School is almost here! As the date for our return approaches, we’re watching the local health data carefully in order to make the best plans for the Fall trimester. We will continue to offer the choice of on-campus or virtual learning unless the following events should occur:
- The local, state, or federal government issues a directive to close campus or stay at home
- The St. Louis County Department of Health determines that campus needs to close for contact tracing or to respond to incidents of infection within the community
- The broader Saint Louis region experiences substantial uncontrolled community transmission
Before your son leaves home, you will need to log into your new Magnus Health Smartphone App to answer questions about his health and take his temperature. The app will notify the school of the results and inform you immediately about whether or not your son may attend school on campus. Faculty and staff will follow the same process. Details about how to download, set-up, and use this app will be shared in a subsequent email before the start of school. Please note: students who are sick, even with mild symptoms, may not attend school on campus. This policy will be strictly enforced.
Before leaving home, make sure that your son has a mask with him. He will be required to wear a mask at all times. Please note that in order to be effective, your son’s mask should be thick enough that it prevents him from being able to blow out a candle.
Arrival on Campus
If your son is in Form I and II, he should be dropped off at the Junior School circle. Students in Form III-VI should be dropped off at the High School circle. These buildings may only be entered from these points. Handwashing stations are located outside both entrances as well as at the church, gym, and dining hall. Students must wash or sanitize their hands for 20 seconds before entering any building on campus.
The Junior School and High School will open at 7 a.m. Classes will begin at 8 a.m. each day except Thursday, when they will start at 9 a.m. If your son arrives on campus before 7:30 a.m (8:30 a.m. on Thursdays), he will be asked to maintain social distance from every other person in the building. After 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. on Thursdays), all students will be expected to go to their first period classroom where they may work, talk, or play so long as they are seated in their designated socially distanced desks. A teacher will be in the room to ensure that social distancing and mask wearing is observed. Students who arrive at school after 7:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. on Thursdays) will be expected to report directly to their first period class.
As noted in previous communications, only your sons may enter school facilities or participate in school activities on campus. Faculty will be available for meetings on Zoom or conference calls only. In order to promote accurate contact tracing, seniors will not be allowed to leave campus during the school day.
In the Classroom
Students will have five classes a day, the order of which will vary according to a seven-day schedule. In Forms I-III, students will tend to stay in the same classroom to enable easier contact tracing. In Forms IV-VI, students will travel more regularly between classrooms in order to accommodate their electives. Upon arrival in the classroom, students will immediately go to their desks, which will be spaced 6 feet apart. Teachers will be equipped with antiviral cleaning mist that they will spray on the high touch surfaces in the room before a new group of students arrive. These rooms will also be deep-cleaned every night. Students in remote access rooms for on campus hybrid learning will be supervised by a member of the faculty and encouraged to participate actively during class.
All indoor corridors and stairways will be clearly marked in order to maintain social distance. Some areas will be denoted by signs and arrows as one-directional in order to minimize the transmission of droplets and aerosols. Students will be expected to carry their textbooks with them from class to class so they do not need to visit their lockers during the day. They will be reminded by signs and faculty to maintain social distance.
On days when your son has Mass, he will report to the Church at 11 a.m. with his classmates, under the supervision of his 3rd period teacher (2nd period teacher on Thursdays). He will clean his hands with hand sanitizer upon entering the Church. Students and faculty supervisors will spread out through all six bays of pews and maintain strict social distancing. No more than two Forms will attend Mass at a time. The Church will be deep-cleaned before and after every Mass. Masks will be worn by all parties other than the main priest celebrant during the services, except when receiving holy communion. While parents may not attend Masses in person, we are exploring ways to stream the most important liturgical celebrations of the year.
When school is in session on campus, lunch will be served in the multipurpose gym from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Your son will eat in one of three 20-minute shifts. When it is your son’s turn to eat, he will line up (maintaining social distance) outside the main entrance to the gym (or in the Corley Gym during inclement weather) and sanitize his hands. Our catering staff will distribute pre-packaged hot meals in the gym lobby along with milk, fruit, condiments, and cutlery. Students will receive their meal and then enter the multipurpose gym where they will sit at socially distanced tables for two (one student at each end).
Once seated, students may remove their masks to eat. Afterwards, they will put on their masks, exit the multipurpose gym from the west end, throw their containers away, wash their hands, and then exit the facility by the locker rooms. They will immediately report to their next activity.
After their fifth period class, students in Form I and II will go to designated changing areas in the Junior School before reporting to the Junior School field for athletics. Form III-VI athletes in Cross County and Soccer will go to designated changing areas before reporting to their respective outdoor rally points; JV and Varsity Football players will report to the gym locker room. Only football players will have access to the gym lockers, which will be spaced out for proper social distancing.
During practices, all student athletes and their coaches will observe safety guidelines published by our Athletic Director, Harold Barker, in accordance with the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force.
In Forms I and II, your son will be ready to go home at 4:30 p.m. and should be collected from the Junior School Circle. Extended supervision will be available for Form I and II students until 5:30 p.m. in the High School Commons. If your son is in a High School sport, he will be ready to go home by 5:30 p.m. and may be collected from the High School Commons. Please note: parents will not be able to enter the buildings; please call your son’s cell phone in order to meet him.
Covid in the Community
If your son is diagnosed with COVID-19, you will need to notify Mr. Nickolai directly, as well as the St. Louis County Health Department. The school will then work with local officials to contact trace and notify all individuals who may have been affected. If necessary, campus may close until the contact tracing is completed. In order to protect the privacy of our students, faculty, and staff, neither the school nor the Health Department will ever release the name of a person who has contracted COVID-19. We will follow CDC and County Guidelines in determining when students who test positive for COVID-19 may return to campus.
If your son becomes ill while on campus, he should notify the nearest faculty member who will then direct him to one of the isolation rooms we have established on campus to wait until you are notified and able to take him home. Students who drive to school will be allowed to drive home if deemed safe. Faculty members who feel unwell will be asked to notify their supervisor and then leave campus immediately. You should then contact your doctor about whether or not he should be tested for COVID-19. While off-campus, your son should attend classes virtually unless he is too ill to concentrate.
As I have said many times this summer, I am grateful for your patience and flexibility as we prepare for multiple scenarios for the coming school year. It is our hope that we will be able to spend as much time on campus as possible; in order to make that possible, we will depend upon your cooperation in helping to teach your sons these new rules and to take them seriously. If we all work together to practice the basic precautions, we will be able to mitigate many of the risks associated with COVID-19 and foster the best learning environment possible for your sons at this time.
Please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions and be assured of my prayers for you and your family.
Father Cuthbert Elliott, O.S.B., '02