February 17, 2022
Dear MGCS Families,
Thank you for your ongoing partnership and support as we have navigated the Covid-19 pandemic together for the past two years. We are grateful for how our Lord has sustained and grown our school community during this season, and we are thankful for how well our students, teachers, parents and grandparents have supported one another since March 2020. In this note we want to inform you how we will be modifying a number of our health and safety protocols after Winter Break as a result of lessening pandemic concerns.
Recently the NC Governor’s office released an update in which they noted that while contact tracing has been a useful tool in slowing the spread of Covid-19, it has become a less effective means in aiding us in this pandemic at this point. This ineffectiveness is due to several factors which include:
Emergence of variants with shorter incubation periods and rapid transmission.
People with infection are most contagious prior to symptom onset and during the first few days of illness.
Larger numbers of asymptomatic and less severe cases due, in part, to some immunity from vaccination and past infection.
Many infections are never identified because persons with asymptomatic or mild cases may not get tested as well as the increased use of “over the counter” at-home tests.
Widespread virus and low rates of case and contact identification limit effectiveness of contact tracing as a way to reduce transmission.
In light of these factors, we will no longer
Perform contact tracing with known Covid-19 cases within our MGCS community. We still ask you to report any known cases to us, and you are also welcome to communicate contract tracing information with your classroom teacher when discussing your student’s reason for absence.
Send communication to families if we become aware of a Covid 19 case within your child’s classroom, The only exception to this would be if we are made aware of multiple cases in a class at the same time.
Require quarantine for asymptomatic exposed individuals.
Require extended quarantine times for positive Covid-19 cases beyond the 48 hour symptom free policy.
Please continue to err on the side of caution when sending your child to school. As always, do not send your child to school if they do not feel well. Your child must be free of fever (100.0 F), free of vomiting and diarrhea for 48 hours prior to returning to school.
In summary, we now will be treating these symptoms as resulting from the flu or typical illnesses. Again, on behalf of our MGCS team, thank you for your continued encouragement and support, and for choosing Myrtle Grove Christian School.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Nurse Bunch. Her email is email@example.com.
Have a great Winter Break!
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 COVID-19 cases 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.
When in doubt, please keep your child(ren) home and contact the school nurse. We will help students catch up with any work they may have missed.
If You Test Positive for COVID-19 (Isolate)
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status:
- Stay home for at least 5 days from the date of the positive COVID-19 test.
- If you have no symptoms after 5 days, you can return to school. Continue to wear a mask for 5 additional days.
- You must be completely symptom-free, without the use of medication, for 48-hours before returning to school (this includes fever, cough, runny nose etc.)
- Quarantine will end after 10 days from the date symptoms began or from the date of the positive COVID test, but you must be fever-free without medication for 48-hours before returning.
- A mask must be worn anytime you return to school until the 10th day from the date symptoms began.
If You Were Exposed to Someone with COVID-19 (Quarantine)
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine within the last 6 months, have had a booster shot within the last 6 months, or have recovered from COVID-19 within the last 3 months.
- Wear a mask for 10 days.
- Test on day 5, if possible.
- If you develop symptoms during this time, stay home and get tested.
Completed the primary series of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine over 6 months ago or you are unvaccinated.
- Stay home for 5 days. On day 5 you may choose to get tested – Rapid or PCR from a medical professional. If that test is negative and you remain symptom-free, you may return to school. Continue to wear a mask for 5 additional days.
- If you develop symptoms during this time, stay home and get tested.
- If you choose not to get tested, you must complete a full 10 day quarantine.
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.
For the benefit and safety of all students, families are expected to notify our school nurse immediately of any COVID-19 case within our MGCS community and immediate family members. MGCS handles all reporting confidentially and this information is important for contact tracing.
Siblings of any students who test positive will be required to quarantine for a 5-day period. However, families may choose to have a COVID-19 test performed at day 5 post exposure. If that test is negative, the sibling(s) may return to school but should wear a face covering for 5 additional days.
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.
Should there be a positive COVID-19 case at MGCS, a student’s name is never shared without obtaining parental permission prior to the communication. We understand and respect the sensitive nature of COVID-19 and only ask for parental permission to share a student’s name to help expedite contact tracing and aid in limiting transmission. However, we will complete the necessary contact tracing without mentioning the student’s name if that is the request of the parent.
- 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
- At this time, all athletic practices, events, and team activities will continue 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 2021 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.