Parents » COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information

Our top priority is the health and well-being of our students and employees when we return to School for the 2020-2021 school year.  We continue to monitor the health directives and protocols related to COVID-19, and that guidance will inform our operating procedures.  
 
As new guidelines are published, we will update our plan outlined below to best serve the needs of our St. James community.  To accommodate the July 16th mandate from the Dallas County Health Department, we are currently adjusting our school calendar as follows:
 
  • Tuesday, September 1st through Friday, September 4th:  Virtual online instruction will begin for all programs (Primary, Toddler, and Mother’s Day Out) through our new Seesaw platform.  The focus during this week will be to provide your student and family with information on the daily routines of the classroom, introduce the new COVID procedures, and give you the opportunity to get to know your teachers and classroom. 
  • Tuesday, September 8th:  In-person instruction will begin for all programs (Primary, Toddler, and Mother’s Day Out).
  • Friday, June 4th:  The 2020 – 2021 school year will be extended by one week.  The new last day of school will be Friday, June 4th. 
 
Ensuring the safety of your child, your family, and our staff will require an ongoing partnership with you and your family.  The success of our proposed plan in keeping St. James open and in-person instruction available requires a strong commitment of cooperation between the school and your family.  As always, your child’s comfort and safety is our top priority. 
 
Please read the COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan in its entirety.  We want to ensure that everyone is familiar with the plan and protocols, and that all of us are ready to do our part in keeping our school community safe.

New Student Orientation and Meet the Teacher

We really enjoy inviting our new students and families into the classroom for an orientation prior to the start of school.  However, this year, we will be providing that opportunity virtually.  As part of the virtual instruction beginning on September 1st, our families will meet the teacher, take a tour of the classroom, and learn more about the new COVID procedures.  Mrs. Loree will also be conducting three separate Zoom meeting to discuss the day-to-day classroom procedures for Primary, Toddler, and Mother's Day Out. 
Even though we prefer an in-person orientation session for families entering a new program, we have instead decided to conduct a Zoom conference.   Three separate Zoom meetings will be scheduled to discuss the day-to-day classroom procedures for Primary, Toddler, and Mother’s Day Out.  Dates and times will be provided at the beginning of August.

Morning Drop Off and Afternoon Pick Up

The main goal is to welcome families back to campus while maintaining proper social distancing and reducing potential contamination of the environment.  Per Governor Abbott’s directive on June 24th, parents will not be allowed to enter the facility Outlined below are the procedures for arriving at school each morning:
 
  • The student arrival period will be from 7:30am to 8:45am
  • Students will be greeted at five separate drop off locations based on classroom with these two exceptions:
      • Arrivals between 7:30am to 7:45am are at the main front school entrance
      • Families with siblings can drop off both students at the location for the younger child
  • Classroom drop off locations are as follows and can be viewed on this map
      • Primary 1 and Primary 2 – Front main school entrance
      • Primary 3 and Primary 4 – Back school entrance by the back parking lot
      • Toddler 1 and Toddler 4 – Parish Hall entrance
      • Toddler 2 and Toddler 3 – Side gate entrance by the garden and side driveway
      • Mother’s Day Out – Entrance to the school from the playground through the rolling gate in the back parking lot
  • Families are requested to maintain a 6-foot physical distance while waiting
  • All adults must wear a face covering
  • A staff member will take the student’s temperature, ask several screening questions, and make a visual inspection of the student for signs of illness
  • The student’s hands will be cleaned with hand sanitizer
  • Assistant teachers will transport the student and their belongings to the classroom
  • Half-day students will be released at the same locations as morning drop off:
      • Primary 1 and Primary 2 – Front main school entrance
      • Primary 3 and Primary 4 – Back school entrance
      • Toddler 1 and Toddler 4 – Parish Hall entrance
      • Toddler 2 and Toddler 3 – Side gate entrance by the garden and side driveway
  • Families with siblings can pick up both students at the location for the younger child
  • Families are requested to maintain a 6-foot physical distance while waiting
  • All adults must wear a face covering
  • Note: Any Mother’s Day Out family that would like to pick up their child before afternoon nap must arrive within this timeframe and will pick up their student at the back school entrance.
  • The afternoon pickup time for full day students is between 3:00pm to 3:45pm
  • Students will be released at the same locations as morning drop off:
      • Primary 1 and Primary 2 – Front main school entrance
      • Primary 3 and Primary 4 – Back school entrance
      • Toddler 1 and Toddler 4 – Parish Hall entrance
      • Toddler 2 and Toddler 3 – Side gate entrance by the garden and side driveway
      • Mother’s Day Out – Entrance to the school off of the playground through the rolling gate in the back parking lot
  • Families with siblings can pick up both students at the location for the younger child
  • Families are requested to maintain a 6-foot physical distance while waiting for their child
  • All adults must wear a face covering

Classroom Protocol

Each classroom will be isolated as a pod and comingling of classes will be avoided for all activities.   Classrooms will be separated on the playground for recess, during Specials, and students will remain in their classroom for Before and After School Care.
 
Kindergarten students may meet as a group or be comingled for Technology and Science.  However, the classes will maintain appropriate social distancing. 
St. James will be providing all teachers, staff and students with reusable face shields which will be sanitized.   All teachers and staff will be required to wear a face covering.  Students will be encouraged to wear their shield, but we will not force a child if they are resistant.  Parents are welcome to provide a face mask for their child to wear at school, if they prefer. 
Students will have their temperature taken at drop off, mid-morning, after lunch, and before After School Care.  Parents will be contacted if the student has a temperature that is 100.4 or above.   Teachers’ temperatures will also be checked upon arrival, mid-morning and after lunch. 
Students will wash their hands immediately upon arriving in the classroom.  Teachers are building additional hand washing times into the daily schedule and students will be monitored to ensure that they use soap and are washing for 20 seconds.  The teachers are also developing a fun method (e.g., song, etc.) to help students learn and remember the proper handwashing technique.  Students will also be taught to use hand sanitizer before they begin a new Montessori Work in the classroom. 
Childcare Licensing COVID procedures require we change a child’s clothes if they become soiled with bodily secretions.  Therefore, please plan to provide several changes of clothing for your student.  If you have a Toddler student that is teething, we may request that you provide several bibs so that we can keep the student clean.  In addition, students are not allowed to wear another child’s clothes; therefore, we can no longer borrow from a friend in the event of an accident.
When diapering a child, the teacher must wash their hands and the child's hands before beginning the diaper change.  The teacher wears gloves and adheres to the following procedures:
 
  • Clean the child
  • Replace the diaper
  • Wash child's hands
  • Clean up diapering station
  • Remove trash
  • Wash hands
 
After diapering, the teacher will wash their hands and disinfect the diapering area.
We realize that some Toddlers need a pacifier for self comforting and adjusting to their new environment.  However, we would request that a pacifier clip be provided so that the pacifier would not be left unattended.
All water fountains are covered and will not be available for use.  Please ensure that your child brings a clean fresh water bottle each day. 
As the Texas weather will permit, students will have optimal outdoor time.  Temporary fencing will separate the playground into sections so that classrooms pods are maintained during recess.  The classrooms will also enter and exit the playground at different locations.  Each classroom will have their own bag of outdoor equipment. 
 
During inclement weather, the students will stay in the classroom and the teachers will introduce fun indoor activities.  We will not be using the Imagination Play Blocks this year.
Birthday celebrations are a very special occasion for every student and for the whole classroom.  We would like to continue to invite one parent only into the classroom for the birthday celebration and face coverings would be required.  Please no Grandparents or older siblings.  The celebration can also be attended via Zoom conference if that is more comfortable and convenient for the family.
 
Fr. D.J. Griffin will visit each classroom monthly to give the students a birthday blessing.   
Our hope is that we will be able to conduct in-person Parent/Teacher conferences in October as usual.  Parents would be invited to sign up for a specific time slot and required to wear a face covering.  Conference can also be via Zoom conferencing if that is more comfortable and convenient for your family.   A final decision on the feasibility of in-person conferences will be made in October.
 
Childcare will not be offered during any in-person conferences since we do not want to co-mingle the children.
Celebrating holidays is such a magical event for every child, so we want to ensure we highlight the holidays.  Halloween and Christmas will be celebrated in each classroom with a party and snacks, as normal, but Parents will not be invited to attend in-person.  A Christmas drive-thru parade will be coordinated to bring the whole community into the celebration.  The Primary Halloween parade will be conducted outside, weather permitting.  However, we request that all adults practice social distancing and wear a face covering. 
 
In January, we will evaluate our ability to celebrate all spring holidays with in-person events. 
We know that our students love to participate in Show and Tell and it is such a learning experience for them, but we are currently suspending the activity.  It is recommended by Childcare Licensing that we avoid activities that require the student to bring additional items from home. 
Full day Primary students older than 4 ½ will continue to participate in Art and Yoga.  Art will be taught in the Garden Cottage by class and the tables, chairs, and materials will be cleaned between classes.  We are currently working with Stretch-n-Grow to finalize the procedures for Yoga, but will ensure that the environment and materials will be cleaned between classes.  St. James will also provide each student with their own personal yoga mat that will be cleaned after each session.
 
Kindergarten students will attend Technology class in the Garden Cottage and the equipment will be cleaned between classes. 
Full day Primary students younger than 4 ½ will be separated into four nap locations by classroom.  Nap mats for the students will be stored in the student's cubby instead of grouped together in the classroom or nap rooms.  If your student has a lovey for nap time, they are more than welcome to bring it school.  However we ask that you designate a "school only" lovey that remains in the classroom and is not transported back and forth each day.  Loveys will be stored in the nap mats in the student's cubby.  
In-person services are currently suspended for St. James Episcopal Church; therefore, the Primary students will not attend Chapel service on Monday and Wednesday mornings.  Chapel lessons will be incorporated into the classroom curriculum.  Kindergarten students will continue their Chapel leadership roles, but within the classroom setting.
 
We will reevaluate Primary Chapel when St. James Episcopal Church reinstates in-person services. 
The teachers, students, and Reading Parents love the opportunity be a part of the Reading Parent program.  However, it will not be feasible to have Reading Parents through the fall semester.  We will reevaluate in the spring. 

Snack and Lunch

St. James will continue to provide a mid-morning snack for all Toddler and Mother’s Day Out students.  The snacks will be individual servings for each student and all food preparation will be done with gloves.  There will be no “family style” snack in the classroom. 
Primary families will continue to provide snack for their student’s classroom based on the schedule communicated by the Lead Teacher.  St. James will be publishing a list of allowed snack items, so that we can focus on individual servings.  No “family style” snacks will be allowed.
St. James will continue to provide a snack for all After School Care students.  The snacks will be offered as individual servings and all food preparation will be done with gloves.  There will be no “family style” snack. 
Students will continue to eat lunch at a table with their friends with their own individual bento style lunch box.  The teachers will discourage sharing of items.  We also request that there not be any heat up items this year.
We know how everyone loves Pizza Friday!  Therefore, families will still have the option to sign up for Pizza Friday for their student.  All food handling and preparation will be done with gloves.   

Cleaning Protocol

We realize that maintaining a sanitized environment is key to ensuring the health of our students and staff.  Additional cleaning of the classrooms and restrooms will take place during recess in the morning and before After School Care in the afternoon.  We will also be periodically spraying with a Micro Shield product, further sanitizing the environment.
 
Teachers will be focused on cleaning the Montessori materials between students and will teach the students to apply hand sanitizer prior to selecting a new activity.  Classrooms will also have UV wands for assistance in cleaning the Montessori works

Student and Staff Health

If your student is ill and cannot attend school, please contact the school office the first day of the absence.  If a student becomes ill during the day, they will be removed from the classroom.  The parents will be contacted, and we request that the student be picked up within 30 minutes.  If the sick student has a fever, the other students in the classroom will be transferred to another location (e.g. Parish Hall, etc.) and the room will immediately be sanitized.  Families in the classroom will be notified that a student in the classroom went home due to a fever. For students that have COVID-19 symptoms, specifically a fever, the student is assumed to have COVID-19 and can only return to the classroom when the student has met the conditions for re-entry:
 
  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication),
  • The individual has improvement in symptoms, and
  • At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
 
If a student with symptoms that could be COVID-19 wants to return to St. James, but has not completed the above stay at home period, they may return if one of these conditions have been met:
 
  • Provides a medical professional’s note clearing the student for return based on an alternative diagnosis, or
  • Receives two separate confirmations at least 24 hours apart that they are free of COVID via acute infection tests at an approved COVID-19 testing location found at https://tdem.texas.gove/covid-19/.
 
The same stipulations will also apply to any teacher or staff that is ill.
It is our hope that with the implementation of the preventative measures that we will significantly lower the potential for a positive COVID-19 case or the need to close a classroom/school.  In the event COVID-19 is confirmed in a student or staff member, St. James will perform the following:
 
  • Contact the Dallas County Health Department and Texas Health and Human Services to report the presence of COVID-19 and follow any procedures or closures as mandated by the authorities
  • Notify all St. James families of the positive confirmation and provide any information, if applicable of a classroom/school closure
 
Once again, the intent of the preventative measures is to minimize the impact of a COVID-19 positive confirmation.
 
Any student, teacher, or staff who are lab confirmed to have COVID-19, or are experiencing the symptoms of COVID-19 must stay home through the infection period and cannot return to St. James until the below conditions for re-entry have been met:
 
  • At least three days (72 hours) have passed since recovery (resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medication),
  • The individual has improvement in symptoms, and
  • At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared
Any student, teacher or staff who have had close contact with someone who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19, should stay home through the 14-day incubation period, and will not be allowed on campus.  If the student, teacher or staff experience symptoms, they must stay at home until the conditions outlined for COVID-19 above have been met.
 
Close contact is determined by the appropriate public health agency but for clarity, it is defined as:
 
  • Being directly exposed to infectious secretion (being coughed on while not wearing a mask or face shield); or
  • Being within 6 feet for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes, while not wearing a mask or face shield;
 
If either occurred at any time in the last 14 days at the same time the infected individual was infectious. 

Before and After School Care

Due to the extended arrival period (7:30am to 8:45am), Before School Care and all associated fees are currently suspended.  All students are welcome to arrive at any time between 7:30am and 8:45am.  Students will go directly to their classroom upon arrival.
Students enrolled in the After School Care program will remain in their classroom for this extended time (3:45pm to 6:00pm).  St. James is currently working with Stretch-n-Grow to develop a safe method for continuing this fun activity for the After School Care students.  We will keep you updated as we finalize the plans. 
 
Parents will pick up their After School Care student at the main front entrance to the school.  Families are requested to maintain a 6-foot physical distance while waiting for their child and must wear a face covering.

Community Events and Volunteering

So much of what makes St. James so special is our community of families and we want to continue to nurture this closeness through the pandemic.  At this point, we have chosen to postpone all our fall community events (e.g. Back to School Meeting, Halloween Dance, Grandparents Day,  Book Fair, Breakfast with Dad).  Our sincere hope is that we will be able to have these events, in some form, during the spring. 
 
Classroom Room Parents and Social Chairs are working to develop creative ways still come together as a community.  Please be on the lookout for information specific to your classroom. 
All scheduled parent education for the fall (e.g. Kindergarten Parent Meeting, 2nd Year Primary Parent Meeting, Toddler Potty Learning, etc.) will be conducted via Seesaw or Zoom conferencing.  In the event, we are able to meet in person due to the small size of the group; we will communicate this change directly to the parents impacted. 
St. James loves our volunteers and we want you to continue to be involved.  We will be communicating volunteer opportunities throughout the fall.  Even though parents will not be allowed in the facility, there are many ways to stay connected and involved here at St. James. 

School Calendar

As noted in the letter from Loree on July 20th, we have adjusted the  2020 – 2021 school calendar as follows:
 
  • September 1st through Friday, September 4th: Virtual online instruction will begin for all programs (Primary, Toddler, and Mother’s Day Out) through our new Seesaw platform.  The focus during this week will be to provide your student and family with information on the daily routines of the classroom, introduce the new COVID procedures, and give you the opportunity to get to know your teachers and classroom. 
  • Tuesday, September 8th: In-person instruction will begin for all programs (Primary, Toddler, and Mother’s Day Out.)
  • Friday, June 4th: The 2020-2021 school year will be extended by one week.  The new last day of school will be Friday, June 4th. 
 
If a prolonged school closure is mandated, we may need to adjust further and will update you as soon as possible.  Later in the fall, we will also review the spring calendar to evaluate opportunities to schedule our many wonderful community events. 

Employee Screening and Training

Employees will follow the same procedures for entry into the facility as students.  All employees will have their temperature taken and will be screened prior to being allowed into the facility.  We will also be taking the teachers temperatures periodically during the school day. 
Ensuring that our teachers are appropriately trained for the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is a top priority for St. James.  All teachers were required to attend the Special Considerations for Infection Control during COVID-19 class provided by Texas A&M AgrilLife.   In-service time will also be dedicated to reviewing and practicing the new St. James procedures.

Virtual Learning

Utilizing the feedback from the Online Learning Survey conducted in May, our virtual instruction will be provided through the Seesaw virtual learning platform.  Virtual instruction will begin on Tuesday, September 1st focusing on providing orientation information for the student and families.  This week of virtual instruction will also give us the opportunity to familiarize everyone with the platform so that there can be a seamless transition to online instruction if needed during the year.  In addition, if a classroom is required to honor a quarantine period, all students in that classroom will engage in Virtual Learning through the Seesaw platform. 
 
We are also evaluating to option to provide Primary families with the option to attend school 100% virtual.  We realize that some families may not be comfortable returning in-person in September but would still like to have access to the instruction and curriculum.  More information will be provided as we finalize our plans.