News and Announcements
St. Charles School
As we approach the new academic year in the current conditions of Covid-19 pandemic, and the government guidelines to mitigate the possibility of transmission, we issue these guidelines to comply with diocesan mandates.
Our goal of reopening in such a way to allow for maximum face to face instruction for all students is all the more necessary as we transition into the Classical Curriculum. We are dedicated to serving our community by providing rich faith formation and academic rigor in a manner keeping with the mission of the Church.
We all want students and educators to feel comfortable and safe returning to school environments. The best way to do that is to identify solutions that make transitions to and from remote continuous learning and a return to some form of in-person instruction, as seamless as possible.
The requirements and guidance of our Catholic schools are somewhat different than those of the public schools. While the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has provided guidance for the public schools, the Catholic schools adhere to the requirements and mandates from the Department of Health (DOH) and State Board of Education. Requirements and guidance are included within this document.
We as members of Catholic schools within the Diocese of Spokane will focus planning for next school year in the following key areas: promoting our faith and Catholic traditions, Safety/Sanitation and Curriculum & Instruction, synchronizing in class learning with remote continuous learning.
These plans will be updated in accordance with any changes to public health directives.
Through logistics and planning we address the operational aspects of a return to school in the fall.
We will have three different, assigned entrances prepared to welcome our students into the building. Times of entry will be slightly staggered based on individual planning conversations with families. If students are arriving late, we will have our single point of entry in the main office.
Screening: Both DOH and L&I require students and staff to receive a health screening before entering a school. The health screening process will include an attestation confirming the child or staff member does not have fever, shortness of breath, or cough. This may be administered in person or through an online app/platform. School personnel will be looking for visual signs of illness (flushed cheeks, rapid or difficulty breathing, fatigue, and cough) throughout the school day.
Screening methodology: Staff and students with any illness must stay home. Schools will ask the parents or guardians the following questions:
1. Does your student have any of the following symptoms not related to a known cause [on the first day after a break or for a new student, please ask about symptoms in the past three days (72 hours)]:
✔ A cough
✔ Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
✔ A fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever
✔ A sore throat
✔ New loss of taste or smell
✔ Muscle or body aches
✔ Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
✔ Unusual fatigue
2. Does anyone in your household have any of the above symptoms not related to a known cause?
3. Has your student been in close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?
4. Has your student had any medication to reduce a fever before coming to school?
If the answer to these questions above is “yes”, the student must be excluded from school.
Good hygiene practices limit exposure to all viruses. These practices include:
● Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds - students will be provided with multiple opportunities throughout the day to wash their hands.
● Use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol if soap and water are unavailable
● Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth
● Cover the mouth and nose or use the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze
● Teach students how to practice good hygiene practices
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required of all staff in order to minimize exposure to COVID 19. This includes masks, and/or face shields while teaching and gloves while disinfecting surfaces.
In cases of illness of staff or student the diocesan guidelines will be put in practice.
If a student or employee has a temperature higher than 100 degrees or note a change in one of the screening questions, they are not allowed to enter the building.
If an employee or student is not allowed in the building, the designated contact person will contact the employee or the parents for further discussion. If, based on the screening and discussion, the employee or student is not allowed to return to the building, options will be discussed with the employee or the parents of the student and any recommended actions will be documented. These actions may include but not be limited to the following:
1. Quarantining at home for 14 days
a. If teaching faculty or students are quarantined, accommodations may be made for remote instruction and learning if they are well enough to work/learn at home.
2. Seeing a doctor or going to the hospital
4. Obtaining a COVID-19 test
5. Maintain communication with school administration
Physical Distancing in School Buildings
We have, in accordance with the Department of Health (DOH), arranged physical spaces to accommodate six feet of distance when all students and staff are seated. Both DOH and Labor and Industry (L&I) recognize that some tasks and movements will require proximities closer than six feet, including passing in the hallway or a teacher moving around in the classroom. We have worked diligently to stagger recess times, entrance and exit times, in order to reduce the number of students in the hallway at any given time. Face coverings combined with physical distancing increases health and safety, which are DOH requirements.
Our Church building is large enough to accommodate our students, staff and parishioners while keeping the six feet distance. School Masses will be celebrated each Wednesday at 12:30pm. On Tuesday, Thursday and Friday students will be allowed to attend the parochial daily Mass at 12:30pm provided family members are attending Mass as well. Parents who wish to attend daily mass with their students should call the front office when they are out front. Students will be called from class and sent to the Church through the Sacristy to their parents.
The proper understanding of face coverings relies on knowing that it is only one of several mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of transmission.
DOH requires everyone in a school building or on a school bus to wear a face covering. Students may use a face shield instead of a cloth face covering in the classroom; however, cloth face coverings have a superior ability to capture more droplets from speaking, coughing, sneezing, etc.
At the same time, students may remove their face covering for eating and drinking.
Staff may use a face shield instead of a cloth face covering while teaching.
Research has found that a thorough, ongoing cleaning program is the best strategy to prevent disease transmission. In light of this research, teachers have been instructed in proper cleaning protocols and we have hired an outside vendor to ensure the cleanliness of our building.
Among other considerations are the following:
● Ensuring that maintenance staff have the appropriate training to execute the deep cleaning protocols necessary to maintain the school
● Procuring the necessary supplies (sanitizer, temperature check machines, replacement face masks, etc.)
● Creating cleaning protocols for high touch areas throughout the day.
Curriculum & Instruction
In the classical curriculum both resources and methodology are different from the standard setting. The Socratic method which emphasizes leading students through questioning to discover and understand the truth of the topic studied, is a well- suited methodology to our current reality of multi-age classrooms.
Additionally, curriculum will be designed in such a way that it is nimble and can be shifted between in-person (synchronous) and online instruction (asynchronous). When the stay at home orders began in the Spring of 2020, teachers were forced to translate their instructional plans and materials into online delivery even though the materials and plans were not developed with this in mind.
Following the completion of the academic year, we immediately began designing flexible instructional plans leveraging the tools that work best for both in-person and remote environments to prepare for the coming school year.
St. Charles featured on Sound Insight with Dr. Tom Curran
We were blessed to be featured on Dr. Tom Curran’s radio show, Sound Insight (Sacred Heart Radio), where he interviewed Bishop Daly and our very own Matt Weller! I encourage you to listen to the entire hour-long program, but you can hear Bishop Daly talk about St. Charles around the 12:00 minute mark, and Matt is interviewed at 30:22. You can find the episode here.