November 30, 2021
Dear MGCS Families,
Many of you have taken the ferry from Fort Fisher across the Cape Fear River to Southport. I once asked one of the toll booth attendants to share some of the strangest questions that tourists had asked him over the years. The winning question seemed to be “Does this ferry go all the way across the river?” Perhaps this question was prompted by fears or doubts, or a misunderstanding that the passengers would be let off on an island somewhere, and then be picked up later…
The great message of Christmas is that God has not left us stranded or brought us only halfway home to Him, but that He has sent the Messiah, our Savior Jesus Christ to us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NIV) As He ascended to heaven, Christ said “…surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b) He is the one that can completely transform the journey across the years ahead for each of us and for your children in their school years.
We are nearly halfway through this school year, and in this note we wanted to give you updates as we look ahead to the second half and glance at the ’22-’23 school year.
Priority Re-enrollment for Current Families- Begins December 1st
Priority reenrollment for current families begins on December 1st. You may access your student’s re-enrollment packet in your FACTS Family Portal at FACTS Family Portal. Re-enrollment packets will be made active on 12/1 by 7 PM for our current families. Our tuition rates for ’22- ‘23 will rise slightly, about 2.35% on average. This increase will primarily support modest growth in teacher and staff salaries next year. Although the MGCS pay scale compares favorably with other Christian private schools in North Carolina, there is still a gap between what a teacher may earn at MGCS and what they could earn in the public sector. In this sense, our dedicated teachers are among the generous donors to the operational costs of our school, in terms of what they have given in order to fulfill their calling from our Lord in serving your families. We are deeply grateful to God for the talent and dedication each team member brings to our school community.
Enrollment of New Students
Interest in MGCS remains very high and new applications for next year are running ahead of last year’s record pace. Regardless of this trend, a strategic decision has been made to pause and limit overall enrollment growth for the 2022-23 school year. We do anticipate some enrollment growth, but we will be admitting fewer new students next year. This decision has been made in order to:
best serve the educational and spiritual needs of our students.
continue to strengthen our staff, systems, and services in ’22- ‘23.
ensure we are pursuing our mission and vision effectively.
focus on preserving and securing the unique MGCS culture that we all treasure.
From a business standpoint, this decision to regulate growth next year may seem to be somewhat counterintuitive, but from a Christian school community perspective, it is an important step to take for our families.
If you have been with us a few years, you know we are in the midst of a multiyear project to combine the best practices from three instructional approaches: Charlotte Mason, Classical, and Experiential. All students learn differently, and by using these varied teaching methodologies within the overall framework of a Christ-centered education, our teachers are better able to align curriculum and instruction to ensure student learning.
In order to equip our teachers, we are committed to providing the professional development required. Over the next eighteen months, a significant number of our staff will receive the additional training they will need to excel still further in their instruction. As we do this, we are also continuing to refine the academic and spiritual curricular content grade by grade.
A Calendar Change- March 18, 2022
Our calendar has shown 3/18/22 as a half day for students. In order to facilitate a full day of professional development for our entire staff, we will be changing this to a no-school day for students. Please make a note on your calendar. We will remind everyone again after the first of the year. Thank you for your understanding.
Outdoor Learning Village
At long last, the finish line for this construction project is coming into view. Construction has progressed to the point where we are working on the finer details of completing this project. Our new furniture has arrived and we are excited with the prospect of setting up rooms soon. We are sincerely appreciative of those who have given and continue to give to support this expansion of our school and instructional program.
MGCS Annual Fund
We are always grateful for the generosity and financial support from the families and friends of MGCS. This year, the Annual Fund helps support the tuition assistance we grant to many families and the ongoing expansion of our programs, services, and facilities. MGCS is an independent private Christian school and, by policy, we do not accept any state or federal funds or grants. All gifts to MGCS are tax deductible, help sustain our mission, and are always gratefully accepted! You may mail a check to us at 806 Piner Road, Wilmington NC 28409 or make your gift online here.
On behalf of our team, I want to thank you for choosing MGCS and granting us the opportunity to partner with your family in the education of your children. Although it is still a bit early and we will see many of you at our celebrations and events in December, we want to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy 2022!
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.