Important Note from the Health Center
If you have been exposed, or believe you might have been exposed, to COVID-19 contact your personal healthcare provider, and follow the CDC recommendation to self-quarantine. For COVID-19, the period of quarantine is 14 days from the last date of exposure.
"Quarantine means separating a person or group of people who have been exposed to a contagious disease but have not developed illness (symptoms) from others who have not been exposed, in order to prevent the possible spread of that disease.” -CDC
Please contact the Health Center at email@example.com if you have any questions, concerns, or an illness to report. We want to support your family during the illness and work with your daughter’s teachers to adapt classwork during the recovery phase.
Please review the information provided in the drop-downs and button links on this page.
- 3-25-20 Broad Community Message from Head of School
- 3-23-2020 from Head of School
- 3-15-2020 How to Retrieve Student Supplies from the Upper School
- 3-12-2020 St. Mary's Closed through March 29
- 3-11-2020 from Head of School
- 3-10-2020 from College Counseling (college tour cancellations)
- 3-4-2020 from Head of School
- 2-27-2020 from Head of School
Dear St. Mary's Community,
On March 12, during what turned out to be a well-timed school break, we announced that St. Mary's would close our campus instead of returning to school after spring break travel. Six days later, St. Mary's began distance learning and conducting school remotely. Since then, each day has brought challenges and opportunities, with the disruptions often outpacing the response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Currently, we are following the Governor's request to stay closed through at least April 24.
The people of St. Mary's Episcopal School–students, parents, faculty, staff, and administration–are flexible, creative, resilient, and kind. They have responded to an unpredictable situation with grace and understanding and are working together to learn and teach in new ways. We are helping students and parents navigate this new landscape, not only academically, but socially and emotionally. We have begun to offer Chapel and other vital touchpoints, even as we all care for families and neighbors in need. I am deeply humbled by and grateful for this community.
Many of you have written to share your thoughts, expressing encouragement and support. Thank you for your empathy, patience, and trust. My thoughts are with all of you as you face unprecedented challenges. My heart goes out to our students who are missing their teachers and each other, especially our seniors whose year-end anticipation has turned to disappointment as many of our beloved traditions and celebrations have been canceled, postponed, or suspended.
In our 173-year history, we have survived numerous crises, responding with constancy of purpose and emerging ultimately as a stronger school. As we look ahead to the eventual return to campus, I expect our teachers will be more nimble instructors, our girls will be more independent learners, and our school family will be more closely bound by the love and support we find in this remarkable community.
I look forward to when we can gather again as a community and welcome you back with a less distant social embrace. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other. Stay in touch. If you have questions or concerns, please contact me or a member of our leadership team.
Dear St. Mary's Families,
You and your girls are constantly on my mind and heart as I work with school leaders to provide what you need from the School in the face of this pandemic. I appreciate your patience, kindness, and flexibility. In retrospect, we made the right call to avoid congregating after Spring Break. I am proud of the school administrative, academic, and technology teams who prepared our faculty for remote operations. They have exhibited resilience, professionalism, and dedication during these first days of distance learning. Our team is prepared for the challenges we will certainly meet in the coming weeks. I am also proud of our students and parents who have embraced this new environment with equal dedication. We have all become both teachers and learners this past week.
The Mayor announced today a stay at home order through April 7. As much as I wish I could name a date when we will return to campus, I cannot. We will be teaching remotely for at least a few weeks longer. We will continue to offer frequent updates to families. Here is the most important news for you this week:
- You will continue to hear frequently from your division heads and teachers regarding academic plans and distance learning.
- In addition to continuing to deliver content via PowerSchool Learning, teachers are preparing to offer opportunities for girls to connect synchronously with their teachers and classmates in virtual spaces. We will be able to record some of these opportunities to share with students who are not able to attend live sessions. This plan will roll out in different stages and timing by division.
- The most current communications from the School, including technology updates, are on the web pages linked in the buttons below.
Parent Survey: Technology and Student Needs
We understand that distance learning is unexpected and may create a burden for families. In an attempt to best assess the needs of our families, please complete this survey by the end of the day on Tuesday, March 24.
Third Quarter Grades
- Early Childhood families will receive an email from their teachers regarding grades on Wednesday, March 25.
- Lower School grades will be online in the parent portal linked below on Wednesday, March 25 by 3:00 p.m.
- Middle School and Upper School grades are now posted online in the parent portal.
Update on Events
Various events and activities have been either canceled or postponed. We will update this list with as much notice as possible.
- Alumnae Weekend
- Senior Mother-Daughter lunch
- April Buckman events
- All school field trips
- American Southwest Hiking Trip
- International French Immersion Trip
- All extended and after school care
The network of school athletic directors is working together to be prepared for an abbreviated schedule or post-season, depending on when we are able to return to campus.
I am aware that each of these announcements comes with its own disappointments. We are looking into alternate dates and creative ways of celebrating events that may be cancelled. We look forward to sharing more details with you soon.
We are here to listen and respond to your needs. Please reach out to your daughter's division head, faculty, staff, administration, or me anytime. I continue to think of you, pray for you and your family's health, and eagerly anticipate our being together again.
Be well and stay connected,
Dear Upper School Parents,
I hope this email finds you and your family well. As mentioned in Mr. Throckmorton's message last week, we are transitioning to distance learning for our students beginning Wednesday, March 18. Our faculty and staff will be on campus Monday and Tuesday working to ensure continuity of learning, and I will send another email to parents and students tomorrow with more details about the online learning process.
The purpose of this email is to make sure all students have the materials and resources they will need while working remotely. Before Spring Break, Mr. Throckmorton asked all middle and upper school students to take all books and materials home. If your daughter left something that she needs at school, we are providing an opportunity for those items to be retrieved on Monday or Tuesday from 8:30 AM to 12:00 PM.
Please do not send anyone to campus who has:
- returned from foreign travel;
- returned from a cruise;
- returned from a U.S. hot spot where COVID-19 is active: NYC, New York State, Washington State, California (check here if you are uncertain);
- been sick recently or are sick: cold, fever, cough, flu, diarrhea;
- been in contact with a COVID-19 patient.
We ask that students or parents coming to pick up books, etc. enter through the Athletic and Wellness Center (back parking lot off Perkins Rd.). Additionally, in the spirit of keeping everyone safe, please refrain from close contact with others and arrive and leave without any unnecessary delay.
As we work through this process, a number of questions will undoubtedly arise. Please do not hesitate to email, text, or call me if I can be of assistance. My contact information is listed below:
Cell Number: 901-826-9755
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will follow up with another email tomorrow with more details on how you can expect your daughter's superior educational experience to continue in these challenging times.
Thank you for your continued support and patience.
Dear St. Mary’s Community,
To proactively combat the spread of COVID-19, St. Mary’s will close its campus to students for the next two weeks (March 16-29). We are cancelling or postponing all school-sponsored events, including all extracurricular activities, trips, athletics, Auxiliary programs, and Buckman programs.
On Monday, March 16, the faculty and staff will have a professional development day to continue training and preparing for distance learning. Online instruction for students will begin on Wednesday, March 18.
We will contact parents and older students soon with more information and procedures for distance learning. If any student is housing- or food-insecure, we want to help. Also, if Internet connection or device availability is a problem, please let your division head know.
There are many details that will follow, but we want you to have this news as soon as possible. Please remind your children in grades 3-12 to check their email and PowerSchool/Haiku accounts daily. Early Childhood and Lower School teachers will email parents with more direction.
Please note that we will be performing system maintenance on our student information system on Sunday, March 15, 2020 from 12:00 a.m. until Monday, March 16, 2020 at 7:30 a.m. During this window of time, please do not log in to the Parent Portal for any reason. While the portal may be accessible, no updates or changes to data will be saved during this period including online account payments.
Our priority is the health of our community. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this unprecedented situation and the challenges that a pandemic creates. Our sincere hope is to return to school as soon as possible.
For continuity of response, we have set up a single email address for questions about COVID-19. Please send your questions to email@example.com.
Wash your hands and get plenty of sleep,
Dear St. Mary's Community,
During Spring Break, St. Mary's has been monitoring the Novel Coronavirus, now a pandemic, and has cleaned the campus thoroughly. We are in contact with the Shelby County Health Department and with other schools. While there is only one patient in Shelby County, who is recovering, the news from other cities and the preventative actions of many universities signal the prudence of keeping social distance, acting early, and, if necessary, moving to learning online.
St. Mary's administration is meeting this week to discuss a course of action that prioritizes student, family, and faculty health. The large number of Memphis families returning from traveling the country and the globe presents challenges to a school. We are prepared for resuming school as usual, postponing the return from Spring Break, or closing the campus if necessary. But we have not made a decision. We will contact you as soon as a decision is made that affects Monday's return to school. We understand that any disruption may present a hardship to families, and so our course of action will be determined carefully and with the health of our community at the forefront.
In the meantime, please know that we all must take seriously the prohibition against coming to school sick, with symptoms, after exposure to a COVID-19 patient, after a cruise, or after having traveled to any national or international COVID-19 hot spot. If in doubt, stay home and seek medical advice. Our health center is also available to help. The graphic below may help you in your decision making.
Thank you for doing your part for the health of our community as we decide what is the healthiest path forward for the school.
We are keeping a list of our communication and resources on the St. Mary's Health Center webpage linked below.
Dear St. Mary's Students and Families,
I am aware that many of our families have plans to visit colleges during the break. Each day I learn of colleges and universities that are cancelling their tours and yield events due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. I received an email from Yale University this morning and have heard from Columbia, Williams, Vanderbilt and UVA in the last 24 hours. Every college in the country is determining how they will work to keep their students and communities safe and new information comes available each day. As you consider traveling to different parts of the country please use the link below or go directly to the college's website to find out if tours and information sessions are still available. While many schools are still open for tours the list of schools determining it is safest to cancel these programs grows longer each day.
I wish you all a healthy and restful break.
Vicki Englehart Thompson
Dean of College Counseling
Dear St. Mary's Community,
I am writing to follow up on last week's communication about Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We at St. Mary's continue to monitor timely resources to ensure the health and well-being of our community. While it is unsettling for us to read daily about COVID-19, the CDC has advised schools and other organizations to be prepared for the possibility of needing to manage this new virus. In order for St. Mary's to be as prepared as possible, we are providing the following guidelines to our community.
Spring Break Travel Guidelines
With the approach of international Spring Break travel, we strongly encourage you to adhere to the CDC's guidelines on travel. We understand this information changes frequently, so we encourage you to check this website regularly. Many countries have instituted restrictions and quarantines that could directly affect you.
Self-Quarantine After Travel
Please note that the CDC is asking all travelers arriving in the U.S. from China, even if asymptomatic, to self-quarantine for 14 days. In an abundance of caution, we ask St. Mary's students, parents, faculty, staff, and volunteers who are traveling in CDC Level 2 or Level 3 areas, or whose household members are returning from those areas, not to return to school (including any school activities on or off campus) until a 14-day period has elapsed following their return to the United States. After 14 days, medical clearance must be obtained before returning to campus. If you travel to these areas, we ask you to self-report, via the emails listed below, to the Director of Health Services and your respective division head. Please contact your personal physician for specific instructions regarding self-quarantine. Should your student require quarantine post-travel, we will do our best to provide remote learning and extend deadlines.
Notify Us After Exposure or Diagnosis
We also ask St. Mary's students, parents, faculty, staff, and volunteers to notify us if anyone in your household has a COVID-19 diagnosis, has come in contact with someone who has traveled to a country under a CDC travel advisory, or has come in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Plans for Possible School Disruption
In the event the campus must temporarily close to students, we are preparing to teach classes remotely. We suggest you ensure that your daughter in grades 3-12 has access to the Internet and PowerSchool should virtual learning need to occur. First and 2nd grade families would receive email instruction from their teachers; and Early Childhood families would receive advice and resources from their daughter's teachers. If access is a problem for your family, please contact your daughter's division head. I have asked our accrediting agency how an extended disruption would affect our year-end calendar.
Contacts for notifying the School of any household travel to CDC Level 2 and 3 countries, exposure to or diagnosis of COVID-19 infection:
- Director of Health Services, Judy Bearman, RN
- Early Childhood Head, Laura Hutton
- Lower School Head, Hilary Robinson
- Middle School Head, Katherine House
- Upper School Head, Carrie Steakley
It is my hope that St. Mary's will operate without any disruption or serious illness, but the current situation calls for preparation and contingency planning. As always, please feel free to contact me or any member of the administration if you have questions.
Albert L. Throckmorton
Head of School
Dear St. Mary's Community,
As the nation monitors the spread of the new Coronavirus, COVID-19, we want to share with you how we are preparing for any change in the education and care of our students. The CDC states the COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation, the site linked in the CDC Updates button will be your best source of information. We will also communicate timely information with you through St. Mary's Health Center webpage.
The most important action we must all take is to stay home when sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and practice good hand washing. More CDC guidelines are provided online on St. Mary's Health Center page.
In addition to reinforcing the most effective precautions for any virus like COVID-19 or the flu, the School has professional resources available from its member associations and is discussing how a serious outbreak would affect teaching and learning and student travel. In the extreme case that the School might temporarily close, we are preparing to provide education remotely, and you can expect detailed communication.
If you are traveling during Spring Break, please carefully check the CDC Travelers website linked in the CDC Travelers button below to ensure a safe experience for your family. Alert your division head if anyone in your immediate family will be traveling out of country, is symptomatic, diagnosed with illness, or quarantined.
St. Mary's maintains a continuous education and practice of illness prevention. Our faculty and nurses are teaching and expecting our students to cover coughs and sneezes, increase frequent handwashing, and avoid touching their mouth, nose, or eyes--all ways to stop or decrease the spread of many illnesses.
Finally, please remember that students take their emotional cues from the adult community. We encourage you to monitor your child's engagement in the topic and help them understand what they are seeing and hearing to avoid anxiety. Being prepared is not a cause for panic or alarm. Here is a helpful article on how to talk to your child about the Coronavirus outbreak. St. Mary's Health and Counseling staff are here to help you, too. We encourage you to explore the resources provided below.
Albert Throckmorton, Head of School
Dr. Laura Leathers, Assistant Head of School
Judy Bearman, RN, Director of Health Services
From the CDC: If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately.
Emergency warning signs include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Persistent pain of pressure in the chest
- New confusion of inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
You will need your health insurance card, picture ID, bring a book, (and an empty bladder), as the wait for testing may take hours.
As the nation monitors the spread of the new Coronavirus, COVID-19, we want to share with you how we are preparing for any change in the education and care of our students. The CDC states the COVID-19 is a rapidly changing situation; the site will be your best source of information. We will also communicate timely information with you on this page.
The most important action we must all take is to closely follow the instructions below about staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and good hand washing.
In addition to reinforcing the most effective precautions for any virus like COVID-19 or the flu, the school has received professional resources from its member associations and is discussing how a serious outbreak would affect teaching and learning and student travel. In the extreme case that the School might temporarily close, we are preparing to provide education remotely, and you can expect detailed communication.
If you are traveling during Spring Break, please carefully check the CDC Travelers website to ensure a safe experience for your family. Alert your division head if anyone in your immediate family will be traveling out of country, is symptomatic, diagnosed with illness, or quarantined.
Our ongoing preparedness includes the following:
- The School is maintaining a continuous education and practice of illness prevention. Our faculty and nurses are teaching and expecting our students to cover coughs and sneezes, increase frequent handwashing, and avoid touching their mouth, nose, or eyes - all ways to stop or decrease the spread of many illnesses.
- The facilities staff not only cleans the rooms every day, but they also clean the classrooms and high traffic areas throughout the school day. The products they are using are industrial strength made to kill viruses and bacteria that cause flu, colds, staph, and strep.
- FLIK, our dining provider, is following detailed instructions to prevent the spread of illness, and they have healthful food available each day.
- Our Health Center staff of nurses is monitoring the CDC updates, implementing the recommendations, and educating the students, families, faculty, and staff on good health practices. Shelby County is experiencing a second wave of seasonal flu right now, and the nurses are working to quickly care for and send our ill students home to recover.
The recommendations in the Flu letter we sent in January (linked in the drop-down below) are the same to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are the CDC’s recommendations to prevent the spread of respiratory illness:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
- It is not too late to get the seasonal flu vaccine.
We want our families to find easily the latest information on our preparation and response to protect student health. We will be posting information related to COVID-19 and any other health-related information here on St. Mary’s Health Center webpage. We will alert you via email when information has been updated on this page.
Finally, please remember that students take their emotional cues from the adult community. We encourage you to monitor your child’s engagement in the topic and help them understand what they are seeing and hearing to avoid anxiety. Being prepared is not a cause for panic or alarm. Here is a helpful article on how to talk to your child about the Coronavirus outbreak. St. Mary's Health and Counseling staff are here to help you, too. We encourage you to explore the resources provided on this page.