St. Bartholomew School Re-Opening FAQ's
As we look to the 2020-2021 school year, we want to assure you that our plan is to start school on campus Thursday, August 6. We continue our preparations in thoughtful conversation and prayer while navigating the challenges of providing education during a pandemic. This page will be updated weekly and will provide information regarding reopening for fall 2020.
What will school look like when we return to on campus learning this fall?
Our administrative leadership team has created a process to make informed decisions regarding the return to school. At the same time, we rely upon specific guidance from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the Indiana Department of Education, and the Bartholomew Co. Health Department to outline the expectations and allowances for daily operations as we return to school.
At this time, guidance specific to onsite activities and instruction is slowly being released, so it is difficult to speak with the type of clarity we would like regarding school operations. Our guiding principle is to provide, to the maximum extent possible, an educational experience that mirrors a pre-pandemic St. B’s educational experience while providing for the health and safety of the St. B’s community.
Will St. Bartholomew provide an eLearning option for families who are unable to attend on-site classes?
Yes. E-Learning is available to all students at any time. Families may choose to participate in eLearning, but must contact Mrs. Heckman one week prior to making this switch (this would not apply to illness) at (812) 372-9353 ext. 1223 or hheckman@stbirish before the change can be made, to allow St. Bartholomew School to make the necessary adjustments.
Families who want to begin the 2020-2021 school year in eLearning, must contact Mrs. Helen Heckman by Monday, July 27 at (812) 372-9353 ext. 1223 or hheckman@stbirish to notify the school of their plans.
We plan to share more info about eLearning in the next week or so. We are planning for it to include more opportunities for students to be able to watch lessons being presented either live or through recorded videos. It will also include more options for discussion with teachers, TA’s and classmates through Google Meet. In addition, we know that we will be utilizing our TA’s in each class to assist with posting eLearning lessons and following up with students and/or parents about assignments.
We have a St. Bartholomew Re-entry Task Force that is still working out the details and working on how to share this information with parents. Having both in-person and eLearning formats going on at the same time is going to be new for our school, so planning is rather difficult. We know that the eLearning lessons will evolve, change and hopefully improve with experience as well.
What preventative measures will St. Bartholomew School be using?
Staff will temperature screen students after arrival, before announcements. Any student with a fever of 100F or higher will go with our school nurse, Mrs. Hotek, to our isolated nurse’s room until parents can pick up the student.
Students and Staff will receive training on reducing the spread, proper hand washing, correctly wearing a face covering, covering coughs & sneezes and how to social distance. Training will be done by teachers via instruction and videos provided by the Indiana Department of Education.
What cleaning procedures will be in place?
We will be increasing our cleaning rotation. Changes include disinfecting restrooms 2-3x a day, disinfecting high-touch surfaces throughout the day. After the daily cleaning crew leaves for the evening, the building and classrooms will be disinfected with a sanitizing fogger.
Students will be instructed about the importance of proper handwashing techniques and hand sanitizer will be utilitzed, especially before they go outside to play. Students will also be required to wipe down their desks before eating their breakfast and/or lunch. Classroom doors and windows will be propped open for increased air flow.
Will face coverings be required?
Yes. Students and staff will be required to wear masks. Masks will be required in the classroom and on buses, while entering and exiting the school building and when in common areas.
The school has been able to procure donations of masks and hopes to be able to provide each student with at least 1-2 cloth masks. Face masks will need to washed daily, so purchasing multiples may be a good idea. Face shields are also acceptable. Face masks can be any color, any pattern as long as they are school appropriate. You do not have to follow dress-code rules.
Indiana Department of Education’s Back-To-School Face Covering Guidance for Families PDF / Spanish
If a student is unable to keep a mask or shield on while at school, that student may need to switch to eLearning.
I Don’t Want My Child Wearing a Mask.
We know that there are strong opinions about the use of masks. The Indiana State Department of Health cited a 40-60% reduction in COVID-19 transmission when masks are used by all, which is why we are requiring them.
This is especially important since some carriers of COVID-19 may not have any symptoms. Children, despite being generally less affected by COVID-19, expose school staff and adults at home who may be more at risk.
Will social distancing be required in classrooms?
Yes, guidance requires 6′ social distancing when possible. In accordance with Indiana Department of Health directives, all efforts possible regarding physical distancing requirements for K-8 students (6′ between students) will be followed when feasible (e.g. classroom arrangements, minimize transitions, teachers go to students, reduced use of common areas, etc…).
Desks will be spaced apart and faced in the same direction to limit face-to-face contact. Teachers’ desks will have clear shields to allow students to approach their desk to ask questions. We will also allow teachers to conduct classes outdoors when possible.
Each grade level is assigned a certain restroom and breaks will be scheduled to minimize crowd size. Playground, play area around the building, the parking lot, etc are all being scheduled by groups to make sure everyone has plenty of space to spread out. Locker rooms will not be used for Physical Education class.
What changes will be implemented with the School Nurse?
There will be separate areas created in our school—one for regular care and an isolated area for anyone who presents signs or symptoms of illness.
If you need to provide medication for your child, Mrs. Hotek will meet you in a designated area to handle this. Nebulizers will not be allowed at this time. You can also expect to see changes in how we administer stocked medicines, and new criteria for staying home from school/returning to school, based on CDC guidelines.
Parents picking up students for appointments will need to buzz in at the main door and Mrs. Hotek will have your child meet you at the door. Same when you bring them back after their appointment, or if you are tardy to school.
Please reach out to Mrs. Hotek, firstname.lastname@example.org if you have specific concerns regarding your child’s medical care.
Will Students be Screened for COVID-19 Symptoms?
Parents need to be attentive to the daily health of their children and will be required to sign an expectation agreement indicating their commitment to ensure their child is symptom free and safe to attend school each day. This includes being fever free for 72 hours without the use of fever reducing medication. School staff will also be receiving professional development on how to recognize potential COVID-19 symptoms. No one should be in our buildings if they are experiencing any symptoms of illness.
What Will Happen if Someone Tests Positive for COVID-19?
If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19, we will follow direction from the Bartholomew County Health Department. This may include closing a classroom or school for a period of time and shifting quickly to eLearning at home for students who are impacted. Many of our new procedures are designed to support contact tracing should a confirmed case occur. This will assist the Health Department with quickly identifying and contacting individuals who may have been exposed.
Will Schools be Open All Year? Will These Procedures be in Place All Year?
The pandemic shifts rapidly and we don’t know what the rest of the school year may bring. If cases surge, schools may be ordered to close again, requiring all students to shift to online learning. If the situation improves, we may be able to abandon some elements of this plan and return to more normal operating conditions.
What is the status of athletics and other co-curricular activities?
CYO Athletics and our Athletic Director have determined and put into place safety procedures. Coaches will be required to wear masks. Students will be socially distanced when possible. At this point, fall sports are going ahead as planned. More information will be coming soon.
Will after school care, food, and school transportation services be impacted?
Some of these will look different this fall. BCSC will still be providing bus transportation to and from our school. If you have not already done so, you need to contact the BCSC Transportation Office and let them know your student will be riding the bus: 812-376-4246. New bus procedures include students wearing masks and assigning seats. Parents should consider bringing their children to school if they can, to allow for less crowding on the buses.
After school care will still continue, using social distancing, wearing masks and utilizing all other safety measures.
Breakfast & Lunch will be still be available from BCSC. Breakfast and Lunches will be delivered directly to the classrooms. See the breakfast and lunch menus for August at: https://www.stbirish.net/lunch-menu/ as well as information about pricing.
Students are encouraged to bring water bottles to school. The drinking fountain will be closed, but the hands-free bottle filling station will be open for student use.
Will St. Bartholomew Still Do Their Back to School Night?
St. Bartholomew School Administration and Teaching Staff are working on a Virtual Back to School Night. Early plans include virtual presentations by grade levels.
Due to no “in person” Back to School Night, students will need to bring in their school supplies a little at a time over the first few days of school. For those who ordered the school supply kits online, they will already be in your student’s homeroom.
We will also not be doing “Popsicles on the Playground” this year.
What Can Parents Do to Ensure a Smooth Start to School?
We encourage parents to talk with, reassure and support their children about these changes, and the importance of social distancing and wearing masks.
Allow your child to ask questions and answer them to the best of your ability. Find guidance here.
Explain the why behind wearing a mask and have your child practice wearing their mask.
Follow recommended guidelines regarding masks and social distancing this summer to help prevent a future surge in cases that might impact the start of school.
Help students get back into a normal schedule at least a week before school begins, such as reinstituting bedtime and wake up routines.
Be sure that all your child’s immunizations are up to date, including newly required immunizations for students entering kindergarten and 6th grades.
Stay in close communication with your school should your health situation or return plans change.
What else do we need to know?
Parents may consider purchasing a few extra school supplies that were not on their child’s school supply list:
- Over the ear Headphones (not earbuds)
Personal Tissue Packs (Travel Packs)
Personal Hand Sanitizer Bottle
Beach Towel or Small Rug for outdoor classes
Crate to store school supplies, to place on floor next to desk (no lockers will be used)
Water Bottle (drinking fountains will be closed, but the bottle fill will be open)
Middle School 7th & 8th Graders will be switching classes for leveled Math & Spanish.
All School Mass: Middle School will attend together weekly at the 12:00 Noon Mass on Fridays. K-5th Grades will rotate attendance at the 8:15 AM all school Mass on Thursdays. Any class that can not attend in-person will watch Mass on a live-stream and Ministers will bring over communion to the school, for those who are eligible.
Homeroom, class list assignments will be emailed to parents in late July.