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Principal Spotlight

July 14, 2021
 
Dear Parents,
 
The RAMP Committee has continued to meet throughout the summer to carefully consider Covid-19 protocols for the 2021-2022 school year.  As always, Saint Thomas More Cathedral School is committed to science and evidence-based interventions as supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Arlington County Health Department. These were the sources we used during our remarkably successful 2020-2021 school year, and I am confident these sources will guide us through another healthy school year. 
 
I am thrilled to announce that for the 2021-2022 school year, we will begin to return to “normaler”.  We will once again invite VIRTUS certified volunteers inside the school building, as well as have guests for class events and school performances. I also hope many more parents will return to our Friday school-wide Masses to congregate in prayerful celebration of the Eucharist with our student body.
 
Further, I anticipate that vaccinated students, staff, and volunteers in the eligible age brackets will not be required to quarantine in the event of an exposure. These preliminary plans mean that unvaccinated STM students in the seventh and eighth grades will be sent home for asynchronous learning for a minimum of 5 days in the event of a classroom exposure. I anticipate that quarantine and classroom closures in grades six and below will be conducted in the same manner as the 2020-2021 school year, with synchronous online learning during the occasional closure of an entire class. 
 
Recently published CDC documentation offers a hint at the forthcoming guidance from the state as to whether or not students in public and private schools in Virginia will be required to wear face coverings at school. The CDC guidance suggests that, once again, vaccine status may play a role in who is required to wear masks at school, including staff, students, and volunteers. Please note that this policy is NOT final, and that neither STM Administration, RAMP, nor the Diocese, will have authority above the VDH requirement, expected on July 25th.
As a reminder, the status of “fully vaccinated” takes some time to achieve. Students, staff, and volunteers will not be considered to have reached this status until 14 days following their final dose of the vaccine. For our students, this means receiving the Pfizer vaccine, which requires 3 weeks between doses, plus the additional 2 weeks until considered fully vaccinated. This means that the week of July 19 would be an ideal time to start your child’s vaccine series in order to be considered “fully vaccinated” the first week of school. Once vaccinated, please take the time to upload your 7th or 8th grader’s vaccine record or Covid-19 vaccine card into Magnus, so that the nurse can mark your child as having received this optional vaccine. I am hopeful that later this fall, younger STM students will also become vaccine-eligible.  STM policies will be developed as that evolves. 
 
I look forward to resuming our wonderful social gatherings, terrific volunteer events, school occasions and PTO sponsored activities.  Our resilient STM community has successfully navigated a worldwide pandemic.  With that in the rear view, we now look ahead to the reunification of our faith based community, in support of amazing STM students. 
 
Chat soon, 
Cath

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St. Thomas More at a Glance

  • 13:1 Student teacher ratio
  • 1st elementary school to design, build, test and launch a CubeSatellite into space in conjunction with a NASA partnership
  • 400 Students Enrolled
  • VectorSmartObject_390776f9-3da4-4f5b-9bf2-8a92f76841b640% of faculty obtained a graduate degree or higher
  • 40% approximate percentage of students who identify themselves as minority, including African-American, Hispanic and Asian.
  • 15% of students in a military family
  • 30% of students receive financial aid
  • Student body is 81% Catholic
  • 45+ 45+ after school enrichment activities, including CYO sports, scouts and clubs
  • Average class size - 19 students