St. Stephen's Episcopal School

FAQ (COVID-19 Safety Procedures)

Updated: July 2020


The following FAQ outlines the safety procedures regarding COVID-19 for St. Stephen’s Episcopal School (School).

The safety procedures are informed by resources issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Texas Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) (collectively referred to as Guidelines). These safety procedures may be modified based on any amendments to the Guidelines. 


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Are the safety processes fixed or will additional / revised processes be added during the school year?

The School will adopt new procedures as these are identified in the Guidelines. Parents will be notified directly by the School in the event of updates. Updates will also be included in the Hallway and provided on the School website.

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What should my child bring to school?
  • Students should bring water bottles from home filled with water to last throughout the school day. Refills cannot be permitted.
  • Students are asked to bring their own snack.
  • Students should either bring their lunch or order from Simply Fresh (instructions for ordering are forthcoming).
  • Orientation and Primary students are asked to maintain three (3) sets of clean clothes in the classroom. Students may not borrow clothes from another student.
  • Primary students are requested to bring two (2) cloth masks. 
  • Elementary and Middle Years students are required to bring one (1) cloth mask.
  • (Acknowledging public health best practices and opportunities to teach about our responsibilities to our community, we would still encourage parents to send one or more cloth masks to school with Primary and Lower Elementary students. However, at this time, masks will not be mandatory for children under the age of 10.)
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What will be asked of each student in order to keep the classrooms safe for everyone?
  • Students will be guided to thoroughly wash hands upon arrival and at least three (3) times each morning and at least three (3) times each afternoon.
  • Students will be asked to use hand sanitizer between washing. Orientation, Primary and Lower Elementary students will be supervised while using sanitizer.
  • All students and adults will clean their shoes by stepping in a sanitizing bin and, subsequently, a drying in bin before entering the buildings.
  • Elementary and Middle Years students are asked to bring a cloth mask to wear daily “as feasible” (pursuant to current recommendations by the CDC). (At this time, masks will not be mandatory for children under the age of 10.)
  • Students will be guided to socially distance.
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What will be done if my child and/or other students forget what is required?
  • Signage will be posted to remind everyone in the community and in the classrooms of the safety expectations.
  • Students will be reminded and redirected to comply with safety expectations.
  • St. Stephen’s teachers are skilled at developing an appropriate classroom culture so that school isn’t scary, but yet expectations are clear.
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Will my child always be 6 feet away from his/her teacher or classmates?
  • While a distance of 6 feet is best, faculty will be managing students as they move about the classroom, playground and/or other learning spaces.
  • Distancing will be encouraged and teachers will prepare classrooms to support distancing among the students.
  • Classroom seating, nap and work areas will be arranged and “spaced as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart”, per HHS licensing requirements.
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Will parents be allowed in the classrooms?

Parents will be allowed to observe in the classroom(s) of their child(ren) (scheduled in advance), however, parents will not be invited to participate in events, craft making or other classroom activities.

In the event Orientation and Primary are under Emergency Rules as directed by HHS, parents will not be allowed in the classrooms or buildings.

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What can I do as a parent to support the School’s efforts to maintain a safe environment?
  • Parents are asked to notify the Principal immediately if their child(ren) is/are exposed, test positive for COVID-19 or are diagnosed with any communicable illness.
  • Parents can support the community by not bringing sick children to campus and arriving immediately to pick up their child if their child becomes sick at school.
  • Parents are asked to arrive to school on time in order that all students participate in the arrival process together, while respecting social distancing.
  • When arriving early to pick up their child, parents are asked to use the main entrance and the separate exit and to be patient with the process for gaining access to the building and retrieving their child. All adults on campus are subject to health screening and temperature checks and must wear a mask while on campus.
  • Families are asked to comply with quarantine requirements below.
  • Parents of young children are asked to unbuckle and remove children from the vehicle at morning carpool and practice social distancing.
  • The same parent/caregiver is recommended to make drop-off and pick-up, each day.
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Will my child be attending classes in other spaces on campus?
  • All students will participate in PE in the gym or outdoors. In some Grades/Levels, this will occur in smaller groups. High-touch surfaces and materials will be sanitized between groups.
  • Until further notice, Orientation and Primary students will remain in their homeroom for the duration of the school day. The exceptions are PE (in Pecore Hall and outside) and the playground.
  • Until further notice, Elementary students will remain in their homeroom for the duration of the school day. The exceptions are PE (in Pecore Hall and outside), the playground and the da Vinci Lab for Creative Arts and Sciences.
  • Middle Years will move about campus as usual.
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What changes will teachers make to their classrooms or the school day?
  • Teachers will utilize outdoor learning spaces as often as possible.
  • All classes will go separately to the playground.
  • Books and learning materials will not be shared among classes.
  • Students will be provided personal use items such as pencils, rulers, markers, etc. Students will not use such items from a collective supply.
  • Teachers will ventilate classrooms by opening windows, when safe and appropriate.
  • Distancing will be encouraged in all classrooms. Classroom seating, nap and work areas will be arranged and “spaced as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart”, per HHS licensing requirements.
  • Soft toys and items not easily cleaned have been removed from the classrooms.
  • All students and faculty in the Orientation and Primary programs will have multiple changes of clothing available in order to change any clothing with secretions on it. 
  • Field Trips are deferred until further notice.
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Will groups of students will mix while on campus?
  • Classes will not mix during the school day.
  • After Care cohorts will be maintained as follows.
    • Orientation 1 and 3 will combine for After Care.
    • Orientation 2 and 4 will combine for After Care.
    • Primary 1 and 3 will combine for After Care.
    • Primary 2 and 4 will combine for After Care.
    • Lower Elementary will not combine for After Care; After Care will be held in homerooms.
    • Upper Elementary and Middle Years will combine for After Care.
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What facility preparations have been made in advance of students returning to campus?
  • Carpets, ducts and vents have been cleaned. 
  • Signage has been installed.
  • Sneeze guards have been installed.
  • Furniture has been arranged to maintain social distancing.
  • Nap areas have been measured and layouts for napping designed.
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What safety processes will be required of employees, guests, vendors and other adults?
  • To gain access to the buildings, all adults will be screened and will wear masks.
  • Adults will maintain social distancing.
  • Classroom access will be limited to faculty, appropriate administrators and designated personnel from HHS.
  • Adults will be asked to wash hands regularly and to use hand sanitizer.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to limit their exposure to cohorts off campus, as well.
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When will my child/family be required to quarantine?
  • Known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19
    • Students, faculty and staff who have known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 14 days or to obtain an acute infection test at an approved testing location that comes back negative for COVID-19.
  • Families returning to Houston from international travel
    • Students, faculty and staff who have returned to Houston from international travel are required to quarantine for 14 days or to obtain an acute infection test at an approved testing location that comes back negative for COVID-19.
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
    • Students, faculty and staff diagnosed with COVID-19 or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms are required to quarantine until allowed to return to campus.
    • Students, faculty and staff may return to campus after receiving written authorization to return to campus from a board-certified physician or obtaining an acute infection test at an approved testing location that comes back negative for COVID-19.
  • Distance Learning will be provided during quarantine.
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What are the COVID-19 symptoms?
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling feverish or a measured temperature greater than or equal to 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Known close contact with a person who is lab confirmed to have COVID-19
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What are the new homeroom capacities?

Distancing will be encouraged in all classrooms. Classroom seating, nap, and work areas will be arranged and “spaced as much as possible, ideally 6 feet apart”, per HHS licensing. Classroom capacity has been reduced per HHS instructions and is as follows:

  • Orientation classes will be capped at 8 or 12 students, based on the size of the room; Napping capacity is 7 or 10 students, based on the size of the room.
  • Primary, Lower Elementary and Upper Elementary classes will be capped at 20 students.
  • Middle Years classes will be capped at 8 or 10 students, based on the size of the room.
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What processes are new to the carpool procedure?

Carpool procedures can be accessed in the Student and Family Handbook (2020-21), as modified below.

  • Depending on the building, students will be directed to specific doorways for entering and exiting.
  • Due to COVID-19 and in the interest of teacher safety, the same parent/caregiver is recommended to make drop-off and pick-up each day.
  • At drop-off, Teachers/Assistants will take your child’s temperature. Children with a temperature of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or more will not be permitted to enter campus.
  • After your child’s normal temperature is confirmed, parents of young children will unbuckle and remove their child(ren) from the vehicle at morning carpool and practice social distancing. 
  • Pick-up procedure details are dependent upon school grade/program and can be accessed via the Student and Family Handbook (2020-21).
  • Orientation and Primary programs may be required to implement Emergency Rules by HHS and, if so, carpool will be conducted outside of the school buildings.
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Will the classrooms be cleaned during the day?
  • In addition to regular cleaning of the campus, high-touch areas and restrooms will be cleaned and/or sanitized during the course of the day, per HHS requirements.
  • Tables, chairs, and learning materials will be cleaned and/or sanitized during the course of the day, per HHS requirements.
  • Soft toys and those not easily cleaned have been removed from the classrooms.
  • Cleaning supplies meet EPA standards, per CDC requirements.