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School Opening Update #3 from Mr. Wilson

Dear Families:

I hope you are all safe and well!

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced that all schools in New York State have permission to open in September.

Following the guidelines set by the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Department of Education, and the Diocese of Brooklyn, we have prepared and submitted a plan for the reopening Saint Mark Catholic Academy.

The Diocese of Brooklyn’s Office of the Superintendent has reviewed the plan, and they have given us permission to submit it to the state. Once it is approved, we will be able to share it with you.

Until that time, I would like to provide you with some of the essential details regarding our reopening in September…

  1. First and foremost, the plan calls for a 100 percent return for all students for in-person instruction five days per week.

  1. To ensure social distancing, we are reorganizing and “reimagining” the use of space in the school building.

  2. For example, we will be utilizing the gymnasium and cafeteria as classroom spaces.

  1. We are limiting class sizes and arranging desks according to social distancing guidelines.

  1. “No-touch” hand sanitizers are being installed in every classroom, and sanitizer stations will be placed at every entrance to the school building.

  1. Students will not be changing classes. In middle school, the teachers will move from class to class, and all special content classes will take place in the classroom.

  1. Physical education classes will take place outside, weather permitting.

  1. The use of the science lab will be suspended until further notice.

  1. All faculty, staff, and students will be required to wear a face covering. More details about face coverings will be made available in our reopening plan, but please note the following:

  2. All students, age two and older, will be required to wear a face covering.

  3. Students may remove their face coverings during meal times. They will also be given mask breaks at the discretion of the teacher, as long as proper social distancing measures are in place.

  4. With the support of the Diocese of Brooklyn, Saint Mark Catholic Academy will have over 500 cloth masks on hand for students and staff.

  5. In addition, 1,000 disposable masks have been purchased for students, faculty, and staff who may misplace or soil their cloth mask.

  1. Signage will be placed on the floor for social distancing in hallways, classrooms, and outdoor spaces.

  1. There are three stairways in the building. One will be labeled an “up staircase,” another will be labeled a “down staircase,” and a third will be for faculty use only.

  1. We are currently working on staggered arrival and dismissal procedures to eliminate congestion outside and ensure social distancing.

  1. Prior to September, the entire building, including the gymnasium, will cleaned and disinfected by a certified company engaged by the Diocese of Brooklyn.

  1. We are purchasing a “hydro fog” disinfecting machine and the additional products associated with it, including sanitizing solution and protective materials

  1. Physical barriers, such as sneeze guards and partitions, will be used where it is difficult for individuals to remain at least six feet apart, like the desks of administrators and school office staff.

  1. Saint Mark Catholic Academy will continue to utilize the New York City Department of Education Food Services Program.

  2. Of course, children will be allowed to bring their own meals as feasible.

  3. All mealtimes will be held in classrooms instead of the cafeteria.

  4. We will maintain our policy of being a “peanut safe” school.

  5. Student will have the opportunity for outdoor recess. One class at a time will be taken outside, weather permitting.

  1. Health Protocols and Screening:

  2. Parents are encouraged to be aware of signs of illness in their children and to keep them home whenever they are sick.

  3. Student, faculty, and staff temperatures will be taken upon entry into school. Anyone with a temperature of 100.0 or greater will not be permitted to come to school.

  1. Only essential visitors will be allowed into the building. Emailing and phone calls will be the primary means of communicating with faculty and staff.

Please know that this is only a small snapshot of the planning and preparation that is being done to ensure a safe return for the entire Saint Mark family. Once our plan is approved, we will share it with all of you in its entirety.

I realize that there are some families who may not feel comfortable with their children returning to school in September. As a parent, I understand and share your concerns. That said, the Diocese of Brooklyn is in process of establishing an “online Catholic academy” which will provide remote learning for all students in the Diocese whose families are not yet ready to have them return to in-person instruction. I’m still receiving the details, but please know that any child enrolled in this “online academy” will still be considered a student at Saint Mark Catholic Academy, and you will incur no additional costs for the service; you’d be paying the same tuition. I hope to have more details for you soon.

I thank you for your patience, understanding, and support during these past few months. Let us remember those who are still coping with the effects of this illness. We continue to pray for them, for the swift eradication of this virus, and for an ultimate return to a time of both safety and normalcy.

Sincerely,


Mr. Mark Wilson Principal

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