Communication/Family and Community Engagement
To help inform our reopening plan, the school has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations.
St. Pius X 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.stpius-x.com, 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 and will also be shared through our social media accounts and SwiftK12 email. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals.
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. The school will use its existing communication channels – including our website, social media accounts, and the SwiftK12 communication system-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.
St. Pius X 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. The school will rely on the use of our school website, the SWIFTK12 communication system (via email and text message formats) 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 the collective efforts of administrations, faculty and staff, and the Diocesan School Office who have invested in meetings to inform the decision making process.
In support of remote learning, St. Pius X School will make computer devices available to students, teachers, and staff members where appropriate. The school will supply Chromebooks to students in grades 4th-8th. Students in preschool through grade 3 will have the opportunity to borrow Chromebooks and i-Pads as needed. The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact teachers during remote learning, including email, phone call, text messages, and messages sent through our student learning system platforms (such as SeeSaw, Remind, Class Tag, Google Classroom/Meet, and Zoom)
St. Pius X 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. St. Pius X School will notify staff, students, and families/guardians about all pertinent schedules via the summer mailing, SwiftK12 text alerts and emails, links set via social media and the school website.
St. Pius X 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, the 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 individuals entering the building will be required to use hand sanitizer when granted admission through the screening process. During the first two weeks, of school each classroom teacher will ensure to teach, reteach and practice correct hand washing techniques that are appropriate for each age group and follow state guidelines. St. Pius X will communicate such techniques to parents and legal guardians to ensure that they are practiced at all times. Visual aides of proper handwashing techniques will also be displayed in all bathrooms and areas where sinks are available. Students will be encouraged to properly wash their hands before and after eating, after using the restroom, after using a tissue, before and after using shared materials, after coming in from outdoors, and or anytime hands are visibly soiled. St. Pius X will provide and maintain alcohol based hand sanitizer in each classroom and shared areas throughout the building. Soap, running water and disposable paper towels will be available as well. The staff will be trained prior to the opening of school.
- Proper face covering procedures (how to wear and remove): All individuals entering the school building will be required to wear proper face covering for the durations of their time spent in the building. It is strongly recommended that students, faculty, and staff wear proper face coverings at all times, but especially when they are unable to adhere to the 6 foot social distancing guidelines. The first two weeks of school St. Pius X teachers will teach, reteach and practice the appropriate ways of wearing and removing face coverings. Appropriate times for wearing and removing face coverings will also be taught and practiced during school instruction times. St. Pius X will communicate such practices with parents and legal guardians to ensure that they are practiced at all times. The staff will be trained prior to the opening of school.
- Social distancing: At St. Pius X School, as per state guidelines, all students’ desks in each classroom will be appropriately separated 6’ apart from each other. All classrooms will maintain classroom cohorts to limit exposure risk. Twelve foot distancing will be maintained in the gymnasium when PE instruction is taking place. A 12 foot distancing will be maintained when Music (singing) instruction is occurring. Socially distant spacing will be marked on the floor visible for students to use during instruction. Social distancing and PPE will be maintained during dismissal routines for both bus riding and pick-up students. Students will be required to maintain proper social distancing when face coverings are not possible, and encouraged to maintain social distancing at all times regardless of face coverings. Signage will be displayed at all entrance points and within the school building reinforcing the social distancing guidelines. Students will be able to remove their face coverings as long as social distancing is practiced. Students and staff members must wear face coverings when social distance is not possible. The first two weeks of school will be utilized for teachers to train students on social distancing regulations through the use of created and published videos, classroom demonstrations, and signage. The staff will be trained prior to the opening of school. St. Pius X School will communicate such practices with parents and legal guardians to ensure that such techniques are practiced.
- Respiratory hygiene: The first two weeks of school Pius X School teachers will teach, reteach and practice proper handwashing techniques and cough and sneeze etiquette. This includes coughing/sneezing into elbows, using tissues to cover your mouth and nose, and proper disposal of tissues. St. Pius X will post signs at entrances asking students, staff, parents, legal guardians and visitors to wear face coverings at all times, offer masks if needed, encourage to immediately discard tissues after use and encourage visitors and staff to practice appropriate social distancing guidelines. The staff will be trained prior to the opening of school. Parents and legal guardians will receive guidelines and procedures on respiratory hygiene using the school’s communication systems. Visuals of such practices will also be available throughout the school building.
St. Pius X 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 videos, classroom demonstrations, mailings, emails, and social media posts.
St. Pius X 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 https://www.stpius-x.com/health-and-safety
St. Pius X School will share with all stakeholders its protocols and safety measures regarding containment by posting our reopening plans on our school website https://www.stpius-x.com/. 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.
St. Pius X School is preparing for situations in which the school building needs to close due to a significant number of students or staff testing positive for COVID-19 or a considerable regional increase in COVID-19 cases.
St. Pius X School will be in constant communication with the Albany County Department of Health so that trend data for the region can be gathered. We will also observe daily attendance rates in order to ascertain if our building is exhibiting a higher than normal rate of absence. Based upon consultation with the Health Department, district closure might be a recommended remedy.
St. Pius X School may choose to modify operations prior to closing to help mitigate a rise in cases. The school will consult with all district and county health stakeholders when making such decisions.
School building administrators, Mrs. Danielle Cox and Mrs. Emily AuClaire, will communicate with the superintendent or his designee regularly and, if needed, will consider closing school if absentee rates impact the ability of the school to operate safely. Internal and external communications will be deployed immediately once a decision has been made whether the school will be closed.