We at CATEC want to assure you that we have thoughtfully, with the assistance of local health officials, teachers and support staff, and families, put together a comprehensive plan that will ensure students' and staff safety for a return to hands-on learning in our building.


QUESTION: What safety measures has CATEC put in place to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19?

ANSWER: CATEC will conduct daily health screenings of all students, staff, and visitors. View the COVID-19 Screening Tool here.

  • CATEC custodial staff will thoroughly clean, sanitize, and disinfect the building each day per the guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Thomas Jefferson Health District.

  • CATEC staff will be cleaning frequently touched objects (chairs, desks, door knobs, etc.) throughout the day.

  • Hand sanitizer is available in each classroom, at each student entrance, and outside of bathrooms.

  • CATEC has added signage to remind students and staff to:  wear a mask, wash their hands, and social distance.

  • CATEC has changed all water fountains to hands-free bottle filling stations.

  • CATEC will use four (4) assigned student entrances to help with social distancing at the beginning and end of the school day. Students will be notified in advance of school opening which entrance they will use. 

QUESTION: What steps is CATEC taking to uphold social distancing guidelines within the classroom/lab space?

ANSWER: Students will be seated or spaced at least six-feet apart in the classroom/lab space. Students and staff will be required to wear masks at all times.

QUESTION: Will CATEC be providing face masks for students, staff, and visitors?

ANSWER: Students, staff, and visitors can supply and wear their own mask or acceptable face coverings. CATEC will provide masks to those who do not have one of their own.

QUESTION: Will students be required to wear face masks?

ANSWER: Yes. Students will be expected to correctly wear masks or acceptable face coverings that cover the nose and mouth at all times regardless of physical distancing while on CATEC property or school transportation. Students will be given breaks throughout the day to safely take off their masks for short periods of time.

QUESTION: Will students be allowed to bring their own face coverings? If so, will there be guidance on what facial coverings will be acceptable?

ANSWER: Yes. Masks and acceptable face coverings must comply with the requirements of the policy and dress code found in the ACPS School Board Policy JFC, Student Conduct. Any masks or face coverings that disrupt the education environment because they contain language or images that: (1) are vulgar, discriminatory, or obscene; (2) promote illegal or violent conduct, such as the unlawful use of weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco products, nicotine vapor products, or drug paraphernalia; (3) threaten, intimidate, or harass, including Confederate images and other symbols of hatred, such as the swastika and gang symbols; or (4) endanger the health or safety of themselves or others are prohibited.

QUESTION: What are the consequences if a student refuses to wear a mask at CATEC?

ANSWER: Masks or acceptable face coverings will be required for students at all times regardless of physical distancing, unless an approved exemption applies. Every attempt will be made to ensure that the student and the student’s parents understand the importance of wearing a mask or acceptable face covering. CATEC will work with families to identify a more appropriate learning path, including virtual learning, if masks or acceptable face coverings will not be worn.

QUESTION: Will staff, visitors, and vendors be required to wear face masks?

ANSWER: Yes. CATEC staff, visitors, and vendors will be required to correctly wear masks or acceptable face coverings that cover the nose and mouth at all times regardless of physical distancing while on CATEC property unless eating/drinking or in his/her classroom/office alone.

Staff, visitors, and vendors who refuse, or otherwise, fail to wear a mask or acceptable face covering will not be permitted to enter the school building or will be directed to leave immediately if already within the school building.

QUESTION: Will CATEC staff have training on cleaning, sanitation, proper wearing of face coverings, hand-washing, and other COVID-19 mitigation strategies?

ANSWER: Yes. Training will be provided to all CATEC staff to demonstrate proper hand-washing techniques and sanitation processes. Staff will receive additional training on health screenings and what symptoms prompt separation/isolation of symptomatic student(s) or staff member(s) and further screening. Training will be in-person and through videos/modules.

QUESTION: Will substitute teachers receive training for self-assessments and proper cleaning procedures?

ANSWER: Yes. Current and new substitutes will receive training on all mitigation strategies put in place by CATEC for the 2020-2021 school year.

QUESTION: How will we respond to a student exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms?

ANSWER: CATEC staff will relocate the student with all his/her belongings to a previously designated quarantine/isolation room within the school building. The student will then be given a health screening by a designated CATEC staff members. If a student registers a fever at or above 100.0 degrees and/or demonstrates symptoms of COVID-19 at any point in the day, parents/guardians will be expected to pick the student up within 60 minutes of being contacted.  In consultation with building administrators, custodians will clean and sanitize the student’s workspace and other necessary spaces with hospital-grade cleaning solution per guidelines from the CDC for schools.

QUESTION: What do you do if a student or staff member shows COVID-19 symptoms between face-to-face days?

ANSWER: Any CATEC student or staff with COVID-19 symptoms should contact CATEC immediately for additional guidance.

QUESTION: When will a student or staff member exhibiting multiple COVID-19 symptoms be allowed to return to CATEC?

ANSWER: View the "ACPS Return to School Plan" here. The return of a student or staff member exhibiting multiple COVID-19 symptoms will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.  CATEC will work with the Thomas Jefferson Health District and/or student’s/staff member’s physician, following CDC guidelines, to safely return the student or staff to school, including following the guidance that the student not return to school for at least three days (72 hours) since recovery of symptoms and until at least ten days have passed since the symptoms first appeared.  CATEC may request a note from a physician to facilitate transition back to school and monitor well-being upon return.

QUESTION: If someone who lives in my household tests positive for COVID-19, what should I do?

ANSWER: Notify CATEC and, per CDC guidelines, the student should self-isolate for at least 14 days.

QUESTION: What is the plan if CATEC is informed of a confirmed case of COVID-19 for a student or staff member?

ANSWER: In addition to the daily, rigorous cleanings that are conducted as part of our standard procedures for the 2020-2021 school year, CATEC would immediately isolate the area(s) of the building the student or staff member had access to and appropriately disinfect those areas with hospital-grade cleaning solutions. CATEC would work with the Virginia Department of Health to conduct contact tracing and notify all impacted families and staff members of the results. CATEC would follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Thomas Jefferson Health District.

QUESTION: If a student or staff member is diagnosed with COVID-19, when can they return to CATEC?

ANSWER: A student or staff member who is diagnosed with COVID-19 may return to school once these criteria are met:

  • At least 10 days have passed from the onset of symptoms; AND

  • The individual has been fever-free for 24 continuous hours without the use of fever reducing medications; AND

  • Respiratory symptoms have improved.

QUESTION: What methods will CATEC use to communicate policies and procedures to families?

ANSWER: CATEC will use multiple channels of communication to ensure staff, parents, and students are aware of all policies and procedures pertaining to the response to COVID-19. 

QUESTION: How will CATEC communicate information if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our school?

ANSWER: Channels of communication to be used to notify impacted parents and families of the affected school include emails and automated calls, announcements on the school’s website, and letters/print resources.

QUESTION: What steps is CATEC taking to ensure good hygiene habits are being promoted among students?

ANSWER: CATEC instructors will include lessons on how to wear a mask, wash and sanitize hands, and maintain social distancing before in-person classes begin.  Lessons will be taught again when in-person classes begin.

QUESTION: How will daily health screenings occur?

ANSWER: For students, CATEC will collaborate with parents to conduct daily health screenings of students prior to coming to school. Per guidance from the Virginia Association of School Nursing (VASN), verbal, visual, and physical screening will be conducted at home and at school. A symptom checklist will be provided to parents for screening at home. Before entering the school building, each student's temperature will be assessed using a non-touch thermometer by a school staff member at the assigned entrance if the child is dropped off or drives him/herself. For all students who ride the bus, dismissal from buses will be staggered, and each student’s temperature will be monitored at the assigned entrance using a non-touch thermometer in the doorway. Students/parents will communicate through signed parent/student handbook an understanding of expectations for following mitigation strategies and participation in daily health screenings. Temperatures will be taken upon entry to the school building.

Additionally, each staff member will self-assess daily for symptoms of COVID-19 before reporting to work and each staff member's temperature will be monitored daily upon entry to the school building. 

QUESTION: How are key terms such as “Close Contact,” “Isolation,” and “Quarantine” defined?

ANSWER: Per guidance from the Virginia Department of Health:

  • “Close Contact” means being within six feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes or having exposure to the person’s respiratory secretions (coughed or sneezed on/shared a drinking glass or utensils/kissing/etc.) while they were contagious. A person with COVID-19 is considered to be contagious starting from two days before they became sick (or two days before they tested positive if they never had symptoms) until they meet the criteria to discontinue isolation.

  • “Isolation” means the separation of people with COVID-19 from others. People in isolation need to stay home and separate themselves from others in the home as much as possible.

  • “Quarantine” means the separation of people who were in close contact with a person with COVID-19 from others.

QUESTION: What are the rules for shared materials within a classroom/class, such as pencils, pencil sharpeners, folders, etc.?

ANSWER: CATEC will limit the sharing of materials, per current health guidelines. Students will be expected to use their own personal supplies to be provided by CATEC. Students are expected to use their base-school-assigned computer at CATEC.

QUESTION: Will there still be class changes at CATEC?


QUESTION: Will CATEC be providing additional hand sanitizer/hand-washing stations?

ANSWER: Yes. Sinks with hot and cold water, soap, and paper towels are available in most classrooms. Hand sanitizer is available in each classroom and dispenser units are placed outside of bathrooms and high traffic areas.

QUESTION: Can students carry hand sanitizer?


QUESTION: Will water fountains be open?

ANSWER: Yes. CATEC has installed hands-free bottle filling retrofits on all water fountains and will provide all students with a reusable water bottle.