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


Orientation Sessions

St. Mary Teachers will provide a recorded on-line Student Orientation Session for primary, intermediate, and middle school on August 24th, followed by a Q&A session with their homeroom teachers on August 26th. Stay tuned for more details.
The St. Mary Administrative Team will provide a Parent Orientation Session on Thursday, August 20th at 6:30 pm via Zoom. Stay tuned for more details.

Masks & Screens

Guidance for Use of Face Coverings in Schools – UPDATED 8.24.20

Although students will be required to wear masks both indoors and outdoors each day as part of the school uniform, there will be regular, frequent “Mask Breaks” throughout the day both during class time as well as lunch/recess time, especially with younger children.

More details on how mask breaks will work will be provided at our Orientation Sessions, but please know that mask breaks will vary from grade and will be as frequent as possible both indoors and outdoors. Middle school kids will have a break at least every 45 minutes, and younger kids will have them at least every 30 minutes. Teachers will alternate breaks small groups in class so as to maintain safe spacing without a mask.

Children will have safe, breakaway landyards to hold their mask when not in use.

Parent are asked to provide children with two masks for each school day. In sync with the CDC, Pediatric Association, and the AOB we recommend two-ply, filtrated masks.

Masks should be appropriate in design, that is, simple, with minimal graphics/writing, such as the SMCS “Tag Day Shirt” expectation.

Masks that are gaiter or may not be filtered are allowed, but the recommendation we are giving is two-ply with filters.

Extra masks will be available for students as needed.

Students who are not able to wear a mask for medical reasons are asked to supply a doctor’s note.

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.

Volunteer “hours” will be re-evaluated and edited for the new school year. Stay tuned!

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

St. Mary Catholic School is offering this option to families who complete the “Intent Form” by Monday, August 3rd.

Once enrolled in the Distance Learning mode, children will be required to remain in that mode for the ENTIRE TRIMESTER.

However, children who opt for “In School” learning, may change to “Distance Learning” upon parent request, but must then remain in the Distance mode for the remainder of the trimester.

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.