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ECS Reopening Plan

In Person Learning

In-person classes will reconvene at Epiphany of the Lord Catholic School this fall on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.  This reopening will come with its own new set of safety policies and protocols that are intended to keep the students safe while enjoying their educational development.  Having students back for classroom learning is important not only for their academic growth, but for their social and emotional development as well.

We also know from our collective experience of this unprecedented pandemic that some of our current plans will continue to require necessary adjustments, based on health and safety developments and guidelines from county officials and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.  Updates will continue to be made to this plan and posted to this website.

  • Campus
  • In-Person School Day
  • Weekly Mass
  • Safety Guidelines
  • Hygiene & Covid-19 Cases
  • Entering the School Flow Chart
  • FAQ's
  • 2020-2021 School Calendar
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Cleaning & Sanitation

Regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces is integral to our clearning plan.  High-grade disinfectants will be used every night in all classrooms, restrooms, offices, and other common areas.

Teachers will use disinfectants to clean commonly touched classroom areas throughout the day and at the end of every school day. Additionally, immediate disinfecting of a classroom will take place if a student is sent to the clinic with COVID-19 symptoms.

The nurse’s clinical areas will be disinfected immediately if a student with possible COVID-19 symptoms has visited the clinical areas.

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HEPA Air Purifiers

HEPA Air Purifiers have been purchased for every classroom, plus a few additional spaces.  The high capacity, yet quiet air purifiers will run throughout the day and clean the air in each classroom in its entirety about every 30 minutes.

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Visitors

We understand the importance of implementing sanitary measures on our school campus.  During this time, visitors, including parents, will not be allowed on campus.  Only staff, teachers, students and essential service workers will be allowed on campus.

We understand parent involvement is a huge part of the energy at our school.  Our temporary visitor policy is a necessary sacrifice to help provide for the safety of our students, teachers and staff. We will revise this policy as soon as we feel it is safe to do so.

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Cohort Model

Initially, in-person classes will use a cohort model under which each student in the school will stay within a single class of students throughout the day – organized by homeroom. Students will not mix with other classes (cohort) during the day. Our goal is to keep the cohort together throughout the day as a group and minimize interaction with other classes.

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Playground

Individual classes will go to the playground individually. Per CDC recommendations, the playground will not be sanitized between classes – rather students will wash their hands before and after recess.  Commonly touched surfaces will be disinfected by the staff throughout the day.

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Student Drop-off

Students will be dropped off at the normal drop-off location. Staff members will use an infrared forehead thermometer to take the temperature of each student every morning prior to their exiting the car. If a student’s temperature reads 100.0 degrees or higher, the entire family will be asked to pull over into the nurse’s station nearby to receive a second reading.

The school nurse and school administration will make the final determination as to whether the student, and siblings will be admitted into the building.

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Morning Assembly & Lunch

We still want to start the day with prayer and as a community.  We will still have morning assembly but it will take place in the classrooms over the PA System for now.

Lunch will be eaten in the classrooms.   Students will still have the option to bring lunch from home or buy lunch from Road Runner Foods.

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Recess & P.E.

Movement and outdoor activities are vital for our student’s body and health.

Students will go outside every day (weather permitting) to participate in organized activities and classes. Organized activities will be designed to strive for social distancing in line with prescribed guidelines.

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Classroom Materials

Classroom materials will not be shared in the classrooms. Each student will have his/her materials and the school will provide extras as needed to ensure students have their own items.

Classroom equipment which is provided by the school will be sanitized between every class.

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Use of Lockers

5th & 6th grade students will use lockers as planned. Additional space to accommodate social distancing between assigned lockers will be utilized.

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Student Dismissal

Dismissal procedures from the parents’ perspective will remain the same. However, new internal procedures are being implemented so that students are adhering to proper social distancing measures while exiting classrooms and the building.

As part of our new dismissal procedures, new carpool tags will now be required to pick up a child. Each family will be issued two tags, and additional tags may be purchased in September.

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School Field Trips

At this time, no field trips are planned for the fall semester. If we can safely provide field trip opportunities in the spring semester, we will explore options at that time.

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Extend-Day Care

We will offer ECS Extended Day, both before and after school.

However, we encourage families to utilize these services only if truly needed.  ECS Extended Day will operate under all of the safety protocols as the school day.  The students will be required to social distance although students from different grades may be in the same room.

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After School Activities

After school and extra-curricular activities will be postponed for the time being. Once we are able to safely hold virtual or in-person activities and clubs, we will add programs back to our offerings.

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Weekly Mass

We will still have Mass as a community once a week on Thursdays.  In order to keep our safety protocols in place, it will be a private Mass for students, teachers, and administrators only.  Students in Grades 2 through 6 will attend Mass in the church.  The students will sit with the students in their cohort and appropriate social distancing practices will be applied. The students will wear their protective facial shields or masks throughout the service, and during travel to and from the church.

Students in PrK through Grade 1, plus all Distance Learning students, will participate in the Mass service virtually within their classroom.

At this time, parents and other parishioners will not be allowed to attend the children’s Mass service. The health and safety of our students is of utmost importance and such policy helps mitigate possible exposure. We will continue to evaluate this policy throughout the Fall semester.

Spirituality of the entire family is important, especially during this time.  Parents are encouraged to attend any of the public daily Masses at 9 am.

Our first line of defense starts with all of us.  If there is any sign of potential illness that could be COVID-19, families and students must stay home.  Every individual family must work in partnership with one another to safeguard our Epiphany community.

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Contact with a person infected

Please contact the school immediately about self-quarantining if a student  has been in “close contact” with a person who has a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19.  Close contact is defined as:

  • being within a distance of 6 feet for 15 minutes or more
  • being directly exposed to infection secretions (ex: being coughed on while not wearing a mask)
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Temperature Monitoring

Temperature checks will be conducted by school staff every morning during student drop-off.  If a student during the school day exhibits COVID-19 symptoms, the student will have their temperature checked by the school nurse in the clinic. If the student’s temperature is measured at 100.0 degrees or higher, the student’s parents will be contacted to pick up the student. The student will be quarantined from peers and staff while waiting to be picked-up.

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Face Shields & Masks

We are asking all students to wear a face mask while entering and exiting the buildings and while in the hallways.

  • PrK through 1st grade students will be allowed to remove their mask while in the classroom but we encourage these students to wear their masks as much as possible.
  • 2nd through 6th grade students are required to wear a protective facial shield or mask supplied by parents throughout the school day. Teachers will work to find times in which the students may remove the mask and work in socially distanced spacing.

Teachers, staff, and other essential service workers on campus will always be required to wear protective facial shields or masks.

Students may wear masks of any color that is not distracting to the learning environment and within the spirit of the school’s dress code. Masks with facial expressions, lights, sounds, inappropriate messaging, or those deemed distracting by school administration will not be permitted.

Face shields have been approved at this time for use by students.  However, face masks are still preferred and recommended.

Frequent hand-washing is required by teachers, staff and students throughout the day. Teachers will give direct lessons to students on how to properly wash hands while at school. All classrooms have sinks available for hand-washing.

We will have hand-sanitizing stations at all entrances to the school building. Restroom facilities will be sanitized and cleaned throughout the day. We will continue to limit the number of students that can use the community restroom at the same time.

Water fountains will be turned off, but water bottle filling stations will remain on. We encourage students to bring a refillable water bottle.

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Covid-19 Symptoms on Campus

Under CDC recommendations, any person exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms will be assumed to have COVID- 19 unless a negative test or alternative diagnosis by a medical professional deems otherwise.

Therefore, we will immediately contact a student’s parents and expect the student to be immediately picked up if any such symptoms are noted. COVID-19 symptoms include the following:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body ache
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
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Covid-19 Case on Campus

If any student, faculty, staff or on-campus essential service worker tests positive for COVID-19, we will follow the CDC recommendations which state that the individual may return to our campus when all three of the following criteria are met:

  • At least 72 hours have passed since fever ended (resolution of fever without the use of fever reducing medications).
  • The individual has improvements in symptoms.
  • At least ten days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
  • A person may return to campus after one negative test.

We will inform all parents, teachers, staff, and essential service workers when a positive case emerges, and inform all families whose child came in “close contact” with the infected person.

The identity of the person who tested positive will be kept confidential. A person that has tested positive also has the option to self-identify. Any person who has had “close contact” with the person who tested positive must quarantine for a period of 14 days prior to returning to campus.

Our cohort model and social distancing practices will allow the school to remain open if there is a positive case on campus, since everyone who has not had “close contact” would be able to continue with classes on campus.

If several students in a given class had “close contact” with another student that has tested positive, we will transition that individual class into distance learning until return to school criteria has been met.

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Covid-19 Symptoms or Cases in Family/Household

Under CDC guidelines, a student that is living with a household member who tests positive for COVID-19, should stay home and self-quarantine for 14 days while the family member with the virus isolates themselves within the household. The 14 day self-quarantine guidance also applies to any “close contact” that a student or family member may have had with an individual outside the family household who tests positive.

If a student is at home in self-quarantine, the teacher will coordinate distance learning with the individual parent and student.

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Parent-Teacher Meetings & PA Gatherings

All parent-teacher meetings will be held via phone calls or Zoom virtual meetings, including Back to School Night and Before School Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Initially, Parent Association activities and meetings must be held virtually as well. The PA may set up their own Zoom meetings or utilize the School’s Zoom account.

FAQ's

Will there be health screening procedures?

Families will be required to answer the health screening questions, and a touch-less temperature test will be taken.

Will my student have to wear a mask?

All students will be required to wear a mask upon entering the building, at times of transition during the school day and at dismissal.

  • PrK – 1st grade students will be allowed to remove their mask while in the classroom but we encourage these students to wear their masks as much as possible.
  • 2nd through 6th students are required to wear a protective facial shield or mask supplied by parents throughout the school day. Teachers will work to find times in which the students may remove the mask and work in socially distance spacing.
What is a cohort and why is it important?

The term cohort refers to each individual homeroom. Students will remain in their homeroom cohort throughout the entire day. This is important to reduce the risk of infection by limiting the number of individuals a student comes in contact with.

What happens if a child or teacher test positive with COVID-19?

Please see our Hygiene and COVID-19 Cases tab for further details, but depending on when and where the student or faculty started showing symptoms will determine the proper response.  If at school, the student or faculty will immediately be isolated and leave campus as soon as possible.  The area and rooms the individual was in contact with will be evacuated and be disinfected immediately as well.

Per CDC guidelines, individuals whom have had “close contact” with this individual will be notified and if community spread is a concern, that individual class may need to move to Distance Learning for 14 days before returning.  However, with our cohort model we hope to limit community spread so the entire school does not need to move to distance learning at the same time.

How will social distancing be achieved during the school day?

In the classroom, student seating will face the same direction and be spaced 6-feet apart. However, students may sit as close as 3-feet apart if they are wearing masks.

Will students be switching classrooms?

PrK – 1st: Students will remain in homeroom cohorts in order to prevent the crossing of homeroom cohorts and exposure to multiple rooms and surfaces.

2nd – 6th: Students will switch classrooms as normal but using social distancing practices and cohort model.

All Grades: PE will take place in the PAC Building or outside.

Will a hot lunch option be available?

ECS will continue to partner with Road Runner Foods to provide a hot lunch option for our ECS families. Hot lunches will be delivered to the location the students will be eating by school staff.

Will my child have recess?

Students will have outdoor recess every day, weather permitting. Students will remain in their homeroom cohort for recess and will participate in socially distanced activities, allowing for mask breaks.

Will visitors be allowed on campus?

Visitors and guests will not be allowed on campus; this includes parents dropping off forgotten items from home.

How will the school be cleaned and disinfected?

Rooms will be disinfected each evening by a professional cleaning company.  Teachers will be provided with disinfectant and sanitizer and will disinfect the surfaces of the classroom throughout the school day.

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