Welcome to the 2021-2022
Saint Mary's Community
COVID-19 Updates and Resource page.
We hope you will find this a useful resource as together we navigate the 2021-2022 school year and the changing circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This page will be updated regularly to reflect the most current information regarding health and safety protocols, schedule changes, etc.
Saint Mary’s School conducted a fully in-person fall 2021 semester, and returned to in-person learning Jan. 10, 2022. Masks are optional on Saint Mary's campus as of 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 28. Most school operations and activities are operating under pre-pandemic norms as of this date. Thanks, to all for working with us as we work daily to keep our school community safe and healthy.
The 2021-2022 academic year
Saint Mary’s School successfully opened our campus for students, faculty, and staff for the 2021-2022 academic year, and made adjustments to our protocols in January in response to the surge in cases from the Omicron variant. We continue to rely on experts in the public heath, infectious diseases, epidemiology, and environmental health fields, as well as the latest best practices and our experience in managing and planning for continuous operations. Please note that these are the current guidelines, but they are subject to change depending on the pandemic trends.
It is clear the best safeguards we have at our disposal for a normal school year are the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Saint Mary’s School highly encourages all students and employees to be up-to-date with vaccinations.
Saint Mary's follows guidance from the CDC: we are not requiring vaccinated students to quarantine, in the case of a suspected or known exposure. However, according to CDC recommendation we are testing 5-7 days post-exposure, as a precaution. Please note that SMS is requiring all vaccinated students to upload their COVID-19 card under the “Immunizations” requirement in Magnus. This is necessary to grant exemption from exposure requirements as quickly as possible, as well as to determine the overall immunity of the community.
Saint Mary’s bases our COVID-19 playbook on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the National Association of Independent Schools (NCAIS), and the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, amongst other credible organizations. We will continue to respond to the changing environment and modify these guidelines as necessary throughout the year.
Saint Mary’s is currently operating under these guidelines as of 5 p.m., Feb. 25, 2022.
- Masks are optional on Saint Mary's campus beginning February 25, 2022 at 5 p.m.
- Students who return to school after having COVID must mask for five days.
- If students have had an exposure, they may be in school, but must still mask for 10 days.
Athletics and the Arts
Masks are optional for student-athletes, coaches, and performers and participatants in the arts.
Isolation guidelines for symptomatic or positive students
Any student, regardless of vaccination status, with a positive COVID test OR with the following unexplained symptoms should isolate by staying home and notify SMS. Remain in isolation and do not return to school until you have met the criteria for return to school and have received approval from a Binder Health Nurse.
Symptoms: any of the symptoms below which are unexplained
Stay at home with these symptoms, and contact Binder Health Center firstname.lastname@example.org 919-424-4043
Fever of 100.4 or higher
Cough, new or unexplained
Loss of taste or smell
Diarrhea or vomiting
Unexplained Muscle or body aches
Criterion for end of isolation and return to school, with approval from Binder Health Center before return
Negative PCR or Antigen (Rapid) Test
AND fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications and
AND feeling better for 24 hours
It has been 10 days since the first day of symptoms
And it has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine)
And other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving.
If diagnosed by test or through symptoms, must stay home until answer yes to all 3
At least 10 days since onset of symptoms
24 hours fever free without meds
Symptoms have been improved for at least 24 hours
Confirmed alternative diagnosis
Quarantine guidelines for suspected or confirmed exposure
Students and/or families are required to report any known exposure.
Exposure is defined as:
- Contact with a household member diagnosed with COVID-19
- Being within 6 feet for 15 minutes of a presumed, or diagnosed case, or a person diagnosed within two days after contact
Exceptions for need to quarantine after exposure:
- Students who are up-to-date with vaccinations after a close contact in a classroom or other class-type school setting do NOT have to quarantine if masks were being worn appropriately and consistently by both the person with COVID-19 and the potentially exposed person. *Non-vaccinated students will quarantine after exposure as defined.
- Students who have tested positive for Covid-19 within the past three months and recovered and do not have symptoms do not have to quarantine.
- Students should remain home from school, in quarantine, until the following criteria are met
- 14 days have passed since the last exposure
- Symptom free
- If symptoms develop then full exclusion criteria for isolation
- Prior approval by Binder Health Center nurses before return
COVID-19 testing information
Saint Mary's School requires all students to be registered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' program, "StrongSchoolsNC" COVID-19 testing program. As COVID-19 variants spread throughout the United States, research shows routine testing can reduce the spread of COVID-19 by 50%, especially in large settings such as schools. In partnership with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), Saint Mary’s School will provide COVID-19 antigen and PCR testing on our campus this year. Registration is required for all students. Parents must enroll their daughter(s) to participate in this free NCDHHS program that allows us to test students on campus and not take them off-site.
How it Works:
Parents register their Saint Mary's student(s) to provide a one-time consent and HIPAA authorization, which allows testing results to be shared with Saint Mary’s School.
All testing information is confidential.
Tests will only be conducted if warranted. (e.g., We are not currently performing surveillance testing.)
Test results will be shared with Binder Health Center and results will be available within 24 hours.
Test swabbing will be self-administered and collected by trained SMS or Mako lab staff (Only anterior nasal swabbing is required.)
Raleigh-based MAKO Medical will process all tests. Check out the video below to learn more about Mako Medical's facilities and their process. Mako Medical is dedicated to keeping North Carolina students and educators safe, and Saint Mary's needs your help.
Saint Mary's School needs your help to keep our community safe. Register your daughter today for free StrongSchoolsNC COVID-19 testing.
The vaccination rate in our campus community is strong. Most, Saint Mary's faculty and staff are up-to-date with vaccinations for COVID-19. With vaccinations now widely available to those age 12 and older, most students are fully vaccinated or in the process of vaccination. While the vaccine is not mandatory, we strongly encourage all Saints to consider getting the vaccinations.
Please also note:
SMS is not offering a virtual learning option this year, with the exception of special called periods of virtual learning for the whole school, if needed. At their discretion, faculty may record a lesson but will not be required to do so. This further increases the importance of being vaccinated to lessen the risk of being out of school due to a known or suspected exposure or a positive case of COVID-19. As we navigate the year, we ask that you remain supportive and helpful. Our number one priority is to finish our school year strong and safe!
Other Programs and Guest Groups
Saint Mary's campus is mask-optional, as of 5 p.m., Feb. 25, 2022. Visitors who are part of guest groups should check with their group's health and safety protocols, which may require additional protocols. If none exist, defer to Saint Mary's health and safety protocols. For guest group inquiries regarding guidelines or other questions, contact Leigh Ann Watson at email@example.com or Julie Ricciardi at 919-424-4114 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or Christiane Newell at 919-424-4107 or email@example.com.
All employees, with a few exceptions, have returned to campus for regular business operations. Here is a link to our online faculty/staff directory to assist you in contacting our faculty and staff.
With the health and safety of our community our first priority, Saint Mary's continues to closely monitor COVID-19 developments and make plans in accordance with guidance provided by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).