2020 Fall Plan

July 31, 2020

Dear Highland Catholic School Community,

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement this summer as we have worked together to develop learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year. In collaboration with teacher input, parent input, expert advisors in the field of epidemiology, and guidelines from the CDC, DHS, and MDH, we have worked hard as a team to develop three models of learning that prioritize the health and well-being of our students, families, faculty and staff.

Regardless of which learning model is in use, the spirit of Highland Catholic School will remain the same, with a commitment to Christ, community and excellence.

At this time, we are eager to welcome all K-8 children back into our building on August 26th/27th and we will also be offering a distance learning option to families who wish to do so. This model is the 100% In-person with Distance Learning Option model. We have created a web page that lays this plan out in detail for both K-8 learners and Faithful Beginnings at Highland Catholic School.

At this time, we are eager to welcome all preschool children back into our building on September 8th or 9th. This model is 100% In-person. We are able to offer a 100% In-person model in preschool because of our move to the church space using the recommendations from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The K-8 model will have options of learning plans, but the preschool will operate with the 100% In-person model.  

You will also find plans for a Limited Capacity model and a 100% Distance Learning model, so that you can become familiar with those plans should we need to transition to them throughout the school year. We feel confident that we can transition smoothly within these models when guidelines shift in order to protect the health and wellness of our communities.

K-8 Families

In a few days, after you have had some time to look over our plans and determine what is best for your family, we will send out a commitment form, collecting the information about your intentions for the Fall.

Preschool Families

In a few days, after you have had some time to look over our plans and determine what is best for your family, we will send out a commitment form, collecting the information about your intentions for the Fall including the use of Breakfast Buddies, Lunch Pals, and Stay, Play and Learn. While we have always valued the flexibility of these offerings, more predictability from families will be especially important this year to help us plan for classroom use, student groupings, staffing and cleaning/disinfecting procedures.

If you have additional questions regarding the plans or upcoming school year, please feel free to contact us. 

Sincerely,

Jane Schmidt, Principal

j.schmidt@highlandcatholic.org

Martha Skold, Assistant Principal

m.skold@highlandcatholic.org

Kassy Kenney, Preschool Director

k.kenney@highlandcatholic.org

Preschool

To begin the 2020-2021 school year, Highland Catholic Preschool will hold all classes using the in-person learning model in the classrooms located at Lumen Christi Church.  Classrooms and class sizes are designed to meet the standards of the licensing requirements through the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Drop Off/Pick Up

Preschool drop off will be from 7:50 AM to 8:10 AM for those attending Breakfast Buddies.

Preschool drop off will be from 8:50 AM to 9:10 AM for those attending morning preschool.

Preschool pick up will be at 11:30 AM for those not staying for lunch.

Preschool pick up will be at 12:30 AM for those staying for lunch but not for Stay, Play and Learn.

Preschool pick up will be at 2:50 PM for those staying for Stay, Play and Learn.

We will not be offering Extra Innings at this time.  

Preschool drop off and pick up will be at the church door located on the Hillcrest side of the church. The small parking lot will be blocked off for preschool use. Preschool Staff will be at the door to welcome children and help escort students to their classroom. We love parents and guardians, but we need to keep everyone safe.  To eliminate possible exposure, parents/guardians will say goodbye to their child at the church/preschool door. If you have children in your carpool in grades K through 8, your family will have a preschool drop-off and pick-up and a K-8 drop-off and pick up location.  Thank you for your patience as we work through this new plan. 

Face Coverings

Based on Department of Human Services and CDC recommendations for preschool students, preschool students will not be required to wear masks. Staff will wear clear personal protective equipment. Parents and guardians are asked to wear face coverings outside of their vehicles.

Health Screenings/Temperature Checks

Based on Department of Human Services and CDC recommendations, preschool students will not receive daily temperature checks at school.  Parents are asked to monitor their child’s health and only send their child to preschool when they are healthy.  Signs of illness include fever, shortness of breath or cough, flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or extreme fussiness.  When in doubt, thank you for keeping your child home. 

Snacks

Mid-morning and afternoon snacks will be provided by the preschool program.  Due to new drop-off procedures, we will suspend the snack component of Breakfast Buddies.  Please feed your child breakfast before their arrival at school.  

Lunch

Preschool students who stay for lunch will bring their own lunch.  Preschool will not participate in the hot lunch program at school because of our location in the church space.  Milk and/or water will be provided by school.

Recess/Outdoor Learning and Play

Preschool playground use will be staggered to allow smaller groups of children to play and learn together. High touch areas of the playground structure will be disinfected regularly.  

Cleaning Procedures

Preschool will follow the Minnesota Department of Human Services Protocol.  Rooms and learning materials will be cleaned after each use.

Calendar

Wednesday, August 26: First day of school for in-person Kindergarten through Grade 8 students with last names starting with A-K. No school for students with last names L-Z.

Thursday, August 27: First day of school for in-person Kindergarten through Grade 8 students with last names starting with L-Z. No school for students with last names A-K.

Friday, August 28: Kindergarten through Grade 8 all in attendance, including distance learners.

September 2 and 3:  Preschool Meet the Teacher -Individually scheduled optional event for students to meet their teacher.

September 4: No school

September 8:  2-Day and 5-Day Preschool begin

September 9:  3-Day Preschool begins

September 18: – No school, Teacher Professional Day

Field Trips

Preschool will suspend field trips at this time. Virtual and In-house field trips are being explored. 

Shopping List for Families

No extra supplies are needed at this time.  As the school year progresses, we will contact you if supplies are needed.

K-8 In-Person Learning (Up to 100% of Students on Campus)

To begin the 2020-2021 school year, K through 8th Grade Highland Catholic School families may opt-in to an in-person learning model or a distance learning model. 

For families who choose to opt-in to the in-person learning, students will be learning in smaller classes in altered room arrangements.  Some classrooms are being relocated to larger spaces to accommodate social distancing guidelines.  Each class will be under the direction of grade-level homeroom teachers, with support from specialists and Teaching Assistants. Grade level teachers will lead planning and instruction for all students. Students will remain in one classroom with the same classmates throughout the day as teachers and specialists travel to provide instruction and TA’s travel to provide support. 

A full explanation of these learning models is available below.

Families will need to commit to either an in-person or distance learning model by Monday, August 10th. This commitment will last through October 15, 2020, when families can reassess their choice.

A full explanation of a Limited Capacity in-person learning model and of a 100% Distance Learning model is also included, as it is likely we will need to transition to these models throughout the school year. 

This is a fluid and flexible plan which will continue to be updated as needed.  These plans are subject to change, so please check back on a regular basis to see updates.  Updates will be added to the beginning of the document. 

K-8 In-Person Learning Hybrid (Up to 100% of Students on Campus)

K-8 Students will arrive at school between 7:45 and 8:30 each morning for their health screening check-in.  In-person learning will begin at 8:45 each day, with a variety of meaningful activities taking place for students who arrive before 8:45.  

Staff have carefully measured each space at Highland Catholic School (and the Lumen Christi Church classrooms for Preschool) to determine how many students can safely learn in each room.  Each grade (K-8) will be split into two, three, or four groups depending on a variety of factors including grade level sizes and room sizes.  

Some classrooms are being relocated to larger spaces to accommodate social distancing guidelines.  All classrooms will have altered room arrangements for the safety of the students.

There will be 3-4 staff members assigned to each grade level.  Grade level teachers will lead planning and instruction for all students, and all staff will rotate classrooms so that students stay in one place.

Opt-in Distance Learning

Classroom teachers will lead the curriculum and instruction for those students who opt in to 100% Distance Learning. A designated staff member has also been hired as a Distance Learning Specialist to coordinate with classroom teachers to support these distance learners.  Grade level teachers will plan some synchronous lesson time each day.  Specialists will provide at least one lesson to distance learners each week.  Our Distance Learning specialist will offer office hours to support learners. Many teachers will offer online “office hours” and other opportunities to check in with distance learners. 

Families who opt in to the 100% Distance Learning model commit to this model until at least Wednesday, October 15th.

5-8 Math 

We are super excited for our school year to start. Regardless of what challenges lay ahead, we have every intention of continuing our math classes as planned.  We are committed to the mission of our math program: to meet the varied levels of all our math students and to create an environment of success and a love of math. In conjunction with the protocols in place to keep grade level groups contained as much as possible, math teachers will travel to classes to provide instruction and reinforcement of skills via the flip classroom format.  Our fifth through eighth grade students will have a slightly longer daily math block, allowing for both a lesson/reteaching and time to work on daily assignments. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions.  We very much look forward to seeing your children in August.  Barb Donohue, Laresa Fitzgerald, and Patty Carlen

These plans are somewhat fluid and subject to change as we learn more about teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health Protocols

We ask that all members of the Highland Catholic School community follow the recommendations and protocol of the CDC and MDH.  If a member of the community attends a large gathering (50+) and/or travels on an airplane, we ask that they inform school and isolate themselves from school for the 10-14 days recommended, attending classes via distance learning if the child’s health permits.

Parents are asked to monitor their child’s health and only send their child to school when they are healthy.  Signs of illness include fever, shortness of breath or cough, flushed cheeks, rapid breathing or difficulty breathing, fatigue, or extreme fussiness.  The presence of these symptoms should be immediately communicated with Highland Catholic School. When in doubt, thank you for keeping your child home. 

Teachers and staff will be trained in the MDH COVID 19 Response Procedures before school begins. Students will be instructed in these same procedures on their first day of school.  Here are some helpful videos on safety protocols: https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/materials/videos.html

Students will have their temperature checked upon arrival in the gym before proceeding to class. Temperatures will be tracked by student number to determine a norm temp for each child. Parents will be notified and asked to pick up any student who has an elevated temperature of 100.4 degrees or more. Students who are ill will wait in a room separate from other students to be picked up.

There will be increased hand washing/sanitizing throughout the day, including when entering and exiting the building, prior to and after any meal time, and recess and after using restrooms.

Water fountains have been closed except for automated water bottle refill stations.

Teachers will review proper coughing and sneezing etiquette, hand washing, mask-use, and social distancing behaviors with all students on a regular basis.

Staff and students in grades K-8 are required to wear cloth face coverings or face shields while in the building. Face shields may be worn by children unable to wear face masks. Families can contact Highland Catholic School for an exemption to the cloth mask policy. Please email info@highlandcatholic.org with the child’s name and the reason for the needed exemption. Some teachers may choose to occasionally use a face shield while distanced from students when it supports instruction (for example, during a phonics lesson).

If a student displays symptoms of COVID 19 during the school day, they will be immediately isolated in a private designated room of the school and guardians will be contacted to take them home and procure a COVID 19 test.  Other students exposed to the child displaying symptoms will be removed from shared learning space(s) which will be thoroughly sanitized, according to CDC/MDH protocol, before students re-enter.

If a member of the Highland Catholic School community tests positive for COVID 19 we will adhere to the CDC/MDH protocol. Necessary information will be gathered and shared with the Minnesota Department of Health so that they can advise according to best practices.

Cleaning Procedures

The building will be cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines regularly throughout the day.

To limit contact surfaces, shared items will be discouraged. Each classroom will have a clearly labeled bin for items that have been used by an individual student and need to be sanitized before being used by others. 

High traffic areas have been identified and will be cleaned and sanitized on a frequent basis. Common areas will be cleaned and sanitized between each group of students.

The HVAC system has been inspected and evaluated. Rooms with non-opening windows such as the computer lab, resource room office and faculty room will have an additional air quality filter installed.

Drop off/Pick Up

We will use a staggered K through 8th Grade morning drop off for both the morning and afternoon sessions. Start times will stagger beginning at 7:45 and work in 15 minute intervals until 8:30. Students will enter through the main doors on Bohland and proceed to the Gym for a health screening and temperature check. 

We will also use staggered pick-up times at the end of the day with families having an early pick-up option of 2:30pm or using our traditional 2:50pm pick-up.

Families may opt to pick up their children at 11am, limiting their time in the school building. Teachers will concentrate Math and English/Language Arts instruction in the morning so that students receive these core curricular subjects in person. K-5 students can choose to participate in assignments delivered via SeeSaw and Google Classroom at home, but this work will be optional. 6-8 students will work with middle school teachers via Google Classroom to complete all subject areas (exemptions will be worked out if necessary

In the Instance of the Limited Capacity Model

Pick and Drop off will continue to be staggered K through 8th Grade morning drop off for both the morning and afternoon sessions. 

Families with the 7:45am or 8:00am drop off time during 100% in person will all drop off at 8:00am. Families who use the 8:15am or 8:30am drop off time during 100% in person will drop off at 8:15am. Pick up time for the morning session will be 11:00am. 

Families with the afternoon in person session will drop off at either 12:00pm or 12:15pm. Pick up time for the afternoon session will be 3:00pm.

Lunch

The K-8 lunch experience will be modified for health reasons.

  • Agriculture will be providing hot lunch options for K- students who order them ahead of time.
  • The Hive will not be in operation.
  • Middle School students will use the cafeteria for lunch and will be spread out to allow for social distancing.  
  • Students in K-5 will eat in their classrooms.  There will be a coordinated delivery method for milk and Agriculture lunches to maintain social distancing.

Lunch will not happen at school in a Limited Capacity in-person model.

Recess/Outdoor Learning and Play

Recess and outdoor time will be an important part of our school day, but it will be modified so it can be done safely.

  • Recess will no longer be scheduled directly before or after lunch.
  • Teachers and TAs will take the students to recess in classroom groups at various times throughout the day.
  • Teachers will have the flexibility to take their students out multiple times if it works in the schedule, or for longer periods of time.
  • All students will wash their hands before and after recess.

Recess and outdoor procedures will remain the same for the Limited Capacity in-person model.

Parents, Guests, and Volunteers

Limiting the number of adults in the school building each day is a recommendation of the CDC to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

  • We will look for creative ways for our parents and volunteers to share their time and talents with us from outside of the building.
  • Any visitor entering the building should be prepared to answer COVID-19 screening questions and will be required to wear a face covering. 
  • We are working on a plan for parents who need to pick up students during the school day and will share this information when the plan is finalized.
Faith and Worship

Nurturing the faith of our students is an essential part of our mission. We will use daily classroom prayer to connect in Christ and Religion classes to grow our students’ faith. The school will work with Father Paul and the Lumen Christi Catholic Community to find ways to worship safely together as a faith community. Students will engage in meaningful service projects throughout the year to live out our mission of charity and justice in the world.

Calendar

Kindergarten and First Grade teachers will be contacting families to meet the teacher and drop off supplies before school starts.

Back to school night will not take place. Supplies pick up for distance learning opt in students will be determined.

Wednesday, August 26th: First day of school for in-person Kindergarten through Grade 8 students with last names starting with A-K. No school for students with last names L-Z.

Thursday, August 27th: First day of school for in-person Kindergarten through Grade 8 students with last names starting with L-Z. No school for students with last names A-K.

Friday, August 28th: Kindergarten through Grade 8 all in attendance, including distance learners.

September 2 and 3:  Preschool Meet the Teacher -Individually scheduled optional event for students to meet their teacher.

September 8:  2-Day and 5-Day Preschool begin
September 9:  3-Day Preschool begins
September 18th – No school, Teacher Professional Day

Communication

Updates will be made on our 2020 Fall Plan page located under the Current Parents tab of our website. Please check back often.

Social Emotional Health

The mental health of our students and faculty is a high priority. We will all work together to support the social and emotional health of the adults and children in our community. Through classroom activities, recess, worship, Yoga Calm, and online resources including Go Noodle and Calm, SuperFriend meetings, and other activities and events we will promote positive relationships and self-awareness. 

Highland Catholic School also employs an onsite counselor to provide added support for students and staff.

Athletics, Co-Curriculars and Extra Innings.

After school activities will not begin at the start of the school year.  The school day will end at 2:50 for all students.  In-Person Athletics, Co-Curricular activities, and Extra Innings will begin when it is possible to provide a safe environment for these activities.  This plan will be updated as the school year progresses. 

School Gatherings

Large gatherings like Pride and other assemblies will be modified or suspended.

A plan for school Masses is in progress.

Field Trips

Field trips will be suspended at this time. Virtual and In-house field trips are being explored. 

Shopping List for Families

Please add the following supplies to your shopping list:

  • A carefully labeled personal water bottle that will be taken home and washed nightly. Water Fountains have been changed to bottle fill mode only. 
  • Several masks, neck gaiters, or face shields for each child in your family so that a clean face covering can be worn each day.
  • An extra set of uniforms so they can be washed nightly.  (There are many gently used uniforms and sweatshirts available in the uniform exchange)
  • A Highland Catholic uniform sweatshirt for when the windows are open and it is chilly outside. 
  • A thermometer for taking temperatures at home each day.
  • A towel, yoga mat, or small blanket that will be stored in the locker for use outside use.
  • A personal set of headphones for Grades 3-8. The school will provide a clean and sanitized set of headphones for each Kindergarten through 2nd grade student while in the building. 
  • Students are encouraged to have an unscented hand sanitizer for individual use.
  • Grades 5-8 will need a milk crate size storage bin for individual use.
How and When Transitions will happen with Learning Models

Highland Catholic School will consult the Learning Model Parameters and bi-weekly case rates for Ramsey County put forth by the Minnesota Department of Health to determine when to transition to our Limited Capacity or Distance Learning models. The current model that we are offering (100% in person learning in small pods with a Distance Learning option) is a hybrid model of learning, per the Governor’s orders.

K-8 Limited Capacity Enrollment

In the limited capacity model, families will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions. Staff have carefully measured each space at Highland Catholic School (and the Lumen Christi Church classrooms for Preschool) to determine how many students can safely learn in each room.  Each grade (K-8) will be split into two or three groups depending on a variety of factors including grade level sizes and room sizes.

Grade level teachers will lead planning and instruction for all students, and all staff will rotate classrooms so that students stay in one place.

Opt-in Distance Learning

Classroom teachers will lead the curriculum and instruction for those students who opt in to 100% Distance Learning. A designated staff member has also been hired as a Distance Learning Specialist to coordinate with classroom teachers to support these distance learners.  Grade level teachers will plan some synchronous lesson time each day.  Specialists will provide at least one lesson to distance learners each week.  Our Distance Learning specialist will offer office hours to support learners. Many teachers will offer online “office hours” and other opportunities to check in with distance learners. 

Families who opt in to the 100% Distance Learning model commit to this model until at least Wednesday, October 15th.

Students who are distance learning in this model, will have virtual afternoon sessions with classroom teachers as well as curriculum and instruction communicated through SeeSaw (K-3) or Google Classroom (4-8).

Whole School Distance Learning

Highland Catholic School is prepared to deliver a robust online education for all students.

All students, K-8 will be provided with an individual iPad to use at home. Teachers will communicate primarily through SeeSaw (K-3) or Google Classroom (4-8) and will use other online tools, resources, and apps to support learning.

Should a transition to 100% distance learning take place, classroom teachers will communicate their Distance Learning plan for each homeroom.

Parents may be asked to pick-up learning materials on an as-needed basis.

We have released our 2020 Fall PlanClick here for more details!
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