A Comprehensive In-Person/Telepresence Strategy

We created this micro-site to answer frequently asked questions about our initial re-opening plan for this academic year and to address ongoing questions as protocols and guidelines change. Policies and protocols are subject to change based upon guidance from the DOH, CDC, and our consulting medical professionals. Questions regarding this site and any subsequent changes can be directed to Peter Maas, Chief Financial and Operating Officer (COVID-19 Coordinator) at pmaas@cathedralnyc.org


Cathedral School Community Health Pact

This pact is The Cathedral School's recognition of our shared Core Values and, by extension, our responsibility for community health. On a daily basis, families and employees who are participating in In-Person Learning affirm that they have read the 2020-2021 Cathedral School Community Health Pact when they submit their daily screening in the AUXS Safety App. Though families in Telepresence for a full trimester do not complete the daily AUXS Safety App, they have electronically signed an affidavit that they will abide by the pact.

Ongoing Communication

A complete chronology of Cathedral School communications since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic— including audio from Fireside Chats and Town Halls— can be found here.


COVID-19 Testing Began in February

Cathedral conducts PCR testing every other week for 100% of students and employees who are onsite. 

Questions? Please contact Peter Maas at pmaas@cathedralnyc.org


Recent Revisions to Quarantine Protocol

As a result of consultation with our medical advisors and the DOH, we have revised our quarantine requirements. Please visit this document for the latest COVID-19 protocols, including:
  • Common COVID-19 Symptoms
  • Protocols if COVID-19 exposure is suspected at the school
  • Response protocol for confirmed cases of COVID-19
  • Returning to School after testing positive, being a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, and after travel.

Comprehensive Distance Learning Plan

Our Distance Learning Plan replaces in-person instruction in the case that the school must shift to fully remote learning for any reason. In a distance learning environment, we continue to be led by beliefs in academic rigor, socio-emotional development, and community building. You can view The Cathedral School's Comprehensive Distance Learning Plan here.

List of 7 items.

  • How did we arrive at our reopening plan?

    Given the timing of our academic calendar here in New York, we have had a unique opportunity to observe schools across the nation as they navigated the reopening process throughout the summer of 2020. While each institution and each region faced their own challenges, the rise of case numbers across our nation was deeply concerning. The in-person instruction of students is of paramount importance for their continued growth and education; so too are the health and safety of all community members. These are equally important and certainly not mutually exclusive. At The Cathedral School, we continue to affirm both wholeheartedly. 

    The school’s 2020-2021 Reopening Plan was carefully considered to protect our community. It was created at a time of immense uncertainty regarding the trajectory of the virus—particularly as it pertains to young people. Furthermore, we stood at a critical juncture as the city experienced an influx of people at the start of the 2020-2021 academic year. 

    With these considerations in mind and having accounted for the interests of all members of our community, Cathedral made the difficult decision that the school would start the year in Distance Learning from September 10 through September 25. 
     
    The constantly evolving situation necessitated that we remain flexible and able to evolve in ways that are best suited for our community. It also required that we were able to pivot with agility between methods of instruction as the landscape changed. No matter what, our decisions were always rooted in the safety of our entire community and the science that unfolded.

    We deemed it safe for the school to open fully for In-Person Instruction on Tuesday, September 29. Families had the option to switch instructional options from In-Person to Telepresence or vice versa on a tri-mesterly basis.

    Cathedral’s reopening plan (archived here) was based on health guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), New York State Education Department (NYSED), and the Department of Health (DOH). 
  • How did families prepare to be on campus

    Our entire school community (employees, parents, students) were asked to sign a PACT affirming their sincere commitment to follow the policies and procedures enumerated in the re-opening plan. You can read that Pact here.

    Every effort was made to communicate to employees, parents, and students that our health and safety rely on everyone doing the right thing each and every day.

    Parents were asked to practice with their children to determine the face-covering that their child was most comfortable wearing. Parents were also asked to work with their children throughout the summer to develop mask endurance. It was important that parents partner with the school and begin to orient and prepare their children for the new normal including social distancing as soon as possible and for the remainder of the summer.

    Training on how to follow COVID-19 prevention protocols safely, consistently, and correctly, including hand and respiratory hygiene, proper face covering, and social distancing, was provided to the entire community prior to the beginning of school and as often as necessary.

    Each family was encouraged to practice with their child as soon as possible last summer to determine which mask the child was most comfortable wearing. If the preferred mask was a cloth mask, each family was encouraged to purchase or make five cloth face masks (one for each day of the week) per child. Face masks were labeled with the child’s name or initials so it was clear to whom the mask belonged.

    Throughout the school year, as new families joined Cathedral, they were asked to follow these same guidelines.
  • Parent Health and Safety Protocol Training Recording and Slides

    Families returning to Cathedral in the Fall were asked to attend one of several Health and Safety Protocol Training sessions. New families may click here to view the recording. Afterwards, please use this form to sign electronically verifying that you have viewed it. Slides from the presentation can be accessed here

    *Please note that this training was recorded before the AUXS app policy changed for Upper School students. Please find information about that change here.*
     
  • Distance learning

    Our Distance Learning Plan replaces In-Person Instruction in the case that the school must shift to fully remote learning for any reason. In a distance learning environment, we continue to be led by beliefs in academic rigor, social-emotional development, and community building. You can view The Cathedral School's Comprehensive Distance Learning Plan here.

    There may be situations within our own borough, neighborhood, or school community when community spread of COVID-19 needs to be addressed. In those instances, The Cathedral School will follow the guidance of, and be directed by, the NYCDOH so that we can responsibly provide for the health and safety of our students, families, faculty, and staff.
  • In-Person Learning (began September 29)

    The Cathedral School program and model scenarios for 2020-2021 are driven by safety as a first priority, then social-emotional wellbeing, and then academic skill-building and maintenance. Continuity of learning support services is also a high priority.

    The In-Person curriculum is our normal offering with added social-emotional content and supports. The curriculum also includes enhancements that reflect current events in our community and globally including but not limited to the COVID-19 pandemic, recent happenings regarding social justice and equity, the current political environment, etc.

    Although we have the physical space to accommodate all of our students in small classes with social distancing, surveys indicated that approximately 12% of our community was likely to elect to attend classes via telepresence rather than attend classes in-person for a variety of COVID related reasons.

    Parents can view the social distancing capacity of each grade level and classroom in these Social Distancing Floor Plans.
  • Telepresence

    The Cathedral School offers “Telepresence” remote learning to students who cannot come in to school when all teachers, and most students, will be In-Person at our school buildings. This program is different than our “distance learning” program which will be taught by all teachers from home to all students who will be at home.

    Students at home who enroll in our Telepresence program are assigned to a homeroom along with their In-Person peers and participate in class with their class at home via Zoom. The technology employed in the classroom are SWIVL cameras, software, and equipment.

    You can access our Telepresence Fact Sheet here.
  • The 2020-21 Reopening Plan (submitted to DOH and NYSED)

    Please find the archived copy of Cathedral's reopening plan linked here

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  • The advantage of 13 acres

    The Cathedral School is set in the heart of a 13-acre campus unlike any other in Manhattan. Within this unique environment, we cultivate our students’ natural curiosity into a passion for lifelong learning.
  • The 2019 Expansion Project and renovations

    The Expansion Project completed in February of 2019 added 8,000 square feet of new learning space at Cathedral. In addition, 4,000 square feet of the campus underwent renovations that are particularly beneficial during this pandemic.

    As part of the recent renovations, our entire school building is outfitted with touchless water bottle filling stations. The associated sinks will be capped and disabled for the duration of the pandemic. Students and employees will be encouraged to bring in their own water bottles clearly labeled with their name. The Crypt Gym and Synod Hall are planned to be outfitted with temporary water bottle filling stations.

    Also, as part of the renovations and expansion project, eight of the thirteen restrooms in the school building have touchless toilets and sinks. It is currently being determined if it is feasible to upgrade the five remaining restrooms before school opens in September. If they cannot be retrofitted, clean-in / clean-out protocols will be implemented to ensure safety. Clean-in / clean out protocols will be implemented for the restrooms that serve the Crypt Gym and Synod Hall.

    Six of our eighteen Lower School rooms include handwashing sinks. All classrooms, offices, common areas, and other spaces will have hand sanitizer dispensers.

    Having renovated and expanded our main school building, the majority of our school building is serviced by new or recently installed HVAC systems. In addition to these systems, all of the classrooms have multiple operable windows that can be used to circulate fresh air.
  • Modifications to accommodate social distancing

    The configuration of our school building, Crypt Gym, and the Church’s Synod Hall will be modified significantly for the duration of the pandemic. The Library, Common Room, Dining Room, Morningside Room, two gyms, and Synod Hall will all be converted into “pop-up” classrooms. 
  • Social Distancing Floor Plans for all Learning Spaces

    Parents can view the social distancing capacity of each grade level and classroom in these Social Distancing Floor Plans.
  • Ventilation and other improvements

    All but five of the classrooms in our school building are ventilated by central HVAC systems. Per CDC guidance, we will implement the following system protocols and actions.
    • Increase ventilation rates.
    • Ensure that all ventilation systems are operating properly and increase maintenance intervals. 
    • Increase outdoor air ventilation.
    • Disable demand-controlled ventilation (DCV).
    • Further open minimum outdoor air dampers (as high as 100%) to reduce or eliminate recirculation.
    • Improve central air filtration to the MERV-13 or the highest compatible with the filter rack, and seal edges of the filter to limit bypass.
    • Keep systems running longer hours - 24/7 if possible - to enhance air exchanges in the building space.
    There are five classrooms with window air conditioning units. Those classrooms will be retrofitted with wall mounted UVC air purifiers with HEPA filters. These units eliminate germs, bacteria, and viruses and are rated for twice the square footage of each room.  

    Work is currently underway to add ventilation systems to the Crypt Gym and Synod Hall. Per CDC guidelines, these systems will significantly increase the ventilation rates in these spaces, will introduce fresh air and run constantly, and are specified to be filtered with MERV-13 or higher filters.

    The filtration system in the third-floor gym is a central HVAC system. We will be increasing outside air intake to 100% of capacity, changing the filters to MERV13, increasing airflow appropriately, and running the system 24/7 to ensure that air quality far exceeds guidelines. This will also occur with all of our central HVAC systems serving most other rooms. The few rooms that are not served by our central HVAC systems will have either UVC air purifiers or air exchangers with HEPA filters.

    All administrative offices have operable windows to allow the exchange of outside air, and have significantly reduced social distancing capacities (SDC). Most administrative offices have an SDC of one person, the remaining few rooms have an SDC of two people.
  • Outdoor spaces and playgrounds

    Sheltered by both the Cathedral and the school building, the Kit Wallace Playground has an incredible array of equipment, guaranteed to please and challenge any Cathedral student, while still accomodating social distance. 

    Equally enjoyable is the Nave Playground, running along the south side of the Cathedral and featuring climbing equipment and ample space.

  • After School Program

    The Cathedral School After School Program will be conducted entirely online during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. The classes, taught by Cathedral’s vetted vendors, are developed to provide educational and social creative fun for the students, using Zoom and other appropriate technology on their laptops. They are designed to require little to no adult engagement aside from the initial set up and our instructors are available to help you through that.

    Additional information and online registration can be found here.

    In addition, A.C.T.’s program will be operating on the grounds of the Cathedral and welcomes applications from Cathedral School families. Please click here for a message from A.C.T.’s Executive Director and corresponding program application.

List of 11 items.

  • Campus access

    Vendors will not be allowed to enter any of the school buildings. Deliveries will be dropped off at a designated door that will not be used by community members.

    Packages will be decontaminated according to CDC guidelines before being passed along to the intended recipient.

    Only faculty, staff, and students will be permitted to enter the building. Exceptions will be made for Kindergarten parents during the first several days of school and only under strictly controlled conditions.

    Outside tutors, contractors, student siblings, parents, or other individuals will not be permitted entry without prior written permission from the Head of School or Peter Maas, Chief Operating and Financial Officer (COVID-19 Coordinator) at pmaas@cathedralnyc.org. Written permission will be provided rarely.

    The staff member assigned to monitor each entrance and the temperature scanning unit will be provided a list of all active students and employees that have not completed the AUXS Safety App that day or who have answered “yes” to any questions. If someone who meets either criterion attempts to enter the building, the staff member monitoring the entrance will ask that individual to step aside and wait for a second staff member or administrator to either clear up any misunderstandings or escort the person to the isolation room to be seen by the School Nurse or the COVID-19 Coordinator.

    Any personnel performing in-person screening activities, including temperature checks, will be trained by individuals who are familiar with CDC, NYCDOH, and OSHA protocols.

    Screeners will be provided with, and use, PPE.  PPE may include an N95 mask, gloves, a gown, and/or a face shield.
    Individuals who have been identified by the temperature scanning unit as having a temperature above 100.0°F will be double-checked with a handheld thermometer. If it is confirmed that an individual has a temperature above 100.0°F, they will be isolated and our NYCDOH Nurse will attend to them. 
  • Daily online questionnaire (AUXS Safety App)

    NOTE: The questions in the AUXS Safety App were changed on January 20. Please read carefully before submitting.

    Parents and employees have all downloaded the AUXS Safety App. The AUXS Safety App daily online questionnaire must be completed at home every morning. Paper copies will be available at each entrance if access to a computer or cell phone is unavailable.

    Completion of the App will be required of any student enrolled in In-Person Learning or employee whether or not they are in attendance that day. Those who are not in attendance that day must complete the App by 9:00 am., including on Virtual Fridays.

    Families who enrolled in the Telepresence program for the full trimester are exempt from completing the AUXS application. However, those who pivot into the Telepresence program temporarily are still required to complete the App each weekday. 

    The App will begin with a question verifying that the user re-affirm their commitment to adhere to all health and safety policies. The questionnaire will require yes or no answers about a shortlist of symptoms or situations that might indicate an illness or COVID-19 concern, and the individual will certify whether or not any apply to them that morning.

    The list of symptoms/conditions in the questionnaire will include (but will not be limited to):
    • Has the user or a family member attended a large gathering with attendees in close proximity over the past 14 days?
    • Having knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19.
    • Having tested positive for COVID-19 through a diagnostic test in the past 14 days
    • Having experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, in the past 14 days. Symptoms will be listed.
    • Having traveled to, or from, a state other than NJ, Conn., or PA in the last 14 days.
    These questions will be updated periodically to make sure they reflect current guidance from the CDC and NYCDOH. The school will not retain individual medical or health information from this online questionnaire.

    Only the “clear/not clear” status of the individual as determined by the questionnaire will be retained.

    When a parent feels their child's symptoms warrant them staying at home due to illness, the parent will indicate the symptoms in the AUXS App and the school nurse and Peter Maas will receive a text indicating that a student is not cleared to come to school.

    The protocol for addressing a situation where students exhibit symptoms of illness but COVID is uncertain are detailed here.

    All data from the questionnaires will be reviewed daily by the Nurse and the staff responsible for attendance. Calls will be placed to families of children who are not in school that day if those families have not already completed their daily questionnaire by 9:00 am.

    In addition to the daily questionnaire requirement, all individuals entering the building will be scanned for temperature. Those with a temperature above 100.00 F will be immediately isolated and subsequently sent home with information about the NYCDOH requirements for next steps.
  • Arrivals and departures

    Cathedral School has implemented slightly staggered drop-off and pick-up times to facilitate proper social distancing. Entrance and egress from the building is through five designated doorways specific to the location of the homeroom. Temperature scanning is required at all entrances.

    Parents may wait in line, socially distanced, with children outside the school. However, parents will not be allowed inside the building (except in rare instances with prior approval), and will be expected to say goodbye to their children outside. 

    General Drop Off and Pick Up Entrances/Exits:
     
    Kindergarten = Expansion
    1st = Front Door
    2nd = Front Door
    3E = Expansion
    3S = Office of Enrollment Management Door
    4th = Office of Enrollment Management Door
    5th = Synod Hall
    6th = Synod Hall
    7th = Front Door
    8th = Front Door
    All Morning Cars = Morningside Drive
    Lower School Afternoon Cars = Morningside Drive
    Upper School Afternoon Cars = Amsterdam Avenue or Elsewhere (NOT Morningside Drive)

    Morning Drop Off Times

    • Upper School will be the first division to arrive. All Upper School students are expected to arrive between 7:50AM and 8:00AM. Please be sure to arrive before 8:00AM so that the campus is cleared and ready for the arrival of Lower School students.

    • Lower School students are expected to arrive between 8:00AM and 8:15AM. Students arriving after 8:15AM will be considered late.

    Afternoon Pick Up Times

    We urge parents and caregivers to arrive at the specified pick up time to help expedite a smooth flow of students safely exiting the building.

    • Kindergarten and 1st Grade pick up will begin at 2:50PM.
    • 2nd and 3rd Grade pick up will begin at 3:05PM.
    • 4th Grade pick up will begin at 3:20PM.
    • 5th through 7th Grade pick up will begin at 3:30PM.
    • 8th Grade pick up will begin at 3:35PM.

    School Dismissal Manager (SDM) App

    To facilitate a safe, smooth dismissal process allowing for staggered departures and utilizing the various assigned exits, The Cathedral School is implementing the SDM App. All Cathedral School children will be dismissed using this application regardless of whether they are walking, taking the bus, being picked up by car, or self-dismissing. 

    Please consult the School Dismissal App Guide for Parents for additional information.

    OPT Bus
    In the Case of Inclement Weather
     
    In order to properly engage in social distancing, we cannot bring students inside in advance of their drop-off times. As such, students, parents, and caregivers should be prepared with the proper gear in the case of inclement weather.
     
    Students Enrolled in the Cathedral’s ACT Program
     
    Students enrolled in the ACT program should meet the ACT representative at their designated exit. Parents should arrange with ACT in advance to inform them at which location to meet the student.
     
    Reminder: Adults Cannot Remain on the Close After Drop Off/Pick Up
     
    Per the school's agreement with the church, parents and caregivers cannot congregate on the Close and must leave immediately after dropping off and picking up their children. While we know this is difficult as we are all excited about seeing one another, it is necessary to abide by this protocol since it is what allows our students, parents, and employees to bypass church security. 
  • Daily hygiene

    Handwashing

    The Cathedral School will follow all hygiene requirements as advised by the CDC and NYCDOH.

    These include:
    • Training all students, faculty, and staff on proper hand and respiratory hygiene, including providing information to families and guardians on ways to reinforce this at home.
    • Creating extra time in the schedule for handwashing or sanitizing, especially after restroom breaks, recess, using shared equipment, or other higher-risk activities.
    • Installing touchless hand sanitizer dispensers filled with at least 70% alcohol-based sanitizer in all areas of the school where possible.
    • Providing hand sanitizer and wipes in common areas or near shared workplace items (copy machines, computers).
    Parents who do not wish their child to use hand sanitizer should inform the school nurse in writing.
  • Small classes

    Most classes are split into four sections with a few remaining in two sections but located in much larger spaces. Those spaces are configured such that they can be broken up into smaller working groups when appropriate.

    Classroom desks are located at least six feet apart both from each other and from the faculty and whiteboards in all rooms. All group tables were eliminated and each child (K to 8) has their own desk. All desks are facing one direction so that students sit side-to-side rather than facing one another. 

    Surfaces and workstations are not shared and are disinfected regularly. 

    Use of other outdoor spaces on the campus will be encouraged for lunch, recess, PE, and learning.
     
    Hallways have “wayfinding” signage designating direction of travel.  Staircases are designated up or down at different times of day.
  • Signage

    Signage will be located throughout the campus and inside the school buildings to inform all employees, parents, students, and authorized visitors of the school’s requirement to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing at all times.

    Each entrance will have signage informing all entering the building that completion of a health questionnaire is necessary before entering the building
  • Social distancing requirements

    The Cathedral School is fortunate to have a large campus and access to Church facilities which allowed all students to return to school In-Person this fall. 

    As noted throughout this document, all students and adults in all classes are socially distanced by at least six feet and many health and safety protocols have been implemented.

    The Cathedral School strictly enforces appropriate social distancing of six feet apart between all individuals while in school facilities and on school grounds unless safety (e.g. fire, or another emergency) or the core activity (e.g. traveling in hallways) requires a shorter distance. 

    Mandatory mask-wearing helps address cases where six feet of distance cannot be maintained.
  • Physical education

    PE is held outdoors only, weather-dependent. All classes occur on the large playground or Morningside Park. With very few and very rare exceptions such as running track, masks are required at all times during PE. Social distancing is also required at all times. 
  • Extra-curriculars

    Our ability to provide extracurriculars is guided this year by DOH guidelines, health and safety, and space limitations. Our After-School program is conducted virtually.
  • After School Program

    The Cathedral School After School Program will be conducted entirely online during the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters. The classes, taught by Cathedral’s vetted vendors, are developed to provide educational and social creative fun for the students, using Zoom and other appropriate technology on their laptops. They are designed to require little to no adult engagement aside from the initial set up and our instructors are available to help you through that.

    Additional information and online registration can be found here.

    In addition, A.C.T.’s program will be operating on the grounds of the Cathedral and welcomes applications from Cathedral School families. Please click here for a message from A.C.T.’s Executive Director and corresponding program application.
  • Transportation

    OPT buses

    For the 2020-2021 school year we intend to do as follows pending any new guidance from the OPT:
    • Request that parents reinforce the requirement that all students who ride OPT buses must wear masks when seated, standing, or getting on and off the bus. The importance of good hygiene practices while on the bus will be reinforced.
    • Require all students waiting for the bus to socially distance and wear their masks.
    • Encourage (through family e-mails, school handbooks, and other forms of communication) any faculty and families who can walk, bike, or scoot to school. 
    • Encourage the formation of “carpool bus routes”.
    Employees and transportation

    More than half of Cathedral School employees use some form of mass transit. The remainder either walk, bike, or drive. The Cathedral School faculty, staff, and administration have been actively engaged in dialog about concerns regarding the safety of mass transit and are working hard to identify risk mitigation strategies. 

    To-date, we have identified the following actions:
    • The Cathedral School provides a sufficient supply of disposable masks and gloves to employees who need to take public transportation to and from work. These masks and gloves sre discarded prior to entering the building each day.
    • A $500 mass transit safety stipend is provided to all employees who normally use mass transit. This stipend may be used for Citi Bike rentals, N95 masks or other medical grade PPE, carpool expenses, or other approved expenses.
    • Approximately three Fridays per month are dedicated to remote learning, virtual faculty, division, and other meetings, and other virtual activities. Employees sre allowed to participate remotely from home on these days.
    • We have added additional bike racks on our campus
      and encourage the use of bicycles rather than transit.
    • We increased the number of paid leave days from 10 to 15 to encourage employees to remain home when ill.

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  • Daily cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing

    The Cathedral School has a dedicated staff of two people per floor or area exclusively responsible for cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing, monitoring social distancing and face-covering usage, and staffing school entrances during drop off and pick up.  

    This team, and all employees, strictly adhere to a comprehensive COVID-19-specific cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing, and monitoring plan. Per NYCDOH guidelines, this team maintains logs that include the date, time, and scope of cleaning and disinfection.

    In addition to the work of this team, classrooms and common areas are stocked with CDC-approved disinfectants so that teachers can also contribute to cleaning efforts if necessary. In addition to these measures, the following extra steps were taken in classrooms, offices, and common areas:
    • Touch-free amenities, such as water-bottle refilling stations and paper towel dispensers have been installed where feasible.
    • Water drinking fountains are closed and touchless bottle refilling stations are used instead. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to bring their own labeled water bottles for refilling.
    • Students remain in their own classroom with their cohorts. No student classroom materials, technology, desks, or other items are shared at any time. Effective March 10, 2021, Cathedral allows students to share balls, frisbees, and other sports or play objects while at school. Students may also bring in their own balls, frisbees, etc. if they wish.
    • Children have their own personal classroom supplies (of pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) that they draw from rather than using common materials. Each child’s supply is labeled and stored either in a desk, individual file, or another method that ensures separation of materials.
    • Materials and tools used by staff or employees are regularly cleaned and disinfected using registered disinfectants or sanitizers.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and mask protocol

    All students (K to 8), faculty, and staff on the Close of the Cathedral Church or in any Cathedral School building must wear a mask and maintain social distancing at all times with rare exceptions. Shields may only be worn with masks.

    Our PPE and distancing policies are critically important and will be closely monitored. 

    For children who prefer to use disposable masks, the school has a supply of disposable surgical masks on hand (adult and child-sized) that community members may use at no charge if the family cannot provide them.

    Teachers are provided with surgical masks and shields if requested at no charge. 

    Face masks should be washed, disinfected, or replaced after each day’s use and must not be shared. Students and families should take responsibility for maintaining their individual face coverings. The CDC provides guidance on its website for additional information on cloth face coverings and other types of PPE, as well as instructions on use and cleaning.

    The Cathedral School provides all students and faculty with training on how to properly put on, take off, clean (as applicable), wear, and discard PPE, including face masks. 

    For information on how to properly apply a facemask and rare exceptions to the facemask policy, select Read More below.
    Read More
  • Acceptable face coverings

    Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include cloth-based face coverings with a minimum of two layers (with no exhalation valve or vent) and, surgical masks, or other masks approved by the COVID-19 Coordinator. 

    Only approved medical grade masks may include valves. All masks must cover both the mouth and nose. Shields may only be worn with a mask. Single-layer bandanas or sun gators are not acceptable.

    Faculty and students, especially younger students, may use face coverings that are transparent at or around the mouth for instruction or interventions that require visualization of the movement of the lips and/or mouths (e.g., circle time).

    These alternate coverings may also be used for certain students who benefit from being able to see more of the face of the faculty or staff member.

    For staff engaged in work activities that require a higher degree of protection due to the nature of the work (e.g. health screenings, nurse’s office work), N-95 masks, N-95 respirators, or other PPE used under existing industry standards should be used, in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
  • Attendance

    The school collects attendance data every day, both for In-Person and online settings. Attendance records are collected and maintained as outlined in our school’s Family Handbook.

    Chronic absenteeism

    The Cathedral School will work to identify any children at risk of becoming chronically absent due to sickness, family situation, or other circumstances, reaching out to families and providing educational support services that include:
    • Check-ins with the class teacher to provide work at a rate and level that is appropriate to the student’s situation
    • Additional support from our Learning Support team, if needed
    • Help to obtain the necessary technology to ensure continuity of learning 
    To achieve these goals we will use phone, email, and even socially distant meet-ups to engage and converse with family members and students who are experiencing difficulty.
  • Food service

    The Cathedral School suspended all food service operations for the duration of the pandemic. Families provide their children with lunch and snacks in compliance with our allergy guidelines. 

    Students eat food that was prepared for them at home, from lunchboxes while seated at their desks or outside weather permitting. This year, the following adjustments were made to our normal lunchtime routines. 

    Teachers and students:
    • Wash hands, or thoroughly sanitize, before and after eating.
    • Sit a minimum of six feet apart while eating.
    • Eat outside if possible.
    • Refrain from sharing food of any kind with each other.
    • Open windows and doors in indoor spaces while eating.
  • Restrooms

    Restrooms designed for multiple people are limited to no more than two people at a time. Signage demarking the maximum capacity is posted on doors. 

    Faculty and staff use designated restrooms to limit cross-exposure. 

    Restrooms are cleaned and disinfected frequently during the day, following recommendations established by the NYCDOH. 

    Toilets have been retrofitted to be touchless and refitted with lidded seats. Students have regular reminders to close lids before flushing.
  • Group meetings and events

    All meetings and events that involve large groups are held remotely until further notice.
  • Safety drills

    Pursuant to NYSED requirements, The Cathedral School conducts lockdown drills and monthly fire drills. These drills are modified to incorporate social distancing and other health and safety requirements associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
  • COVID-19 testing

    Cathedral conducts testing using home collection kits every other Monday. These are shallow nasal tests with 100% of employees and students being tested in each round.

    In order to participate in pooled testing, employees and students are required to sign a waiver. New members of the community can click here to access the waiver. Once completed, please send an electronic copy to the School Nurse at mboyarsky@cathedralnyc.org and CC Peter Maas at pmaas@cathedralnyc.org. Hard copy waivers are not necessary.

    Questions? Please contact Peter Maas at pmaas@cathedralnyc.org.
  • Exposed individuals

    The Cathedral School will have two “health offices” and one isolation room. One office will be for well-care staffed by school personnel and one medical room will be for individuals who present as ill, staffed by our School Nurse. The isolation room will be adjacent to the medical room.

    If a student, faculty, or staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms during the school day, Cathedral School protocols is as follows:
    • Students, faculty, or staff with suspected symptoms of COVID- 19 are escorted to the isolation room by the Nurse and remain there under the Nurse’s supervision until they can go home or to a healthcare facility, depending on severity of illness.
    • The School Nurse is required to follow strict PPE requirements, which involve both standard and transmission-based precautions including but not limited to eye protection (i.e., goggles or face shield), mask, gown, and gloves.
    • Cleaning and disinfecting are carried out as specified by CDC guidelines.

    Recent Revisions to Quarantine Protocol

    As a result of consultation with our medical advisors and the DOH, we have revised our quarantine requirements. Please visit this document for the latest COVID-19 protocols, including:
    • Common COVID-19 Symptoms
    • Protocols if COVID-19 exposure is suspected at the school
    • Response protocol for confirmed cases of COVID-19
    • Returning to School after testing positive, being a close contact of someone diagnosed with COVID-19, and after travel.
  • Contact tracing

    All confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be immediately assessed by a NYCDOH contact tracer in coordination with The Cathedral School COVID-19 Coordinator and School Nurse to determine whether the student, employee, or school community member has been infectious while at school, and to determine the appropriate course of action required to minimize the risk to the wider community.

    For more information on response protocols for suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Contact Tracing protocol, please consult this document.

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  • Cathedral's ongoing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program

    Guidance from the NY State Education Department indicates that, “Social emotional well-being must be schools’ and districts’ top priority in supporting school transitions, not at the expense of academics, but in order to create the mental, social, and emotional space for academic learning to occur.”

    This upcoming year, Cathedral’s SEL (social emotional learning) curriculum will continue to foster the Five CASEL core competency skills of self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.

    The first quarter of the school year will focus on reconnecting and rebuilding our community of learners through research-based lessons conducted by classroom teachers, under the guidance our psychologists.  

    The Cathedral School also recognizes that social-emotional education is critical from an equity and justice perspective. Emotional intelligence is highly correlated with career success and is a developmental right of all children. 
  • Equity, Inclusion, and Engagement in the Upper School

    Equity, Inclusion, and Engagement in the Upper School will be furthered by the Director of Equity and Engagement and Divisional Coordinators in the following ways throughout distance learning:
    • Students will continue to participate in Affinity Groups, which will address both issues of identity and equity generally, as well as how they are manifested in the COVID-19 pandemic
    • All students in the Upper School will have Equity & Justice classes
    • The Equity & Engagement Director and Divisional Coordinators will host virtual sessions to share best practices to help parents support children and each other at home
    • The Upper School Leadership Team will assess students’ changing technological needs, home learning environments, and other equity-based issues that might arise during distance learning
    • The Equity & Engagement Director and Divisional Coordinators will be available to speak with parents and guardians upon request
    • The Upper School Leadership Team will review and restructure EXCEL (teacher office hours) to support students struggling with time management and workload.
    • Advisory periods will be themed to assist students with strengthening relationships, building self-esteem, time management, and coping with change. Deans and teachers will partner in this work with the Upper School Psychologist and Learning Specialists. 
  • In service training for faculty and staff

    The Cathedral School also recognizes that our students will have difficulty accessing their ability to learn until they feel emotionally safe. To this end, teachers will receive in-service training prior to the start of school on the identification of and support for traumatic stress related to COVID and racial injustice.

    Faculty, Staff, and Administrators will receive training prior to the start of the school year in how to identify pediatric symptoms of COVID-19, and will refer any students they see exhibiting such symptoms during the day to the Nurse.
  • Role of school psychologists

    Cathedral families are always welcome to call upon the support and resources of Upper School Psychologist, Dr. Mark Thomas (mthomas@cathedralnyc.org) and our new Lower School Psychologist, Dr. Barbara Whelan (bwhelan@cathedralnyc.org ).

     Their role includes but is not limited to:
    • Serving as a liaison for communication with students and families in crisis
    • Maintaining a bank of social-emotional lessons, activities, and other resources
    • Hosting virtual sessions for parents to share best practices to help support children and parents and guardians at home
    • Speaking to parents and guardians upon request
    • Employing a highly tailored approach to each student and/or family situation
    • Providing instructional support to assist teachers with planning, implementing, and supporting the fidelity and progress monitoring of evidence-based academic interventions
    • Providing support to teachers and parents about signs of depression, anxiety, stress, lack of motivation, and disengagement so they may identify students who need support
    • Providing supportive counseling and consultation for teachers and students who are struggling with issues related to the virus and confinement. Refer staff to community and system agencies when appropriate.

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  • A passion for learning

    Passion for Learning is one of The Cathedral School's seven core values. As a community, and throughout this pandemic, we are determined to honor this value.

    Passion for learning means constantly striving to better understand ourselves and the world. At Cathedral, we inspire active and ongoing inquiry, dialogue, and critical thought in order to pursue our interests and talents while exploring things that are challenging for us in order to grow.

    Whether in-person, in telepresence, or in distance learning,  we are committed to nurturing articulate, confident, responsible citizens of the world.
  • Spirit of community

    A sense of community is essential to life at The Cathedral School. We welcome each child as a whole person, with respect for their individuality and worth. 

    Inclusion is at the core of the mission of The Cathedral School. We believe that the recognition and appreciation of differences in race, socioeconomic status, cultural or religious tradition, age, gender, ability, and sexual orientation enhance the individual's sense of identity and broaden respect for others. At Cathedral, growing and learning together in a diverse community of individuals is an invaluable aspect of the education we provide.

    It is in times of disruption that we all have an opportunity to provide true support for one another—this is particularly true at The Cathedral School, where our Mission and Core Values guide all that we do as teachers and learners.
  • Dedicated faculty

    From Kindergarten through 8th grade, our dedicated faculty challenge and support Cathedral students as they grow into critical thinkers, thoughtful scholars, and culturally competent leaders.

    The entire faculty and staff welcome the opportunity to work together and demonstrate these values in new and powerful ways—all for the continued growth and education of our students. 
  • Rigorous academics

    We believe in a rigorous academic program that blends innovation and tradition, from the 3rd grade’s sophisticated Lego Robotics projects to the robust Latin program in our Upper School.

    Our Mission Statement is an important guiding document for our institution, at all times. The statement calls for us to form “articulate, confident, and responsible citizens of the world… through innovative approaches to learning.”

    At Cathedral, our Mission Statement is more than just words—it is an imperative woven into the very fabric of our program. Innovative approaches are exactly what this moment calls for, and Cathedral is deeply grateful for the talents and partnership of our dedicated faculty who are prepared to embrace the challenges and opportunities with their usual aplomb. 
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