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St. John the Baptist
Catholic School
12319 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20904 | 301-622-3076

Principal's Note 11/2/21

Adjusting Our Health & Safety Plan

When we outlined our health-and-safety plan at the start of the school year, we explained that we would continue to re-evaluate and adjust our guidelines as circumstances changed.

From the start of the current school year, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Catholic Schools Office of the Archdiocese of Washington have permitted students to remove masks when outside.
At SJB, we decided to start the school year more cautiously by having the kids wear masks outside as we monitored infections elsewhere.
We wanted to see if the transmission rate in Montgomery County would continue to rise or begin to fall. At that time, there were 105 new COVID-19 cases per week per 100,000 people in Montgomery County. 
We wanted to know when the vaccine would be available for children. At that time, there was speculation that the vaccine might be here by Halloween. There was also speculation it would be available by Thanksgiving or by Christmas.
Recently, I contacted principals at eight Montgomery County Catholic elementary schools where students have been allowed to remove their masks outside. I asked the principals if COVID-19 cases had been traced to outside student contact. All eight principals said there had been no infections caused by outside student contact. 
Our school nurse and the SJB consulting pediatrician said it would make sense to let the kids play outside without masks. It's also the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
There are now 51 new cases per week per 100,000 people in Montgomery County, half the transmission rate of two months ago.
The FDA has approved the vaccine for children ages 5 to 12. After review by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the vaccine should be ready for kids to receive next week.
Because of the changing circumstances and because we tend to re-evaluate our practices at the end of each quarter, we made the new outside mask guideline effective at the start of the 2nd quarter.
Teachers have spoken with students about respecting the decisions of individual students and families to wear masks. So far, the students have adjusted seamlessly.
We believe we are several weeks away from re-evaluating and changing some of our other safety rules. We will approach the process deliberately and cautiously as we aim to do what's best for the overall health, safety, and well-being of your children at SJB. 

Please Secure Your Child's SJB Account

SJB uses Microsoft 365 for student work and live streaming in case of a quarantine. Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) is a way to secure your child's account from online theft. When MFA is set up, the login system will prompt you to verify the login by using one of the methods you selected during the MFA set up process when using a new device at home. This ensures that you (and your child) are the person logging in at that time and helps prevent malicious access to your SJB account.
Benefits of setting up MFA include the following:
  • Increased protection of your child's SJB account
  • Ability to reset your child's password using the Self-Service Password Reset feature
  • Ability to unlock your child's account if the account has been compromised
MFA is not set up in the school building and should not require verification at SJB. Once set up, MFA should only be needed on new devices and then verified once a year. 
Please contact Mrs. Irwin if you need assistance (

The Gold Folder Has Details on...

  • Applying for Tuition Assistance before the December 3 Deadline
  • Applying to SJB for 2022-23 -- Apply Now for PK & K
  • Registering for the Next School Year, Starting December 29
  • Soccer Appreciation Night
  • 8th Grade Wreath Sale
  • Home School Fundraising

Coming Up

Tuesday, November 2:         7 pm Diversity Committee meeting online

Wednesday, November 3:     Parent-Teacher Conference Schedules Emailed Home

Wednesday, November 10:  3:30 to 6:00 pm Parent-Teacher Conferences

Thursday, November 11:     3:30 to 4:50 pm Parent-Teacher Conferences

                                                   6:00 to 7:30 pm Parent-Teacher Conferences

Friday, November 12:          No School 

Monday, November 15:       7:30 am School Board & HSA Meeting in Library

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