• Communication/Family and Community Engagement



    To help inform our reopening plan, our school has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, health care providers, and parish groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations.

    Our school remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the school website at https://www.mcsalbany.org/, and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepage at the top left corner entitled “COVID-19.” Every effort has been to ensure this plan is accessible to all.

    As part of its planning for the reopening of school and the new academic year, the school has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. Our school will use its existing communication channels – including:

         - SwiftReach (email, text and phone alert system)

         - School website (www.mcsalbany.org)
         - School Facebook Page (public announcements) 
         - Seesaw (parent communication)
         - Google Classroom
         - Group Me (Faculty and Staff Text)

    as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic.

    Our school is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. Our school will rely on:

         - SwiftReach (email, text and phone alert system)
         - the school website (www.mcsalbany.org)
         - School Facebook Page (public announcements) 
         - Seesaw (parent communication)
         - Google Classroom
         - Group Me (Faculty and Staff Text)

    to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance and input from COVID-19 Safety Coordinator, the principal, and our Extended Emergency Response Team.

    In support of remote learning, the school will make computer devices available to students and teachers where appropriate. All teachers will be supplied with the equipment needed to provide the instruction online.  For students who are in need of equipment to learn at home, it will be provided by our school. Our school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact teachers during remote learning, including Seesaw, Google Classroom, email, online office hours, and text through Seesaw. 

    Our school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. These methods include:

         - SwiftReach (email, text and phone alert system)

         - the school website (www.mcsalbany.org)
         - School Facebook Page (public announcements) 
         - Seesaw (parent communication)
         - Google Classroom
         - Group Me (Faculty and Staff Text)

    Our school is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, our school will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:

    Hand hygiene: All students will wash their hands before entering and leaving any classroom, before and after eating (e.g. snacks and lunch), after going to the restroom or after assisting a student with toileting, after using a tissue (e.g. sneeze, cough, blow nose), before and after using shared materials, before and after putting on or taking off face masks, after coming in from the outdoors, and anytime hands are visibly soiled. Proper hand hygiene consists of using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol or washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.These protocols will be taught in the homeroom and there will be signage through the school. All classrooms will have hand sanitizing units.

    Proper face covering procedures (how to wear and remove): Masks will be recommended to be worn by all individuals at all times but will be required to be worn any time or place that individuals cannot maintain appropriate social distancing. Students will be allowed to remove their face covering during meals, instruction, and for short breaks so long as they maintain appropriate social distance. Acceptable face coverings include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings (e.g., homemade sewn, quick cut, bandana), and surgical masks that cover both the mouth and nose. All students will be given a lanyard to hold their face masks when not in use. These protocols will be taught in the homeroom and there will be signage through the school.

    Social distancing: All students will wear masks when social distancing of 6 feet or protection from barriers is not possible. Each student will have an area with his/her desk or table and supplies crate. This area will be either 6 feet social distance or will be protected by barriers. These barriers are appropriate physical barriers between individuals that do not adversely affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation, or otherwise present a health or safety risk. These barriers are in accordance with United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines. 

    Cohorts will be implemented for younger students in PreKindergarten and Kindergarten. These cohorts will be limited in number. Social distancing will include the following: All students in a cohort will wear masks. The wearing of masks for younger students will address developmental appropriateness and feasibility. This policy will be implemented in a  safe and consistent manner. Each student will be part of a smaller learning group of five students. 

    Barriers between learning groups are appropriate physical barriers between individuals that do not adversely affect air flow, heating, cooling, or ventilation, or otherwise present a health or safety risk. These barriers are in accordance with United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines.

    Social distancing protocols will be taught by homeroom teachers and there will be signage throughout the school building..

    Respiratory hygiene: All students will be instructed on respiratory hygiene.  Cover a cough or sneeze using a tissue. If a tissue is used, it should be thrown away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue when sneezing or coughing, sneeze into your elbow. After all these activities, students will be instructed to practice their proper hand hygiene. Proper hand hygiene consists of using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol or washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Face coverings are protective. Wearing a face covering will keep the respiratory droplets and aerosols from being widely dispersed into the air. These protocols will be taught in the homeroom and there will be signage through the school.

    Identifying symptoms: Each day prior to entering the school building, there will be a  temperature check and completion of a screening questionnaire by faculty and staff. Students temperatures will be taken at designated entrances. Students entering the Aftercare will have their temperatures taken. Anyone who has a temperature of 100°F or greater or has a positive response on the screening questionnaire or is exhibiting any signs/symptoms of COVID-19 will be sent to an isolated area supervised by a designed staff member while awaiting transport home. All of these individuals will be referred to a healthcare provider and provided with resources on COVID-19 testing.

    Faculty and staff will also be instructed to observe signs of any illness and anyone exhibiting these signs with no other explanation for them should be sent to the school health office for an assessment by the school nurse. If a school nurse is not available, the school will contact the parent/guardian to come pick up their ill child or send the faculty or staff member home. More a list of symptoms, more information can be found in the Screening Throughout the School Day Section of this plan.

    For more detailed information about the school arrival process click here.

    Our school will create and deploy signage throughout the school building to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas:

         - Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

         - Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear
         - Hand washing
         - Adherence to social distancing instructions
         - Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

    In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as:

         - SwiftReach (email, text and phone alert system)
         - the school website (www.mcsalbany.org)
         - School Facebook Page (public announcements) 
         - Seesaw (parent communication)
         - Google Classroom
         - Group Me (Faculty and Staff Text)

    Our school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan.

    Confidentiality will be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff will not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local department of health. 

    We will communicate with all relevant parties including parents/legal guardians, faculty, staff, students and the local community the protocols and safety measures taken by the school. All students will be  taught or trained on how to follow new COVID-19 protocols safely and correctly, including but not limited to hand hygiene, proper face covering wearing, social distancing, and respiratory hygiene. All students, faculty, staff, and visitors will be encouraged through verbal and written communication (e.g., signage) to adhere to CDC and DOH guidance 

    In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The school will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials.

Last Modified on August 17, 2020