Returning to Campus

Last updated 8/15/20


Dear MGCS Families,


Greetings from the beautiful and healthy campus of MGCS!


This has certainly been a season when many new words and phrases have become more widely used in our culture such as “unprecedented” or “new normal” and of course “social distancing”. Many questions connected with COVID-19 continue to be up for debate, and the health and safety solutions around the world have certainly been inconsistent, while other steps seem to have been very helpful. The solutions implemented at MGCS are also imperfect, but we continue to seek that balance between precautions for reduced risks with the steps needed to create a positive school atmosphere.


In serving our families, we want to teach and model determination and adaptation rather than resignation in the face of challenges. As Christians, our lives may be shaped by an uplifting worldview that is defined by our loving Savior, rather than a secular outlook which often seems nothing more than a system of organized despair. We draw this distinct contrast at MGCS.


Thanks to the support and cooperation of our parents, students, and teachers, we have been able to continue onsite classes without interruption this first month. Congratulations! Now, in view of the data and our local situation, we would like to press on and resume another key component of the unique school experience at MGCS- athletics!


Athletics


It is with great excitement that we announce that we are able to begin our middle school fall athletic season at MGCS next week!


Team practices may begin on Monday, September 21.


Competitive events may begin on Monday September 28.


We know our middle school athletes look forward to beginning practice and competitive play for our fall sports teams: volleyball, tennis, soccer, and cross country. We are the Warriors!


In order to compete, our school will continue to comply with applicable state and North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) COVID-19 policies and mandates regarding athletic practices and events. To this end, sports at MGCS will look different for both our athletes and our spectators, and Governor Cooper’s executive orders continue to be in effect.


Late next week, Mr. Matt Treppel, our athletic director, will share the specific guidelines that will regulate our league events. League policy currently states that no spectators or fans may be present at NCISAA events at this time.


We also would like to be in the stands and on the sidelines as much as you do as parents. However, we will be bound by the rules and mandates of our governing athletic association so we may compete, and these league policies, and our current campus precautions on campus are likely to remain in effect until at least October 15.


We recognize the challenges these limitations will present and will be working with NCISAA in hopes of relaxing some constraints as soon as possible. Until updated policies are approved, we want to respect and follow the current protocols. We humbly ask for your understanding and support. We cannot ask our students to obey our rules if we do not follow the rules that are applicable to our school.


I think everyone knows that this is not how we at MGCS would prefer things; but it is how we will need to proceed in order for our students to have a middle school athletic experience during this pandemic. Your support and prayers that things continue to improve will go a long way as we advocate for more flexibility in policies. Setting the example for doing it right may grant us leverage for more latitude.


We look forward to having our student athletes on the courts, fields, and trails very soon!


Middle School Electives


After consulting with our faculty and some of our families, the decision has been made to postpone our middle school elective offerings until January. The study halls we offer will continue during the middle school elective time slot, and these times have helped reduce some of the stresses our families and students are facing this year.


Health Tips


In light of the cold and allergy season, please continue to monitor your student’s symptoms closely and err on the side of caution when deciding whether to keep your student home from school. For example, if your student has no fever but has a stuffy nose and sore throat, please consider keeping them home until those symptoms begin to improve.


Fall Fun Day – October 15


On Thursday October 15, we are hosting our annual Grandparents’ Day and Fall Festival celebrations. Fall Festival will be called Fall Fun Day this year. Although these special events will look different, it is important to honor our grandparents who encourage our families and support the mission and vision of our school. We also want to provide some much-needed festive fun for our students. Lots of details will follow and some information is going out in the Warrior Weekly. I wanted to give you a heads up on some things so you can plan accordingly.


October 15 will be an optional half day for students. Grandparents and Grand-Friends will not visit campus, but they may pick their students up at half day dismissal times. Of course, parents are welcome to do so as well.


During this half day, we will have several Fall Fun Stations for your class to enjoy. These may include: inflatable slide, cake walk (pre-packaged of course!), hayride, petting zoo, etc. We will work on a schedule that allows all PK-8 classes to enjoy these activities. More details to follow.


We pray that this first month of classes has gone well for you and your children. We welcomed over 80 new families to MGCS in August and if you are new to us, we pray that your experience also continues to be a positive one as well. Keep up to date with the latest edition of the Warrior Weekly. Again, all current health and safety precautions will remain in effect at MGCS. We’ll continue to monitor our local health and safety situation over the next thirty days and will again aim to base any changes or decisions on the best information available in order to serve you well. Thank you for choosing MGCS.


Sincerely,

D. Mroczek


Head of School

Myrtle Grove Christian School


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 andor 

                             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 for the first 30 days. Weather permitting, P.E. classes will be encouraged to be outdoors.  
  • Middle School electives will be delayed for 30 days. During this elective time, students will have a study hall.  After 30 days, a decision will be made to either offer class level electives, grade level electives, mixed grade electives or remain in the study hall. 
  • In-person Chapel and Tribe activities will be delayed for 30 days. After 30 days a decision will be made to begin in-person socially distanced chapels. MGCS is evaluating ways to host virtual chapels and tribe meetings.  

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 during drop off before students exit the vehicle. 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 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 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 ofr 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.  

  • 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.
  • For the first 30 days of school, 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.