Irish Insider
August 12, 2020
Thoughts with Mr.Watts
St. Catharine School Families:

As we get closer to the start of school, I am finding our general disposition is that of anticipation and eagerness. While this pandemic has added worry in all of our lives, we are working very hard to mitigate risk, keep our students and staff safe, and create an inclusive environment of learning to fit all student needs and family situations.

The gospel reading for the last three days have been from one of my favorite chapters, Chapter 18 of Matthew’s Gospel. The teachings of Jesus from the fable of the 99, humility, empathy, and forgiveness have been very applicable during these times.

Remember we are one school community, in solidarity with Christ, and each other. Regardless of how you feel about how we are returning to school, please know that every family is an important part of this school community.

Tier 2 Schedules
The deadline for submitting your request for the Morning (8:00-11:00 AM) or Afternoon (12:30-3:30 PM) Cohort will be due this Friday, August 14th by 4:00 PM. We will do everything we can to accommodate the needs of all families, but we cannot guarantee all families will be placed in the group requested. We appreciate your honesty and flexibility. Please keep in mind, in order to follow CDC guidelines, we will need to split each class between morning and afternoon as evenly as possible. This is vitally important with the face-to-face instruction portion.

We anticipated that the AM session would be more popular, but, these students would benefit from attending the afternoon cohort:

1.) Students who would benefit from a slightly smaller cohort.
2.) Parents that want to take advantage of afternoon latchkey.
3.) Students who are typically more focused in the afternoons
4.) Students who are not used to waking up early
5.) 8th Grade students who are taking Algebra
If you haven’t already done so, please fill out the survey with your request:

Any family who has not completed the survey will have their students assigned to a cohort. AM and PM Cohort Assignments will be communicated to families next week.

Tier 3 Learning
There will be some of our families who may not be fully comfortable with sending their children back to school in a blended learning capacity at this time. I want to make sure those families know that we support you in your decision, respect your reasoning, committed to keep your students engaged spiritually and academically, and will embrace your students when they are ready to return to school.

As I stated previously, there will be some slight differences with Distance Learning while we are in a Tier 2 capacity. The most important thing to understand is the “Live Classroom” (Zoom) component of learning will be limited. This is due to teachers who will be engaged in Face-to-Face instruction for 6 hours per day with the AM and PM cohorts. However, assignments, assessments, lessons, videos, and resources will be continuously posted to maximize asynchronous learning. We will also be scheduling pick-up/ drop off days for Tier 3 learners more frequently.
Within the next two weeks, there will be another survey sent out to parents to sign-up for the Tier 3 option for learning. It is still important that all students are assigned to an AM/ PM cohort to ensure grouping ratios upon return.

Opening “Phase-In” Week Schedule
Week of August 31st
Monday, August 31st - Grades K-4 in their assigned AM/ PM cohorts
Tuesday, September 1st - Grades 5-8 in their assigned AM/ PM cohorts
Wednesday, September 2nd - Grades K-4 in their assigned AM/ PM cohorts
Thursday, September 3rd - Grades 5-8 in their assigned AM/ PM cohorts
Friday, September 4th - Grades K-4 in their assigned AM/ PM cohorts

Tuesday, September 8th – First Day of School
What Students Should Bring to School
1.) All students will be required to bring a mask and water bottle to school. We will have extras of both. 
2.) All other materials will be classroom managed and safe areas are designated for personal items. 

Physical Changes to the Building
  • No visitors will be permitted in the building.
  • Students will be limited to specific doorways, hallways, and traffic flow.
  • Restroom times will be coordinated among teachers to avoid multiple classrooms in the hallways. Restroom procedures will be adjusted as well.
  • Water Fountains will be turned off and covered.
  • All classrooms will be running their overhead fans in addition to each room placing box fans in windows on opposite sides of the room. Based on available research, the increased air flow circulation can additionally mitigate risk.
  • Air filters were recently replaced and we are in the process of researching air purifiers for classrooms.
  • All classrooms and shared spaces will be cleaned and disinfected twice per day by our cleaning crew. This process will happen 11:00 AM to 12:15 PM and at 3:30 PM.
  • Latchkey will be confined to the cafeteria with no cross-traffic happening on the ground floor. The cafeteria will be cleaned and sanitized at 7:45 AM, 11:15 AM, and 5:30 PM.

Student Interaction
  • Students will only be in contact with the students within their assigned group, which we are calling cohorts. This will typically be around half of the students in that particular class.
  • Students are required to maintain a 6-foot distance from other students and will be seated as such.
  • Students are required to wear masks while they are inside the building.
  • Students will be permitted to remove masks with teacher permission only if they are outside and maintain 6ft social distancing.

Digital Academy
We are very optimistic about our new student information and learning system being implemented Diocesan-wide this year. Our teachers are working very hard to learn the best ways to implement best-practices and facilitate the most effective learning tools for students.

Sometime next week, you will receive a Parent On-boarding email from our School’s Digital Academy account. This email will prompt you to set your password, verify all of your contact information, and review, acknowledge and/or sign important documents. 

Probably, the 3 most frequently asked question we are receiving are:

1.) What if a student or teacher develops symptoms during the school day?
2.) What if a student or teacher tests positive for COVID-19?
3.) What will the Tier 3 Distance Learning option look like during Tier 2 learning?

All of these questions will be answered in more detail as part of the reopening plan update and specific communication to certain families. Conveniently, the answers to these questions have been consistent throughout the other diocesan schools and will stay consistent throughout the course of the school year.
If student develop symptoms during the school day, students will wait to be picked-up by a parent or guardian in our Safe Separation Space.

What if a student test positive for COVID-19?
A specific, detailed school scenario document will be published and distributed to families Diocesan-wide which is in its draft stages now.
If a student tests positive for COVID-19, the parent will need to call the school and the health department will be in contact with the school to determine the next steps.
All parents of students within that particular cohort will be notified that there was a positive test from a fellow student. It will then be determined if another student or staff member was in close contact with that student within the past 48 hours.

Close Contact
“Close contact” means you were within 6ft of someone, without a mask, for more than 15 minutes. This scenario should not happen on school property with the protocols we have in place.
Thank you for your patience and prayers. Please contact me directly if you have any questions or concerns. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. - Isaiah 43:2

Yours in Christ,

Mark Watts
This school year your child will be required to wear a mask at school to help control the spread of the Corona virus.

  1. Your child needs to be comfortable with the mask they are wearing because they need to wear the mask any time they are at St Catharine School. Please practice with your child before the first day of school
  2. All persons on school grounds will wear face coverings. School nurses or personnel who care for sick persons will utilize appropriate PPE. The CDC recommends face coverings for children in grades K through 12. There could be a few students who are unable to wear a face mask due to medical or other concerns in which case parents must discuss their concern as well as alternative options with the nurse and provide documentation of need from a health care provider.
  3. Masks can be any color or pattern
  4. Masks can have sports logos or team names on them
  5. Masks can be over the ear or slip up from the neck, as long as it stays in place
  6. Masks may NOT have any words, messaging, logos, etc. that support any political campaign and/or statements or offensive/hurtful language.
  7. Masks may NOT have any words, messaging , logo, etc. that support any social issues that contradict the official teachings of the Catholic Church.
  8. It is strongly recommended that students have more than one mask with them with them at school
If you have any other questions regarding face masks, please email Mr. Watts -

The DRA has reluctantly postponed the soccer season. They hope to be able to offer it in the Spring.

The DRA has also postponed the football season. Again, they hope to be able to offer it in the Spring.

It is time to register for volleyball. If your daughter is interested in playing this year you will need to:

1. Register here: 

2. Complete and sign this COVID form

We are anticipating starting practice the week of August 17. No fees for volleyball will be collected until games are scheduled.

Mumkin Sale is Coming Soon
Mark Your Calendars!

Mum sale kick off: Tuesday, 9/8
Last chance to order: Sunday, 9/20
Curbside order pick up: Friday, 9/25

This year ordering will done exclusively online through Packets containing catalogs and order forms will not be sent home this year. Parents will receive an email with each child's webcode and online ordering information. Be sure to check future editions of the Irish Insider for more details.
Community Night - Plank's Cafe & Pizzeria
Mark your calendars for Thursday, September 17th - All Day

All Day THURSDAY, September 17th let’s show our support for businesses
that have given back to our school by dining in, carrying out or placing a
delivery order at Plank's

Mrs. Underwood is looking forward to seeing St. Catharine students and

Plank's will be hosting us for the entire day on Thursday, September 17.
St Catharine Church
Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is now open
Every day from 6:00am-9:00pm
Over 200 people have already made a commitment to spend an hour with Jesus every week in our Adoration Chapel! Our goal is to have three committed Adorers per hour. Saturday and Sunday are not yet completely filled with Adorers, but Sunday is getting very close.
We do plan to open up additional hours in the coming weeks, but we can not do that until all currently available hours are filled. Sign up at 

ADORE is now every Thursday night
Our ever-popular ADORE Nights are now every Thursday at 7:00pm. Spend an hour with Jesus in Eucharistic Adoration and songs of praise worship. Two priests are also available for the Sacrament of Confession. Tuesday Confessions remain at 6:30pm.

Mass for The Assumption of Mary
Saturday, August 15th at 8:30am
“The Assumption reminds us that Mary’s life, like that of every Christian, is a journey of following, following Jesus, a journey that has a very precise destination, a future already marked out…” Pope Benedict XVI
We hope you enjoy the Irish Insider. For consideration in future editions, please email by 12pm Monday for the Wednesday edition.