Bernie's Bark
Dear Parents-
The third week of Advent fills us with much joy! We celebrate Mass on Gaudete Sunday, knowing that the Lord is near and the focus is on the joy that realization brings! Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed, the Lord is near.  The readings from Sunday reflect the joy we still feel, in spite of the pandemic!

We face two events that could alter our school schedule. The first is the current forecast for Wednesday, which includes a winter storm warning with significant snowfall. Notwithstanding the fact that Fairfax County Public Schools are virtual, many FCPS schools are open for some students and teachers, and so they will make a call, as customary, with respect to weather related closings and delays.

If FCPS calls for school buildings to be closed on Wednesday, SJS will operate a four-hour virtual school day for all students. Details will be forthcoming, however the goal with this schedule is simply to make sure everyone knows how to be remote. If we are closed both Wednesday and Thursday, classes will take place on Thursday, after everyone is comfortable with the distance platform.

The second concern remains the COVID-19 pandemic. As with Thanksgiving the potential for a surge in cases after Christmas is very real. The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), an independent global health research center at the University of Washington, predicts January 20 as the peak of the “Thanksgiving surge superimposed over the Christmas surge.”
Currently, the 14-day positivity average in Fairfax County is 11.2% and the COVID positivity rate in Fairfax County today is 14.7%. Neighboring Loudoun County has a 7-day positivity rate of 11.4%, and Prince William County 7-day average is at 15.9% positivity rate.

The CDC/VDH/FCDH set core indicators and thresholds for risk of introduction and transmission of COVID in schools, and as a county we have far exceeded the recommended metrics, and currently find ourselves in the “highest risk for transmission” in two of the three core indicators. Both the Governor of Virginia and the Office of Catholic Schools are leaving COVID mitigation strategies, including switching to 100% virtual learning for all students, to the schools. Father Tom and I monitor the metrics, daily. Additionally, we continue to listen to concerns raised by faculty and staff, as well as our families. (See

With this in mind, as we did at Thanksgiving, all families should prepare to be 100% virtual the week of January 4-January 8. As the COVID continues to spiral out of control, we have a responsibility to faculty and staff, as well as to students to keep everyone safe, particularly with the vaccine just months away.

If your child will need to borrow a chromebook for distance learning, please fill out the form located at this link,, no later than Wednesday evening.

I wish you continued Advent Blessings.

Please let me know if you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance.

Go to Joseph
                              (Gen 41:55)

Denise Rutledge
 Building Wisdom and Faith Through Service to God
Re-enrollment for 2021-2022 School Year
With our 93% retention rate, it is reasonable to streamline our re-enrollment processes. The process is restructured so that current students will be automatically re-enrolled for the 2021-2022 school year. Enrollment fees of $300 per student will be charged on February 1, 2021 from the FACTS account on file. Families in need of an extension payment plan must also contact the Business Office by January 15. Re-enrollment fees are non-refundable and non-transferable. If, for some reason, your student will not be returning to St. Joseph Catholic School, notification in writing is needed by January 15, 2021. We are confident that you will find this expedited and recurring re-enrollment process helpful. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Millon (dmillon@sjcherndon.orgor 703-880-4355) in the Business Office.
We Care About Catholic Charities
Community service is an integral part of education at St. Joseph Catholic School. Our service to the community teaches students the importance of making service a lifelong practice, to become better citizens and to live their faith.
December 15 through December 18, St. Joseph Catholic School will be conducting a service project for the community by collecting needed items for St. Lucky Project. As a Catholic response to the hunger and food insecurity in our Diocese, Catholic Charities conducts a diocesan-wide outreach to collect and distribute food where it is most needed through the St. Lucy Project.
Kindly bring in donated items from the list below.
St. Lucy Project
Food Items Most Needed
1 Peanut Butter/2 Jelly
Hearty Soups
Canned Meat
Cooking Oil
Pasta and Side Dishes
Pasta Sauce
Rice and Grains: 5 lb. bags or less
Canned Veggies and Fruit
Cereal and Oatmeal
Canned Pasta
Healthy Juice
Any other non-perishable items
*Families of Distance Learners: Please drop your donations in the bin that is located in the school entrance! Thank you!
$2 Dress Out Day
on December 16

The proceeds will be donated to Catholic Charities.
Festive attire and jeans are acceptable!
Nurse's Corner

The safest thing for students/staff to do after domestic travel is to stay home for 7 days with a negative test and return to school on Day 8 OR stay home for 10 days without a test.  

RECOMMENDATION FOR DOMESTIC TRAVEL FROM VDOE: After domestic travel, consider getting tested 3-5 days after travel and reduce non-essential activities for 7 days even if you test negative. If you choose not to get tested, the safest thing to do is to stay home for 10 days (return to school on Day 11) after returning from your trip.
RECOMMENDATION FOR INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FROM VDOE: It is recommended that after international travel, that you get tested with PCR or antigen test (SJS prefers PCR test if possible) 3-5 days after international travel and stay home 7 days after travel (return to school on Day 8), even if you test negative. If you don't get tested, it is safest to stay home for 10 days after travel. Those who travelled internationally should not be in school after returning from their travel without 7 days with a negative test OR 10 days without a test

Please remember that you have to be fever free, symptom free for 24 hours without any over the counter medication prior to returning to school. 

"Travel Guidance:The safest thing to do is to reduce non-essential activities: The safest thing to do is for students/staff to stay away from school after domestic travel for 7 days with a test, or 10 days without a test. Recommendation for international travel, get tested with PCR or antigen test 3-5 days after international travel and stay home for 7 days after travel, even if you test negative. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel. Those who have traveled internationally should not be at school in the time after travel (7 days with negative test, or 10 days with no test). The recommendation for domestic travel: After travel in the United States, consider getting tested 3-5 days after travel and reducing non-essential activities for 7 days after travel, even if you test negative. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel".
Yearbook Cover
SJS Yearbook needs your help! 
This year’s theme is Go to Joseph. We are looking for cover designs based on this theme. When designing the cover, any medium can be used, but Mrs. Sears recommends dark and/or vibrant colors using materials such as colored pencils, markers, or oil pastels, but you can use anything you wish. The cover should be no larger than 10 ½ X 16 ½.
Mrs. Sears ( is available to answer any questions about artwork. 
Please submit your designs to Mrs. Hatley ( by January 8. 2021 for consideration.
SJC Christmas Mass Schedule
Reservation Information
Reservations for Christmas Eve and Day Masses - Required
Making a Mass Reservation

Step One:
Review Directives – It is important that you review the list of Directives for Phase III Reintegration Plan prior to making your reservation.

Step Two:
Make your Reservation – No one will be admitted to the church for Mass without a reservation.

If you have Internet access, use the following email, to make your reservation for Mass. Note, if you do not have Internet access, you may call the parish office (703-880-4355 or 703-880-4304) and a member of the staff will make a reservation for you.

You will receive an email confirming that you have a reservation at a particular Mass with the number of people attending. Please bring this email with you, either paper copy or on your smart phone to Mass for entry to the Church. The entire number of people attending with you must be present to enter into the Church as a family.

Christmas Eve
Thur./ Dec. 24                       2:00 p.m.       Mass in Church
                                               4:00 p.m.       Mass in Hall  
                                               4:00 p.m.       Mass in Church – also live stream
                                               6:00 p.m.       Mass in Church
Christmas Day
Fri./ Dec. 25                          8:00 a.m.        Mass
                                              10:00 a.m.      Mass – also live stream
                                              12:00 p.m.      Mass
                                              3:00 p.m.        Mass – Spanish
Stay Connected!
SJS Mobile App, Twitter and Facebook

Don't forget to follow the official St. Joseph Catholic School Facebook page (sjschoolva), Twitter account (@sjschoolva), and download the mobile app from the App Store (St. Joseph Catholic School, VA)
Weekly Saints Quote
750 Peachtree Street, Herndon, VA 20170
Tel: 703-880-4350 Fax: 703-880-4320