Vicksburg Catholic Schools push back start date, PCA to start as planned
As the Vicksburg Warren School District holds to its Aug. 7 reopening and Porter’s Chapel Academy to its original Aug. 10 reopening date, Vicksburg Catholic School has pushed its first day of school back a week to Aug. 17.
“We wanted to make sure all our supplies were in so our teachers could proceed with confidence,” St. Aloysius High School Principal Karla McHan said.
Director of Development and Alumni Affairs Kristi Smith said letters were sent to all parents and teachers notifying them of the change of date.
Also, in an effort to inform parents and faculty about the reopening guideline procedures, Smith said a video was made that she hopes will help answer any questions about the guidelines.
“I did a question and answer session with our principal,” Smith said. “We will be releasing the video on our social media and we will load it to our website as well as the parent letter and reopening guidelines.”
With the school’s opening in just over a week, Porter’s Chapel’s Head of School Chris Williams said, “Porter’s Chapel Academy is doing everything we can in our power that our students and our faculty and our families are safe.”
Williams said all guidelines from the Mississippi State Department of Health and Center for Disease Control will be followed.
“We want to assure that our faculty and students are coming back to a safe campus and we are going to make sure we continue on to provide the same great educational experience that the students at Porter’s Chapel are used to,” Williams said. “Even with COVID-19 guidelines we are going to give our students as much normalcy as possible.”
Vicksburg Catholic School guide to school reopening
After School Care: VCS will continue its aftercare program with some modifications. Drop-ins will only be allowed with prior approval from the administration. Aftercare pickups will be at St. Francis.
Attendance Policy: VCS will employ a more liberal attendance policy taking into consideration our back-to-school guidelines and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Catholic Identity: Teachers will continue to integrate our faith into lessons through prayer and real-world connections between content that is being taught and church teachings. We will not be able to have whole school Masses until further notice. Arrangements for small group and class Masses will be made after the school year begins.
Classroom Distancing: Classrooms will be arranged to achieve the greatest level of distancing for students. Teachers are encouraged to design lessons that require the least amount of student contact.
St. Francis: Students will be isolated to only mingle with their own class and remain in their classroom as much as possible. Special area classes will take place in their classroom with the special area teacher coming to them. Some classes may take place outside, weather permitting.
St. Aloysius: Students will attend on a modified A/B Block schedule, attending only four classes each day to limit time in the halls and number of students in classrooms throughout the day. The length of the school day will remain the same.
Drop Off Procedures:
St. Francis: All students will be dropped off through the carpool line in the St. Francis parking lot. There will be no Sullivan’s parking and walk over this year. Parents and students will stay in their car until the student is directed out for a temperature check. Children will enter through their designated entrance guided by teachers on duty.
St. Aloysius: All students will enter through the front door of the gymnasium. They will be divided into small social distanced groups by on-duty teachers for temperature checks. Students will then move directly to their first period class. Any student with a temperature of 100.4 will not be allowed to remain at school.
Fever/Illness: If your child becomes ill during the school day, has vomiting, diarrhea, or a fever over 100.4, they will not be allowed to remain at school and cannot return to school until symptom-free for 72 hours.
Food Services: We will continue to provide break food and full lunch services. All breaks and lunches will take place in the classroom. Since no visitors will be allowed in the building, parents will, unfortunately, not be able to join their children for lunch nor will they be able to drop off forgotten or outside food lunches. If a student forgets their lunch, a school lunch will be provided.
St. Francis: Lunches will be delivered to their classrooms.
St. Aloysius: Students purchasing break items or lunches will be dismissed in small classroom groups to pick up their food in the cafeteria and return directly to their classroom to eat. Microwaves will not be available for students to heat food. Vending machines will only be accessible during the students’ designated lunch time.
Hallway Travel and Change of Class: Traffic patterns in the hallways will be adjusted and monitored to ensure social distancing. Students will move directly to their destination. The number of students allowed in the restrooms will be strictly limited. Lockers will not be used this year.
Masks/Face Coverings and Hygiene: All students, faculty, and staff will be required to wear a facial mask all day. There will be times throughout the day when students will be allowed to temporarily remove masks for short breaks. During these times students will be provided face shields and/or remain behind sneeze guards. Students and teachers will be responsible for bringing their own mask each day. We recommend students bring two masks to school each day. Masks with valves should not be worn. A bandana is not an acceptable face covering. Mask and face gaiter designs should be appropriate for school or church. Any mask deemed inappropriate for school will be confiscated and the student will be provided with a single-use mask. Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the school. All will be encouraged to wash hands thoroughly prior to meals and before returning to the classroom from outside play or other activities.
Pick Up Procedures: St. Francis will follow rainy day dismissal procedures. All parents must go through the carpool line in the St. Francis parking lot. No parent will be allowed to pick up students at the door.
St. Aloysius: Seniors will be dismissed at 2:00 and immediately leave campus. Grades 7-11 will be dismissed at 2:55 p.m. to designated areas outside or to their after school activity. Teachers will assist with monitoring social distancing.
Prolonged Absences Due to Quarantine/COVID: Students who have a 100.4 temperature or higher must be fever free without fever-reducing medication for at least 72 hours before returning to school.
Students who have been exposed to COVID or test positive must follow the school COVID guidelines (to be provided soon). In order to ensure minimum disruption to learning, students will be able to access FACTS lesson plans and the LMS from home. Your school guidance counselor or the assigned liaison will be the primary point of contact for students participating in distance learning while your student is out.
Recess: PreK-6th grade will have recess outdoors, weather permitting. All students will sanitize hands prior to going to the playground. Masks will be worn to the playground and may be removed as long students are not grouped together. Students must put masks back on and sanitize hands prior to returning to class. Playground equipment will be sanitized after each class.
Sanitizing: To ensure a safe working and playing environment, disinfecting will take place regularly throughout the day and a full and thorough disinfecting will take place at the end of each day. Restrooms, doorknobs/pushes, and all high touch areas will be disinfected regularly.
Student Check-In and Check-out: Check-ins: Students should come to the door and will be admitted and signed in by office personnel. Check-outs: Parents should call prior to check out. Student will be called from class and ready for pick up. Parents will come to the door and office personnel will sign student out and escort student to parent.
Student/Parent Communication: VCS will continue to use FACTS as our parent/student communication portal. Please regularly check your email, junk folder, and our school website for the latest information.
Emergency notification and closures will be sent through the FACTS messaging system by email, text, and phone. Face-to-face meetings will be conducted on a limited basis.
Transportation: Bus drivers will wear masks. Hand sanitizer will be available on every bus. Temperature will be taken prior to boarding the bus. The number of students on each bus will be limited. Buses will be thoroughly sanitized after each use. Field trips will not take place until further notice.
Visitors: School visitors, including parents, will be limited to only essential business. Visitors will not go beyond the office unless it is deemed essential by the building administrator.
Water Bottles: Students will be encouraged to bring a water bottle each day. Community water fountains will not be available for student use.
Porter’s Chapel Academy guide to school reopening
- The school building will open at 7:30 am.
- Students’ temperature will be screened upon arrival and then students will be required to wear a mask or face covering upon entry into the building. Then they will go directly to their classrooms.
- In the majority of classrooms, students will be socially distanced. In classrooms where social distancing cannot be observed, masks or face coverings will be required.
- During transitions, students will be required to wear masks or facial coverings and will also be socially distanced. Transition traffic will be one-directional. Student lockers will not be utilized.
- Lunch and break schedules have been modified to allow social distancing.
- Campus access to visitors and parents will be limited at this time. All visitors must report to the front office if necessary.
- Faculty will regularly sanitize the desks and classrooms.
- Hand Sanitizer stations have been placed throughout our building.
- Janitorial staff will apply cleaning products throughout the day to high traffic and frequently touched areas. We will also use an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect our school frequently.
- Faculty and staff will be trained to identify symptoms of COVID 19 and we will monitor all students and staff throughout the day.
- Modifications will be made for all regularly scheduled events to follow all mandates from governing authorities to assure the safety of faculty, students, and their families.