- Health and Safety - Preparations and Precautions
- Academic Schedule and Cohorts
- Student Life
- Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting
In the Hybrid In-Person + Virtual Model the student body is divided into three groups, according to advisories per grade, so that a subgroup of each grade will be in the building for two consecutive days. With similar alphabetical sortings each day, families with siblings will attend school on the same day.
The goal of each model has and will continue to be health and safety. Should local conditions require it, Holy Cross is prepared to continue instruction in a virtual environment. Teachers and students will systematically progress through the curriculum as if they were in the building through a synchronous schedule.
The Academy of the Holy Cross will follow all best practices when cleaning and disinfecting classrooms, restrooms, campus common areas, and high touch areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have procured two Victory electrostatic disinfectant machines to assist our facilities team and cleaning contractor in rapidly disinfecting frequently used spaces. All classrooms will be provided sanitizing wipes or sanitizing spray to allow students to ensure that their desk space is clean after every class period. Additionally, our facilities team will disinfect all classrooms during the lunch break. Our contractor will deep clean all classrooms in the evening. Bathrooms and common areas will be cleaned and disinfected during all four class periods, and will be deep cleaned in the evening by our cleaning contractor. Additional hand sanitizing dispensers will be positioned in common areas around the school to encourage proper hand hygiene.
Updates to Campus Infrastructure and Equipment
Classroom layouts are being individually modified to maximize physical distancing based on the room size. Additional outdoor seating has been purchased to maximize the use of exterior spaces. All common area furniture has either been reconfigured or removed to encourage physical distancing.
Following the CDC’s emphasis on ensuring good air circulation within the buildings, the HVAC systems will be run at all times while the buildings are occupied. All exterior windows will be opened for increased circulation of outdoor air while spaces are occupied.
Plexiglass shields will be installed in selected areas for protection where physical distancing is limited (e.g. reception desks, Principal’s Office, Nurse’s Office, etc.).
All water fountains have been replaced with water bottle filling stations.
All toilets will be fitted with touchless flush valves.
Holy Cross administration relies on our partnership with our families to ensure the safety, health and shared responsibility within our community. Multiple preventive measures have been put in place with the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services along with our own medical and legal consultants.
Holy Cross strongly recommends that all faculty/staff and students refrain from nonessential travel outside of the DMV due to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in other states. Any faculty/staff or student returning from out-of-state travel should get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival home. Any faculty/staff or student who travels to a state with a COVID-19 rate above 10% must get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. A list of state COVID-19 test positivity rates can be found using the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#testing_testsperformed.
- Tuesday, January 5: Return to Hybrid Learning
- Wednesday, December 16: Important Please Read
- Thursday, December 4: Return to Hybrid Learning
- Friday, November 13: Virtual Academic Schedule Through December 4
- Thursday, November 12: Return to Virtual Instruction
- Friday, November 6: Health Center Update
- Tuesday, November 3: School Response to COVID-19 Uptick
- Friday, October 23: Health Center Newsletter
- Wednesday, October 15: Shared Responsibility
- Friday, October 2: Hybrid Reopening Plan
Hello Holy Cross Families,
As we return from Christmas break and celebrate the New Year I would like to thank you for your continued support. Our families and educators are the hearts and souls of our school communities, and everything we have gotten right this year, we owe to you. To the sacrifices you have made to ensure your children thrive in an era of virtual and hybrid learning. To your trust in our school. To your personal feedback to me—whether positive or negative, it has helped me and everyone at the Academy best serve our students, your daughters.
I am happy to present a plan that will physically reopen school with two cohorts for our families who chose the hybrid option for their students. As we continue to monitor the health of our community, we are excited to announce that students will be welcomed back to campus on Monday, January 11, 2021.
This hybrid model means that approximately half of the students, whose families choose that option for their daughter’s learning, will attend school on Monday and Tuesday; the remaining half will attend on Thursday and Friday. Students will be notified of this assignment on Thursday, January 7, 2021. Students will engage in academics from home for the remainder of the week, with Wednesdays remaining as asynchronous days for all students. Each week a different group will be invited to campus for grade-based community building. Please note that this schedule may be adjusted to ensure maximum instructional time during shortened weeks.
As we move toward reopening, the safety of our school community remains our top priority. To that end, our health and safety plan will continue to guide many of our practices and procedures. An analysis of the school-wide airflow has been conducted and the number of open windows and doors will be adjusted to ensure adequate airflow and increased comfort. Students are encouraged to dress comfortably in black or grey sweatpants or leggings and a Holy Cross sweatshirt or jacket. Students will be asked to refrain from talking during the first 15 minutes of lunch while they are eating, and they will be allowed to speak and socialize when they put their mask back on.
We also know that the hybrid model does not fit the needs of every family or student. Therefore, families may still choose to have their daughter attend school in the 100% virtual model at this time. No matter what model you choose for your daughter(s), our teachers and staff are working to engage them in active and meaningful learning experiences.
A student can, at any time, move from hybrid to virtual. However, we are requesting a two-week notification if a student would like to move from virtual to hybrid due to the extensive planning process required in many parts of our school program, including social distancing protocols, staffing, and teacher and classroom assignments. If students are returning to campus for hybrid classes, Wednesday community building activities, and athletics they will need a current negative COVID-19 test. It is not too late to register for the PCR COVID-19 testing taking place on campus tomorrow, Wednesday, January 6.
I once again thank you for your flexibility and patience as we continue to navigate the many challenges presented by COVID-19.
Dear Holy Cross Families,
Thank you for your flexibility, patience, and partnership. We promise to continue working diligently with you to assure that Holy Cross continues to support and nurture the academic, spiritual, and emotional health of all of our girls. Please know that we are keeping all of our families in our prayers as we approach Christmas. Likewise, we ask for your prayers for the Sisters of the Holy Cross and our faculty and staff. As our country moves forward with new vaccines released regularly, let us embrace the season of Advent and allow our hearts to be filled with hope, peace, love, and joy.
As we approach the Christmas holiday, we ask families to continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC by avoiding large gatherings and limiting travel. Please follow our travel policy—Holy Cross strongly recommends that all faculty/staff and students refrain from nonessential travel outside of the DMV due to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in other states. Any faculty/staff or student returning from out-of-state travel should get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival home. Any faculty/staff or student who travels to a state with a COVID-19 rate above 10% must get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. A list of state COVID-19 test positivity rates can be found using the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#testing_positivity7day
Monday, January 4 is a Professional Development day for our faculty and staff and will be used to prepare for our reaccreditation process with Middle States and AIMS. Classes will resume virtually on Tuesday, January 5. Mandatory COVID-19 testing will take place at school on Wednesday, January 6. We will return to a hybrid schedule on Monday, January 11. Please read the communication from Kathleen Clark, our school nurse regarding the COVID-19 testing requirements and process. Principal John Sullivan will be sending out details of the second semester hybrid schedule after reviewing the student survey sent today as well additional feedback form our faculty. We anticipate a new cohort arrangement as we enter the second semester. Please complete the parent survey that will be sent next week. It is essential that everyone complete the survey indicating your preference for hybrid or virtual beginning January 11. Our ability to best serve our girls is dependent on the information received in our surveys.
We wish you rest and peace during the Christmas break.
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO
“It is God’s hand which has guided everything, and it is God whom we must thank above all.” –Blessed Basil Moreau
Dear Holy Cross Families,
Thank you for your response to our latest survey. Over the next few days our COVID-19 Task Force will continue to answer any specific questions that may have surfaced. Thank you also for taking part in our mandatory COVID-19 testing in order to have your child return to campus in person.
We will resume our hybrid schedule on Monday, December 7 with our A Cohort. Next week’s schedule is slightly different as we celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on Tuesday, December 8. I hope you will all join us at 9:30 am for the livestreamed Mass on our YouTube channel. Our freshmen will also be on campus on Tuesday to take part in our annual Holy Cross Gives Thanks program. Wednesday, December 9 will be a regular class day.
As we wrap up the first semester, we will review what worked well and what can be improved for second semester. Mr. Sullivan and his team will take a close look at our cohort system and daily schedule.
Please remember the importance of avoiding large gatherings or traveling out-of-state as we approach the Christmas holidays. It is more important than ever that we continue to monitor the health of our community as we move forward in these next weeks. Our plan remains the same—to go virtual the week of January 4 and return to hybrid classes on Monday, January 11.
I am proud of how our community has responded to this challenge this fall. I am also so grateful to everyone for continuing to reach beyond limits to achieve more than we thought possible. Continue to keep each other in your prayers as we move through the hopeful season of Advent and into the joy of Christmas.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO
"God will be glorified by works of justice and holiness that we produce, just as one who plants a tree is glorified by its produce." –Blessed Basil Moreau
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Academy of the Holy Cross has decided to resume our virtual learning program until Monday, December 7, 2020. Although students will not be in the building, all offices will remain open and student support services will be available. Below you will find details regarding the daily and weekly schedules.
The aim of any schedule is to provide students consistency and predictability. The daily schedule will mirror the current daily schedule with classes beginning at 8:00 am and ending at 2:30 pm and will provide a seamless reentry to the building.
Wednesdays will continue to offer the opportunity for asynchronous learning and provide the time for students to meet with teachers and complete assignments. Below you will find the weekly calendars for November 16-December 3 (Weeks 12-14).
Students will have the opportunity to have their school picture taken by reservation on Wednesday, November 18 between the hours of 9:00 am and 3:30 pm. Please register for your appointment by using this link.
As Katy Prebble mentioned, we have arranged for PCR COVID-19 testing to take place on campus Tuesday, December 1 and Wednesday, December 2. Please watch for additional information from our School Nurse Kathleen Clark.
Upon our return, each group will be invited to campus on the following days:
Cohort A: December 7 and 8, 17 and 18
Cohort B: December 10 and 11
Cohort C: December 14 and 15
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
View weekly schedules by clicking the images below.
Dear Holy Cross Families,
Once again, I write to express our sincere gratitude for the privilege of partnering with you during the past several months as we navigate these tumultuous times. Our faculty, whether in person or virtual, have been outstanding in their desire and efforts to provide an engaging academic, athletic, artistic, emotional, and spiritual environment for all of the empowered girls attending Holy Cross. We should all be very proud of both our girls, our faculty/staff, and our families.
I come to you again to say once more that the most important part of my job is to protect the health and safety of our community. We all heard Governor Hogan say on Tuesday at his news conference:
I just want to remind the people of Maryland that we have come too far and the stakes are too high. This virus does not care if you’re tired of it. It does not care if you have holiday plans. It doesn’t care who you voted for. And it will not let us move on just because we all desperately want to get back to our normal pre-COVID lives.
We monitor the State and Montgomery County COVID-19 portals hourly to see our changing local landscape as it relates to the pandemic. It became abundantly clear to us today, that as the case count and the test positivity rate have both surpassed the levels recommended by the state for a safe presence in schools, complicated by the colder weather bringing everyone indoors for greater periods of time, and the onset of flu and cold season, the time has arrived for us to return to our Virtual model for all students beginning Monday, November 16.
Our hope is to return to a Hybrid model on Monday, December 7. We must all remain flexible knowing that even as I share this plan with you, everything is subject to change based on conditions in the area or testing results. We have arranged for PCR COVID-19 testing to take place on campus Tuesday, December 1 and Wednesday, December 2. Please watch for additional information from our School Nurse Kathleen Clark.
All on-campus athletic programs will be postponed until further notice beginning Monday, November 16. Coaches for winter and spring sports will begin virtual training programs next week. Any girl interested in a winter or spring sport who has not reached out directly to the coaches should contact our Athletic Director Dena Rapoport. She will make sure that our coaches are in contact with all interested girls.
Principal John Sullivan will send additional information tomorrow concerning on-campus Community/Advisory Wednesday events as well as reminders of the class schedule and academic calendar. We will continue with a four-day synchronous class schedule and a Wednesday community building and resource day.
Let us remember to keep all of our Holy Cross family in our prayer during the upcoming Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas season. Please continue to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO
"Our duty to pray is so important that the destiny of the entire world, so to speak, is in our hands." –Blessed Basil Moreau
We are very thankful for the warm weather and sunshine we are experiencing, even though we anticipate colder days ahead. We are also thankful to have full participation with the Pinpoint Health Screening Tool, and we ask you to continue to complete it at least 30 minutes before your daughter’s arrival to campus. At this time, it is also important to review the Maryland Department of Health guidance for persons with symptoms of COVID-19.
Exclusion, quarantine and return to school for persons with laboratory confirmed COVID-19, and persons with symptoms of COVID-19 is based on CDC and Maryland Department of Health/Maryland State Department of Education guidance and it is implemented in collaboration with the local health department.
COVID-19-like illness is defined as:
1. Any 1 of the following: cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, new loss of taste or smell,
2. At least 2 of the following: fever of 100.4º or higher (measured or subjective), chills or shaking chills, muscle aches, headache, sore throat, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, and congestion or runny nose.
- If any symptoms are identified, please contact me for additional guidance on exclusion, any quarantine and return to school
How do I tell the difference between COVID-19 and other illnesses like the seasonal flu, the common cold and strep throat?
Check out this resource on the CDC website:
It is not too late to get a Flu Shot!
There is a FREE Flu Shot Clinic this Saturday November 7: https://montgomerycountymd.
Free COVID-19 testing in Montgomery County
Testing is free. If you have insurance, they will ask for your information, but there are no co-pays or deductibles.
Holy Cross strongly recommends that all faculty/staff and students refrain from nonessential travel outside of the DMV due to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in other states. Any faculty/staff or student returning from out-of-state travel should get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival home. Any faculty/staff or student who travels to a state with a COVID-19 rate above 10% must get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. A list of state COVID-19 test positivity rates can be found using the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-
Dear Holy Cross Families,
Thank you for your continued support while we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges. Our goals throughout have been to offer full transparency and total communication. The safety of our students, staff, and the community are our utmost concern, while we also recognize the need to keep our girls in school as much as possible for their social/emotional and intellectual development.
In the last few weeks, we have seen an uptick in positive cases in the nation as well as in our state and community. We continue to monitor Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Dashboard as we follow the states guidelines received August 27 to guide our discussions. Monday’s new confirmed case rate for Montgomery County reached 13.5 (seven-day average) per 100,000 residents. One month ago, the new case rate was 8.5 per 100,000 residents. The test positivity rate (fourteen-day average) has reached 3.4%. On October 2, the positivity rate was 2.6%. These numbers are important because the state guidelines recommend that if the new case rate exceeds 15 and the test positivity rate exceeds 5%, we should revert to limited or no in-person programs. We will continue regular communication during these watchful days as we monitor the conditions.
As a precaution we ask all of our families and staff to limit non-essential travel. We know that the upcoming holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas may include family members returning from colleges and visiting elderly relatives. Please observe the school’s travel policy recommending or requiring testing after traveling to other areas of the country. We ask that you monitor your child’s out-of-home activity during these holiday weeks. Please read the CDC guidelines recently issued for hosting and attending holiday celebrations: https://www.cdc.gov/
In order to protect our community, we have decided that we will adjust our current calendar to go virtual for all students the week after Thanksgiving, November 30 to December 4, and the week after Christmas break, January 5 to January 8. January 4 will remain a professional development day for all faculty and staff.
As we enter this turbulent election week, I continue to encourage our girls and staff to act with courage and compassion in dealing with our differences of opinion, to remember that this is a time of dialogue not debate and that through dialogue we will grow together as a community and emerge stronger than before. I would like to close this letter with an intercession used at Monday’s faculty meeting.
“Help us to listen in love, work together in peace, and collaborate with one another as we seek the betterment of our community and world. God, our creator, Guide us in truth and love.”
Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns.
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO
It’s been great to see the joy and delight in everyone’s eyes as we welcomed some students back to campus for the Hybrid In Person + Virtual learning the last two weeks. The Class of 2021 showed their Tartan spirit complete with Senior jerseys and signs welcoming students on the driveway. We look forward to the day when we can come together as a complete community in person in the future.
Our LOTAs are doing an impressive job adjusting to the new one directional hallways, staggered classroom changes and dismissals, washing their hands, wearing masks and physical distancing.
The morning arrival check-ins have been running smoothly as families continue to complete the Pinpoint Health Screening tool at least 30 minutes before arrival to campus.
We will have lunch outside every day weather-permitting; unless it is raining. Even when it gets chilly, it is important to get outside for the lunch break. Students are encouraged to dress appropriately for the weather in layers.
We will host a drive-through flu shot clinic provided by Rite-Aid on Monday, November 2 from 3:00 to 6:00 pm on the Holy Cross campus. All family members (3-years-old and above) are welcome. Rite Aid will bill your insurance company directly. Please read the Vaccine Information Sheet and Fill out the Screening Questionnaire and Consent form before your arrival.
If your daughter becomes ill while at school and needs to go home, you will receive a call from me. Please plan for a pick up within 30 minutes from Door 3, near the loading dock.
Symptoms of COVID-19 can appear anywhere between 2 to 14 days after exposure. According to the CDC, symptoms may include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. The CDC will continue to update its symptoms list as it learns more about COVID-19. You should call your medical provider for advice if you experience these symptoms, especially if you have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19 or live in an area with ongoing spread of the disease. The CDC has a Coronavirus Self-Checker that may help you determine whether you should seek help.
As we look forward to the upcoming holiday and family time, please remember Holy Cross recommends that all faculty/staff, and students refrain from nonessential travel outside of the DMV due to the recent increase in COVID-19 infections in other states. Any faculty/staff or student returning from out-of-state travel should get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival home. Any faculty/staff or student who travels to a state with a COVID-19 rate above 10% must get tested and self-quarantine at home until the test result is received. A list of state COVID-19 test positivity rates can be found using the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-
The COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful and can lead to serious impacts on mental health. If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression, or anxiety, or feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911, or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746. (TTY 1-800-846-8517).
Mental Health Resources:
Remember to take good care of yourself and exercise, get outside, take breaks, eat well and get adequate sleep!
- Complete the PINPOINT SCREENING AT LEAST 30 minutes before arriving to school
- Stay home if you are sick or have been near someone with COVID-19
- Wear your Mask
- Wash your Hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
- Maintain 6 feet Physical Distance
- Remember to get to get a FLU SHOT
- Dress warmly because windows will be open and lunch will be outside unless it is raining
- If your daughter becomes ill, please call me: (301) 929-6449, your health care provider or the Montgomery County COVID-19 line: (240) 777-1755 with questions or concerns
- Remember the Travel Rules
- Prioritize Self Care and ask for help if needed
October 14, 2020
Dear Holy Cross Families,
As we continue to navigate the disruptions and challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude for how the Holy Cross community has been responding.
Through these trying times, we have looked at our shared values of community, inclusion, social responsibility, and accountability to each other to guide our decision making.
After beginning our 2020-2021 school year remotely, tomorrow we begin our Hybrid In-Person + Virtual phase of our reopening. To be successful, we are relying on the individual and collective efforts of our faculty/staff and families to maintain and sustain a healthy school community during this pandemic. We believe that all of our community is committed to doing all that it takes to stay healthy.
We understand that how we take care of each other and reduce the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak on campus is dependent upon the commitment to the following proactive measures; wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, washing hands, staying home when experiencing COVID-like symptoms, avoiding large gatherings, and eliminating unnecessary travel. Because asymptomatic people can transmit the virus to others who can then become ill, we must all act as if we might be contagious when we are in the presence of other members of our community. We each bear the responsibility to protect the health and safety of each other. Even when we are not on campus, we are relying on each other to uphold the highest standards of community health. In line with the guidance we have received from federal, state, and local health officials, Holy Cross is doing its part to combat COVID-19.
I look forward to seeing our girls back on campus. If you have a concern related to the COVID-19 guidelines, you should contact the appropriate COVID-19 Task Force member, me, our school nurse Kathleen Clark, or Principal John Sullivan.
Thank you for doing your part to keep the Holy Cross community safe.
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO
"We want to obtain the cooperation of all, for we wish only that our work will be the wok of all so each one may have the merit of it." –Blessed Basil Moreau
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Every day we are reminded of the strength and resilience of the Holy Cross community. Our faculty and staff continue to show innovative and creative gifts as they lead classes and prepare for the return of students to our campus.
Our last survey indicated that 75% of our families are prepared to return to campus in a hybrid environment, 20% have chosen to remain virtual and 5% were unsure at that moment. For a variety of reasons, eight faculty members will also be working entirely virtually in our hybrid environment.
Our plans for returning to campus include the following elements.
- Mandatory Testing for all faculty/staff and students will take place on Tuesday, October 6 and Friday, October 9. The on-campus testing will be conducted by Capitol Diagnostics. Please read this detailed information letter carefully and follow the directions for scheduling the testing for your child, registering your child on the Patient Portal, and completing the minor consent form.
- We will begin our Hybrid In-Person + Virtual Plan on Thursday-Friday, October 15-16 with Group A, Monday-Tuesday, October 19-20 with Group B and Thursday-Friday, October 22-23 with Group C. The Groups are organized by Advisories – see the listing here. Please read this information for additional details about transitioning to the Hybrid plan.
- The Hybrid Academic schedule (available here) will mirror our virtual schedule with most Wednesdays remaining asynchronous to allow for community building, meetings, resource help, faculty office hours, etc.
- Please complete the Hybrid School Survey (available here) if you did not complete it previously, if you indicated you were unsure of your decision or if you have changed your mind about your previous decision. Please remember if you elect to go virtual, we will need a two-week window to move your child to the hybrid environment.
Today is a challenging day for our country as the President and his wife have now tested positive for COVID-19. As we pray for the recovery of all those who are sick, we are reminded that things do change—sometimes daily. If the test results of our school community appear to be higher than expected or the stubbornly high case rate in our community continues to rise, the school will re-evaluate to determine if going Hybrid on October 15 is the safest decision for our community. We continue to be thankful for the wonderful families that we serve and ask for God’s guidance in all that we do.
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO