“We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other.”
Urbi et Orbi, March 27, 2020
As we approach the start of the 2021-22 school year, the Catholic schools of the Davenport Diocese are prepared for the 2021-2022 school year.
“As Catholics, we believe that our all-good and all-loving God does not cause pandemics or crises to happen, but draws good from them. Because God can write straight with crooked lines, there is nothing beyond the reach of his transforming love. Further, we believe God recognizes our dignity by allowing us to participate in bringing about this good.”
Clare Kilbane, Ph.D, from NCEA Talk: A Catholic School Education blog
As we continue to work toward the common good, we have established protocols for:
- mitigating the spread of COVID-19 utilizing layered strategies
- prioritizing the continuity of in-person, academic, and social-emotional learning for all students five days a week
- minimizing social disruption for students, families, and staff
Flexibility within recommended protocols may be needed in order to achieve these goals. Each school has been, and will continue to work with state, county and community public health officials to address any increased transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our classrooms, schools, programs, facilities or means of transportation.
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) most recent (8/5/2021) guidance for schools can be found here.
IN SCHOOL AND ON TRANSPORTATION
Iowa law prevents schools from requiring face coverings for all teachers, staff, students, and visitors. The CDC, however, recommends universal indoor masking in K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status.
Holy Trinity Catholic encourages mask wearing; it is one of the layered prevention strategies to keep our students healthy. Parents should discuss with their child(ren) their family’s decision and the importance of respecting the face covering decisions of others.
In compliance with the President’s Executive Order on domestic transportation, students riding the bus are required to wear a face-covering while on the bus or utilizing other school provided transportation. This includes transportation between home and school, as well as transportation for co- and extracurricular activities, field trips, and other school-sponsored events. The federal law on masks and transportation applies to “private schools” and any form of school transportation. Thus, if your school has any school buses or vans, or if you rent any buses or vans, you are responsible to the federal law which requires the driver and occupants to wear a mask. The federal law does not apply to private vehicles, such as parents driving on field trips. Check with Ft. Madison Community School for mask requirements on buses.
The CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students when possible.
Holy Trinity Catholic will work to maintain 3 feet of distance within the school setting whenever possible.
The CDC states handwashing is a proven prevention strategy and is one of many important layers of protection for students.
Holy Trinity Catholic will utilize reminders and scheduling to promote consistent hand washing throughout the school day. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the school building.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTION
The CDC states proper cleaning and disinfection are important layers of prevention to keep schools safe.
Holy Trinity Catholic will continue cleaning and disinfection efforts throughout the school day including increased cleaning of restrooms, frequently touched surfaces, and eating areas.
Water fountains and bottle fillers will be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Holy Trinity Catholic students are encouraged to bring their own water bottles to reduce spread of illness.
The CDC, IDPH and the Diocese of Davenport encourage all eligible Iowans to receive the vaccine.
HTC does not require staff or students to be vaccinated, but encourages all those eligible to give it their fullest consideration.
VOLUNTEERS & VISITORS
Volunteers and visitors will be asked to follow all of the guidelines of staff and students. Volunteers and visitors will be limited and allowed at the discretion of the administration.
Volunteers and visitors of HTC who have tested positive will need to follow isolation requirements and not come on site for a minimum of 10 days.
COVID TRACKING & QUARANTINING
IDPH advises exposed children and staff should not be required to stay home, regardless of mask usage. When there is a positive case, parents should be given information around exposure to COVID-19 in order to make their own informed decisions regarding risk.
Following IDPH guidance, Holy Trinity Catholic tracks student illness on a daily basis. HTC will communicate with the school community and IDPH when more than 10% of our students are absent due to illness.
Parents who want their child(ren) to quarantine for 14 days when exposed to a positive case should contact the school office.
Those testing positive for COVID must be excluded from school for 10 days after symptoms start and 24 hours with no fever and improved symptoms OR 10 days after positive test (if no symptoms).
At Holy Trinity Catholic, students and staff must follow the guidelines above after receiving a positive COVID diagnosis.
STAYING HOME WHEN ILL
Students, teachers, and staff should stay home when they have signs of any infectious illness and be referred to their healthcare provider for testing and care.
HTC asks all parents to stay diligent in keeping students home when ill. School staff will also be asked to stay home with any sign of infectious illness.
The CDC states localities should monitor community transmission, vaccination coverage, screening testing, and occurrence of outbreaks to guide decisions on the level of layered prevention strategies.
HTC will continue to work with the Lee County Health Department and review guidance from the IDPH, CDC, DE, and Diocese of Davenport Catholic Schools office.
All Catholic schools of the Diocese of Davenport will be in-person five days per week at the start of the 2021-22 school year.
Learning Management System (K-12)
Holy Trinity Catholic Schools will continue to use SeeSaw (k-3) and Google Classroom (4-12) as the learning management system as part of the delivery of instruction. The learning management system ensures equitable access of resources. In-person learning is the preferred delivery for instruction. The use of a learning management system is a tool that supports instruction; it is not a substitute for instruction by a highly qualified teacher.
Remote Learning Options
Virtual learning (defined as enrolled in the school but 100% of the instruction occurs outside of school) is not an option for students. However, there are times when a remote solution may be appropriate for a school-approved extended absence. A school-approved extended absence includes the following:
Extended absence due to a health condition must be documented and reported to school administration by a health professional and approved by the principal on a case by case basis.
Remote learning will not be available for vacations and travel. Hybrid models with students in the building on some days and out of the building on other days will not be an option. A new proclamation of disaster emergency by the Governor of Iowa can change the options offered at Catholic schools of the Diocese of Davenport.
Normal absence protocol will be followed. If a student is out for a school approved extended absence, their teacher will provide necessary materials as needed so they can continue their coursework. Virtual learning (defined as enrolled in school but 100% of the instruction occurs outside of school) opportunities will not be an option.
These recommended mitigation protocols are based on the following information and guidance from:
- Diocese of Davenport
- Current community transmission rates
- DHS/CDC/Local Public Health Guidance
- Local Vaccination Rates
- Archdiocese of Dubuque; Diocese of Des Moines; Diocese of Sioux City