August 10, 2021
Dear MGCS Families,
On behalf of our MGCS team, I want to welcome all our new and returning families to an exciting new school year. Our spiritual life themes this year will often be focused on the biblical themes of spiritual transformation and renewal. As our minds are transformed and renewed by the power of Christ, rather than conformed to the world around us, we are better able to reframe our thoughts so we may see things as they really are. (Romans 12:1-2) These biblical principles inform our mission as a school:
“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.”
We may only realize our mission as a school through a strong partnership with you and your family. In this note, we want to update you on a few key items and also include important reminders. If you have any questions, please let us know.
Health and Safety
We are all aware of the continuing concerns connected with COVID-19, the broad scope of differing and evolving views on this subject, and the various recommendations from national, state and local medical professionals and authorities. This pandemic has presented an incredibly complex challenge for all, as well as an opportunity for Christians to exercise their faith and reason while encouraging and serving others. The pandemic has produced tragic results worldwide, but has also yielded data over the last eighteen months that continues to confirm that the health risks to children are extremely low.
It does seem likely that schools across the country, including MGCS, will have another year where some students will become infected with COVID-19, and new variants, regardless of whatever health and safety measures are followed. There is a growing sense that this pandemic must simply run its course, but also that each of us must run ours.
“…Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
By God’s grace, our parents, students and teachers put together an amazing year in 2020-2021 in spite of all the obstacles presented by the pandemic. On behalf of our entire team at MGCS, I want to thank our returning families for their prayers, understanding and support last year. We humbly ask that we continue in that same spirit of vital partnership as we serve your families in the coming year. Thank you for choosing MGCS.
In June, we indicated that one aspect of our health and safety protocols would make masks/face coverings optional for all. That is how we will begin our year. We do want you to carefully consider the health recommendations of authorities, and then to freely make the best decisions for your family. We trust the parents of our students.
Should the pandemic present greater health challenges that could potentially disrupt our onsite classes at some point, please rest assured that we have contingency plans ready. In these instances, we may exercise our prerogative to raise alert levels or define our health and safety guidelines with greater restrictions for all, if we believe these actions would serve in the best interests of our school community. We always want to be transparent, as together we will face a number of unknowns, just as we did last year. Much may depend on your support of our health guidelines and all of us extending consideration to others.
Health and Safety Protocols, Waiver Forms and Daily Self-Screening
Please review our detailed health and safety protocols prior to the beginning of school. These may be found HERE.
Just as last year, we are requiring that parents complete a waiver form that acknowledges assumed risks related to the pandemic. Please complete this form prior to the start of school on August 23. Thank you. That form may be found HERE.
All staff and students will be required to complete the daily self-screening questionnaire. That form may be found HERE.
Outdoor Learning Village
You may not see the OLV clearly nowadays through the summer woods, but construction is proceeding nicely. Though projects can often be delayed by weather, late deliveries and change orders, we anticipate that this beautiful building will be completed, God willing, in the early fall. The Outdoor Learning Village will serve as the centerpiece of our outdoor and experiential instruction for all grades. You may learn more about this initiative at: Outdoor Learning Village | Myrtle Grove Christian School (mgcs.org)
Since the beginnings of MGCS there has been a vision for a program that offers a variety of academic support services to our students. As we launch the ‘21-’22 school year we are excited to announce the inaugural year of the Timothy Center at MGCS. This year the Timothy Center will offer academic instructional support and onsite tutorial services. We will be employing our own tutors. As the program develops, additional services will be added such as focused programs for gifted and talented students. We are excited about the amazing staff that will be serving the students and families at the Timothy Center:
Ms. Carrie Barnette- Timothy Center Interim Director
Ms. Lynn Benjamin – Lead Teacher of Academic Supports
Mrs. Ann Jenkins – Tutorial Support
Mrs. Tammy Bollinger – Tutorial Support
The Timothy Center is located in the modular by our beloved hen pen. If you are interested in any of the services offered by the Timothy Center please contact Mr. Pleasant at email@example.com or 910-392-2067 x138.
Dates To Remember
August 17th at 10AM – Middle School Orientation and Parent Meeting for all rising sixth grade students and any new 7th or 8th grade students.
August 18th at 5PM – Preschool Parent/Teacher Meeting in classrooms to meet teachers, drop off supplies, and pick up their open house packet.
August 18th at 5:30PM – New MGCS Family Luau in the Gym for all families new to MGCS this year
August 19th – Homeroom/Class Rosters emailed to families
August 19th at 5:30- 7:00 PM – K-8th Grade Floating Open House. Kindergarten – 8th grade parents and students join us anytime between 5:30 and 7:00 PM to meet teachers, drop off supplies, and pick up their open house packet. Homeroom teacher assignments and additional open house details will be sent to families by noon on August 19. Families should go directly to their child’s homeroom for Open House when they arrive on campus.
August 23rd – First day of school (half day)
August 24th – Half day of school
Click the link for: 2021-2022 Parent Onboarding Site – this is your one stop for quick information! You’ll find information on Arrival/Dismissal schedules, the MGCS Dress Code, ordering lunches, MGCS Student and Athletic Handbooks, etc.
Click the link for : 2021-2022 MGCS PreK-8th Grade Supply Lists – these can also be found on the Renweb Parent Portal under “Resource Documents”
Click the link for: 2021-2022 MGCS Calendar (v.3 July 23) – make sure you have the latest version (v.3 July 23)
Again, please contact us if you have any questions.
We look forward to seeing you on the beautiful campus of Myrtle Grove Christian School.
Head of School
MGCS has developed four alert levels of operation for the 2021-2022 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
Red Level 3 – Remote Learning – All In-Person Instruction Suspended
MGCS will begin the 2021-22 school year under the Green alert level. More details of this Green plan are outlined below. This alert level will be in effect for a minimum of 30 days unless conditions necessitate a change.
We will begin the year with minimal modifications to our learning environments. It is important to know that under the Green alert level MGCS will take a multiple layered approach in order to help mitigate the spread of viruses such as COVID-19 and seasonal flus. Some of these strategies include: daily self-screening, improved ventilation, increased sanitization of high touch surfaces, frequent hand washing and sanitizing, and taking a Healthy Only Access approach. Below are some more details on how the learning environment will be in the Green alert level.
- Attendance requirements will be relaxed for the 2021-2022 school year as parents determine wellness needs, but academic requirements and expectations will still be expected to be completed. Maintaining a healthy school requires all parents and employees to ensure that only healthy individuals are entering campus and we extend the trust that any individual who displays flu-like symptoms or has been in close contact with someone who is COVID positive, will not enter campus.
- All students in the K-8 grades will begin the year with a school issued Chromebook. Teachers in all classes will continue incorporating digital learning tools such as Google Suites and demonstrating how these tools are used for learning in the classroom in the event that a class or classes need to transition to remote learning.
- In order to provide on-site instruction for all MGCS students, classroom furniture (desks, tables and chairs) will not have social distance requirements. MGCS will focus on other layered mitigation strategies such as: good hygiene and respiratory etiquette, daily screening and monitoring, staying home when sick, and improved ventilation.
- Group work and collaboration will continue to be a part of the MGCS classroom.
- Weather permitting, P.E. classes will be encouraged to be outdoors. Classroom teachers may also elect to use the variety of outdoor locations provided around campus to teach lessons.
- Middle School electives and chapel are scheduled to begin after September 6.
- In-person Chapel, Tribes, and other mixed grade level activities are also scheduled to begin after September 6.
- During morning drop-off (8:00 to 8:15) and afternoon pick-up (3:00 to 3:15), parents will be permitted to walk students into the school. Curbside drop-off and pick-up is encouraged.
- Visitation from 8:15 to 3:00 will be limited to scheduled appointments. Lunch visitation will not be permitted at this time.
- Visitors must check-in at the main office and adhere to appropriate screening upon arrival.
- Visitors will be required to complete a COVID-19 notice waiver before entry if they have not done so.
Per guidelines set by the NC Health Department and other agencies, MGCS has incorporated additional cleaning and sanitization procedures. During the school year you can expect to see the following:
- Increased cleaning personnel during the school day.
- Increased frequency of cleaning classrooms and high touch surfaces throughout the school day.
- Increased sanitation of restroom facilities.
- 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.
- Increased air quality monitoring.
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 continue to have a full time school nurse for the 2021-2022 school year. The Wellness Center is located in the Family Life Center building and will provide a place for students to go 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, covering coughs, and sneezes, etc.).
- Teachers will provide time for frequent student hand washing or sanitizing throughout the day.
- Teachers will sanitize tables, desks, and toys (pre-school), etc. throughout the day.
We will begin the year with face coverings and masks being optional for all students Pre-K through 8th grade. We continue monitoring the health and safety concerns connected with the pandemic throughout the school year, and may modify our health and safety protocols if it is determined to be in the best interest of our school community to do so.
- Unmasked students who become ill at school, will be asked to put on a mask until a parent can arrive to pick them up.
- In any cases where face coverings or masks may be used or required, they 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 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/scarf-style masks are often made of synthetic stretchy materials and have a decreased ability to filter respiratory droplets and therefore not considered by MGCS to be an approved-style mask.
The success of our reopening plan relies heavily on our community’s commitment to proper daily 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.
- Any child with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be sent home.
- If your child is showing signs of illness such as: fever (100), chills, shortness of breath or 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 48 hours. (ex. If they leave at 11:30 A.M. on Tuesday, they will not be able to return until 11:30 A.M. on Thursday).
- If a student is sick or becomes sick at school, that student will be brought to the Wellness Center. The school wellness staff will contact the parents or guardians to discuss symptoms. Special attention will be made to thoroughly clean and sanitize areas with which the sick student had contact. Students will be required to wear a mask in the Wellness Center.
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 limiting and, when possible, preventing community spread. We recognize that each circumstance is different and the administration will review the specific circumstances of each case. As each situation presents itself, MGCS will collaborate with medical professionals to make an appropriate plan of action.
- Exposure to COVID-19 is defined as anyone who has had close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 within 48 hours of their diagnosis or onset of symptoms.
- If a student has been diagnosed with COVID-19, they should stay home and should not come to the school property for a minimum 10 days from the first day that symptoms appeared. The student must also be fever-free for 48 hours prior to returning.
- For the benefit and safety of all students and faculty, families are expected to notify our school nurse 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 the most recent CDC guidelines.
- In the event of a positive COVID-19 case in one classroom, contact tracing will be performed by the school nurse and/or administration. Depending on the situation, the entire class may move to virtual learning for a minimum of 5 days. During this time, appropriate contact tracing will be done to determine the level of exposure. The quarantine period may extend up to 10 days.
- Siblings of any students who test positive will be required to quarantine for a 10-day period. However, families may choose to have a PCR test performed at day 5 to 7 post exposure. If that test is negative, the sibling(s) may return to school.
- All vaccinated faculty/staff and students who are directly exposed to COVID-19 and are asymptomatic are not required to quarantine, however, they are required to wear a mask when on campus for 10 days post exposure. Should they become symptomatic during that time, they must quarantine until either a negative PCR test has been obtained or they are past the 10 day required quarantine period for exposed individuals. All exposed vaccinated individuals are encouraged to obtain a PCR test at day 5 to 7 post exposure.
- All unvaccinated faculty/staff and students who are directly exposed to COVID-19 are required to quarantine for 10 days post exposure. The faculty/staff or student may choose to have a PCR test at day 5 to 7 post exposure. If that test is negative, they may return to school. If it is positive, they must quarantine for the required 10 days post exposure.
- All unvaccinated faculty/staff and students who are directly exposed to COVID-19 and have tested positive within the last 3-months and are asymptomatic are not required to quarantine. However, they are required to wear a mask when on campus for 10 days post exposure. Should they become symptomatic during that time, they must quarantine until either a negative PCR test has been obtained or they are past the 10 day required quarantine period for exposed individuals. All exposed individuals are encouraged to obtain a PCR test at day 5 to 7 post exposure.
- Weather permitting, outdoor activities will be encouraged, including outdoor learning opportunities. Recess and lunch play, as well as physical education classes, will take place outdoors weather permitting.
- Students will eat lunches by grade levels 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.
- Snacks and other items must be ordered ahead of time through MyHotLunchBox.com. Items will not be able to be purchased directly from the cafeteria.
- If students choose to bring lunch to school, heat ups (microwave use) will not be provided or allowed.
- Locker assignments will be adjusted as needed. Students may not decorate lockers during 2021-2022.
- 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 Afterschool care will continue under the Green alert level
- We continue planning for a Fall sports program – volleyball and tennis for girls, soccer for boys, and cross country for boys and girls.
- At this time, all athletic practices, events, and team activities will begin as planned.
- In the event that MGCS competes against a school that requires their athletes to wear a face covering, MGCS athletes may also be asked to wear face coverings out of consideration or simply in order to compete or participate. In these cases, our parents and athletes are expected to extend consideration and understanding to other school communities whether we are on our own campus or visiting elsewhere.
In order to reduce congestion, we have modified our morning drop-off and dismissal as follows:
- Curbside drop off is encouraged for K-8 students to foster student independence. Parents are welcome to park in the front lot and enter the building only when necessary.
- MGCS will have three designated drop-off locations. Parents of multiple students may drop-off their children at the youngest child’s drop-off location.
- Dismissal will remain staggered by grade level beginning with Kindergarten. All students will be dismissed from the front overhang, with the exception of sixth grade which will be dismissed from the horseshoe lot.
- Detailed drop-off and dismissal maps that will show the location(s) for each grade are available on the 2021-2022 Parent Onboarding Site.
Is there an online program option available while in-person instruction is provided?
- As we begin the school year, MGCS is offering only in-person instruction, with instructional support for those individual students who are absent. This will be an assignment-based option that will require parental guidance.
Do you anticipate this plan changing before August 23rd?
- At this time we anticipate opening school on August 23rd under this plan. This plan may be revised or expanded should health and safety concerns warrant changes in our protocols.
Will I still be able to celebrate my child’s birthday while the school operates under the Green alert level?
- In order to protect the health and safety of our community, visitation will be limited to appointments only from 8:15 to 3:00. Any treats brought to share with the class must be prepacked or produced by a certified food provider 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 hours, they should stay home and you should consult your healthcare provider: Fever (100.0), 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 monitor symptoms and quarantine for 10 days or have a PCR test day 5-7 post exposure.