Dear St. Athanasius Family, March 10, 2020
As the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a world-wide issue, please know that St. Athanasius Catholic Academy is closely monitoring all facets of the emerging situation very carefully. The New York State Department of Health has confirmed cases throughout the state and in New York City. The health, safety, and well-being of our students is our most important priority, and we are treating this situation very seriously. I have been in constant communication with the Diocesan office to be sure of updating all necessary information.
Just a reminder that The Diocesan Policy for the Brooklyn Diocese is as follows:
For students and Catholic Academy/Parish School personnel returning from international travel, the following policy for the Catholic Academies and Parish Schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn is in place: All students and Catholic Academy/Parish School personnel returning from international travel are required to get written medical clearance from their physician before returning to Catholic Academy/Parish School. Parents of children must submit this written medical clearance letter signed and stamped by a licensed physician to the principal.
This policy is in effect until further notice.
Also, effectively immediately all school field trips are canceled until further notice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local public health authorities, are providing schools with resources and are encouraging schools to prepare as best they can for situations that may arise because of this virus. At this point, all local municipalities, including the Diocesan Education Office, is not recommending any changes to our normal school operations, and stressed the importance of following the usual preventative measures recommended during flu season.
There is, however, a need to be proactive in our planning, and take the necessary measures to prevent the spread of illness in our schools. We will remain in frequent contact with the Diocesan Education Office for updates as the situation evolves. We will continue to follow the recommendations of diocesan, state and local officials, and keep you informed of any new developments.
In the event of a health emergency, any decisions regarding a school closing would come in consultation with the Diocesan Education Office, local departments of health and various state governmental agencies. While there is no indication that closing schools for an extended period is a possibility in our region, we have begun discussions on how to best communicate with families and educate students in the unlikely event that schools are closed. Of course, we will use our website and Option C Parent Alerts to communicate any information on school closures.
In terms of continuing education at home in case of a long-term closure we will, of course, hope to use technology that our school has access to in order to continue instruction at home. Please be sure your child has the logins to Education City, Mathletics and Google Classrooms as these will be used to help assist in instruction. Mrs. Medina and I are preparing all teachers to have the technology in place if distance learning is needed. Most importantly be sure we have your correct contact information so you get all the correspondence.
Please remind your children of the preventative measures during flu season, which include:
• Frequent handwashing
• Staying at home and making an appointment with your physician when sick
• Covering your cough and sneeze in your inside elbow
• Avoid touching your face
In consulting with public health experts, here are some measures we are taking:
• Our custodial staff is diligently disinfecting surfaces in our building by following state health standards, and checking dispensers for hand soap. Teachers have hand sanitizers in our classrooms as a precaution.
•We will be reminding students of proven hygiene measures that prevent the spread of viruses.
• In accordance with Diocesan norms, there will be no exchange of the Sign of Peace during Mass, and students are encouraged to receive Holy Communion in the hand rather than on the tongue.
***As a precautionary measure, a decision has been made to send home the Second Trimester Report Cards and cancel all face-to-face, parent-teacher conferences for the Second Trimester Report Card Distribution on March 19, 2020. STUDENTS WILL STILL HAVE 12:30 DISMISSAL ON MARCH 19th. As long as your financial accounts are up-to-date, we will send home 2 copies of the report card in an envelope with a request that the parent sign one copy and return the signed parent copy back to the Academy. Students in danger of failing or possible retention will be notified of a phone conference by the teacher and a letter will be sent home to be signed and returned. More information will be sent regarding these conferences.
As always, the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff remain the administration’s first priority. Rest assured that we will continue to follow the directions we receive from state and local health authorities regarding the Novel Coronavirus, and will take the necessary measures outlined above for the safety of our school community. We will continue to keep you updated on any new information as we receive it. Thank you for your cooperation. Thank you for your help in keeping your families and the St. Athanasius community safe and healthy.