COVID Letter for 2021/2022 School Year

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7 

Covid-19 guidelines and protocols

Dear Parents/Guardians, students, faculty, and staff of St. Patrick’s School. These two years have been trying in many ways for everyone, but we must continue to trust in God and press on with courage and joy, knowing that Jesus Christ, the Divine Healer, will never abandon us. With the mission of Christ ever-present in our minds, let us move forward into the new school year!

Anxiety at the beginning of a new school year is anticipated, but we must never allow the normal levels of anxiety to escalate. I will always try to communicate quickly and clearly any changes to the daily schedule and mitigation protocols that may occur, always with your child’s safety and happiness as my chief concerns. 

The goal of St. Patrick’s School is to care for the well-being of our students, teachers, and staff. We define well-being as the spiritual (that you go to Heaven), intellectual, physical, emotional, and social well-being. Because of this holistic approach, we set our goals to conduct in-person learning as much as possible, with as few restrictions as possible. Using the West Virginia Department of Education School Recovery and Guidance document as a resource and in consultation with Bishop Mark E. Brennan, state and local Health Department Officials, the following guidelines are as follows: 

  • Masks are NOT REQUIRED, only recommended.  
  •  High contact surfaces will be disinfected as often as possible. 
  • Maintenance staff will continue to sanitize and disinfect the building at the end of each day. 
  • Students who use Lewis County School buses to attend St. Patrick’s School will be REQUIRED to wear a mask whenever they travel on county school buses. 
  • Parents/guardians are to monitor their children for symptoms of infectious illness every day before arrival at school. Students who are sick or show symptoms of COVID-19 must NOT attend school and should contact their healthcare provider. 
  • St. Patrick’s School will continue to report positive cases to local Health Departments and school families. 
  •  A Temperature Check will be conducted before each student enters the building during the student drop-off in the morning. 
  •  The Lewis County Health Department will be responsible for all quarantines and contact tracing. 

Field Trips/Sporting Events 

  •  School visitor policies, field trips, and additional traditional school events must follow local health guidelines. 
  •  Schools are to follow WVSSAC requirements when dealing with COVID protocols pertaining to extra-curricular activities. 
  •  While the diocese is not requiring masks at school events, the use of facial coverings is required by federal order on school buses and other forms of public transportation in the United States.  St. Patrick’s School will continue to consult with Bishop Mark E. Brennan as well as with local and state agencies to monitor this fluid situation. Circumstances could quickly dictate changes in policy. 

If the care and well-being of the entire St. Patrick’s school community is the goal, then we must do so in Christian love. If any student, teacher, or staff member wishes to wear a mask, they will be treated with love and respect.  If any student, teacher, or staff member chooses not to wear a mask, they will be treated with love and respect. WE WILL NOT SHAME OR SHUN anyone for their personal choices as they are not requirements. 

St. Patrick’s school/parish employee’s medical information, vaccination status, and personnel file information are CONFIDENTIAL and are not to be discussed with anyone. The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and St. Patrick’s school is not required to collect Covid-19 vaccination information, and there are legal consequences for disclosing such information. The faculty, staff, volunteers, and parishioners are committed to making St. Patrick’s School a safe and joyous place for the students, and we should have a concern for their safety, privacy, happiness, and freedom as well.  

I am looking forward to the start of the 2021-2022 school year, and I know if we all work together, we can make St. Patrick’s a place where students can grow in the love of Christ and help build His kingdom. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me.  

“ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of sound mind” 2 Timothy 1:7 

I commend you all to the protection of Christ the Divine Healer and St. Patrick. 

Rev. Fr. Douglas A. Ondeck, Acting Principal of St. Patrick’s School 

“Forward, always forward, everywhere forward!” Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, O.S.B.