Reopening of St. Mary Catholic School

The Planning Ahead Task Force for Catholic Schools has been working diligently to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure the safe return of our faculty and staff on August 24th and our students on August 31st for instruction five days per week. The Task Force is receiving technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to inform our plans to SAFELY return to in-person instruction for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.


St. Mary Catholic School

Planning Ahead Team


Mr. Frank Nicely

Mrs. Marisa Bowers

Mrs. Keri Dill

Mrs. Cathy Ellis

Mrs. Jennifer Karn

Mrs. Bonnie Poffenberger

Ms. Mary Poffenberger

Nurse Paula Radley


Christmas/Holiday Travel Guide

Students and staff are advised if they intend to travel to a state that is not exempt under Maryland Health Department advisory bulletin with a positivity rate for COVID-19 of 10% or greater during the period of their stay or to an international destination with a Risk Level of 3 or 4 during their stay, notification of such intention must be communicated to the school. For purposes of this guidance, the positivity rate or risk level should be based upon the average rate as determined for the period of the entire stay. Parents of the student electing to proceed with high risk travel as defined above will be required to meet certain criteria prior to re-entering the school. Any student returning from high risk out-of-state or international travel will be required to quarantine upon their return until such time as either they provide evidence of a negative PCR test result for COVID-19 administered after their return from travel and are asymptomatic or they complete the entire 14 day quarantine. Teachers of travel students will determine if the student when they will be permitted to participate in online classes upon return.

Exempt states- The District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the States of Delaware and West Virginia are exempt from this recommendation.

International Travel Advisories

Read a letter HERE about the decision to “pivot” to virtual synchronous learning on Monday, November 30th through Wednesday, December 2nd.

Distance Learning Technology FAQs (Help with Common Tech Issue)
  • How do I connect to Google Meet on an iPad?
    Join a video meeting in Classroom

    If your teacher turns on Meet for Classroom, you can join a video meeting for your class. You can join a class video meeting after the teacher starts the meeting.

    To use Meet, you have to sign in to Classroom with a school account. Your account looks like

    1. Tap Classroom.
    2. Tap the class.
    3. Choose an option:
      • At the top of the Stream or Classwork page, tap Meet.
      • Link is also listed if you click on the i in top right hand corner
    4. (Optional) To allow Meet to use your camera and microphone, tap Allow.
    5. Before you join, at the bottom, make sure you’re signed in with your school account. If you need to switch accounts, tap Switchand then select the Classroom account.
    6. To join the class video meeting, tap Join meeting.
Masks & Screens

Mask requirements as directed by the Archdiocese of Baltimore, updated 10/8/20:

  • Wear masks with two or more layers of material to stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Do not use masks with valves. Per the CDC these do not adequately prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • Remind students and staff as to the proper wearing of the mask. Be sure all are wearing the mask over their nose and mouth and secured under the chin
  • Masks are to be worn by people two years and older
  • Except for the school nurses or staff working with individuals with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, do NOT wear masks intended for healthcare workers, for example, N95 respirators
  • Face shields can be worn in addition to a face mask. However a face shield alone is not adequate.
  • Gaiters are discouraged from being used. The CDC does not recommend these face covers as the effectiveness is unknown at this time.
  • Mask breaks can happen outside when students are beyond six feet of each other.  That includes eating outside.  It is recommended that mask breaks while eating inside should happen in shifts so that students are at a distance of six feet or more.
  • CDC and AOB asks that cloth masks must be washed every other day and/or exchanged out frequently. 

Every desk will also have a small protective screen (about 24 inches high).

Each student will have a 5 gallon bucket next to their desk for extra supplies.

Sanitation & Cleaning

All surfaces in every school space will be cleaned and sanitized regularly, according to CDC and Archdiocesan guidelines.

We are excited to be on track to have a state-of-the art sanitation and cleaning system for our building and outside, thanks to a large grant. Read more about the system HERE.

Please refrain from dropping-off any materials, lunches, etc., once your child has entered the building.

Water Bottles

Students will need to bring translucent plastic water bottles to school. No hydro flasks or aluminum water bottles allowed.

Lunch & Snack

Mid-morning breaks will also continue, but students will need to bring their own snacks.

Read about the updated Lunch Program from Sister Corda’s Kitchen HERE

Classroom Spacing & Sizes

Keeping class sizes to a reasonable limit will facilitate safe spacing in classrooms. To that end, we are no longer accepting applications for the 2020-21 school year.

We will also “cap-off” certain classes that already have enrollment we do not wish to exceed.

For classes with a larger enrollment (such as 3rd and 4th grade), our creative, resourceful teachers and aides will implement a variety of models to split classes as much as possible throughout the day.

Children will be spaced at least three feet apart in every classroom as per CDC and Archdiocesan guidelines.

Math groups in middle school will be split as usual.


The schedule and student movement through the building is being optimized to limit the number of places and people a student interacts with throughout the day to reduce potential exposure to groups of students.

Visitors & Volunteers

Visitors will not be allowed into the building.

Parent volunteers will be welcome, but we will establish a rotating system that will be limited to a “Core Team” with a designated timeframe and work space to facilitate contact tracing as needed. Stay tuned for more details.

Update 10/20/20: Family Commitment volunteers hours are waived for Trimesters I and II. The program will be reevaluated for Trimester III. However, we can always use the help of our wonderful volunteers! Please be on the lookout for some opportunities to help the school community being sent out via SignUp Genius. Any volunteer hours completed throughout the year could be counted towards Trimester III, if necessary.

After-School Care

St. Mary Catholic School will NOT offer After Care for the 20/21 school year. This will be re-evaluated mid-year for any possible change. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our families.

Distance Learning Option

Updated 9/17/20 – In a case of serious illness or COVID-related symptoms (or quarantine), parents must notify the school office of the illness/symptoms, and may temporarily request reversion to Distance Learning, but must contact the school office, and allow at least two days for this arrangement to be set-up. 

SMCS will provide all students with the necessary device for LIVE Distance Learning. Distance Learning will be LIVE and SYNCHRONOUS, not recorded, at SMCS. The same work expectations will apply to Distance Learners as In-school learners. Class schedules will be provided closer to August 31st, and students will be required to “attend” and interact with the teacher according to this schedule. Testing methods and details will be explained later by teachers, but please know that all testing will be completed ON LINE in video mode. In a spirit of solidarity with peers, and respect for our hard working teachers, students enrolled in Distance Learning will be expected to “attend” class wearing their regular full SMCS UNIFORM. We also ask for students to “attend” in a space other than a bedroom, and that VIDEO remain ON at all times during instruction.

Health Protocols

The Archdiocese of Baltimore Planning Ahead Task Force sent all schools a thorough set of PROTOCOLS for schools to follow in a broad range of areas, including how we handle cases of staff or students who show COVID-related symptoms. Nurse Paula Radley, BSN., and our St. Mary Planning Ahead Team, have begun planning how we will implement these protocols.

Parents will receive an abridged form of these protocols, and we will address them at our Orientation Sessions.

All Archdiocesan schools will require daily “Health and Temperature Screenings” for every child before he or she is allowed to enter the building. This morning check by parents (on their smart phones) will generate a spreadsheet for school personnel to monitor as children enter the building. You will receive detailed information on this procedure in the coming weeks and at SMCS Parent Orientation.

Per state regulations, preschool parents will be required to take student temperatures in the presence of school staff upon arrival. Our preschool staff will share details on this procedure soon.

Immunization Requirements

The following requirements apply to ALL SMCS students regardless of them being remote or on site, per Archdiocesan policy:

All new students, updated students, and new 7th grade immunizations MUST be SUBMITTED by the FIRST day of School, August 31st, to SMCS Nurse Paula Radley, BSN. Health forms can be found: HERE. For questions, please email Nurse Radley at

Submit a Question

This form is intended for our current SMCS families who have a question about the reopening of our school on August 31, 2020.

Submit your question HERE.

“We Fly to Thy Patronage”
We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities,
but deliver us from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.