Notes from the Principal's Desk: Virtual Open House, Parent-Teacher Conferences, Annual Fund Update, and more!

To date, we have had two close contacts with individuals in the school. Both parties have or are quarantining and have tested negative.

As the week comes to a close, we would like to thank everyone who participated so far in the Halloween Pumpkin Book Character Parade. The handiwork is genuinely inspiring and creative! 

Some definitions from the CDC have recently been revised regarding what is defined as "close contact."

Revised CDC definition of "close contact"

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revised the definition of "close contact" from being within 6 feet of someone for 15 consecutive minutes who is infected with COVID-19, to being within 6 feet of individuals infected with COVID-19 for a cumulative of 15 minutes over 24 hours. The CDC identifies further factors to consider when defining close contact, including proximity (closer distance likely increases exposure risk), the duration of exposure (longer exposure time likely increases exposure risk), whether the infected individual has symptoms (the period around onset of symptoms is associated with the highest levels of viral shedding) if the infected person was likely to generate respiratory aerosols (e.g., was coughing, singing, shouting), and other environmental factors (crowding, adequacy of ventilation, whether exposure was indoors or outdoors).

While the new definition does not substantially affect the current archdiocesan or school guidelines, it clearly reinforces the absolute importance of maintaining whenever possible 6 feet of physical or social distance during parish, school activities, and at all other times. Since it is not feasible to try to track the number of minutes spent each day during which an individual has been within 6 feet of other individuals who might be infected, maintaining strict physical or social distancing, along with wearing masks, remains the most reliable means of preventing transmission of the infection.

The need to remain vigilant in adhering to these safety protocols in school is all the more critical because many individuals are struggling with "COVID fatigue" and the unrelenting insistence on following social distancing practices wearing masks, and sanitization, particularly hand sanitization. We are grateful to you for your support in emphasizing the importance of these measures at home to protect our school community's safety and well-being. 

Parent Volunteers Needed

We are also eager to share that the Department of Catholic Schools has revised the number of parents who can volunteer to support school teachers.  Ideally, parents who can assist in the school several days a week would be best. It is understood that this is not possible for all parents. So long as parents can commit to volunteering for a minimum of one day or the better part of a full day each week, we actively encourage those who can volunteer to do so. Volunteers need to be Virtus trained.

For the protection of both the volunteer parents and the school community as a whole, it is essential that parents who have underlying medical conditions, are actively caring for elderly family members, or are employed in higher-risk professions such as hospitals, first responders, or other frontline workers refrain from volunteering at this time. 

Volunteers will also be expected to comply with all COVID requirements, including masking, social distancing, and sanitization. Just as necessary with respect to COVID 19 considerations, volunteers are to be assigned only to provide support to their child's cohort. The introduction of a parent of a child of the cohort does add an additional individual to the classroom 'bubble'. However, given the parent and a child live in the same household, the containment scope of the group is not significantly impacted, and therefore any associated risk of introducing a parent of a child of the cohort is low in risk.

It is hoped that expanding our school's volunteer base will allow for giving staff and faculty assistance and increase the likelihood of having more students return for in-person five days a week instruction. 

If you are interested in volunteering or if you are currently volunteering, please complete this interest form, Parent Volunteer Interest Form, and we will respond to you as soon as possible.

Annual Fund Update
We would like to thank those who have already donated to this year's Annual Fund. A reminder that the last day to contribute to be entered into the October raffle is  this Saturday, October 31st. This month’s prize is a $50 gift card to Ropewalk Tavern in Federal Hill.

Here is the link to make a gift: Annual Fund Gift

Friday Dress Down & Half-Day Reminder

A reminder that tomorrow is an orange and black Dress Down day for students. Tomorrow is also a half-day with dismissal at 11:50 AM. Cohort A students will have their dress down day on Monday, November 2nd.  

Open House November 3rd

On Tuesday next week, we will hold our second virtual open house. Please invite anyone who might be interested in learning more about Cathedral!

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on the 1st three Wednesdays in November. Specific grade bands will not attend school on those Wednesdays. Instead, students will complete asynchronous learning activities so parents can meet with teachers via Google Meet or Zoom. 
Below I share the days and logistics:

Wednesday, November 4th

  • Grades K-2: Students will work from home on independent learning activities. Students will not be online for classes.
    • Conferences will last 15 minutes.
    • Teachers will host the meeting via Google Meet or Zoom.
    • Teachers will provide independent learning activities for students focusing on Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Religion.

Wednesday, November 11th

  • Grades 3-5: Students will work from home on independent learning activities. Students will not be online for classes.
    • Conferences will last 15 minutes.
    • Teachers will host the meeting via Google Meet or Zoom.
    • Teachers will provide independent learning activities for students focusing on Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Religion.

Wednesday, November 18th

  • Grades 6-8: Students will work from home on independent learning activities. Students will not be online for classes.
    • Conferences will last 15 minutes.
    • Teachers will host the meeting via Google Meet or Zoom.
    • Teachers will provide independent learning activities for students focusing on Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Religion.

Here is the link to sign-up for a parent-teacher conference: SCMOQ Parent-Teacher Conference 

We would also like to make the community aware that Ms. Shipman, Kindergarten A Teacher, has recently gone through a medical procedure which will require her to be out for several weeks. Ms. Moran, Ms. Gerb, Ms. Spinnato, and Mrs. Pendergast are working together to make sure the class is running smoothly. Please keep Ms. Shipman in your prayers as we wish her a speedy recovery.

I pray that everyone has a safe and relaxing weekend. God Bless!