Return to School Plan

Stronger Together

St. Catherine of Siena Academy
Return to School Plan for 2020-2021 Academic Year (Phase 4)

St. Catherine of Siena Academy is following the policies and procedures that Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit will follow when our region is designated as being in Phase 4, Phase 5 and/or Phase 6 of the MI Safe Start Plan. Currently, our region of Michigan (Region 1) is in Phase 4 and we are hopeful this trend will continue into the new academic year. In addition to the guidelines set forth in the AOD COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan, St. Catherine will be implementing additional measures to offer each STAR, educator, and administrator a safe learning and working environment.

Please note that all details in this return to school plan are subject to change.



July 21, 2020

Dear St. Catherine Parents,

In June we announced that it is our plan to welcome back students in-person this August at St. Catherine of Siena Academy. Since that time, we have participated in a task force in the Archdiocese of Detroit. This team has worked hard to establish guidelines and prepare the school for students and staff to return safely while minimizing health risks.

The task force’s work and recommendations have culminated in the publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan. Although we are an independent Catholic school within the Archdiocese of Detroit, we found that this plan is the best solution to ensure our students continue to receive the best Catholic education possible once they return in the fall.

The Archdiocese of Detroit COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan establishes the requirements that schools will need to implement in order to meet guidelines set by the Governor’s MI Safe Schools 2020-21 Return to School Roadmap.

In addition to the requirements and recommendations outlined in the response plan, we wish to highlight the advantages that St. Catherine will be able to offer each STAR to excel in the new learning environment all while adhering to the recommendations.

Please take the time to read the letter from the Archdiocese of Detroit and review the response plan. Note that the plan speaks only to Phase 4, with the Phase 5 plan likely to be released next week. All references and links are found below.

In the next few days, we will publish on our website a detailed return-to-school plan. This plan will show a full list of measures that will be incorporated for returning to school in Phase 3, 4, and 5.

Thank you for keeping us in our prayers as we continue to keep you in ours,

Judy Hehs, SCA Principal
Lia Johnston, SCA President

Preparedness Plan for AOD Schools

Kevin D. Kijewski, J.D., Superintendent of Catholic Schools
July 17, 2020

MI Safe Schools: Michigan’s 202021 Return to School Roadmap

Governor Gretchen Whitmer COVID-19 Task Force on Education Return to School Advisory Council
June 30, 2020

  • The Return to School (Roadmap) is based off of the MI Safe Start Plan (Phases).
  • As of July 15th, all schools are permitted to resume in-person instruction beginning in Phase 4. This return to school plan focuses on the elements of Phase 4 and return to face-to-face instruction.
  • All PreK-12 schools will be required to follow the safety protocols outlined in the Roadmap which were noted as “required.”
  • Safety protocols that are required must be implemented by all Michigan schools that serve students in grades PreK-12. They are the most feasible protocols that will minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • Schools will retain authority to enact stricter public health requirements than is mandated within this Roadmap.


SCA Return to School Details

SCA Return to School Plan

PPE and Face Coverings

  • All staff and students at SCA will wear facial coverings, except (1) during meals and (2) unless face coverings cannot be medically tolerated as documented through written and signed verification by a physician, with parental consent.
  • St. Catherine of Siena will not conduct indoor assemblies that bring together students from more than one classroom.
  • Daily School Mass will be held in the gym and will follow AOD Mass guidelines.
  • Facial coverings may be homemade or disposable level one/basic-grade surgical masks.
  • Face covering designs and colors must remain simple, plain, and/or St. Catherine endorsed. Face coverings with advertising, writing, and/or logos other than St. Catherine related are not permitted.

About Face Coverings:  A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others. The cloth face coverings recommended here are not surgical masks or respirators. Cloth face coverings are not personal protective equipment (PPE). They are not appropriate substitutes for PPE such as respirators (like N95 respirators) or medical facemasks (like surgical masks) in workplaces where respirators or facemasks are recommended or required to protect the wearer. Reference: CDC Website


  • SCA will provide adequate supplies to support healthy hygiene behaviors (including soap, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for safe use by staff and students, paper towels, tissues, and signs reinforcing proper handwashing techniques).
  • Hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the building.
  • SCA will teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or the safe use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • SCA will educate the staff and students on how to cough and sneeze into their elbows, or to cover with a tissue. Used tissues should be thrown in the trash and hands washed immediately using proper hand hygiene techniques.
  • SCA will systematically and frequently check and refill soap and hand sanitizers.
  • SCA will provide daily opportunities for handwashing with soap and water by students and teachers.
  • SCA has asked all students to bring their own supplies to school. Reference the school supply list for details in order to limit the sharing of personal items and supplies such as writing utensils.
  • SCA has established a supply of EPA approved disinfectant for each classroom to clean all desks after each period.
  • SCA has acquired an electrostatic sprayer to aide in disinfecting the facility with a positive case identification.
  • The building has been deep cleaned in preparation of the 2020-2021 school year.

Spacing, Movement, Access

  • Each class (Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors) will be assigned a designated entry and exit point to and from the school building where we have touchless building entry points installed.
  • Classrooms and gatherings spaces in the school will be reconfigured to allow for lower capacity and promote social distancing
    • Classrooms will have a maximum of 20 students
    • Students will be spaced 6′ apart in all classrooms
  • Offices and classrooms will be supplied with protective dividers where necessary to create a safer environment.
  • Signage will be posted to indicate proper social distancing
  • Markers will be posted at six-foot intervals where line formation is anticipated.
  • Signs will be posted on the doors of restrooms to indicate proper social distancing and hand hygiene techniques.
  • SCA will be a ‘closed’ building and restrict entrance to the school to students and staff only, with the following allowances: Family members or other non-staff adults are not allowed in the school building except under extenuating circumstances determined by school officials. All non-staff adults entering the building must be screened for symptoms using a monitoring form, wear a facial covering, and wash/sanitize hands prior to entering. Strict records, including date and time, should be kept of all non-staff adults entering and exiting the building.

Note: In the event that a non-staff adult must enter the building, he or she would be required to answer the Safe Access Questionnaire.

Screening Students and Staff


  • Per CDC recommendations, St. Catherine will not screen students prior to entering school, however, we strongly encourage parents and guardians to monitor their children for signs of infection illness every day. Students who are sick should not attend school in-person.
  • SCA has a designated quarantine area and a staff person to care for students and staff who develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at school.
  • Students and staff who become ill with signs or symptoms of COVID-19 will be placed in an identified quarantine area with a facial covering in place, if able, until they can be picked up.
  • The person caring for these children/staff will wear a facial covering.
  • Symptomatic students and staff sent home from school will stay home until have completely recovered according to CDC guidelines.
  • Students who are sick and/or under quarantine cannot participate in extra-curricular activities or athletics.
  • If a student is sick and/or under quarantine, she must contact the Dean of Students to develop an academic plan for her absence.
  • Staff will conduct daily self-examinations, including a temperature check, prior to coming to work. If they exhibit any new or unusual symptoms as reported on the Safe Access Questionnaire, they will stay home. Staff member will contact the school administrator.

Testing and Responding to Positive Tests


  • St. Catherine requires symptomatic students and staff to stay home until they have been released from isolation according to CDC guidelines.
  • SCA families will be notified of the presence of any laboratory positive or clinically diagnosed cases of COVID-19 in the classroom and/or school to encourage closer observation for any symptoms at home.

Responding to positive tests

  • SCA will cooperate with the local public health department if a confirmed case of COVID-19 is identified, and in particular, collect the contact information for any close contacts of the affected individual from two days before he or she showed symptoms to the time when he or she was last present at the school. The local public health department will initiate contact tracing, following regular public health practice.
  • SCA will notify local health officials, staff, and students immediately of any possible case of COVID-19 while maintaining confidentiality consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other applicable federal and state privacy laws.

Daily Mass and Extracurricular Activities

  • Daily School Mass will be held in the gym and will follow AOD Mass guidelines.
  • St. Catherine of Siena will not conduct indoor assemblies that bring together students from more than one classroom.
  • Students who are sick and/or under quarantine cannot participate in extra-curricular activities or athletics.
  • If a student is sick and/or under quarantine, she must contact the Dean of Students to develop an academic plan for her absence.

About Extracurricular Activities: SCA understands the importance of extra-curricular activities to the overall student experience. It is our intention to continue to facilitate these activities in a safe manner. SCA administration and activity moderators will work together to create a plan that allows for student enrichment and ensures the safety of all involved.



  • St. Catherine will comply with all guidelines published by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
  • Students, teachers, and staff will use proper hand hygiene techniques before and after every practice, event, or other gatherings.
  • All participants should confirm that they are healthy and without any symptoms prior to any event.  On non-school days, the Safe Access Questionnaire is to be completed by all participants (this includes all adult volunteers, coaches, and administrators)
  • All equipment must be disinfected before and after use.
  • Each participant must use a clearly marked water bottle for individual use. There should be no sharing of this equipment.
  • Handshakes, fist bumps, and other unnecessary contact must not occur.
  • Indoor weight rooms and physical conditioning activities that require shared equipment are suspended.
  • Outdoor physical conditioning activities are allowed while maintaining social distancing.
  • Large scale indoor spectator events are suspended.
  • Large scale outdoor spectator or stadium events are limited to 100 people, and people not part of the same household must maintain six feet of distance from one another.
  • Spectators are allowed provided that facial coverings are used by observers and six feet of social distancing can be maintained at all times. Attention must be given to entry and exit points to prevent crowding.
  • Students who are sick and/or under quarantine cannot participate in extra-curricular activities or athletics.
  • If a student is sick and/or under quarantine, she must contact the Dean of Students to develop an academic plan for her absence.

Food Service

St. Catherine of Siena will enact the following protocols for lunch service:

  • To promote social distancing, in addition to the dining hall, seating will be provided in the athletic atrium, breakout room, gym and outside (when weather permits)
  • Masks will be mandatory until seated with lunch
  • To eliminate the use of cash & coin at check out, parents must pay for lunches using their Wordware Account. (Note: Once your Wordware account is established, your student’s lunch account can be accessed through your Parent’s PowerSchool account.
  • Student ID’s will have the Lunch ID barcode to eliminate pin pads at check out
  • Prepackaged meals will be available, carryout style
  • Parents/students must order meals ahead of time
  • Removal of all self-service and vending machines
  • Floor markers will be placed to provide social distancing
  • All culinary and dining hall staff will have proper PPE, including facial coverings
  • Each table will be sanitized and disinfected after each lunch

St. Catherine’s foodservice procedures are in compliance with the Oakland County Health Department guidelines. 


  • Frequently touched surfaces including light switches, doors, benches, bathrooms, will undergo cleaning at least every four hours with either an EPA-approved disinfectant or diluted bleach solution.
  • Libraries, computer labs, arts, and other hands-on classrooms will undergo cleaning after every class period or when cohorts change classrooms, with either an EPA-approved disinfectant or diluted bleach solution.
  • Student desks will be wiped down with either an EPA-approved disinfectant or diluted bleach solution after every class period, or when cohorts change classrooms.
  • Staff must wear gloves, surgical masks, and face shields when performing all cleaning activities.
  • The building has been deep cleaned in preparation of the 2020-2021 school year.
  • SCA has established a supply of EPA approved disinfectant for each classroom to clean all desks after each period.
  • SCA has acquired an electrostatic sprayer to aide in disinfecting the facility with a positive case identification.

St. Catherine’s maintenance and facility team will follow all OSHA and Health Department Guidelines.

Mental and Social-Emotional Health

  • SCA school guidance counselors and campus minister will facilitate mental health referrals, communications to families/ students, and public-facing wellness materials.
  • SCA will provide all staff with timely, responsive, and ongoing training/professional development.




Archdiocese of Detroit 

Oakland County


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)




“An excellent community for families that want to stay involved! Everyone has a different opinion and all students, staff, and faculty are respectful of it. I have never been in an environment that was so inviting and welcoming. It is easy to find a home in this school because the staff genuinely care about you and want you to succeed. It really is a beautiful place and a great experience. I am very lucky to have gone through high school there.”


“Recently attended an event at this school – very beautiful!”


“SCA proves you can educate young women to both get into Heaven and Harvard!”

SCA Parent

“My first day of freshman year was something I never expected, Saint Catherine just felt like home. The atmosphere, staff, and the student body were all so amazing. I knew from the second I came to the school that it was where I was meant to be. I am currently a senior and my experience so far has been one too remember I have grown mentally, physically, spiritually and my journey has been one to remember. I love SCA and all the girls I have met are truly going to be my sisters throughout my life, its an amazing school and is a place I will call home forever.”

Alumna, Class of '18

“This high school experience is like none other you can get anywhere. There is joy and comradery and the girls are happy and excel. They are being supported and encouraged by staff. You can watch a girl come in who had a bad experience elsewhere, bloom here and become a different girl in a short time. Can’t say enough good about it. Thank God the founders had this vision and followed through with it. Well needed and we are very thankful!”

SCA Parent

“This place (SCA) is about the best Catholic high school you can go to, in my opinion. The whole school isn’t just a school, but a family where everybody knows everybody. It’s a small enough school for that to be possible-and it’s really awesome! What makes SCA different is the people that make up the SCA family. There are no bullies and no one is mean to you. Everybody looks out for you and your teachers become friends….This place is really close to my heart.”

Alumna, Class of '12

“This high school builds the whole young woman intellectually, spiritually, and teaches the feminine genius approach to life. Amen!”


“A crazy amount of extra curricular options-basically if you are passionate about it [SCA] will find a way to help you bring it to fruition!”


“Another thing I enjoyed about the school was the athletics. I played four different sports at this school and I had the same experience with all of them. The coaches really cared about me, not just how well I was performing and I was treated respectfully on and off the court. Further more, I felt that I was really being pushed physically and mentally during practice which I value in any activity.”


“This school is not only college prep, it is life prep. I know that my daughter is being educated to go out and make a positive difference in the world. She will graduate with the confidence and courage to lead wherever she goes in life. I love the principal, the teachers, and the families. It is such a blessing to be a part of the SCA Family. I know the friends my daughter has made will be her sisters for life.”

SCA Parent