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2021-22 School Year at SMES 

(Updated Feb. 18, 2022)

As a follow-up to last week’s notification of a potential new mask-optional policy at St. Martin’s, I’m happy to report that we will transition to mask optional beginning on Tuesday, February 22. This week, we’ve continued to see a drop in COVID -19 cases, and we saw the lowest number of cases in several months. We think this is the right time to make this transition and want to share with you some of the details about this new paradigm.

Beginning on Tuesday, masks will be optional.  However, all students should have two clean masks available each day because there are specific occasions where masks may be needed.  For example, during this transition phase, we will continue to require everyone – students, employees, parents, and visitors – to wear a mask when meeting indoors in large groups and while attending grade-level events, chapel or other performances. This may be relaxed if cases continue to decline.  

We also want to emphasize that St. Martin’s is a very supportive and diverse community. Some of our members will choose to continue wearing masks indoors, while others will opt to go without a mask in the classroom. It is incumbent upon each of us to support all individuals, regardless of their masking preference. We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) if you want your student(s) to continue to mask in the classroom so that we can ensure your child is supported.

We will continue to send an email to parents of students who experience a close contact exposure, and we will include a weekly tally of COVID-19 cases in the Weekly Warrior each Monday. We have also updated our processes and protocols regarding isolation and quarantine under the new mask optional approach (click here to review). If you have any questions regarding these policies, please reach out to the COVID-19 Response Team at mmcdaniel@stmartinschool.org.

Thank you for partnering with the school over the past two years, and we look forward to continuing our journey back to normal.  As we make this important transition to relaxing protective measures, it is important that we all continue to communicate, monitor the situation, and stay home in the event of any symptoms of illness.  Have a wonderful holiday weekend.

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2021-22 School Year at SMES

2021-22 School Year at SMES (Aug 2021)

The SMES medical advisory team has met, and the following Processes and Protocols will be in place to safely conduct school at St. Martin’s amid the current COVID-19 situation. School guidelines have been crafted using the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent suggested protocols. As always, the safety of our students, faculty, and staff is our top priority and we will be ready to adapt to changes in patterns of COVID-19 in our community and adjust our protocols as needed. Working together, we were able to have a remarkably successful school year last year, and we are prepared to do the same this year.  

This summer, public health data has shown a resurgence of COVID-19 in all age groups, especially in those who are unvaccinated. And, according to the CDC, the leading variant (Delta) is more contagious and potentially more dangerous. In addition, there are outbreaks of other respiratory viruses in the community resulting in significant illness, especially in young children. Because we are a preschool- 8th-grade school and most of our students are not yet eligible to receive a vaccination, indoor masking will be mandatory at St. Martin’s (Beginners - 8th grade, faculty, staff and visitors) for the start of school. We have relaxed some of the protective measures that were previously in place, and we will continue to look for further opportunities to return the school environment to normal while keeping our children, faculty and staff safe.

Healthcare professionals and organizations, including CDC, AAP and the Georgia Department of Public Health, continue to emphasize that vaccination is the most powerful way to thwart the spread of COVID-19.  This is based on strong evidence of safety and effectiveness in reducing infection, spread and more severe illness. We continue to encourage families to strongly consider vaccinating family members who are 12 and older, and we remain hopeful that the vaccine will soon become available for younger children.  Of course, we also recognize that vaccination is a personal choice, and we respect each family’s personal decision.

The COVID Response Team

The SMES COVID-19 Response Team is tasked with contact tracing and decision making with the goal to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infections within the St. Martin's community.  The Team meets regularly to assess situations in real-time with the goal of mitigating the spread of COVID-19 at school.  The SMES medical advisors have developed a set of Processes & Protocols and to help guide the work of the COVID Response Team for the 2021-22 school year. 

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