August 14, 2020 - News & Notes
Mid August greetings St. Michael Families,
We are ramping up for the start of the school year and look forward to seeing you all soon. Here's the latest news from this week.

New families
The St. Michael Catholic School family will be welcoming many new members this school year. This is a unique opportunity to make our excellent school known and loved to a wider community. The most important message I have heard in my first couple months is that SMCS is truly a family away from family, a home away from home. If you have been here a while, please introduce yourself to new families, welcome them, and share your experiences at St. Michael. 

In order to allow safe distancing in our classrooms, we have added sections in kindergarten, first, second, and fourth grades. We are currently interviewing candidates, and have been very impressed with the prospective teachers we are meeting. We hope to make offers early next week. We will keep you posted, and send bio’s as soon as we have our new hires in place. I am confident that our veteran faculty will serve as excellent mentors and partner teachers as we begin the year.

Learning Models
While we are prioritizing in-person learning, we are preparing for distance learning for families who choose to have their children learn from home, and for those who must learn from home.
We will provide simple equipment (tablet, tripod, microphone) to each teacher, which will allow students to virtually join their classes for instruction via Google Meet. Our academic committee is working on grade level expectations for consistent delivery of instructional materials and assignments via SeeSaw for grades K-4; and Google Classroom for grades 4-8 (there will be some overlap in grade 4). Our faculty is working very hard this summer on plans to meet the needs of every St. Michael student. There is much to consider, and please know this planning is in very capable hands. More grade level specific details will be available nearer to the start of school.

Additional PPRP Information
Some clarification/updates are necessary since we shared our plan last Friday:
Types of Acceptable Face Coverings:
Paper or disposable masks, cloth masks, neck gaiter, scarf or bandana
Masks that cover the nose and mouth completely
Face coverings with no images inappropriate to a Catholic school environment
Clear plastic face shields that extend below the chin (eyeglass frame shields are acceptable).
In some cases, when students are working in close proximity on a shared project, masks may be required under the shields.

We will follow MDH recommendations for quarantining students, employees and volunteers exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, having a positive diagnosis, or having been exposed to COVID-19.
Please review the MDH documents informing our PPRP:
Decision Tree for people with COVID-19 symptoms
What to Do if You Have Had Close Contact
What to Do if You’re Awaiting Test Results

These guidelines will be in place no matter who has been exposed, diagnosed, or is experiencing COVID symptoms. We will be conservative, and err on the side of caution. Children or employees with exposure or symptoms will not be allowed in school. We will do our best to mitigate exposure (defined as being within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes) by social distancing, using face coverings, and building regular sanitizing and hand washing breaks into our schedules. 

Please make sure you have a working thermometer at home, and water bottles for your children to use at school and sanitize at home. The State of Minnesota will provide us with face masks for each student, and face shields for each teacher.

On a Happy Note
We have a nice new outdoor learning space between the building and playground (near the bus exit doors). It was designed and built by Colin Glynn, a SMCS graduate as his Eagle Scout Project. Colin stopped by today and spent time in the space reading to our preschoolers before nap time. (See the photo above) Watch for more information, including an interview with Colin and pictures from his work last weekend, in next week’s newsletter.

Adventures Plus Is Hiring!
Two positions are open for an Adventures Plus Child Care Aide at St Michael Catholic School. Candidate must be available to work 2:00 – 5:00 when school is in session, have strong communication skills, enjoy working with children and have or be willing to get their First Aid/CPR certification. Please contact Julie Herbst at
612-619-7484 or julieherbst@saintmpl.org for more information.

God bless your families as we venture toward the start of the school year, and go Blues!

Sue Kerr
Principal


WE ARE LOOKING FOR A 2020-21 YEARBOOK COORDINATOR!

Please reach out to Rachel Olmanson if you would be willing to work with our student committee as yearbook advisor with Life Touch yearbooks this coming year.