COVID-19 message from Principal Sepich on March 13, 2020

Hello St. Pius X / St. Leo School Community,

I hope you are all doing well and having a great end to your spring break. As I alluded to last night, I was planning on emailing you all on St. Pius X / St. Leo’s plans regarding COVID-19 or the coronavirus and school closures. I have been receiving information on a regular basis from Dr. Michael Ashton (Superintendent of the Omaha Catholic Schools), the Archdiocese of Omaha and the Nebraska Department of Education regarding COVID-19 in the Omaha metro area. At SPSL, we have been following their recommendations and take what is happening across the country very seriously.

Recently, Dr. Ashton and Archbishop Lucas decided that in light of medical precaution and for operational and practical reasons, all metro Catholic schools, including St. Pius X / St. Leo Catholic school, will be closed from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th.  This closure includes all school, parish and athletic-related activities. This includes before and after school activities, clubs and also any sport-related games and/or practices.

This COVID-19 health crisis is new and uncharted territory for all of us and we appreciate your patience and understanding as we work our very hardest to make sure that our entire school community is healthy and safe. We also know that as a school community, we need to do our part in helping to reduce the impact and spread of the coronavirus on our city, state, country and the world. Please know that although this is new territory for all of us, we promise to do our very best to be resourceful and creative as your children’s educators so that their educational and personal progress as students is not halted. This will take lots of planning and communication on our end and please know that we are dedicated to working hard on these fronts and we will be in contact with you all in the future as we learn more. Please look out for communication in the coming days on any potential homework/schoolwork plans related to recent school closures.

In the meantime, please know that while our students have been away and while our students continue to be away from our school building, we have been vigilant in taking the CDC and NDE recommended precautionary measures. Our maintenance staff and night time cleaning company have spent hours cleaning and disinfecting the building and will continue to do so while our students, faculty and staff are out of the building. They will continue to clean common spaces and areas throughout each day.

Please know, that while you are at home, you can do your part and join us in lessening the impact of COVID-19. That includes staying at home as much as possible and avoiding public places and events for the immediate future. Additionally, there are some simple, everyday steps you can take to reduce your chances of exposure and to protect others. Fortunately, those steps are the same that you would take to prevent the flu, the common cold, and other respiratory illnesses:

·  Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

·  Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·  Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or sleeve) and throw the tissue away.

·  Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.

·  Maintain social distancing

·  Stay home if you are sick.

·  Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·  Take care of your health overall.

We also encourage you to check out the following resources regarding Coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

As I previously stated, many of our students traveled over spring break, so I ask all of our parents and guardians to monitor their health closely. Please consider keeping your children home if they have traveled to a foreign country, went on a cruise, traveled to an area highly impacted by COVID-19 or if you have people living in your home who would be at greater risk when we do make the announcement that students will be allowed to return to school. As is normal, standard operating procedure and school policy,  do not send your children to school if they have a cough, fever or any upper respiratory symptoms when school is back in session. As a reminder, our school’s policy about sick students (from page 24 of the 2019-2020 School Family Handbook available here) is listed below:

As you are all aware, news on COVID-19 is changing at a rapid pace and there is seemingly new and important news breaking hourly. Thus, we promise to be in communication with you on any updates and changes to school operations and procedures. We hope to know more by Thursday, March 19th from the Archdiocese and the Omaha Catholic Schools offices on plans for reopening and moving forward but we all must be prepared for an ever-changing reality. This includes any potential postponements or cancelations of school community events or celebrations in the future. Right now, there is no perfect answer or solution but we will keep you all informed and up to date.  Most importantly, we will do everything we can to keep any member of our school community healthy and safe and will continue to pray for all of those affected by COVID-19. Thank you for joining us in those prayers.

Peace and Prayers for health and safety,

Cory Sepich

Principal

St. Pius X / St. Leo Catholic Schools