Health and Safety FAQ
Q: What does “reopening our school” really mean?
A: Gathering as a school community is an integral part of Raiders education. Our plan is to reopen our school buildings to students this fall. This means that all students are welcome to return to classes for face-to-face instruction. We have developed an in-depth plan that addresses numerous aspects of the reopening process, and how schools will function once reopened. While in Phase 4, for the parents who are still unsure, we will offer an online program.
Q: Will students be safe when school is reopened?
A: Safety is always our top priority in Raiders education. In constructing our reopening plan, we have closely studied guidance from federal and state authorities.
Q: Will all students be allowed to return to school at the same time?
A: Yes. Our plan provides for the return of all St. Matthew students for full-day instruction for those who pick in-person instruction.
Q: Will students and Staff need to wear masks at school?
A: Yes. As per directives of the state, all 5-8 students will need to wear masks while at school. Masks may be removed for brief periods of time under certain circumstances (such as outdoor play or lunch). However, when masks are removed, students must remain physically distant from one another (at least six feet).
All students in grades kindergarten through 4 will not be required to wear facial coverings in their classrooms, unless (1) students do not remain with their cohort class throughout the school day and (2) come into close contact with students in another class.
All staff will wear facial coverings when in classrooms and hallways, except (1) during meals and (2) unless face coverings cannot be medically tolerated as documented through written and signed verification by a physician.
Staff and Students 5-8th Grade will take mental health breaks from wearing their masks
Q: What is a mental health break from wearing their masks
A: We understand the uncomfortable nature of wearing a mask all day. Students and Staff will take breaks throughout the day to get a breath of fresh air. These breaks will take place with social distancing in mind or outside.
Q: Do I need to purchase masks for my child?
A: Yes. We are asking all parents to purchase masks for their child. Parents may opt to buy disposable or reusable masks. For disposable masks, each mask must be thrown away at the end of every school day and parents should send plenty of extra masks to school with their child. For reusable masks, masks should be cleaned after every use and students should send at least one extra reusable mask to school.
Q: Can face shields be used instead of masks?
A: No, face shields do not meet the criteria for a face covering.
Q: Will teachers teach children how to use masks?
A: Yes. We know that students will need training to learn how to properly wear masks. We will spend time at the beginning of the year helping children learn how to safely keep masks in place.
Q: Will students be required to physically distance at school?
A: When students are with their class or cohort, they should remain as far apart as possible, but do not need to keep at least six feet apart.
Q: Should I take my child’s temperature every day before school?
A: Yes. A high fever is a key symptom of COVID-19. Parents should take their child’s temperature every day before their child is taken to school. If your child has a fever of over 100.4°F, your child should be kept home from school. You should contact your child’s doctor and the school’s main office. Similarly, you should ask your child if he/she has any of the other symptoms of COVID-19, such as a sore throat, coughing, or nausea. If your child complains of these symptoms, you should keep him/her home and contact your doctor and the school office.
Q: How will drop off and pick-up be handled?
A: We are carefully evaluating drop off and pick up procedures. Schools will use various entrances and exits to minimize contact between student cohorts. Parents will be asked not to congregate near school doors. We will communicate specific drop off and pick up procedures to you ahead of the start of school. As of 8/10/20 we are finalizing this plan.
Preschool - Enter and Exit at Fire Exit Door on the back side of the building.
Kindergarten - Enter and Exit at Fire Exit Door on the back side of the building.
1st Grade - Enter and Exit North Playground Door
2nd Grade - Enter and Exit at Fire Exit Door on the back side of the building
3rd Grade - Enter and Exit at Fire Exit Door on the back side of the building
4th Grade - Enter and Exit at Fire Exit Door on the back side of the building
5th Grade - Enter and Exit West Doors
6th Grade - Enter and Exit West Doors
7th Grade - Enter and Exit West Doors
8th Grade - Enter and Exit West Doors
Parents when waiting to drop off or pick up your child(ren) please stay outside and at a safe distance from each other. It is recommended that you wear a mask and be considerate of those who are wearing masks.
In addition, when students enter school every day, they will be asked to participate in two tasks. These are:
1. Students should wash their hands with soap or use hand sanitizer.
2. Students will be asked if they are feeling well.
If a student has a temperature above 100.4°F or complains of other COVID-19 symptoms, he/she will be immediately sent to a quarantine room.
Q: What does the plan say about safety and cleanliness requirements for school buildings?
A: Our plan includes very specific requirements for the ongoing cleaning and sanitizing of our school building. Generally speaking, the building will be cleaned very frequently, with a particular focus on high-traffic areas and common surfaces. Windows and/or vents should be opened to maximize air flow. Barriers may be installed in main office areas.
We will be using safe for kids and food products when we can. Each classroom has air conditioners to keep the rooms filled with fresh air. The hallways have air purifiers to keep hallways air flow moving and clean.
Q: How will lunch take place when school reopens?
A: If fellowship hall is used and six feet of distance between students is not possible, meal times will be staggered and physical barriers will be used. Serving and cafeteria staff will use barrier protection including gloves, face shields, and surgical masks. Classrooms or outdoor areas can be used for students to eat meals at school.
As of 8/10/20 we will be asking parents to provide lunches for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We wil order Taco Bell Soft Tacos on Tuesdays and Pizza on Thursdays.
Q: What about recess?
A: Schools may still conduct recess, but schools must fulfill defined safety requirements. For example, cohorts must be spread out from one another. If recess is outdoors, masks may be removed, but students will stay at least six feet apart.
Q: Can I still volunteer at school?
A: We will be minimizing the number of volunteers this year in an effort to mitigate risk.
Q: Will extended care (before and after care) be available this year?
A: Yes. We will continue to offer extended care. Our schools will follow LARA Regulations for extended care.
Q: My child and/or another member of my household is in an at-risk group for COVID-19. Should I send my child to school?
A: Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has defined conditions in which certain people may be more at risk for severe illness through COVID-19. If your child or another member of your household is in an at-risk group, we encourage you to speak to your doctor. Ultimately you should decide whether it is safe for your child to attend school.
Q: Is it okay for my family to travel out of town during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: We recommend that you not travel out of town during the current pandemic. However, if travel is necessary, we encourage you to become familiar with the CDC’s Travel Guidelines. If you or a member of your household travels to another country or to a state identified by the CDC as having a surge in COVID-19 cases, we may ask you to wait for 14 days until returning your child to school.
Q: What happens if there is a COVID-19 surge in S.E. Michigan and the state imposes more restrictions on schools?
A: If a COVID-19 surge occurs, we will work closely with state officials to determine whether we can continue face-to-face instruction (even on an alternate schedule). If necessary, we will return to at-home virtual instruction.
Infection Protocols FAQ
Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
A: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified several symptoms of COVID-19, including high fever (above 100.4°F), sore throat, coughing, nausea, headache, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, fatigue, diarrhea and difficulty breathing.
Q: What should I do if my child has symptoms of COVID-19?
A: If your child shows symptoms of COVID-19, you should contact your doctor. Your doctor may ask that your child participate in a COVID-19 test. You should alert your school’s main office and not send your child to school.
If the symptoms occur during the school day, your child will be immediately sent to the office and you will be contacted to pick your child up from school.
Q: My child had COVID-19-like symptoms, but tested negative for COVID-19. When can he/she return to school?
A: If your child does not have COVID-19, but has another illness, you should keep your child home until the illness’ symptoms disappear.
Q: What should I do if my child tests positive for COVID-19?
A: You should immediately contact your doctor for additional instructions. You should also contact your school’s main office. You should not send your child to school.
Q: When can a student return to school after receiving a positive COVID-19 test?
A: If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the student must isolate and not return to school until they have met CDC’s criteria to discontinue home isolation. This includes:
1. Three or more days without a high fever;
2. A reduction of other COVID symptoms by at least 75 percent; and
3. At least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
Q: What should I do if a member of my household (who is not my child) tests positive for COVID-19?
A: You should immediately contact your school’s main office. Your school will ask that you keep your child home for at least 14 days. If your family member recovers from COVID-19 (through meeting the criteria in the previous question) AND your child shows no COVID-19 symptoms for the 14-day period, your school may allow your child to return.
Q: What happens if my child’s teacher tests positive for COVID-19?
A: Should any employee have COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, we will follow the same protocols used for students (see above). If your child’s teacher becomes sick and is unable to work, your school will provide a substitute teacher.
Q: What happens if another student in my child’s class tests positive for COVID-19?
A: Your school will make all parents aware that a student has tested positive for COVID-19. All students in the cohort will be monitored closely for COVID-19 symptoms. If more than one student tests positive for COVID-19, it is likely that the entire cohort will be isolated (sent home) for at least 14 days. Students will be allowed to complete work virtually while the cohort is away from school. We will follow instructions from Wayne County Health Department
Q: Could my child’s school building be closed down due to COVID-19 this year?
A: We will do our best to ensure a safe and healthy environment in the coming year. However, if numerous cases appear, resulting in the isolation of multiple classes/cohorts, we may need to close the school building and transition all students to virtual learning for a time. Parents will be updated regularly should that need arise. We will follow instructions from Wayne County Health Department
Academics and Programming FAQ
Q: Will my child’s curriculum be changed this year?
A: Schools will still deliver high-quality instruction in core subjects (religion, language arts, and math). Science, social studies, and other classes will be high-quality instruction given accordingly to each teacher's schedule. The implementation of safety and health requirements (outlined earlier in this FAQ) will create new complexities in instruction, but our commitment remains to provide your child the best possible faith-based education.
Q: Will my child’s classroom look different?
A: We have spread out desks and tables in classrooms as much as possible. In order to maximize floorspace, we’ve asked teachers to remove non-essential furniture and other items. We have also asked that desks and tables be arranged so that they face the front of the room (if they can). These steps were taken to minimize risk of any infection in the classroom.
Q: Will students share school supplies?
A: No. We are asking to ensure that students do not share school supplies (e.g., books, crayons, technology, etc.), including for such subjects as art and music. Exceptions may be made for activities outdoors (such as outdoor physical education classes). If it is impossible to avoid sharing supplies, such as computers in a computer lab, such supplies must be cleaned after every use.
Q: Will students still change classes?
A: Potentially yes. We are still working out the schedule and flow of teachers and students.
Q: Will schools still offer classes in special subject areas (e.g., art, music, PE, etc.)?
A: Yes. As with departmentalization (see last question), we will ask special subject area teachers to travel to each class’ homeroom for instruction whenever possible. If students visit spaces such as the gymnasium or computer lab, the room must be cleaned after every cohort. This will rely on our Shard Time Teachers and School Districts.
Q: Will students participate in field trips?
A: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools will not participate in in-person field trips while the District is in Phase 4.
Q: I need to meet with a teacher or principal. Can these meetings occur?
A: Yes. These meeting can take place virtually via phone or video chat.
Q: Will school Chapels still take place?
A: Yes under our defined a specific plan for Chapels.
Q: How will extracurricular activities be impacted this year?
A: Our plan provides guidance on specific extracurricular activities. Highlights of this guidance include (by activity):
· Athletics: We are awaiting further information from the state regarding athletics. More information will be provided to parents as it is known. Students that choose Online Learning during Phase 4 will not be allowed to participate in in-person sports.
· Band: Rehearsals for small groups may take place for non-wind instruments (e.g., percussion, strings, etc.). Students must be physically distant. Rehearsals must occur virtually or outdoors for wind instruments (woodwinds and brass). As allowed by Shared Time Teachers and School Districts
· Choir, Drama/School Play, Christmas Program: Due to ongoing health concerns, we are monitoring these for the coming school year. More information will be given later.
· Other Activities: For other activities (e.g., robotics, etc.), we must meet specific health and safety requirements. If such requirements cannot be met, these activities shall be conducted virtually or canceled.
Q: During Phase 4 can I do 2 days online and 3 days at school or vice versa?
A: This is a tough question to answer. What we want to look at is What is Best for the student? The best practice is decide one way or the other. Online Learning will be different than in-person. You can not recreate in-person learning online. This is more true in Phase 4 when teachers are teaching in-person a full day. Online learning assignments will be staggared throughout the week compared to in-person instruction. If a student did jump between online/in-person they may miss some key instruction or assignments. They will be out of sync to their learning plan.
Q: During Phase 4, once I pick online or in-person I am stuck with that option until Phase 3 or Phase 5?
A: No, you are not stuck. Although as mention above, the best is for them to be in one or the other. We understand that situations do change and students may not feel comfortable in-person after being in-person for a week or two. The same is true for those who picked online. It may not be best for them to try to do online at this point in time. We can move someone from In-Person to Online or from Online to In-Person. What is best is to be consistent and have their daily learning environment routine.
Q: Teacher Office House via Google Meet, will there be set times in Phase 4?
A: No, If you need to make an appointment to meet with a teacher, please email them to schedule it. The same is true for students who are in the online instruction plan for Phase 4. If a student needs help with an asignment, they should use the tools inside Google Classroom and/or Schedule an appointment with their teacher to help them out.
Q: Teacher Office House via Google Meet, will there be set times in Phases 1-3?
A: Yes, teachers will schedule these and communicate that to you through newsletters and emails. As the entire school will be online in Phases 1-3 please see our Online Learning Path Plan
Tuition and Fees
Q: Will schools still collect tuition this year?
A: Yes. While this school year may look different, our schools will continue to provide a rigorous academic experience while supporting the moral and spiritual development of each student. St. Matthew Lutheran depend upon tuition revenue to pay our employees who do this work and support other school-related expenses. If we are moved to Phase 1-3 (Online Instruction) tuition will be changed for the duration we are in Phases 1-3. Tuition will not be raised from current set price due to the fact we will need to spend more money making sure we follow mandates and procedures to keep our students safe.
Q: I am having difficulty paying tuition, as my own workplace has been impacted by COVID-19. What do I do?
A: We know that some families may have difficulties paying tuition due to the loss of pay during workplace closures and are ready to support those in need of assistance. If this is happening to you, please contact us. We understand your situation and will do our very best to work with you.
Q: Will registration fees be changed this year?
A: No. Registration Fees will be kept the same.