STM BACK TO SCHOOL PLAN
St. Thomas More School is excited to welcome our students back to school on Monday, August 31, 2020. We will offer full-time live instruction in our school building or an online learning environment for families who are not yet comfortable having their children come into the building.
Over the past several weeks, our team of administrators, teachers, and parents have been working with healthcare professionals who have been on the front lines during this COVID-19 pandemic. We scrutinized different schools’ plans, research articles, and the healthcare professionals’ experiences to develop our plan. We looked at many alternative plans that did not include face masks. However, the doctors and nurses on our committee all were very insistent that masks are the key barrier so an infected person does not transmit the virus to another person. Our number one priority is to keep everyone safe. Therefore, our plan requires all students and staff to wear masks in the building. We will be providing a free mask to all students. However, students can wear any mask that they feel comfortable wearing as long as it covers the nose and mouth (no bandanas please).
We recognize that students cannot wear their masks every second of the day. We are building into our day periodic “mask breaks.”
We are purchasing tents to set up outside on our campus as outdoor classrooms so students can learn outside without their masks. Students will be at least six feet apart outside. We also upgraded our Wifi system within the building and outside the building so we can use our devices at all locations. As another safety measure, we are creating a second health room, staffed with a separate nurse, in the conference room to keep any student with symptoms separate from other students.
Before students enter the building, we will be taking their temperatures. If a student has a temperature of 100 degrees or more, we will escort them into the second health room. Students will also be required to sanitize their hands as they enter the building. We will have sanitizing stations throughout the building and each teacher will have hand sanitizer for students as they enter the classroom. Hand-washing will occur often throughout the day. Our desks will be 3-6 feet from each other. Students' coats and supplies will remain with them at their desks. Students will remain in their classrooms most of the day with the exception of some specials like physical education. The healthcare professionals strongly suggested that we minimize movement throughout the building and keep homerooms of students together to lessen the spread of germs. We will also have students socially distancing. We will have markers on the floor and signs to share the importance of distancing from each other.
Mr. Kegolovics, our maintenance director, has developed a strong plan to keep the physical building safe. His staff has been trained in cleaning to protect everyone from COVID-19. He is working with our HVAC company to install microbial filters and to adjust our handlers to provide the maximum amount of fresh air flow. The staff will be cleaning bathrooms several times a day and consistently sanitizing touch-points like doorknobs and railings. All of our cleaning products are hospital grade disinfectants and environmentally safe. Our custodial team uses electrostatic sprayers which makes the disinfectant adhere to surfaces to kill the germs and virus. We will be constantly cleaning to keep our building safe.
We recognize that students have experienced quite a challenge by not being in school and with their friends for many months. We are blessed at STM in that we are a faith-filled community grounded in our belief in God. Our school counselors are collaborating with our teachers to provide opportunities for students to learn about and share their experiences as we journey together through this school year. It is important that we are meeting the spiritual, social, and emotional needs of our students.
Thank you for your patience and support of STM. Together we will create a safe and positive academic experience for our students.
Mr. Derek Peiffer, St. Thomas More School Principal