Dear St. Margaret Mary Catholic School Families,
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is pushing schools in many parts of the country into uncharted waters. The speed with which COVID-19 has spread, and the uncertainty that still surrounds it, have made for an unprecedented situation.
While there are no confirmed cases among our students or adults as of now, the rapid spread of the disease makes it likely that we will be impacted in some way before the end of the school year. In light of this reality, we wanted to share with you some of the issues our leadership teams have been discussing.
Who Informs Our Decision Making?
We will continue to look primarily to local, state and federal health departments for guidance in addressing the coronavirus outbreak. They are the experts in this area.
What precautions are being done at school?
• · Students are washing their hands upon arrival with soap and water.
• · Soap is readily available in all the classrooms. Students should expect frequent reminders about washing their hands, respectfully coughing/sneezing, etc.
• · Teachers are reviewing the correct handwashing techniques with all students.
• · All hard surfaces are being cleaned daily with Clorox wipes or a 90/10 water/bleach solution.
• · Students have been instructed that they do not need to shake or hold hands at any point during Mass.
• · Hand sanitizer is available throughout the school for all staff and students.
• · The office is asking for a detailed explanation for absences due to illness. Please refer to the handbook policy on student illness and absences.
What If Someone Has COVID-19?
If we become aware that a student or staff member has been diagnosed with COVID-19, we will notify the McHenry County Health Department and then notify our community. We also will share if and/or how the academic schedule may be impacted. Notifications for students, parents, and staff will occur in the same way that we would announce other emergency closures, using a combination of emails, text alerts, and website/social media announcements.
Canceling Classes or Events:
Our first and most important responsibility is to safeguard the health and well-being of our students, staff and community. To that end, we will follow the McHenry County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control’s guidance and direct recommendations when considering any cancellations. At this time, our public health officials have not recommended nor directed us to cancel or reschedule classes.
Will We Use e-Learning Days?
Yes. We are confident the use of e-Learnings days is our best opportunity to support student learning during what may be a challenging time.
We understand that some may be traveling over spring break. We will adhere to the recommendation of the CDC which is for any persons traveling to a Level 2 or 3 area (China, Japan, Italy, Iran, Korea and Seattle, subject to change) to self-quarantine upon their return for 14 days. Also, persons who are in contact with anyone who has a positive diagnosis of COVID-19 must remain quarantined for the required 14 days. Otherwise, at this time, we anticipate students and staff to return to school following spring break on Monday, March 30, 2020.
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to much uncertainty. We have had numerous planning sessions on how we will react if, or when, the virus touches our community. While we have tried our best to be proactive — including an even greater intensity to daily cleaning of our school building — there may be situations and circumstances that make for difficult decisions. Once again, in those cases our primary concern is the safety and well-being of students, supported by the latest recommendations and directives from public health officials.
In the meantime, we would like to remind you of these basic steps that everyone should be taking to minimize the spread of this and any respiratory illness:
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
We will continue to monitor this situation and keep you informed of any new information as it develops. If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. Thank you for your cooperation.
Principal – STMM