SAINT COLUMBKILLE NEWS

COVID-19 STCPS Communications

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COVID-19 Update – May 28, 2020

With an eye on the news, we are seeing encouraging data regarding the spread of the virus in Massachusetts. With the easing of restrictions, we certainly hope that we can begin the return to normalcy while taking the necessary precautions that will help to keep us safe. This week, we have ramped up our discussions regarding the possibility of offering summer programming and are creating the long list of “must do” items necessary for the return to the school building. Indeed, it is a long list and will require a great effort from everybody. We are exploring many options even though it is too early for us to know, at this time, which options will be best.

We have begun to prepare our building for reentry. We have purchased equipment that will facilitate sanitization. We are installing an additional hand-washing station. We are ramping up for the construction to expand our health room. We will also be removing the carpeting on the lower level.

While we are incredibly proud of our children, parents and teachers for the work they continue to do during the summer, it is inevitable that there will be learning gaps to be filled. I am not worried about filling the gaps as our teachers are masterful when it comes to differentiation. Our teachers utilize assessments during the year to precisely measure learning. With the remote learning program, these assessments are not possible. As communicated earlier, students will not be assessed in the usual manner. If a teacher does not have enough data to assign credit to a student, the student will be marked “incomplete.” This designation should not be seen as a failing of any sort. When we return to school, we will assess all students and plan a course of action that is tailored to each student’s needs. Some students may require additional tutoring. Thankfully, we have raised some funds to support students who will need additional tutoring in the fall.

We have also begun to write a plan that will address the social and emotional needs of our children. There is no precedent that will tell us what we should expect when our students return to school. We do expect that some children will have experienced trauma. Before the start of school, we will work hard to prepare our teachers for this eventuality.

We are still awaiting directives from officials regarding summer programming. At the minimum, we will have some remote options available. Hopefully, we will be prepared to give you more information within a week to ten days.

Sincerely,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – April 21, 2020

Dear families,

This morning when I awoke, I heard on the news that there were 35 states who had closed school buildings for the year.  And then at noon, Governor Baker announced that our state’s schools will also remain closed.
I had been hoping against hope that this virus could be contained in time for us to return to school. I am sure that when you heard this news, your initial reaction was much the same as mine was. I was sad. Then I thought about the sacrifices that parents all around this country are making. I thought of our teachers who desperately miss their students. Then I thought that we have to make the best of a very bad situation. We owe it to the children. We also owe it to potential lives that may be saved by our collective efforts.
We will continue working to discover how to make remote learning optimal in order to have a successful conclusion to this school year and to forge a plan for getting our children back on track during the next school year.
We will be sending out a very important survey. I know that we have gotten positive feedback during these past weeks but now, with this news, we want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to provide high quality remote education. Your feedback will be invaluable.
There are still a lot of unknowns, If you are like me, I do not do well with unknowns. I do know that we are still planning to have a summer program. I know that many of you have signed up for this program. I do not know how much learning will be missed as a result of the switch to remote learning. I do know that we will put additional resources in play to help our children catch up.
I also know that some of you are now unemployed. Please let us know if you need help. I also know that there are generous people who are stepping up to help.
I am grateful to Kate Ward and her team of parents who are working so hard to raise funds through the virtual Race to Educate. If you are able to support this fundraiser or know of anyone who can help, it will be appreciated.
I will pray for our families and, in particular, for our children. Please pray for our faculty and administrators as well. I know we will get through it and believe that the future is bright for Saint Columbkille Partnership School. This is due to the fantastically strong community we have together built.

Sincerely,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – March 16, 2020

Dear Families,

Our teachers and administrators have been working since Friday to design a remote learning program that will advance learning as well as social and emotional wellness. While our school is technological, teaching primarily with technology as the platform is done in this emergency situation. In full disclosure, our program for remote learning will evolve over time. There will be things that will work and others that will not. It is our goal that our teachers and administrators remain connected with you and your children while we are not in the school building and that learning continues for all of our students.

Teachers will be sending individual emails to their families with basic schedules and the process that will be followed. In terms of technology, Grades 4 and up will primarily use Google Classroom.  Grades Pre-K to 2 will us a combination of Seesaw, Zoom and printed packets. All teachers will be actively involved, including our specialist teachers. Again, we fully understand if participation in this program may not be possible for some families at all times but hope we can stay connected and engaged by using these.

Please know your family’s wellness is important to us.  Our support staff is available should your child need it.  If your family is in need of food items, please email me.  The Saint Columbkille Community has all ready dropped off bags and bags of food for those that need it.  The YMCA as well as the Boston Public Schools have set up food distribution as well.

At a time like this, routine is essential to our overall well-being. Prayer is such an important part of our community, and we will offer our recorded prayer (with announcements) by 9:00am everyday.  Plan on starting your day in reflection and prayer, just as your children do at STCPS. For today’s prayer, and announcements, follow this link:  https://youtu.be/Sp–Xem5RUs.

Again, should you need anything, we will do our best to help you out.

In Prayer,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – March 13, 2020 #2

Dear Families,

The administrative team has been working along with the faculty to prepare for remote learning which will begin on Tuesday, March 17. The faculty and staff will be meeting virtually on Monday so that they are adequately prepared to have a successful two weeks of teaching and learning. You can expect that before Tuesday morning, your child’s teacher will be in touch with details pertinent to your child’s classroom.

We understand that these times may cause food insecurity for some of our families. Beginning on Monday, from 8 am – 2:30 pm there will be a drop off bin in the plaza of the school should you like to donate some non-perishable items. We would suggest items such as pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, and snacks. We will make these available for families in need.

Thank you,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – March 13, 2020 #1

Dear Families,

After consultation with health care professionals, we have made the decision that it is in the best interest of all to close the school building for the next two weeks, effective immediately. We plan to return to school on March 30, 2020.

I want to reiterate that to date we have no presumptive or confirmed cases of COVID-19 within our community.

We feel it is important to continue teaching and learning albeit in a different way. The teachers and the administrative staff are working on the plan to stay connected with families during the course of time away from school. There will be a follow up email that will have more details.

These are times filled with anxiety and uncertainty. I want to express my appreciation for the way in which you have supported the school during this crisis. I also want to thank my faculty, administrative and health teams who responded so professionally in making decisions to best care for the children we love so much. The strongest asset we have in the school is our community. With this asset, I know that we will continue to support one another. When this crisis is over, we will be stronger.  Please pray for all people, especially for those who are most vulnerable and who are on the front lines helping to contain this pandemic.

Thank you,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – March 12, 2020 #2

Dear Families,

First and foremost, thank you for your understanding and your cooperation this morning. The safety and well-being of your children are at the forefront of our decision-making process. For that reason, we proactively decided to dismiss school today after we received some information regarding a connection to a person who was in contact with another person with a presumptive case of COVID-19. We want to be clear that this was a secondary contact and we chose to close out of an abundance of caution.

This weekend the school will undergo a deep cleaning and we will continue to monitor and update you as the situation evolves.

Thank you,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – March 12, 2020 #1

Dear Families,

This morning we were notified that there has been a connection to a presumptive case of COVID-19. For this reason, we feel it prudent to dismiss early and cancel school tomorrow so we are able to have a thorough cleaning of the building. The school will be closing at 11 a.m. today (including all after school activities) and will remain closed tomorrow, Friday, March 13. There will be no access to the building for the weekend. We will contact you over the weekend with a status report.

Children are under no obligation to complete any work tomorrow. Consider today and tomorrow as a snow day.

Thank you,
William Gartside
Head of School

COVID-19 Update – March 11, 2020

Dear Families,
I thought it is important to update you on the latest developments.
Thank you for understanding our latest directive to exclude parents and non essential adults from the school building. We have stepped up the cleaning to include evening disinfecting every night.
A parent reported to us that he has been asked by his employer to work from home. A person in his company is being tested for the COVID-19 virus. Out of an abundance of caution, the parents have opted to keep their child home. We support the parent’s decision.
Many parents have inquired about the possibility of us closing. This is something that we are closely monitoring and will keep you informed as we continually are seeking guidance from government and healthcare professionals.
We are setting up an email address for parents to communicate their child’s absence (studentabsent@stcps.org). If your child will be absent from school, you must email us and:
– Give your child’s name
– Give the reason for the absence
– If you are keeping your child home as precaution, please tell us.
Again, thank you for working with us during this time and will keep you updated. Your support makes a world of difference!!

Thank you,
William Gartside, Ed.D
Head of School
Saint Columbkille Partnership School; where children are known and loved!

 

COVID-19 Procedure Update – March 9, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,
Today we implemented a proactive step to restrict entry/access to non-essential visitors to the building. For the time being, until there is more clarity on the situation, this policy will be in place.
– If you need to dismiss your child early you can call the main office at 617-254-3110.
– If you need to meet with your child’s teacher, please email them to set up a time for a call.
– If you need to drop something off to your child, someone will meet you at the main door.
Our Thursday morning coffee with the Support Staff will be held using Zoom. Keep an eye out for an email with the information to log into the Zoom meeting. We will keep you posted on further updates.

Thank you!
Jen Lynch

COVID-19 Procedure Update – March 6, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,
I think it is important that I update you regarding our school’s response to the evolving COVID-19 situation. Please note that we are continuing to monitor the current guidelines and will keep you informed as our school policies are updated.
We have put together a committee of experts to guide our decision making. The committee includes two doctors, a public health official, two nurses, and school administrators. All decisions are vetted by this committee. Decisions are made with the information that is available at the time and will change as new information is shared by health officials. We are taking the following measures:
– We have increased our education regarding hand-washing including signage around the building. We are working on installing a hand-washing station on the lower level to give students easier access.
– We have instructed all adults and students to refrain from physical touch, including handshakes and high-fives, as well as how to properly cover sneezes and coughs. We are also reminding students to avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
– We are aggressively disinfecting high-touch surfaces multiple times per day. We have ordered a significant back supply of disinfectant products.
– We will not have large group assemblies until the situation has passed.
– We are finalizing a screening process for all volunteers who enter the building.
– We are meeting with faculty to develop a plan for remote learning, should it become necessary.

The following are the most recent directives from the CDC regarding travelers who have returned or will return from travel to China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea (the countries for which there is a level 3 travel advisory). The Archdiocese of Boston recommends that Japan (level 2) is added to this list.
– Travelers who have returned or will return from the countries noted above may not come back to school until they have completed self-monitoring for 14 days after entry to the U.S. Please refer to the CDC website for directives regarding self-monitoring. If you, your child, or any member of your family has returned from one of the level 3 countries, that person must self-quarantine for 14 days after entering the country. Please contact us if this restriction applies to your family or child.Our teacher who traveled to Italy remains asymptomatic and is cleared to return to her classroom on Monday. We took proactive steps and asked her to stay home until she passed the CDC’s recommended quarantine time.
In addition to any COVID-19 guidelines/policies we are communicating, we also need to include reminders on exclusions related to general illnesses. It is still flu season here in Massachusetts. Please note that your child must stay home from school if they have:
– A diagnosis of a communicable disease
– Fever of 100.4 or higher*
– Active vomiting or diarrhea within the last 24 hours
– Pain requiring narcotic medications
– Upper respiratory illness with persistent coughing/nasal discharge
– An undiagnosed rash
*Any oral temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit or axillary temperature of 99.4 or higher constitutes a fever. Your child should be fever free, without medication, for 24 hours before returning to school. Please do not treat a fever with medication and send your child to school.
Sincerely,
Dr. William Gartside, Ed.D.
Nurse Sheila Quinn, R.N.
Nurse Eadaoin Lewis, R.N.

 

COVID-19 Procedure Update – March 2, 2020

Dear Parents and Guardians,
I am sure you are aware that the COVID-19 (Corona) virus has affected people in this country, primarily people who have recently traveled abroad. The administrative team here at Saint Columbkille has been working hard to put in place response actions. We have been in touch with the school’s doctor, The Archdiocese of Boston’s Office of Risk Management, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
We have purchased additional antiviral cleaning materials and will increase the depth of the cleaning regiment. We are encouraging more frequent and aggressive hand-washing. As always, we will continue to follow the policy regarding sick students. http://stcps.org/wp-content/uploads/FEVER-VOMITING-POLICY.pdf
One of our grade five teachers traveled to Italy during the school vacation. We have asked her to stay home until we have more guidance from health officials. She is not symptomatic but as a precaution we have asked her to stay home until we have more guidance. I will keep you posted as the situation evolves. This link will send you to the most recent information from the Center for Disease Control. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Thank you,
William Gartside, Ed.D
Head of School
Saint Columbkille Partnership School