Updates on reopening in the midst of COVID-19

INTRO

Here you will find important information and frequently asked questions about the reopening of the parish in the midst of COVID-19. Please refer to the sections below. This page is updated frequently so please check back if you do not find answers to your questions. 

FACILITIES

All routine parish programs and meetings are currently canceled through October 31. This may be extended. For the schedule of liturgical events, please continue to check the parish website. If you do have an occasion to be on campus for any reason, please be advised that face coverings must be worn, social distancing must be adhered to, and anyone (visitors/staff/vendor/students) who enter any building will have their temperature taken.

Please do not drop off any unsolicited items on the church property or in our buildings.  All of our donation drives are closely coordinated with our ministry partners in the community and are well publicized in advance. If you have donations at times outside of our announced drives, please take your donation directly to a charity of your choice. Thank you for your cooperation.

FORMATION

For the time being, all parish formation and sacramental preparation programming will be offered in an online format. For more information on our offerings, please visit https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/formation-resources/ or email jennifer.fiduccia@stfrancisraleigh.org.

Q: Are you looking for virtual ways to learn more about Catholic Social Teaching and our call to justice and peace?

A: The Office of Justice and Peace continue to provide virtual adult justice and peace formation programming. You can read about offerings: https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/learn/

MASS

In an ongoing effort to promote the safety of all, Bishop Luis Zarama has indefinitely suspended the obligation to attend Sunday Mass in person. We will continue to stream the 9:30 Mass each Sunday on multiple platforms. Please visit our website at www.stfrancisraleigh.orgto participate.

The Sunday 9:30am and 5:30pm Masses now includes public participation for up to 200 people, including ministers. Information on how to sign up for these liturgies is available at the parish website  – www.stfrancisraleigh.org – or you can contact Tim Hetzel at tim.hetzel@stfrancisraleigh.org or James Wahl at jim.wahl@stfrancisraleigh.org.

Daily Mass will be celebrated in the main church for up to 200 participants on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday each week beginning Thursday, September 10. There is no sign up required for these liturgies but names and contact information will be taken at the doors of the church each day.

 We have put extensive safety protocols in place for our gathered liturgies:

-Sign up is limited to registered parishioners only, in order to accommodate protocols for contact tracing.

-Anyone presenting with Covid-19 like symptoms as outlined by the CDC cannot be permitted on campus.

-Everyone will enter through the double doors in the breezeway.

-Masks are required as recommended by the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face-coverings.html for anyone over the age of 5 and must be worn for the duration of the time indoors (with the exception of the brief time receiving communion).

-Upon approaching the doors into the commons, attendees will sanitize their hands, provide their names and have their temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees, and others living in the same domicile, will be asked to step aside, at a distance, and will be rechecked in 10 minutes. If temperature is not under 100.4 degrees at recheck, they may sit in the columbarium where sound will be projected.

-Social distancing is required at all times in the commons and the sanctuary.

-All attendees will be directed to their seats by an usher or pastoral staff and must remain in these seats for the duration of Mass with the exception of receiving Communion.

-Communion will be offered in the form of the host only and must be received by hand.

-At the conclusion of Mass, attendees will be dismissed one at a time by an usher, starting at the back of the church.

-Because of the rapidly and constantly changing circumstances surrounding the pandemic, this plan may change and the Mass may be canceled at any point.

MUSIC

Music Ministry is an integral part of the worshipping community. However, due to the increased risk of virus spread associated with singing, choirs and ensembles have been suspended. Small groups of existing Music Ministry members will be used to staff liturgies until further notice. If you have any questions please contact James Wahl at jim.wahl@stfrancisraleigh.org.

TFS

Please use this link to the Sumer Resources/Re-Opening for the most up to date information.

https://www.franciscanschool.org/covid-19/

PRESCHOOL

July 14, 2020

Dear Preschool Families,

We hope that your family is continuing to enjoy a safe, healthy, and fun summer together. Thank you for your patience as we worked to develop plans to return to preschool for the 2020-21 school year. While it will look different than years past, the mission and developmental philosophy of St. Francis Preschool will remain the same… to provide a safe and loving environment where the development of the whole child, the joy of learning, and the recognition of God in our lives are nurtured through peer interactions, thoughtful instruction, and play.   

The public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-changing situation, so we are doing everything in our power to create a safe, welcoming, developmentally appropriate learning environment. Our current plan is based on what we know and what we can control. This plan was carefully constructed in collaboration with preschool directors from St. Michael, St. Raphael, St. Andrew, and Sacred Heart (Pinehurst) along with parish leadership, the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Raleigh, and our own task force.  The overall goal was to create a plan that minimizes risk while maximizing learning and socialization, which are the hallmarks of a quality early childhood education, acknowledging that no school can completely eradicate the risk.

At this time, we plan to reopen on our normal schedule for the 2020-21 school year with enhanced health and cleaning procedures in place to protect all students, staff, and families. Please keep in mind that this plan is subject to Governor Cooper’s final decision about schools as well as any updated guidelines from NCDHHS/CDC. 

As you’ve heard, Governor Cooper has asked K-12 schools to develop guidelines according to three plans:

  • Plan A: minimal social distancing
  • Plan B: moderate social distancing involving
  • Plan C: remote learning only

Please note that in both Plan A and B, preschools are permitted to operate under the health department’s guidelines at full capacity and on a normal schedule. According to a recent publication from the American Academy of Pediatrics, “In Pre-K, the relative impact of physical distancing among children is likely small based on current evidence and certainly difficult to implement. Therefore, Pre-K should focus on more effective risk mitigation strategies for this population. These include hand hygiene, infection prevention education for staff and families, adult physical distancing from one another, adults wearing face coverings, cohorting, and spending time outdoors.” 

The attached plan provides specific guidelines that will be implemented should the governor decide that K-12 schools will open in the fall under Plan A or B. If schools open in Plan C, remote learning only, the preschool would remain closed. We would not open until schools move to Plans A or B. These guidelines follow the requirements and recommendations in the NCDHHS Child Care Strong Public Health Tool Kit last updated on June 26, 2020. This document differs from the K-12 guidelines and gives specific guidance for preschools and daycares. 

You can access our full reopening plan HERE. Below are some of the plan’s key points:

PARENT & STUDENT ORIENTATION

  • All large gatherings will be canceled or modified.

 HEALTH SCREENINGS

  • Health screenings will be completed daily for all students and staff. This includes a temperature check and questions about symptoms and exposure (see HERE on page 15).

 ARRIVAL/DISMISSAL PROCEDURES

  • A carpool system will be utilized for drop-off/pick-up.
  • It may be necessary to slightly stagger arrival/dismissal times for some classes.

 PRESCHOOL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

  • Each class will be considered a ‘bubble’ with children and teachers not mixing with other classes on the playground or for specials. 

 VISITORS

  • We will follow the current recommendation of CDC/NCDHHS to restrict parents and/or volunteers from entering the building. Teachers and staff will continue to use other ways to provide parents with glimpses of classroom learning that is occurring for their child (i.e. Google Photo, Bloomz, Shutterfly, etc.) 
  • No outside groups will be allowed at the school.
  • Exceptions to the visitor policy will only be professionals providing health/developmental needs (ie. therapists).

 MODIFICATIONS TO CLASSROOM SPACE

  • Classrooms will be rearranged to maximize the ability of children to spread out, whenever possible. Activities currently prohibited by NCDHHS guidelines, such as playdough, sandboxes, and sensory tables, will not be used.  Comparable activities to allow for engaging skills that the prohibited activities would have addressed will be offered.

 FACE MASKS/PPE

  • All staff will wear face coverings while in the building. Children will not be required to wear a face covering. See the full reopening plan for more specific information.

 CLEANING/HYGIENE MEASURES 

  • Our preschool facility, both during the school day by staff and nightly by a professional cleaning crew, will be cleaned with enhanced cleaning products and procedures.
  • As always, we will educate the children on good hygiene practices, such as frequent and effective handwashing, using sanitizer safely, and coughing/sneezing into your elbow.

 DISTANCE LEARNING

  • Should schools need to close for a short time during the school year, we will be prepared to offer temporary distance learning.

 RECOGNIZING HEALTH RISKS/REPORTING 

  • Parents and staff will be provided with information about the signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (see HERE page 1 for list of symptoms).  They will be responsible for learning this information.  If they or their children exhibit any of the symptoms, all members of the family are required to stay home. It is imperative that we all work together to keep our preschool healthy!  We will follow the NCDHHS guidelines for exposure to COVID-19 (see HERE on page 13). If any staff member, child, or parent has been determined to be in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, they must notify the preschool office and follow the above plan before returning to childcare.

TUITION

  • If there is a delay in the opening of preschool, we will offer credits and/or refunds for any prepaid tuition.
  • If a family chooses to withdraw from our school, prepaid tuition will be refunded ONLY if our office is notified in writing by July 27th. (email is acceptable). Otherwise tuition policies in the Parent Handbook will apply. As a reminder, tuition is paid one month in advance.
  • Registration fees are not refundable.

Although our program may look differently than in past years, what has not changed is our commitment to providing a safe and nurturing environment that educates each child spiritually, academically, physically, and emotionally. We look forward to a preschool year filled with love, learning, friendship, and fun.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at Heidi.hobler@stfrancisraleigh.org.

Thank you for entrusting us with the early education of your child!  

With Joy,
Heidi
Heidi Hobler, Director
St. Francis of Assisi Preschool
11401 Leesville Road
Raleigh, NC 27613
919-847-8205 ext. 240

 

MINISTRY

Q: Are there ministry opportunities to serve and help in the community during this time of COVID-19?

A: Please see our COVID-19 Ways to Offer and Receive Care web page: https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/offer-or-receive-help/

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Q: Are you looking for virtual faith-filled friendship and informal conversation during this time?

A: You can join us for “Communi-TEA” and “Quaran-TEA-NI.” To sign up, https://www.stfrancisraleigh.org/virtual-cafe/

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HELPFUL INFORMATION

From CDC: What you need to know about Coronavirus
From CDC: Preparations for people at High Risk
From CDC: Steps to Prevent Illness
From CDC: Recommendations if you or an immediate family member is sick

CDC Sick Fact Sheet

CDC Steps When Sick

 If you believe you or an immediate family member may have been exposed to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), 
Please call your local health department, in Wake County, call 919-250-4462. 
You should also call your doctor to tell them your situation.   

To keep from spreading respiratory illness to others,
a
nyone who has been diagnosed with Coronavirus/COVID-19
or member in the same household has been quarantined due to a diagnoses
by a medical professional or the NC Health Department should, 

Stay home.

Call ahead before visiting your doctor.

Notify employer, school administration, or parish staff liaison of the diagnosis.

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