Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on current health guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dallas County Health and Human Services, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. These answers will be modified as protocols are updated.
- Updates to 2020-21 Calendar
- Modified Uniform Policy
- Outdoor Classrooms
- Lunch Procedures
- TUTORS, THERAPISTS, AND THIRD-PARTY PROGRAM PROVIDERS
- FACE COVERINGS AND UNIFORM
- CARPOOL PROCEDURES
- MEET THE TEACHERS
- AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM
- Classrooms, Cohorts, and Daily Activities
- Travel and Planning for a Safe Return to School
What is the anticipated start date of the 2020-21 school year and when will the last day of school be?
- We began classes on Tuesday, September 8. Lower School students started on campus beginning on Tuesday, September 8, and Middle School students started classes remotely on Tuesday, September 8. We will extend the 2020-21 school year, and the last day of school will be Friday, June 4.
- Dress uniforms will not be required until November at the earliest, which means students will not need sweaters, blazers, ties, or long pants to begin the school year. If a student chooses to wear an outerwear garment in the building, it must be uniform compliant, such as a St. John’s sweatshirt or pullover.
- Walking shorts are part of the standard uniform for both genders in all grades, and we encourage students to dress comfortably every day given that we will regularly use outdoor spaces and that older students will not dress out for P.E.
- All students may wear any supportive, low-top, non-flashing, non-marking-sole athletic shoes that have laces or Velcro (no slip-ons). Velcro or no-tie laces are required for PK/TK and strongly encouraged for Kindergarten. If a student has already purchased uniform shoes or intends to wear last year’s, that will be acceptable. The shoe policy will apply for the entire school year.
- During the school day while participating in At Home learning, students will be required to wear the St. John’s uniform. We are requiring uniforms for At Home students to help unify cohorts, regardless of location and to reinforce the school day schedule when learning from home.
Will classes/cohorts have opportunities to go outside?
- Yes, weather permitting we will take advantage of our campus grounds, including the greenspace, outdoor classroom, and the new shaded gathering areas, and the sport court.
How much time will students be spending outside?
- The amount of time students spend outside will depend on weather and class objectives. We plan to take advantage of our outdoor spaces for recess and P.E., as well as for academic classes when feasible. Students will remain indoors if the temperature or humidity index (feels-like temperature) is at or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
On Campus learners will enjoy lunch outside on the St. John’s grounds or in the St. John’s gymnasiums during inclement weather. Lunches from our catering partners will be delivered to campus daily and distributed by St. John’s staff members to your child’s classroom. Please remember to set up a profile for each student in the household.
There are three options to choose from for your student’s lunch.
Option One: Home-Packed Lunch
- Students may bring a home-packed lunch. Remember, St. John’s is a food-allergy (nut-free) sensitive campus. In addition, candy, gum, and glass containers are not permitted at School.
Option Two: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
- Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner will provide pre-ordered, cold boxed lunches daily.
- Every Monday morning, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner will email you the link to order lunch for the following week.
- The form will close every Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. Please select your child’s teacher or advisor from the list for your child to receive lunch.
- If you have more than one child, please place a separate order for each child.
Third Option: Wholesome Food Services
- Our newest vendor, Wholesome Food Services, will provide a daily hot lunch option from a different restaurant partner in our surrounding area.
- Parents will manage their child’s accounts, order meals, and pay online by credit card or PayPal at www.wholesomefoodservices.com. Wholesome Food Services covers all credit card fees.
- Your family can place orders as late as 1:00 p.m. the day before delivery or up to 60 days in advance. You may cancel orders for any reason as late as 8:00 a.m. on the same day of delivery. Please go online and setup your family’s account at www.wholesomefoodservices.com so that you can order at your convenience.
If you have any questions about this year’s lunch options, please watch the video on the Lunch page on the St. John’s Parent Portal for more information, or please email Carol Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 214-328-9131 ext. 124.
Students will remain indoors if the temperature or humidity index (feels-like temperature) is at or below 32°F or above 104°F.
Will students have access to a microwave?
Students will not have access to a lunchroom or microwave. For heated lunches from home, they will need to use a thermos.
Will students be allowed to purchase drinks at School?
The caterers will not have drinks for purchase. We're asking each student to bring a reusable water bottle to School.
Will there be a snack time for Middle School students in the morning?
We have longer passing periods between most classes, and students will have the opportunity to eat a snack from home between classes. They may not eat during class, though. The caterers will not provide break service.
Will face coverings be part of the uniform for all grades?
The St. John’s face-covering policy meets Dallas County Health and Human Services and CDC requirements. Masks must be worn from the time a student or employee exits a car (or enters campus in the case of walking/biking) until he or she returns to the car or exits campus. Students may remove masks when maintaining six-feet of distance from another person if provided permission by a faculty member, such as when eating or drinking or taking breaks outdoors. Faculty may allow students to remove masks during recess and P.E. if students are outdoors and maintaining physical distance. Employees may remove masks when working alone in a classroom or office. Masks are part of the safety protocols and are a required part of the uniform.
- Masks must fully cover the nose and mouth, fit snugly against the side of the face, allow for breathing without restriction, and be comfortable enough to be worn all day or for extended periods of time.
- Masks must include multiple layers fabric or be disposable surgical masks (not N95 masks).
- Masks must be secured with adjustable or elastic loops. No tie closures.
- Masks may not have vents.
- Bandanas, gaiters, and gaping or flowing face coverings are not permitted.
- Face shields are not considered equivalent to face masks and are not permitted by students unless they are worn in addition to a mask.
- Faculty may use a face shield when actively teaching in a classroom and maintaining 6’ physical distance from any other person.
- Masks may not have any written messages. Any pattern or design on a mask should be appropriate for a PK-8th grade school. If a mask distracts from learning, the student will need to replace it.
- Students should have an extra mask with them each day.
Are students required to wear a mask during P.E. and recess?
- Students may remove their face covering during recess as long as they stay physically distanced from others. Face coverings may or may not be required during P.E. classes, depending on the location and the ability to physically distance from one another.
What do “mask breaks” look like?
- Mask breaks are times when the teacher takes the class outside, ensures they are physically distanced from one another, and allows them to take their mask off for 5-10 minutes. Teachers may use mask breaks as read aloud time, an opportunity for quiet journaling, or another academic lesson. Depending on the grade level, some mask breaks are scheduled while others may be taken as needed/at the discretion of the teacher.
What are the carpool schedules?
- Please refer to the Lower School and Middle School schedules for arrival and dismissal times by grade level.
Can nannies or grandparents pick up students?
- Yes, anyone who is approved to drop off or pick up a student may do so. They must follow the SchoolPass guidelines.
How will afternoon carpool work with kids in multiple grades?
- Afternoon carpool will run like usual, only without the "all call" when all younger siblings would come outside. Students will stay in their classroom and/or be socially distanced in the gym (depending on the time, number of students, etc.) until they are called to carpool. All Lower School students will be dismissed from the Lower School carpool doors. Families can drive through carpool once at the eldest child's time.
Will there be an After-School program?
- Yes, there will be an After-School Program until 5:30 p.m. daily (with few pre-holiday exceptions). There will not be a drop-in option for after-school care. Families must register and pay for after-school care by the month via the link on the Parent Portal and the School's webpage. Register now by clicking here, and for questions, please contact Lynn Granello.
Will there be a Middle School Homework Club?
- Unfortunately we are unable to offer the drop-in Middle School Homework Club so that we can effectively manage our cohorts. Middle School students who need to remain on campus must sign up for the After-School Program.
How many students will be in a cohort?
- In Lower School, cohort sizes will be that of a typical homeroom for the grade. We are placing students in a cohort no matter which learning model they select (On Campus or At Home), so the exact number of students in a classroom On Campus will not be established until after the August 12 binding decision date.
Who will be teaching each cohort?
- Since cohort groups will be homeroom classes, the usual grade level teachers will be leading each cohort. Class/cohort lists will not be released prior to the decision deadline.
Will At Home classes be live or recorded?
- For Lower School students, at home classes will be a combination of live and recorded instruction. Specifics are still being determined and will be communicated closer to the start of School.
What happens if we select On Campus then change our minds once school begins?
- At the beginning of the school year, we asked families to commit to their learning model selection for nine weeks, but we understand that situations change. We recognize that situations may develop warranting a potential change in your original choice, and we plan to survey families every four weeks to determine preferences. Please contact your child’s Division Head directly if you need to make changes to your selection.
When are the decision points to select At Home or On Campus?
Binding decision due (Thursday)
Return to campus date
Duration - # of school weeks
If we return to School and become exposed to someone who tests positive, for the required quarantine period - will we be part of a virtual program, or will there just not be classes during that period for the exposed students?
- Students who are attending school On Campus but are required to quarantine at home will temporarily move into the At Home model. They may return to classes on campus once the quarantine period has ended and all clearance requirements have been met.
What is the calendar for on campus learning?
- The On Campus schedule is daily, Monday through Friday for an entire school day.
What supplies to families need to purchase for students who are learning At Home?
- Lower School students will receive their School issued iPad and a Home Learning Kit during Meet the Teacher. The Home Learning Kit contains all the supplies we anticipate students will need for the first few weeks of school. Depending on the grade level, there may be opportunities to pick up additional learning materials and supplies as the school year progresses.
What is the Auxiliary Classroom and when is it used?
- For each survey period, the On Campus learning model will be adjusted to accommodate all students who select On Campus.
- We are committed to maintaining our health protocols, including physical distancing, and the number of desks in each classroom is limited. Many Lower School classrooms are currently at or nearing our capped number to maintain adequate distancing between desks. If the number of families who select the On Campus model would cause a classroom to exceed the capped number of students, we would move to a rotational learning model for that classroom.
- The rotational learning model would require students to rotate out of their assigned classroom and into an auxiliary classroom for one week. Students would complete asynchronous learning tasks, join their class via Teams for live lessons, and go outside with their assigned homeroom class for recess, lunch, and any outdoor learning periods.
- When students are assigned to the auxiliary classroom, families may opt for them to become At Home learners and learn from home for the assigned week.
- At this time, the rotational learning plan will not apply to Preschool-3, early childhood grades (PK, TK, K), or Middle School.
How are students assigned to the Auxiliary Classroom?
For January 2021, the auxiliary classroom will only have fourth grade students. Generally, students will be in the auxiliary classroom with students from outside their cohort, but we will maximize physical distancing and keep their desks more than six-feet apart.
What is the student/teacher ratio of the auxiliary classroom?
For January 2021, there will be two fourth grade students and one associate teacher in the auxiliary classroom. This ratio may change in the future as we provide families regular opportunities to select their learning model (On Campus or At Home) for each period (approximately monthly).
Will students still be attending Chapel?
- For the first nine weeks, Chapel will be virtual.
Are families required to quarantine before School begins?
We are not requiring families to quarantine before the start of School; however, the CDC is advising the following guidelines for travelers and we recommend our families follow these guidelines if they have traveled withing 14 days of school starting. Additional precautions below should be followed to help keep our community safe.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. The CDC has identified these symptoms for COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
- When around others, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people who are not from your household. It is important to do this everywhere, both indoors and outdoors.
- Wear a mask to keep your nose and mouth covered when you are outside of your home.
- Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
- Watch your health: Look for symptoms of COVID-19, and take your temperature if you feel sick.
- Follow state, territorial, tribal and local recommendations or requirements after travel.