COVID-19 & Keeping Our Community Safe

As circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic evolve, we remain committed to prioritizing the health and safety of our school community while continuing to meet the high standards and rigor that are expected of a Mount St. Mary education. Our reopening plan has been carefully designed to adhere to the guidelines and best practice recommendations of the CDC, Arkansas departments of health and education, and diocesan Catholic Schools Office. We will continue monitoring public health updates and ordinances as the 2020-2021 school year unfolds and are prepared to make alterations to our policies and procedures as conditions warrant those changes.

 

Important information, updates and links will be posted to this page in order to keep our school community informed during these extraordinary times. As we move forward with what may be the most dynamic return to school in our 169-year history, we wish to convey our genuine gratitude to our Mount Family for its continued support and belief in the lifetime advantage of a Mount St. Mary education. We look forward to safely welcoming our Belles back to campus soon.

Academic Scenarios

 

We have developed instructional models that include face-to-face, hybrid and fully virtual instruction to accommodate various stages of school reopening and are prepared to make quick, seamless transitions between models as needed.

 

As of July 20, Mount St. Mary Academy will begin the 2020-2021 school year utilizing the Hybrid Learning instructional model. Families who choose to have their daughters start the year in full virtual capacity will be given the option to do so.

In the event that the guidance of the Arkansas Department of Health and other appropriate state agencies allows for decreased social distancing, Mount St. Mary Academy will be able to initiate a full return to campus. This scenario calls for all students, faculty and staff on campus each weekday and includes high-quality in-person instruction, support from our Guidance and Counseling Department, and activities that nurture the faith development and the spiritual growth of our school community. It will continue to include screening and sanitizing protocols as well as social distancing and other necessary safety measures until the threat associated with the COVID-19 pandemic completely passes. Students who prefer to continue participating in full virtual learning may opt to do so.

This scenario includes a combination of high-quality instruction both in person and online. It allows us to return to campus, but in limited numbers due to social distancing requirements and other necessary safety precautions. Half of the student body attends school in person while the other half of the student body attends classes virtually from home at the same time. In our Hybrid Learning model, the two groups alternate so that each receives two days of in-person instruction on campus each week. Additionally, one day per week will be used as a full virtual day for online lesson enrichment for all students while we sanitize and clean the campus. Support from our Guidance and Counseling Department as well as activities that nurture the faith development and the spiritual growth of our school community will be available on campus (as allowed) and virtually. Students who prefer to participate in full virtual learning may opt to do so.

Should appropriate authorities restrict schools from gathering in person, we will close our campus and resume full virtual learning via AMI Days like our students experienced last spring. This scenario includes delivering high-quality, synchronous instruction online only. We solicited parent and faculty feedback on last year’s virtual learning efforts and made adjustments to our AMI policies to include clearer student expectations and requirements for the 2020-2021 school year. Support from our Guidance and Counseling Department as well as activities that nurture the faith development and the spiritual growth of our school community will be available via virtual means.

Campus Safety & Sanitation

 

The well-being of our students, faculty and staff is a top priority at Mount St. Mary Academy. Our reopening plan includes new protocols and alterations to our school operations that minimize health risks and help ensure safety.

  • All students, faculty and staff will wear face masks
  • Faculty have additional PPE including face shields and plexiglass barriers in their classrooms
  • Hybrid teaching model — combination of onsite and at-home learning — to allow for instruction while maintaining appropriate social distancing
  • All classroom seating arranged for social distancing
  • Cafeteria and gym arranged for social distancing; classes will be split between both facilities during both lunch periods
  • Temperature checks and screening protocol will be performed on all students, faculty and staff before admittance to building
  • Hand sanitizer stations located at every classroom
  • No locker assignments, loaner Chromebooks or water fountain usage
  • Signage to encourage proper handwashing and hygiene
  • Hallways directionally marked for social distancing
  • Bathrooms posted for social distancing
  • Visitors, including parents, will not be allowed on campus unless it is an emergency situation
  • Large group gatherings cancelled
  • Classrooms cleaned multiple times daily with hospital grade disinfectant
  • Deep cleaning two times a week
  • Monthly bioPURE disinfection treatment
  • bioPURE spot treatment as needed
  • Students, faculty and staff who are sick are advised to stay home
  • Notify school immediately if a student, faculty or staff member tests positive
  • Upon notification of positive test result, MSM will call the ADH School Hotline for direction regarding risk of exposure, quarantine guidelines, etc. and will communicate to school community

Even with strict safety measures in place, there is no way to completely remove the threat of infection on campus. However, our Mount Family can serve as valuable partners in helping us decrease this threat by being diligent in practicing appropriate social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands, staying home when you do not feel well and seeking medical guidance if you think you may have been exposed.