reopening early childhood

We are preparing a wonderful and safe learning experience for your daughter. Below are plans for Early Childhood during the first week of school, Monday, August 17 - Friday, August 21 and other details regarding reopening campus.

You may submit any questions using the "Ask a Question" button linked on this page. FAQs are also linked and will be updated regularly.  We look forward to seeing you!

First Week of School Schedule

Monday will be student supply drop off day. Please use Monday as an opportunity to practice carpool and to talk through all concerns and fears your daughter might have. You will also have the opportunity to speak with your daughter’s teachers. 

Cleaning, Sanitation, & Handwashing

Students' belongings will be individually stored and shared technologies will be regularly disinfected. All surfaces will be cleaned after every class and frequently touched surfaces wiped down periodically throughout the day. End-of-day cleaning will include an outside professional cleaning company wiping down with approved disinfectant all contact surfaces. We will follow set protocols and a schedule for frequent handwashing.

Carpool & Dismissal

Morning carpool runs from 7:15 - 8:00 a.m. Any student arriving after 8:00 a.m. will be met outside the front door by Ms. Miller, signed in, and walked back to her classroom by a faculty or staff member. Parents and caregivers are not permitted to enter the building. Noon carpool (SMP-JK) will run from 12:00 to 12:15 p.m. SMP and PK afternoon girls will dismiss for carpool at 2:30 p.m. JK and SK girls will dismiss for carpool at 3:00 p.m. Younger sisters will wait until older sisters are dismissed. If you need to check your daughter out before her carpool time, you must arrive before 2:15 p.m.

Please make sure you have completed the COVID-19 Student Health Check form on St. Mary's app under "Resources" before dropping off your daughter(s) each day. Every girl must have on her face covering before exiting the car.

Physical Distancing & Cohorts

The Early Childhood division defines a cohort as a classroom. That means that if a student or a teacher tests positive for COVID-19, only that classroom will quarantine for two weeks. We have reduced class sizes and are determining ways to further decrease contacts. We have removed excess classroom furniture and created more space in which to physically distance our students. Early Childhood students will bring towels to use for sitting indoors and outdoors to help as a visual reminder of the necessary physical distance between classmates.

Health Screenings

Before arrival each day, parents will assess their daughter’s health and enter the data into the Student COVID-19 Health Check form located under the "Resources" section/icon of the SMS app. This must be completed before each student is dropped off at school. A dedicated health center space will be offered for well care and will be separate from sick care.

If you do not already have the app, search for "St. Mary's Episcopal School" in the App Store and in Google Play. Please "ALLOW" notifications during the download process to ensure you receive notices, reminders, and other information communicated from St. Mary's.

Face Coverings

Students will be required to wear a face covering to enter and exit school each day. SK, JK, and PK students will wear face coverings in their classrooms with regular face covering breaks outside. There will be times throughout the day when SMP students’ face coverings are necessary. Please make sure to send your daughter in a face covering each day and teach her how to put it on and take it off properly. Practice wearing a face covering as often as possible leading up to the start of school. Face coverings should not display words or logos.  

COVID-19 Exposure & Quarantine

If your daughter tests positive for COVID-19 or doesn’t pass the School’s COVID-19 Health Check (referenced in the "Health Screenings" section above), you must contact the Health Center immediately. If a student tests positive in your daughter’s cohort, the School will alert you as soon as we receive that diagnosis. We will advise you on quarantining based on the most recent requirements by the Shelby County Health Department.

Currently that advice and our policy require that a student who tests positive:

  • Isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or if asymptomatic from the date of a positive test
  • Be fever free for 24 hours, without fever reducing medication
  • Improvement of all COVID-19 symptoms

Quarantine after close contact means:

  • 14 days in your home starting from the last day of contact with positive case
  • A student who has been exposed to COVID-19 cannot get out of quarantine early even with a negative COVID-19 test or a doctor's note.
  • Be symptom-free and with no new exposure as per the School’s COVID-19 Health Check

Hybrid Learning

St. Mary’s will educate our youngest learners using best practices through our hybrid learning model. To make this the best possible experience for our girls, we have adopted Seesaw as our Early Childhood learning management system (LMS). Seesaw will work alongside Google Meet to provide daily synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for your daughter. By using both synchronous and asynchronous teaching, students will be able to take advantage of meaningful screen time to access teacher-created lessons that will be available online and have daily face-to-face interactions with their teachers and classmates. 

Each girl in PK - SK will be assigned a device that will be used where she is learning. Your daughter will develop the skills to gain independence on her device, allowing her to be an active member of her classroom. Be assured that not all learning will take place on a screen. Girls working from home will receive class materials in a three-week cycle that encourages handwriting and motor skill development, along with the creativity we value at St. Mary’s. Our goal is to reach all of our learners through a well-rounded approach.

Outdoor Spaces

We will provide plenty of opportunities for classes to be taught outdoors. Around the Early Childhood Center, we have shady areas, sidewalks, Barksdale Field, PK patio, gardens, and of course our playgrounds. By the way - we have installed NEW PLAYGROUNDS! We have replaced everything from the Vitriturf up, and they are beautiful!

Lunch & Snack

Students may choose to bring lunch from home or purchase the quarterly meal plan. 

For those on the meal plan, Flik will provide pre-packaged meals which will be delivered to classrooms and designated spaces. Dining hall use on both campuses will be limited in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines. This semester, there is no option for daily purchases on declining balance accounts. 

Snacks will no longer be provided by Flik. Please note that a la carte options will NOT be provided this semester. Lunch will be eaten either outdoors (weather permitting) or in classrooms.

Parents & Guests

No visitors, parents, or special guests will be permitted in buildings this year. All indoor, large group gatherings (Chapel, grade level parent events, parent coffees, etc.) will be reimagined to take place outdoors or virtually.

Events & Gatherings

Student events and gatherings are postponed or redesigned to allow physical distancing. All St. Mary’s special events are either postponed or redesigned to be online. We are not gathering groups of parents or guests on campus until further notice and there will be no field trips or group transportation.


We have removed community supplies from our classrooms. All student supplies will be kept separate. Soft plush items have been removed from classrooms unless they can be washed. Community items (blocks, LEGOS, Magna Tiles, etc.) will be cleaned regularly throughout the day.


Chapel will be held virtually every Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. and will be streamed into classrooms via Smartboard or projector. Birthday pencils will be given out by the classroom teachers when the students’ names are called. No visitors, parents, or special guests will be permitted in the Marlene Shaw Early Childhood Center.


After3 will be available for all girls starting on the first full day of school. Girls will remain in their grade-level cohorts in After3.

Partnering with Families

The School must partner with each family to abide by the following:

  • Completing the School’s COVID-19 Health Check at home daily via the SMS app (available in the App Store and in Google Play)
  • Keep the student home with symptoms or known exposure to someone with COVID-19
  • Washing hands often throughout the day
  • Staying in smaller contact groups
  • Physical distancing
  • Wearing face coverings when required by ordinance and according to age (St. Mary's requirement is PK through grade 12)
  • Follow Shelby County Health Department guidance on exposure, testing, isolation, and quarantine

Early Childhood

Please click below to learn more about returning to campus.
Learn More

Lower School

Please click below to learn more about returning to campus.
Learn More

Middle School

Please click below to learn more about returning to campus.
Learn More

Upper School

Please click below to learn more about returning to campus.
Learn More