Dear Christ’s Church Academy Families,
This summer is going by quickly- I hope you are finding time to relax and enjoy it! I wanted to update you on the preparations Christ’s Church Academy (CCA) is making for a return to school on August 10th. My staff and I have been diligently working to prepare a plan aimed at beginning the school year with students in the classroom.
While providing a first-class Christian education for your children is our mission, doing it in the safest way possible is our number one priority. Currently, there is no action that will completely prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Any policy or plan can only be designed to mitigate the risk of spreading the infection. It seems each day brings more information about what is happening with COVID-19, and the new information often seems to contradict what was previously communicated. As CCA prepares our plan, we must keep the big picture in mind. No plan will be able to account for the individual desires of every family, but we are taking into account the information you provided in our two surveys taken earlier in the spring.
Many of you have seen the information from the Duval County School Board about their reopening plan. There are other plans out there for private schools, and each of these plans are designed with the critical factors in mind that shape and guide instruction at those schools. Duval County’s plan is based on changing their transportation of students, limiting the number of students allowed on a bus at one time, and developing a feasible plan to enact these policies for all public schools in the county. Private school plans may be more student-based, but the physical set up of the school or the time and distance students must be transported to get to school, must also be considered. Some immediate considerations for our school include:
`Who is the primary health contact?
The plan that we are developing takes all these factors and more into consideration as we move forward. Our team, which includes Christ’s Church staff, CCA Board members, and CCA staff and faculty, including our registered nurse, is getting the latest information directly from state and local authorities by virtue of participation on committees formed to address state and local response to the virus. Nurse Diehl will be CCA’s point of contact for questions related to implementing the health and medical aspects of our plan and the changes that may be necessary as information about the virus develops. The plan will remain fluid in its development as more information becomes available. It will always reflect the latest information from state and local authorities and be flexible enough to change quickly as circumstances dictate, to protect our students. The closing of schools last spring and the sudden advent of “virtual learning” for everyone quickly highlighted the difficulties of both working and educating children for parents. We understand this is a significant issue and believe that our plan will prevent this from being necessary if both families and staff do their part.
That said, a safe return to school will require an increased level of partnership between you and our staff. The traditional school environment was not designed for social distancing and maintaining six feet of separation between students throughout the day is going to be difficult to maintain. As such, we must work together to ensure all students are as safe as possible.
What follows are the highlights of our current plan which outlines what CCA will do to implement our mitigation strategy. While we would love to be able to prevent COVID-19, we know that’s not feasible nor practical as a reopening strategy. Keeping students away from school if they are showing any symptoms of illness is the first key step in this process. Parents’ responsibilities will focus on steps to ensure sick children are not brought to school and CCA’s responsibilities will focus on mitigation efforts.
Prior to the beginning of the school year, we ask that you please review the following guidelines with your students to help keep them safe:
Practice social distancing when possible. The younger the student, the more difficult this becomes, but most children understand “two arm lengths away.”
Avoid hugs and handshakes.
Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitizer.
Consider wearing a face mask to prevent the spread of germs.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Cover coughs and sneezes with your elbow or tissue. Properly dispose of the tissue and wash/sanitize your hands.
If your child feels sick, keep them at home.
Please incorporate the following daily wellness screening of your children before coming to school. This information is the latest from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP):
Take your child’s temperature each morning. If they have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they must remain at home.
Do not give fever-reducing medications to your children and then bring them to school.
Check your children for any of the following symptoms:
Fever or chills
Difficulty breathing/shortness of breath
Congestion or runny nose
Loss of taste or smell
Muscle or body aches
If your child exhibits any of these symptoms, they must remain at home. We recognize that most of these symptoms can be present with other illnesses, but the implications of spreading COVID-19 present more dire consequences for the health and safety of the school than most other illnesses.
If you think or know your student had COVID-19, they can return to school after:
Fever free for three days without medication, AND
Respiratory symptoms have improved (e.g. cough, shortness of breath), AND
10 days since symptoms first appeared.
“Return to School” note required from the physician.
If your child tested positive for COVID -19 but had no symptoms, they can return to school after:
10 days have passed, and no symptoms have developed, OR
If directed by your doctor, two negative tests in a row, 24 hours apart.
“Return to School” note required from a physician
If symptoms develop, follow the steps in #4 above.
If your student becomes ill during the school day, you need to have a plan that will provide for your student to be picked up within 30 minutes.
In addition to our increased cleaning and disinfecting routines, CCA will practice the following to ensure the safety of everyone:
We will clean and disinfect high-touch surface areas throughout the day.
We will provide every classroom with hand sanitizer to promote frequent cleaning of hands.
We will incorporate time into the schedule each day for students to wash their hands.
We will provide hand sanitizers at every entry and exit door, cafeteria, and other common areas of the school.
We will require employees who feel sick to stay home and follow the guidelines above for returning to work.
We will discourage personal contacts such as hugs and handshakes.
We will not allow parents and other visitors to enter the building to drop off students. Staff will assist the younger students to class.
We will maintain our single point of entry to the school once the school day starts. We will limit school visitors to only those considered essential for school business each day.
We will modify our attendance policy to allow students to make up work in a timely fashion if they are absent due to illness.
We will cohort Lower School students as much as possible to limit exposure to others who may have an illness.
We will maximize social distancing to the extent feasible:
In the classroom, we will be removing any unnecessary furniture to separate desks and students as much as possible.
We will be reconfiguring the tables and seating arrangements in the cafeteria to maximize the distance between students.
We will isolate students who become ill during the day until they are picked up.
We will educate all employees on the details of our plan and the changes to their daily work. They will also be taught to look for and understand the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
Our plan will change the “normal” for all of us. Our partnership will be successful only if we commit to doing on a daily basis, the things that are necessary to keep each other healthy. Providing the safest learning environment possible is our goal. As stated earlier, we can only mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Any confirmed case of COVID-19 among students or staff will be handled on a case-by-case basis. We will follow the guidelines listed above in addition to isolating those individuals with whom the student or staff member has been in close, direct contact. We will conduct contact tracing within the school to help determine appropriate steps regarding continued isolation at home. We will, of course, keep families updated on our activities.
I want to thank each of you in advance for partnering with us in the coming year. On behalf of the Elders of CC, CCA School Board, leadership, staff and faculty, I want you to know that we do not take lightly the continued trust you have placed in us in the education of your children. Remember, we depend first and foremost on the sovereign God we serve to guide us in these troubling times. We will remain steadfast in proclaiming His authority, the truth of His word, and His desire for all people to accept His saving grace, that comes through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Only then can we continue to build a generation that the world will not change.
Dr. Madison K. Nichols, Ph.D.
Head of School
--------------- a ministry of Christ’s Church ---------------
10850 Old St. Augustine Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32257 P:904.268.8667 www.ccajac.org @ccajax