COVID Resource Page

Greetings St. Theresa Families:

As we continue to navigate this transitional period of school operation, I want to reiterate our commitment to keep you informed of our process and projected progress towards reopening our school. We are all very eager to gather again as a community on campus and will only be able to do so via a cautious and thoughtfully phased reopening strategy. Throughout each stage of reopening, our planning teams continue to prioritize the health and safety of both our precious students and our valued faculty and staff.

In response to ongoing developments related to Covid-19, St. Theresa School has instituted a comprehensive program of remote and hybrid academic instruction and has implemented a broad set of health and safety protocol in tandem with our staged reopening strategy. We continue to monitor the orders and recommendations issued by the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) and the Diocese of Oakland Catholic School (DCS) and we are adjusting programming accordingly.

For more details about our reopening plan, please refer to the information and links below. We will continue to update plan documentation as required by the ACPHD and the DCS, and will continue to keep our St. Theresa families involved and informed throughout this process. The teachers and staff miss everyone and are sending our thoughts and prayers to all.

Blessings,

Katie Murphy

PLANNING TEAMS

The Instructional Planning Committee is composed of an initial six faculty members who assessed and advised school leadership on hybrid model options. Full faculty input and a unanimous vote established the working model for hybrid learning currently in place.

The Health and Safety and Facilities Committees are comprised of parent volunteers, and these task forces have supported hybrid reopening from the initial phase with classroom layout, space usage analysis, safe student path of travel planning, lunch time procedure and restroom usage protocols, and pickup and drop off operation to prepare school for reopening while maintaining a safe environment for both students and staff. Additionally, to further support safe reopening, several parent volunteers have put in many hours assisting with facilities upgrades, marking out space in outdoor facilities and performing other tasks.

Board Finance committee volunteers have worked closely with school leadership throughout the reopening process to assess necessary expenditures, creatively source materials and labor and conscientiously realign the operating budget to accommodate these new expenses.

Throughout this period of ever-shifting conditions, ongoing two-way communication with families has been a core priority for school leadership. Communication has been established through the following channels: parent surveys, online question submission, grade level Zoom conferences with leadership, stand-alone email updates, weekly newsletters, and 1:1 meetings. Additionally, the School Board has been provided with regular updates on planning and projected opening dates, and School Board meeting notes are published on the school website and available to all. Finally, links to all reopening documents that provide detailed information about all policies and procedures are posted on the school website and accessible to our community.


FAMILY REOPENING RESOURCES

Frequently Asked Questions
The following FAQ’s provide targeted information in response to questions our family community has raised. For detailed information regarding our Reopening Plan, operational protocols we have in place to keep our community safe, and the regulations to which we must adhere in order to maintain our ability to continue any in-person instruction, please refer to our COVID Resource Page as well as our Reopening Plan documentation linked here: St. Theresa School COVID-19 Reopening Plan COVID 19 Safety Plan (CSP) (Updated 1/29/21)

Our school leadership, in partnership with our Instructional Planning Committee, Health and Safety and Facilities Committees, and Finance committee has been engaged in the process of reopening our school since last summer. This process has been guided by the orders of the CDC and resulting requirements issued by the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) and the Diocese of Oakland Catholic School (DCS), and informed by feedback we received from parent surveys, group Zoom listening and information sharing sessions, and generous offers of consultation and advice from our parent community.

Reopening safely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an intricate process, requiring careful planning, and vetting of our processes with consideration to ever-changing infection rates within our county. By conducting our reopening slowly, and initiating each new phase with all possible caution, our school leadership is employing best practices to ensure safety procedures are working well. Further, a phased reopening is a requirement outlined by the ACPHD. This approach minimizes our school’s risk to students as well as our staff. The infection threshold for school shut down is appropriately low and our leadership is making every effort to avoid any loss of progress in our return to in-person instruction. If you would like to find out detailed information about the plan our school was required to submit in order to be granted a waiver for in-person instruction, please review this linked document. 

St. Theresa School COVID-19 Reopening Plan COVID 19 Safety Plan (CSP) (Updated 1/29/21)

In addition to 1:1 communication school leadership has engaged with families, as well Zoom information sharing sessions, the school has issued multiple surveys to collect feedback from our community about reopening preferences and sensitivities. A high level summary of that feedback is as follows: 

  • On average 70% of families in each class were open to considering 2-3 days a week of in-person instruction
  • 30% of families did not feel comfortable, or were unable to send children back for in-person instruction prior to wide distribution of a vaccine due to a family member with pre-existing conditions, etc.

Due to the large percentage of families that prefer to remain 100% remote, school leadership and planning committees have worked to design a reopening model that accommodates the needs of hybrid learning students while maintaining as much parity of access to quality instruction and equity between all students as possible during this challenging time.

Maintaining 6’ between students, and between students and staff at all times is a requirement of our waiver to reopen for hybrid learning. This includes inside the classrooms, in restrooms, as students pass in hallways, enter and exit buildings and while using outdoor spaces. If we are unable to accommodate that requirement, or if we relax those procedures, we risk losing our approval to conduct hybrid instruction, and much more importantly, increase the risk of viral transmission on campus. This required safety precaution has been fulfilled through many hours of planning by staff and parent volunteers around student paths of travel and activities within our campus layout. Additionally, staff must be available to monitor student adherence to distancing, mask wearing and other safety behaviors. With that said, we understand the importance of our students’s opportunities to move around during recess, and we are brainstorming activities that we can add to the recess periods to support “getting the wiggles out”.

The number of students per cohort is based on room size and configuration to maintain physical distance requirements between staff and students. Although some cohorts may in actuality be smaller than the limits outlined below (see “Learning Cohorts), groups will not be adjusted so as to maintain parity in access to instruction between “A” and “B” cohorts as well as those students who elect to remain 100% remote. This policy has been established by school leadership to create as much equity between all students as possible during this challenging time. Finally, consideration must be given to keeping siblings on the same schedule of M/W vs. TUE/FRI, as well as children of essential works in our community, all of which creates barriers to flexibility around rearranging our cohorts.

St. Theresa’s reopening plan, learning model and the rate at which grades are able to return to in-person instruction is on par with the majority of other schools in our Root. There are a few schools which opened instruction to grades more quickly; some at the same rate, and some which have yet to open to our same set of grades. There are many factors that must be considered when adding grades to a hybrid learning plan, including but not limited to:

  • Campus layout and egress - sufficient points-of-entry to allow each cohort to enter in a staggered fashion and to pass through hallways safely, while maintaining 6’ distancing is essential to safe return. Each school’s campus is unique, and may offer more or less flexibility in planning.
  • Guiding principle for establishing a school’s schedule - at St. Theresa, we prioritized academics as well as consideration of parent schedules. Schools which have reopened to upper grades are often doing so for half days only, whereas the St. Theresa schedule model accommodates a full day of instruction because school leadership feels this provides a better learning environment and an easier commute schedule for parents.
  • School size and staffing - student body and established student:teacher ratios are closely tied to how each school’s learning model and reopening plan is structured, and each school is unique regarding those metrics.
  • Community needs and preferences - different school communities may have preferred in-person instruction at a much higher percentage, which allows for a different reopening model and treatment for learning cohorts.

When comparing St. Theresa’s approach with schools outside of Alameda County, it should be noted that those schools are required to adhere to a different set of guidelines dictated by that County’s Department of Health, and so that comparison is not necessarily relevant.

Parents may elect to remove students from in-person learning, and will be allowed to return to hybrid instruction at set points within the school year. Those opportunities will be communicated out to families as they approach along with the requirements for testing, health and safety checks, and waiver/release of liability documentation. As required by the ACPHD additions of new or returning students to any cohort must be spaced by four weeks.

Our school will follow the metrics established by the ACDPH for closing again and returning to distance learning due to COVID19. These metrics are as follows:

  • 5% of students and teachers in a classroom test positive for the virus, the classroom would be closed, followed by 14 days of quarantine. 
  • 5% positive testing rate of total students and teachers, the entire school would have to close, with everyone subject to 14 days of quarantine.

For much more detailed information about the impact of infection within our community, please refer to our Reopening Plan linked here: St. Theresa School COVID-19 Reopening Plan COVID 19 Safety Plan (CSP) (Updated 1/29/21)

Our faculty spends Wednesday hours working 1:1 with students who need additional learning support, preparing classroom materials and schedules, reviewing student work, and in staff meetings planning for upcoming reopenings, health and safety training, and other responsibilities. Staff also hold time on Wednesdays for office hours to meet with parents and to conduct assessments. Unlike during normal school operation, teachers have very little time during days scheduled with hybrid instruction to conduct these activities.

There is additional time required to allow for a staggered pickup of students in order to avoid mixing cohorts. Teachers also use time at the end of the scheduled day for working 1:1 with students who need additional learning support, which under normal circumstances they would be able to do during recess, or other breaks throughout an in-person day. Unlike during normal school operation, teachers have very little time during hybrid instruction hours to provide extra student support.

At this time, as a result of the rate of vaccination, and the emergence of virus variants, school leadership anticipates that great caution will be required for some time, and that likely hybrid instruction will continue for the remainder of this academic school year.

FAMILY REOPENING RESOURCES

  • Each grade level is divided into two groups, group Red (A) and group White (B).
  • The Red group will be at school on Monday and Thursday full days and the White group will be at school on Tuesday and Friday full days.
  • The grade levels will be staggered for drop off and pick up, as well as recess and lunch time.
  • All students will remain with their own classrooms, a stable cohort, throughout the school day.
  • The number of students per cohort is based on room size and configuration to maintain physical distance requirements between staff and students. Groups will not be adjusted if a cohort constitutes a smaller number than outlined so as to maintain equity between hybrid cohorts as well as those students who elect to remain 100% remote.
  • Our cohort sizes by class are as follows:
    • TK: 9 students per cohort
    • K: 10 students per cohort
    • 1st Grade: 11 students per cohort
    • 2nd Grade: 10 students per cohort
    • 3rd Grade: 9 students per cohort
    • 4th Grade: 11 students per cohort
    • 5th Grade: 15 students per cohort
    • 6th Grade: 11students per cohort
    • 7th Grade: 12 students per cohort
    • 8th Grade: 13 students per cohort

By starting our reopening slowly, and initiating each new phase with all possible caution, our school leadership is employing best practices to ensure safety procedures are working well. This approach minimizes our school’s risk to students as well as our staff. The infection threshold for school shut down is appropriately low and our leadership is making every effort to avoid any loss of progress in our return to in-person instruction.

  • TK and K – November 4th
  • 1st Grade – December 7th
  • 2nd Grade – December 10th
  • 3rd Grade – January 25th (delayed due to infection rate surge)
  • 4th Grade – January 28th
  • 5th Grade – February 8th
  • 6th, 7th and 8th Grade – March 16th

HEALTH AND SAFETY INFORMATION

Our school will adhere to the disinfection guidelines developed by the California Department of Public Health (CDHP)and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for classrooms, workspaces, outdoor spaces, and playgrounds.

  • Daily cleaning will be done by our janitorial service on school days after school hours, including high touch hard surfaces and twice during the day for high touch surfaces as well, such as hand railings, doorknobs, light switches, toilets and sinks.
  • The janitor will clean twice a day mid-morning and after lunch as well as after school
  • The sharing of supplies between students will be limited. Each child will have a set of their own materials to use throughout the day, to mitigate risk of infection within each cohort group.
  • When materials/items are shared, children will sanitize their hands first, the teacher will sanitize the item(s) after they are done and sanitize the child(ren)’s hands again as well
  • Students will keep their personal supplies and backpacks at their space in the classroom. Each student has their own basket for personal supplies at their desk to ensure no sharing of supplies or materials.
  • Our ventilation system has been checked and all filters have been updated to the MERV 13 specifications
  • Air filtering machines with HEPA filters have been placed in rooms without AC including small offices. The filters will be checked routinely throughout the year.
  • While students are present the windows in all classrooms will be opened to ensure good air filtration, unless a bad air day is determined by the Bay Area Air Quality Management Department

  • Restroom usage will be two students at a time (TK/K will use their own bathrooms one at a time) and students will be required to follow proper hand washing procedures and younger students will be supervised
  • Every other stall or urinal will be used to ensure distance and plexiglass will be attached between each sink
  • Teachers or staff will accompany students to and from their designated locations to ensure the student remains secure and disinfect restroom high-touch areas after use.
  • Where soap and water are not readily available, staff and 12 students are to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
  • Hand sanitizer stations are distributed throughout campus and at each student desk
  • Every classroom has fully stocked PPE bins with key equipment

In order to maintain the safety of our faculty and staff, and to keep our cohorts intact, our strategies for accessing campus, and the school buildings, as well as drop off and pickup procedure have been carefully planned, and strict policies are in place. All families must adhere to these policies in order for our campus to remain a safe environment for us all. For more details about these policies and procedures, please refer to these links.

Drop Off/Pickup Procedure

Theresa School COVID-19 Reopening Plan COVID 19 Safety Plan (CSP) (Updated 1/29/21)

While on campus, all faculty, staff, parents and guardians must wear face coverings. Students must wear face coverings while on campus except when eating and drinking. Spare PPE is available at school, and additional equipment such as sneeze guards and face shields have been installed and provided to staff. For more details about protective gear procedure, please refer to our Reopening Plan in the link below. 

Our school will require students and employees to answer basic health screening questions related to COVID-19 symptoms before coming to school. A list of COVID-19 symptoms (a cough; Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing; A fever of 100.4°F or higher or a sense of having a fever; A 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. Please refer to this procedure and checklist, which must be completed and submitted prior to your student accessing school buildings each day.

Drop Off/Pickup Procedure

Daily Health Screening Checklist

COVID-19 Testing, Exposure, and Positive Diagnosis procedures are outlined in complete detail in our Reopening Plan linked below. Families should review these procedures carefully in preparation for return to hybrid learning. Any exposure or positive diagnosis has significant impact on the operation of our school and is the impetus of our slow return methodology and meticulous health and safety planning outlined above.

Our school will follow the metrics established by the California Department of Public Health for closing again and returning to distance learning due to COVID19. These metrics are as follows:

  • 5% of students and teachers in a classroom test positive for the virus, the classroom would be closed, followed by 14 days of quarantine.
  • 5% positive testing rate of total students and teachers, the entire school would have to close, with everyone subject to 14 days of quarantine.

For much more detailed information about the impact of infection within our community, please refer to our Reopening Plan linked below.

ST THERESA REOPENING DOCUMENTATION 

IMPORTANT LINKS AND RESOURCES 

OTHER RESOURCES

Social Distancing Videos
Mask Wearing
Hand Washing Videos from the CDC