Third Trimester Operations for St. Margaret's 100th Year
Dear St. Margaret’s Families,
Unbelievably, it has been a year since the novel coronavirus pandemic began. Throughout the past year, our Scotties have embodied flexibility. From fully remote learning last spring to hybrid learning this fall and winter, our Scotties continue to embrace change and make the best of trying circumstances. As we look to the spring, scientists reassure us that an end is near as community prevalence rates decline. And thanks to the hard work of the Three Rivers Health District, most of our faculty and staff will be fully vaccinated by the end of March. Thus, we are now prepared to enter a new phase of operations here at SMS while still prioritizing safety as a critical component of our mission.
Please remember, as you read our operational plans for Third Trimester, that we are a residential, secondary school: we must take into consideration that our campus is home to over 75 individuals and numerous families. While we cannot guarantee risk elimination, we carefully practice risk mitigation to minimize risk.
The COVID-19 Task Force identified priorities for Third Trimester that have informed decision-making on how to allocate our limited staffing resources. We are a small community and these priorities will help us to allocate our energy and time in the months ahead:
Bring back all students to the classroom for in-person learning, to the fullest extent possible.
Engage in a competitive sports season.
Maintain a residential setting that is as safe as feasible.
Celebrate May Ball, Baccalaureate, and Graduation in person.
Please take time to carefully read the options below. As you read, remember that the uniting factor on this historic campus is simple: we value each of our community members. We recognize that every family’s circumstance is different. Thus, we strive to offer all possible options that are safe for the community at this time, uphold the mission of the school, and feasible within our resources.
Please review the options for your family and then, complete the March 2021 Student Plan. This information is due no later than Friday, March 12 at 5:00 PM. Our hard-working SMS team needs time to prepare for March 21 returns while also taking a well deserved Spring Break. Thus, we ask for you to please honor the deadline and request contact from an SMS team member via the Plan.
The COVID-19 Task Force will continue to meet regularly in the Third Trimester to assess local metrics and adjust operations accordingly. The Task Force members include: Cathy Sgroi (Head of School), Nancy Smith (Chief Financial Officer), Cynthia Walker (Director of Athletics & Wellness), Jen Howard (Director of Residential Life, Math & Sciences Co-Chair), Christy Livesay (Registered Nurse), and Cameron Sgroi (School Counselor). I am the Chair of the Task Force and appreciate the wide range of insights provided by this group as we make decisions together in the best interest of our community.
Please remember that the power of an all girls education in a supportive community cannot be weakened by any virus. While we all anxiously await the end to this pandemic, this sisterhood remains strong.
Assistant Head of School for Internal Affairs
804.443.3357 ext. 3084
The Hybrid Options
Please review these options carefully. For planning purposes, we ask each family to complete the March 2021 Student Plan no later than Friday, March 12 at 5:00 pm.
- Options for all Boarding Students (5 - day and 7 - day):
- Options for all Day Students
- What is the student residential bubble?
- How does the student residential bubble stay protected with Day Students coming and going to SMS?
- Why do Day Students have to be tested for SARS-COVID-19 weekly?
- How will Spring Athletics look with a combination of Day and Residential Students?
- Why is the remote learning option only available to students with documented medical considerations during Third Trimester?
- How does the student residential bubble stay protected with some faculty and staff coming and going to SMS?
- What types of precautions are being taken by the campus food service?
- I want my daughter to join the residential bubble, but she will be leaving campus for home visits during Third Trimester. How does modified quarantine work when she returns to campus?
- What if my daughter needs to visit the dentist, orthodontist, or a medical doctor during the Third Trimester?
- Do these changes affect the School Calendar?
- Do these changes affect the daily schedule?
COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy
The foundational concept of SMS’s mitigation plan is layering. We implement scientifically-proven strategies to mitigate risk to COVID-19 exposure. While we cannot eliminate risk, we can layer approaches to lessen it. Research from Children’s Hospital of Colorado describes many of these strategies as part of a tiered mitigation effort.
The layering approach requires all of the following from community members:
- Health Screening
- Increased Cleaning and Sanitation
- Quarantine and Isolation
- Contact Tracing
- Are there any additional measures that families should take before Third Trimester begins?
- What additional supplies should I send with my Scottie to campus?
- What happens if there is a case of COVID-19 on campus?