With September just around the corner, I wanted to take another opportunity to share the latest information coming from the State Department of Public Health and the Archdiocese of Hartford regarding our upcoming return to school policies. I want to emphasize, as has the Archdiocese, that protocol being put in place when we return to school is highly fluid and will be evaluated regularly to ensure our students continue to receive the best education in the safest, most sensible way possible.
On July 26th, I shared some of the details that our Return to In-Person Learning Committee had already decided would remain in place for 2021-2022 school year. Much of the protocol will mirror, or be similar to, how we closed out this past year. This includes students using a variety of entrances at morning arrival and reporting directly to their classroom, desk spacing of at least three feet apart, and the continuation of air ventilation measures put in place last year. Notable changes include no remote learning option and no temperature checks at morning arrival (although we will still be relying on parents to do a morning health assessment before leaving the house each day).
I know the big question on everyone’s mind is regarding the mask policy for students and staff. At this time, Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 13A is still in effect until September 30th and requires that all individuals – regardless of vaccination status – wear a mask while inside a school building. This means that all students, staff, and parents will be required to wear a mask inside our building when we return to school. All classes will have mask breaks at appropriate intervals and, at this point in time, masks will not be required while outside the building at recess and dismissal.
While we are required to abide by mandated policies, the Archdiocese of Hartford, along with Saint James School, will continue to evaluate Covid policies throughout the upcoming school year. This means that protocol could become more relaxed or restrictive, depending on the conditions in our community.
We cannot refute the success our school saw last year with respect to in-school attendance and academic growth, and I appreciate your support again this fall to ensure all Saint James School students enjoy a strong start to the year. It is important that we continue to maximize in-person learning to the greatest extent possible by minimizing Covid quarantines. If your child is not used to wearing a mask, please be sure to start practicing with them now in preparation for the first day of school.
For students using our extended day program for after school care, we have had a substantial number of additional families sign up to use the program as more businesses are instructing their employees to return to the office. With the larger numbers, we might not be able to achieve the same spacing that we did last year, which does lend itself to the possibility that if a student in our Extended Day program does test positive for Covid, contact tracing and quarantining may be required. Again, the policy is fluid and will depend on how things progress once we get a better indication of the program’s daily usage.
The following documents contain an overview of our policies for the 2021-2022 school year. These documents – as well as a more detailed overview – will be posted on our website for future reference and updates will be communicated in a timely manner.
If your child is fully vaccinated, please submit a copy of their vaccine card to the school nurse as soon as possible. This information will be kept confidential but will be useful should contact tracing need to occur (due to a positive case in the classroom or in extended day).
As summer comes to a close, I realize that many families are traveling out of state, please note that Saint James School will be following the current CDC guidelines for travel and subsequent quarantine. You may reference that information HERE. Please reach out to the school nurse if this impacts your return to school.
Thank you again for your continued commitment to the Saint James School community and entrusting us with the education of your children. We look forward to another great year of learning and growing at Saint James School.
Mrs. Bridget Zorger