St. Mary’s St Alphonsus Regional Catholic School Reopening Plan

(Noah's Ark Pre-K 3 year olds - 8th Grade)

LAST UPDATED: August 4, 2020 at 3:03 pm

The following template was created by the Capital Region BOCES Health-Safety-Risk and Communications Services and adapted by the Catholic School Office to assist schools in crafting their required school reopening plans following the COVID-19 closure. The outline fully incorporates the reopening guidance from the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools.

Overview

St. Mary’s - St. Alphonsus Regional Catholic School remains committed to the safety and well being of our students, faculty, staff and parents. At the end of the school year, SMSA developed two teams charged with developing safety and instructional plans for the reopening of our Noah's Ark Pre-K 3 yearolds - 8th Grade School in the fall. The members on these committees included teachers of various levels, staff, parents, clergy, custodians, administration, and health care workers. In addition to the CDC, NYS Department of Health, and NY State Department of Education, we engaged with local school officials and consulted with our local health department to gain recommendations and guidelines. We intend to continually review and revise these documents as the year progresses.

Introduction

On Monday, July 13, 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that school districts in New York can follow plans to reopen for in-person schooling in September if COVID-19 infection rates stay at 5% or lower in a given region.  

Determinations will be made by regions about opening and closing schools as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. If a region is in Phase 4 and has a daily infection rate of 5% or lower over a 14-day average, schools in that region could hold in-person instruction. If daily infection rates exceed 9% over a seven-day average, however, schools in that region would not reopen. Similarly, should a region see such an average after reopening, schools in that region would also be directed to close.

While schools have been instructed to prioritize efforts to return all students to in-person instruction, the school is also planning for remote/distance learning, as well as  for a hybrid model that combines in-person instruction and remote learning. Parents will always have the choice to remain in the remote learning model. In writing, parents will be required to state their intentions for their preference of their child’s learning, to the principal and the teacher.

The plan outlined here is for the reopening of St. Mary’s St Alphonsus Regional Catholic School for the 2020-21 school year, following the building closure related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The health and safety of our students, our staff and their families is our top priority. We want students and employees to feel comfortable and safe returning to the school campus. Our reopening plan incorporates recommendations and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), New York State Reopening Guidance for Religious and Independent Schools, the Religious Services Guidelines on the New York Forward website and the New York State Education Department (NYSED).

It is possible that we may need to alternate between in-person and remote learning throughout the year due to recommendations and guidance from our partnering agencies, and stay-at-home orders from the Governor. The level of infection, the spread of the virus and response to the disease in our community will be at the forefront of our decision making as we move to open our school.

Mrs. Patricia Balmer will serve as the school’s COVID-19 Coordinator. Mrs. Balmer will work closely with our local health department and will be responsible for communications to parents and staff, as necessary.  She will serve as a central contact for stakeholders, families, staff and other school community members and will ensure the school is in compliance and following the best practices per state and federal guidelines. Mrs. Balmer’s contact information will be included in all communications, written and electronic, as well as posted on our website.

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