for which an individual (student, faculty, employee) will be sent home or kept home from school as a precaution for potential infection are the following:

COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms (regardless of vaccination status)

 

At least One of the following symptoms: 

  • fever (T>99.4)

  • cough

  • runny nose ( unless Covid-19 is out ruled through PCR test)

  • shortness of breath

  • difficulty breathing

  • new olfactory disorder (loss of smell) or new taste disorder (loss of taste)

 

 

OR

 

At least Two of the following symptoms:

 

chills, rigors (shivers), myalgia (muscle aches), headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, congestion, 


What To Do When Your Child Is Sick With COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms

Please keep your child home from school if they have complaints and/or symptoms that could be COVID-19  based on the COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms, listed above. In other words, keep your child home if they are complaining of or displaying ANY of the COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms listed under the "at least one of the following symptoms" category or TWO the symptoms listed under the "at least two of the following symptoms" category. If your child is complaining of COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms or displaying these symptoms while in school, they will be sent to the school nurse for evaluation and sent home, if necessary. 

 

Children who are absent or sent home from school for COVID-19 Compatible Symptoms, will be required to have a pcr COVID-19 test done and result submitted to the school nurse for review, prior to the child's return to school. An alternative to pcr testing is to keep the child home until at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset and at least 72 hours have passed since resolution of fever without fever reducing medication (fever defined at St Cassian School as T>99.5). The school nurse will clear the child to return to school, when determined to be appropriate based on the child's test results, symptoms and/or illness history.

Instructions for Students Required to Quarantine

When  student has  tested positive for COVID-19 and is quarantining for the prescribed period of time or have been required by our school  to quarantine under other circumstances (such as being a close contact), virtual instruction will be provided to those students in a manner commensurate with in-person instruction. Once the quarantine period is over, the student(s) will be required to resume in person instruction. Students eligible to receive virtual instruction.  Once the quarantine period is over, the student is required to return to in person instruction. 

Students who have tested positive for COVID-19 or are not permitted to attend school due to quarantine restrictions, will not be able to participate in before or after school activities, including athletics. The school district will follow health guidelines when permitting students to return to school and participate in any in-person school activities. 

We look forward to the continued adventure of teaching and learning that awaits as the year unfolds!

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