• Randy Hodge

St. Patrick Prepares for Safe Return to School


St. Patrick is committed to doing all it can to return our students safely to in-person education for the 2020-2021 school year. We are sharing our return to school plan which has been created in conjunction with the State of Michigan Return to School Roadmap, the Diocese of Grand Rapids, and the Kent and Ionia County Health Departments.

While we know every stakeholder will not necessarily agree with every measure and precaution that has been taken, everyone needs to understand these steps are being taken to ensure our students can safely return to in-person learning.

If we are in Phase 3 or lower of the State of Michigan’s reopening plan, we will need to engage our students remotely. This remote learning will not be the same as it was in the spring. All grades will use Canvas, our new learning management system. In grades K-5, teachers will not be sending packets but will have a combination of whole groups and small groups that will meet online at scheduled times throughout the week. Assignments will be downloaded through Canvas. Grades 6-12 will have a weekly schedule that includes scheduled class time and a teacher will be on the other end of the student’s screen. A printer/scanner is highly recommended if we are in phase 3 or lower.

If we are in Phase 3 or lower, we will not have preschool. Once we return to Phase 4 and have preschool, tuition will be paid on a prorated basis.

If we are in Phase 4 or higher, we will host in-person classes at St. Patrick School for grades PS-12. The highlights of our Phase 4 plan include the following (please go to our website at portlandstpats.com to see our Phase 4 and 5 plans):

  • It is extremely important that parents complete a wellness check on their student(s) before school each morning. A student who is running a fever or does not feel well needs to stay home for 10 days after their symptoms first appeared and for at least 24 hours with no fever and not taking any fever reducing medication.

  • Drop-off and pick-up: Before and after school latchkey drop-off and pick-up will remain the same. For elementary students, parents will pull into the parking lot between the school and the church and drop-off outside the main office door. Students will then proceed directly to their classroom (like we do on rainy days). Elementary after school pick-up will remain the same as it was in the 2019-2020 school year (pick-up location may change for some families). Elementary students may not enter the building until 8:30 a.m. and must be wearing masks upon entering the building. Middle school students will enter and exit at door #7 and high school students will enter and exit at door #8 (please do not park in the bus loading zone). Middle and high school students may not enter the building until 7:15 a.m. and must be wearing a mask upon entry.

  • Masks: All staff must wear masks all day unless they are by themselves or eating. K-5 students must wear masks in common areas such as the hallway and bathrooms only, and 6-12 must wear masks all day except when eating.

  • PS-8 will be staying in the same classroom throughout the day and teachers will be coming to the classrooms as scheduled. 9-12 will move classroom to classroom. Learning stations will be cleaned and sanitized after each class period.

  • Lunch: Hot lunch will be brought to classrooms for students who do not bring a sack lunch, and students will eat in their classrooms. Recess time will still be provided.

  • Students will be separated by grade level whenever possible, and preschool, lower elementary, upper elementary, middle school, and high school students will stay in their quadrant of the school whenever possible.

Please let us know by August 10 if your child will not be coming to school for in-person classes and will be doing remote learning so we can get everything set up to ensure they have a solid learning experience. Parents will be committing to remote learning for the first nine weeks. They can continue to make the decision to continue remote learning or switch to in-person at the end of each marking period.

We ask for your patience and support as we face the challenges and restrictions created by COVID-19. We will continue to do everything we possibly can do to ensure the safety of our students and staff. If you have any questions or concerns regarding our plan, please contact preschool through 8th grade principal Mrs. Cortney Smith at cortneysmith@portlandstpats.org or high school principal Mr. Randy Hodge at randyhodge@portlandstpats.org.

Readers can read the entire St. Patrick School COVID - 19 Preparedness & Response Plan HERE.

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