COVID Protocol Update 2021-2022

Update on School Policy Regarding Overnight Activities

Dear Holy Cross Families,

We continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 within our community and the resources available to guide us in keeping our students, faculty, and staff healthy and safe.

As part of our multi-layered approach to prevent the spread of the virus, students who are not vaccinated will not be able to attend overnight activities, including retreats and athletic trips. For seniors we are offering three KAIROS retreats. The November and March retreats will be for vaccinated students only. The February retreat will not include an overnight and will be for unvaccinated students or for those students whose parents prefer they not attend an overnight activity during the pandemic. If athletic teams plan overnight trips for tournaments or other competitions, again only vaccinated students will be allowed to attend. We are still exploring the possibilities of a spring break service trip.

If your child is unvaccinated, please consider the current information about the vaccine now available to those 12 and up. Getting the vaccine is safe, effective and free. It is the most important step that you can take to protect your family, our school family, and our community against COVID-19. With the rapid spread of the delta variant, it has never been more important to get vaccinated. The delta variant is more contagious, infecting more young people than previous strains and may be more likely to cause severe illness, and to reinfect someone who already had COVID-19. As of last week, the CDC reported that teens ages 16 and 17 had the highest rate of infection among all age groups.

We are pleased to be able to offer a COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Wednesday, September 15 from 4:00-6:00 pm, with the second shot on Wednesday, October 6 from 4:00-6:00 pm. To host the clinic, we need a minimum of 40 people. It is open to everyone in our community as well as all family members, faculty and staff, alumnae and any friends who have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccine. The clinic will be sponsored by Safeway and will offer the Pfizer vaccine. We are also holding a flu shot clinic on Monday, September 20, from 2:00-5:00 pm in partnership with Potomac Pediatrics. Details will follow for both clinics.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding any medical or health issues, please feel free to reach out to the local health department or our School Nurse Kathleen Clark. Please feel free to reach out to me or Principal John Sullivan with any other questions or concerns.

We completed a wonderful retreat and orientation program with our freshmen and transfer students and look forward to welcoming back all returning students on Monday.

Sincerely,

Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO

"We should strive to ignite and maintain within ourselves the sacred fire of love.
– Blessed Basil Moreau

IMPORTANT All-School COVID Testing Update - Thursday, August 19, 2021

From School Nurse Kathleen Clark

Welcome back students and families!

Last year we focused on many mitigation strategies to keep our students and families safe and healthy and this year will be no different. We will remain vigilant, follow the advice of federal, state and local health authorities, as well as a panel of medical experts that our COVID-19 task force meets with each week.

We look forward to working with you amidst a rapidly changing environment related to COVID-19 and the highly transmissible delta variant. We appreciate your continued support and flexibility. 

We are pleased to announce that the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), in partnership with the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE), is offering K-12 testing options for public and non-public schools to provide comprehensive COVID-19 screening testing support for the 2021-2022 school year. 

Capital Diagnostics Laboratory, who performed our tests last year, was awarded a grant and will provide PCR COVID-19 testing at Holy Cross with no cost to families or our school. 

MDH and MSDE recommend that schools consider the use of screening testing as part of a layered prevention approach, in accordance with CDC guidance. Screening testing can help promptly identify and isolate cases, quarantine those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are not fully vaccinated, and identify clusters to reduce the risk to in-person education.

For our school, we will have mandatory PCR COVID-19 testing for the entire community, both vaccinated and unvaccinated on:

  • Thursday, August 26, 2021 – all 9th grade students, faculty/staff and coaches
  • Monday, August 30, 2021 – all 10th, 11th and 12th grade students 

Registration for these PCR COVID-19 tests is required for all by Tuesday, August 24 (even if tested by Capital Diagnostics last school year). 

This is how the state will get billed through the grant instead of an individual's insurance.

Use this link: https://capitaldx-patient.limsabc.com/#/

The site-specific code you will use is: MDHHOLYCROSS

*PLEASE NOTE* Users will only have to register one time. 

When completing the registration, the parent/guardian must fill out the form for the student. Please do not enter your own name and birthdate but rather those of the person being tested (the student's). This is a common mistake and very important. 

Unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated students who plan to be on campus next week beginning Monday, August 23 will still need to upload a negative PCR COVID test to their Magnus Portal by this Friday, August 20. Subsequent testing will occur weekly on campus through the partnership described above.

Weekly mandatory on-campus testing for all unvaccinated students will take place every Thursday beginning September 9. Since the test will be in the Capital Diagnostics portal, the results do not need to be uploaded into Magnus. 

COVID Protocol Update - Friday, August 6, 2021

Dear Holy Cross Families,

After much deliberation, our COVID Task Force has recommended the following practices for the upcoming school year. Our primary goal remains focused on providing a safe environment for all who work and attend school at Holy Cross. These practices will go into effect on Monday, August 16 when fall athletic tryouts and our new Pre-Academy Summer Seminar for incoming ninth graders begin. Any other on-campus programs that take place beginning August 16 will also be subject to these policies.

Most importantly, all families need to log in and complete the Magnus Health information. Students who have not completed this important step will not be allowed on campus. Please remember to update any information including COVID-19 vaccination records. We urge all parents and guardians to provide access to one of the COVID-19 vaccines for you child. Please discuss with your child’s doctor the advantages for your child and the significance to our global community of receiving the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and the current delta variant.

We are following Montgomery County’s mandate and will remain a masked campus at all indoor locations. This applies to all, vaccinated as well as unvaccinated students. All UNVACCINATED students will be required to submit a negative PCR test each Friday to return to campus on Monday. Tests must be no more than 72-hours old. Details on how to submit the test results will be sent next week. Those planning to be on campus Monday, August 16 will need to submit their first negative test on Friday, August 13.

Please be aware that quarantine requirements per the CDC are different for vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. Unvaccinated persons considered a close contact to a positive COVID-19 individual will be required to quarantine for 14 days with symptoms and 10 days without symptoms. We will do our best to assist any student who is absent for illness, emergencies, quarantines, etc. but it will not consist of a virtual school option.

Please stay current with all CDC guidelines for international travel (see details here)

Kathleen Clark, our school nurse will continue to be your main contact regarding any health-related questions or concerns (kclark@academyoftheholycross.org). We are extremely grateful to have Kathleen's expertise and guidance during these challenging times.

Please do not hesitate to contact me. We believe that our best efforts to remain a healthy community will be the result of a strong partnership between your home and school. We are thankful every day for the wonderful families that make Holy Cross such a special place.

Sincerely,
Kathleen R. Prebble
President and CEO

 

"Nothing is more necessary than the spirit of faith in order to preserve, perfect, and develop the work of Holy Cross, especially in these days." –Blessed Basil Moreau