RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today. Let us begin.”
– Mother Teresa
These words from Mother Teresa reflect the journey we are about to embark. I could not have been more proud of how our students, teachers and staff members handled the adjustments and sacrifices that were made along the route that led to a successful end of the last school year. Certainly, we would love to know what the next few months will bring, but COVID-19 has taught us the importance of living in the present.
Distance Learning filled a void when we could not return to school in the spring, but we all felt the loss of in-class instruction. As we begin the 2020-21 school year, it will be imperative everyone who enters our building each day follows the guidelines outlined in the Return to School plan. Managing the health and wellness of each person will be of primary importance if we are able to continue in-class instruction throughout the school year. Based on the adjustments made last spring, I have great confidence that we can manage the changes we will encounter when school begins and throughout the school year. Thank you for believing in and supporting the mission of our school.
As the first day of school approaches, and the pandemic evolves, families have expressed interest in a Virtual McGuinness option. Catholic Virtual is able to provide families who desire a solely virtual model – either for medical reasons or based on their comfort level with the pandemic – that aligns with the Bishop McGuinness curriculum, including Theology. Commitment to Virtual McGuinness is a semester-long commitment. Students who pursue this option will still remain actively enrolled at Bishop McGuinness, which allows them to participate in school activities, access counseling services, and remain a part of the Irish community.
For families who feel in-person instruction is not for them during the fall semester, enrollment for Virtual McGuinness is open thru August 14. Please email Dr. Andrew Worthington.
Enhanced cleaning and sanitization practices will occur with increased frequency to disinfect classrooms and common areas using disinfectants recommended by the EPA. Each classroom will be thoroughly cleaned before and after school each day. During school hours maintenance will continue routine cleaning with a focus on high traffic, high touch areas such as door handles, faucets and light switches. Teachers and staff members have been provided sanitation materials for their classrooms and/or work spaces.
Frequent hand washing and sanitizing will be accommodated and encouraged. Students will be provided a spray hand sanitizer bottle, and will be encouraged to maintain proper hand hygiene, such as before and when changing classes. Classrooms will be equipped with hand hygiene products and additional hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the building in high trafficked areas.
Students, teachers, staff members and guests entering the building are required to wear a face covering at all times. Face coverings must: cover your nose and mouth; be made of a tightly woven fabric material such as cotton: include two or more layers of fabric; and able to be laundered without altering the shape or integrity. Face coverings must not include messages or images that distract from the learning environment, this includes: offensive language, inappropriate symbols or political messaging. Teachers may wear a face shield, in lieu of a mask. A Bishop McGuinness face covering will be available to purchase during the first week of school for $6.00.
To decrease the number of individuals in the cafeteria at any given time, we will implement four lunch periods. Tables in the Commons will be limited to four students with plexiglass dividers. Additional seating will be available in Brandt Park and at the end of Senior Hall.
Hand hygiene practices will be in place before and after mealtimes and common surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected between student groups. Additionally, steps are being taken to minimize lines and wait times when students receive school meals.
Seniors will not be allowed to have open campus lunch. Outside food deliveries after the school day begins will not be allowed. This will limit the number of guests in our front offices, and help us protect our employees. This will be reassessed regularly to determine if it is safe to then allow food deliveries. Student checkouts during lunch will take more time due to wellness checks, social distancing and reduced capacity in our front offices. Please consider this when making your plans.
SOCIAL + EMOTIONAL CARE
The changes in social interactions among students had a profound effect on the Irish community since the onset to COVID-19. During Distance Learning, we learned that some of our students were struggling with the loss of day-to-day personal contact with friends and teachers. Realizing this, our counseling staff was quick to respond.
There will be many challenges as we enter the school year, and our counselors are poised to address the needs of our students, as situations arise. Initiatives are being developed to help students cope with the numerous changes brought on by COVID-19.
SAFEGUARDS ON CAMPUS
ARRIVAL + DISMISSAL
- Access into the school will be allowed from 7:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Students will go directly to their first hour class when they enter the building. Any student in a school organized event, including tutorial, who needs access to the building before or after that time will be required to enter through the main entrance, and be supervised by faculty or staff. Before school care will be available on a case-by-case basis, and should be arranged with school administration.
- Classroom desks and common seating areas (including tables) will be rearranged to maximize space between students. Desks also will face the same direction, rather than toward each other, to reduce transmission. Assigned seating will be implemented.
- Visual aids will be used when possible to illustrate traffic flow and appropriate spacing. One-way halls have been established to minimize face-to-face contact when changing classes. When oneway hallways are not possible, barriers will be provided where necessary, such as hallways with students moving in opposite directions and the Commons.
- The library will be closed, except for reservations made by teachers for class use. Printing stations will be available outside the library.
- Lockers will not be allocated to all students. If a student has a specific need for a locker, those requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
- School will start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m., daily. There will be no special schedules, this includes Late Start, Assembly schedules and other special schedules – these have been placed on hold until further notice. WATER FOUNTAINS Water fountains will not be used for the foreseeable future in line with CDC guidelines. The water filling station in Senior Hall will be available to refill water bottles.
Families are expected to screen children for fever and/or other symptoms associated with COVID-19 prior to arrival at school each day. All students will participate in wellness screenings at school each morning. The school’s fever policy will continue to be enforced, and individuals with a temperature of 100.4 F or greater will not be permitted into the school. Teachers, administrators and visitors will be screened each day. BMCHS has hired a registered nurse who will be responsible for daily temperature checks, daily health questions, notifying parents whose students have not passed the first period health check, and monitoring current cases.