Coronavirus Response Updates
March 17 -- The teachers and I are proud of our students for the positive spirit they've shown in unprecedented circumstances. Teachers began sending remote learning plans last Friday, and some students began to feel overwhelmed with all of the assignments arriving at the same time.
In one grade, students formed a group chat to talk about strategies for tackling the workload and ended up adopting a time-tested, low-tech solution: dividing the work into chunks and spreading it out over several days in their weekly planners.
In another grade, students in the group chat delegated one student as the group's representative. The student is in charge of going to the teacher with questions from the group and then reporting the teacher's response back to the group.
Aladdin cast members have been rehearsing online for the spring play.
Mrs. Leishear has already received more than five pictures of works of art that students have completed since the closure.
Character reveals itself in challenges. We couldn't be more proud of the character our students have shown during this difficult time.
Keeping Up Our Spirit at SJB
You may be stuck at home but let’s keep our SJB community connected! Join our virtual spirit week and send your photo to Chrissy.Leishear@sjbsilverspring.org to be featured on our social media!
School Building Closed
The school building will be closed to everyone, including teachers and office staff, after Tuesday, March 17.
Bishop Gregory has ordered all archdiocesan schools to be closed to everyone except cleaning crews, maintenance staff, and principals.
Updates on School Closure
We promise to provide families with updates on the closure plan as soon as we know them. The current plan is for closure to last through March 27. An announcement of an extended closure would come from the SJB principal as soon as the decision has been made. The announcement will be communicated by email and text. Consultations are ongoing among Montgomery County Catholic school principals and with the state health department and Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Washington.
Check Portal for Class Communication
Please look on the parent portal for communication from your teachers. Look for the Classroom tab under your child's name to find the Class Page. If you don't see the Classroom tab under your child, click the blue box that says More.
In Classroom, you may have a choice of classes to select. Teachers in grades 1-4 grades have posted in the class called Homeroom. Teachers of students in grades 5-8 are posting in the classroom pages of their respective subjects: Math, Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Religion, Spanish, Art, Music, or PE.
After choosing the subject, select Class Page and look for content or assignment postings in Class Summary. There are also a classroom pages for Files, Links, Announcements and Notifications.
Check the Coursework page for daily assignments.
The teachers have been encouraged to use the portal to decrease the flood of email messages to parents.
Find Posts on Portal in Three Steps
1. Select "More" if you don't see the "Classroom" tab under your child's name.
2. To find a homeroom class or subject, use the drop-down box under "Classroom."
3. Select "Class Page" and scroll down to find Class Summary, Links, Files, and Announcements.
Your Art Teacher Has Some Great Ideas
See This Guide for Art Activities
Online Mass Offered During the Coronavirus Shut-Down
The Archdiocese has a coronavirus information page.
Friday, March 12
SJB Infection Prevention & Response Plan
The SJB Infection Prevention and Response Committee recommended a three-step coronavirus plan.
SJB currently is on Step Three -- closing until March 27 -- to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Step One -- prevention. The school continues to follow good-hygiene practices recommended by SJB health professionals.
- Step Two -- If the virus spreads into our area, SJB will take additional preventative measures under step two. The school will begin to seek parent support and cooperation for stronger anti-infection measures.
- Step Three -- If confirmed COVID-19 cases occur in our community, the school may close voluntarily for a week or more. A decision to close could come at the request of the state or county health department to prevent the spread of the virus. Step Three focuses mostly on ensuring that student learning occurs throughout a closure.
Wiping down classroom surfaces in the morning and before lunch
- Wiping down all school surfaces, including handles, each night
Reminding children to wash hands frequently and thoroughly
Explaining to children that they may not touch or physically contact each other
Reminding children that, if they must cough or sneeze, to aim into the crook of their arm (inside of the elbow)
Redirecting students when they touch their own faces
Informing the school office if a child has symptoms or signs of illness (cough, fever, trouble breathing)
- Requesting that parents retrieve children with symptoms or signs of illness
Informing school office of low supply of disinfectant wipes
- Asking parents to send in a table napkin or place mat (disposable or take-home) for their child's lunch
- Spreading desks so that there is more space between children
- Seeking parent cooperation in keeping children home from school when they are showing signs or symptoms of illness
- Seeking parent cooperation in retrieving children who show signs or symptoms of illness at school
- Seeking parent cooperation in notifying the school when their child has been in contact with anyone with the coronavirus illness or with anyone who has traveled to any of the following countries: China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy
- Teachers select standards that would be best suited to distant learning plans.
- Teachers plan and prepare four weeks of learning for students in the event of an extended closure. All teachers have received e-learning expectations.
- Students in Kindergarten through 2nd grade would be assigned reading and would work mostly in packets provided by the teacher.
- Students in grades 3 and 4 would have a combination of packet work, readings and responses in their Wonders textbooks, and online assignments and practice.
- Students in grades 5-8 would have assigned readings in textbooks and online assignments, which would be submitted digitally and assessed.
- In preparation, parents would check their access to the Parent Portal, which would become the primary avenue of communication during a closure.
- The school would communicate its decision by email and text and would, if possible, give parents time to retrieve notebooks, folders and textbooks from the school.
- The school would provide parents with a plan for consistent communication throughout the closure.
- The school would explain the ramifications of a closure decision. The facility would be off limits to extracurricular activities, and parents would be discouraged from assembling groups of students.
The prevention and response plan could change with developments.
The Catholic Schools Office is holding regular conference calls with principals to share information. School officials are in communication with state and local health departments.
There are two ways that we envision St. John the Baptist making a decision to close:
- SJB would make the decision based on local exposure to the virus.
- SJB would follow a decision by Montgomery County Public Schools or the Archdiocese of Washington.
Our parish pastor, Father David, and the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Washington have been consulted and continue to monitor the spread of the virus and communicate with the school on next steps in prevention and response.
At school, the students have heard a calm, consistent message from teachers and administrators.
Here are the committee's three essential resources:
Father Cezary -- associate pastor
Anna Damiano -- school delegating nurse, parent
Karen Lanni – parent, physician
Anne Irwin -- technology director, middle-school teacher, parent
Jeanine Regan -- pre-K teacher, parent, room-parent coordinator,
Georgine Baugher -- school secretary
Kathleen Morris – vice principal, middle-school teacher
Doreen May -- guidance counselor, 3rd grade teacher
Dear SJB Families,
I've attached a letter from William Ryan, secretary of education of the Archdiocese of Washington, regarding the announcement by Governor Larry Hogan that three Montgomery County residents have been quarantined with the coronavirus (COVID-19) after contracting it overseas.
We continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance and direction of the Maryland Department of Health, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County Public Schools, the Catholic Schools Office, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The following resources are designed to help parents talk with their children about COVID-19, so I am offering them here.
St. John the Baptist is committed to providing a safe learning environment to your children. We will continue to seek the guidance of local health officials, and we will continue to pray for the health and safety of our children and our SJB community.