Dear MGCS Families,
In Colossians we read: “…He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13) We live in a great and free country, but as Christians, we have also been rescued to become citizens of a much greater kingdom. At MGCS we aspire to have this reality inform all that we do as we teach your children and serve your families.
“Myrtle Grove Christian School’s mission is to educate students by exposing them to biblical principles as a framework for all that is taught. The goal for all students is that they be strengthened spiritually, morally, academically, emotionally, and physically to meet the challenges of higher education and their call to serve Christ in the world.”
As Christians, we follow a different course from the world, and as a school community we continue to navigate through interesting times together. We rejoice to share the journey with you.
School Schedule November 30- January 8
When we published our final ‘20-’21 school calendar in August, we indicated that MGCS would transition to distance learning from November 30- through January 8. Given rapidly changing conditions, we also indicated that a final assessment would be made on November 1. With respect for your planning, we want to reconfirm now that we will temporarily transition to distance learning November 30-January 8. Our rationale is as follows:
Our entire country will be in the middle of holiday travel and flu seasons. As a result, our school community may face the probability of increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. We have recently seen school closures at various locations in the state. A temporary transition to virtual learning will ensure that we may press on with our school program without interruptions, and keep a predictable schedule for families.
A number of our families have already made travel plans based on our published calendar, and this schedule allows all families to continue school and self-quarantine as advisable, in order to protect the health of grandparents, relatives and friends whom they wish to see as a family. After Christmas, our start up date for resuming classes on January 11 allows time for any individual to quarantine after the holidays as necessary, so all may safely return to onsite classes on schedule without sharing illness.
Many colleges and universities have also adopted some version of this seasonal transition to distance learning. From a health and safety standpoint, the counsel that we have received encourages us that this short term shift to distance learning (twenty school days) is a prudent and wise action in the midst of this continuing pandemic.
We regret any inconvenience that this action may cause for our families, but please know that our reasoning is informed by the intent to consider the concerns and welfare of all.
Our Distance Education Program- November 30-January 8
Last spring, we were greatly encouraged by the high marks our parents gave MGCS for our distance learning program. If your family is new to MGCS this year, you might find our program very different from what you may have experienced elsewhere. We intend to build on the successes and lessons of last spring with higher expectations for students.
Required live attendance for all students 8:45 AM-1:15 PM Monday- Thursday, and Friday 8:45-10:15 AM
Decreased parental direction/increased teacher led direction and instruction
Additional required course offerings
Increased attendance accountability.
More details to follow in the coming weeks along with answers to FAQs.
A Note To Parents of Preschoolers
As MGCS moves to remote learning November 30-January 8, preschool families will be given a 25% discount on next month’s tuition payment. This discount will be reflected in your November payment. If a family has paid their preschool tuition in full, then a refund check for 25% of one month’s tuition will be mailed on December 1st. Tuition for all other grades will remain the same. If you have any questions please contact Ms. Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org)in our business office.
Remote learning for preschool families will include live morning meetings, enrichment activities and weekly packets. Packet pickup will be on Monday Nov 30th from 8:00 am – 10:00 am. We have a limited number of Chromebooks available for check-out. If you are in need of a device, please complete the Preschool Chromebook Request form by November 20th. We will have these devices ready during the packet pick-up times. If you have a personal tablet or other smart device, these may be used in place of a Chromebook.
We strongly encourage you to help your child participate in all activities the teachers prepare. These activities are designed to develop a variety of skills needed to progress to the next level in school. Our goal as a preschool during a remote learning situation is to partner with you in teaching and training your children to develop the skills they will need before they move up to the next class. By participating in the live meetings, we can maintain a sense of community and routine which is so important at this age.
A Note to Parents of Our Athletes
Basketball season may look a bit different this year, but our plans are to continue the season during our temporary transition to distance learning. In December, we will be repainting the gymnasium and refinishing the floors, so there will be no home games scheduled after 12/12. More details to follow. Please contact our Athletic Director, Mr. Matt Treppel (email@example.com) if you have any questions.
Changes On Campus October 19- November 20
Members of our leadership team have recently met for a 60 day review of our COVID-19 response plans. Because of your cooperation with our health and safety protocols, we are able to make the following adjustments:
Corresponding classes of the same Kindergarten-Fifth grade level may now mix at lunch and recess.
Parents will now be able to attend home athletic events, with restrictions beginning next week..
Visitors will be allowed on campus by appointment or invitation and only on a limited basis.
Beginning Monday October 26, temperature checks will be taken inside the school after drop off. (In colder weather, the heater in cars often gives us a false temperature read on the students.) All other pick up and drop off procedures will remain the same.
All other health and safety protocols will remain in place. Parents please remind your child to adhere to our guidelines and we’ll remind them at school.
We all understand that the steps we’ve taken merely reduce the probability of infection and do not eliminate the possibility of COVID-19 occurring at MGCS. As always, we do not presume upon our Lord’s providence or grace, but we certainly could not live without it. Our aim continues to be the creation of not only a normal and positive school atmosphere, but also one that is balanced with reasonable and prudent precautions.
We are very grateful for your insights, prayers and encouragement. On behalf of our team- Thank you!
MGCS has developed four alert levels of operation for the 2020-2021 school year. This plan will be continuously evaluated and updated as new information is provided by health professionals.
- Green Level 1 – In-Person Instruction with Minimal Modifications
- Yellow Level 2 – In-Person Instruction with Restricted Operations
- Orange Level 3 – Optional: In-Person Instruction with Restricted Operations and/or Enhanced Virtual Learning Program
- Red Level 4 – Remote Learning – All In-Person Instruction Suspended
MGCS will begin the 2020-2021 school year under the YELLOW alert level of operation as outlined in more detail below. This alert level will be in effect for a minimum of 30 days unless conditions necessitate a change.
The MGCS learning environment will look different in many ways as we manage the challenges of a global pandemic, however, our love for our Lord and MGCS Community, commitment to the highest quality education and qualities that make MGCS who we are have not changed. In order to create a learning environment that provides an extra level of safety for our students and staff, the following guidelines will be implemented:
- Attendance requirements will be relaxed for the 2020-2021 school year as parents determine wellness needs
- All students K – 8 grade will begin the year with a school issued Chromebook. Teachers in all classes will continue to incorporate digital learning tools such as Google Suites and demonstrate how these tools are used for learning both in the classroom and remotely.
- K – 5 grade students and teachers will begin the school year in assigned homeroom groups (classes) and will stay together as much as possible during the day.
- Due to the increased complexity of the Middle School schedule, grades 6 – 8 will be mixing within the grade levels. For example, both 6th grade classes will be mixing during certain times throughout the day. However, 6th grade will not be mixing with 7th or 8th grades.
- Teachers will arrange furniture, such as desks or tables in classrooms so that students are separated from one another by at least 3 to 6 feet when possible. If it is not possible to arrange seating 3 to 6 feet apart, MGCS will use protective barriers such as clear acrylic to create a divide between students. All Middle School tables will have clear acrylic dividers.
- All classroom desks or tables will be organized in straight rows facing forward. Desks or tables that are arranged for centers or small groups will be properly socially distanced or have protective barriers between students.
- In some cases where group work of collaboration is needed (such as STEM Lab), MGCS may elect to use a combination of face masks and face shields in place of a protective barrier.
- Where it is possible, enrichment teachers will travel to classrooms. Weather permitting, P.E. classes will be encouraged to be outdoors.
- Middle School electives will be delayed until at least January 19th. During this elective time, students will have a study hall.
- Chapel and Tribe activities will be hosted through Google Meets or socially distanced small groups.
Early Education programs present some of the most unique challenges during this season. Social distancing and face masks will be a part of the daily learning environment, but some exceptions will be necessary in order to maintain an effective preschool program.
Preschoolers will remain in homeroom classes and will stay together as much as possible throughout their day.
Preschoolers will still participate in some group activities such as morning meetings, read-alouds, etc. During these times face masks will be used.
In the event of a COVID-19 exposure or positive case, any affected preschool class will be asked to follow the CDC recommended 14-day quarantine. There will be no tuition reimbursement for any student or individual homeroom needing to quarantine.
All preschool families will have access to the remote learning program materials and instruction during a school-wide RED level 4 learning protocol.
In the event that MGCS officially moves to the school-wide RED level 4 remote learning protocol, preschool families will be given a 25% credit of the next month’s tuition payment. Continued tuition payments are needed to ensure that teachers and staff can provide the remote learning programs.
Per guidelines set by NC Health Department and other agencies, MGCS has incorporated additional cleaning and sanitation procedures. During the school year you can expect to see the following:
- Increased sanitation of restroom facilities using electrostatic fogger/misters
- Increased frequency of cleaning classrooms and high touch surfaces throughout the school day.
- Increased frequency of cleaning the gym, physical education/athletic equipment, and playground equipment on a regular basis.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers/bottles in every classroom, at all large restroom locations, and at every entrance and exit.
- Installation of more efficient filtration systems on all HVAC equipment.
- Enhanced deep cleaning of the building weekly specifically targeting high touch surfaces such as wall, lockers and classroom furniture using electrostatic fogger/misters.
Faculty, staff and students all have a responsibility in helping us keep a clean and healthy school environment. At the beginning of the year, faculty will teach students to practice healthy habits that will help prevent the spread of viruses such as COVID-19. As we begin the year, you can expect the following:
- We’ve hired a school nurse for the 2020-21 school year. The new Wellness Office will be located in the Family Life Center building and will provide a place for students when feeling ill at school until parents can pick them up.
- Students will be instructed on proper hand washing and additional ways to protect themselves and others (e.g. keeping hands away from face, how to remove face coverings, covering coughs and sneezes, etc.).
- Teachers will provide time for frequent student hand washing throughout the day.
- Water fountains will be closed off and not accessible. MGCS has installed touchless filtered water bottle filling stations in each building. Students must bring their own water bottles to school and use bottle filling stations.
- Students must store their own supplies in pencil boxes or pencil pouches. We will not be sharing these types of supplies.
- New signage throughout the building will be posted to assist with social distancing and as a reminder of safe hygiene practices.
- Middle school teachers and students will sanitize seating areas each time they need to switch classes.
- Elementary teachers will sanitize tables, desks, and toys, etc. throughout the day.
MGCS will require the use of face coverings for all students Pre-K through 8th grade.
- Face coverings must be a minimum of 3-ply material and may not contain a one-way valve. Students may choose their own style, but they should fit comfortably and cover both the mouth and nose. Coverings should be solid colored or may have patterns/prints as long as the pattern or print does not contain offensive or divisive words, messages or pictures.. The administration will determine the appropriateness of any questionable masks.
- Neck gaiter style masks are often made of synthetic stretchy materials. This material is often thin for improved airflow, which means it has a decreased ability to filter respiratory droplets and therefore not considered by MGCS to be an approved style mask and will not be allowed.
- Requests for face covering exemptions may be made for medical reason and must be submitted in writing to the school nurse and accompanied by a note from your child’s pediatrician or primary care physician.
- MGCS teachers will be permitted to wear face shields while actively instructing in order to allow students to see facial expressions and to hear pronunciation. Face coverings will be required at all other times.
- MGCS will provide (2) zippered binder cases for students that will be used to store their face masks. One case will be used to store a spare mask and kept in the student’s homeroom. The other case will be used throughout the day in the event that a student needs to remove their mask (eating lunch, etc.)
The success of our reopening plan relies heavily on our community’s’ commitment to proper self-screening and strictly adhering to the “stay home if symptomatic” policies.
- Every family must complete the daily self-screening checklist for every child attending MGCS. Self-screening questions and flow chart will be sent out in the coming weeks.
- Daily temperature checks will be required for every student, staff and visitor. Students will be checked with a non-contact thermal scanner upon entering the building. Additional information on drop off procedures will be provided before the first day of school.
- Any child with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be sent home.
- If your child is showing signs of illness, such as fever (100.4), chills, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, new cough, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea or excessive fatigue, please do not send him/her to school until you see no symptoms for a minimum of 48 hours. He/she must also be fever-free without any fever-reducing medicines for a minimum of 48hours. (ex. If they leave at 11:30AM on Tuesday they will not be able to return until 11:30AM on Thursday).
If a student is sick or becomes sick at school that student will be brought to the school Health Center. The school nurse will contact the parents or guardians to discuss symptoms. Special attention will be made to thoroughly clean and sanitize areas the sick student had contact with.
While our goal is to mitigate and reduce the possibility of a COVID-19 case at MGCS, how we manage a positive case will be vital in preventing any possible community spread. We recognize that each circumstance is different and the administration will review the specific circumstances of case. As each situation presents itself, MGCS will collaborate with medical professionals to make an appropriate plan of action.
- If a student had been diagnosed with COVID-19, they should stay home and should not come to the school property or a minimum of 10 days from the first day that symptoms appeared. The student must also be fever free for 72 hours before returning.
- MGCS requests to be notified immediately of any COVID-19 case within our MGCS community and immediate family members.
- If we have a confirmed case of COVID-19 within our student body or faculty/staff, the MGCS community will be notified and the building/classroom(s) will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected according to CDC guidelines
- In the event of a positive COVID case in one classroom, the entire class will move to virtual learning for a minimum of 5 days. During this time, appropriate contract tracing will be done to determine the level of exposure. The quarantine period may extend up to 14 days.
- Siblings of any students that who tests positive will be required to quarantine for a minimum of a 14 day period. If they have remained symptom free suring the 14 day quarantine period, they may return to school.
- If any student, staff or faculty has been directly exposed to COVID-19, he/she should notify the school and self-quarantine for a 14 day period. Exposure is defined by the CDC as: Anyone who has had close contact (within 6 feet) for 15 minutes or longer within a 24hr period. In addition to this, anyone who has been directly exposed to COVID-19 should not come on the MGCS campus until their quarantine period has expired.
- Weather-permitting, outdoor activities and learning will be encouraged, including outdoor learning opportunities. Recess and lunch play, as well as Physical Education classes will take place outdoors weather permitting. Sports and playground equipment will be cleaned on a regular basis.
- Students will eat lunches either in their classrooms, at socially distanced cafeteria tables or in designated outdoors locations. The cafeteria will continue to provide lunches from My Hot Lunch Box each day. Lunches will be delivered to classrooms for students grades K-5 in order to reduce lunch line congestion. Middle school students will be brought by the teacher to get lunches in grade level groups.
- The cafeteria will not sell items during the YELLOW alert level. All orders must be done online through My Hot Lunch Box.
- Snacks will not be sold by the cafeteria during YELLOW alert level.
- At this time, we will not allow “heat up” lunches. Students must bring a lunch that does not require a microwave.
- Locker assignments will be adjusted as needed. to allow for more social distancing than is typical. Students may not decorate lockers in order to allow for enhanced cleaning opportunities.
- All school field trips will be suspended for the first 30 days. After this time the administration will evaluate the safety of field trips.
- Early Morning and After-school care will continue under the YELLOW alert level with some modifications.
- We continue to plan for a Fall Sports program – volleyball and tennis for girls and soccer for boys and cross country for boys and girls. Our Athletic Director and coaches will keep parents up to date on any changes to this plan.
- At this time, all athletic practices, events, and team activities will be postponed until at least September 21. A decision to begin or continue to delay the start our athletic activities will be made on September 15.
In order to establish and maintain a healthy learning environment, visitation will be restricted under the YELLOW alert level.
- The school will be closed to visitors for the first 30 days. After this time the administration will evaluate the safety of campus visitation.
- In the event an in-person meeting is necessary an appointment will be required. Please contact your child’s teacher if you would like to schedule an in-person visit or virtual meeting.
- All visitors must check-in at the main office and adhere to appropriate screening and temperature checks upon arrival.
- Visitors will be required to complete a COVID-19 notice waiver before entry.
Morning Drop Off and Dismissal
In order to reduce congestion, morning drop-off and dismissal will be modified.
- For the first 30 days, no one except students may exit vehicles. Our friendly staff will assist all students in getting them into their classrooms in a safe and comforting manner.
- MGCS will have three designated drop-off locations. Self-screening confirmations and temperature scans will take place before students exit the vehicle.
- Dismissal will remain staggered by grade level beginning with Kindergarten. Designated dismissal locations will be assigned to reduce congestion.
- During arrival siblings will be allowed to be dropped off together at the youngest child’s location. At dismissal families with multiple children will need to go through each designated dismissal location to pick up their children.
- Students will be dismissed at designated locations. *Families with multiple children will need to progress through each dismissal location. At this time we are not allowing siblings to group together for pick up.
Is there an online program option available while in-person instruction is provided?
At this time, MGCS encourages all students to attend in-person instruction. However, we understand that not every student may feel comfortable or able to attend due to a high risk medical condition. For this reason, MGCS will be using a flexible attendance policy. While in-person classes are taking place, all assignments will be posted daily (by 4:00 pm) for those students that are remote learning. This will be an assignment based option that will require parental guidance. While some instructional videos may be posted, they are only intended to supplement classroom instruction.
Do you anticipate this plan changing before August 20th?
At this time we anticipate opening school on August 20 under this plan. This is subject to change based on conditions and new information and will be updated here as needed.
Will I still be able to celebrate my child’s birthday while the school operates under the YELLOW alert level?
In order to protect the health and safety of our community, visitors will not be allowed in buildings during the first 30 days of the school year. Any treats brought to share with the class must be prepacked and approved by the classroom teacher.
When should I keep my child home from school?
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms within the past 48 hrs, they should stay home and you should consult your healthcare provider: Fever (100.4), Chills, Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, new cough, loss of taste or smell, vomiting, diarrhea or excessive fatigue. In addition, if your child has had direct exposure to someone with COVID-19 they should quarantine for 14 days and monitor symptoms.
If I need to drop off lunches/items or check out my student what should I do?
Upon arrival, all visitors are required to come to the front office entrance and use the bell intercom system to communicate with the front desk. Lunches/items should be left at the designated drop off located outside of the front entrance. The front desk staff will retrieve these after you leave and deliver them to your student.
If you are checking out a student please remain under the front office overhang until your student meets you outside. In order to expedite the check-out process, calling ahead is recommended: 910-392-2067.