Western Dubuque COVID Communication Nov. 2, 2020

To our valued parents, partners, and staff,

At this time it is St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s goal to keep all Western Dubuque programs running in person at least through November 19, 2020. Our team has met to discuss this and to ensure we continue to keep safety as our top priority.  

One of the guidelines used to determine transitions to and from our interactive virtual model is Dubuque County’s positivity rate. While the positivity rate is above 15% at this time, we feel confident that we CAN safely operate in person due to staffing capacity and the mitigation efforts and limited number of cases within the school buildings St. Mark is serving. Thank you to all of you who are doing your part to keep our community safe!

November 20 and 25-27, 2020 are non-school and therefore, non-program dates. There will also be no programs on November 23-24, 2020 to give our team time to discuss if programs can continue in person or will need to transition to the interactive virtual model beginning November 30, 2020. This decision will be shared with all of you by November 24, 2020.

For your reference, I’ve included the initial guidelines below that were shared with all of you previously. The only one we are modifying at this time is the positivity rate in that rather than looking at it as a sole determinate, we will look at it in relation to our ability to safely continue in person based on staffing capacity and cases within the schools we serve. Should ANY of the other guidelines come to fruition, we will need to transition to the interactive virtual model.

Initial Guidelines Shared: 

In an effort to keep everyone as informed as possible during this school year we are sharing the following information update related to St. Mark Youth Enrichment’s program operations impacted by COVID-19. As our understanding of the COVID-19 virus and best practices surrounding health and safety are constantly evolving, all guidance is subject to change.

In alignment with our top priority of safety for our students and staff, St. Mark is implementing the guidelines below. It is our hope that sharing this with you now will help you to be as prepared as possible for any transitions from St. Mark’s in-person to our interactive virtual model (see description of model below, which will be fully functional by September 21, 2020).

In-person programs will transition to our interactive virtual model IF any of the following conditions are met:

  If any program staff or student tests positive for COVID-19 at an individual site that site will transition to virtual for two weeks (14 calendar days)

  If 14-day average county positivity rate is >15% or is on a continual climb nearing 15% all sites will transition to virtual until it is deemed safe to transition to in-person programs

  If district partners request St. Mark NOT provide on-site programming, those specific sites will transition to virtual until it is deemed safe to transition to in-person programs

  If schools and/or districts transition to a virtual model, those specific sites will transition to virtual programs until it is deemed safe to transition to in-person programs

  If closure is dictated by state and/or local public health officials all sites will transition to virtual until it is deemed safe to transition to in-person programs

 Parents, partners, and staff will be notified via email any time a decision is made to transition to or from our interactive virtual model. Parents will also receive additional notification through Remind texts and Facebook notification.

 St. Mark students and staff who meet the CDC definition of being in “close contact” with a program individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be informed of this. Per CDC guidelines, these persons would be required to quarantine for 14 days. A “close contact” is defined by the CDC as proximity of 6 feet or less for 15 minutes or more. In an effort to reduce the risk of exposures, only program participants and staff will be allowed into the building/program areas.

 The interactive virtual model will ensure we continue to deliver quality, engaging programs that keep students connected to their peers and beloved site teams. As we experienced with the abrupt shut down in March, it is imperative that children stay connected and engaged for their social and emotional wellbeing. In order to ensure sustainability of our programs and employment of our site staff, tuition fees will continue to be billed monthly whether the program is offered in person or virtual for non-21st CCLC grant funded sites.

 St. Mark Interactive Virtual Model includes:

  Weekly supplies for at home activities (to connect with live engagement offered)

  Supplies conveniently offered for families to pick up at their convenience on a scheduled day of the week

  Recorded activities and interactive enrichment links that can be accessed at your convenience through Google Classrooms which is by invite only

  Daily live engagement with site “families” via Zoom and/or Google Classrooms (offered by familiar staff members)

  Social-emotional support, including materials/activities and St. Mark Buddies for students in need of additional support

  Homework help

 Remember to check our website for information on additional resources: Resources

 We are so grateful for your continued support and encouragement as we all walk alongside one another in cultivating the academic and social-emotional growth of all our amazing students. We are committed to being resilient and confident we will prevail over this crisis. And we will do it together with you!

 “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”  –James Stockdale

 Wishing you well,

 Your St. Mark Family

 As always, feel free to reach out to our team at any time.

Programs: Taylor Noel, tnoel@stmarkyouthenrichment.org  563-582-6211 ext. 108

Billing: Linda Schmidt, office@stmarkyouthenrichment.org 563-582-6211 ext 101