COVID-19 Update | January 2022
The School plans to reduce some of the COVID-19 mitigation measures that we have had in place this school year. Several factors in the COVID-19 landscape have changed since we first adopted school mitigation measures, including:
- The availability of the vaccine for the majority of our students, faculty, and staff;
- The low rates of COVID-19 on campus during the 2021-2022 school year;
- Changes to the requirements in place in St. Louis County.
There are many reasons to continue to be vigilant and to protect each member of our community. COVID is still present and active in St. Louis. We have young students who are not eligible to be vaccinated and families and students in our community who are at heightened risk. The COVID-19 pandemic is unpredictable, and our plans are subject to modification at any time if circumstances change. We will continue to be responsive to any changes over the coming weeks and communicate with families in early January if there are any adjustments to our revised plan as stated below.
Our tentative plan is to remove our campus mask requirement on Tuesday, January 18. We will still require all faculty, staff, and students to have masks with them on campus every day, as we will require masks in certain circumstances. Below is an outline of our tentative plan:
- The School’s current mitigation measures will remain in place through Friday, January 14. If our community remains healthy, the School’s mask requirement will be lifted beginning Tuesday, January 18.
- Parents are required to report positive COVID-19 test results to the school nurse. We will continue to require isolation for cases of COVID-19 and quarantine for unvaccinated students if they are exposed to a positive case of COVID-19. Vaccinated students who are exposed to a positive case will not need to quarantine as long as they remain asymptomatic.
- Masks will be required for everyone in certain situations, including:
- When students meet 1:1 with faculty, students must wear masks unless the faculty member gives explicit permission to remove the mask.
- When we gather indoors in large groups or cross-divisional groups (for example, an all-school Mass).
- There are other scenarios when we may require that students wear masks regardless of vaccination status. We will communicate clearly with our students in these scenarios. Examples include:
- Meeting with or working closely with other members of our community in a 1:1 or small-group setting;
- In the case of exposure or increased rates of illness in a certain class or classroom;
- When traveling to other venues with different requirements (for example, for an athletic competition, a service opportunity, or a meeting);
- If a family member is sick.
- Anyone who wants to wear a mask is welcome to do so, and everyone in our community will show support and respect for those who do. The building of community is central to our Sacred Heart identity, and we must all be focused on the greater good of our school community as we take this step forward.
- Faculty and staff members who are not vaccinated will wear masks at all times when around students.
- Masks are recommended for all visitors to campus. We will continue to require that visitors wear masks at large, indoor group gatherings (for example, at Mass).
Evaluating Mitigation Measures
We will regularly assess the health of both our school community and our local community. If we see community transmission and positive rates that require a response or if we experience elevated numbers of COVID-19 or transmission on campus, we may announce a return to the universal mask policy for a limited period of time.
Care for our Community
The success of the School’s transition away from the mask requirement depends on many factors, including the partnership of our families. Please speak with your children about the variety of reasons that members of our community might continue to wear masks and how we will all support those decisions. Let’s lead by example and treat each other with loving care as we move forward.
We are thrilled that the vaccine has become available for the majority of our students, and we continue to encourage families to seek the vaccine. Archbishop Rozanski has encouraged the faithful who are able to consider the opportunity to receive the vaccine as an act directed toward the common good.
Following the Christmas break, families will have the opportunity to share the vaccination status of students with us via Magnus Health. Students who are fully vaccinated will not need to quarantine if they are exposed to a positive case. The higher the rate of vaccination in our school community, the more successful this transition will be.
Stay Home When Sick
Parents, please continue to closely monitor the health of your children. If students have any symptoms of illness, please keep them home and reach out to our school nurse. We have seen a greater incidence of colds, flu, and other viruses this year. Students who may be sick should not be on campus. We may require a doctor’s clearance or a negative COVID-19 test to return to campus when a student stays home or exhibits symptoms. We will use the Washington University PAARC Student Symptom Decision Tree to determine the requirements for returning to school. Staying home when sick is especially important to the health of our community, and our families must be attentive to symptoms for us to move forward safely.