Director: Rebecca Marzeski
Secretary: Alesha Smith
Web Master:  Jean Kosina
220 Henry Street Herkimer, NY 13350
Phone: (315) 866-4831 Fax: (315) 866-9043
Email: stfranciseclc@gmail.com

Communication/Family and Community Engagement

To help inform our reopening plan, the school has sought feedback and input from stakeholders, including administrators, faculty, staff, students, parents/guardians of students, local health department officials and health care providers, employee unions and community groups. Engagement efforts included online surveys, virtual forums/meetings and one-on-one conversations.   A committee has been formed in an effort to meet the needs of students, faculty and staff and provide input and feedback to our school’s plan.  The following are on our reopening committee:

  1. Father Mark Cunningham, Pastor

  2. Rebecca Marzeski, Director

  3. Erin View, Teacher

  4. Alyssa Upson, Teacher

  5. Sister Mary Jo Tallman, Faith Formation Director

  6. Nancy Saunders, School Nurse (RN)

  7. Sarah Spisak, Parent (College Professor)

  8. Kyle Crandall, Parent (Lawyer)

The school remains committed to communicating all elements of this reopening plan to students, parents and guardians, staff and visitors. The plan is available to all stakeholders via the school website at www.stfrancisearlychildhood.org , and will be updated throughout the school year, as necessary, to respond to local circumstances. The link to the plan appears on the website homepage and click on Parent Info/Covid-19 and the sub-category pages will appear, click on the page you need information on. Every effort has been made to ensure that the plan is accessible to all individuals.

As part of its planning for the reopening of school and the new academic year, the school has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to school staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners and vendors. The school will use its existing communication channels – including our school website, Facebook page, electronic messaging system, class Dojo, Weekly News Notes, phone calls and e-mail – as well as appropriate signage and training opportunities to support the dissemination of consistent messaging regarding new protocols and procedures, expectations, requirements and options related to school operations throughout the pandemic.

The school is committed to establishing and maintaining regular channels of communication and has reviewed and determined which methods have proven to be the most effective in communications with our school community. The school will rely on Face - to - face communication with all parents at orientation on August 27th, webpage, facebook, electronic messaging system, class Dojo, weekly News Notes, phone calls  and email  to communicate news, requirements and updates related to reopening and in-person instruction, including social distancing requirements, proper wearing of face coverings and proper hand and respiratory hygiene. The information that we will share will be based on state guidance as well as guidance from the following:  Local Health Department of Health, The Diocese of Albany, and the Reopening Committee (see above).

In support of remote learning, the school will make computer devices available to students and teachers where appropriate.   A survey will be conducted to determine the needs of students including the availability of appropriate technology and internet access.  The school will provide students and their families with multiple ways to have contact with teachers during remote learning, including  Class Dojo, text messaging, emails, and phone calls.

The school will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible.  We will communicate our three learning plans via our school’s web page and facebook.

The school is committed to ensuring that all of its students and their families are taught and re-taught new expectations related to all public health policies and protocols. As part of this continuous training, the school will assess the best approach to communicating the information for each students’ age group and will provide frequent opportunities for students to review these policies and protocols. This targeted education will help ensure that all students and their families know what is expected of them as they successfully return to the school setting. These trainings will cover:

  • Hand hygiene:  There will be an orientation for all staff on proper hand and respiratory hygiene in late August.  Staff will turnkey the training to all students.  Signage and health hygiene practices will be discussed with parents at orientation on August 27th.  Signage flyers will be sent home for parents to review at home with their child as well.  All of this will be taught and reviewed with students starting on the first day of school and throughout the school year as needed.

  • Proper face covering procedures:  There will be an orientation for all staff on proper face covering procedures in late  August.  Staff will turnkey the training to all students.  And signage and proper face covering procedures will be discussed with parents at orientation on August 27th.  Signage flyers will be sent home for parents to review at home with their child as well.  All of this will be taught and reviewed with students starting on the first day of school and throughout the school year as needed.

  • Social distancing:  There will be an orientation for all staff on social distancing in late August.  Staff will turnkey the training to all students.  Signage and proper social distancing will be discussed with parents at orientation on August 27th. Signage flyers will be sent home for parents to review at home with their child as well.  All of this will be taught and reviewed with students starting on the first day of school and throughout the school year as needed.  Each grade level is in a pod in their own classroom.  Pre-k 3 and Pre-k 4 will each be broken into two pods all day.  Kindergarten and First Grade will remain in their own pod/classroom all day as well.  Each pod will have P.E. and library  in their own pod spaced 12 feet apart for these specials.  Specials will take place outside (weather permitted) and inside with proper ventilation (windows open).  Each room will have an air purifier.

  • Respiratory hygiene:  There will be an orientation for all staff on respiratory hygiene in late August.  Staff will turnkey the training to all students.  Signage and proper respiratory hygiene will be discussed with parents at orientation on August 27th. Signage flyers will be sent home for parents to review at home with their child as well.  All of this will be taught and reviewed with students starting on the first day of school and throughout the school year as needed.  HEPA filters will be installed in our heating and cooling system.   We also have portable HEPA filters throughout the building, faculty and staff will be using shields and mask coverings and students will use face coverings when 6 foot distance cannot be maintained.  Teaching and learning will take place outside, weather permitting.  When teaching and learning inside, proper ventilation (windows open) will be employed.

  • Identifying symptoms: A questionnaire will be reviewed daily by parents and again by staff at arrival.  Daily temperature checks will be taken before school entry and at half-day point. Logs will be maintained.  Designated staff will conduct screening of children before children enter the building.  Onsight screeners will be trained by the school nurse.  No parents or visitors will be allowed in the building.  Parents will notify our COVID-19 Coordinator by email stfranciseclc@gmail.com or call the main office @ 315-866-4831  if their child develops symptoms.  Reminders of this procedure will be placed in weekly news notes sent home.  We will be asking parents to review our plans and come to orientation on August 27th with any questions they might have.  The school will create and deploy signage throughout the school building to address public health protections surrounding COVID-19. Signage will address protocols and recommendations in the following areas: 

  • Proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE)

  • Acceptable face coverings and requirements related to their wear

  • Hand washing

  • Adherence to social distancing instructions

  • Symptoms/prevention of COVID-19

Signage on Health Hygiene practices will be posted in all entrances, restrooms, classrooms, offices, gym, hallways, and janitorial staff areas.

In addition to signage, the school will encourage all students, faculty, staff and visitors through verbal and written communication to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and DOH guidance regarding the use of PPE through additional means such as News Notes, website, electronic messaging system, and class Dojo.   The school is committed to creating a learning environment that protects student and staff health, safety and privacy. Our school will operate under a standard procedure for addressing situations in which an individual has tested positive for COVID-19 or appears symptomatic. These procedures are outlined in the Health & Safety section of our reopening plan at www.stfrancisearlychildhood.org 

In the event that a student or staff member is sick or symptomatic, notification to exposed individuals will occur pursuant to the state’s contact tracing protocols as implemented by the local health department. The school will not notify the wider community unless specifically directed to do so by local health officials. If anyone tests positive for COVID-19, Becky Marzeski, safety coordinator, will notify the Local Health Department - Herkimer County Public Health Department at 315-867-1176.  Under their guidance, they will assist with who needs to be notified and monitored. We will include in our Family Handbook that if a child is sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-quarantine for 14 days, and/or get tested for COVID-19 and after 14 days, provide a doctor note to return to work or school.  If a person has been in close contact w/another person with COVID-19, and whether the person has it or does not show symptoms-either way-the person must self-quarantine for 14 days and after 14 days, provide a doctor’s note to return to school.  We will contact the health Department for guidance. If the Nurse is not on duty, the Secretary or Director will contact the parent if their child is suspected of being ill.  If Nurse is on duty, the nurse will contact the parent if their child is suspected of being ill.  In all cases, the child or staff member will be removed from the classroom and taken to the COVID room.