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Parents » COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Information

Our top priority is the health and well-being of our students and employees for the 2021 - 2022 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. 
 
Ensuring the safety of your child, your family, and our staff requires an ongoing partnership with you and your family.  The success of our plan in keeping St. James healthy and safe requires a strong commitment of cooperation between the school and your family.  As always, your child’s health 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 protocols, and that all of us do our part in keeping our school community safe. 
 
The following protocols are applicable while Dallas County is in the red zone. 
COVID Dashboard
 
Current Active Cases
  Primary Toddler
Students 0 0
Staff 0 0
TOTAL 0 0
 
Quarantine Cases
  Primary Toddler
Students 0 0
Staff 0 0
TOTAL 0 0
 
Total Cumulative Positive Cases
  Primary Toddler
Students 3 1
Staff 0 0
TOTAL 3 1
    

Morning Drop Off and Afternoon Pick Up

To assist in a smooth transition for your student and to ensure the health and safety of the St. James community, parents are asked to drop off their child at their designated entrance.  Outlined below are the procedures for dropping off and picking up your student each day:
 
  • Before School Care is from 7:30am to 8:00am.  For those students enrolled in the program, please bring your side to the main front school entrance.  Any student not enrolled in the program is welcome to drop in and pay the Before School Care fee noted in the handbook.  Please contact Lisa Wilson in the school office at lwilson@stjamesdallas.org if you have any questions.
  • Students are greeted at separate drop off locations based on classroom with these two exceptions:
      • Arrivals between 7:30am to 8:00am 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:
      • Primary 1, Primary 2, Primary 3 and Primary 4 – Front main school entrance
      • Toddler 2, Toddler 3 and Mother's Day Out – Back school entrance by the back parking lot
      • Toddler 1 and Toddler 4 – Parish Hall door
  • Families are requested to continue maintaining a 6-foot physical distance while waiting
  • Masks are optional for vaccinated adults, however, all non vaccinated must wear a face covering
  • Assistant teachers will transport the student and their belongings to the classroom
  • Half-day students are released at the front and back entrance to the school. 
      • Primary 1, Primary 2, Toddler 1 and Toddler 4 – Front main school entrance
      • Primary 3, Primary 4, Toddler 2 and Toddler 3 – Back school entrance
  • Families with siblings can pick up both students at the location for the younger child
  • Families are requested to continue maintaining a 6-foot physical distance while waiting
  • Masks are optional for vaccinated adults, however, all non vaccinated 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 time frame and will pick up their student at the back school entrance.
  • The afternoon pickup time for full day students is between 3:00pm and 3:45pm
  • Students will be released as follows:
      • Primary 1, Primary 2, Primary 3, Primary 4, Toddler 1 and Toddler 4 – Front main school entrance
      • Toddler 2, Toddler 3, and Mother's Day Out – Back school entrance
  • Families with siblings can pick up both students at the location for the younger child
  • Families are requested to continue maintaining a 6-foot physical distance while waiting
  • Masks are optional for vaccinated adults, however, all non vaccinated must wear a face covering

Classroom Protocol

St. James will maintain individual classroom pods for all activities with the exception of After School Care.  The individual classrooms will not be co mingled and will remain separate for chapel, playground time, specials, etc. 
 
Students participating in After School Care will be grouped together in a modified pod structure as follows:
  • Toddler 1, Toddler 4 and Mother's Day Out
  • Toddler 2 and Toddler 3
  • Primary 1 and 2
  • Primary 3 and 4
 

Kindergarten students may meet as a group or be co-mingled for chapel lessons or science.  However, the classes will maintain appropriate social distancing. 

St. James requires that all students over two years old where a mask while inside the St. James facility.  The CDC and American Pediatric Association recommends masks to protect this population of children who cannot be vaccinated. St. James will provide break-away lanyards and we will support the children in a very positive manner for proper mask wearing.
 
All St. James employees will also be required to wear a mask while inside the St. James facility or if within 6 feet while outside. 
 
All adults entering the facility  (e.g. visiting a classroom, Reading Buddy, etc.) will be required to wear a mask.
Students wash their hands immediately upon arriving in the classroom.  Teachers provide additional hand washing times in the daily schedule and students are monitored to ensure that they use soap and are washing for 20 seconds.  Students use hand sanitizer before they begin a new Montessori Work in the classroom. 
 
Please provide several changes of clothing for your student.  If you have a Toddler student that is teething, we request that you provide several bibs so that we can keep the student clean. 
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.
All water fountains are covered and are not available for use.  Please ensure that your child brings a clean water bottle each day. 
As the Texas weather will permit, students will have optimal outdoor time.  The playground is separated into sections so that the classroom modified pods are maintained during recess.  During inclement weather, the students will stay indoor and will enjoy gross motor activities in the Parish Hall.  The individual classroom pod structure will be maintained and classes will not co-mingle in the Parish Hall.

Kindergarten students will be allowed to attend offsite outdoor field trips, but the individual classrooms will maintain appropriate social distance.  All other in-house field trips are currently suspended. 

Birthday celebrations are a very special occasion for every student and for the whole classroom.  One parent is invited to attend the classroom birthday celebration and face coverings would be required.  Please no Grandparents or siblings.  The celebration can also be attended via Zoom conference if that is more comfortable and convenient for the family.
 
Primary students receive a Birthday Blessing during the Chapel service for their classroom.  Please see the school calendar for the specific dates for each Primary classroom.  Fr. Michael visits each Toddler classroom monthly to give the Toddler students a birthday blessing.   
Parent/Teacher conferences will be conducted in-person, but all adults will be required to wear a mask and maintain a 6ft distance from the teachers.  Parents would be invited to sign up for a specific time slot. 
Celebrating holidays is such a magical event for every child, so we want to ensure we highlight the holidays.  Christmas, Halloween and Valentine's Day will be celebrated in each classroom with a party and snacks.  Unfortunately, at this time parents will not be invited to join us for these parties. 
Full day Primary students older than 4 ½ participate in Art and Yoga.  Art is taught in the Garden Cottage by individual classroom and the tables, chairs, and materials are cleaned between classes. 
 
Yoga is conducted either outside or in the Parish Hall.  St. James provides each student their own beach towel to use as a Yoga mat. 
 
Kindergarten students attend Technology class in the Garden Cottage and the equipment is cleaned between classes. 
Full day Primary students younger than 4 ½ are separated into nap locations by individual class.  Nap mats for the students are stored in the student's cubby .
Primary students attend Chapel Service in the Church at 8:35am on Mondays and Wednesdays. The Primary classrooms will attend by individual class.  The remaining classrooms watch Chapel in their classrooms via Zoom.  Please see the school calendar for the specific chapel dates for each classroom.
 
The monthly Eucharistic is suspended while Dallas County is in the red zone.
 
Kindergarten parents are welcome to attend Chapel Service on the day your child attends.  We request that you wear a face mask and maintain proper social distancing.
All toddler, Mother's Day Out, and After School Care snacks will be prepared as individual servings.  We request that the Primary families also provide individual type snacks or foods that can be served individually when providing snacks for their classrooms.  There will be no family style snacks at this time in the classroom.

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 takes place during recess in the morning and before After School Care in the afternoon.  We periodically spray with a Micro Shield product, further sanitizing the environment.
 
Teachers are focused on cleaning the Montessori materials between students and have taught the students to apply hand sanitizer prior to selecting a new activity.
To improve the air quality and cleanliness of the classrooms, each classroom has a Medair-112 Air Purifier with ionization.

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.  The other students in the classroom will be transferred to another location (e.g. Parish Hall, etc.) and the room will immediately be sanitized. 
 
Ill students can return to the classroom when one of these conditions are met:
  • The student is symptom free for 48 hours without the aid of medication, or
  • The student is symptom free for 24 hours without the aid of medication and provides a medical professional’s note clearing the student for return based on a stated diagnosis (e.g. strep throat, etc.)
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
 
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:
  • 10 days since symptoms first appeared or positive viral test and
  • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving
If a member of your household tests positive for COVID-19, please contact the school office so that we can work with your family to determine the appropriate quarantine schedule for your specific situation.  However, outlined below are the general quarantine guidelines for a COVID-19 positive case within a St. James household (e.g. parent, sibling, etc.) as recommended by the CDC
  • If the family member that has tested positive for COVID-19 is able to isolate and quarantine from all other family members until they meet the criteria to end home isolation,  the St. James student can return to school 7 days after last contact if they are not experiencing symptoms and have received a negative test result (test must occur on day 5 or later).
  • If the family member that has tested positive for COVID-19 is NOT able to isolate and quarantine from the family, then the student can return to St. James AFTER the person who has tested positive for COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation below and the student has met the quarantine guidelines for close contact:
    • 10 days since symptoms first appeared or positive viral test and
    • 24 hours with no fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
    • Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

Please see the CDC website for more information on CDC Guidelines for Quarantine
Any student, staff, or teacher who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 must quarantine.  However, anyone who has had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and who meets the following criteria does NOT need to stay home and quarantine:
  • Someone who has had the COVID-19 illness within the previous 3 months and has recovered and remains without COVID-19 symptoms
  • Someone who has been fully vaccinated and shows no symptoms.  However, fully vaccinated people should get tested 3-5 days after their exposure, even if they don’t have symptoms and wear a mask indoors in public for 14 days following exposure or until their test result is negative.
 
Any other individuals with close contact with an individual that has tested positive for COVID-19 and are without symptoms must quarantine as follows:
  • For 10 days after the last contact with the person who has COVID-19, or
  • For 7 days after the last contact with the person who has COVID-19 and has received a negative test* result (test must occur on day 5 or later)
 
* St. James will accept a rapid test and also the following take-home rapid tests that have received FDA EUA approval:  BinaxNOW, QuickVue, Ellume, BD Veritor, CareStart, and Quest Direct
 
See the CDC Guidelines for Quarantine for more information.  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 in general is defined as:
  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils
  • They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you

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.  Please check the calendar for events and watch your Weekly Notes for specific COVID precautions for each event.
St. James loves our volunteers and we want you to continue to be involved.  We will be communicating volunteer opportunities throughout the year.  There are many ways to stay connected and involved here at St. James. 

Employee Training

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 are required to attend training on preventing and controlling the spread of communicable diseases, including immunizations.

International Travel (including Hawaii)

St. James will be adhering to the current CDC recommendations for international travel.  Please review these policies and check with the school office about your child's ability to return to school upon completion of any international travel.