Instructional Continuity 2020-2021

Rooted in the Dominican Tradition, St. Agnes Academy provides a Catholic college preparatory education that encourages young women to develop intellectual curiosity, to work for social justice,
and to act with integrity and compassion.
St. Agnes Academy seeks to deliver this mission, even amid a global pandemic. Whether all on campus, in blended learning, or completely remote, we strive to provide safe methods of learning and instruction that allow St. Agnes Academy to continue developing intellectual curiosity with integrity and compassion.

Within this new normal, where change seems to be the constant, we aim for clear planning and expectations that allow our students, parents, faculty and staff to find a sense of predictability and support, while being agile enough to respond to each potential circumstance arising.
 
We cling to the four pillars of Dominican Charism as our foundation: prayer, study, community, and preaching. We trust that, guided by our Catholic faith and time-tested mission, all members of the St. Agnes community will confidently navigate these unprecedented times.

While we know that any real-time situation will require us to be nimble, adaptable, and flexible, we have established a framework that allows us to prepare for these distinct scenarios:

List of 4 items.

  • Mode A1: All On-Campus Learning (without social distancing)

    Mode A1 represents a return to pre-pandemic policies. In this mode, students attend campus 5 days per week, and physical distancing is not required. Students are permitted to move freely around the campus. Assembly, classes, and club meetings will all be held in person. Students eat lunch in the cafeteria. In this mode, we see a full return to athletics.
  • Mode A2: All On-Campus Learning (with social distancing)

    Mode A2 represents a return to campus with social distancing in place, as well as a requirement to wear masks. In this model, students attend in-person classes on campus, and physical distancing is required. Students are permitted to move around campus following all directional signage. Assembly, classes, and club meetings will all be held in person, as able.
  • Mode B: Blended On-Campus & Remote

    Think of Mode B as the “dimmer switch” that slides between Mode A, with 100% of our community on campus, and Mode C, with 0% of our community on campus. In Mode B, a portion of our community will be on campus while others stay home for reasons that may include: 
    • Limits to the number of people allowed on campus at one time 
    • Students, faculty, and staff in quarantine or isolation for reasons associated with COVID-19 
    • Students, faculty, and staff uncomfortable with retuning to campus due to personal risk factors 
    Mode B is characterized by blended learning, in which some students are in the physical classroom and others are learning at home, utilizing mostly asynchronous or self-paced activities planned by each student’s teachers. Most students will have some days in the classroom and some days learning at home each week. Teachers will work to use precious face-to-face time with students wisely, engaging students in labs, discussions, one-on-one work, debates, and various learning and community-building activities. Students learning from home will have clear expectations for their work, with an emphasis on authentic engagement in meaningful and relevant college-prep academics.
  • Mode C: Campus Closed, Remote Learning

    We anticipate periods during the 2020-2021 school year when campus must be closed, following public health recommendations, due to spikes in COVID-19 cases in our area. We can promptly switch into remote teaching and learning, including both synchronous and asynchronous learning activities. In the spring of 2020, we quickly developed and implemented a plan for remote learning. We are reflecting on lessons learned and plan for many improvements to remote learning in the coming school year. In Mode C, student expectations are: 
    • Students are expected to attend at least 90% of required synchronous classes.
    • The mandatory classes via video conferencing platforms (Zoom or Microsoft Teams) will take place during scheduled class time.
    • Mandatory synchronous class time will be indicated as such on the LAP.
    • If students are unable to attend the synchronous class time, the parent and the student must notify the attendance office at attendance@st-agnes.org.

Athletics and Performing Arts

Athletics:
St. Agnes Academy values the physical, mental, and communal benefits of Athletics. Our coaches, administration, and medical staff are committed to keeping your daughter safe and healthy as she prepares for the upcoming school year.

St. Agnes is phasing students back into athletics gradually, taking into consideration the risk level of each sport on its own merits and in light of the most current guidelines and scientific data. Teams are assessed based on factors such as equipment being used, indoor vs outdoor activity, proximity and/or contact to opposing team members.
 
The St. Agnes administration will continue to evaluate each sport’s ability to practice, scrimmage and/or compete. The school will also take into consideration health data in the area of the practice, scrimmage or competition as well as the opposing team’s safety protocols and willingness to follow any health and safety requirements deemed necessary for the participation of St. Agnes athletes.
 
Fall Sport Risk Classifications:
  • Cross Country - Low-Risk
  • Field Hockey - Moderate-Risk
  • Volleyball - Moderate-Risk
With the guidance of national, state, and local officials, our staff will work to ensure that any athletic participation aligns with all current recommendations. Our policies and procedures will be modeled after the guidelines presented by the National Federation of High Schools, Texas Education Agency, University Interscholastic League, and Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools.
 
The Athletics Department will continue to communicate with our families via email, the St. Agnes website, and social media. For more information, please email the sport-specific head coach and/or the Director of Athletics, amy.mattes@st-agnes.org.

Performing Arts:
The School recognizes the importance of our curricular and co-curricular Performing Arts programs and is still working on how we will continue to offer such programs as, Band, Orchestra, Choir, and Theater, in the fall. As plans continue to be finalized, information about additional Performing Arts programming will be posted here. 

The Theatre Department is excited to announce that Chicago has been selected as this year’s Main Stage Musical! Auditions will tentatively be held November 10 & 11 and are open to all St. Agnes and Strake Jesuit students. More details to come!  


FAQ

List of 17 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: What will school look like in January 2021?

    we are excited to finalize and share preparations for the transition to Mode A2 and welcome back all of our students in January. Classes will resume Tuesday, January 5 and all students will work remotely (Mode C) for the first week of classes. Students will then begin on-campus learning in Mode A2 on Monday, January 11, 2021. 
     
    While COVID rates are still on the rise across the country and the Houston area, data and our experience at St. Agnes shows that transmission is not happening in the classrooms. We have more knowledge than we did at the beginning of this year and we are confident in our staff and students’ compliance to our protocols, especially our mask policy. We have also had the opportunity to add extra protections, such as plexiglass in science labs and more outdoor seating at lunchtime. While nothing can completely eliminate the risk of transmission, our updated procedures and policies in place do help mitigate risk. We all still have to do our part to follow our Community Commitment and make decisions that keep our community safe. 
  • Q: Will students still have Flex Wednesdays in January?

    As classes resume, we will maintain our current Black/Gold schedule with Flex Wednesdays. Maintaining Flex Wednesdays allows our facilities to continue with deep cleaning mid-week, as well as gives our teachers the opportunity to maintain office hours as they continue to work with remote learners. On weeks where there is no school on either Monday or Friday, there will be no additional flex day and we will run through four consecutive days of class. 
  • Q: What are SAA's policies on holiday travel?

    We are strongly discouraging travel and gatherings after December 30 to help ensure that students, faculty and staff are healthy when they return to campus. We understand that many of our families will travel over the holidays, we ask everyone to consider the risks of traveling and group gatherings, and the effects they impose upon returning to school.
     
    The CDC has updated their travel guidelines for individuals domestically and internationally, recommending that individuals obtain a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after returning home, quarantine for a full 7 days and monitor for symptoms after travel. Please remember, the remote period from January 5 through January 8 is to give all community members time to quarantine after travel or large gatherings (more than 10); it is not intended to extend the period of time families are able to travel. We ask that every family take extra precaution over the holidays and complete at least a 7-day quarantine before returning to campus to keep our community safe.

    Even over the holiday break, it is extremely important to notify the school if your daughter or member of your household tests positive for COVID-19. Please report to covid@st-agnes.org.
  • Q: What are the expectations for reporting symptoms and quarantining?

    As the CDC continues to modify their guidelines for quarantining, we will continue to follow the guidance of the Houston Health Department and our medical advisory team in maintaining the recommended 14-day quarantine period. We feel this the best course of action to keep our community safe and healthy following the holiday season as we bring all students back to campus.

    Who is required to quarantine? 

    Anyone within 6 feet of an infectious individual for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes or more outside of the classroom, even if masked. Anyone within 3 feet of an infectious individual for a cumulative duration of 15 minutes or more inside of the classroom, even if masked. An individual is considered infectious for 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms or 48 hours prior to a positive test if asymptomatic. 

    Anyone living in a household with someone who has tested positive or living with someone who is symptomatic and awaiting test results. It is extremely important to notify the school if your daughter or member of your household is symptomatic or tests positive for COVID-19. If your daughter or anyone in your household is awaiting test results, students must stay home until negative test results are received and reported to covid@st-agnes.org. 

    Given experience from other schools showing extremely low risk of transmission in the controlled environment of the classroom, we will allow all students interacting 3-feet or further apart in the classroom to remain in school and will not require them to quarantine. If your daughter has been exposed to an infectious contact in the classroom who was at least 3-feet away, but less than 6-feet away you will be notified of this, but she will not be required to quarantine. You may, however, elect to quarantine your daughter in these circumstances with the support of the school. For other, less controlled environments on the school campus such as interaction in hallways and lunchtime, the more strict 6 feet/15 minute guideline will be used. 

    Those that have been in close contact, according to SAA COVID-19 team directives and Houston Health Department guidelines, are required to quarantine at home for 14 days. This quarantine period may change in the future as community rates change. 

    Students in moderate and high-risk extracurricular activities, including athletics and theater, are required to wear masks at all times, including during competitions, with the exception of water sports when in the pool. They are also masked and physically distanced when traveling as a team. All teams have adopted a “quaranteam” approach to their season which means if one student tests positive the entire team is required to quarantine to mitigate spread to the larger community.  

    Anyone the SAA COVID-19 team asks to quarantine for the safety of our community.
  • Q: When is the first day of school?

    St. Agnes is also committed to onboarding our incoming students with a meaningful, on-campus experience. To do this responsibly and physically distanced, we are currently planning to have small groups of students move through Tiger Camp programming and necessary training before the first day of classes. This experience, along with necessary in-service for faculty and staff, requires that we push back the official first day of class as well as freshmen programming.
    • Aug 12-14: Tiger Camp and Out of Box Training (necessary technology training) for incoming freshmen
    • Aug 17: First day of classes
  • Q: How is SAA encouraging physical distancing on campus?

    In order to ensure adequate physical distancing, hallways and staircases will have specific foot traffic flows. Signage is posted around campus to assist students as they navigate between classes.
    Physical distancing between each person should be maintained as much as possible on campus. Signage, rearrangement of furniture, and ongoing reminders will assist our students and employees in adhering to this guidance.  Faculty and staff will monitor students during their time on campus. 
  • Q: What is the visitor policy in Mode B?

    While in Mode B, visitors are not allowed on campus unless approved through the Head of Operations. All approved visitors must pass all health screening and complete a signed waiver of liability. 
  • Q: What about school uniforms?

    St. Agnes is partnered with Dennis Uniforms. All SAA uniforms can be purchased at their flagship store or online for pickup/drive-by at the store. Currently, the only new uniform piece is the skirt, which is available online (it is required that incoming freshmen have at least one). All other uniforms pieces will be grandfathered in this year. Remember: only athletic shoes for non-assembly days and black flats for assembly days. 

    We are aware that uniform skirts from Dennis Uniforms are back ordered and may not arrive prior to the start of on-campus learning. Please know, students may wear the SAA school polo with jeans, until skirts arrive.
     
    Questions? Access the Student Handbook on our website or email Courtney Orsak
     
  • Q: Will the School offer food services upon reopening?

    Sage will be offering food service in Mode B. Though, the cafeteria registers will only be open during lunch times and breakfast will not be served.

    The first few weeks will also have a limited menu. The menu for the first two weeks is already up and can be viewed here: https://www.sagedining.com/sites/stagnes 

    Sage's weekly menu will be mirrored - Monday and Thursday will be the same, as will Tuesday and Friday. This will help to make sure that students will have equal opportunities to enjoy the foods that they love!
  • Q: Which St. Agnes community members are serving on the task forces?

    Campus Reopening Task Force:
    Bridget Hennessey, Head of Advancement
    Carleen Raymond, Principal
    Kim Scoville, Dean of Faculty
    Amy Mattes, Athetlic Director
    Rebecca Wechter, Athletic Trainer
    Ann Marie Gerard, Director of Human Resources
    Dale Grassman, Director of Facilities
    Sr. Jane Meyer, Head of School
    Kellie Kuykendall, Head of Finance and Facilities
    Sr. Mary Brenda, School Nurse
    Nikki Bermudes, Director of Communications
    Tuyen Nguyen, Director of Technology
    Dr. Lindy McGee '92, SAA Parent and Board Member
     
    Academic and Mission Continuity Task Force:
    Carleen Raymond, Principal
    Kim Scoville, Dean of Faculty
    David Garcia-Prats, Academic Dean
    Lisa Crank, Student Services
    Courtney Orsak, Dean of Students
    Anna Sklut, Director of Campus Ministry
    Brigid Schiro, Director of Admissions
    Elaine Mouton, Registrar
    Sarah Luna, Director of Wellness
    Sujey Doctoroff, Director of College Counseling
    Stephanie Granito, Faculty
    Veronica Rygh, Faculty
    Meredith Millik, Faculty
    Heidi Crist, Faculty
    Kellie Farrell, Faculty
    Jeff Wheeler, Faculty
    Christy Holecek, Faculty
    Tiffany Deinzer, Faculty
  • Q: Will there be changes to our Student/Parent Handbook and policies related to COVID-19?

    Yes! We will have a Blended and Remote Learning Handbook that will be included as an addendum, which all parents and students will need to sign prior to the first day of school. 
  • Q: Will masks be required for all students and staff?

    Yes! All faculty, staff, and students will be required to wear a cloth, two-ply face covering or disposable/surgical mask indoors, if we are able to be back on campus. If working alone in private office space or classroom, or sitting socially distanced while outdoors, masks may be temporarily removed. However, when on campus and within 6 feet of another person, a mask is required. Masks may be removed during times of eating while also maintaining social distancing of six feet. Masks are to be simple, non-distracting, non-political, and without wording or messaging. Examples of appropriate masks include mask with SAA logos, SAA tigers, solid colors, and simple geometric or floral patterns. If you are unsure of your choice consult the Dean of Students. 

    If a student arrives without a mask, the School will provide a mask. 

    For the full Mask Policy, please refer to the Blended and Remote Learning Handbook. 

  • Q: What are the Campus Health and Safety procedures?

    Our campus will continue using aggressive sanitation protocols; cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, making hand sanitizer available throughout campus, and limiting external visitors. More detailed procedures will be released upon the reopening of campus. 
  • Q: What if I don't see my question posted on the FAQs?

    Keep checking back, we will continue to update this page as we have more information available.

Questions?

List of 11 members.

  • Photo of Nicole Bermudes

    Nikki Bermudes 

    Director of Communications
    (713) 219-5406
  • Photo of David Garcia-Prats

    David Garcia-Prats 

    Academic Dean
    713.219.5402
  • Photo of Bridget Hennessey

    Bridget Hennessey 

    Head of Advancement
    (713) 219-5481
  • Photo of Kellie Kuykendall

    Kellie Kuykendall 

    Head of Finance and Operations
    713-219-5403
  • Photo of Amy Mattes

    Amy Mattes 

    Director of Athletics
    (713) 219-5490
  • Photo of Jane Meyer

    Jane Meyer 

    Head of School
    (713) 219-5450
  • Photo of Courtney Orsak

    Courtney Orsak 

    Dean of Students
    (713) 219-5513
  • Photo of Carleen Raymond

    Carleen Raymond 

    Principal
    (713) 219-5456
  • Photo of Brigid Schiro

    Brigid Schiro 

    Director of Admissions
    (713) 219-5412
  • Photo of Kimberly Scoville

    Kim Scoville 

    Dean of Faculty, Health and Physical Education Teacher
    (713) 219-5470
  • Photo of Anna Sklut

    Anna Sklut 

    Director of Campus Ministry, Campus Ministry Chair, Theology Teacher
    (713) 219-5462