COVID-19 Safety and Precautions

“I know God has a plan. I pray for direction to follow it, patience to wait on it, and knowledge to know when it comes.” Proverbs 2:6

Cathedral has developed a comprehensive COVID-19 safety and precautions plan for the 2020-21 school year that prioritizes the health and mental wellbeing of our students, staff and faculty.  This plan comes from a place of deep care and concern, with a focus on adhering to Minnesota Department of Education guidelines and coordination with local public health authorities.

Safe learning plans are in place for three scenarios should local conditions change during the school year; an in-person model, a distance-learning model, and a hybrid model combining the two.

Read the full plan here, or scroll down for frequently asked questions.

Large Gatherings & Mass

School masses will follow the protocols in place by each parish. All athletic sporting events must adhere to state and local guidelines. Strategic physical distancing will be in place for all large gatherings at schools.

Strategic Physical Distancing

Physical distancing procedures will be in place to minimize contact. Some of these procedures include alternate use of spaces and additional signage.

Health Screening

Designated school personnel will take temperatures and check for signs of illness of all staff, students and visitors upon entering school. Anyone with flu-like symptoms or a temperature of 100.4F or higher will be sent home. Re-screenings may be done throughout the day.

Visitors & Volunteers

Based on the need to limit exposure of our students, visitors will be restricted until further notice. Volunteer use will be minimized. All visitors and volunteers will be required to wear a mask and pass a health screening.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Enhanced cleaning protocols have been established to disinfect the schools daily. Students and staff will be encouraged to wash or sanitize hands regularly, and high touch surfaces will be regularly disinfected throughout the school day. Teachers and staff will be provided the necessary cleaning and disinfecting materials.

Teaching & Learning

With the current prevalence rate of COVID-19 in our local communities, Cathedral will remain in close consult with the Minnesota Department of Health and local health departments to determine which learning model will be most appropriate for our school, but our teachers are well prepared for in-person learning, distance learning, or a hybrid of the two. Plans may be updated regularly based on the guidance of local and state health officials, and our school principal will share updated information as it is available.

Masks

According to state mandate, all students and staff will wear masks with a few exceptions as outlined in Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81.

Parent Morning Checklist:

Has your child been in recent close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?  If yes, your child will be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.

Does your child have one or more of the following more common symptoms?

  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Loss of taste or smell

If yes, keep your child home and contact your healthcare provider for an evaluation and/or COVID-19 screening.

Does your child have two or more of the following less common symptoms?

  • Sore throat
  • Chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Severe headache

If yes, keep your child home and contact your healthcare provider for an evaluation and/or COVID-19 screening.

Has anyone in your household had one or more of the more common symptoms or two or more of the less common symptoms listed above in the last three days (72 hours)?  If yes, keep your child home and look into having those who are symptomatic tested for COVID-19.

Has anyone in your household traveled internationally in the past 14 days?  If yes, your child will be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.

If the answer to any of the above is yes, call your school’s attendance office to notify the school.

If the answer to all of the above is no, please remind your child to:

  • bring a water bottle
  • bring hand sanitizer
  • wear a mask
  • bring spare masks
  • wash and sanitize hands frequently at school
  • keep physical distance with peers (6 feet+) when possible

*Please DO NOT administer Tylenol or any other fever reducing medications to your child prior to sending them to school.

CCS COVID-19 Parent Resources 7-12

FAQs

Learning Scenarios

  • Is in-person learning safe?

    Our goal is to have our students learning in-person as much as is safely possible to optimize learning and address our students’ holistic, social emotional needs.

    There is a clear consensus from both education and medical groups: we must keep in mind not only the risks associated with COVID-19 for in-person school programs, but also the known challenges and consequences of keeping students out of school.

    The safety of our students and staff is our number one priority, and we will be closely working with state and local health officials to determine if and when an in-person learning model is no longer the best option.

  • What are the different learning scenarios?

    Scenario 1: In-person learning model.

    In this scenario, students will be in school for in-person learning, but parents will have the option to choose distance-learning for their child if they prefer. We will create as much space between students and teachers as is feasible during the day, but will not be held strictly to enforcing 6 feet of physical distance during primary instructional time in the classroom. 

    Scenario 2: Hybrid learning model with strict physical distancing and capacity limits. 

    In this scenario, our schools will provide simultaneous distance-learning and in-person learning. We will limit the overall number of people in schools to 50% maximum occupancy. Sufficient physical distancing with at least 6 feet between people will occur at all times. If distancing cannot be achieved in a space, the number of occupants will be reduced. 

    Scenario 3: Distance-learning model. 

    In this scenario, schools will be closed and students will learn through online methods from home. This scenario may be implemented if local, regional, or statewide COVID-19 metrics worsen significantly enough to require the suspension of in-person learning. Scenario 3 may also be implemented within a school if they experience clusters of cases within a classroom or the school.

     

    Decisions to increase or loosen restrictions and to shift between scenarios will be made in consult with state and local health officials as COVID-19 metrics at the local, regional, or state level worsen or improve.

  • Can parents choose distance learning regardless of the scenario in place?

    Yes. In scenario 1 and scenario 2, parents may choose distance-learning for their student with notice to the principal. We want our parent community to feel comfortable and supported with their choices for their child.

Operational Practices

  • What changes can I expect during drop-off and pickup?

    We have instituted a system for drop-off and pick-up that keeps families at least six feet from each other and reduces parent or guardian needs to enter the school. This includes staggered pick up times, one-way traffic flows, greeting students at their vehicle, and distance markers on walkways once students enter the school.

  • Will there be health screening upon entry?

    Designated school personnel will take temperatures and check for signs of illness of all staff, students and visitors upon entering school. Please do not administer Tylenol or any other fever reducing medications to your child prior to sending them to school. Anyone with flu-like symptoms must stay home.

    Prior to bringing your child to school, please go through the following morning checklist:

      • Has your child been in recent close contact with anyone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19?  If yes, your child will be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.
      • Has your child had a fever of 100.4°F or higher, or a sense of having a fever, in the past three days (72 hours)?  If yes, keep your child home and watch for other symptoms below.
      • Does your child have two or more of the following?
        • Cough
        • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
        • Sore throat
        • Chills
        • New loss of taste or smell
        • Muscle or body aches
        • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
        • Congestion/running nose – not related to seasonal allergies
        • Unusual fatigue
        • Severe Headache

      If yes, keep your child home and call your child’s doctor to determine if a COVID-19 screening is necessary.

      Has anyone in your household had any of the above symptoms in the last three days (72 hours)?
      If yes, keep your child home and look into having those who are symptomatic tested for COVID-19.

      Has anyone in your household traveled internationally in the past 14 days?
      If yes, your child will be required to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school.

      If the answer to any of the above is yes, call your school’s attendance office to notify the school.

    • If the answer to all of the above is no, your child is permitted to attend school.
  • Are students going to be physically distanced?

    Physical distancing is a critical tool in decreasing the spread of COVID-19.

    • Physical distance floor markings and one way arrows have been added throughout the school for students to utilize as they are walking through the hallways and stairways.
    • Physical distance seat markings have been added to the lunch room benches, limiting only three students per lunch table.
    • Staff will monitor areas where there are greater opportunities for exposure (especially when students are around each other for 15 minutes or more) to ensure mask wearing and physical distancing of at least 6 feet between people whenever possible.
  • How will classrooms be configured?

    We will seek to maximize physical distance between desks and tables within their physical and operational constraints.

    In scenario 2, classroom seating will be arranged so that students are separated from one another by 6 feet. If it is not possible to arrange seating 6 feet apart, alternative spaces in the school (e.g., cafeteria and library) may be repurposed to increase the amount of available space to accommodate the 6 feet requirement.

  • How are students going to be protected during lunchtime?

    Meal times in the cafeteria will be staggered. Student flow will be arranged to reduce crowding at handwashing sinks and food vending areas. Additionally:

    • No sharing of food or drink will be allowed.
    • The staff (not students) will handle utensils and serve food to reduce the spread of germs.
    • We will clean and sanitize tables before and after each group eats.
    • Only three students will be allowed per table, with seat markings to ensure maximum physical distance.

    To minimize the risk even further, we will consider grab-and-go meal services where students take their meals outside or to their classroom, or having meals delivered to classes.

  • How are you cleaning the school?

    We are following the MDH Cleaning and Disinfecting Schools and Child Care Facilities Guidelines.

    We are regularly cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects such as door knobs and handles, stair rails, classroom desks and chairs, lunchroom tables and chairs, countertops, handrails, light switches, handles on equipment (e.g., athletic equipment), push-buttons on vending machines and elevators, etc.

    If a person becomes ill, we will clean and disinfect all areas used by that person, such as high-touch surfaces, and items they have touched.

    We are limiting shared teaching materials to those we can easily clean and sanitize or disinfect.

    Paper-based materials such as books are not high risk for spreading the virus and will not need to be cleaned.

Curriculum and Instruction

  • How can you assure me that my student will learn?

    Recognizing the challenges and limitations many students may experienced with learning during spring 2020, we are revising curriculum guides at all school levels to highlight essential standards for the grade level or course, as well as the prerequisite knowledge and skills learners need in order to be successful with new content.

    We have:

    • Prepared a yearlong plan for each subject area to ensure that a defined unit topic, adherence to standards/objectives, and formative/summative assessment exists. Planning by unit rather than by week or by day ensures that the learning is building toward important outcomes (teach the concept, not limit to time constraints).
    • Taken the opportunity to reframe our systems around culturally responsive and anti-racist practices.
    • Used practices to build racial and social equity and cultural responsiveness into coursework where it is lacking.
    • Implemented instructional schedules that will provide significantly more student-teacher interactions for all students than in spring 2020.
  • Will there be extracurricular activities and athletics this year?

    Athletics and extracurricular activities support the goal of providing a well-rounded educational experience for students.  

    We will:

    • Follow all CDC, MDH, and local public health guidance for physical and social distancing, restricting the size of gatherings for indoor and outdoor spaces, disinfecting equipment, and other health and safety precautions.
    • Apply Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) guidance throughout the year.
    • Have all coaches complete mandatory training before they may conduct any sessions, and all sessions will be held at outdoor fields and facilities.
  • Is attendance required?

    Attendance is required for all learning scenarios – in-person, distance learning or hybrid operating models – ensuring shared accountability for learning. However, we recognize that we need to make certain allowances and adjustments due to possible illness.

  • What if my child traveled out of state or internationally?

    We ask that families, faculty and staff use good judgment and try to limit any nonessential travel within the states. Students, teachers, staff or visitors who have traveled internationally within the past 14 days will be automatically prohibited from entering the school. Students may return to school if they remain symptom-free after 14 days.  For the duration that they are at home, they will be expected to attend school using distance-learning methods.

Health and Wellbeing

  • Are face masks required?

    Yes.  In accordance to Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-81, as of July 25, 2020, masks are required indoors in public spaces in Minnesota. This includes public and nonpublic school buildings. For more information about face coverings and face shields, see page 6 of the MDH K-12 planning guidance.

    We will:

    • teach and reinforce the use of cloth face coverings for students and staff throughout the school day, including on transportation vehicles, inside school buildings, and generally when on school grounds.
    • have a small supply of disposable or cloth face coverings available for staff and students who forget to bring their own.

    Masks can be removed and replaced with a face shield if:

    • a mask would impede the educational process (teachers only).
    • a student cannot tolerate a mask or mask due to a developmental, behavioral or medical condition.
    • a staff member cannot tolerate a mask.
    • a mask impedes the services being delivered (staff).

    Masks and face shields can be removed temporarily in the following circumstances:

    • during physical activity that is impeded by using a mask.
    • during outdoor activities and classes held outside.
    • while eating or drinking.
    • while checking identification.
    • staff working alone in a classroom or office.
    • staff working behind a plexiglass barrier.
    • staff working with a person who has a disability where a face covering impedes communication.

    Face coverings will not be required for:

    • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious.
    • Anyone who is incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the face covering without assistance.
    • Anyone who cannot tolerate a cloth face covering due to developmental, medical, or behavioral health needs.
  • Will handwashing be encouraged?

    Yes.  Handwashing removes pathogens from the surface of the hands. While handwashing with soap and water is the best option, alcohol-based hand sanitizer may be used when handwashing is not available.

    • Handwashing: When handwashing, we will encourage individuals to use soap and water to wash all surfaces of their hands for at least 20 seconds, wait for visible lather, rinse thoroughly, and dry with an individual disposable towel.
    • Hand sanitizing: If handwashing is not feasible, hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent ethanol or at least 70 percent isopropanol content will be available. Hand sanitizer should be applied to all surfaces of the hands and in sufficient quantity that it takes 20 seconds of rubbing hands together for the sanitizer to dry.

    As has always been the case, handwashing is required whenever hands are visibly soiled and after using the bathroom. Additionally, students and staff will be required to exercise hand hygiene (handwashing or sanitizing) upon arrival to school, before eating, before putting on and taking off masks, and before dismissal.

    We will:

     

    • Ensure the availability of appropriate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors (e.g., soap, hand sanitizer, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, and tissues).
    • Strategically place supplies in areas where they may be frequently used (e.g., building entrances, cafeteria, classrooms).
    • Have processes to frequently check and refill supplies at the point of use.
    • Build routines of hand hygiene into the daily school schedule for all students and staff, including handwashing and sanitation breaks during or between classroom activities.
    • Supervise the use of hand sanitizer by students.
    • Ensure that students and staff with sensitivity or skin reactions to hand sanitizer can use soap and water.
    • Reinforce handwashing during key times, including but not limited to: arrival and dismissal; before, during, and after preparing or eating food; after using the bathroom; after blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing; after touching objects with bare hands that have been handled by other people.
  • What if our family has an underlying medical condition?

    For students, families, and staff who self-identify as high risk for illness due to COVID-19, we will:

    • offer distance-learning to enrolled students who may be medically vulnerable or otherwise unwilling to return to in-person or hybrid learning.
    • offer reasonable accommodations such as additional PPE or work reassignments for staff who may be medically vulnerable or otherwise unwilling to return to in-person or hybrid learning.
    • offer other opportunities for volunteers to assist with school operations and programs if desired for those volunteers who may be medically vulnerable.
  • What if a family member is feeling sick?

    If anyone in the household has symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or had a close exposure to someone with COVID-19 within the last 14 days, your child must stay home. Families should notify the school.

  • What if someone becomes sick while at school?

    Regular screening for symptoms and ongoing self-monitoring throughout the school day can help to quickly identify signs of illness and help reduce exposure. 

    We will conduct periodic symptom screening for staff, students, family members, and any other visitors in the school during the school day. Staff and students will also be encouraged to self-monitor symptoms throughout the day.

    Staff or students who develop symptoms during the school day must notify their teacher or another identified point of contact in the school building immediately.

    Handling Suspected / Confirmed Positive Cases of COVID-19

    We will immediately arrange for pickup and isolate symptomatic individuals in the designated isolation space under visual supervision of a staff member who is at least 6 feet away. Both the symptomatic student and the supervising adults will wear a cloth face covering or a surgical mask.

    After the symptomatic individual has gone home, we will implement cleaning and disinfecting procedures following the COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs.

    We will notify MDH of confirmed COVID-19 cases among students and staff (as required by Minnesota Rules, Chapter 4605.7050). An MDH inbox has been established for school COVID case reporting: health.schools.covid19@state.mn.us. 

    We will also notify staff, and families.

    We will coordinate with local health officials, while maintaining confidentiality in accordance with FERPA and all other state and federal laws, and we will follow their instructions.

    We will follow the MDH Decision Tree for People with COVID-19 Symptoms in Youth, Student, and Child Care Programs to determine when a student or staff member may return to school following illness or COVID-19 testing.

  • Will free or reduced meals be provided during hybrid or distance learning?

    A contactless pick up and/or delivery of meals will be made available for those enrolled in our free and reduced meal program.  Meals will be available in all three learning scenarios.

Creating and Maintaining Community

  • How are Community and Christian values maintained?

    Because CCS schools are not only content educators but also faith-based learning communities, we have devised thoughtful and comprehensive strategies that we will implement in the event that in-person instruction is suspended.

    Vatican documents on education identify the centrality of community and importance of relationships and the presence of a rich prayer and sacramental life.

    We acknowledge up front that it simply cannot be as effectively and powerfully accomplished on-line and at home as it can where we are gathered as a community and interacting with each other personally. However, it remains our duty to seek to find ways to translate as much of that benefit as possible to a hybrid and distance-learning environment.

  • What can families do to help?

    Families play a critical role in supporting the new culture of health and safety this school year. Most importantly, we will encourage families to:

     

    • Mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in our school communities by checking their children daily for any COVID-19 symptoms.
    • Keep children home from school if they are sick or have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19.
    • Support the use of masks in school and on the bus, arranging alternate transportation whenever possible.
    • Follow state guidance on health and safety outside of school, such as maintaining family bubbles, health monitoring, and practicing COVID-19 hygiene.
    • Follow MDH guidance and recommendations to remain current on all standard vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.
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