Posted on January 5, 2020
Saint Michael Catholic School
Accredited by VCEA
7401-A St. Michael Lane
Annandale, VA 22003
Principal: Annie Fernandez
Covid-19 Task Force
Father Alexander Drummond, Pastor
Annie Fernandez, Principal (Point of Contact)
Roni Jarvis, School Nurse (Point of Contact)
Vic Gallerano, Teacher
Ray Christian, Facility Manager
This is an evolving plan and can change at any time.
Our Opening Plan is based on the recommendations of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fairfax County Health Department, Virginia Department of Health and the Arlington Diocese Office of Catholic Schools. We will follow layered prevention strategies to decrease the transmission of Covid-19 for a smooth operation of our school. Bishop Burbidge encourages a plan that is consistent with the guidance that the Virginia Department of Education has disseminated.
This plan will be evaluated frequently and can change at any time.
Our goal is to keep our school open for normal operations with minimal or no disruptions.
We plan to offer 100% in-person instruction Monday through Friday.
The option of virtual learning will be offered only:
- In case of emergency in consultation with the principal
- Quarantining because of illness
- During school wide closures
Masks: In light of Governor Northam’s public health emergency order on Thursday August 12, 2021 on required universal Masking in all Virginia private and public K-12 schools, Saint Michael School requires universal masking for all until further notice.
Ventilation: In addition to air purifiers, we have installed the Cold Plasma Generators (Phenomenal Aire) in both the buildings for better and sanitized air flow.
Arrival and Dismissal: We will continue with arrival and dismissal directly to/from classrooms. In the Junior Building, all students will enter and exit from door numbers 20, 21, 22, and 23. In the senior building, the students will use the exterior doors of their classrooms. Temperature checks and morning health screenings will continue.
School Mass: Students will attend Mass every week. Grades 6-8 will attend Mass every Friday. Grades 3-5 will be assigned a scheduled day of the week to attend Mass. Grades K-2 will attend Mass once a month in consultation with our pastor. They will participate in virtual Mass in the weeks they are not scheduled to attend Mass in person. We will begin attending Mass as a whole school community once the positive numbers are in the low category.
Cafeteria: Students will eat lunch in the cafeteria spaced more than 4 feet. We will continue to have outdoor lunches, if we have enough parents available for supervision.
Changing Classes, Recess: Students will be traveling to/from the music and art classroom. PE will be held in the gym or outside. Use of lockers is being considered for students in grades 4-8. Recess areas will be assigned per grade level.
Cleaning: The school will continue with additional cleaning and sanitization.
Contact Tracing/Quarantine: The school will continue to provide contact tracing using classroom seating charts. We will continue to notify individuals who have had close contact with a positive COVID case of the need to quarantine. Families will continue to be expected to quarantine after international travel.
If Governor Northam’s executive order regarding universal masking is rescinded, we will resort to COVID-19 mitigation and prevention protocols based on the following three step framework. Updates will be communicated via our weekly school e-newsletter, emails and social media posts.
Adherence to School Metrics – School Metrics is located on the Virginia Department of Health website, and evaluates the level of community disease transmission in our community. The Metrics categories include low, moderate, substantial, and high. Two measures are used to establish each category: the total number of cases in the past seven days and the percentage of nucleic acid amplification tests that are positive in the past seven days.
- Vaccine Data Dashboard – Vaccine data on the Virginia Department of Health website helps us understand community and locality level vaccination coverage. Age-group vaccination coverage at the local level will provide important data regarding estimated vaccination coverage at St. Michael Catholic School. Because children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, there may be protocols that are necessary for younger students while not necessary for older middle school students. However, most guidelines and protocols will remain consistent across all grade levels.
- School Impact Data – Just as important as the local data, information specific to St. Michael Catholic School will help monitor the effectiveness of our protocols. Criteria we will consider is transmission within the school, student absenteeism, and staff capacity. We will weekly evaluate the impact that Covid-19 transmission is having on our school community and adjust protocols accordingly.
For example, if the level of school impact is worsening, protocols will be adjusted to provide a higher level of protection which may include a transition to remote learning.
Safety Measures and Precautions
- Frequently touched surfaces (e.g., door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains) will be cleaned and disinfected within the school at least daily and between use as much as possible.
- Each student’s belongings will be separated from others and will not be shared. They will be placed in individually labeled containers, cubbies, or assigned areas.
- Staff and students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles.
- Touchless water bottle filling stations will be cleaned and sanitized every day.
- Students will be reminded to wash hands/use hand sanitizers frequently.
- Every staff member will receive ample cleaning supplies for their individual classrooms.
- Touchless hand sanitizer dispensers are installed in easy to access locations in the buildings.
- Masks are required for all until further notice.
Social Distancing/Modified Layout/Ventilation
- Seating/desks will be spaced 3 feet apart.
- Students will eat in the cafeteria/outdoors with more than 4 feet spacing.
- Students will stay in their classroom with the exception of recess, Advanced Math, Music, Art, and PE.
- Classrooms/spaces utilized by different groups of students will be cleaning and sanitized after every use.
- Outside areas will be designated for recess.
- Students and teachers will be entering and exiting the classrooms from the exterior classroom doors.
- Stickers and decals will be placed inside and outside the building to help teachers and students maintain 3 feet of distance and practice safe Covid-19 practices when moving from one place to another.
- In addition to air purifiers, we have installed the Cold Plasma Generators (Phenomenal Aire) in both the buildings for better and sanitized air flow.
- Signs will be posted in highly visible locations (e.g., school entrances, restrooms) that promote everyday protective measures and describe how to stop the spread of germs.
- Staff and families will be notified of school closures and any restrictions in place to limit COVID-19 exposure (e.g., limited hours of operation).
- Non-essential visitors will not be allowed in the building.
- All emails and phone calls from employees and families, regarding illness absences will be documented with symptoms.
- Daily health checks (e.g., temperature screening and/or symptom checking of staff and students will be conducted before entry into the building.
- An isolation room/ area will be designated for staff and students who have COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive but does not show any symptoms.
- In accordance with state and local laws and regulations, school administrators will notify local health officials, staff, and families immediately of any case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.